Fire at Admirals
It isn't easy being a Rhein Fire fan. First, the Fire's homepage
on the World Wide Web is written in German. Then there's 1996's
3-7 record and last-place finish in the World League of American
Football. And has anyone settled the delicate matter of whether
it's safe to yell "Fire!" in a crowded sports bar? But this year
Rhein just may be, in the words of ESPN's Dan Patrick, "en
fuego." In a 28-6 defeat of the London Monarchs, quarterback
T.J. Rubley threw three touchdown passes, and 47-year-old kicker
Manfred Burgsmuller converted all four PATs. At week's end Rhein
was 2-1, and if it can beat Amsterdam, Fire coach Galen Hall
will be a title and a name, and not a demand.
FX, 4 PM (TAPE-DELAY)
Rangers at Indians
It's going, it's going, it's Gonzalez. Last season's American
League MVP, Juan Gonzalez, is scheduled to return to the Texas
lineup after missing the first month of the season with a torn
ligament in his left thumb. Cleveland, 1996's Central Division
champion, can hit--catcher Sandy Alomar (right), a lifetime .274
hitter, sported a surprising .394 average at week's end--but the
Indians (6.30 ERA) cannot pitch. The Tribe may supply Gonzalez
with a warm welcome back.
FX, 7 PM
America, we give you jockey-cam. Alex Solis, aboard Captain
Bodgit (left), will don a lipstick-sized camera, a tiny
microphone and a radio receiver linking him to ABC during the
123rd running of the most exciting two minutes in sport. Captain
Bodgit is one of the Derby favorites. He's the colt who overcame
not only heavily favored Pulpit in March's Florida Derby but
also the indignity of being mislabeled a gelding by the Daily
Racing Form. The oddsmakers predicted early that a jockey-cam
view along the homestretch would be unobstructed. However,
Captain Bodgit neighsayers disagreed, and at week's end the
touts were saying that Pulpit would be in Solis's lipstick lens
at the wire.
ABC, 4:30 PM
A's at White Sox
Like Sling Blade's Karl Childers, Chicago White Sox slugger
Albert Belle is a laconic Southerner with a fierce--and
sometimes violent--sense of justice. We can even imagine Belle
staring at one of his homers leaving Comiskey Park and
muttering, "I reckon I like them taters ... mmm-hmmm." Unlike
Karl, however, Belle has been taking his cuts and not drawing
blood: At week's end he had only four homers in 95 at bats.
Meanwhile, one of his slugging rivals, Oakland's Mark McGwire,
already had bashed nine dingers in 78 at bats.
WGN, 8 pm
German Open Quarterfinals
"If Muster isn't the most hated player on the tour," rival Wayne
Ferreira said last year, "he's a close second." Thomas Muster is
second (but not close) to Pete Sampras in the world tennis
rankings and could narrow the gap by winning this clay-court
tournament in Hamburg, where Spain's Roberto Carretero is the
defending champion. (The semifinals and finals will be shown
Saturday and Sunday on tape-delay.) Muster is the undisputed
King of Clay, having won 113 of his last 121 matches on that
surface, but his reign may be endangered: He was only 2-3 in '97.
ESPN, 10 AM (TAPE-DELAY)
U.S. Women's Team vs. England
A Victory Tour without Tito? I'll be there. Unlike the Jacksons'
infamous 1984 tour of the same name, a band of sisters will
dominate the stage as the Olympic gold medalists face the Brits
in San Jose in the fifth game of a six-game tour by Team USA
honoring the Americans' triumph in Georgia. Nine Olympic
veterans, among them NCAA career goals record holder Mia Hamm
(left), have been joined by newcomers like Danielle Fotopolous
(1996 NCAA scoring leader at the University of Florida) in a
sneak preview of the team that will host the 1999 Women's World
Cup. Never can say goodbye.
ESPN, 12:30 AM (TAPE-DELAY)
All times Eastern. Schedules are subject to change.
THE ! ZAPPER
Should NBA playoff games (continuing this week on NBC and TNT)
come with a TV-14 rating? Last week viewers were shown replays
of Chicago Bull Dennis Rodman baring himself from the waist up,
Minnesota Timberwolf Sam Mitchell's near beheading of Houston
Rocket Kevin Willis and a closeup of Atlanta Hawk Christian
Laettner hurling an expletive. If you didn't decipher what
Laettner said the first time, TBS made sure you had a chance to
lip-read it on the replay. Until the playoffs are shown
exclusively on the Adults Only channel, it might be nice to
remember that kids are watching.