Indians at Red Sox
FX 1 PM
Last year Mike Hargrove, Cleveland's manager at the time, phoned
the bullpen so often that he was courted by long-distance
pitchmen David Arquette and Arsenio Hall. In two
momentum-swinging losses at Fenway Park during the 1999 American
League Division Series, Hargrove rang his pen nine times as the
Tribe surrendered 32 runs--all earned. Under new skipper Charlie
Manuel phone use is down, and through Sunday the Indians'
pitching staff ranked fourth in the American League with a
decent 4.08 ERA. With such sluggers as Robbie Alomar, David
Justice, Manny Ramirez, Richie Sexson and Jim Thome, Cleveland
now does virtually all its long-distance dialing from the plate.
Power is still the Indians' calling card.
Laila Ali vs. Kristina King
SHOWTIME 10 PM (TAPE DELAY)
If the Ali and the King involved were Muhammad and Don, this
match, from Guangzhou, might be dubbed the Great Brawl of China.
As it happens, the four-rounder pits female fighters Laila Ali
(4-0), the 22-year-old youngest daughter of the Greatest,
against Kristina King (1-0), a 30-year-old prison guard from
Lansing, Mich. Foxy fisticuffs from communist China? This might
inspire a boxer rebellion. Ali-King is an appetizer for the lo
mein event, a heavyweight nontitle bout between Andrew Golota
(34-4) and Marcus Rhode (24-15).
April 23, 2000
Cubs at Astros
WGN 4 PM
Are they the Astros or the Retros? Houston's cozy new ballpark,
Enron Field, boasts a 315-foot short porch in leftfield and a
grassy outfield slope that is in play, reminiscent of Fenway
Park circa 1912. Moreover, the Astros' lineup sports an Alou
(Moises, nephew of former Houston star Jesus Alou) and a Cedeno
(centerfielder Roger--no relation, alas, to old Astros'
headliner Cesar Cedeno). How long can it be before Houston looks
to get Blue Jays centerfielder Jose Cruz Jr., son of one of its
best outfielders ever, back to his hometown?
NHL Conference Semifinals
ESPN 7:30 PM; ESPN2 7:30 AND 10:30 PM
The Western Conference's top four seeds are the last three teams
to win a Stanley Cup--in chronological order, the Avalanche, the
Red Wings (twice) and the Stars--and the Blues, who finished
1999-2000 with the best regular-season record. If each advances
to the conference semis, Colorado and Dallas will meet in a
rematch of last year's conference finals and Detroit will face
off with St. Louis. Any Game 7 of the conference quarterfinals
was scheduled for Tuesday (ESPN, 7 p.m. and, if there's more
than one, ESPN2, 7:30 p.m.).
NBC 12:30 PM, 3 PM, 5:30 PM; TNT 8:30 PM
www.jumptheshark.com is devoted to hilariously "chronicling the
moments when TV shows go downhill." (The site name alludes to
Fonzie's waterskiing over a pool of sharks on Happy Days.) We
keep waiting for the Jazz to jump the shark, but the venerable
trio of Jeff Hornacek, Karl Malone and John Stockton (above) has
shown it's not quite ready to slide from All in the Family
brilliance to Archie Bunker's Place mediocrity. At week's end
Utah was waiting to see whether it would play Sacramento (whom
the Jazz beat in the postseason last year) or Seattle in one of
the eight first-round series televised this week on NBC, TBS and
ALL TIMES EASTERN. SCHEDULES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE.
The most striking thing about the ads for Baseball Tonight
(ESPN, 10 p.m.), in which Karl Ravech, Harold Reynolds and Peter
Gammons reprise scenes from classic baseball films, is how much
more authentic the backgrounds are than the ones used in the
films being spoofed. Homages to Bull Durham, A League of Their
Own and The Natural are already in the can, and next up is a
remake from The Bad News Bears--the scene in which Coach
Buttermaker (Gammons) goes up to a tree house to talk Ahmad
(Reynolds) out of quitting the team.... Puck up: ABC got a 2.2
rating for Saturday's Stanley Cup conference quarterfinals. That
beat the 2.0 that Fox earned for the comparable Saturday in '99.