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Pirates Fans OK with Fox's 10 collision replays from Boston's clash with Oakland

Thursday, October 09, 2003

By Chuck Finder, Post-Gazette Sports Writer

There apparently has been no public hue or cry over Fox's 10 replays of the Johnny Damon-Damian Jackson collision late in the Monday broadcast of their decisive Game 5 of the American League Divisional Series between Boston and Oakland.

Rather, the postgame rage in Boston focused upon Damon's health and closer Derek Lowe's crotch-grabbing gesture toward the losing Athletics' dugout, which Fox showed but failed to seize upon.

You could argue that maybe three to four of the Damon-Jackson replays were gratuitous in the moments after the seventh-inning, two-out collision between Damon, Boston's center fielder, and second baseman Jackson. "Check out this wreck," play-by-play announcer Thom Brennaman said upon the first replay, which, at the point of contact, color commentator Steve Lyons blurted, "Ohhh." Brennaman added, "Head on head."

The network in the immediate aftermath showed replays from one camera focusing on Damon, one on Jackson, one from third base, one from right field and one from home plate, all within a minute's time. A sixth replay (right field again) came as Fox broke for a commercial about 90 seconds after the incident occurred. Fox officials said they received no calls or complaints, but maybe the final few replays could have been excised. Think Steelers quarterback Tommy Maddox's injury in Tennessee last year. Less can be better.

After a commercial, going to the top of the eighth inning, Fox played two more replays, the ones focusing on Damon and Jackson, as an acceptable update while Damon was being loaded into an ambulance. This, after all, was a Monday night game competing for remote-control clicks against ABC's Indianapolis-Tampa Bay NFL game. And they already had seen Damon wave from the stretcher, a sign he was all right, just before Fox went to another commercial. Network types ran the tape once more before Jackson's eighth-inning at-bat and concluded the broadcast more than an hour after that with a montage of series snapshots that, of course, included the awful collision, both well within reason.

Actually, the most tasteless segment of the telecast came in the ninth inning, when Brennaman spoke of a potential "collision course" between the Red Sox and rival New York Yankees -- while the Fox cameras showed Jackson in the dugout.

The viewers saw considerably more of Jillian's bar in Boston than Damon-Jackson. At least the network showed nary a replay nor uttered nary a word about the incident in the final 63 minutes of the broadcast, until the tape ran in a series-concluding montage, where it indeed belonged.


Chuck Finder can be reached at cfinder@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1724.

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