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SI View The Week in TV Sports

Saturday 7/18

Fire at United

So nice to see the word Fire not followed by Steve Sampson. So
refreshing to witness an American making good on the pitch.
Maryland native Zach Thornton, who took over in goal for Chicago
(13-6) while Jorge Campos played for Mexico in the World Cup,
led Major League Soccer in shutouts (six) and goals-against
average (1.00) as the Fire raged to 11 consecutive victories.
But that will not be good enough for Thornton to keep his job.
Chicago likely will start Campos in goal when it meets the
two-time defending champs--maybe that's what the D.C. stands
for--at RFK Stadium. At week's end the United (15-5) boasted the
league's assists leader, midfielder Marco Etcheverry (left). In
midfield D.C. also relies on John Harkes, who could tutor
Thornton in how to accept an unwarranted demotion with grace, as
Harkes did when Sampson dumped him from the U.S. World Cup team.
--ABC, 3 PM

Roy Jones Jr. vs. Lou Del Valle

WBC light heavyweight champion Jones (36-1, 31 KOs) used to date
Melissa Del Valle, younger sister of WBA light heavyweight champ
Lou Del Valle (27-1, 19 KOs). In fact, it was Melissa who
arranged for her big brother to become Jones's sparring partner
in 1995. They sparred 38 rounds before Del Valle, a Queens,
N.Y., native, began pursuing his own career, which has resulted
in tonight's unification bout at Madison Square Garden. "I
always rooted for Roy Jones in his fights," Melissa (now Melissa
Salamone) told the New York Daily News recently. "But not this
time." Del Valle is an excellent counterpuncher and, having been
in the ring for the equivalent of three fights against Jones,
should not be awed by the champ. If Lou falls, however, Melissa
may want to take a shot at her ex-beau: As a budding
professional boxer, she's 9-0.
--HBO, 10 PM

Sunday 7/19

British Open Final Round

The world's oldest golf tournament (1860) has borne witness to
some of the game's most thrilling finishing days. At Troon,
Arnold Palmer wins his second straight Open by six shots (1962).
At Turnberry, Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus shoot dueling
68-70-65s through three rounds before Watson, with a 65, wins by
a single stroke (1977). At St. George's, Greg Norman exorcises a
few demons by firing a final-round 64 to win his second major
(1993). Should today's final round not be decisive, the Open's
unique playoff system--best score after four holes--will provide
(as it did in '95, when John Daly outlasted Costantino Rocca)
added golf swings and mood swings, this time from Royal Birkdale.
--ABC, 9:30 AM

Tuesday 7/21

Outside the Lines

George Herman Ruth is linked inextricably with the home run--the
term hides in his monogram. Yet, as "Babe Ruth's Larger than
Life Legacy" shows, even though the Bambino's HR records have
been surpassed, his impact never will be. Besides labeling the
Sultan of Swat (left, in Japan in 1934) as America's pioneer of
superstardom, this colorful Outside the Lines entry delivers
intriguing facts about the Babe as it marks next month's 50th
anniversary of his death. Did you know: The term "out in
leftfield" originated to describe fans who did not have the good
sense to sit in rightfield, where Ruth trolled and where the
majority of his blasts landed?
--ESPN, 7:30 PM

Goodwill Games

Some free tips--our goodwill gesture, if you will--for the 1,500
athletes descending on New York City for this 15-day multisport
extravaganza: 1) If your cabbie says, "We'll just take a
shortcut through Staten Island," jump out; 2) do not approach a
well-dressed stranger in Little Italy and say, "You sound just
like Joe Pesci"; 3) hitting an in-line skater is only a
misdemeanor. The highlight of tonight's 10 track events is
expected to be the men's 400-meter run featuring Michael Johnson
(left), who recently has placed a stunning third in the 200 and
400, respectively.
--TBS, 8:05 PM


B/W PHOTO [Babe Ruth with Japanese baseball players]



With so many sycophants behind the mikes these days, it was
refreshing to hear NBC's Bob Costas get in a dig at Major League
Baseball during the All-Star Game. Discussing Bud Selig's
appointment as permanent commissioner, Costas reported that the
search committee would now shift its focus to "finding Amelia
Earhart and Jimmy Hoffa." In the network's first baseball
telecast of '98, Costas was in midseason form, earning extra
points in our book for not once calling sidekick Joe Morgan