SI Vault
The Week in TV Sports
John Walters
April 27, 1998
Saturday 4/25
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April 27, 1998

The Week In Tv Sports

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Saturday 4/25

Canadiens at Penguins
Who can check the Czech? That's the conundrum for Montreal in tonight's Eastern Conference quarterfinal playoff Game 2. In 1990 Pittsburgh right wing Jaromir Jagr became the first Czechoslovakian to attend an NHL draft without having to defect from his homeland. It was only fitting: Jagr has no defects in his game. With 35 goals and 67 assists this season, Jagr won his second league scoring title. To halt him, Montreal is expected to start 38-year-old goaltender Andy Moog.
? ESPN2, 7:30 PM

Roy Jones Jr. vs. Virgil Hill
Last summer light heavyweight champion Jones (35-1, with 30 knockouts) avenged his only loss, to Montell Griffin, with a first-round knockout. Tonight's nontitle bout from Biloxi, Miss., pits Jones (left, pummeling Mike McCallum), often cited along with Oscar de la Hoya as the world's best pound-for-pound fighter, against former champion Hill (43-2, with 20 KOs). The best, and most popular, fighter in North Dakota, Hill was handed the keys to the city of Fargo after winning a silver medal at the 1984 Olympics and is managed by Bismarck mayor Bill Sorenson. A quick boxer with a soft right hand-he has scored only one knockout in the last six years—Hill has appeared in 25 title fights and has won 23.
? HBO, 10:15 PM

Sunday 4/26

NBA Playoffs
You've heard of the game show Win Ben Stein's Money? Welcome to Win David Stern's Money (before Rod Thorn takes it away). Teams that win the best-of-five first-round series earn $101,500 and a possible all-expenses paid trip to Chicago later this spring. The opener of today's triple-header of Game 2s finds the Knicks in Miami, seeking revenge for last year's playoff meltdown. Next up are the Lakers, who won 16 of their last 18 regular-season games and who host the Trail Blazers. Point guard Damon Stoudamire, 5'10", must play like a man 6-feet tall if Portland is to avoid its sixth straight first-round exit. In the finale the Nets—whose last win against Michael Jordan in Chicago came on March 3, 1985—send Keith, Kendall and Kerry (Van Horn, Gill and Kittles, respectively) against the champion Bulls.
? NBC, 12:30 PM

The Unreal Story of Professional Wrestling
Tune in, or as Classy Freddie Blassie might say, "I'll rock you with my cane, you pencil-necked geek!" Mixing history ( Plato, whose name means "broad-shouldered," was a wrestler) with spectacle, this adroitly written, no-holds-barred, two-hour special features more rasslers than a WWF battle royal: The Strangler, Gorgeous George (left, in 1949), Nature Boy Buddy Rogers, Killer Kowalski, The Crusher, The Fabulous Moolah, Gorilla Monsoon, The Iron Sheik, Sergeant Slaughter, Hulk Hogan and, last but not beast, Andre the Giant. (But where's Bruno Sammartino?) Narrated by Steve Allen, himself a ringside commentator in TV's early days, this report, unlike the men, women and midgets it chronicles, pulls no punches. "Don't get me wrong, I like violence," declares a breathless female fan, "but I'm here for the men."
?A& E, 8 PM

Thursday 4/30
Orioles at White Sox Cardinals at Cubs
Sports anchors are polishing their home run calls in anticipation of today's action in the Windy City—especially if the breezes are blowing east, i.e., out. Seven of the top 19 active career homer hitters could be taking their cuts at Comiskey Park and Wrigley Field. Baltimore has a trio in Joe Carter (379 through Sunday), Cal Ripken (372) and Harold Baines (340). The Sox will counter with Albert Belle (274) and Frank Thomas (260). St. Louis's Gary Gaetti had taken the slow trot 333 times and his teammate Mark McGwire (left) had 395 round-trippers. McGwire maniacs, take note. The last four-homer game in the National League came off the bat of a Cardinal named Mark (Whiten, in 1993).
?WGN, 2 PM; 8 PM