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NBC's Ohlmeyer apologizes for comment

NBC's Don Ohlmeyer apologized to acting commissioner Bud Selig for saying he hoped the World Series would be a four-game sweep in order to help his network's prime-time entertainment schedule.

In what seemed like staged pronouncements, NBC Sports president Dick Ebersol told reporters about the apology on Sunday night before Game 2. Selig then came on the field to say the matter was settled."Bud and Don had a talk between the top and bottom of the sixth inning (of Game 1), and Don said it was a pretty dumb thing to say," Ebersol said.

Ohlmeyer, president of NBC West Coast, said baseball interrupted the network's Thursday night schedule.

"We're looking for four and out," he said Friday. "Either way, that's what we want. The faster it's over with, the better it is."

Cleveland and Miami-Fort Lauderdale are not exactly the largest TV markets. NBC was hoping for bigger cities.

"If you have a series that has two top-10 cities as fat as market size, you'll have higher ratings to start with," Ebersol said, adding that the Indians and Marlins could get better ratings if there are "compelling games."

Selig said he was "more surprised than anything by Ohlmeyer's remarks."

"More than angry, I was disappointed," he said. "They've all apologized, and now we have to move on."

Ebersol said baseball could do one thing to improve ratings: "Move the game along quicker."

"You all talk about the ratings of 25 years ago. What happened to the strike zone of 25 years ago?" he said.

WHEN DO WE START?: The start of Sunday night's game was pushed back 12 minutes to 7:47 p.m. because NBC's late-afternoon NFL telecasts were running late.

NBC had the right to hold the start of the World Series game, but was supposed to notify baseball officials at 6:35 p.m.

Bart Swain of the Indians was trying to find out if NBC was holding the start because Cleveland starter Chad Ogea needed to know when to begin warming up. Finally, at 6:40 p.m., NBC told baseball's broadcast staff it planned to delay the start by 10 minutes.

OMAR'S WOES: Cleveland's Omar Vizquel was the star of the division series against the New York Yankees. Since then, his offense has been nonexistent.

Why is "Little O" taking so many oh-fers?

"I think he's trying so hard because he wants to win so badly," Indians batting coach Charlie Manuel said Sunday.

Vizquel was 9-for-18 in the division series, striking out only once. In the AL championship series against Baltimore, he was 1-for-25 with 10 strikeouts. He was 0-for 4 with two strikeouts in Game 1 of the World Series.

"Omar has been too aggressive," Indians manager Mike Hargrove said. "I think he's swinging a lot harder than I've seen him swing in a long time."

Vizquel, a great bunter and contact hitter, batted .280 this season with a career-high 43 stolen bases. He struck out only 58 times in 565 at-bats.

Despite his postseason slump, Vizquel was penciled in the second spot in the Indians' lineup for Game 2 Sunday night. He came in 3-for-31 for his career against Marlins starter Kevin Brown.

MOUND OUT OF A MOLE HILL: Following complaints by opposing pitchers that it was too steep, the pitcher's mound at Pro Player Stadium was measured by baseball officials before Game 1 on Saturday.

"We were aware of it," Cleveland manager Mike Hargrove said. "And I think the only time (we complained was when) Eric Plunk tripped or fell on his first delivery to home. And that's the only evidence we saw of it. The pitchers didn't say much about it. But it looks like a high mound, it really does."

AL senior vice president Phyllis Merhige was asked about the findings of the measurements.

"I assume it was regulation," she said.

STICKING WITH DAD: Florida manager Jim Leyland said his 6-year-old son, Patrick, fell asleep in the car on the way home from the ballpark while chewing gum.

"When I woke up this morning he had it in his hair and on his neck, and he's in severe pain after I tried to pull it off him," Leyland said before Game 2. "His head might be stuck to a pillow, but he'll be here tonight."

JUSTICE REMEMBERS: Cleveland outfielder David Justice said Sunday the biggest moment of his career was his Game 6 homer for Atlanta that beat the Indians in the 1995 World Series.

"I knew I was walking into a stadium where everybody wanted me to fail because of what I said," said Justice, who had commented during that series about the lack of noise generated by fans in Atlanta.

Justice said playing the Braves in the World Series would be no better than playing the Marlins.

"If the Braves were here, they wouldn't even be saying anything about me," Justice said.

MIAMI SOUND: Miami's Gloria Estefan sang the national anthem before Game 2, sporting a Marlins jersey and receiving a hug and cap from Alex Fernandez.

Estefan, perhaps Miami's most famous native, got the crowd jazzed up with a simple, yet forceful performance of the anthem. As her final note rang through Pro Player Stadium to loud applause, Fernandez ran out of the dugout to greet her.

Fernandez, unable to pitch because of an injured shoulder, embraced Estefan and gave her a Marlins cap.