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Ohlmeyer opens mouth and out spills the unvarnished truth

Even if you're a big fan of the Marlins, there was reason to take joy in Cleveland's win over Florida in Sunday's Game 2 of the World Series - it stuck a pin in pompous windbag Don Ohlmeyer, the president of NBC West Coast.

Ohlmeyer, of course, stuck his foot in his rather large mouth when he openly rooted for the Series to be over as quickly as possible. "We're looking for four and out," he said. "Either way, that's what we want. The faster it's over with, the better it is."

The big issue for NBC's chief programmer? He didn't want the Boys of Late Autumn interfering with the network's powerhouse Thursday-night lineup. "Friends," "Seinfeld" and "ER" would pull in much better ratings for NBC than Game 5 of the World Series, which is indeed scheduled for Thursday.

(And when the Indians won Game 2 to even the series at a game apiece, they made certain that there will be a Game 5.)

Ohlmeyer actually went even further than that. When he was asked if would like to see NBC drop its post-season baseball coverage after this season, he replied, "I would love it if somebody wanted it right now. If the A&E channel called, I'd take the call."

He later apologized, but that's pretty much a joke. Ohlmeyer certainly didn't suddenly change his opinion, he just got caught saying what he really thought.

In a way, you have to give him a couple of points for the candor of his comments, particularly in a business where the top executives aren't prone to telling the public the truth. And his remarks prompted a colleague to speak some truth of his own - and those comments clearly demonstrated that NBC executives have been lying to us for years.

NBC Sports President Dick Ebersol, in announcing Ohlmeyer's "apology," expressed some unhappiness that neither of the two teams in the World Series is located in a top-10 TV market. (Cleveland is 13th; Miami is 16th.)

"If you have a series that has two top-10 cities as far as market size, you'll have higher ratings to start with," Ebersol said.

What makes this more than a bit ironic is that, over the years, the folks at NBC have consistently maintained that they are not biased against small-market teams - like the Jazz - when it comes to professional sports. That they don't care who makes the NBA Finals as long as the games are exciting.

We all knew that was so much baloney. Now we have proof.

TROUBLE FOR BASEBALL: Ohlmeyer's comments were obviously less than tactful, but that doesn't make them any less true.

Acting baseball commissioner Bud Selig said he was "stunned and dismayed" by Ohlmeyer's statements, but if he was he's naive. Baseball ratings have declined dramatically over the years - a sign of trouble Selig doesn't want to acknowledge.

Can you imagine any network programmer saying he'd rather run his regular lineup than the Super Bowl? Of course not. The Super Bowl gets great ratings.

If you want more evidence as to where baseball ranks in the TV scheme of things, Sunday's Game 2 of the World Series was delayed by 12 minutes because NBC's NFL coverage ran long.