Larry King used to work Caps games
New to me: Larry King used to be part of the broadcast team for Home Team Sports's coverage of the Caps and Orioles. Like, that's really new to me. I had no idea until Al Koken mentioned it in passing the other day when we were discussing the early days of that network. Sure enough. Here's from a 1984 Norman Chad piece in The Post:
He brings up interesting points during games and asks the right questions of his guests. King even maintained a shred of dignity interviewing the San Diego Chicken during intermission of the Capitals' home opener.
"As a color person," he said, "I like to talk to the people who play the game and coach it. I'll sit down with a Joe Altobelli before a game. I don't take notes. Then I'll mention things I was told casually throughout a game.
"Sports interviews are easy. The locker room is the easiest of all. The drama is in front of you. You just saw what happened. But too many interviews are noninterviews. The first question is never a question. 'Boy, that was some game,' the interviewer will say, or 'You really took it to them, John.' "
And apparently he was popular. Chad, who doesn't like anybody, suggested that King should do a full season of baseball; instead, he did about 35 O's games and 20 Caps games.
"What Larry brings to us is another dimension," said Jody Shapiro, HTS' programming director and executive producer. "He does the kind of thing he does best for us. He's down on the ice, he catches (Capitals Coach) Bryan Murray before a game. With his talent, his interviews aren't wishy-washy."
HTS wants King for more work. Shapiro, who will meet with King on Monday, wants to expand his role, perhaps to include a regular talk show. But King, whose contract with Mutual runs through next year, is unlikely to commit to any more sports work.
"I can't sign (an HTS) contract today," King said. "I can't commit to anything long-range. I could never do sports all the time. I'd start missing interviewing the Brzezinskis, the Kissingers, the authors and lawyers. Sports full-time would get to me after a while. It ain't the end of the world."
Amazing. Then there was this, from a 1985 Chad column in The Post:
The local sports cable network, home of 82 Orioles games, already does baseball better than NBC and ABC. HTS' camera angles -- especially the ones from ground level behind home plate and from left and right fields -- are shockingly inventive, bringing viewers memorable pictures.
In fact, with HTS' wonderful production work, postgame interviews and regular scoreboard updates, it might make Washingtonians think twice about fighting through two cities' rush hours to get to a stadium with terrible parking and overpriced concessions.
Up in the booth, HTS has a logjam of talented folks. Ex-Orioles are flocking to the air waves -- Jim Palmer (Orioles, 1966-84), John Lowenstein (1979-85), Pat Dobson (1971-72) and Ken Singleton (1975-84) all have worked for HTS this season. Throw in Rex Barney, Tom Davis and Larry King, and you can understand if play-by-play man Mel Proctor needs a scorecard just to figure out with whom he's working.
Brian Potter of Comcast SportsNet -- HTS's successor -- kindly dug around, and found these old shots of King with an HTS mic. In the first, he's on a panel with Singleton and Proctor. In the second, he's interviewing former Orioles GM Hank Peters.
Needless to say, if anyone has footage of King working Caps games, I'd be interested.
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