Storm Weathers Tough Times

SATURDAY, NOV. 4, 1995

Hannah Storm has been with NBC Sports for more than three years. She has worked on the 1992 Olympics, Wimbledon, NBA telecasts and football.

But it wasn’t until the World Series, when she handled Albert Belle’s scary, profanity-laced outburst and a champagne drenching during the postgame ceremonies, that Storm was accepted as a media member who has paid her dues.

After the champagne dousing, many women, and men, would have asked for a hairbrush, but Storm, looking as if she had been caught in a downpour, continued.

When she interviewed a stubborn Ted Turner, he gave annoyingly brief answers. After three questions, Storm smoothly broke away from the owner of the world champion Atlanta Braves, saying, “A man of few words.”

The Belle incident - the latest example of a rude, crude professional athlete misbehaving - occurred because the Cleveland slugger objected to Storm, and other reporters, being in the dugout 2-1/2 hours before Game 5. Under baseball rules, reporters are permitted in the dugouts until shortly before games begin.

Storm was waiting to do a prearranged interview with Indians center fielder Kenny Lofton. Following Belle’s tirade, Storm refused to abandon her place in the dugout.

“I tried to take the high road and concentrate on my work,” she said Friday from her Greenwich, Conn., home. “I definitely felt anger, but outwardly I didn’t want it to reflect on my work.

“My colleagues in the print media really stayed on Major League Baseball and the Indians to urge them to take some sort of action, because this was not an isolated incident.

“Unfortunately, baseball and the Cleveland Indians have yet to respond to the situation. But I have faith that baseball will respond in some way.”

Before Game 6, Belle apologized to Storm face-to-face.

Storm, a 1983 graduate of Notre Dame, isn’t someone who decided on a TV sports career in college. Her father, Mike Storen, is a former president of the Atlanta Hawks. He also was commissioner of the American Basketball Association.

Tyson backlash

The backlash of the canceled Mike Tyson-Buster Mathis Jr. bout isn’t good news for fans of free fights.

Fox, which was scheduled to carry the fight tonight, is unlikely to air any Tyson fight, or any other major fight, soon. During this sweeps period, Fox was counting on huge ratings from the Tyson bout. Instead, Fox will offer a rerun of “The X Files.”

Fox spent a bundle taping interviews and promotions.

“We were totally burned,” said Fox Sports president David Hill.

The monthly Saturday night fight card Fox planned to start in January also is in jeopardy.

‘Thump and Gump’

The beneficiary of the Tyson cancellation is tonight’s Riddick Bowe-Evander Holyfield heavyweight bout on pay-per-view.

The TVKO production will begin at 6 PST. The main event is scheduled about 8:30.

TVKO people, veterans of boxing’s craziness, were mildly amused at Fox being caught by surprise by Tyson’s broken thumb.

“They’re brand new to this particular kind of enterprise,” said Jim Lampley, the punch-by-punch announcer for Bowe-Holyfield III. “The more they stay in boxing, the more they’ll see. As Yogi Berra said about baseball, but it applies to boxing, ‘It’s never over until it’s over.”’

Added HBO Sports president Seth Abraham, “Or, it never begins until it begins.”

With “Forrest Gump” airing on HBO tonight, Abraham is proclaiming the night’s theme as “Thump and Gump.”

Brown behind Collins

For the past several years, Hubie Brown and Doug Collins were the two best NBA analysts on TV. Brown returned to TNT this season, starting with Friday night’s Charlotte-Chicago game. But Collins has stashed his TNT blazer in a closet and is back prowling the sideline as the Detroit Pistons’ coach.

Collins, who played for the Sixers, formerly coached the Chicago Bulls.

Brown admires the situation Collins has in Detroit.

“The money and the amount of years were the deciding factors,” Brown said. “Plus, he has control. If you get control, the right money and years, at the end of that period of time, if you didn’t get it done, it’s your fault.”

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