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On a weekend of dramatic sports TV moments, none was as weirdly intriguing as this:
Late Saturday night, CBS threw to Dick Enberg, John McEnroe and Mary Carillo in the wake of Serena Williams' meltdown in the Open women's semifinals. They didn't waste time addressing the elephant in the room.
Williams had invoked McEnroe as an idol of hers in a news conference, which had to make McEnroe cringe as he tried to remain inconspicuous.
Then Enberg brought up McEnroe's long-ago default at the Australian Open. McEnroe, sounding uncharacteristically unsure of himself and a tad defensive: "Dick and Mary, what do you want to know?''
Finally, he came up with, "I guess she idolized me for the wrong reasons, apparently,'' adding, "I feel like I'm on the hot seat now . . . I can't defend the indefensible.''
Eventually, Carillo picked up for her childhood pal from Douglaston and enhanced her place as one of the sharpest personalities in sports TV.
She interrupted McEnroe, saying Williams "could have won the Oscar'' for her detached, disingenuous postmatch performance.
Sunday, Carillo again led the verbal charge past a subdued McEnroe. "If you care about the integrity of your sport, you throw somebody out of the game for a while,'' she said.
That was on CBS. Later, she said during the women's final on ESPN2 that Williams' $10,000 fine was a "joke'' and an "embarrassment.'' Williams apologized on her third try Monday before the doubles final on ESPN2.
But after winning, she reverted to detached ditziness, and when John's brother Patrick properly tried to ask about her on-again, off-again apologies, the crowd booed and sister Venus cut him off, saying it was time to move on.
As Carillo might have pointed out if she were working the match, that was a joke, too.
(P.S. During last night's men's final, Enberg downplayed Roger Federer cursing at the chair umpire, saying it was not "venomous." Carillo quickly snapped back at him, saying the curse sounded venomous to her.)
An 'Oh, my' weekendOther weekend highlights:
Enberg unleashed a vintage "Oh, my!'' after Federer's miraculous shot on the next-to-last point in his semifinal, then added, "And for my next act, I'm going to hit a winner while I'm in a box and they saw me in half.''
CBS' Gus Johnson was in his NCAA Tournament form on a tipped pass-and-run that gave the Broncos a victory over the Bengals, sounding as if he might pass out from excitement during a classic screaming fit.
Bernstein's utility role
She is a comfortable fit doing updates and kibitzing with Kay and Don La Greca. But is that all there is for someone with her kind of network TV resume?
"It's an ever-evolving position,'' she said. "They look at me as a co-host who has multiple duties.''
One benefit compared with sideline reporting is she will be more able to showcase her personality. "People would always say, 'I had no idea you have any personality!' " she said. "For those 15 seconds, I'm trying as clearly and concisely as I can to spit out information. But radio is a completely different animal."
Hank bags mag gig
Hank Steinbrenner not only has faded from the pages of newspapers, he also has disappeared from The Sporting News, where last fall his columns attracted much attention.
Jim Baumbach reported in our Final Score blog that editor Jeff D'Alessio assumed Hank ended his writing career after the Yankees put his brother Hal in charge after last season.
"I tried calling him a few times to see if that was the deal and didn't hear back," said D'Alessio, who added: "His dad has actually written as many columns in our magazine as Hank since we changed formats.''