SI Vault
The Week in TV Sports
John Walters
August 31, 1998
Saturday 8/29
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August 31, 1998

The Week In Tv Sports

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Saturday 8/29

Little League World Series Final
Europe sent the ultimate sandlot team—Dhahran, Saudi Arabia—to Williamsport as its representative for a fifth consecutive year. Confused? Because Saudi Arabia is in Asia, "there's a lot of resentment" from European lads, says Jon Walters, the only Saudi-born member on the team, which is composed of the kids of U.S. citizens working in Saudi Arabia. The ersatz Saudis were one of four international clubs vying this week for a spot against an American representative in the six-inning final at Lamade Stadium. One team that will appear on TV today is the Bad News Bears, in the eponymous film (Showtime, 5 p.m.). We hear that the request from Chico's Bail Bonds for backstop signage was denied. As Bears shortstop Tanner Boyle would say, "That's cruddy."
?ABC, 3:30 PM

Angels at Red Sox
Boston reliever Tom (Flash) Gordon has little in common with comic-book hero Flash Gordon. Then again, the band Queen, in its album Flash Gordon, describes the sci-fi legend (in painful falsetto) as "Savior of the universe.... King of the impossible." The 5'9" Gordon, who is in his first full season as the Sox' closer, had converted 33 consecutive save opportunities through Sunday. They included a pair on July 31 and Aug. 2 at Edison Field, where Boston swept a three-game series with Anaheim. At week's end the Angels were leading the American League West by 2� games but were six behind the Red Sox in the league's wild-card race. Speaking of superheroes, infielders Nomar Garciaparra and Mo Vaughn (far left) are Beantown's dynamic duo. The 30-year-old Vaughn, hitting .332 with 33 home runs and 90 RBIs, is batman. The 25-year-old Garciaparra (.323, 26 and 101) is the boy wonder.
?FX, 5 PM

Panthers at Steelers
He's a Panther and he's back in Pittsburgh, but he's no longer a Pittsburgh Panther. Sixth-year NFL defensive end Sean Gilbert returns to play in the Steel City for the first time since his days at Pitt. Memo to any of Gilbert's old college pals: Sean's buying! In March, Gilbert signed a seven-year, $46.5 million contract with Carolina that makes him the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history. This on the strength of 11� sacks in his last three seasons with the Rams and the Redskins. (He took '97 off because of a contract dispute with Washington.) In this final preseason outing for both teams, Gilbert will try to catch Pittsburgh's elusive quarterback, Kordell Stewart (left).
? ESPN, 8:15 PM

Monday 8/31

U.S. Open
Jan-Michael Gambill (right), fast rising in the U.S. tennis galaxy, will either be the morning or evening star in the tournament that begins today and concludes Sept. 13 on CBS. Early last year Gambill, who was named after B-movie star Jan-Michael Vincent, was ranked No. 277 in the world, but he has since ascended to No. 60 and gained acclaim after his five-set, three-day defeat of Sjeng Schalken at Wimbledon. Which of Vincent's films, we wonder, is Gambill's favorite? White Line Fever? The Return"? Or maybe The World's Greatest Athlete, with Tim Conway?

Florida State vs. Texas A&M
Aggies linebacker Dat Nguyen (pronounced win) has been in worse no-Nguyen situations than tonight's Kickoff Classic. In 1975 Nguyen was in his mother's womb when his family fled to the U.S. just days before Saigon fell to the North Vietnamese. The 6'1", 213-pound Nguyen, who has led A&M in tackles the past three seasons, and his team (which SI ranks No. 21, page 120) will find a similarly indomitable foe in the No. 2 Seminoles (page 82).
?ABC, 8 PM