If we can’t get a TV “Sports Detective” to help us find the Gibson HR ball, then who else?

Carlos Moran, right,  who was at the Kirk Gibson 1988 World Series home-run  game in the right-field pavilion with his niece, Jasmine, who shows off what's reported to be the ball. Ed Moran, Jasmine’s sister and the nephew of Carlos, produced this photograph of evidence. So where is the ball now? Who knows.

Carlos Moran, right, who was at the Kirk Gibson 1988 World Series home-run game in the right-field pavilion with his niece, Jasmine, who shows off what’s reported to be the ball. Ed Moran, Jasmine’s sister and the nephew of Carlos, produced this photograph of evidence. So where is the ball now? Who knows. Brian Biegel will interview them for his documentary series.

The white ball with Peter Ueberroth’s signature next to a 1988 World Series logo stamped in red ink actually left a nick near the top of the barrel of Kirk Gibson’s bat.
It landed somewhere in the right field pavilion at Dodger Stadium, over Jose Canseco’s head. NBC’s TV cameras followed it.
At least one person claims have a photo proof of once having it.
But more than a quarter of a century later, we still aren’t sure what happened to the damn thing. How do we even sleep at night not knowing where this most important relic of L.A. sports history lies?
Gibson rounds third base after hitting his dramatic home runBrian Biegel, a New York-based documentarian who once wrote about how he most likely determined what happened to the 1951 Bobby Thompson “Shot Heard ‘Round The World,” says he’s on the case here.
The Smithsonian Channel, a spinoff of the premium cable Showtime that goes with the mantra that this is where “curiosity lives, inspiration strikes and wonders never cease,” has taken up a documentary series that Biegel created and is the executive producer called “Sports Detectives.” It is in production and should debut later this fall.
Based on Biegel’s amazing 2009 book “Miracle Ball” and a 2010 documentary he followed up with that aired on the Discovery network – as well as optioning the movie rights to a major studio — the blueprint for this series is clearly in place. A team of investigators and historians will identify something in the sports world that has gone missing. Then, if not actually finding the artifact, it will at least lead viewers on the journey to determine its fate. In the process, new information often surfaces from leads that might not have been considered before.
Fact is, that’s what we’re kind of hoping happens here with this story.
So where’s the ball used in Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game? One reported to be it was sold at auction 2012, but it’s not been completely authenticated. Muhammad Ali’s 1960 Olympic gold medal hadn’t been seen in years. The story was he threw it off a bridge and into the Ohio River. Volunteers reportedly found it last July.
But the fate of Gibson ball that ended Game 1 of the ’88 Series and launched the Dodgers’ last World Series title is still to be determined.
“This has been at the top of our list,” said Biegel. “We’re going to shake the bushes.”
Read more at this link …

== Also: When ESPN.com’s Jim Caple tried to write a fictional account of a pursuit of the Gibson ball ….

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Weekly media notes version 05.22.15 — The search continues (with the media’s prodding) for the Gibson HR ball

What’s coming Sunday:

Who, by the way, owns the historic 1988 World Series ball that Kirk Gibson hit for a game-winning home run?
We don’t mean it in exactly the same way that Craig Calcaterra does in his piece for HardballTalk.com, which was inspired by Pedro Alvarez’s homer that left Pittsburgh’s PNC Park,  landed in a boat docked in the Allegheny River and then swiped by a passerby.
In this case it’s really: Where is the Gibby ball, who has kept it hidden, and what will it take to produce it?
41Lkb2z7RBLBrian Biegel is on the move to find out.
The author of the outstanding 2009 personal saga “Miracle Ball: My Hunt for the Shot Heard ‘Round the World” and a filmmaker who has an ESPN “30 for 30″ in the works about counterfeiters in the sports memorabilia field is the creator of a new documentary series that will be on The Smithsonian Channel coming up later this year.
“Sports Detectives” will be following any new leads for the Gibson home run whereabouts, so be ready to come forward if you’re got something.
“I think with the team of experts we have assembled for this show, we will have the best chance anyone has had since it has been missing,” Biegel says. “We have a recipe that will help us determine the truth to where the ball has been.
“Maybe during this go-around, someone took video that we haven’t seen before. Someone might be sitting on a prize that’s quite valuable, and this can also be a way to get provenance that’s on the record. It’s very difficult to get an auction house to verify something. Here, you’ll have experts leading the charge to make a determination and I think the chances of it coming forward and someone able to cash in on it will be much better due to the show.”

What’s worth dropping in on now:

== Rick Neuheisel rolled out of bed at his Manhattan Beach home last Tuesday morning about sunrise and, with acoustic guitar in hand, found his way to the DirecTV Broadcast Center in Marina del Rey.
By about 7:30 in the morning, was ready to sing.
But before attempting to do so, the former UCLA coach and current CBS Sports Net college football analyst prefaced his thoughts.
“Every red-blooded American male wants to be you guys – you realize that?” Neuheisel looked over his reading glasses and told Todd Fritz, Andrew Perloff, Patrick O’Connor and Paul Pabst.
These, if you didn’t know, are the “Danettes,” so obviously dubbed by Dan Patrick because they are the production backbone and designated show contributors to his weekday morning syndicated radio show, now in its seventh year on KLAC-AM (570).
With recent changes going on at the now Dodgers co-owned and operated radio station, there was some rumbling that Patrick’s show might be swaped out for something else, something local, and Dan and the Danettes would lose their L.A. home signal.
Not to be. At least for now. If smarter people are making decisions.
And perhaps because of that – and Patrick’s commitment to do another slew of tapings at the Sony Studios in Culver City for the “Sports Jeopardy!” franchise – the crew came out to L.A. as a group for the first time (minus Pabst, who had family matters to tend to but still appeared via a large TV monitor from the home office in Milford, Conn.)
And Neuheisel was among several important L.A.-based sports names – Jerry West, Reggie Miller, Al Michaels included – who made in-studio appearances at the DirecTV facility, since the El Segundo-based satellite dish company produces a TV version of said radio show — to recognize the five-day tour stop that at times resembled a star-studded Super Bowl remote.
“I mean, seriously, you guys hang out, talking ball, it’s too good to be true,” Neuheisel told them. “And you make a living doing it. This is America’s dream right here.”
Neuheisel then broke into his own version of Elton John’s “Benny and the Jets” with lyrics that included:
“Hey kids, pay close attention,
“The Dannettes are more than just delinquents in detention.
“They produce a show that is solid gold.
“Fritzy, McLovin, Seton and Pauley, they know …
“That this gig is too sweet to be screwed up
“They’ve got to keep Dan fresh
“Du-Du-Du-Du Dan and the Danettes ….”
That’s our highlight from their week in So Cal that ended all too soon this morning.
That, and of course, Fox’s Charissa Thompson doing the splits in such a dignified manner. Followed by Jim Brewer’s rant about it..

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At last, they’ve kicked the L.A. Sports Arena to the curb: Our greatest memories of the place

The L.A. Sports Arena facade as it stands on Monday. Missing "S" and all. (Photo by Tom Hoffarth)

The L.A. Sports Arena facade as it stands Monday. Missing “S” and all. (Photo by Tom Hoffarth)

Over the years, the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena has been a pretty good sport about things.

Even now, it doesn’t seem to be complaining too much that the first “S” in its rooftop marquee visible from Figueroa Street has gone missing.

sleeplSizeRenderOr that its surrounding trees barely provides enough shade or its iron-bar perimeter fencing doesn’t keep out the local homeless community  that congregate on the barren grass for a nap near the flag poles.

On an overcast Monday afternoon when the Major Soccer League expansion L.A. Football Club held a grandiose announcement in Exposition Park to reveal its plans to bulldoze the 56-year-old place and create a new outdoor stadium, hardly anyone on the dais bothered to mention that the Sports Arena had been a good and faithful servant to the city, but that its stay of execution is about to end. No more reprieves.

1972ChampsIn its hey-day, the state-of-the-art, 16,000-seat mushroom cloud with the turquoise facade was the first home address for the Lakers, Clippers, Kings, UCLA and USC basketball. A couple of NCAA Final Fours happened there too – 1968 and ’72, both conveniently won by, of course, John Wooden’s Bruins.

In its not-so-hey-day, the retrofitted rustbucket was like the house on the block that kept having garage sales. It welcomed minor-league hockey, indoor soccer, arena football, ABA basketball, lingerie football, Wrestlemania, lucha libre events and the “American Gladiators” TV show.

Lately, it has been available to accommodate events such as evangelical gatherings or beer festivals when other places were booked. It could serve as convenient self-storage unit or accessible party rest room when major events were going on next door at the Coliseum.

Now a soccer team officially kicks it to the curb during what construction people say will be a two-year demo process. Continue reading

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Play It Forward May 18-24: Psssssssssst, Lakers: You can deflate ping-pong balls to your advantage, right?

nba-draft-lottery3THIS WEEK’S BEST BET:

Details/TV: Tuesday at 5:30 p.m., ESPN:
Such an event, banking on ping-pong balls to supposedly determine the future of a franchise, rather than a simple coin flip. The lesson here is there really is no winning for losing. The Lakers’ 21-61 record, the most pathetic in franchise existence, only gets them so far in the 2015 NBA Draft. Sorry, but that’s only the fourth worst in the league this past season. Back-to-back lottery appearances doesn’t do much for the ego as well. With a 27-55 record after 2014, the Lakers had the sixth-worst record and a 6.3 percent for the No. 1 overall pick. They ended up with the seventh choice, settled on Kentucky’s Julius Randle and then … 21-61 happened. Even if the Lakers’ odds are a bit better for a No. 1 pick this time – 11.9 percent, weighted behind Minnesota, New York and Philadelphia – this 31st annual exercise to determine the summer draft order (this year it’s on June 25) may try to be transparent in how it operates, but it’s somewhat counter-intuitive when you see how the numbers stack up.
bgesFor all their ineptness, the Lakers seem just as likely to luck into picks No. 2 (12.6 percent) or No. 3 (13.3 percent) as No. 1 – or a 37.8 percent chance of getting a top three choice. Then there’s a dip involved for that No. 4 spot (9.85 percent) which you would think would be a natural higher percentage considering, well, they finished fourth. Actually, the odds favor landing at No. 5 (35 percent). There’s also a 17.3 percent chance they’ll land at either No. 6 or No. 7, which would meant they have to give the pick to the 76ers by virtue of a previous trade agreement.  All current coach Byron Scott can do is show up, represent the team (sorry, no one from the Buss family is this daring) and sit among the other 13 hopefuls trying not to look too desperate.

clarkson3BEST OF THE REST:

The Ducks’ 6-0 record on their home ice during the playoffs should play to their advantage as Game 2 of the NHL’s Western Conference finals take place at Honda Center against Chicago on Tuesday (6 p.m., NBCSN) … The NBA’s Western Conference finals start Tuesday with the Clippers Houston at Golden State (6 p.m., ESPN) and the Eastern finals start Wednesday with Cleveland at Atlanta (5:30 p.m., TNT) … There’s another Clayton Kershaw-vs.-Madison Bumgarner matchup to finish the Dodgers’ latest series in San Francisco on Thursday … Maria Sharapova and Novak Djokovic go into the French Open with victories in a major clay event (Sunday, ESPN2, Channel 4) … The greatest day in the world for auto racing is Sunday with the Grand Prix of Monaco (4:30 a.m., Channel 4), the Indianapolis 500 (9 a.m., Channel 7) and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Coca-Cola 600 in North Carolina (3 p.m., Channel 11) … More at this post.

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Weekly media notes version 05.15.15 — Five things you’ve been missing while waiting out the Dodgers-TWC-SportsNet LA issue, and only one involves invincible Vin

nmt2r4-vinnyIt’s coming up Sunday:

You’re going to wait it out. Still. Because you have no options.
Some do. Others, we hear your angst.

Alanna Rizzo, right, with Adrian Gonzalez. (USA Today/Kirby Lee)

Alanna Rizzo, right, with Adrian Gonzalez. (USA Today/Kirby Lee)

So what are you missing by not having SportsNet L.A.?

Three weeks into switching over from DirecTV to get the TWC service, we’ve got a secret: Whatever we’re paying as part of our new monthly bill – 5 cents or $5, plus surcharges – we are overwhelmingly impressed and feel the value exceeds the cost. Whatever Prime Ticket did with the Dodgers over the years before this change in rights fees, TWC’s production has dialed it up far more than anticipated.

Many involved might feel they’re working in a vacuum, even after that free week we all got last year at the end of the 2014 season when SportsNet L.A. found its way to KDOC-Channel 56. It should have more than whet the appetite.

If the incentive to switch was originally based on not missing another game with a Vin Scully call, then there are far more not-so-hidden bonuses to savor — the camerawork, Orel Hershiser’s analysis, Alanna Rizzo’s tenacity, the post-game reports and … oh, right, that 86-year-old guy in the booth who’s not living off his resume.

Read it and then you decide how much longer you’re going to weather this storm before finding the only real platform that has the Dodgers on a regular basis, and may stay that way the rest of this summer.

It’s worth noting now:

(Photo by: Charles Sykes/NBC)

(Photo by: Charles Sykes/NBC)

== For NBC’s coverage of the Saturday’s 140th Preakness, bet on Eddie Olyczyk.
No real surprise here that the one-time Kings player who has been anchored to the network’s Stanley Cup playoff coverage has already turned some heads as the “horse race handicapper” added to NBC’s Triple Crown racing events for the first time back at the Kentucky Derby.
Olyczyk had a trifecta box of American Pharoah, Firing Line and Dortmund in the recent Kentucky Derby. NBC’s press people point out that during the weekend in Louisville, Ky., Olczyk started with a $100 and generated $740.50 in earnings and net $447.50 when it was over. Two other winning bets included two exacts boxes on Friday and Saturday.
Olyczyk will be in Baltimore with Bob Costas, Tom Hammond, Randy Moss, Jerry Bailey, Bob Neumeier, Laffit Pincay, III, Kenny RiceDonna Brothers, Jay Privman, Larry Collmus, Josh Elliott and Carolyn Manno. And no Tara Lipinski.

== The Ducks’ Western Conference finals series against Chicago takes Kenny Albert (play-by-play), Joe Micheletti (analyst) and Brian Engblom (Inside-the-Glass analyst) starting with Sunday’s Game 1 at the Honda Center (Channel 4, noon) and continuing to Game 2 on Tuesday. That leaves Doc Emrick and Pierre McGuire on the Eastern Conference final between the N.Y. Rangers and Tampa Bay with Game 1 on Saturday (10 a.m., prior to the Preakness).
However, with the Ducks-Blackhawks moves to Chicago for Games 3 and 4 on Thursday (NBCSN) and Saturday (NBC), Chicago native Olyczyk joins Emrick and McGuire for that series. Sunday, the three then go to New York for Game 5 of the Rangers-Lightning series.

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