We can forgive Bartman … can you?

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By MARTHA IRVINE
AP National Writer

CHICAGO — Steve Bartman, I have a confession to make. I was one of those fools who dressed as you for Halloween.

It was 2003. You’d just become infamous for deflecting that foul ball outfielder Moises Alou tried to catch in the National League championship series, the one that went so wrong for the Chicago Cubs.

My costume was a cross between you and the infamous Billy goat that supposedly started this whole Cubs curse thing back in 1945. I titled it “The Scapegoat.”

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Tony Danza coulda been a contenda

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Instead, he’s hosting it.

The former club boxer who became everyone’s favorite housekeeper and Dodger Stadium “Hollywood Stars Night” injury victim has been picked by the Versus network to host its new season of “The Contender,” starting in December.

This, again, is the Mark Burnett/Sugar Ray Leonard/Sly Stallone reality show that once upon a time (2005) began on NBC, then fell into ESPN’s lap for a couple of years, then almost disappeared, then was taken by Versus.
In addition to the change in network venue, it’ll also change in location.

Burnett, working with DreamWorks Television, wants Season Four’s 12 episodes to be taped in Singapore, in a deal with that country’s board of tourism.

This season will have 16 cruiserweights from around the world, using Tommy Brooks and John Bray serving as trainers.

==More on The Contender:
==From RealityTVWorld.com (linked here)

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Your night of sports, as in ‘Sports Night,’ 10 years later

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Maybe it was because the show had a laugh track. (Only for the first season).

Maybe it was the wrong perception that Josh Charles and Peter Krause tried too hard to be like Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann.

And Felicity Huffman just tried too hard.

Maybe I just didn’t give it enough of a chance. I was just in a different place then.

“Sports Night,” the Aaron Sorkin sorta-sit-com that appeared on ABC on Sept. 22, 1998, lasted for two seasons — 45 episodes — before heading into TV oblivion. ESPN “SportsCenter,” meanwhile, forged ahead with its target demo.

Sorkin had “The West Wing” up and running by then, so he was probably OK with it. But not really.

A DVD box six-disc set of the show came out in 2002 for those who missed it. But now, for those who still embrace it, the L.A.-based Shout! Factory has a 10th anniversary boxed edition (linked here) — eight discs and a 32-page book, plus commentary from Sorkin and Thomas Schlamme.. Best is a segment called “Face Off: ESPN’s SportsCenter vs. CSC’s Sports Night” where current and former “SportsCenter” anchors give their two cents.
It’s all for just $69.99.

The set is released today, so we thought we’d do a quick email Q-and-A with Josh Malina (his IMDB home link), who played associate producer Jeremy Goodwin and may have stole the series with his first appearance on the pilot episode here:

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College football TV Week 6: Who’s No. 1 again?

Oooooooooooooh, right. It’s Ooooooooooooo-klahoma, where Hugh Jackman knows enough to sing its praises.
Oh, what a beautiful morning it will be for some to see the Sooners play at 9:30 a.m. Saturday.
Everything’s going their way, after all the upsets last week.
Enjoy the stay. Not like Baylor (even in Wacko Waco) will make it a short one. The Oklahoma schedule (linked here) includes the big one against Texas in Dallas the next week.
Until then:

THE LOCALS:

Saturday:
=5 p.m., Channel 7: Oregon at USC (with Mark Jones, Bob Davie and Todd Harris)
=7:15 p.m., FSN Prime Ticket: Washington State at UCLA (with Bill Macdonald, James Washington, Jackie Pinkering and Dain Blanton) (repeated at 11:15 p.m.)

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L.A. vs. Chi-Town: Our tale of the tape

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It’s Carl Sandberg versus “Beverly Hills, 90210″ for intellectual entertainment.
White Castle against Tommy’s and In-n-Out as the fast-food burger delicacy.
The Sears Tower next to Randy’s Donuts as an architectural marvel.
Al Capone face-to-face with Snoop Dogg in the gansta superstar world.
Before Greg Maddox gets confused as which to dugout he’s supposed to go for Game 1 on Wednesday, here’s our tale of the tape, L.A. vs. Chicago and Dodgers vs. Cubs:

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Mandarich: It’s Showtime! Spill your large guts

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He’s gonna blow the lid off his own steroid use, and from there, we’ll see how far it goes.
To promote his new book, “My Dirty Little Secrets – Steroids, Alcohol & God – The Tony Mandarich Story,” which doesn’t even come out until March, 2009, former NFL player Tony Mandarich has a sit-down with Armen Keteyian for Showtime’s “Inside the NFL” (Wednesday, 9 p.m.), where he admits he used anabolic steroids while at Michigan State — which included cheating on a drug test for the Rose Bowl — and an addiction to pain killers while with the Green Bay Packers.

From the press release issued today:

On no one knowing he entered the NFL addicted to pain killers and alcohol, assuming his poor performance was a result of a stoppage in steroid use:

Mandarich: There’s other factors that were involved that nobody knows about that were way more of an effect on why I had the huge downfall in Green Bay than steroids (such as) drug and alcohol abuse…I was injecting a drug called staydal…and it was euphoric. I went from doing one injection on that one day, and a week later I was doing between 5-7 shots-a-day for the next three years.

Keteyian: You went into Green Bay essentially a drug addict?

Mandarich: Mmm hmm, not the same, not the same person they drafted…I got to the point where it was a struggle to workout three or four times-a-week because the priority of getting high was above the priority of working out.

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NFL’s L.A. TV schedule Week 5: A big best bye day

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The NFL schedule-maker gave Oakland a best bye this week. Al Davis may finally use the time to assess life as he sees it, and give Lane Kiffin a head start on that Syracuse job for next season.
Or at Best Buy.

UPDATE at 11:30 p.m. today: Yes, Davis did finally pull the plug. Stay tuned for more drama.

The Rams also have a bye week, and they’ve used it wisely. Handing out a key pink slip.
The Jets have a bye week, giving Brett Favre time to figure out which uniform to try on next.
And Cleveland also has a bye. For no apparent reason.
These teams, though, are playing. And you’re watching, unless there’s an MLB playoff game in the way:

SUNDAY:

==10 a.m., Channel 2: San Diego at Miami (with Gus Johnson and Steve Tasker), while CBS skips out on Tennessee-Baltimore, Kansas City-Carolina and Indianapolis-Houston.

==10 a.m., Channel 11: Seattle at the N.Y. Giants (with Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston and Tony Siragusa). Our guess was that Fox would have gone with Washington-Philadelphia (with Joe Buck and Troy Aikman), but … Fox also could have picked from Chicago-Detroit or Atlanta-Green Bay.

==1 p.m., Channel 2: Cincinnati at Dallas (with Jim Nantz and Phil Simms). CBS avoids Buffalo-Arizona and New England-San Francisco (with Dick Enberg-Randy Cross), while Fox has only Tampa Bay-Denver to offer in this window.

==5:15 p.m, Channel 4: Pittsburgh at Jacksonville (with Al Michaels, John Madden and Andrea Kremer)

MONDAY:

==5:30 p.m., ESPN: Minnesota at New Orleans (with Ron Jaworski … plus Mike Tirico and Tony Kornheiser).

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Bobby Grich would like to buy a vowel

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It happened during the Angels Rally tonight at Anaheim Stadium, the fan-friendly festival where the team can sell a bunch of “West Division Champion!” gear all in the name of stirring up the locals before the playoffs start.

As the festivities took place on FSN West, a bunch of former Angels took the stage, and the great second baseman, Bobby Grich, grabbed the mike to inspire the fans with an “Angels spellout.”

Which went:

“Gimme an A”
“Gimme an N”
“Gimme an G”
“Gimme an L”
“Gimme an S”
“What’s that spell?”

The crowd cried out: “Angels!”
Instead of “Angls”

If you’re scoring at home, the E4.

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ESPN, FSN have some (old) ideas for the Big Wheel

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Reports in the current issues of MediaWeek and Broadcasting & Cable magazines indicate changes coming at ESPN and Fox Sports Net as far as how they’ll be programmed down the road.

It’s not so much reinventing the news wheel. It’s just that maybe it needs to refocus on what’s most important to its audiences.

ESPN, for example, wants more live events and fewer studio filler, says executive VP of content John Skipper . “We have found that what sports fans really care about, and why they come to ESPN properties is to watch live games,” he said, adding that the network will “continue to pursue deals for more major college games, and will look to get additional rights to major professional tennis and golf events when they become available.” That could mean trying to get the NHL back, as well as align themselves for some kind of future Olympics coverage. (MediaWeek story linked here).

Meanwhile, FSN could be scaling back on national programming and focus more on local coverage. The national shows, such as “Sport Science,” “Amazing Sports Stories,” “Baseball’s Golden Age” and … oh, right, “Best Damn Sports Show Period,” could be the first to go. Former coordinating producer John Entz just left to join the MLB Network. (B&C story linked here).

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The Best Damn MLB Network: Oh, it’s comin’

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The 24/7 MLB Network, scheduled to launch on Jan. 1, 2009 in about 50 million homes — will yours be one of ‘em? — with live games, original programming, highlights, classic games and a bunch of other … stuff it hasn’t figured out yet … has at least brought on some people who know what they’re doing.
In addition to former CBS exec Tony Petitti running the show, the MLB Net announced today that former Fox Sports Net executive producer John Entz and former NFL Network director of program planning Andy Butters have come aboard to make your stay more pleasurable.
Entz will be “responsible for overseeing the look and presentation” of the studio and game coverage. He most recently did the MLB All-Star Game red carpet show (oooooh) and the BCS pregame specials (aaaaaah) at Fox, and — this is the clincher — was the head guy at “Best Damn Sports Show Period” (eeeeeeechhh).

Best Damn MLB Network. We smell a new slogan.

Butters will be responsible for “developing the network’s on air program schedule.” Sorry, there’s nothing really special in putting that description in quotes. Just wanted to be consistent. Butters was at NFL Net since 2006, and also worked for 16 years at ESPN.

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