The MLB early Oktoberfest TV rundown

First, to finish off the AL Central:

Today, 11 a.m., ESPN2: Detroit Tigers at Chicago White Sox make-up game, with Dave O’Brien, Orel Hershiser and Steve Phillips
If the Sox win, then a one-game playoff to determine the AL Central…

Tuesday, 4:30 p.m., TBS: Minnesota Twins at Chicago White Sox, with Dick Stockton, Ron Darling and Harold Reynolds (with Marc Fein reporting) (Pregame starts at 4 p.m. with Ernie Johnson, Cal Ripken Jr., and Dennis Eckersley)

Finally, to the real post season (the MLB schedule linked here) and the reason why you’ll want to tune into the radio — KABC-AM (790) for the Dodgers and KLAA-AM (830) for the Angels; or to KSPN-AM (710) for the ESPN Radio national broadcast — because the Angels-Red Sox team is the underwhelming Chip Caray on play-by-play, while the (fill in the blank about someone who we just don’t see as relevant any longer) Dick Stockton is handing the Dodgers-Cubs games with his description:

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Wednesday, Oct. 1:

11:30 a.m. TBS: Pregame with Ernie Johnson, Cal Ripken Jr., and Curtis Granderson.
Noon, TBS: Milwaukee at Philadelphia Game 1, with Brian Anderson, Joe Simpson and John Smoltz (David Aldridge reporting).
3:30 p.m., TBS: Dodgers at Chicago Cubs Game 1 with Dick Stockton, Ron Darling and Tony Gwynn (Tom Verducci reporting).
7 p.m., TBS: Boston at Angels Game 1 with Chip Caray and Buck Martinez (Craig Sager reporting)

Thursday:

11 a.m., TBS: Pregame studio: Johnson, Ripken, Granderson, Eckersley.
11:30 a.m., TBS: Chicago White Sox/Minnesota Twins at Tampa Bay Game 1 with Don Orsillo and Harold Reynolds (Fein reporting)
3 p.m., TBS: Milwaukee Brewers at Philadelphia Phillies Game 2
6:30 p.m., TBS: Dodgers at Chicago Cubs Game 2 with Stockton, Darling and Gwynn (Verducci reporting)

Friday:

2:30 p.m., TBS: Pregame show
3 p.m., TBS: Chicago White Sox/Minnesota Twins at Tampa Bay Rays Game 2 with Orsillo and Reynolds (Fein reporting)
6:30 p.m., TBS: Boston Red Sox at Angels Game 2 with Caray and Martinez (Sager reporting)

Saturday:

3 p.m., TBS: Pregame show
3:30 p.m., TBS: Philadelphia Phillies at Milwaukee Brewers Game 3 with Anderson, Simpson and Smoltz (Aldridge reporting).
7 p.m., TBS: Chicago Cubs at Dodgers Game 3 with Stockton, Darling and Gwynn (Verducci reporting).

Sunday:

TBD: Angels at Boston Red Sox Game 3
TBD: Tampa Bay Rays at Chicago White Sox/Minnesota Twins Game 3
TBD: Philadelphia Phillies at Milwaukee Brewers Game 4*
TBD: Chicago Cubs at Dodgers Game 4*

*-if necessary

ON RADIO:
Dodgers-Cubs series: Vin Scully does the first three and last three innings on KABC-AM (790), with Charley Steiner and Rick Monday filling in the middle three.
ESPN Radio is using Jon Miller and Rick Sutcliffe

Angels-Red Sox series: Rory Markas and Terry Smith do all the games for KLAA-AM (830).
ESPN Radio is using Dan Shulman and Dave Campbell.

On the other series, ESPN Radio has Michael Kay and analyst Steve Phillips on the Milwaukee-Philadelphia series; Gary Thorne and analyst Chris Singleton do the AL Central winner-Tampa Bay series.

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‘Topes win, Dodgers cheer, and Levine can at least smile about it

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In today’s column (linked here), KABC-AM (790) “DodgerTalk” co-host and veteran Hollywood script writer Ken Levine admits he’s both amused and honored that the team last week agreed to have the Pacific Coast League’s Albuquerque Isotopes become its Triple-A affiliate.

But hardly more the richers. He’ll probably never see a residual check for having named the Isotopes way back when, as a joke, no less.

It was maybe a throw-away line in an episode of “The Simpsons” that he and writing partner David Isaacs came up with for a 1990 episode. But the ‘Topes opponent that night — the Shelbyville Shelbyvillians — was even more of a joke, Levine admits.

“It’s just a funny name, like a lot of teams are,” he said. “The Dodgers are just another example. It’s sort of a random word that really doesn’t mean anything. Does anyone under 30 even stop to think why the Dodgers are named the Dodgers? Or the Lakers are called the Lakers? What does that have to do with anything here?”

Springfield became the Isotopes because of the fact it had a nuclear power plant. An isotope is (linked here) an unstable atom, a Greek word adopted by a chemist in 1913 who won the Nobel Prize in 1921 for his work on radioactive substances. It also works as a term for New Mexico, which has plenty of scientific and military sites that work with nuclear technology and did testing long ago.

Now it’s full circle for Levine, a Valley native who grew up embracing the Albuquerque Dukes as the farm team of his beloved Dodgers. And he’ll get to talk about them nightly during the season the radio.

“I look forward next year on the Dodgers post-game show to talk about how the minor-league teams have been doing, and then say, ‘ ‘Topes win!’” said Levine.

One of the inside jokes in that “Dancing Homer” episode was how Levine, who did the voice for the ‘Topes’ play-by-play man named Dan Hoard (which is the same name of the broadcaster he worked with in the International League in Syracuse), proclaimed an Isotopes’ victory — ” ‘Topes win! ‘Topes win!” as if he were Russ Hodges screaming about the New York Giants beating the Brooklyn Dodgers for the 1951 pennant.

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The explanation on Wikipedia is fairly accurate about how the ‘Topes were named (linked here), except for the fact that Levine actually created the name for the local Springfield team in an episode called “Dancing Homer,” (linked here).

It was fifth episode of the series’ second season — the stone-aged years of “Simpsons” lore. Here’s a link to Levine’s blog entry of the script for that episode (linked here) which gives great detail into what they were trying to do, based on the fact they were dealing with animators, not actors, in moving the story alone.

Like this dialogue:
HOMER: You know, boy, some of the players you see tonight may make it to the big leagues, one day.
BART: What? Aren’t we going to see any washed-up major leaguers?
HOMER: Sure, we get a nice mix here.

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Reggie Dunlop: 1925-2008

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The passing of actor Paul Newman, the “coolest hand in Hollywood” according to the headline in the San Jose Mercury (linked here), is reference to the sports-genre movie credit that he may best known for, outside of “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”
That was for playing poker — which we’ll allow as a sport, since ESPN broadcasts it now as one. In the 1967 “Cool Hand Luke,” Newman became the coolest.
Twice, he played pool. In the 1961 “The Hustler,” and the 1986 sequel, “The Color of Money,” where he won the best actor Oscar.
In the 1956 adaptation of middle-weight boxing champion Rocky Graziano’s life, “Somebody Up There Likes Me,” Newman played the role after James Dean was killed in a car accident before the start of production.
He raced cars, for real and in movies, such as in the 1969 flick, “Winning,” as Frank Capua.
But, when our arm is twisted (not very hard), the spot we stop at on his IMDB.com site (linked here) is as our coach, Reg Dunlop, in “Slap Shot” (1977), of which New Yorker critic Pauline Kael wrote: “Even when he plays a bastard, he’s not a big bastard — only a callow, selfish one, like Hud….His likableness is infectious; nobody should ever be asked not to like Paul Newman.”

We direct you to this obit written by ESPN’s Terry Frei (linked here).

Just read the list of famous quotes from the movie, many attributed to Newman’s character (linked here).

So put on the foil, check out this ESPN story (click here), and watch the video:

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Oxnard kids experience Bryan-mania

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(Tina Birch/Daily News Staff Photographer)

Can’t really put into words how neat it was to see a bunch of kids who just got out of school gather in the center park of Oxnard — kids benefitting from the City Impact organization (linked here), a non-profit that helps at-risk families in Ventura County — and get to meet and receive autographs from Mike and Bob Bryan during a ceremony in Oxnard on Friday.

Talk about some hometown heroes.

(I also finally figured out how to tell the two apart — Bob, on the left, above, always wears the brown necklace. And he wears his watch on his right arm, because he’s left-handed. Mike, as you can see, wears the watch on the left arm because he’s a righty … just so you know).

The city wanted to honor the Camarillo-based Bryan brothers for their new philanthropic endeavor — the Bryan Brothers Foundation (find it at this link), which starts with a fundraiser Saturday at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks during a day-long pro-am tennis tournament and dinner/silent auction. Andre Agassi is the main attraction. We have a story about it in Saturday’s Daily News (linked here).

Wayne Bryan, the 30-year-old twin’s dad, said the two put in $100,000 of their own money to launch the foundation.

The other news to come out of the event was that Bob, whose left shoulder is ailing from tendinitis and a slight tear, still needs three more weeks of rest before he can even consider practicing again.

The two plan to play in a masters event in Spain later this month, but perhaps that won’t include Bob.

He explained how he had to endure through the pain just to get the recent men’s doubles title wrapped up at the U.S. Open in New York.

“I knew I was in trouble during the Olympics,” said Bob, referring to the Beijing Games, when the pair ended up taking the bronze medal for the U.S. “I had to take a coritzone shot two days before (the Open), some anti-inflamatories, and then I played 10 straight days without practice just to get through. My doctor said I shouldn’t have played. By the time it was over, I couldn’t lift my left arm.”

Which isn’t good, since Bob, again, is a lefty.

He thinks there will be plenty of time for him to prepare for their next Grand Slam event — the Australian Open in January. The two from Rio Mesa High have already won a career grand slam on their resume.

The dinner for Saturday’s event is sold out, but tickets remain for the pro-am and exhibition from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

More on the brothers:

==Their official website (linked here, as opposed to their old official site, linked here)

==The Ventura County Star story on Friday’s event (linked here)

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You stupid, stupid fantasy players

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CBS’ press release today touting its coverage on “The NFL Today” included this note:

Last week, analyst Solomon Wilcots, who was calling the Miami-New England game, reported on THE NFL TODAY that Miami running back Ronnie Brown would get his first start of the season for the Dolphins. According to Dave Richards of CBSSports.com, 76% of the fantasy players who had Brown on their team did not play him.

I saw the show. I saw Wilcots’ report. I don’t have a fantasy team. But I activated Brown anyway. Just to show I was smart. Because I don’t play CBSSports fantasy games. I have my own game. It’s in my head. I make up the rules as I feel like.

No, not really. I just made that whole story up.

(Trade secrets revealed below):
I rarely watch CBS’ pregame show. Especially since they took off that Thurston Long dude. it’s all New York based, and it smells New York based.
I never watch ESPN’s pregame show. Chris Berman. Enough said.
I most times catch Fox’s pregame show, after the NFL Network pregame shows.
I TiVo them all.
I erase most before even getting around to watch. I fast forward through the others in case something imploded.
Honestly, I’m too busy checking my financial portfolio, pouring myself a cup of Joe, and trying to assess where I’ll find the money to eat dog food when I hit the age of 65. Then I head out to El Burrito Jr. for a tamale, two hard tacos, a Diet Coke, and the newspaper to catch up on what I slept through the day before. That’s after going to church, to pray that I have money when I’m 65 and can afford a plate of cat food (I know I said dog food earlier, but I want some variety in my life).

So, how do you spend your Sunday mornings, fantasy geek?

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Warmed over media II: Spinning ahead

We’ve got these notes that stayed in the dolphin-safe media net and wanted to swim free (again, after trying to figure out why the networks who pay MLB rights fees decided to ignore the Tampa Bay Rays this season, in a column linked here):

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==NBC, fresh off the Ryder Cup coverage, has eight hours from the season-ending PGA Tour event, the Tour Championship in Atlanta (Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.). As you may already know, Vijay Singh has clinched the trophy and the first place prize of $10 million. So how did Vijay do in the Ryder Cup? Must have missed his matches.
Ten members of the victorious U.S. Ryder Cup team made this 30-player field: Anthony Kim, Phil Mickelson, Chad Campbell, Justin Leonard, Hunter Mahan, Stewart Cink, Kenny Perry, Steve Stricker, Ben Curtis and Jim Furyk. And Kim has a ridiculous four-stroke lead after the first round.
NBC broadcaster Dan Hicks had this quip about Kim, who grew up in Studio City: “There are players who are great players and there are players who are great and entertaining and Anthony Kim has that quality. He has charisma and the game to go with it. He has that Tiger thing going where you can’t wait to see what he’s going to do next.”

==FSN West has blocked out two hours to present taped coverage of last week’s AVP Manhattan Beach Open, starting Saturday with the men’s final (10 a.m.) and women’s final (11 a.m.). The tape-delayed coverage of the women’s finals that aired on Fox (KTTV Channel 11) on Sunday before its NFL coverage (or after the NFL game in some markets) did a 1.0 rating and 2 share.

==CBS college football analyst Gary Danielson, whose entire schedule of games this season will be SEC teams, including Saturday’s Tennessee-Auburn contest (12:30 p.m., Channel 2), says this about the conference (provided by a CBS press release): “Last week, of the top three games, five SEC teams were involved and they unbelievably exceeded expectations. Tennessee had a rough one, but the other four teams, Florida, Georgia, LSU and Auburn, really put on a show. They again solidified to the nation that when it comes to college football in 2008, nobody can match up with this conference.”
They left out the exclamation point.

==SCVTV in Santa Clarita will do the Alemany-Saugus contest tonight at 11 p.m. with Dave Caldwell and Tony Moskal.

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Warmed over media I: What we learned this week

In addition to today’s column (linked here), we found out:

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==The NFL’s Week 4 TV schedule (linked here), focused on San Diego-Oakland (Kiffin still around?)

==College football’s Week 5 TV schedule (linked here; sorry, it’s already outdated with the USC-Oregon State game completed, but the Saturday lineup should be helpful, since we’ve been receiving calls in the office asking why we can’t run the entire weekend TV schedule any longer — space, of course, is the reason — so we try to get this out as early as possible now, usually Tuesday)

==The MLB regular-season home stretch schedule (linked here), and why some teams are all tapped out when it comes to putting them on Fox’s regional wrap-around coverage on Saturday (USA Today story linked here).

==The WNBA’s TV plans (linked here).

==And other essential stuff, like:

=Joe Torre has a blog (linked here)

=More behind the changes at KLAC-AM (570), switching out Joe McDonnell for Tony Bruno (linked here, and here, and here)

=How Dick Enberg remembers Lyman Bostock (linked here)

=The clip surfaces of Al Michaels on “Hawaii Five-O” back in 1970 (linked here)

=Why we like Pat Jordan’s new “best of” book (linked here)

=Why the Dodgers could be a (Ron) Darling pick for the playoffs (linked here)

=How ESPN decided to throw a giant college basketball marathon party in mid-November, but didn’t find any Southern California teams worthy of inviting (linked here)

=Where to find “Friday Night Lights” this season (hint, not on Fridays, nor on NBC) (linked here)

=What Colin Cowherd and Lucy Van Pelt could have in common (linked here)

=The Cowboys-Packers’ grip over the Emmys on a national basis (but not in L.A.) last Sunday (linked here)

=And why the media is still infatuated with Fred Merkel’s Boner 100 years later (linked here).

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==Plus, we checked in on:

=Why the Raiders still hate anyone who goes against their “Committment to Excellence” mantra, even if they don’t any longer (a link to the San Jose Mercury News’ Tim Kawakami’s confrontation explanation, along with video).

=Will Ferrell (“Talladega Nights,” “Blades of Glory,” “Semi-Pro” … what are we missing) says he’s done doing sports movies (USA Today story linked here). “I’m retired from sports-genre films. You know, I think I filled my quota,” Ferrell said.

=How NBA broadcasters are being schooled by referees about what really happens in a game (New York Times story linked here).

=Does the Chicago media contribute to the idea that Cubs’ fans need to get hammered after a big victory? Or an upcoming playoff game? (story linked here). It’s in response to a Chicago city edict that bars not serve after the seventh inning any more, to keep fans from getting to stupid (story linked here).

=Former ABC “Monday Night Football” crash-n-burn sideliner Lisa Guerrero wants to blog about stuff like … her appreciation of big butts (SportsByBrooks entry linked here).

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‘Lights,’ DirecTV … action

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Just a reminder:

The new season of the drama series “Friday Night Lights,” begins on DirecTV Channel 101 on Wednesday (6 p.m., 9 p.m., before it starts airing on NBC in February, ’09 (story linked here). That’s part of a deal that DirecTV did with the network to help the show with sagging ratings develope some kind of buzz before it returned to regular TV.

The season debut description off the DirecTV menu:

“After the championship loss, Coach struggles to keep his job while helping Smash recover. A new family arrives. As Principal, Tami makes some tough decisions. Tensions rise between Lyla and Riggins. Billy proposes. Will Tyra make it to college?”

Jeez, that’s all the storylines they can squeeze into a one-hour show?

Whatever happens, the editors of The Big Lead don’t want to hear about it (linked here). Although, with a show that has some connection to E. Buzz Bissinger, we’re not sure we’re so keen on keeping up with it any longer, even with DTV access.

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Dodgers are the Darling choice … perhaps

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Ron Darling, the Mets’ TV analyst who’ll be working for TBS this postseason, had this to say about the Dodgers’ chances, and reviewing the Dodgers’ season, on a conference call with reporters this morning:

“I’ve known Joe Torre a long time, and if you remember, they made that trip to China and half the team went and half the team didn’t. In speaking with Joe, he said the most difficult part for him in the first half was trying to evaluate who could play and who couldn’t play. A lot of that advice came from his coaches, but until he saw them firsthand he (wasn’t) able to evaluate and figure out who fit where on that team. And of course, getting (Manny) Ramirez, a motivated Ramirez, is about as good as you can get. He’s made a huge difference for that team.
“Yes, they have a record that is barely above .500, but I don’t think you’ve heard anyone who knows the game say that they are going to be an easy team because of their record. If anyone takes the Dodgers lightly they are going to be in trouble.”

A team like the Mets could take the Dodgers lightly, if they meet in the post-season. But then, the Mets would have to get there first to take anyone lightly.

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Clausen’s golden locks no more under his golden dome

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All it apparently took was an embarassing 23-7 loss to Michigan State last week for Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen to decided that it was enough with the long hair.
The former Oaks Christian High star was flagged for clipping this week.
On the Notre Dame official site, Clausen, the former Oaks Christian High star, explains why he decided to do it (linked here):

“I cut it off, as you can see. I don’t know why I really did it. But one of the things I said was, I’ve been growing it out for a long time, I said if we lost, once we lost, I’d cut it off. Had to cut it off. … It was getting old, so… “

Meanwhile, NBC’s Notre Dame analyst Pat Haden, said it about the Irish’s game coming up against Purdue (Saturday, Channel 4, 11:30 a.m.): “Jimmy Clausen is clearly playing better than a year ago. He is stronger and much more confident, and has found a big time threat in Golden Tate.”

Golden Tate may still be golden. But not Clausen’s hair.

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