Torre’s stories, blogger friendly

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We gotta assume it’s Dodgers manager Joe Torre who has time to crank out a blog, even for a sponsor who has put him in those comical commercials showing him adjusting to L.A. life by pounding down wheatgrass drinks, learning to surf and yoga, and strutting around town with a pocket poodle in his arms.

We found a link to what’s being sold as a Torre blog (linked here), which comes off the MLB.com page, but also off a sponsored link to the car insurance company (linked here), where you can also see extended clips from the TV spots that have been running all year (one, for example, that hasn’t been seen is Torre getting out of his car to an army of paparazzi, only to find out they weren’t interested in him but some Lohan-like character who ducks into a restaurant).

There are only eight entries on the blog so far, which appears to have started when he had some free time about a month ago. That first one included this paragraph:

I’ll be figuring out this blogging thing since I’m a little behind the times. For example, I saw one of those little candy Valentine’s hearts printed with “LOL” and thought it was a typo right up until I started reading about blogs and Web acronyms. I mean, WTF(udge), right?

Yeah, right. Fudge.

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Colin’s Love Connection

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Colin Cowherd had “an epiphany last night,” he said during his ESPN Radio show this morning.

While he was in the company of “three beautiful women,” the sports-talk show host was being asked for his advice on relationships. He obliged. They “were fascinated” by what he had to say.

So, being the deep thinker that he is, he thought some more about it.

“I’m going to talk to my agent today to see about starting up a relationship talk show,” Cowherd proclaimed.

Seriously.

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Coming Friday: Who’s in your MLB playoff eight?

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A recent Associated Press story (linked here) took the possibility of the Dodgers and Angels surviving through the playoffs to somehow meet in the World Series to see who out there would buy it.

Since 1961, when the two teams existed together in L.A., they’ve only made the playoffs together one other time — 2004, and both were knocked out in the first round.

Writer John Nadal tracked down Marc Ludwick and Karen Hollyfield, season ticket-holders at Dodger Stadium who live in Santa Clarita and make the 80-mile round trip to Dodger Stadium, as well as the 140-mile trip to Angels Stadium to see them play as well.

Hollyfield said she’d probably root for the Dodgers in a Freeway World Series.

“It’s never going to happen, though,” she said. “We’ll be lucky if they go to the playoffs and win one game. The Angels are fantastic, though.”

Said Ludwick: “It’s a rivalry matchup that’s long overdue. I think the city would certainly relish seeing that World Series matchup. We have exhibitions and the interleague play between them, but that would really be something.”

TBS begins the MLB playoff coverage with three of the four to-be-determined pairings on Wednesday. We’re curious as to how well received the Tampa Bay Devil Rays will be received. Have you seen a Rays game from start to finish yet this season?

That’s what we’ll get into with Friday’s media column, as well as some of the other burning issues of the media day. Just as soon as we put on our oven mitt and figure out what those are.

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A hoop kegger — sorry, So Cal, you’ve been (dis)carded

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That, of course, is a photo of the Marathon Brewery Wee Willy basketball team — brothers Joe, Wally, Alex and Frank Szymanski in the first row, brothers Ray and Ed Szymanski in the second row along with Larence Wenzel, Bob Uekert and Bill Fischer. They won more than 500 games during the 1940s and ’50s representing Marathon City, Wisc.

If only ESPN could schedule them for their upcoming “Tip-Off Marathon.” Along with the guarantee of a few extra kegs in the deal.

ESPN, which can pretty much dictate to any school when its basketball games will be played, has decided to turn it up to 11 and give eveyrone a spinal tap of roundball that may only make Dick Vitale’s heath situation go from mellow yellow to code red on the color-bar chart.

The world wide leader announced today that its “Tip-Off Marathon” will air over 23 hours live starting at 9 p.m. on Nov. 17 (after a Cleveland-Buffalo “Monday Night Football” telecast) and end … well … 23 hours later, of course. With 33 total hours covered.

You know, it’s just crazy enough to work. And you know someone with a blog and too much time on their hands will try to watch the whole thing and document it minute by minute (sorry, boss, it ain’t happening on this end).

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Lowe blow: He’s giving up on Manhattan Beach

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Maybe he’s just preparing for the day soon when the Dodgers drop him after this season ends, and he goes off to marry Carolyn Hughes and needs a much, much bigger place.

Or maybe Derek Lowe is just tired of Manhattan Beach. And his abode isn’t covered in any pre-nup.

No, we’re not gonna speculate as to why we see his home on 19th Street in the Great UpperClass Sandbox of the South Bay on the market for $5.7 million (link here), according to Real Estalker.com.

They report that his four bedroom, two full bathroom and two half bathroom place that’s taking up 4,620 square feet of our space and has two ocean-view decks is something he paid $5 mil for in July, 2006.

Hmmm, now wasn’t that right about the time when …

Just go see what the Boston Herald is also reporting (linked here).

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Becks, with a sombrero?

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This week’s “MLS Primetime Thursday: game on ESPN makes sure you feel depressed in today’s economy. The league’s two highest-paid players — the Galaxy’s David Beckham, and Chicago’s Cuauhtemoc Blanco — compare wallet sizes on the pitch at 6 p.m. Thursday.

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It also marks the start of the series’ celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. So while JP Dellacamera, John Harkes and Allen Hopkins do the English-language commentary from something called Toyota Park in Bridgefield, Ill., ESPN Deportes will have Fernando Palomo and Giovanni Savarese call it in Espanol. Rob Stone and Julie Foudy will host pre-, halftime and post-game from ESPN’s Bristol, Conn., studios.

So what does Hispanic Heritage Month mean? A lot of Latin music on the telecast. A special message to start the show from Blanco. A poll on ESPN’s Soccernet.com to determine the “Most influential Hispanic player in MLS history” (linked here).

And Beckham wearing a sombrero.
Maybe.
Probably not.
But maybe.

There is, by the way, a thing called a “sombrero galaxy” (linked here), a picture of which is above — that’s at the top of this posting, not down the right side — as seen through the Hubble Space Telescope.
Other than that, we won’t go Carl Sagan on you other than to speculate that, in any galaxy out there beyond the black hole, there must be some civilization that enjoys a good, spicy salsa.

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Sparkin’ up the Galen joint

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Maybe you’ve heard through various second-, third- and fourth-hand sources (aw, for heaven sakes, do a Google search once and a while for “WNBA” and “not yet disbanded”) that the WNBA’s Sparks have to play their one and only home playoff game in their upcoming Western Conference finals series against Becky Hammon and the San Antonio Russians Silver Stars at the Galen Center near the USC campus, because Staples Center is busy hosting … does it matter?

How’d you like to get kicked out of your cavernous, empty-seat, big-time stadium/arena and get sent down the street to play in an intimate, college facility that brings star center Lisa Leslie back before her former pre-WNBA family?

As far as TV goes, all we got at this point:

Thursday Game 1 at Galen Center: 7:30 p.m., NBA TV
Saturday Game 2 at San Antonio: noon, NBA TV
Sunday Game 3* at San Antonio: 2 p.m., ESPN2 (with Terry Gannon, Doris Burke and Heather Cox. Gannon, by the way, is that the Rose Bowl on Saturday to do the UCLA-Fresno State football game.)
*-only if it’s really, really necessary.

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Your MLB countdown: Magic numbers and rotating dance partners

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No, the four MLB playoff pairings haven’t been determined, and probably won’t until maybe the last game of the regular-season Sunday. Too many magic numbers and a lot of different playoff combos still to be sorted out.

A reminder: TBS carries all the first-round stuff, a staggering schedule that will have up to three games a day, and spill-over onto TNT if a game runs long into the start of another. TBS will also have tie-breakers on Monday and/or Tuesday if needed. The playoffs start Wednesday, and TBS also has the following ALCS (with Fox taking the NLCS and World Series).

What’s coming up as the Dodgers try to finish things off, the Angels try to avoid more injury, and the Brewers, Mets, Phillies, White Sox and Twins angle for the last spots:

TONIGHT:

==4 p.m., ESPN: Chicago Cubs at New York Mets (with Dave O’Brien and Rick Sutcliffe)
==7 p.m., FSN Prime Ticket: San Diego Padres at Dodgers (with Vin Scully)
==7 p.m., FSN West: Angels at Seattle Mariners (with Rory Markas and Mark Gubicza)

THURSDAY:

==7 p.m., FSN Prime Ticket: San Diego Padres at Dodgers (with Vin Scully)
==7 p.m., FSN West: Angels at Seattle Mariners (with Rory Markas and Mark Gubicza)

FRIDAY:

== 5 p.m., ESPN: Chicago Cubs at Milwaukee Brewers (with Dan Shulman, Orel Hershiser and Steve Phillips). It’s the network’s final regular-season telecast. Boo-hoo.
==7 p.m., FSN Prime Ticket: Dodgers at San Francisco Giants (with Vin Scully)
==7 p.m., FSN West: Texas Rangers at Angels (with Rory Markas and Mark Gubicza)

SATURDAY:

==12:55 p.m., KTTV Channel 11: Fox decided on Thursday that it will go with Chicago Cubs-Milwaukee with (Josh Lewin and Tim McCarver) for the L.A. market (and 32 percent of the country). It will also cut into N.Y. Yankees-Boston (with Dick Stockton and Jerry Remy), Philadelphia hosting Washington and Minnesota hosting Kansas City. Why no New York Mets-Florida?
==6 p.m., KCOP Channel 13: Texas Rangers at Angels (with Rory Markas and Mark Gubicza)
==6 p.m., FSN Prime Ticket: Dodgers at San Francisco (with Vin Scully)

SUNDAY:

==10 a.m., TBS: Florida Marlins at New York Mets (with Chip Caray and Harold Reynolds) — this could be the last game ever played at Shea Stadium.
==1 p.m., KCAL Channel 9: Dodgers at San Francisco Giants (with Vin Scully)
==12:30 p.m., FSN West: Texas Rangers at Angels (with Rory Markas and Mark Gubicza)

Into the postseason:
KSPN-AM (710) will have the ability to carry the ESPN Radio feed of all playoff contests — including games that involve the Angels and Dodgers, even though their flagship stations (830-AM and 790-AM, respectively) will also have them (the Dodgers using Scully for all games, doing the first three and last three innings, with Charley Steiner and Rick Monday in the middle three). The only possible conflict for KSPN is USC football live games, but MLB playoffs take precident over any Clippers exhibition games or “Monday Night Football” broadcasts.

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A second chance to see “Second Chance Season”

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Heads up: The outstanding 2007 documentary “Second Chance Season” on former Cleveland High and USC standout Nick Young airs tonight at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN2.
The official movie site (linked here) has the trailer that pretty much explains what’s going on with the story here — cameras follow Young through his senior year at Cleveland to see if he can attain an 820 SAT score in order to get into USC, overcoming all kinds of long-term residual affects and setbacks that included having a brother murdered, which led to Young dropping out of Dorsey High before he transfered.
The Daniel Forer directed and co-produced doc debuted in June, ’07 at the L.A. Film Festival to strong reviews.
Young, who left USC after his junior year in ’07, has been with the Washington Wizards entering his second season. He had a career-high 27 points against the Lakers last March.
Forer said ESPN has a 15-year licensing agreement to air the film as it sees fit — and with NBA camps opening soon, a network spokesperson said that was the reason behind putting it on tonight.
Forer also notes that his doc, as well as “Kickin’ It” on the Homeless Cup soccer tournament, was edited by Sherman Oaks’ Jeff Werner.

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A best of the ‘best of’ category: Pat Jordan

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Picture a gray bearded man with an Hawaiian shirt, flip flops, chomping on a cigar, enjoying life in Florida.

That’s Pat Jordan, a failed minor-league pitcher who became one of the most insightful sports journalists of this era.

“The Best Sports Writing of Pat Jordan” (edited by Alex Belth, $27.95, Persea Brooks, 450 pages) (linked here) has finally found its way into book stores, thanks to Belth, an SI.com writer and blogger at Bronx Banter on the Baseball Toaster network who interviewed Jordan to find out what makes him tick, and ended up pulling together some 26 stories (from more than 100 submissions) into this hardbound treasure.

What do we know about Jordan? He’s been called a “New Journalist” who uses that “novelistic technique” like Tom Wolfe and Gay Talese (the later of which Jordan admits to admiring the most in his career, calling him his greatest influence).

In a previous book, “A False Spring” (linked here and linked here), released in 1975 and again in paperback in 2005, Jordan painfully recounts his failed attempt to pitch in the big-leagues, while “A Nice Tuesday” memoir picks up three decades later, trying to pitch again at age 56.

Jordan probably didn’t come into many L.A. radars until a 1980 story for Inside Sports called “Trouble in Paradise,” which started with this paragraph:

“This is a story about Southern California and baseball, and sex, and fame, and wealth, and beauty, and the American Dream.”

It was about Steve and Cyndi Garvey, and how the Dodgers all-everything first baseman may not have been the all-everything husband to his wife as they lived in Calabasas and tried to put up this facade of everything’s all good. Cyndi, the unsatisfied spouse who was co-hosting a local L.A. talk show with Regis Philbin at the time, was the one who really let it all out, which was all on tape, which helped when the Garveys sued Jordan, Inside Sports and parent company Newsweek for $11.2 million in a libel claim that never went to trial.

Garvey, Jordan notes in a Q-and-A at the end of this book, spent $450,000 in legal fees, but all of that was for the public relations spin as they went on talk shows to give “their side” of the story.

The entire story is included in this book, as are profiles of Greg Louganis, Roger Clemens, Venus and Serena Williams, Pete Rose Jr., Wilt Chamberlain , Tom Seaver and O.J. Simpson, done for various publications over the years. They are divided into “Fame” and “Obscurity” — the later of which Jordan probably connects to best, based on his experiences as a failed athlete. Another story on the Duquesne, Pa., high school football team in 1980 for Geo Magazine, by the way, eventually was the inspiration for the Tom Cruise movie, “All The Right Moves,” and that’s included here.

So are all the right stories.

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