Oh, Duke’s sorry … step away from the friendly fire

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So we’re all prone to boners. Or, mistakes, if you will.

Like the guy who found this crumbled $20 in his pocket and made a scene about it.

There’s a new episode of the “Sarah Silverman Show” on Comedy Central, where she thinks she sees Osama Bin Laden walking down the street and runs over him with her car. And she does it a second time when she finds out the first really wasn’t him. And she chases another down on her bike when she finds out the first two weren’t really him…

Wait, that’s a comedy show. Scripted. Intentional humor.

Oh, stop. You’re killing me.

Today, it was about 9:20 a.m. this morning, when Dan Davis, aka “The Duke,” did his update on ESPN Radio’s Colin Cowherd show. He closed with repeating a story he reported on earlier — that Miami Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga was trying to expediate the sale of the team so he could avoid capital-gains taxes if Barack Obama is elected president (story linked here).

Davis said that he made a mistake in pronouncing Obama’s name, “it was unintentional and I apologize.”

An ESPN spokesman later confirmed that Davis said “Osama” instead of “Obama.”

Davis isn’t the first and probably won’t be the last. But at least it was caught, dealt with and let go. Or, there will be some who won’t let it go.

Like the story about the absentee ballots in New York that were actually printed with the name “Osama” instead of “Obama” (linked here).
It led to Conan O’Brien making the joke: “Today they apologized and printed new ballots that say ‘Barack Hussein Osama.’”

As long as they’re sorry and fixed it ,we’re good.

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Fox’s spin on Game 4 1/2: You saw history, dude!

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This is the latest ratings release from Fox Sports, without any editing:

Baseball history was made last night when severe weather conditions in Philadelphia forced World Series Game 5 to be suspended. It is the first time a World Series game has been suspended in-progress, forcing it to be concluded on a different day. Game 5 is scheduled to resume Wednesday night at 8:30 PM ET with the Phillies coming to bat in the bottom of the sixth with the score tied 2-2.

FOX earned an 8.2/12 household rating/share (13.2 million viewers) last night for the first five-and-a-half innings of Game 5. Comparisons to all previous World Series games are irrelevant due to the unprecedented suspension. When Game 5 is completed, Nielsen will issue a separate rating for the second portion of the game, and under Nielsen rules the two segments can not be officially combined into one rating.

Highlights

- Last night’s pre-game show (4.1/7) and the completed portion of the game combined to average a 7.5/11 in prime time and a 3.7 among Adults 18-49. FOX ranked first for the night in prime among Adults 18-49, Adults 18-34 (3.1), in every significant male demo and second among households. Among both Households and Adults 18-49, last night rates as FOX’s top Monday night in 23 weeks.

- The audience for Game 5 was growing as the evening progressed. It posted a 6.5/10 at 8:30 and a 6.7/10 at 9:00, surged to 8.8/13 at 9:30, 9.6/15 at 10:00. The final quarter-hour of the broadcast earned a 10.4/16 as the decision was made to halt the game.

- The last World Series Game 5 posted a 10.3/18 (16.3 million viewers) for the decisive game of the 2006 World Series between the Cardinals and the Tigers. To this point, the 2008 World Series has averaged an 8.1/14 (13.1 million), down -24% in rating compared to last year’s 10.6/18 (17.1 million) for Boston’s four-game sweep over Colorado. The ’08 series is off 20% in rating and -17% in rating and audience, respectively compared to the five-game ’06 World Series featuring the Cardinals and Tigers (10.1/17, 15.8 million).

- Philadelphia posted a stratospheric 45.2/60 last night for what could have been – and could still be – the decisive game of the Series. That 45.2/60 tops all games of the 2001 NBA Finals with the Sixers. Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg delivered a 28.1/40, a slight improvement over its Game 4 rating (27.5/41). Florida markets Orlando (12.2), West Palm Beach (12.0) and Ft. Myers (11.4) followed and other markets posting above average viewership for the first part of Game 5 include Minneapolis (11.0), Baltimore (10.0), Milwaukee (9.9) and Phoenix (9.5).

And the Los Angeles market on KTTV Channel 11: A 7.4 rating (from 5:30 to 7:45 p.m.), tied with that baseball bastion of Buffalo for No. 29 of the 56 metered markets. With 4 1/2 games in the books, L.A. has an 8.1 rating for the series, which ranks 23rd.

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Who’s to blame, aside from Mother Nature? Oh, how about Fox?

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(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Stopping by Dodger Stadium this morning on some business, we couldn’t help but imagine what it would be like to have a World Series game staged there right about now. The sun was out, it was a pleasant 70-plus degrees. No rain. No sleet. No gloom of the pending nightfall.

No Fox forcast needed by Jillian Whatshername. No Selig slush surfacing anytime soon.

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Just a bunch of crew members dressing up the field and rearranging the outfield walls in preparation for a “All The Way” Mae Mordabito — aka Madonna — who’ll be hitting to all fields during her concert on Nov. 6.

In sharp contract, all the way around, to the handwringing going on in Philadelphia right now, where the commissioner is trying to twist the rules of what makes a regulation game into a mini-series, and all the sports-talk show hosts this morning calling a “worst-case scenario” and a “complete nightmare.”

Some are even blaming Fox for the whole quagmire.

It’s an easy target, one taken frequently in mediaville a time or two.

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L.A.’s college football TV Week 10: Much ado about Texas

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By the time W. finishes clearing out some brush from the Crawford ranch on Saturday, he’ll take off them Texas Highway Patrol glasses, set his 10-gallon hat down on the deer antler rack and settle in for another round of Texas football, BCS style.

Then, he’ll turn his attention to when he has to clean out his West Wing gun closet, ’cause on Tuesday, a new White House tennant will be determined. But enough of that distraction.

The University of Texas has faced a ranked team in each of the last three weeks, and won, rising to No. 1 in the polls and in the BCS standings. Another ranked foe, Texas Tech, coming in at No. 7 in the BCS and vauling past USC in all of the human polls, could be the last regular-season test for them Longhorns.

USC fans will be watching that one after the Trojans veto another rival with a Washington agenda — the 0-7 Huskies, who announced they’ve dumped their coach at the end of this season — at the Coliseum in another FSN cable special. Before that, Florida faces Georgia in a game where the winner is likely to vault past USC in the BCS standings into the No. 5 spot.
UCLA has it easy: No BCS worries, and the week off:

THE LOCALS:

==3:30 p.m, FSN West: Washington at No. 5 USC (with Barry Tompkins, Petros Papadakis and Jim Watson).

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Skater chick, you’re equal now with biker dude

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After all those ESPN “SportsCenter” stories year after year publicizing how the men and women championships weren’t paid the same at Wimbledon … And the importance of Title X. … And showing as many women’s basketball games as the men (OK, that’ll never happen).

Little did we know that the men and women winners at the X Games were equally inequitably compensated. Until it was revealed today to us by …

ESPN.

“ESPN is proud to announce that the X Games and Winter X Games will feature equal prize money for both men and women in 2009,” came the announcement out of the blue by John Skipper, network exec VP in charge of content (but not payroll).

“ESPN has been a leader in promoting and programming women’s athletics, and this recent action sports prize purse increase is the latest example. This past summer saw the X Games feature women’s motocross for the first time, and the upcoming Winter X Games will feature a host of female Olympic medalists from several different countries. Starting with Winter X Games 13 in January, 2009, men and women athletes at all X Games events will compete for equal cash awards.”

That’s the second revelation included in this announcement.

We always assumed every winner was paid in cases of Mountain Dew.

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World Series Game 4: Philadelphia 39.0, Tampa Bay 27.5

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Holding the trend in that the city that has the highest Nielsen ratings also has won the game, Philadelphia stands one game away from capturing what otherwise could be the least-watched World Series in the history of TV land.

Through four games, the World Series has a total rating average of 8.0 nationally, down 25 percent from last season (10.6) and 21 percent down from 2006 (10.1). The lowest-rated Series of all-time was 2006 — 10.1 — meaning there has never been a World Series that has averaged in single digits.

Game 4 chugged in with a 9.3 rating and 15 share — best so far, with 15 million viewers attached without an NFL game in competition. In Los Angeles, it drew a 9.4 mark. The top 10 markets Sunday included Seattle (13.4) — the first Western regional city to break into the list, at No. 3; Charlotte and Orlando (13.2), West Palm Beach (13.0), Minneapolis (11.8), Milwaukee (11.6), Phoenix, Salt Lake City and St. Louis (11.4).

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When you can’t even afford the cheap seats

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(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

For tonight’s game at Staples Center, against the defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings, the Kings reintroduce their “All U Can Eat” value package — a $27 seat that includes all the hot dogs, sodas, nachos, peanuts and popcorn you can eat. Last year, that seat sold for $36.
Above, the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Eric Godard hands out pizza to students in line outside Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh in hopes of getting “student rush” tickets to an NHL game between his team and the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday. The Penguins took a block of 600 seats and offered them to area college and high school students for $20.
Welcome to the struggling financial economy, even for sports.
It leads us into this story:

By NANCY ARMOUR
The Associated Press

Buy their Slam Dunk Sampler ticket package, and the Indiana Pacers will throw in Kevin Garnett, LeBron James and Kevin Durant for free.

A few weeks ago, the St. Louis Blues told fans to name their own price for season tickets — within reason, of course.

A family of four will be able to take in Oakland Athletics games for $50 on Fridays next season, meals included.

Even before the economic meltdown, leagues and individual teams alike had acknowledged that most fans can’t spend several hundred dollars — and some not even $100 — to go to a game. Now with stocks plunging and a steady drumbeat of layoffs, bankruptcies and foreclosures, sales efforts such as variable pricing, pay-as-you-go plans, package deals and even mandated cheap seats are growing.

They’re likely to only get more popular.

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Can KJ charm his way to the mayor’s seat?

By JUDY LIN
The Associated Press

SACRAMENTO — A bid by a former NBA All-Star to become mayor of California’s capital city has drawn basketball celebrities to a town that is often overshadowed by the state politics that unfold here.

Kevin Johnson is campaigning on a pledge to raise the profile of his hometown after years of watching it get outshined by flashier cities such as San Francisco and Los Angeles. The contest pits him against a two-term incumbent who has taken a decidedly slower approach.

Because of the presidential race, a record number of voters is expected to cast ballots for either Mayor Heather Fargo or Johnson, a political novice who would be the capital’s first black mayor.

“It’s not a traditional mayor’s race,” said Barbara O’Connor, director of the Institute for the Study of Politics and Media at California State University in Sacramento. “It’s a metaphor for what’s going on in the other (national) races.”

Both candidates are Democrats campaigning in a nonpartisan race.

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A Halloween suggestion, if one is needed

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Less than a week to find a sports-related Halloween costume.
Quick. Think.
No, don’t think. React.
Scan the newspaper. Zip through the Internet.
Ask someone scary at the local supermarket who’s buying up all the mini-Hershey bars he’s just going to eat himself.
Key is finding a newsworthy subject to dress up and play nice. Pulling it off is the other half of the equation.

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Snap!
Our top 10 suggestions for next weekend’s party attire that don’t squeezing into a tight sweater, grabbing a submarine sandwich and pretending to be Erin Andrews:

Kimbo Slice

Think Mr. T with an even bigger attitude. Have another friend dress up as some scrawny guy with pink hair, pin you into a corner of the room and beat you to a pulp within 14 seconds. Then get up and exclaim: “It’s all good.”

Pacman Jones

Sport a Cowboys No. 21 jersey, carry a bottle of (favorite adult beverage) and have a pile of disposable money to “make it rain” every now and then. A retro “Pac-Man” logo on the shoulder pads would be nice touch. So would a scuffle in the bathroom with a pal playing the part of a bodyguard to add more authenticity.

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Ed Hochuli

Find a shirt from the Foot Locker. Wear fake, pumped-up biceps. Blow inadvertent whistles all night long.

Tom Brady

Back to the No. 12 Patriots jersey, a pair of crutches, a baby doll under one arm, a hot model on the other side. And a bunch of fantasy football owners crying nearby.

Michael Phelps

The more you don’t have a washboard stomach, the better the spoof. Especially with the required Speedo. Hang a few gold medals around the neck. Bring a big goofy smile. With big goofy goggles. A large fin on your back. And flippers on your feet.

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O.J. Simpson

Does this ever get old? Same old rubber mask from ’94 that’s been in the closet for awhile (or still selling on eBay.com). This time, put the new spin on it by carrying a plastic gun, carrying an arm full of sports memorabilia and having a bad attorney in tow.

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Anything from a Will Ferrell movie

Costume stores actually still carry his Chazz Michaels Michaels frilly figure skating outfit from “Blades of Glory.” Some also have his Flint Tropics basketball ensemble from “Semi Pro.” No doubt, there’s a full-on NASCAR jumpsuit with the Wonder bread logo as Ricky Bobby from “Talladega Nights.” It’s quick, simple, kinda lame, and good for dropping suggestive pick-up lines passed off as bad jokes.

Manny Ramirez

The Dodger Stadium-purchased do-rag-and-dred wig can be repurposed. A No. 99 jersey. Multi-colored mouthpiece. Spout anti-Red Sox phrases. Even more frightening – a friend hangs out with you dolled up as Scott Boras, with fake money coming out of ever part of his shirt and pants pockets.

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Sarah Palin

Not the prim-and-proper Tina Fey version. The hockey mom, dropping the puck before an NHL game, tripping up the home-team’s goalie on the carpet. Sporting a shotgun and sporadically firing it into the air. With a dead moose hanging over your shoulder. And arrive on a snowmobile. Maybe holding a copy of the DVD “Mystery, Alaska.” For sure.

Al Davis

The Oakland Raiders crypt keeper. If you need this explained, you’ve missed the point. And that’s most frightening.

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The Elfstedentoch warning: Watch your footing on the ice, it’s melting

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By MIKE CORDER
Associated Press Writer

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Global warming is having a greater effect than previously believed on a 120-mile speedskating marathon over frozen rivers and canals linking 11 towns in northern Holland.

A study published Friday by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency said the race is likely to be held only once every 18 years because of higher winter temperatures. Three years ago, it estimated the likelihood at once every 10 years.

Organizers insist on a minimum thickness of 6 inches of ice along virtually the entire route in the northern province of Friesland to ensure it is safe enough to carry thousands of skaters.

The rule means that races have always been rare. Known locally as the Elfstedentocht (translates to 11 cities course), it has only been held 15 times since the first official event in 1909.

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