Another Grand Slam title for the Bryan brothers … so what’s next?


Camarillo’s Mike and Bob Bryan won their third Australian Open crown and seventh Grand Slam championship today with a win over third-seeded Mahesh Bhupathi and Mark Knowles 2-6, 7-5, 6-0 on Saturday night in Melbourne.

The Tennis Channel’s coverage of the match airs tonight at 7 p.m.

The 30-year-old twins are second, tied with Peter Fleming and John McEnroe, as well as John Newcombe and Tony Roche, for most Grand Slam doubles titles by one team. The record is 11 by Australians Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde.

“It’s fun to see all the hard work we put in at the Spanish Hills Country Club in late December and early January pay off. It’s still a long year and we’ve got to keep it going for 52 weeks,” Mike Bryan said.

The Bryans are back at No. 1 on the ATP Doubles Team rankings.

According to their father, Wayne, the Bryans get back to L.A. Monday morning at 11 a.m. and head over to the Santa Barbara Municipal Tennis Courts for a clinic.

Other events ahead on the Bryan’s schedule:

== Saturday, Feb. 7: An exhibition at the Avila Bay Tennis Club near San Luis Obispo (1 to 3 p.m.) (site linked here)
== Feb. 9-15: In San Jose for the SAP Open.
== Feb. 23-March 1: Delray Beach International Championships
== March 6-8: Davis Cup: In Birmingham, Ala., with Andy Roddick, James Blake and captain Patrick McEnroe, against Switzerland (official website linked here)
== March 12-21: An exhibition at Indian Wells.
== March 23-25: In Miami for the First Serve Pro Am gala.
== March 26-April 4: Masters Series at Key Biscayne, Fla.
== April 6-12: U.S. Clay Court Championships in Houston (website linked here)

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We always enjoy a good Barry Zito off-season workout story


By Janie McCauley
Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — Barry Zito rushed from an appearance and autograph session with homeless children straight to the ballpark weight room. He was short on time and needed to fit in his second workout of the day.

The 30-year-old out of Pierce College and USC has committed himself to his fitness and offseason program like never before, eager to turn things around as he heads into his third season with the San Francisco Giants. The 2002 AL Cy Young Award winner, who received a $126 million, seven-year deal before the 2007 campaign, is a disappointing 21-30 in his two seasons with San Francisco.

“The workouts are awesome,” said Zito, who has been training all winter with fitness guru and fellow Giants pitcher Brian Wilson. “We’re working out six days a week, two-a-days.”

Wilson, the team’s closer who has been living with Zito in the Hollywood Hills, has witnessed his teammate take some major strides. When they started back on Nov. 1, Zito could do all of three pull-ups. Now he can do 16.

“You can see a good difference,” said Wilson, who adheres to the most intense workout regimen and strictest diet of anyone on the Giants. “As far as strength goes, I don’t think he’s done this kind of work before. The gains are tremendous.”

Zito thinks so, too. All of this from someone who once joked that you “can’t pull fat” to explain why his routine didn’t include weight training.

From band work to yoga, high-intensity karate and weight lifting, they have been doing it all. Their throwing program has consisted of playing catch across a canyon, a distance of more than 200 feet.

“We’ve had some expensive days losing balls,” Wilson said.

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Another Lenny Dykstra ‘cash call’ episode

This exclusive reported by those Woodwards and/or Levins at TMZ (linked here):


According to a lawsuit filed today in Los Angeles Superior Court, Lenny Dykstra has yet to fork over the cash he promised to pay four pilots in exchange for flying his private plane. Dykstra had until January 12 to pay up, the lawsuit says, but thus far he hasn’t.
What’s more, the four pilots claim Dykstra promised them a four-month gig, but didn’t deliver on that either.

We’re guessing his Westlake Village home is still for sale, the one he bought off Wayne Gretzky at Sherwood Country Club. The car wash … we’re hoping he’s got his assets in order before it really, really gets ugly.

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Wall Street Journal: Madden’s stock could use some correction


The Wall Street Journal did the math, and finally called John Madden out.

As the $4 mil-a-year NBC analyst prepares for his next Super Bowl broadcast — he’ll be the only person to call a NFL title game for all four major networks — the nation’s most respected business publication decided to give him the business in a story today (linked here) that really plays into its wheelhouse.

“In statements made during several recent NBC broadcasts, Mr. Madden, who is 72, has misjudged the number of times NFL teams execute running plays from the shotgun formation, attributed two offensive strategies to a team whose players deny using them and misstated how often the San Diego Chargers call pass plays.”

Matthew Futterman then gives the facts to back it up.

“Sandy Montag, Mr. Madden’s agent, says any broadcaster in any game makes misstatements. ‘It’s a live three-hour broadcast,’ he says. ‘You can’t be right 100% of the time.’”

How ’bout at least 50/50?

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No one wants to think about the Tampa homeless … it’ll spoil the party


By Paul Newberry
The Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. — They started lining up at the “Faith Cafe” before lunchtime — the unemployed and the homeless, the hungry and the hopeless.

They were just two miles from Raymond James Stadium, where workers were putting the finishing touches on the site of America’s biggest party, the Super Bowl.

It sure seemed a lot farther away to these folks, who waited outside a drab building where workers doled out sustenance to the desperate — a sandwich or two, some potatoes, maybe a doughnut. Come nightfall, they’ll spread out in search of a park bench or a patch of grass, some place to sleep away another lost day.

This week they’ve tried to make their voices heard in a city throwing a big party they’re not invited to, complete with stretch limousines, steak-and-lobster dinners, high-rise hotel suites and a $1,000-a ticket football game on Sunday.

“I just can’t get a job,” said Michael John Leinonen, pausing between each word.

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OK, we give, show us the PETA ad that NBC wouldn’t allow on the Super Bowl

Kids, don’t play with your vegetables.

Or, if you do, take your clothes off.


Taking what Phoebe Cates did with a carrot in “Fast Times At Ridgemont High” a few sweaty steps further, this PETA ad (above) that supposedly was banned from NBC’s Super Bowl is at least getting its point across — it generated publicity for itself. The bottom line: The message has been delivered.

We took it, hook, line and asparagus.

“Access Hollywood” ended up doing its own “investigative” piece on the PETA ad (linked here), as well as Troy Palomalu’s revival of the Mean Joe Green-Coke spot that’ll air in Sunday’s telecast.

Think back to Super Bowl ads in the past that have been “banned.” The company pretty much knew going in that it was too hot for a G-rated day of TV, but it submitted it anyway, had it nixed, then sent out the press release and digital video to all media outlets, complaining about the injustice of it all.

Like, when last year, Danica Patrick did the ads for that involved a “beaver” (which told viewers to go to the website to see the ad that was banned):

Goodness gracious, sakes alive, as John Wooden would say.

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The Media Learning Curve: Jan. 23-30


Again, the cerebral cortex is a bit on the overused side trying to crunch these facts, figures and fluffery from NBC and the NFL Network in how they’re covering the “Big Game” (that’s what they say on the commercials, right?) this weekend.

The smart size of our brain tells us that it’s a good thing NBC has the game coverage. They have the best broadcasting duo on the call — would be better if Cris Collinsworth was there instead of John Madden, but that’s coming in the years ahead — and aside from the gluttenous pregame show, we’re OK with working around it to see what else is on between daybreak and kickoff.

The dumb side of our brain tells us that … wait, the voices in our head are on a conference call. Maybe there’s going to be some layoffs in the coming weeks. Or they’ll ask us to work free for a week …

As we try to get our thoughts around more of what’s going on in the media world, before it all comes to a quiet four weeks in February, we offer up these links to those who still find the pursuit of media happiness to be just a click away:

== In addition to the NBC pregame show rundown in today’s column (linked here) — and please, at the very least Google the lyrics to “At The End Of The Day” from Les Mis before critiquing — there’s the rundown for ESPN and the NFL Network (linked here).

== A good trend: Fewer radio stations sent people to sit on “radio row” at the Super Bowl this year. A bad trend: Fewer radio stations sent people to sit on “radio row” at the Super Bowl this year. At least Jim Rome and Steve Mason were there to represent (linked here).

== Another Top 50 All-Time Sportscaster list, from Howard Cosell to …. Phyllis George? … to who’s the dude at No. 50? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose if most people don’t know him? (linked here).

== NBC’s Dick Ebersol has to answer, to the Detroit media, as to why he thought Matt Millen — the former president of the 0-16 Lions — would be good to add to the network Super Bowl pregame show (linked here). Millen was a no-show on Tuesday’s Media Day in Tampa.

== ESPN’s Chris Mortensen told the Raiders he was sorry for reporting they were for sale, when apparently they weren’t, and he just figured it out (linked here). And why wasn’t Mort part of this “insider” roundtable with Adam Schefter, Jay Glazer and Michael Silver on the NFL Net? (linked here)

== Mortensen also has a Q-and-A with’s and Pro Football Hall of Fame writer Len Pasquarelli (linked here), who had quintiple bypass surgery year ago, then contracted Guillain-Barre syndrome, a disorder that affects the nervous system.

== Bob Costas has groovy sun glasses (linked here)

== And the NFL Net’s Rich Eisen can never refer to Roger Goodell as “The Boss” again after this interview (linked here)

== A dude dressed in drag made Tuesday’s Super Bowl media day kind of a drag (linked here) Even a bigger drag was if you were trying to interview someone and ESPN’s Chris Berman decided he needed a quote more than you did (linked here).

== Why Berman won’t be asked by ESPN bosses to take a furlough, but others could be (linked here)

== More speculation about the future of the NFL Network (linked here). Maybe that’s why desk man Marshall Faulk has been sweating so much (linked here).

== Larry Fitzgerald Sr. seems like a good man. As a sportswriter … (linked here)

== Magic Johnson has the magic interviewing touch when it comes to Phil Jackson (linked here)

== CBS’ Jim Nantz doesn’t necessarily want the lead of his obit to include “helped change the overtime rule in the NFL,” but it could be on his resume (linked here)

== Remember the first and only female to broadcast an NFL game? It was Gayle Sierens, for NBC, in 1987, the last game of the season. The New York Times’ Richard Sandomir looks back at why she is still the only one to do it (linked here).

== Sandomir also tries to figure out how viewers are supposed to know about the Arizona Cardinals when Fox and CBS hardly showed them to the national audience before the playoffs began (linked here). Reminds us a lot of the disservice that ESPN and Fox did with the Tampa Bay Rays before they reached the ’08 World Series — and there were plenty of opportunites they missed in a 162-game regular season schedule.


== Erin Andrews has … jumped the blog shark? So say you, someone’s tired of writing about her (linked here). Even when she’s stealing other people’s seats? (linked here).

== Why isn’t Petros Papadakis worthy of leading “Pros vs. Joes” any more? (linked here)

== FS West has bigger plans for the Angels this season (linked here). Think the Dodgers are watching?

== Jimmy Connors and Tennis Channel … a match made in TV land (linked here)

== The Clippers (and Charlotte Bobcats) are the worst local draws as far as local TV cable goes (linked here). At a 0.5 rating so far this season on FS West and Prime Ticket, they’re miles away from the Lakers (4.2 after 20 games on FS West).

== A guy at the Hockey News says something to the effect that NBC’s free lunch with the NHL is over. In fact, that’s his lead, a reference to what the league will tell the network when it comes time to renewing its over-the-air network TV deal after this season (linked here).

== And someone isn’t happy with the phrase “pansification” that NBC’s Mike Milbury likes to use (linked here)

== J.A. Adande, meed S.E. Cupp (linked here)

== Sean Salisbury , the former USC QB who disappeared from ESPN a while back, apparently has a new employer, on a Dallas radio station, with Newy Scruggs, the former KCOP Channel 13 sportscaster (linked here)

== John Updike (1932-2009) appreciated a good baseball story (linked here)

== Another ESPN (and Fox Sports) has-been, Rob Dibble, has talked someone into hiring him — the Washington Nationals, who had a spot open when Don Sutton wanted to be cut loose so he could return to Atlanta (linked here) and (linked here).

== The ESPN “Sunday Night” and Fox “Saturday Afternoon” MLB game of the week schedule, so far, doesn’t infringe too much on our beach days (linked here) This is a story with legs.

== Kobe Bryant is asking for $49.99 to get the “special” stuff on his blog (linked here)

== Wait, did Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner really ask that HBO be blocked at the team hotel, in case any unnecessary nudity corrupt his game prep? (linked here) And more Super Bowl related stuff from Onion Sports (linked here)

== And finally:

Back to CNBC’s Darren Rovell, who spotted a major U.S. newspaper forgetting the St. Louis Cardinals football team moved to Arizona about 21 years ago (linked here):

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Do you remember the first Super Bowl you watched?


A lot of times, the network-generated press Q-and-A are fine if you need to fill space in a newspaper or TV guide. For some reason, I read most of this one and got some interesting insight — not so much ego-gratifying blathering from over-paid sportscasters trying to sound like the commonman. But this time, they actually did.

From NBC, a look back at some Super Bowl memories from those covering Sunday’s game:

== Al Michaels, on watching Super Bowl III 40 years ago on NBC: “I was in Hawaii starting my career (as a baseball broadcaster with the Islanders minor-league team) and was watching it with a friend of mine, early in the morning. I was an AFL fan and thought the AFL had been given short shrift and loved the way they played football and was very excited when the Jets won the game. I thought it was neat to have this upstart league come in and say to the NFL, ‘hey, we’re as good as you are.’ ”

== Michaels, on watching the first Super Bowl: “I was there in the Los Angeles Coliseum with my brother David. It was a beautiful day in the middle of January and we had really good seats on the northern side of the Coliseum. There were only about 60,000 people in the staduim and about 30,000 empty seats but I thought it was cool. I had always followed the AFL as a kid and I loved the AFL. You had no idea what was going to happen; would Kansas City even remotely be able to stay in the game or was the NFL so superior and dominant. Even though Green Bay won, and they won it going away, it was a close game at halftime and I remember thinking at halftime, ‘hey this is pretty neat, the AFL can stay with the NFL.’ It was a lot of fun but I had no idea that 43 years later it would evolve into anything like this.”

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Another Top 50 All-Time Sportscaster list … ya-hew…


Granted, the one issued a few weeks ago by the American Council of Sportscaster and Dairy Farmers (something like that) had it right with Vin Scully at No. 1, but the rest of it seemed so … random (linked here).

It had to inspire a better list. A more thought-provoking list. A list that invoked more thought, at least.

Yahoo! posted its own Top 50 late Thursday (linked here), penned by David J. Halberstam (not the recently deceased American novelist and sportswriter, but the self-made broadcast sports historian and sales and media consultant who once did a book on New York sports radio).

Again, you need to know where this list originates, because it definitely skews things up.

Halberstam’s criteria:
== Contributions, trendsetting and pioneering.
== Measure, impact and length of their visibility.
== Legacy and historical relevance.
== Distinction in their on-air role.
== National reach.

With that, he has no problem naming Howard Cosell to the No. 1 spot, followed by John Madden, Brent Musburger, Al Michaels and Dick Enberg. Scully is … let’s see … No. 16.
And Jim Gray is No. 49.

So there. Read it and weep.

The followup is a blog by Jay Busbee that ranks the 50 worst (linked here). Histop three: Billy Packer, Chris Berman, Joe Morgan. Many, of course, make both lists.

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Next Friday: The 17th annual best/worst of L.A. sports talk


Thanks for the imput so far on your favorite/least favorite sports-talk radio guys in town. We remind you that this list, as its always been, is to get to the heart of who’s doing the best and worst L.A.-based show. The problem with this now is having KLAC-AM (570) dump its local lineup in favor of a Fox Sports Radio list that folded in much of the former guys — meaning, Petros Papadakis and Matt “Money” Smith do a nationally syndicated show now. Although it may sound a lot the same, technically, it doesn’t qualify any longer under these arbitrary rules we drew up long ago and may need to be revamped.

Steve Hartman? Not on the local list any more. And then we just have the fact that there’s no more Mychal Thompson, Tim Cates, Tony Bruno … does Vic “The Brick” still count in there somewhere? It’s crazy loco at this point. We’re still trying to figure out how to adjust to these new changes.

The list also includes the local sports update guys — KFWB’s Bill Seward, Ted Sobel, Bret Lewis, Bob Harvey … KNX’s Randy Kerdoon, Steve Grad, Paul Olden, Chris Madsen … KSPN’s A. Martinez and Dave Joseph … even KFI’s Rich Marotta … who are we missing?

Again, email me your thoughts on the local radio scene, as well as the national (Rome, Patrick, Jason Smith, etc.) at

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