You make the call: The best play-callers … and you only get one vote

Pulling the list of names that we included in today’s Top 10/Bottom 5 for the 17th annual best and worst of L.A. sportscasters for the play-by-play men (story linked here), who’s your top choice?

Consider next year we may our first female .. the Dodgers may have narrowed their list down to candidates for the opening to do 40 road games this season, and Jeanne Zelasko was in the hunt.



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Our Daily Dread: Be our guest, take down Becks

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By Jim Litke
The Associated Press

David Beckham is like that suit languishing in the back of everyone’s closet. It was too expensive when bought and too flashy by half when you tried it on. Every time you’ve thought about wearing it since, you wonder what possessed you in the first place.

The difference is that getting something for Becks now won’t be as easy as auctioning him off on eBay.

Continue reading

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The Media Learning Curve: Beyond the ‘It’ lists

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The 17th annual best and worst of the L.A. sports media has come to a February conclusion with the play-by-play list of Top 10 and Bottom 5 entries (linked here). The shortest month with the largest amount of reader viewing and response each year, and this is no different.

Thanks for the votes on the blog each week (the latest is coming up soon).

The play-by-play list has evolved into something a little different this year. Try picking between Vin Scully and Bob Miller each 12 months. Then throw in Jaime Jarrin.

There’s three big fish in a very big pond. They smother the competition. So we tried to adjust to be realistic.

Beyond this, here are more media notes that has come through the inbox with some relevance:

== Mike Breen, Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy are on the ABC call (Sunday, 12:30 p.m., Channel 7) for the Lakers’ game in Phoenix. Mike Tirico, Hubie Brown and Heather Cox do Detroit-Boston at 10 a.m. as the leadin. Dan Shulman and Doris Burke do Cleveland-Atlanta on ESPN at 5 p.m. Sunday.

== Coverage on ESPN and ESPN2 of the World Baseball Classic actually begins at 1:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 5 with Japan facing China in Tokyo (ESPN2, with Jon Sciambi and analyst Orestes Destrade). ESPN and ESPN2 combine for 23 games leading into the semifinals (March 21-22) and the final (March 23) at Dodger Stadium.

== The MLB Network’s daily coverage of spring training games includes the Dodgers-White Sox game on Sunday (2 p.m.) from the new Glendale, Arizona field that they share.

== Dodgers’ Hall of Fame Spanish-language broadcaster Jamie Jarrin will be honored with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Council of Los Angeles’ Community Advocate’s Award on Saturday at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills.
Proceeds will help send more than 1,000 at-risk youth (ages 7-13) to camp this summer. More information: www.svdpla.org, or contact Sandra Gillard at 323-276-6083 or sgillard@svdpla.org.

== The seven-part series where Hank Haney tries to fix Charles Barkley’s golf swing starts Monday, 6 p.m. on Golf Channel.

== Before NBC’s coverage of the WGC Match Play Championship on Sunday, check out the Golf Digest Equipment Special with Brian Crowell and Dottie Pepper (Channel 4, 10 a.m. Sunday). Golf Digest’s Senior Equipment Editors Mike Johnson and Mike Stachura also join in to try to demystify equipment for the average golfer by visiting manufacturers at TaylorMade, Adams Golf, Callaway, Cobra, Cleveland, Titleist, Ping, Nike and Bridgestone. It’ll also reveal some of the sport’s quirkier new products.

== Mary Carillo, Billie Jean King and John McEnroe will call live the BNP Paribas Showdown for the Billie Jean King Cup event on Monday from New York’s Madison Square Garden (HBO, 4:30 to 8 p.m.)

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Petros’ hot/not hot streak ends

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Petros Papadakis, whose polarizing affect made him both the best and worst of the readers’ blog polls to determine the top and bottom sports-talk host as well as TV reporter/studio analyst, has again made it to the summit of the poll we’ve been running to determine your favorite TV game analyst (linked here)

But he’s not quite the unfavorite.

Papadakis, who does USC or UCLA football for Prime Ticket when he’s not on a FSN network contest, had 84 of the 272 votes as of Thursday night (31 percent) to lead the way for the favorites. Don McLean, who does UCLA radio and TV work, was second with 48 votes (24 percent). Our top choice, Jim Fox on the Kings’ TV, was third with 48 votes (18 percent).

On the no-go list, it’s the anti-King, Ducks analyst Brian Hayward, who drew the stink eye with 33 of the 145 votes so far (23 percent), just more than Papadakis (23 votes, 16 percent) and our worst, Steve Lyons on the Dodgers’ TV, who had 15 votes (10 percent).

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The Dodgers can knock $10,000 off the Man-Ram deal without feeling guilty

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The Associated Press

Manny Ramirez, Ray Borque, Peter Gammons and the New England Patriots are among the 40,000 businesses, individuals and charities to have unclaimed money or property being held by Massachusetts.

The new list of unclaimed property issued Thursday by the state’s Abandoned Property Division totaled $30 million in forgotten bank accounts, uncashed checks and contents of abandoned safe deposit boxes, the office of Treasurer Tim Cahill said Thursday.

The list includes 13 accounts over $100,000 and 32 accounts between $50,000 and $100,000.

Ramirez’s agent completed the claims process last summer to retrieve a $10,000 Reebok Corp. check that had languished.

Gammons, who the treasurer’s office said has almost $13,000 in unclaimed property, said in an e-mail to The Associated Press that he was surprised to hear about the money.

“But then,” Gammons said, “I wouldn’t be surprised if Manny had $7M out there.”

Bourque had more than $2,200 in unclaimed property, according to the treasurer’s office.

The Patriots were not aware of the unclaimed property. Team spokesman Stacey James said the organization would look into it.

The Abandoned Property Division has returned over $290 million since Cahill took office in 2003, the treasurer’s office said. The database (linked here), built over several years, has more than eight million accounts totaling over $1 billion. The new names will be published in local newspapers around the state in March.

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Rexy’s Midday Romers

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More of Jim Rome’s pursuit of guys named Rex to have on the air on his syndicated radio show — in L.A., on 570-AM — and those who’ve arrived in full regalia so far this week (see last week’s list at this link):

== Monday, Feb. 23, No. 8: Rex Kalamian, Sacramento Kings assistant coach (linked here)

== Tuesday, Feb. 24, No. 9: Rex Richards, former Texas Tech lineman and MMA super-heavyweight fighter (linked here)

== Wednesday, Feb. 25, No. 10: Rex Tucker, former Texas A&M and NFL offensive lineman with Detroit and Chicago (linked here)

==Thursday: Feb. 26, No. 11: Rex Ecarma, the head tennis coach at Louisville and part of the Kentucky tennis hall of fame (linked here).

== Friday, Feb. 27, No. 12: Scheduled: Rex Hadnot, Cleveland Browns offensive guard (linked here)

“You know ‘Rex’ is Latin for ‘King,’ don’t you?” Rome reminded the listeners on Thursday.

You know “Rome” is HBO for a series back in ’05 about a bunch of guys with swords and cool hats that look like the USC marching band and would have been one the favorite shows of Rex Reed (below) had the critic still been with us then? (linked here)

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Coming Friday: The last of the best/worst of L.A. sportscasters, and a name you should know

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Jeff Lasky, play-by-play man of the Lancaster JetHawks, is the focus of the feature story that goes with the list of the Top 10/Bottom 5 rankings of those who describe the live game action for L.A. sports viewers and listeners. The 28-year-old Chaminade High grad works his springs and summers doing the JetHawks on radio and the Internet and his falls and winters in Bozeman, Montana, with the Montana State football and basketball teams.

And he doesn’t make a fortune doing it, as you may imagine.

So why continue? Why not.

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Read more about it tomorrow. Here’s a shot of Jeff with Fred Willard during a JetHawks broadcast a couple of years ago. Yes, it’s completely out of context, but if you get a chance to have him on as guest to do some play calling that we wish we could hear somewhere on a podcast, how do you pass on it?

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Know a Newbo?

Flip over to CNBC today at 6 and 11 p.m. for a show called “Newbos: The Rise of America’s New Black Overclass,” a one-hour documentary about how more young black multimillionaires are coming out of, all places, sports. As well as media and entertainment. And making a difference rather than just collecting a paycheck.

Reporter Lee Hawkins coined the term “Newbo” based on his forthcoming book with the same title.

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Among those captured here are Torii Hunter, LeBron James and Terrell Owens. Their connection: They’re “contradicting old-guard leaders who assert that Newbos offer little to the black community as a whole,” as Hawkins said.

“Newbos exposes and chronicles the experiences and insights of these men and women as they move from relative poverty to fantastic wealth at a very young age,” says the CNBC release. “Hawkins examines how the Newbos’ unconventional paths to success have become blueprints for broader independence and entrepreneurship, and how this segment of black society has a disproportionately heavy influence over millions of people.

“Hawkins turns the spotlight on some of the nation’s highest profile athletes and entertainers and asks them — How exactly have they built their brands and their businesses? Does their fame and status insulate them from the problems of the broader black community? Do they feel they have a responsibility to the rest of black America? How important are social awareness and charitable involvement? What do they think about Barack Obama? Will they rise to the challenges and opportunities that accompany their wealth and fame or will they squander their clout in frivolity?”

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Our Daily Dread: Man(ny), do baseball teams need to grill up a new strategy

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Nothing new in Mannywood overnight? Not even eBay links to him selling off stuff lately in his garage?

Didn’t think so.

Steve Mason mentioned on the radio yesterday on Ash Wednesday that, for the rest of Lent, he’d give up talking about Manny Ramirez.

Sorry. On L.A. radio, it’s 40 more days and 40 more nights of raining frogs, or discussing Manny’s slimy bailout plan.

Nor can the Dodgers seem to afford to let him hop away.

Scott Boras is in Phoenix talking to Dodger check-writers about his future. What if somehow the home-team Arizona Diamondbacks figured out a way to get Man-Ram to stay in the greater Phoenix area as a new player in the mix?

A wild idea?

I wouldn’t put it past the franchise’s 40-year-old CEO Derrick Hall, especially if it’s a way to put a sting on the team he grew up watching — the Dodgers.

I’m just catching up on a Fortune magazine story that came out recently about how MLB teams are battling the recession. Most of the focus in this piece href=”http://money.cnn.com/2009/02/18/magazines/fortune/birger_baseball.fortune/index.htm”>linked here) is how Hall, the future commissioner of baseball, has combatted the slumping ecomony with his own personal touch on running the team.

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So how does a “middle market team” like the D-backs make green backs?

Hall is the king of customer service. And innovating marketing. And smarter spending. Stuff they teach you in Minor League Baseball 101 but no one listens to.

The story starts out showing how Hall contacted a season-seat holder almost immediately upon hearing her plight telling her he’d do whatever he could to keep her. She just emailed him. He replied within 10 minutes.

They worked out a deal where she could share seats with someone else in her section.

Hall left the Dodgers in 2004 when things got squirmy under new (Ballpark Frank McCourt) ownership. In the corporate world for one year, he jumped back in with the D-backs in ’06 — working in a city that actually has the lowest per capita income ($35,010) of any MLB town, the story points out.

With Hall’s pragmatic guidance, the food and souvenirs are far less expensive that what other MLB teams slap on their patrons. Hall gives tickets away to local schools. He knows how to grease the wheels.

And he doesn’t give overinflated contracts to big-ego free agents. Or their agents.

But under Hall’s watch, why couldn’t he figure out a way to make Manny fell at home in Arizona? For the right price, why couldn’t ‘Zona be a fall-back option, even a one-year pop at a salary below what the Dodgers are dangling. DHall would figure out how to make it work.

He’d have the Valley of the Sun wearing dreadlocks faster than McCourt could pull out his abacus and recalculate how much he’d lose in revenue.

The Dodgers have already decided to pick up a D-backs retread in second baseman Orlando Hudson. What’s to stop Arizona from snatching a Dodger treasure right from under their NL West rival’s nose?

DHall, you’re on the clock. Show us the moneyball.

Comment here or at thomas.hoffarth@dailynews.com.

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Another season of ‘The Contender’ ends? How’d we miss it?

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Troy Ross, above left, and Hino Ehikhamenor will fight for a scheduled 10 rounds tonight at 6 p.m. on Versus, at the MGM Grand Theatre at Foxwoods (official link here)

The winner wins the latest series of “The Contender,” hosted by Tony Danza.

Sorry, but that’s about all the enthusiasm we can drum up for this reality series that, once upon a time, had more widespread interest and then became tough to follow as it bounced from network to network.

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