The Media Learning Curve: A 10-minute major for not being able to crosscheck the remote control on Saturday night

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Above, that’s the dude from “Napoleon Dynamite” performing in the movie “Blades of Glory. Left, that’s U.S. famed skater Evan Lysacek during the men’s short program Wednesday at the World Figure Skating Championships at Staples Center. As art immitates sport immitaing life immitating Napoleon on skates intimating that the guy can really skate a program, we also wonder: Scott Hamilton was in “Blades of Glory,” right? As himself. Legitimizing the movie, as he’s legitimizing the World Figure Skating Championships that have been taking place this week on Oxygen (c’mon, it’s right there between Hallmark and HSN).

Maybe after all these kids in crazy chiffon outfits are finished skating around at Staples Center this week, some will stick around and try out for the Kings’ skate chicks crew that shovel ice around the nets during time outs and try to do fancy tricks when no one’s watching.

Or maybe not. Probably not. Man, we hope not.

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We’ve tried to explain how people watch figure skating on TV these days, because you know you’ll probably have to sit through some of it Saturday night between 9 and 11 p.m. if you’re home and rescind remote control duties. Enlighten yourself by reading today’s media column (linked here) and then some of the other stuff we’ve come across this week that wasn’t print-worthy:

== Another observation by David Michaels, the NBC Sports producer of the skating coverage this weekend that feeds into the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, which NBC will also cover: “While the world championships have an insight into what may happen (at the Olympics), history says the whole period between now and then, all kinds of things change. This is the best time to check out the other competitors and see what they’ll need to do to win (the Olympics). I’d pay less attention to the results and more to the lessons learned.”

== Hamilton’s opinion about the U.S. women’s chances: “It’s a very important World Championships because their placements determine how many entries they’ll have at the Olympics next year. Alyssa Czisny’s done everything she can to break down her technique to be more consistent and that showed with a win at the National Championship. I hope she can go to L.A. and throw down two great performances.”

==ESPN2′s “Friday Night Fights” has Brian Kenny live from the studio while Teddy Atlas and Joe Tessitore call tonight’s Eddie Chambers-Samuel Peter bout from the Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live (7 p.m.).

== Prime Ticket’s coverage of the MLS Chivas USA season — 18 games on the local cable channel — starts Sunday with the team’s game in Dallas. Christian Miles does play-by-play, with Bernard Osuna as the analyst and Amanda Fletcher on the sidelines when games are at home.

== GolTV has live coverage of nine European 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches from Saturday through April 1 – 2. The field includes Spain, Germany, Netherlands, Italy and Russia.

== Because you really can’t enjoy an auto race better than hearing it on the radio, Sirius XM has announced it will do all Formula One races this season on all services starting with Sunday’s opener in Australia (10 p.m. Saturday PDT).

== ESPN has the McDonald’s High School All-American basketball game from Miami (Wednesday, April 1, with the girl’s game followed by the boy’s game). Coverage includes the three-point skills competition and dunk contest on Monday at 5 p.m. Dave Pasch is doing play-by-play for both girls and boys games. Brenda VanLengen analyzes the girls while Len Elmore is with the boys.

== This ESPN.com piece by Greg Garber running in the Krispy Kreme Challenge reminds us when we were at the L.A. Marathon years ago and offered donuts and cigars to participants instead of water and towels as they ran past us:

== AND THE CLOSING ARGUMENT:

From Onion Sports (linked here):

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Marc Stein Treated For OCD After Latest NBA Power Rankings List Teams From Dirtiest To Cleanest

BRISTOL, CT — Sportswriter Marc Stein was diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder and prescribed a low dose of Risperdal Tuesday after using his weekly ESPN.com power rankings to rate the “filthiness” of each NBA team.

“Basketball under their fingernails; I wouldn’t go near these guys in a million years, okay?” read Stein’s entry for the 11th-ranked Pacers, a typical blurb in a list that described the No. 1 Suns as “pretty clean or less diseased than normal” and the No. 30 Mavericks as “DIRTY DIRTY DIRTY DIRTY.”

An agitated Stein told reporters that he believes teams need to be ranked in many different ways.

“Scoring them from best to worst, or by their ‘power,’ is one way, but what about organizing them by how dirty they are, their franchise age, or the way they sound or taste? People deserve to know that, although the Lakers are the best team in the league, they are only 23rd in terms of how well-liked they are among their own families. The Detroit Pistons are ranked eighth alphabetically. That’s important.”

Stein was prescribed an additional dose of D-cycloserin after explaining his plans to wash the entire Northwest Division.

When emailed about this story — for real — Stein, the former Daily News NBA writer replied: “The irony here is that I am an absolute neat freak . . . maybe they’re spying on me.”

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Our Daily Dread: Can we squeeze a little quiet time into the Tigers’ home opener?

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The San Diego Padres wouldn’t have done it. Neither would have the St. Louis Cardinals.

Red Sox Nation, with all them practicing Catholics, would have seen this coming years ago and made some noise about it already.

The Detroit Tigers, apparently, just figured out that its home opener on April 11 at 1 p.m. — on Good Friday — wasn’t such great planning for the Catholic community.

Jesus.

Forget the fact that there’s so much hot dogs and peanut eating at the ballyard on that special Friday before Easter. No fish?

The separation between church and state-of-the-art ballparks came to light when the Catholics of Detroit started to show some outward concern that, as much as they are baseball fans, they’re bigger fans of the big picture, and would rather be in church from noon to 3 p.m. on that day, as they are committed to each year.

Or maybe it’s not that big a deal. Most Tiger fans would consider it a good Friday if the team just won the game.

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Wonder how Ty Cobb would have handled this “controvery.”

The Catholics that I know seem to be a forgiving bunch. It’s kind of part of the membership rules.

But from we know about Tigers is that former owner Tom Monaghan (the Dominos Pizza guy) is a devout Catholic. He had some kind of religious awakening and built a community in Florida where condoms and birth control pills are not allowed to be sold in drug stores. He must think his former team has gone to hell.

I’m reading a Detroit Tigers webbloger named Bill Ferris (linked here) who was quoted in the Detroit Free-Press story that originally came out with situation (linked here).

“I don’t view this as a controversy. I didn’t call foul or complain in any way. I was interviewed as a Catholic and a Tigers fan and what my plans were for the day. I didn’t view this is a controversy or something controversial. I’m not pushing the Tigers to change the time of the game, nor did I ever even think to suggest it as a possibility. I’m not even upset about the fact that the game was scheduled when it was.

“I have been to 13 consecutive Opening Days with my friends. I’m also a practicing Catholic. With the game falling on the afternoon of Good Friday it does create a personal conflict for me. But it is a conflict that I need to work through and I wouldn’t expect the Tigers or MLB to try and accommodate me in this regard.

“I’m posting about it here because, well, I can. This turned out to be much more controversial than I ever imagined.”

Yeah, talk to Shawn Green about that one. It was commendable when he was with the Dodgers and choose to observe Yom Kipper, even though every year it fell in the middle of a September pennant race. Alan Schwarz, on NPR’s “All Things Considered,” did a piece back on ’04 on it (linked here) that explains it better.

You can expect these kinds of things to get a little overblown by those who seize the opportunity to do such.

Headlines that say “Catholics criticize Tigers’ Good Friday opener” miss the point that every team plays that day — a night game — except the Tigers and Rangers.

Oh, well.

That’s more bad business than worth screaming about an injustice.

The Associated Press rewrite of the story says that the Tigers have “upset some” Catholics who are “unhappy” with the start time.

A story on FoxSports.com includes an instant poll: Should the Tigers change the start of the game. It’s a 50/50 split from more than 3,800 voters. There’s no similiar poll on FoxNews.com, but we’d be more interested to see how that one fell.

At the Vatican’s official website (linked here), put “Detroit Tigers” in the search engine and there’ll be no documents found. There aren’t any for the “New Jersey Devils” either, but …

Pope Benedict XVI may have a comment sometime down the road if someone deems it necessary. But that would be like Barack Obama taking time out of his busy schedule to do an NCAA Tournament bracket. I don’t see that happening.

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

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The Red Sox traded Coco Crisp too soon; imagine a Ben And Jerry’s stand now at Fenway Park

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FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — The Boston Red Sox have signed right-hander Rocky Cherry to a minor league contract.

The 29-year-old Cherry was 0-3 with a save and a 6.35 ERA in 18 relief appearances for the Baltimore Orioles last year. He spent most of the season at Triple-A Norfolk, where he was 0-1 with a 2.89 ERA in 28 relief appearances.

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Shawn Johnson won’t tumble for him

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The Associated Press

A restraining order has been issued against a man authorities say tried to break onto the set of ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” to meet Olympic gold-medal gymnast Shawn Johnson.

Court records show an order was issued against Robert O’Ryan, who was arrested by Los Angeles police on Tuesday. According to documents that accompanied the restraining order application, O’Ryan was stopped by security at CBS Studios, the lot where “Dancing With the Stars” is staged, after he jumped on a fence on Monday afternoon.

Police later searched his car and found a shotgun and handgun — both loaded — as well as duct tape and love letters.

A sworn statement by Johnson’s mother, Teri, states that she was told by police that he believed he was meant to have a child with her daughter.

Johnson, 17, is one of the celebrity contestants on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars.”

She is “in fear of her life,” her parents’ attorney wrote in a restraining order application.

The application had sought protection for Johnson’s partner, Mark Ballas, but he was not included in the restraining order issued Wednesday.

Her parents requested and were granted the restraining order on Wednesday. A hearing on whether to grant a lengthy restraining order will be held April 14.

O’Ryan, 34, is being held on $35,000 bail on suspicion of carrying a loaded firearm in public (a felony). Court records do not indicate whether he has a lawyer.

The records state that he told security guards and police that he packed up all his belongings and traveled to California from Florida in the hopes of being with Johnson.

A report by security guards at CBS Studios states that O’Ryan was carrying an expired concealed weapons permit.

Sheryl Shade, Johnson’s agent, said the matter was being reviewed by the district attorney’s office “and we are confident that it will be handled appropriately by all involved.”

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Agent Zero: Zero more blogging … that’s so yesterday anyway

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The Associated Press

Gilbert Arenas apparently is ready to return to the court. He swears he is done, however, with his computer.

One of the best-known and most-quoted examples of a star professional athlete conveying his thoughts to the world via his blog is hanging up his keyboard. The Washington Wizards point guard from Grant High in North Hollywood said so himself Wednesday when asked whether he plans to resume writing now that he’s ready to get back to balling.

“I retired,” Arenas said in the home locker room before Washington’s game against
Charlotte. “No more blogging for me.”

Really? Why not?

“It’s just like the double-(edged) sword thing: Eventually your words is going to kill you,” Arenas said with a smile.

Asked to explain his thoughts further, Arenas smiled.

“I started looking at it as, before, it was fun, and everybody has fun reading it. And then
it’s like everything I said, everybody started using it as firepower, instead of saying
it’s just entertainment. You know, people started using it, trying to take bits and pieces
instead of enjoying the blog,” the three-time All-Star said. “So once I started seeing
that, I just started visualizing, eventually, this is going to be the double-(edged) sword
thing. It made me and it’s going to kill me, so I might as well stop.”

He hasn’t updated his blog since November, and has threatened in the past to stop blogging – only to pick it up again.

He has missed all of this season so far after having his third knee operation in 18 months. But Arenas started practicing with his teammates last month and has targeted Saturday’s game against the visiting Detroit Pistons for his return.

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As long as these MLB Net Thursday night games don’t interfere with ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ on the Logo Network

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These new channels keep popping up on the DirecTV lineup — not that there’s anything wrong with that.

One day, you think the Comedy Food Channel’s here, and instead, it’s been moved because there’s a new channel with a reality show with RuPaul all about guys in drag having a contest — not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Former Dodger Dave Stewart gives it one thumb up.

Today, the new MLB Network announced some of its Thursday night game lineup, and the Dodgers are on once, but no Angels — not that there’s anything wrong with that.

But included in the first 16 games is the first contest from the new Yankee Stadium, with Bob Costas doing play-by-play.

There’s something wrong with that.

Shouldn’t that game be on a, er, major network that most everyone gets. Like, say, ESPN. Or even TBS. Or Fox. Instead of the league-owned channel that … oh, now it makes sense. Finders’ keepers.

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And right about now, RuPaul needs a hug. Harold Reynolds around?

(Yes, that’s a photo of RuPaul, impersonating the First Couple … who else could pull that off?)

Here’s how the MLB Net Thursday night schedule looks so far (all times PDT, of course):

April 9, 4 p.m.: Milwaukee at San Francisco (Matt Vasgersian and Joe Magrane)
April 16 1 p.m.: Cleveland at N.Y. Yankees home opener (Bob Costas, Harold Reynolds and Jim Kaat)
April 16, 5 p.m.: Toronto at Minnesota (Victor Rojas and Dan Plesac)
April 23, 5 p.m.: Dodgers at Houston (Matt Vasgersian and Joe Magrane) Although, in the Southern California market, we will get an “alternate” game — same rules that apply when ESPN is carrying a Dodgers or Angels game on a Monday or Wednesday. At least there’s no black screen.
April 30, 4 p.m.: Boston at Tampa Bay (Victor Rojas and Joe Magrane)
May 7, 4 p.m.: Philadelphia at N.Y. Mets (Bob Costas and Al Leiter)
May 14, 5 p.m.: Baltimore at Kansas City (broadcasters TBD)
May 21, 5 p.m.: Chicago Cubs at St. Louis (broadcasters TBD)

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You need NFL TV news … in March?

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It’s hardly on the radar, but catching up with a few announcements made from the league meetings at the St. Regis Monarch in Dana Point:

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== The league kicks off Thursday, Sept. 10 at 5:30 p.m. on NBC — Pittsburgh hosting Tennessee
== The first Sunday night game, Sept. 13, on NBC (5:30 p.m.) — Green Bay hosting Chicago.
== The first Monday night games, Sept. 14, on ESPN — New England hosting Buffalo at 4 p.m.; Oakland hosting San Diego at 7:15 p.m.
== The Thanksgiving Day games on Nov. 26: Detroit hosting Green Bay, 9:30 a.m., Channel 11/Fox; Dallas hosting Oakland, 1:15 p.m., Channel 2/KCBS; Denver hosting the New York Giants, 5:20 p.m., NFL Network

The rest of the 2009 regular-season schedule will be completed and announced in April.

==DirecTV’s “Sunday Ticket” package will extend with the league through 2014. That could only enflame cable operators’ relationship with the NFL Network carriage. The NFL and DirecTV have a $700-million-a-year deal that was to expire in 2010. The league will, however, create a couple of packages for those who don’t have DirecTV, because either of poor satellite dish placement or they live in apartment. That broadband service will start no later than 2012. The DirecTV “Red Zone Channel” that has live cut-ins from all Sunday afternoon games will be available to cable and satellite providers, as well as cellphone and internet users.

And something that happened a couple of weeks ago:

== Westwood One and the NFL announced a two-year extension to continue as the syndicated radio partner for the league.

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Do you still need MMOD or DTV’s MMM? Hmmmmm

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For the Sweet 16, March Madness on Demand — the online version — or DirecTV’s Mega March Madness are still available during the NCAA tournament. The first is free; the later is … not sure how much or if there’s a reduced rate from the $69 starting point.

But the point is, here is what KCBS-Channel 2 will deliver to the L.A. market on Thursday and Friday:

== THURSDAY:
- 4 p.m.: Purdue vs. UConn with Dick Enberg and Jay Bilas (instead of Pitt vs. Xavier with Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery)
- 6:45 p.m.: Villanova vs. Duke with Lundquist/Raftery (instead of Memphis vs. Missouri with Enberg/Bilas)

== FRIDAY:
- 4 p.m.: Arizona vs. Louisville with Gus Johnson and Len Elmore (instead of Oklahoma vs. Syracuse with Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg)
- 6:45 p.m.: Gonzaga vs. North Carolina with Nantz/Kellogg (instead of Michigan State vs. Kansas with Johnson/Elmore)

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Our Daily Dread: It’s as easy as WBC

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You’re concerned this morning that 12-seeded Arizona could mess up your NCAA tournament bracket.

We’re puzzled why someone playing spring training baseball in Arizona couldn’t have been recruited by Team USA to take a one-hour flight to Dodger Stadium and play in the World Baseball Classic semifinal contest Sunday night to help mess up Japan’s chances to eventually win the whole thing on Monday night.

In theory.

Mark DeRosa, playing first base? For real? James Loney wasn’t free to come over from Glendale, Ariz., and reclaim his little corner of Dodger Stadium to scoop up at least one wild Derek Jeter throw and save the U.S. team some runs? At least he understands the footwork needed to play the position.

Who were those relief pitchers that the U.S. trotted out? The Double-A guys playing for the U.S. Olympic team back in Beijing had more name recognition.

What else did we seem to learn, or yearn for, after watching Japan win a 10-inning finale against Korea (or, is it South Korea as the broadcasters kept saying?) that spilled into the late-night “SportsCenter” on the East Coast?

== If the Dodgers ever fielded a team of all Japanese or Korean players, they might sell out every game. You see now the importance of having an Hideo Nomo, Kaz Ishii, Takashi Saito or Hiroki Kuroda on the staff? It’s not just for sushi sales. That’s a demographic that needs to still be cultivated in the U.S. financial markets by businesses trying to stay ahead of the red ink.

== Whatever happened to Saito? After 81 saves in 180 games during his three-year Dodger career, the 39-year-old isn’t good enough for the Japanese pitching staff? On Monday, Saito was pitching a scoreless inning of relief for the Boston Red Sox in Fort Myers, Fla., wrapping up a 7-6 win over Edwin Jackson and Detroit in which Brad Penny started and pitched three hitless innings for the Red Sox. Oh, and Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youklis, who had to leave the U.S. team because of “injury,” played four innings in the field and was 0-for-1 with a walk. What’s wrong with all that?

== Whatever happened to Hee-seop Choi (link here)? He was with the Korean team in the ’06 Classic hit a three-run pinch-hit home run against Team USA. When last seen on the baseball radar, he was in the Korean minor leagues trying to get his groove back.

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== You, Yu Darvish, are one bad-ass. And what an interesting story. The 22-year-old is 6-foot-5, which he must get from his Iranian father, Farzad Darvishsefad. His dad met his mother, Ikuyo, who is Japanese, when they went to Eckard College in St. Petersburg, Fla. Japanese law requires a person holding dual citizenship choose a single nationality before reaching the age of 22, so instead of Iranian, he picked Japanese so he could play for the country in the ’08 Beijing Olympics. He claims he has no desire to play U.S. baseball. Check to see if he got on the plane with the rest of his Japanese teammates when they left L.A. this morning. His wicked speedball moves more than Nomar Garciaparra’s pre-pitch ritual. But as you can see, he can be his own worst enemy, trying to strike everyone out to a point where he ends up walking too many in tight situations. It came back to haunt him in the ninth inning. Somehow, he allowed a batter to fly out in between strikeouts to end the game in the 10th.
What we also like about him: In 2007, he started the Yu Darvish Water Fund, to help build wells and rain water storage systems in developing countries. He donates 100,000 Japanese Yen for every win to the project. “When I thought what I could do to help the society and the world through baseball, I just thought of starting something small,” he said. “I wish this fund and hope of mine will eventually lead to help and encourage many people.”

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== Does Korean strategy include going brain dead at critical parts of the game. You gotta walk Ichiro with a base open in the 10th inning. Otherwise, he tires the pitcher out — even fouling away a pitch that bounced before it reached the plate — before he gets something to volley up the middle and bring in the go-ahead runs. You couldn’t see that coming? Even Joe Morgan knew that was the right move.

== You notice that even the Netherlands didn’t want Andruw Jones playing for its team?

== You also notice how many non-U.S. teams wore advertising logos on their helmets and uniform sleves? Will that be the next place MLB allows sponsorship to spread? Regretably, it makes sense. In a time when all leagues are looking for more revenue — even the NFL is considering whether to allow hard liquor and state lotterys to advertise on their games and in their stadiums — those vices are what keep this country running strong and help is prosper. Next, legalize prostitution and watch the backstop rolling advertisement billboard start posting excursions to Las Vegas’ more famous brothels.

== By the way, if you tuned into ESPN at the dinner hour just before the first pitch of the Japan-Korea final, you may have seen this commercial:

It starts with a shot of a bald eagle and the American flag in the background:

“To help America cope with these tough economic times we put forth our own stimulus package. …”

There’s a box of Trojan condom “pleasure pack” of 32 premium lubricated latex condoms.

“The Trojan Pleasure Pack … Because we believe we should ride out these hard times together.”

Now, scan the Daily News sports section and see if you can find the adult entertainment ad that says: “We put the ‘wood’ in Hollywood.”

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

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