‘And your voice of the Lancaster JetHawks …’ Not me … but pull up a chair anyway


A couple of months ago, we did a feature story on Jeff Lasky, the 28-year-old play-by-play voice of the Single-A Lancaster JetHawks (linked here).

Wednesday afternoon, Lasky returns the favor. Sorta.

He’s offered me the opportunity to do an inning of play-by-play during the team’s game against the San Jose Giants. I’ve ridiculously taken him up on it, and the result will be the media column for Friday’s newspaper and perhaps an audio clip that could be used against me by any broadcaster who I’ve wronged in the last 20-plus years of writing the media column.

(When I told Dodgers broadcaster Charley Steiner about this endeavor, his immediate response: “Can I critique you?” Sure, if you can hear the game from San Francisco on Wednesday afternoon …)

Oh, you can?

Barring any unforseen technical difficulties — I plan to stay in Lancaster tonight so I don’t get a late wake-up call and get stuck in traffic driving out to the desert on Wednesday morning — you can hear the call of the game live on the JetHawks’ flagship station, Magic 1340-AM (linked here). Or, even easier, listen on the audio stream from the team website (linked here). Go to the “Listen Live” link.

It’s an 11 a.m. first-pitch, the end of a seven-game homestand.

There will also be a MP3 version of the call on Friday’s blog to go with the media column.

Listen, and learn, friends. Listen, to find out what’s happening in the game. And learn from my mistakes.

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Day 28: 30 baseball books in 30 days of April, ’09: The last Straw, perhaps, for ‘Daaaaaaarrr-uuuuuullll’

Another Dodgers-Giants angle: A player of high stature who played for each team, at one point and another in his fractured career:


The book: “Straw: Finding My Way”

The author: Darryl Strawberry (with John Strausbaugh)

How to find it: Ecco Books, 256 pages, $26.99

Where we’d go looking for it: Amazon has it (linked here) and here it is on the book publisher’s site (linked here).

The scoop: The book, scheduled for release today, is pretty straight forward: Darryl Strawberry was a very, very good baseball player who, according to the HarperCollins press notes, led the 1986 Mets to “108 victories with Strawberry scoring 27 home runs.”


Er, OK…. At least mention his appearance on “The Simpsons” in 1992 … which made him cry. Maybe it’s best to leave that one alone.

We interrupt this review with a quote: “Now this is decadent. And I’ve been to Miami with Darryl Strawberry.” — Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin), on the April 23, ’09 episode of the NBC show “30 Rock,” in a nightclub with Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan) with lots of women and drinking.

Review continued: The revelation as to why Strawberry ended up with a fractured finish go back to his upbringing — and abusive, alcoholic father; an immaturity in dealing with fame, especially in New York with a team that liked to party … and then a couple of bouts with cancer that kind of made him see the light, especially after some prison time, rehab and finding God.

The early part of the book circles to his father’s treatment of him and the family early on.

“I’m not blaming him for the all the mistakes and stupid decisions I made, or for the pain and sorrow I caused myself and others,” Strawberry writes in the introduction. “I take full responsibility for everything I have ever done. I know ‘My father beat me’ is a cliched excuse for bad behavior. I’m not using it as an excuse. There are no excuses. There are only explanations.”

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This (not) just in: ESPN duped

From today’s USA Today (linked here), with the moral of the story: Don’t trust anyone on the phone who sounds like Hal Holbrook:

Somebody posing as a Washington Post reporter convinced ESPN on Monday that one of the Washington Capitals’ star players had been suspended for Tuesday’s decisive Eastern Conference playoff Game 7 against the New York Rangers.


“I was on my way to the rink this morning and my buddy called me and was a little upset I was missing Game 7,” said Capitals defenseman Mike Green, a finalist for the Norris Trophy given to the NHL’s top defenseman.

“I had no idea what for. It kind of caught me off guard.”

ESPN SportsCenter hosts Josh Elliot and Hannah Storm relayed that Green and teammate Donald Brashear were suspended under a “Breaking News” banner Monday at 9:52 a.m.

Within a half hour, ESPN retracted the story.

“Our news desk received the call from someone representing themselves as a Washington Post reporter,” ESPN spokesman Dan Quinn said.

“We didn’t follow our own fact-checking procedures and mistakenly reported the story.

“We apologize for the error.”

Part of the fib wound up being true.

Brashear was suspended later Monday for six games for two on-ice incidents during the Caps’ 5-3 victory in Game 6.

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Our Daily Dread: Sports’ magic pitchmen, or get there now before Gary Coleman beats you to it

Your pick: The most ridiculous commercial you’ve seen pop up lately during a sports program has been:

A) Frank Thomas, for ZizZazz Explosive Energy Mix:

What we know: Thomas has a lot of muscles. Still. But no big-league team wants him. Maybe he’s just too hyped up. The Website also shows Manny Pacquio, Aaron Rowand and Archie Griffin involved in the marketing of this. Plus Paris Hilton. And singer Nelly and actor Jesse McCartney are listed as co-owners of the company. But Big Hurt? This hurts to watch.

B) Larry Zbyszko, aka “The Living Legend,”for Morphoplex Massive:

What we know: It’s $89.95 a 120-capsule bottle that’ll only last you a month. We can’t be sure why Zbyszko is a legend, other than having two “z”s and a “y” in his name. The fact he’s screaming about athletes who’ve died and ended up in a grave yard is a classy way to open a sales pitch. It’s as if he’s got the secret to getting bigger and stronger and quicker and more legal. Be careful what you promise.

C) Magic Johnson for either San Manuel Casino, Rent-A-Center, Jackson Hewitt Tax Prep or T-Mobile (with Julius Erving and Charles Barkley):

What we know: Magic’s people can’t be far from talking to Cash4Gold, willing to have someone yank teeth out of his head so he can put it in an envelope and mail it off to some prospectors somewhere up near San Francisco.

He could align himself with the Dakota Magic Casino in Hankintown, North Dakota, with plenty of RV parking (linked here), handing out ShamWows, Snuggie blankets and Amish rolling electric fireplaces to all customers who hit $20 on the big wheel.

Does any of that creep you out as much as last year’s NBA playoff promo that he did with Larry Bird?

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So the results are larger fields, bigger cards and better races? They why didn’t Del Mar do this years ago?


The Associated Press

Del Mar will reduce its schedule to five days a week, dropping most Monday programs because of the economy when the seaside track opens its 70th season in July.

Track officials said Monday that racing will be staged Wednesdays through Sundays from July 22-Sept. 9. The only Monday races will be on Labor Day.

It’s the first time since 1945 the track won’t race six days a week. The move reduces the meeting from its usual 43 days to 37.

“There’s a pinch on everyone due to the economy; there’s a pinch on the number of racehorses available in the state,” Del Mar president Joe Harper said. “Racing folks have been talking about racing less and presenting a better product because of it for some time now.”

The track plans to add one additional race to its cards on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Under consideration are Wednesday promotions that would offer free admission and reduced food and drink prices.

Del Mar racing secretary Tom Robbins said it had become harder to fill racing cards.

“As a result of this change, I think our fans will see larger fields and better cards across the board,” he said.

California’s horse population has declined recently, while the number of mares bred in the state and the live-foal crop are both down over the last 10 years, Robbins said. The economic downturn has reduced discretionary spending for claiming and buying thoroughbreds.

Del Mar began its Wednesday through Monday schedule in 1973, when California approved Sunday racing. The track located north of San Diego was founded by Bing Crosby in 1937.

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