Our Daily Dread: Jim Brown is still one bad mutha … shut your mouth

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Bill Russell (front left) joins Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown and Lew Alcindor in an historic meeting on June 4, 1967, to hear Ali (formerly Cassius Clay) give his reasons for rejecting the U.S. military draft.

An excerpt from former NFL great Jim Brown, and former NBA great Bill Russell, as they discuss things with Bryant Gumbel in the next episode (and 147th edition) of “Real Sports” (tonight, 10 p.m., HBO):

On whether Brown, a longtime social activist, is surprised or disappointed in the lack of activism among today’s top athletes:

“There are one or two individuals in this country that are black that have been put in front of us as an example. But they’re basically under a system that says, ‘Hey, they’re not gonna do a certain thing.’ Yes, that disappoints me because I know they both know better.”

Gumbel: “Tiger (Woods) and Michael (Jordan)?”

Brown: “Yeah, I know they both know better, OK. And I know they both can do better without hurting themselves.”

Brown on Woods:
“You know what’s so interesting about Tiger to me? If it was just a matter of me looking at an individual that’s a monster competitor, this cat is a mamajama, he is a killer. He’ll run over you, he’ll kick your ass, but as an individual for social change, or any of that kind of s*** Terrible. Terrible. Because he can get away with teaching kids to play golf, and that’s his contribution. And in the real world, man, I can’t teach no kids to play golf and that’s my contribution, if I got that kind of power.”

Russell: “We’re losing a whole generation of kids. And, I for one, would not give up on them. And Jim will not give up on them because we know that when we were kids, there were certain influences that made our lives livable.”

Gumbel: “Why did you choose to get so intimately involved with helping young black men who were engaged in gang warfare?”

Brown: “Because simply, it’s the most devastating culture to come along that affect black people in a long time. How can we act like we don’t see young black men killing each other? Rome is burning and so there can be no education, there can be no economic development, there can be no family structure. There can be nothing as long as we allow this particular culture to exist.”

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A night at the races, Hollywood Park style

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Once upon a time, it was much easier to round up the boys, scrape up some loose change, and make the commitment to head out to one of the area’s majestic venues and pretend, after carefully decoding all the charts in the newspaper, there was a method in guessing which particular jockey would guide a 2,000-pound genetic beast into one of the top three spots and earn me 40 cents on my $2 bet.

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How does the sport of kings embed itself into my regal lifestyle these days?

Hollywood Park’s “Fan-tastic Fridays” of $1 beers and hot dogs, plus a live concert afterward by bands with some recognizablity, has been trying to cultivate a new breed of fans for years now. But as the park seems to be waiting for a wrecking ball to take it all down, these promotions seem to be past their prime.

We’re looking more into with today’s column (linked here), while still enjoying a night on the town, even if it means throwing good money after good money in an attempt to win that 40 cents back.

The crowd Friday night was about 8,000 strong to see the eight races plus the English Beat. A month ago, about 14,000 turned out for Steel Pulse, pictured below:

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Coming Sunday: The $1 beer and hot dog hangover of Hollywood Park

The English Beat performed during the “Fantastic Fridays” series at Hollywood Park race track last night. I confess, I didn’t know the band was still around.

This is a clip of a recent performance of “I Confess”:

Compared to how they did it back “in the day”:

Confessions aside, we had a decent time at the event that still tries to lower the demographic as it raises cheap beer consumption on a night that otherwise is reserved for those much younger having a rowdier time.

Sunday’s column rants about the situation with today’s horse racing fan, where they go for a good time, and whether $1 beers and hot dogs are working.

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Guess who’s the hottest shot on your Los Angeles Lightning roster?

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Certainly, a big jolt in the Los Angeles Lightning (team site linked here) of the International Basketball League getting off to a 10-3 start is a healthy home schedule. Their last four games, in fact, are on their Cal Lutheran in Thousand Oaks site, including Saturday and Sunday against the Phoenix Red Rock Raptors, and then June 27-28 against the Nevada Pride. Tip off is 7 p.m. on Saturdays and 5:30 p.m. on Sundays.

There’s one more road game (June 30 in Tacoma) before the IBL playoffs on July 1-3 in Seattle.

Six former NBA players dot the roster, including leading scorer (and former Clipper) Lamond Murray (25.3 points a game). Ex-UCLA stars Darrick Martin, Billy Knight and Toby Bailey are also there, plus Byron Russell, Juaquin Hawkins and Fred Vinson (a current Clippers assistant coach). Former UC Irvine 7-footer Adam Parada had 22 points and 12 rebounds in a 160-123 win over Grand Rapids on June 14 — the same night Bailey had 24 points, 10 rebounds and 15 assists.

But the player who leads the team in field-goal percentage? Tony Strickland, the Republican state senator from Thousand Oaks, who is 16-for-23 shooting (69.6 percent). The former Whittier College standout is averaging 3.3 points and 2.1 rebounds in 10 games this season.

Obama that one, prez.

The Lightning plan to honor 10 firefighters, law enforcement and correctional officers from Ventura County, the CHP and Santa Barbara at Saturday’s game at the Gilbert Sports Arena.

Fathers and sons are admitted free for Sunday’s Father’s Day game.

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C’mon, Homer, a Home Depot run for fun … and kickball

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Usually, we’d be among the first to run away from a soccer game. Sunday, we may run into one.

The first Home Depot Center 5K/10K run on the 125-acre facility on the Cal State Dominguez Hills campus starts at 8 a.m. to benefit the facility’s charitable foundation with a $35 online registration fee.

With that payment, you get two tickets to the June 28 Galaxy-Houston MLS game and that day’s Sol-FC Gold Pride women’s pro soccer game at 3 p.m.. Register in person, and it’s $45.

The event starts and ends at the 10,000-seat track and field stadium and goes through the 27,000-seat soccer stadium, the 8,000-seat tennis stadium as well as on some dirt trails along Avalon Blvd. and Victoria Street in Carson.

Registration is online through 3 p.m. today (www.homedepotcenter.com/run) or by calling 877.234.8425.

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Updated U.S. Open TV schedule

With Thursday’s rain delay and catching up on the first round today, the U.S. Open looks this way (barring more rain):

Saturday: 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., NBC (previous schedule had an 11 a.m. PDT start on Channel 4)
Sunday: 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., NBC (but could start earlier pending Saturday’s weather)

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The Media Learning Curve: June 12-19

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Summer schooling begins at the Media Learning Center, despite funding cutbacks and the lure of the beach.

So we’ll keep the lessons clean and crisp. No extra credit. Just do the work, turn it in on time, and we’ll sign your probation officer’s paperwork as required by law.

This week, we educated ourselves by finding out:

== Chris Berman will have something in common with Peter Graves, Jimmy Kimmel, Bryan Adams , Ringo Starr and the Funk Brothers (linked here). It’s our guess that they’ll arrange for the ceremony sometime near the 2010 ESPY Awards, since he’s in town anyway (it’s his turn to wear the Lone Ranger outfit and hang outside the Kodak Theatre to take pictures with tourists).

== Even Mike Breen had a tough time doing his job at the NBA Finals looking at a sulking Jeff Van Gundy at his side (linked here).

== We thought Mark Jackson would make a fine USC basketball coach, but now apparently the Minnesota TimberWolves enjoyed his ABC/ESPN NBA analysis even more (linked here) And if Kevin Love knows anything we’ll await his tweets. FYI: The Twolves GM, David Kahn, is a former sportswriter who started on the UCLA Daily Bruin and worked at the Oregonian.

== A willing reporter at the “Joe Buck Live” show has first-hand thoughts about what wrong when commedians attack (linked here). And for what it’s worth — and plenty, if your paying bills for HBO, Buck’s show was a much better draw than anything Bob Costas did for the network in his later years (linked here). And even more aftermath (linked here).

== What if Don Ohlmeyer is ESPN.com’s next ombudsman? (linked here)

== The MLB.com iPhone app has the kids all a twitter (linked here)

== Check out how Johnny Miller did some old-school prep work for the U.S. Open (linked here)

== Buzz Bissinger is still creating blogger buzz (linked here)

== Hey, not to forget about this but the MLB Network is covering the latest Civil Rights Game (Chicago White Sox at Cincinnati Reds) on Saturday at 4 p.m. with Victor Rojas and Harold Reynolds.

AND FINALLY:

== One last look at the blondes in blue from ABC’s coverage of Game 4 of the NBA Finals in Orlando:

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The Media Learning Curve: Grappling with pleasing Pop

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Don’t wrestle with this idea too much or you’ll put yourself in a sleeper hold.

If on Sunday, Dad wants to watch water-logged U.S. Open golf, so be it. Or even tape-delayed fishing (see below). Relent. You can’t change his mind. get him a cold beverage (or a Vodka popsicle) and suck it up. Just know that later in the day, you’ll get to see the Angels host the Dodgers, and things may be better.

Since more media notes are the result of perspiration rather than precipitation (here’s a link to today’s media column while we dread more Chris Berman commentary … or reading more about it), we also sweat through these:

== More reaction and Buck response from “Joe Buck Live” debut (linked here)

== ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball will feature the Dodgers — again — against the Angels at 5 p.m., with Jon Miller, Joe Morgan and Steve Phillips. Saturday’s Jered Weaver vs. Jeff Weaver matchup isn’t on the Fox regional coverage — Channel 11 has Tampa Bay-New York Mets instead at 1 p.m. — leaving KCOP-Channel 13 (with Angels guys) and Prime Ticket (with Vin Scully) on the call at 6 p.m. TBS has Atlanta at Boston (Sunday, 10:30 a.m.)

== ESPN Classic (and ESPN360.com) has Saturday’s Wladimir Klitschko/Ruslan Chagaev fight from Gelsenkirchen, Germany at 2 p.m. — the second time in three months that ESPN networks have aired a heavyweight championship boxing match (after doing Vitali Klitschko’s WBC title defense against Juan Carlos Gomez.). Although, the winner of this bout receives the title of Ring Magazine Heavyweight Championship, which has been vacant since Vitali Klitschko retired in 2005.

== NBCSports.com announced this week that it will host, sell and promote David Florio’s ProFootballTalk.com, giving NBC’s Sports team something to go to during its “Sunday Night Football” coverage during the fall. The deal allows NBCSports.com’s Tom Curran and Gregg Rosenthal to write for the site, which will be renamed ProFootballTalk on NBCSports.com.

== “Monday Night Football” will be the first sports franchise to be inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame at its awards dinner in New York on Oct. 20.

== NBC claims that 8 million watched Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals between Pittsburgh and Detroit last Friday, making it the most-watched NHL game in 36 years (going back to the Montreal-Chicago Game 6 on NBC in 1973). Friday’s game did a 4.3 rating and 8 share, the best for a series-ending game in six years (Game 7, Anaheim-New Jersey, 4.6/8 in 2003).

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AND FINALLY:

== If it’s not live fishing, do we watch? Of course. Dad says we have to.

This note from ESPN public relations scribes:

“Tapping into his extensive knowledge of river fishing, Bassmaster Elite Series pro Kevin Short of Mayflower, Ark., mastered the mighty Mississippi River at the Genuity River Rumble, posting a four-day total of 43 pounds, 3 ounces, which was enough to edge out hard-charging Kelly Jordon of Mineola, Texas, by 10 ounces. Fishing fans can catch all of the on-the-water action on The BassMasters.”

Well, now that you’ve ruined it for us …

That’s Saturday, 6 a.m., ESPN2, if you need to tape-delay it even further for Sunday viewing.

By the way, how does a true Bassmaster master a comeback victory? (fake story linked here)

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Collateral for the next Laker parade: There’s $3,500 in the bank … just for the latest trophy

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Look closely again at the Larry O’Brien Trophy that the Laker players were carting around town Wednesday.

What would, say, Cash4Gold give up for all that heavy metal?

Try $3,500. Give or take a nickel.

By examining photographs of the trophy, the company issued a press release today saying that “certified appraisers” estimate the trophy “might contain as much as $3,500 worth of precious metals.” The trophy weighs about 16 pounds, stands about two feet tall, and is composed of sterling silver overlaid with 24 karat gold.

Yes, that’s Jeanie Buss heading over to the UPS station, stuffing the trophy into a large envelope, and waiting for a return check.

Now, about Kobe’s MVP trophy …

A spokesman for Cash4Gold said the company “unfortunately is not able to provide an estimate on the value of Kobe’s NBA Finals MVP trophy without knowing the quality of its metal content and weight. … Kobe could mail in his MVP trophy for an appraisal, but he also has an open invitation to visit our new facility whenever he likes. We would be glad to give him a tour and use our state-of-the-art assaying equipment to provide him with a detailed assessment of his new trophy.”

That would only be necessary if he needed some quick, “my bad” jewelry purchases in the future.

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Our Daily Dread: Jones’ first hit was ugly, in a couple of ways

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Mark J. Terrill/The Associated Press
The Dodgers’ Mitch Jones breaks his bat as he hits a bloop single to right for his first big-league hit in the eighth inning of Wednesday’s game at Dodger Stadium.

Mitch Jones’ new Dodger teammates retrieved the ball that became his first big-league hit in Wednesday’s game, a bloop single just past the reach of Oakland second baseman Adam Kennedy.

They could have retrieved pieces of Jones’ bat as well.

The barrel snapped off and sailed about 10 rows behind the Dodgers dugout, into the crowd, sending the spectators into a panicked scramble.

On the radio broadcast, Charley Steiner admitted that he followed the flight of the bat into the stands rather than the arch of the ball.

On the TV broadcast, Vin Scully followed the camera shot of the ball going to right field and described it, but there was no immediate. Only on a replay from a camera along the first-base line did we see how dangerous a situation it was, as the jagged end of the barrel seemed to hit the leg of a man in short pants as he tried to turn away, then bounce up into the row behind him. These people were sitting in what used to be the first row of seats before the expanded dugout club section behind home plate. The replay was also shown on ESPN “SportsCenter” last night and earlier today, with the anchor adding that “no one was hurt.”

Dodgers spokesman Josh Rawitch: “We have been monitoring the study that Major League Baseball is doing on broken bats and share our fans’ concerns on the occasions that one reaches the stands.”

That said, there seems to be fewer bats broken this year because of new regulations and policies. But the fact it still happens will be a cause for concern. Do we need nets around the lower stands as they do in Japanese Leagues? Does MLB react with netting like is done in the NHL to protect fans from flying pucks? What’s the compromise?

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