The Media Learning Curve: Hey, Manny’s back on TV! And not on the Lifetime Network

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Vin Scully will let the dogs at Petco Park do their thing when Manny Ramirez steps to the plate a few minutes past 7 p.m. tonight as the Dodgers face the San Diego Padres, all in front of the Prime Ticket cameras (plus any edition of ESPN’s “Baseball Tonight” or “SportsCenter” that allows them to carry it with expressed written consent of Major League Baseball).

For tonight’s game, Prime Ticket has added a right-field camera to allow another angle to shooting Ramirez when he’s in left field. A special edition of “Dodgers Live” before and after each game of the series will have Steve Lyons and Patrick O’Neal in front of Dodgers dugout, with Michael Eaves reporting and live Twitter updates of his every move.

For Saturday’s game (Channel 11, 1 p.m.), Fox has the Dodgers-Padres as a regional game to 46 percent of the country, but it plans to cut into its coverage of New York Mets-Philadelphia and Detroit-Minnesota to carry Ramirez’s first-inning at-bat live to the entire country. Says Fox Sports president Ed Goren: “Being the personality that he is, there will definitely be a curiosity factor as Manny Ramirez returns from suspension. We think many baseball fans will be interested to see how he’s received by the fans in San Diego. It could forecast how fans will react in other National League parks the Dodgers visit the rest of this season.”

And Colleen Dominguez isn’t sure when she’s going to get time off from the Manny beat — at least through July 16, when he plays his first home game in Mannywood.

“Then, I’m on vacation,” the ESPN reporter said from the Dodger Stadium media room on Wednesday afternoon. “I promised my daughter for her high school graduation (from La Canada High) that we’d go somewhere. But there I was, at her graduation last week, reading and sending emails about Manny. My mother was giving me grief for it. But they all know, my family life revolves around Manny these days.”

That’s a rough life. Especially when Manny won’t even talk to you.

We wrote about all that in today’s column (linked here). But beyond Manny:

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== TBS releases the two MLB 32-man All-Star rosters (likely without Manny) in a special Sunday at 10 a.m. Ernie Johnson does the show with Dennis Eckersley, Cal Ripken and David Wells, followed by Milwaukee-Chicago Cubs game from Wrigley Field at 11 a.m. with Chip Caray and Buck Martinez.

== NBC’s criticized delayed coverage at Wimbledon continues with the men’s semifinals (today, noon to 5 p.m.) but it goes live for why its there in the first place — the women’s finals (Saturday, 6 a.m. live, with the Williams sisters) and men’s finals (Sunday, 6 a.m. live, likely with Roger Federer). Still, rain could appear and make the real story of Centre Court be the roof.

Says play-by-play Ted Robinson on the new contraption: “It’s the year the roof. I couldn’t help but think when the roof closed (Monday) for the first time during play that all during the classic final last year (on a Sunday, between Federer and Nadal), especially in the fifth set, it was impossible to not every so often have to take your eyes off this classic match to glance up to the sky and ask, ‘Are we going to be able to play? Is it going to rain again? Is it going to get too dark? Is this match actually going to have to come back and finish on Monday?’ What the roof does is make sure none of that is ever a factor again in a championship match.
“When the All England Club does something, they do it well and they do it right. Imagine trying to put a roof over Wrigley Field or Fenway Park and that’s what it’s like trying to cover Centre Court. It’s a smaller piece of real estate, but the fact that they put this modern structure on without compromising it at all or altering the character of this traditional venue, I think the club did a great job.”

== This week’s list to ponder: NBC celebrates its 30th year of “Breakfast at Wimbledon.” When it first did this in 1979, it had to pre-empt its children’s programming lineup — not an easy thing to pull off with the FCC regulations. The cartoons preempted on that Saturday morning were:

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- Yogi’s Space Race
- Godzilla Power Hour
- The New Fred and Barney Show
- Kroft Superstar Hour
- Fabulous Funnies
- Baggy Pants and Nitwits

== Versus launches its ninth year in a row of live Tour de France coverage on Saturday (5:30 a.m.), promising not to overload on Lance Armstrong’s return … but how can they promise such a thing? In 250 hours of coverage, Versus will “not be just iso-Lance,” network president Jamie Davis told the Sports Business Daily. “It’s an epic event. We want to cover the entire race.” For the first time, the entire race is available in HD.

== Before ESPN carries live the one hour of the IFOCE Nathan’s International July Fourth Hot Dog Eating Contest from Coney Island, N.Y. (9 a.m., with an immediate regurgitation at 10 a.m.), ESPN Classic lives up to its name with an encore performance at 4 p.m., preceded by every event prior to this year, going back to 2004, beginning at 11 a.m. And if you can’t make it to the tube, it’s all on ESPN360.com.

== The MLB Network has added Fox’s Ken Rosenthal as an on-air contributor, as he joined the cast of “MLB Tonight” this week. He’ll continue to work for FoxSports.com and MLB on Fox.

== CBS sends Jim Nantz and Sir Nick Faldo out to host the Tiger Woods-hosted AT&T National from Bethesda, Md., on Saturday (noon to 3 p.m.) and Sunday (noon to 3:30 p.m., Channel 2).

== Fox Sports West launches a new “In My Own Words” about the Angels’ Torii Hunter, starting Monday at 10:30 p.m. after the Angels-Rangers telecast.

== The MLB Network has Bob Costas doing a sit-down interview with Cal Ripken Jr. (Sunday, July 5, 5 p.m.) to discuss the 70th anniversary of Lou Gehrig’s famous farewell speech at Yankee Stadium. After that interview airs, the MLB Net will show the Academy Award-winning film “Pride of the Yankees” with Gary Cooper (6 p.m.)

== TNT has admitted it replaced Bill Weber with Ralph Sheheen on its NASCAR coverage the rest of the season, starting with Saturday’s Coke Zero 400 at Daytona (5 p.m.). According to Internet reports, Weber apparently was involved in a late night incident last Friday night at the TNT hotel in Manchester, New Hampshire. He was sent home on Saturday. Sticking around for the ride Saturday are Kyle Petty, Wally Dallenback and Larry McReynolds . TNT’s “Wide Open Coverage” means no national commercial breaks, instead going with onscreen sponsor graphics and other creative ways to get the ad word out.

== In addition to doing the women’s and men’s finals of the Coney Island, N.Y., stop on the AVP tour this weekend for NBC, Chris Marlowe and Paul Sunderland also call the women’s semifinals Saturday (11 a.m.) and men’s semifinals Sunday (11 a.m.) for UniversalSports.com.

AND FINALLY:

== We’re not going to admit that we realized FSN’s “Best Damn Sports Show Period” (official site linked here) finally ran out of steam. We only suspected as much when Chris Rose was too busy working MLB assignments, Petros Papadakis wasn’t telling us that he’d be on for a guest spot, John Salley was busy being stuck on an island claiming to be a celebrity, and whoever else came and went essentially went away.

We got a sniff of things when Deadspin ran this note earlier in the week (linked here) and we were still not moved to TiVo it.

We’ve been anticipating the demise of the program since Day 1. It lasted eight years. More than 1,300 shows. It’s part of Wikipedia history, referred to now in the past tense, like Michael Jackson (linked here).

And what does the show have to show for itself?

It continues to appear as a living, breathing thing in its “list” shows, and clips will also crop up as they did during last Saturday’s Fox MLB pregame show when Rose did an interview with the Angels’ Torii Hunter — and they replayed the time Hunter mowed down Rose in a home-plate catcher simulation.

If there’s a best and worst highlight reel for BDSSP, we’re on the lookout. Until then, a few YouTube clips for the road, with as few Tom Arnold appearances as possible (except for this “fight” he gets in with Michael Strahan):

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