How hard was it to bet on this winner?


A horse named Twodollarstowin was entered in the fourth race at Del Mar today, a $10,000 claimer.

It went off at 9-2.

It won.

With Joe Talamo aboard, it paid actually $17.20 to win, $9 to place and $6.60 to show.

According to its pedigree (linked here), it had only won once in seven previous races.

Still …

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70 years ago today, the Dodgers made TV history


Red Barber does an interview with Dodgers manager Leo Durocher on camera before the first televised major league game on Aug. 26, 1939.

It was on W2XBS, later known as WNBC, where Red Barber called the Brooklyn Dodgers-Cincinnati Reds doubleheader on Saturday, August 26, 1939 from Ebbets Field — the first major-league baseball TV broadcast..

The Reds won the first, 5-2 while the Dodgers won the second, 6-1 (link to, and Barber did them both without the benefit of a monitor and with only two cameras capturing the action.


One camera was on Barber from ground level; the other was behind the plate in the upper deck. Barber had to guess from which light was on and where it pointed because he had no monitor and commication with NBC director Burke Crotty went out early in the game. Barber sat in an upper deck seat behind third base.

Televising both games, plus the 20 minutes in between, took only about four hours. The first game went 1 hour, 46 minutes. The second was 2 hours and 1 minute.

According to the book, “1939: Baseball’s Tipping Point” by Talmage Boston, Barber started his career with the Dodgers that year, coming to the team from Cincinnati with team president Larry MacPhail. MacPhail offered Barber $9,000 to come to Brooklyn with him; the Reds offered him $18,000 to stay.

Barber knew he could sell McPhail on getting to be the first to televise a game.

“In being around Larry MacPhail, it became rapidly apparent to me that one of the things he dearly loved was to be first,” Barber wrote in his autobiography, “Rhubarb.” “So it was obvious to me that if you wanted to get him to do something, all you had to do was show him how he could be first in it.”


Boston’s book points out that Barber had to ad-lib three live commercials, one for each Dodger sponsor. For Proctor & Gamble, he held up a bar of Ivory Soap. For General Mills, he poured Wheaties into a bowl, sliced a banana and poured milk on top, proclaming, “Now that’s the breakfast of champions.” For Socony, Barber put on a Mobile gas station cap and raised a can of oil.

“There was not a cue card in sight,” Barber said.

Imagine Vin Scully doing any of that today.

Most were only able to watch them at the RCA Pavilion at the 1939 Worlds Fair and the RCA Building at Rockefeller Center in midtown Manhattan, on 9×12 inch TV screens.

According to former New York Times reporter Gordon White (linked here), NBC claimed that TV viewers as far away as 50 miles from the Empire State Building could see the game. But then how many TV sets were there in Nyack, NY, or Red Bank, NJ, in 1939?

The Sporting News reported in its Aug. 31, 1939 issue, becoming the first TV sports critic: “The players were clearly distinguisable, but it was not possible to pick out the ball. The close-up images left a much better impression than did the general view of the field.”

Was it a success? MacPhail wanted more, and starting with the 1940 season he arranged for at least one game a week on TV.

Three months earlier, the first televised baseball game — between Princeton and Columbia, on May 17 — was carried at the World’s Fair in New York, also on W2XBS.

Our favorite researcher, David Schwartz at the Game Show Network, tracked down the New York Times archives reports on the game coverage.

In a six paragraph preview on Aug. 26, the story says in the deck headline that “Hamlin, Casey to Face Reds — Games to Be Televised — Giants Also Play Two” … and it mentions at the end of the fourth paragraph: “Adding significance to the occasion is the fact that the double feature will mark the first time in major league history that a ball game has been televised. Both games are to be carried by television by NBC.”

In a three paragraph followup on Aug. 27:

Major League Baseball Makes Its
Radio Camera Debut

Major league baseball made its television debut here yesterday as the Dodgers and Reds battled through two games at Ebbets Field before two prying electrical “eyes” of station W2XBS in the Empire State Building. One “eye” or camera was placed near the visiting players’ dugout, or behind the right-hand batters’ position. The other was in a second-tier box back of the catcher’s box and commanded an extensive view of the field when outfield plays were made.

Over the video-sound channels of the station, television-set owners as far away as fifth miles viewed the action an dheard the roar of the crowed, according to the National Broadcasting Company.

It was not the first time baseball was televised by NBC. Last May at Baker Field, a game between Columbia and Princeton was caught by the cameras. However, to those who, over the television receivers, saw last May’s contest as well as those yesterday, it was apparent that considerable progress has been made in the technical requirements and apparatus for this sort of outdoor pick-up, where the action is fast. At times it was possible to catch a fleeting glimpse of the ball as it sped from the pitcher’s hand toward home plate.

== More info on Gene Elston’s blog (linked here).

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USC-Ohio State in 3D? Thanks, but we’ll punt, pass and kick it to the curb

UPDATED Tuesday AM with ticket information:


ESPN is calling it a test — an attempt on Sept. 12 to carry USC’s football game at Ohio State in 3D, and making it available to some so-called lucky folks around the country.

While ESPN carries the 5 p.m. contest in standard def, and ESPN HD has the high definition coverage, the network wants to try out its 3D production capabilites with a “special telecast” that will have separate production trucks, technical crews and on-air commentators.

The Galen Center across the street from the USC campus will have the 3D production but count on finding tickets so easy. They say the only way to get them is winning them through KSPN-AM (710). Spectators in Columbus, Ohio and Dallas will also have to win them as well through local ESPN radio affiliates.

According to the website (linked here), free tickets are available at:

— This Saturday’s intrasquad scrimmage at the Coliseum (pick up inside Gate 4 from noon to 3 p.m.)

— The Sept. 5 home game against San Jose State (pick up at Fanfest outside the Coliseum peristyle prior to the 12:30 p.m. kickoff);

— The Sept. 3 and 4 USC women’s volleyball matches at the Galen Center (pick up at the box office from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.);

— Heritage Hall (pick up is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays);

— The USC Ticket Office (from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays).

Having seen the NFL’s test of a 3D telecast last year when the Raiders played at San Diego, ESPN’s crew can hopefully learn from their mistakes. A football field, for starters, doesn’t lend itself nicely to 3D cameras, which are best when on the ground. Which makes shots of the cheerleaders about the only thing worth watching. When the cameras are high in standard positions, the 3D effect is hardly noticable. When the camera is low in the end zone or on sideline level — and, in the NFL’s test, with no graphics other than score and clock — you have no idea how many yards players actually pick up (or lose) on a play.

ESPN says it will use a true stereoscopic graphics and seven 3D cameras (with access to 2D cameras)

That said, the 3D telecast will also use Mark Jones and Bob Davie on the call (versus Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit on the “regular” telecast).

This will be ESPN’s first 3D telecast distributed after more than two years of testing. The new movie, “X Games 3D: The Movie” is currently in many theatres this week only.

“With more than two years of rigorous 3D research at various game sites, ESPN is taking the opportunity to integrate 3D testing in a live game telecast,” said Anthony Bailey, vice president, emerging technologies, ESPN. “The results of this research will enable ESPN to quantify what it takes to produce, transmit and enable the 3D experience for our fans.”

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More dreaded daily stuff: The reaction on Pete Rose’s 20th anniversary of dead Red walking


In addition to the piece we’ve had in today’s newspaper editions (linked here), we also came across:


== Mike Schmidt’s plea to free Pete (linked here).
== Yahoo! Sports’ acknowlegement of the day (linked here), which includes Rose’s son going to bat for his dad (linked here).
== ESPN’s Jayson Stark believes there’ll never be a Pete Rose induction day (linked here)
== Support from Hank Aaron (linked here)
== Go ahead and cast your own votes (linked here)

And some of the emails I’ve received so far (in addition to comments made on the story’s website link) include:

== I understand the commissioner’s stand on Pete Rose/betting on baseball. It may seem harsh, but if you don’t want active players, etc. to bet on baseball you have to have a firm stand. However, the steroid issue seems to indicate that MLB has a double standard. To be consistent, you need a (perhaps harsh, but) firm stand on illegal substance abuse, and here’s why. If steroid use is not treated as harshly as betting, more damage is done! Young players all over the baseball world are watching, and your message is: “Bet on baseball and you’re out. Use harmful drugs, you get a slap on the wrist!” … Restore baseball to its honorable position by promoting real heroes as role models! You lost me when Willie Mays retired. I returned. You lost me again with Pete Rose. I returned. You lost me again with the strike. I returned. If you don’t handle this steroid mess with courage and steadfastness for what is right, I’m gone, and I think many other would be fans are gone with me. … I’m really fed up with the hypocrisy. Either restore Pete Rose (slap on the wrist) and continue the current steroid stand, or treat it with firmness. I feel bad for Pete-in spite of his bad PR moves, but this steroid thing is potentially much more harmful if it’s not dealt with harshly.
== Dave Kachele

==The Hall of Fame is a sham without Pete Rose. Twenty years is a long time to be punished for gambling. Now before you say anything, let me be clear, I do not gamble. You seem to think that Pete should continue to be punished because he makes a living signing baseballs and shirts? People want his autograph, plain and simple. I grew up rooting against the man because he was on the wrong team, but man oh man, did he light it up. He always gave his all and more. His records speak for themselves. .. Are they going to refuse entry to the Hall of Fame to all of the steroid users? Pete’s accomplishments on the field as a ball player earned him his place in the Hall of Fame. The people in charge of keeping Pete out of the Hall have gone way over board.
== Michael Rescigno


==I am not a baseball fan, but one cannot ignore the saga of Pete Rose. After all, I am only 85 years old….and a woman at that! I learned very early in life that “forgiveness” is something that we should all contemplate and mete out to fit the situation. I have seen in recent news items about the release of a monster who caused the deaths of an airplane full of human souls; the football hero who tormented and brutally slaughtered his dogs who didn’t please his lust for watching dogs fight to the death; a man who killed his mother many years ago is released from prison on the grounds that his attorney did not defend him properly … Now, please tell us again what a lifetime sentence means and how often is it carried out. I am not a Pete Rose fan, but when is enough enough? Or do you like the false “Mea Culpa” speeches that are required for the current form of forgiveness.
== Frances Nelson

== Obviously, Pete betting on baseball was completely foolish, but after 20 years he should be forgiven. The fact that there is no evidence that he bet against the team he managed does not put him in the same category of the 1919 Black Sox. The lifetime ban punishment was intended for those who would purposely lose games like the Black Sox. I do not believe you are truly being objective in your criticism of Pete in the past 20 years. Pete is currently serving a lifetime ban from baseball. Every time Pete has applied for reinstatement the commissioners have not acted. How do you expect Pete to make a living if he is not allowed back into baseball? Don’t you think many of his actions that you call PR disasters are a result of him trying to make a living? I understand that Pete brought all of this on himself, but 20 years is enough. When baseball allows people like Steve Howe, Strawberry, and Gooden numerous second chances; I think it is time to let Pete back into baseball. Even if Pete is reinstated there are no guarantees that he would be hired or elected into the Hall of Fame. We are all human, we all make mistakes, but some of us have to pay a higher price for our wrong doings. Pete has had to make a living during his ban. However, it is journalist like you that make Pete larger than life by continuing to vilify him. I guess, like Pete, you have to make a living too.
== Michael Godoy

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Our Daily Dread: About Schmidt going to bat for C. Hustle, playing the Manny-uses-steroid card


With our take on the 20th anniversary of Pete Rose’s lifetime banishment from commissioner Bart Giamatti (linked here), the Associated Press distributed this over the weekend, giving Mike Schmidt a chance to give his crack. Expect the “Free Rose” T-shirts soon. In 2002, Schmidt accompanied Rose to a meeting with commissioner Bud Selig. Obviously, that went well:


It’s been 20 years since Pete Rose was banned for life from baseball by then-commissioner Bart Giamatti. Recently the subject came back to life, recycling the same old issues, without attention to some interesting elements that should be mentioned on the 20th anniversary.
An interesting question was posed to me in a recent interview: Do you think things would have been different if Mr. Giamatti was still alive?
Bart Giamatti, the commissioner on duty in 1989, was in possession of strong evidence that Pete had indeed placed bets on his team. Pete insisted he was being set up and that it could not be factually proven.
Armed with secret information from an in-depth investigation, Giamatti diplomatically offered Pete a deal — if Pete would agree to a lifetime ban, baseball would not expose its evidence and Pete could go away quietly.
First, from Pete’s perspective as one of baseball’s superstars, almost to the point of believing he could beat anything from a traffic ticket to armed robbery, he saw that the agreement offered him an out, the right to apply for reinstatement every year. Why else would he have signed it, why else would he agree to a lifetime ban under any circumstances?
Yes, you, I, and he know he was living a lie at the time. But assuming that burden would eventually get too heavy for him, and then he could appeal to Giamatti. From my perspective looking back, Giamatti was a compassionate man who would have eventually met with him, laid out a lifestyle plan that Pete would follow, and today he’d be a forgiven member of baseball’s family. Sounds simple, and it could have been with the right people driving it, led by Giamatti.
From baseball’s perspective, putting this to bed was paramount. No telling what would
ensue if it was to dig deeper. Arguably its biggest star compromised the integrity of the game. The guy that made the sprint to first on a walk, the headfirst slide, the leader of the Big Red Machine, the ’80 Phillies, he played in more winning games than any player in history, he was the all-time hits leader, one of the biggest faces in baseball, and he was now considered a baseball outcast. How dare anyone test the poster hanging on the clubhouse wall, the one warning against gambling? This needed to go away, and it seemed like Mr. Giamatti had a good plan.


No one, however, anticipated the untimely passing of commissioner Giamatti, especially Pete. Before Pete could ever meet with him, appeal to him, come clean and apply for reinstatement, Mr. Giamatti passed away from a heart attack. Baseball lost a great ambassador for sure, and as unimportant as it was at the time, Pete’s fate now was in the hands of his successor, Fay Vincent.
Vincent was close to Giamatti and felt Pete’s case helped apply immense stress and was a factor in his friend’s death. Vincent subsequently upheld the ban with even more fervor. Enter Bud Selig, another passionate baseball man, who inherited the Rose case, and for years refused to take calls on the subject. It was always “under advisement.”
OK, we all know the story from here on. Pete admitted to Selig he lied and asked for forgiveness, baseball was slow to act, Pete’s book came out early and stepped on the Hall of Fame unveiling of Paul Molitor and Dennis Eckersley in early 2004, and the private admission to Selig went public via the book, not from the commissioner’s office. To Bud Selig, it reeked of sleaze and money, and that image has never left his brain.


Pete’s attempt to appeal and apply after 14 years initially seemed to be a success. However, as time went on, it was bungled from all sides. Pete remains in baseball purgatory.
Now you’re current, so here’s my first question: Did Pete Rose, in fact, knowingly compromise the integrity of baseball? And second, did/do the players who used steroids knowingly compromise the integrity of baseball?
Pete bet on the Reds to win, never to lose. He never managed with the intention of not winning. Do you believe for one second the gambling underworld was tuned into Pete’s betting habits? Pete never bet big or long enough to sway the gambling line. This has all been dressing to make it clear where gambling can lead. I’m not trying to say it’s not serious — it is — but I’m asking you to compare its impact on the game to steroid use.
Steroid players knowingly ingested chemicals that gave them an unfair advantage over clean players. Not only were they compromising the game’s integrity, they were jeopardizing the long term for short-term financial gain, confusing baseball history. And, oh yes, some might’ve broken the law.
Pete bet on his team to win and has been banished from baseball for life. Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez et al, bet that they would get bigger, stronger and have a distinct advantage over everyone and that they wouldn’t get caught. Which is worse? Does the penalty fit the crime?
Pete’s banned for life, he sells his autograph to pay bills. Ramirez and his cronies apologize, are forgiven and get $20 million a year. They giggle all the way to the bank and could end up in the Hall of Fame. Is this the way Bart Giamatti would have wanted it 20 years later?
Recently, Pete’s case was given a new life by the great Hank Aaron, who said Pete had served a sufficient penalty time, deserved to be reinstated and considered for the Hall. All of us thought this was a new life for Pete, as Aaron is close to commissioner Selig and could sway fellow members.
Not so, as Mr. Selig went back to his favorite “under advisement” stance. He has his reasons, which I may disagree with but respect.
Even if Pete were to get by the commissioner, I feel it would take serious massaging of the members by Aaron, Joe Morgan and myself to get him the needed 75 percent quorum on a vote of Hall of Famers for election, and that may not be enough.
Pete is Pete and always will be. To know him is to love him. He has a wonderful heart, but has never adjusted his lifestyle to the degree needed to impress the current administration. No one would disagree with that, but everyone must consider baseball’s inconsistency in dealing with those players who have compromised the game.
Twenty years have passed, isn’t that enough?

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