The Media Learning Curve: Smell that? Merchant can get a little punchy

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The first book Larry Merchant wrote — the first of three he came out with in the 1970s — was called “…and every day you take another bite.” You fill in the first part of that title. It’s easy.

Think: “Life is a sh– sandwich …”

The book was really more about pro football in that time period — Joe Namath, Vince Lombardi, Rosie Grier, Pete Rozelle.

The crap that the 78-year-old Merchant chomps into these days is far healthier for his diet, as we wrote about in today’s media column (linked here).

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Saturday’s Vitali Klitschko-Chris Arreola heavyweight fight at Staples Center, Merchant will be there. He says he’s been looking forward to it “for a couple of years. I’ve watched Arreola and I thought from the first time I saw him, he had to be special and he has a chance to be a champion. It’s my personal observation, as well as boxing’s, that the sport needs a significant U.S. heavyweight champion, someone to look foward to.”

Unlike last week’s Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Juan Manuel Marquez fight last Saturday, also on HBO. Mayweather, after a 21-month layoff, won a 12-round decision.

Merchant says he did not look forward to watching that fight at all.

“I didn’t do it,” he said of not being part of the broadcast, “and I thought that fight was over when it was signed. I told everyone who asked me, bigger and faster beats smaller and slower every time.”

Experienced and talented beats loud, self-important and flashy in any boxing analysis ring as well. We pick Merchant any time over Max Kellerman, or whatever else is out there.

We have some backup on this one as well (linked here and linked here … thanks to Richard Deitsch at SI.com, linked here).

Rolling with the punches, we move on to other media notes of the week not newspaper worthy:

== The weekend baseball TV highlights focus, of course, on the Red Sox-Yankees series. TBS has a special airing of tonight’s game (4 p.m., from Yankee Stadium, with Chip Caray, Buck Martinez and Craig Sager). Saturday, Fox’s national/regional game has Red Sox-Yankees going to 82 percent of the country (with Josh Lewin and Tim McCarver … the other 18 percent see Cubs-Giants). Sunday, TNT goes with Cardinals-Rockies at noon, because ESPN has Red Sox-Yankees both live at 10 a.m. (with Jon Miller, Joe Morgan and Steve Phillips) and then replayed at 5:30 p.m. in what may be a first for the network.
The MLB Net has Cardinals-Rockies on Saturday (5 p.m.), and the gold-medal game of the 2009 IBAF Baseball World Cup (Sunday, 6 a.m.), with Twins-Tigers on Monday (4 p.m.).

== TBS was all atwitter to announce this week that all their studio and game broadcasters “will be actively tweeting during the MLB posteason” from the Oct. 7 opener all through its NLCS coverage – that’s 140-word moment by moment analysis from Ernie Johnson, Dennis Eckersley, Cal Ripken Jr., David Wells, Chip Caray, Ron Darling, Buck Martinez, Marc Fein and Craig Sager. We’d give you the Twitter feed, but we don’t see how that’ll be very productive.

== College football give-and-take of the week, from CBS’ coverage of the Tennessee-Florida game last Saturday:
Late in the contest, as Tennessee’s Bryce Brown is running and get hit by three Florida defenders:
Gary Danielson: “Look at that hit (on the replay) – a bing, a bang and a bong.”
Verne Lundquist: “Sounds like a late night college experience.”
Danielson: “Oh, no.”

==AND FINALLY:

== Fox can actually do more to promote the new Michael Strahan sit-com, “Brothers,” which debuts on its network tonight (8 p.m. on Channel 11) with the one-hour pilot. But it doesn’t have to. Consider the liklihood of this thing taking off past one season. Again, with Frank Caliendo doing an impersonation of Jay Leno on last week’s NFL pregame show, he delivered the joke: “You hear about the NFL players who have donated their brains to a research to study all the pounding to the head. They say in extreme cases, ex-players get so delusional they think they can star in a sit-com.”

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