The Media Learning Curve: Oct. 2-9

There’s a 28-year-old Catholic priest who’ll pop up on your TV Sunday, after the Cowboys-Chiefs game, the Fox NFL post-game show, and “Fox 11 Overtime” (hopefully with Lisa Habib). From 2 to 3 p.m., on Channel 11′s “PokerStars.net Million Dollar Challenge,” Father Andrew Trapp will change poker chips into dollars.

Would would Jesus do? Probably not bet up a pair of 3s on the flop. But see how Fr. Trapp handles it as the series adds someone with a higher calling to its show.

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Poker, a sport? That’s a debate for another denomination. Fr. Trapp says he’s trying to win because he’ll use the money to help his parish, St. Michael Catholic Church in Garden City Beach, South Carolina, toward its goal of raising $1 million for a larger building. The parish church holds 900 people, but it has to have six services each weekend to accomodate the parish community (which isn’t all that unusual, but still … go with the storyline here).

Fr. Trapp beat 9,999 others in an online poker tournament, then made a YouTube audition video (above) and that got him on this “Million Dollar Challenge.” Among those he defeated along the way were former NBA player John Salley and professional poker players Vanessa Rousso and Daniel Negreanu.

Fr. Trapp was in L.A. this past weekend for more of the show’s tapings.

In Catholicism, the “sinfulness” of playing games of chance is a “matter of moderation,” Trapp said. It’s one thing to play for fun or in a $10 bingo game. It’s another for a man to gamble away an entire check his family needs to stay afloat. So no, poker is not a sin, Fr. Trapp says.

Besides, “I don’t need money myself. The church pays for all my basic needs.”

So, if you’re still in search of basic needs, watch him play Sunday. After going to your house of worship. The Church of our Lady of the Queen of Hearts.

The other things we learned this holy week:

== Week 6 of the college football L.A. TV season means USC has a bye, and Tim Tebow may do the same (linked here)

== Week 5 of the NFL L.A. TV schedule has Mark Sanchez getting dirty on ESPN this Monday night (linked here)

== Lee Harvey “Hacksaw” Hamilton is making magic again (linked here)

== Vin Scully speaks, and people listen, without counting his words (linked here) And listen to how he called the end of the Dodgers’ Game 2 victory (linked here).

== Skip Caray, explain yourself (linked here and linked here … and really linked here, NY Times lashing-style)

== Peter Berg not only makes a film about him, but he calls out Wayne Gretzky to come coach the Kings (linked here)

== Peter King doesn’t make films, but he makes a lot of money (linked here) “I make a ridiculous amount of money. I’m not saying I’m not worth it. But I make a stupid amount of money. Sometimes it seems a little absurd considering what’s happening in our business.”

== Here’s how a Hall of Fame baseball writer calls it a career (linked here)

== Making it Rainn in the NBA shouldn’t be a foreign concept (linked here)

== Rick Reilly gave the capital building in Denver a “tongue bath” and seemed to enjoy the attention (linked here) And a “tongue bathing” is hardly the first time he’s considered that a funny line (linked here)

== Jim Gray thinks President Clinton likes him, and that makes him feel better about himself … concur, Eric Dickerson? (linked here)

== There’s still that Breast Awareness thing going on, from Liz Habib down the line (wearing red instead of pink) (linked here)

== Can we make finding a NASCAR event even easier on TV in 2010? (linked here)

== The L.A. connection to capturing Erin Andrews’ stalker (linked here) And here’s what the guy looks like, with his clothes on (linked here)

== More about Mark Frost’s “Game Six” book on the ’75 World Series (linked here)

== TV viewers apparently are OK with post-season baseball on TBS (linked here). And with Bob Brenly’s connection to Joe Torre (linked here). Unless they temporarily push the game to TNT (linked here).

== An Associated Press staff project: Why mainstream media is swimming upstream (linked here)

== And want to see Babe Ruth as maybe you’ve never seen him, as the MLB archivists try to pinpoint this lost footage (linked here)

== AND FINALLY:

Even without Marv Thronberry, the Mets can still be trivial (linked here):

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Maybe Yogi Berra, the former Mets manager, can explain.

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