The Ocho Cinco News Network … confirming, we’re on the road to nowhere

From a press release to important, it is datelined Cincinnati and Libertyville, Ill. –

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One of professional football’s most animated stars and avid Twitter user, Chad Ocho Cinco, has announced the creation of the Ocho Cinco News Network (OCNN) – the nation’s first athlete-operated social media news network, powered by Motorola’s MOTOBLUR technology. Ocho Cinco broke the news regarding the launch of OCNN via Twitter this past weekend.

Known for his headline-making quotes, the Cincinnati wide receiver is teaming up with Motorola and tapping into its innovative MOTOBLUR technology to form the heart of OCNN and fuel its ongoing mission to provide fans with the latest insider information and breaking news from on-and-off the football field.

Whether through his highly-anticipated end-zone dances, or patented catch phrases, including “child pleeez” or “kiss da baby,” Ocho Cinco has become an entertaining lightning rod for both media and fans alike.

“Everyone knows that I’m more than just a football star. I’m all about entertainment and doing things that no one else has ever done before,” said Ocho Cinco. “OCNN is exactly that, a first of its kind, and thanks to Motorola’s MOTOBLUR technology, I’m powered up and ready to take tweeting and social networking to an even higher level.”

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To end the Steve Phillips drama… he’s been put on waivers for the purpose of giving him his unconditional release from ESPN

Baseball analyst Steve Phillips has been fired by ESPN after admitting to an affair with an assistant at the cable network, the net said.

ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz said tonight the network determined Phillips’ ability to be an effective analyst was “significantly and irreparably damaged.”

See you at the MLB Net in a few years.

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Play it forward: Oct. 25-Nov. 1 on your L.A. sports calendar … Pass the pumpkin

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TODAY

No baseball. No hoops. Take a breather. Watch some bad football. Word of the day: Zorn. Maybe they coulda played this one in London instead. You know — Ben Franklin’s squad against the White House Wonders with red skins… would have gone over just fab at Wembley. With Beckham as the Eagles’ field-goal kicker.
NFL: Philadelphia at Washington, 5:30 p.m., ESPN; and don’t forget, to make it worse: “Monday Night Countdown” with Chris Berman, Keyshawn Johnson, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson, Stuart Scott, Matt Millen, Steve Young.

TUESDAY

The 64th regular season of the National Basketball Association doesn’t even begin with the Lakers’ ring ceremony. That happens after the TV guys are finished showing off Boston and Cleveland playing in the opener of a televised doubleheader. Then, to L.A. vs. L.A., with David Stern reviving his trophy ceremony presentation, with or without the strange Jerry Buss offspring in the way.
NBA: Clippers at Lakers, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., TNT; Boston vs. Cleveland, 4:30 p.m., TNT

WEDNESDAY

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World Series, Version 105.0. With Joe Buck and Tim McCarver. Without the Dodgers, Angels, replays to help the umps and warm weather. It must already be good. Amazon.com is taking orders for the $69.95 highlight DVD (linked here) — to be released on Dec. 15. We’ll watch it live and decide.
Baseball: World Series Game 1: Philadelphia at N.Y. Yankees, 4:57 p.m. first pitch (Game 2 is Thursday at 4:57 p.m. in New York; Game 3 is Saturday at 4:47 p.m. in Philadelphia; Game 4 is Sunday at 5:20 p.m. in Philadelphia.

Where do the Clippers go with an 0-1 record? Rebuild mode. Again.
NBA: Clippers vs. Phoenix, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., Prime Ticket.

Episode One: “East of Dillon.” The synopsis: Coach struggles to pull together his new team — the East Dillon Lions. There are politics to navigate through. Kids running amock. Girls messing things up. All’s well in Texas. Then, stick around for “Wonderland.”
Season premiere: “Friday Night Lights,” DirecTV 101, 6 and 9 p.m.

Don’t fear the Sharks. Not any more.
NHL: KIngs at San Jose, 7:30 p.m., FSN West.

THURSDAY

Don’t fear the Canucks. Even if you could figure out what one really is. Maybe this big fan knows.
NHL: Kings vs. Vancouver, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., FSN West.

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FRIDAY

Thankfully, the regular NBA refs are back in place. Right where Mark Cuban wants ‘em.
NBA: Lakers vs. Dallas, Staples Center, ESPN, FSN West, 7:30 p.m.

Too late to see the BYU-TCU game. Sorry, Mr. Dunleavy.
NBA: Clippers at Utah, Prime Ticket, 6:30 p.m.

SATURDAY

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Don’t get spooked. The bad guys are wearing orange and black on Halloween and look like Beavers.
College football: UCLA at Oregon State, 1 p.m.

More haunting news: The University of Oregon has a graveyard right in the middle of its campus.
College football: USC at Oregon, 5 p.m., Channel 7.

Thankfully, the Mavericks have the Clippers on their schedule. Right where Mark Cuban wants ‘em.
NBA: Clippers vs. Dallas, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., Prime Ticket.

SUNDAY

A playoff SuperClassico. Can it get even more bueno? Emi will get you up to speed. And can’t wait to see Beckham in person.
MLS playoffs: Galaxy vs. Chivas USA, Home Depot Center, 2 p.m., ESPN2, ESPN Deportes

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The NFL doesn’t have a prime-time game this week, yielding to the World Series. How nice of them. Yet, the game everyone probably wants to see: Brett Favre returns to Green Bay. And it leads into World Series Game 4.
NFL: Minnesota at Green Bay, 1:15 p.m., Channel 11.

Name two players on the Hawks. Didn’t think so.
NBA: Lakers vs. Atlanta, Staples Center, 6:30 p.m., FSN West

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Khloe & Lamar: It’s Over Already!

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That’s the screaming headline on page 39 of the Oct. 26 issue of Star magazine — located only because the cover teaser says “Khloe & Lamar Over Already!”

(First off, don’t pay the $3.99 for the issue. I found it at the gym when the girl on the whirlybird stationary thing next to me was reading it. When she left, I snatched it — investigative resoucefulness — to find a story seven paragraphs long with four writers credited with putting it together)

The core of it: The Odom-Kardashian TV wedding special is Nov. 8 “but by then, even the pretense of a happy marriage is likely to be over!”

You don’t exclaim! Go on ….

“As Star reported, the L.A. Lakers forward was seeing at least three diferent women in the weeks before he married Khloe, 25, after knowing her just 32 days — and now his bride is suspicious of his every move.”

Now she is? She knows he’s an NBA player, right?

After the Lakers defeated Golden State in an Oct. 7 exhibition, “Khloe was in tears when he didn’t return to their room at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills until very late,” the mag reports. Also, she was “noticeably absent” from the Lakers’ exhibition at the Forum a couple of Fridays ago.

So the headline is all based on those facts? If that’s the case, Kobe Bryant’s wife must be “over” him “already” as well. ….

Wait, is that a scoop?!?!?!?

Go on the Star magazine website (linked here) and you won’t even find this among the “5 hottest stories of the week.” A shocker!!

But go to the New York Daily News site (linked here), and see the story posted today with the headline: “Lamar Odom hasn’t introduced new wife Khloe Kardashian to his children”

Perhaps he’s trying to save the marriage.

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If Reilly slips in ‘Beetlebaum,’ he’ll have achived something

These are the six horses running in Saturday’s first race, 12:30 p.m. at Santa Anita, with their post positions (linked here):

= Premiere Diablo
= Benezit
= Silver Sword
= Russian Liquor
= Screen to Screen
= Bad Boy

Have at ‘em, Rick Reilly.

i-6a520574b7e2444002e5fcc1c2662639-rick.jpgSports Illustrated ESPN writer and on-camera feature reporter who continues to drink his own Kool-Aid is allowed to do the call on this race as part of ESPN’s coverage of the Breeders’ Cup next month at Santa Anita. It will air as a feature story.

“This could be the beginning and the end of my track announcing career in one race,” joke Reilly in the Santa Anita Oak Tree press notes distributed today.

He at least, reportedly, got some advice from Trevor Denman. But will it help?

“My hero was always Jim Murray and this was his favorite place,” said Reilly of the former L.A. Times columnist, who has a race named for him. “I’m so glad to finally be here — the mountains, the setting, this place is so majestic. It’s so beautiful, it’s going to be hard to focus.”

Try. There’s money (from other people) riding on it.

The $20,000 claiming race is for 3-year-olds and up at 6 1/2 furlongs on the all-weather track. They are also non-winners of a race since Sept. 9.

Reilly’s kinda horses.

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The Media Learning Curve: Oct. 16-23

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The New York Times’ Richard Sandomir tries to figure out why the Southern California TV market seems so depressed when it comes to ratings that try to gauge viewership for the Dodgers’ and Angels’ postseason run (linked here).

Take, for instance, the overnight rating for NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” game, which more than tripled the Dodgers-Phillies NLCS Game 3 playoff game on TBS (12.0 vs. 3.7). In the Los Angeles market, “Sunday Night Football” beat the NLCS game featuring the Dodgers by 15 percent (8.4 vs. 7.3). Of course, the Dodgers were trailing 6-0 early on and never scrambled back in it. The Sunday Night game featured … what does it matter?

Sandomir writes: Maybe it’s the old time-zone thing that limits viewership in the West Coast because what starts at 8 o’clock in New York begins at 5 in Santa Monica. Perhaps Angelenos have more amusing diversions. Maybe it’s the cold and the rain in the East keeping fans inside. Or maybe old baseball cities like New York, Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia tend to support their teams in greater numbers.

Or maybe, it’s that ratings don’t add up to squat, failing to take into account Southern California viewing habits and exposing themselves for a lack of accurate measurement.

We can go outside our homes, so we often watch these games with friends in sports bars, restaurants, at the gym. Or, even store it TiVo it for later consumption, after finding out the score and deciding if it’s worth devoting three hours of our lives to it.

Dorm rooms, too, aren’t registered by the archaic Nielsen monitors. There’s a whole generation of kids watching that don’t get counted.

Add and subtract all you want, but those ratings will never accurately measure Southern California’s TV audience for any big-time group must-watch programming. No matter what time it starts, finishes or delays in between.

And if your choice is listening to Vin Scully describe it on the radio as you’re in traffic coming home from work past 7 p.m., versus trying to race home and find it on TBS, it’s an easy solution — go with the radio.

And who is this Nielsen guy anyway? Do you know anyone with one of his machines in their home?

What else do you need to know, Bronx breath?

== Your L.A. Week 7 NFL TV free viewing (linked here)

== Your L.A. Week 8 college football TV viewing (unless you’re with DirecTV and can’t see BYU-TCU do it on Versus) (linked here)

== This is the last you’ll hear of Vin Scully from the 2009 season (linked here) There’s a lot more of Vin 50 years ago on the Walter O’Malley website celebrating the 1959 World Series title team (linked here).

== Our archived interview with Joe Buck (linked here) admitting that criticism can be constructive … and TV can help umpires.

== The media sensation of a Pepperdine basketball player other than Mychal Thompson’s kid (linked here)

== CBS is blowing up more on the Steve McNair death — another woman (linked here)

== Steve Phillips, you’ve made your bed — and at least you didn’t get murdered (linked here) … but maybe after the photos of you and the 22-year-old get circulated, you might want to really lay low for a while (linked here) … “And she’s in a blue Prius … and please hurry … I’m going to call my husband at work and see who she is” (linked here) and ESPN isn’t happy with the “reporting” of this on Deadspin.com (linked here) and Deadspin answers back about calling everyone at ESPN “horndogs” (linked here)

== Another reason not to do live reports during a Phillies’ victory celebration (linked here)

== If you enjoy New York’s Newsday — and why shouldn’t you — you finally get to pay for it (linked here) And why the Chicago Tribune is something to be feared (linked here).

== If Rick Reilly’s money was riding on this, it’d be another story (linked here)

== Do you think there’s really a coaliation for Sports TV Viewers? (linked here)

== More odds and ends on our end (linked here).

== AND FINALLY:

Somehow, this YouTube clip is getting recirculated on Break.com (linked here) under the headline “World’s Worst Sports Announcer,” from a Athletics-Red Sox game played in Japan to open the 2008 season … maybe because it reminds some of Chip Caray these days:


EMBED-World’s Worst Sports Announcer – Watch more free videos

It has about 60,000 views and more than 300 comments, none funnier than: “You would think at some time during the interviewing process they could of at least asked this guy ‘Have you ever seen a baseball game before?;”
Or you’d think at some point the viewer would realize this is a put-on.

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Andrew Bynum, the NBA’s ‘most overpaid player’

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Do you buy into Andrew Bynum yet?

Forbes.com passes.

In a story posted today (linked here), Tom Van Riper (apparently his real name) writes that as teams continue to be enamored in the potential value of big men, Bynum has risen to the top and is “leading the pack” of overpaid large humans.

“(The Lakers) invested four more years and $58 million in him after the 2007-08 season. The project may yet pay off — Bynum improved to 14 points a game last year while averaging the most minutes (29) of his four-year career. But his numbers have a long way to go to catch up to his contract.”

To measure Bynum’s overvalue, Van Riper says he compared “major career statistics (primarily minutes played, points and rebounds per game) to players’ current contracts,” so that Bynum is measured against other players on the basis of both the $58 million the Lakers invested in him and by the average $14.5 million he rakes in per year.

Bynum is one of six centers on a top 10 list that includes Charlotte’s DeSagana Diop (almost $7 million a year, 15 minutes a game), Dallas’ Erick Dampier (over $10 million annually for eight points and eight rebounds a game) and Chicago’s Jerome James (a part-time player finishing up a three-year, $30 million deal.

Here’s where you won’t find this story posted: http://www.andrew-bynum.net

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The Media Learning Curve: More criticism, less value, fewer replays

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Enough said.

Today’s version in the yes-we-still-have-one newspaper (same as the one online) is (linked here).

In other words, more media notes:

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== More than just window dressing, ESPN should have pleased many kickball fans with the announcement this week that it has hired Martin Tyler as the play-by-play man for its network coverage of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. He starts Friday, June 11 with a 6:30 a.m. opening match call. His credentials: He was voted the “FA Premier League Commentator of the Decade” in 2003 by fans and a panel of football experts, He has been with the London-based Sky Sports since its launch in 1991 and, according to ESPN executive producer Jed Drake, Tyler is “one of the top English-language soccer commentators in the world; his experience, authentic style and in-depth knowledge of the game will help elevate ESPN’s presentation of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.” The fallout: Perhaps this finally means Dave O’Brien is no longer in the loop, and more time will be also given to JP Dellacamera, Tommy Smyth and Andy Gray.

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== HBO says it has started production on a documentary about Magic Johnson and Larry Bird that will connect them starting 30 years ago in the NCAA championship game and carried over into the NBA and beyond. It will debut in March, 2010, on the eve of March Madness. Interviews already done include Pat Riley, Kevin McHale, Michael Cooper and Bryant Gumbel, who worked for NBC on that NCAA game as the pre-game host.

== NBA TV, the league-operated network with TNT’s production muscle, will hit 45 million homes this season after announcing new deals with Time Warner Cable (on a digital basic tier), Cablevision (on its iO digital package) and Dish Network (in its Classic Silver 200 package), after having already been on DirecTV, Verizon, Comcast and Cox. TWC, Cablevision and Dish will also have subscription based NBA League Pass.

== On the 10th anniversary of Payne Stewart’s passing, Golf Channel has a one-our special in its Sunday pre-game show (9 a.m.) hosted by Kraig Kann, Steve Sands and Charlie Rymer, with Rich Lerner paying tribute with a closing essay. At GolfChannel.com, senior writer Rex Hoggard has an interview with Stewart’s son and Lerner will have something on an interview he had with Stewart at his home in 1999 just prior to his U.S. Open victory.

== Another segment on the next HBO “Real Sports” (Tuesday, 10 p.m.) has Frank Deford revisiting an interview he did in 2002 with former Detroit Tigers broadcasting legend Ernie Harwell, who, at 91, was recently diagnosed with inoperable cancer.

== Major League Soccer commish Don Garber will be on “Fox Football Fone-In” with Nick Webster and Eric Wynalda (Monday, 4 to 6 p.m. live, Fox Soccer Channel, repeated at 8 p.m.).

AND FINALLY:

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== TBS studio guys said it before Game 5 of the NLCS between the Dodgers and Phillies, on the whole Manny Ramirez needs an early shower story:

Dennis Eckersley: “First of all, Manny isn’t really Manny this year when you look at the stats. He’s not the same guy. But he’s probably the same guy in the clubhouse. If I played with Manny, it wouldn’t bother me at all. I think they made more out of this than they should’ve because it’s Manny. I don’t think the (Dodgers) players care.”

David Wells: “I was teammates with him in Boston and he did the same thing. I’ve done it throughout my career. The media is probably bored and they need a story.”

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Coming Friday: Artesting the waters for the upcoming NBA season

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For Friday’s newspaper media column, just got off the phone with three TNT analysts who claim to have an answer to this question: The Lakers have the best chance at repeating as NBA champions if …

Reggie Miller: “Ron Artest plays like Ron Artest. Having played with Ron, I know how he can help a team. I also know how he can hurt a ballclub with actions that are misguided. Ron doesn’t have to do a lot. I hope he understands the pecking order and doesn’t think he needs to get the second-most shots each game behind Kobe.”

Chris Webber: “They don’t play the Celtics in the championship. The Celtics are the only team that can match their intensity. Some teams bring out the worst in other teams. The Celtics can find a way to get under Ron’s skin.”

Doug Collins, recently inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame broadcaster’s wing: “They stay healthy. (Andrew) Bynum wasn’t healthy during the finals last year, and it’s important to keep Kobe (Bryant), (Pau) Gasol and Derek Fisher fresh. Also, if they get better minutes out of their bench, and if Shannon Brown and Jordan Farmar can help when a team with speed faces them.”

And about them Clippers …

Webber: “The question is leadership. If we’re honest, players do go there when they want to get a paycheck. But it comes down to leadership at the end of the day. Will the rookie get the ball, or someone else who feels his season is a waste anyway and wants to show his skills before the trade deadline? If Baron (Davis) is not the leader, or Marcus (Camby) is not the leader, it will affect the team and erode into nothing. They’re already on the ouside and they’ve been teasing NBA fans for a long time. It seems they never get that consistency. Last year was a disappointment and hopefully we’ll see the effort this time.”

More on that, the TBS/Fox conclusion to the NLCS and ALCS, plus more stuff that just can’t be contained in one blog entry…

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Your 2010 Tour de California, with a surprise ending … wait for it … and new dates

This in from those who run the Tour of California cycling event — a new route that ends in Thousand Oaks and it moves from February to May to bypass the rain and snow season and allow for the mountains to be used more on the course.

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The 16 host cities for the May 16-23 race were announced today via a Twitter exchange between Lance Armstrong, three-time Tour of California champion Levi Leipheimer, Dave Zabriskie and George Hincapie and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Which is why we didn’t hear about it until the Associated Press put it up on their site.

The race, in its fifth year, starts with a road stage for the first time from Nevada City, Calif., to Sacramento.

It will pass through Davis, Santa Rosa, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, San Jose, Modesto, Visalia, Bakersfield, Pasadena, Big Bear Lake, downtown L.A. and end in Thousand Oaks, home of title sponsor Amgen.

Stage 7 will be the individual time trial downtown next to Staples Center.

“For the 2010 Amgen Tour of California we had the unique opportunity to move our race to a part of the year when we are almost guaranteed great weather in California,” said Andrew Messick, president of AEG Sports. “This timing will help us to better showcase the beautiful features the state of California has to offer, while allowing us to travel to parts of the state that just weren’t feasible in previous years.”

Armstrong starts the 2010 season with his newly formed Team RadioShack, which includes Leipheimer.

More info: www.amgentourofcalifornia.com

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