The Media Learning Curve: Scratches from the newspaper column


Now that televised baseball is done for the season — we can still watch TiVo’d games that we’ve squirreled away for the winter — today’s media column fodder on the Breeders’ Cup coverage (linked here) has no room for these other items of non-horseplay:

== Kenny Mayne is part of the Breeders’ Cup coverage this weekend for ABC, ESPN and ESPN2, but an appearance by him on Sunday (no, not his usual feature on ESPN NFL Countdown) might otherwise get lost if we don’t alert you to the fact — he’s doing bowling.
The PBA Cheetah Championship from Thunderbowl Lanes in Allen Park, Mich. was held Aug 8-13, but it’ll air Sunday at 11 a.m. on ESPN presented for the first time as a documentary-style feature, with Mayne narrating. There are behind-the-scenes looks at an entire PBA Tour event, from the start of qualifying to the championship match, player interviews and other features. Rob Stone will do play-by-play with analyst Randy Pederson, and the final round includes PBA Hall of Famer Norm Duke, Ryan Ciminelli, Derek Sapp and Stevie Weber.

== On ESPN’s “Sunday NFL Countdown” (8 a.m.) and Monday’s “Outside The Lines” (noon), Marie Tillman, the widow of former Arizona Cardinals safety Pat Tillman, speaks for the first time in a TV interview about his decision to leave the NFL and all that led to his death in Afghanistan. Chris Connelly does the interview that also focuses on the Pat Tillman Foundation helping with scholarships to those serving in the military. “That’s my favorite part of doing this is being able to meet the people who we were able to have an impact in their lives and see how the money that we’re providing them for their education is really making a difference,” says Marie Tillman.

== Andre Agassi’s damage control tour, which he started by releasing excerpts of his new book that included relevations of drug use, goes to CBS’ “60 Minutes” with an interview he grants to Katie Couric (Sunday, 7 p.m.). CBS’ press release says “Agassi got emotional when responding to the criticism from Martina Navratilova that Couric read to him, including that the former women’s tennis star compared him with Roger Clemens. ‘Yeah…it’s what you don’t want to hear…I would hope…along with that would come some compassion that maybe this person doesn’t need condemnation,’ Agassi tells Couric. ‘Maybe this person could stand a little help. Because that was at a time in my life when I needed help.'”
So next, he’ll have to start explaining what he meant by saying why Martina needs help.
His new book, “Open,” comes out Monday.


== If you really want to meet’s Bill Simmons and put money in his pocket, he’s doing signings of his new book “The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to The Sports Guy” at the ESPN Zone at L.A. Live (Monday, 5 p.m.) and at Downtown Disney (Friday, Nov. 13, 4 p.m.)

== Andrea Joyce, Paul Wylie, Peter Carruthers and David Pelletier handle the NBC Sports and Universal Sports coverage of this weekend’s ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating in Nagano, Japan. Universal Sports starts today at 2 p.m.; NBC (Channel 4) has it Sunday at 11 a.m. with the ladies and men’s free skates.

== Tennis Channel has the U.S. Fed Cup championship match (which includes rising star Melanie Oudin) against Italy with live coverage Saturday and Sunday starting each day at 2 a.m. from Italy with replays each night.


== Funny, but this is long overdue.

Comedy Central has ordered a pilot from the satirical news magazine The Onion, a half-hour scripted series based on The Onion’s Sports Network online video series that parodies sports shows – especially those on ESPN.

Onion News Network director Will Graham says in a statement to expect “the most intense sports coverage humanity has yet witnessed” on TOSN, may of whose clips we’ve linked and embedded in our blog in the past two years.

And, because we now can’t help ourselves, here’s the headline story from this week (with a link here):


New York Marathon Winner Tests Positive For Performance-Enhancing Horse

NEW YORK — Officials from New York Road Runners stripped American Meb Keflezighi of his 2009 ING New York City Marathon victory Wednesday after a blood sample taken from his fetlock was found to contain high levels of performance-enhancing horse.
“Meb’s fellow competitors voiced their doubts about him immediately after the event,” NYRR president Mary Wittenberg said. “In addition to his remarkable speed, unusual race-day height, and distinctive ‘clip-clop’ gait, Keflezighi’s frequent nickering caused the other runners to speculate that he may have been using a horse in some fashion.”
Added Wittenberg, “Also, just before the start, he lifted up his tail and loudly deposited a 9-inch-high pile of steaming fecal matter on the pavement, an unusual occurrence even in the world of long-distance running.”
Keflezighi finished the race in 48 minutes and 12 seconds, easily setting a new world record and defeating his nearest competitor by one hour and 20 minutes.

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