Because we all have $2,229 to spend on one special Christmas gift this season


The Associated Press

Major League Baseball has the perfect gift to bust a budget in a recession.

A 20-DVD set of World Series films can be bought for $2,229, and it contains authenticated autographs of 12 Hall of Famers.

A limited edition run of 100 sets was put together by Major League Baseball Productions, A&E Home Entertainment and Mounted Memories, the companies said Friday.

There are 65 films from 1943-08 that run for more than 50 hours.

The package also has autographs from Yogi Berra, Bob Gibson, Reggie Jackson, Mike Schmidt, Johnny Bench, Gary Carter, Bob Feller, Rollie Fingers, Carlton Fisk, Whitey Ford, Brooks Robinson and Bruce Sutter.

MLB spokesman Jeff Heckelman said the set is also available without the autographs for $179.99 on (linked here) and in stores with a suggested retail price of $229.

We’ve already written about this in the past blog (linked here), back when it was listing for $229 on the site.

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The Media Learning Curve: Nov. 13-20


The Sports Business Journal reported this week (linked here) that the Los Angeles Daily News did not request any media credentials to cover the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Again, we’re the last to hear of these things.

The USOC issued 481 credentials to publications and Web sites, but had 135 returned, most by newspapers and traditional publications like Newsweek, which returned five of six credentials; The Dallas Morning News, which returned four of six; and the McClatchy’s Washington bureau, which returned seven credentials and kept four, the story said.

Other than your Daily News, there’ll be no one representing the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Baltimore Sun, Boston Herald, Charlotte Observer, (Colorado Springs) Gazette, (Hackensack) Record, Hartford Courant, Indianapolis Star, Kansas City Star, Newsday, Palm Beach Post or St. Petersburg Times.

Yahoo! asked for 21 credentials. Yipee for them.

“I don’t know whether this is a spike or the way things will be for the future, but this is extremely unusual to get this many back,” said Bob Condron, the USOC’s director of media services. “The interest is there, no doubt, but the money is not.”

Get used to it.

(By the way, if you’re a blogger and wanted to win a “free press pass” to the Winter Games … as opposed to the ones that the real media has to buy … it’s too late. But read here what you missed out on).

Other stuff we knew, but didn’t know, until we saw it somewhere in print:

== Week 11 L.A. viewing for the NFL (linked here). Sorry, you already missed Miami-Carolina on the NFL Net.

== Week 12 L.A. viewing for the college football fan (linked here). Sorry, you didn’t miss USC. It has a bye. And we already know that we’ll miss Cal-Stanford, because it’s on Versus, and we have DirecTV, which still hasn’t brought the channel back … but what if you were living in the Bay Area and really wanted to see it? Has the Gerhart hit the fan yet? If you really want to blame someone, blame Fox Sports Net for making the game available for Versus to buy off their inventory list. (linked here)

== Want to see how a UCLA Rose Bowl card stunt works? USA Today’s website has visual (and audio) evidence (linked here)

== Did you know there’s a (beta) website up and working? (linked here)

== We gotta go to TMZ for our Galaxy injury updates? (linked here)

== Dick Enberg, calling San Diego Padres games? It’s in discussion (linked here)

== Jim Gray had a 50th birthday party in Vegas … and Walton, West, Shula, Dr. J., Dickerson, Larry King … Ali? … all showed. What were their appearance fees? (linked here)

== Someone’s list of 25 football broadcasters — NFL and college — that doesn’t weed out the play-by-play men from the analysts, leaving everything in some kind of mish-mash disarray (linked here) but awards CBS’ Gary Danielson with the golden ticket. And here’s a rebuttal list (linked here).

== Another very good Dave Kindred list, this time of 50 things a sports writer should and shouldn’t do (linked here). No. 1 “Do” — go to the event you’re writing about. No. 1 “Don’t”: Never trust spellcheck.

== Does Larry King’s 10-year-old son, Chance, have a chance hosting a Fox Sports Net program? Even if its directed by Tom Arnold? (linked here)

== ESPN ombudsman Don Ohlmeyer rambles on about how the net dropped the ball on the Steve Phillips story … like we really care to hear any more of it (linked here)


== Obviously, if you’re a cameraman and you get too close to a bald guy following Bill Belichick off the field, you run the risk of having an iris rammed up your shutter:


== We were the guest on a Sports Media Journal podcast (linked here) with Keith Thibault and Ken Fang (of It’s a half hour of your time well wasted spent.

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The Media Learning Curve: More stuff to bend around toward the Seattle Space Needle


Cleaning up after today’s media column (linked here), more Q-and-A with former Galaxy player and GM Alexi Lalas, before he heads to Seattle for Sunday’s MLS Cup telecast (ESPN, 5:30 p.m.):


Q: We found this quote by you from an interview you did with the BBC: “Anybody who says that the signing of David Beckham has been failure is delusional and is not seeing the bigger picture … His impact in terms of giving the Galaxy and the MLS a platform from which to spring to the next level cannot be overstated. He has brought incredible recognition and credibility to the league.” Does his appearance in the MLS Cup on Sunday reinforce that, or have the Galaxy been a poster child for what individual-over-team concept could do when it’s balanced improperly?

Lalas: One of the best things that Bruce Arenas did when he came in was dumbing everything down. That’s a good thing. He made things simple and gave everyone expectations to set for themselves individually and collectively. He managed through the controversy of the book that came out, “The Beckham Experiment,” and used it to his advantage. That book really helped the Galaxy in a strange way. It forced Donovan and Beckham to go through public therapy that resulted in each playing better and the team playing better. Then the team made some good pickups to surround them.

L.A. has to be the favorite to win (Sunday) because they have confidence and swagger and a consistency. All that means something. When look at Real Salt Lake, it’s that proverbial box of chocolates. That makes them interesting from a TV standpoint, but you’ll never know what you’re going to get. This team could show up, or it could roll over.

The game the Galaxy played (against Houston in the Western Conference final) was a real soccer game. There were good rhytms to it. The Galaxy had tremendous pressure which, in the past, they might have broken. In crunch time they found a way to score. And with all the focus on Beckham and Donovan, the other players have participated and that’s no surprise.

Q: If the Galaxy wins on Sunday, will you feel some kind of connection to it?

Lalas: I’m a Galaxy alum, so there’s always a piece of me in them. I’m still proud of the successes we had, which goes unnoticed a lot of the time. I’ll be happy for Galaxy fans who have suffered over the last few years. I’d like to see them win. A lot of people think it’s already written in the stars, but it’s not a a fait accompli.

JP Dellacamera will call the match with John Harkes, and Allen Hopkins and Rob Stone on the sidelines.
Stone will also host on-site studio segments before and after the match and at halftime with Lalas and Julie Foudy.

ESPN will use 19 cameras, including two super slo-mos, a steadicam and skycam. The exceptional ESPN Axis replay telestrator will be available, as will new Stats LLC graphic “heat maps” that track star player movement during the match, measuring speed and total distance run.

== ESPN Classic has the “History of the MLS Cup” two-hour presentation (Saturday at 3 p.m.) that goes from the start of the league through 2008. Interviews include players and coaches who have starred in the MLS Cup, including Landon Donovan, Bruce Arena, Cobi Jones and Eric Wynalda.

== ESPN2’s coverage of the Western Conference finals last friday was the most-watched MLS telecast on the network, drawing an average of 538,000 TV homes (or 700,000 viewers), giving it a 0.5 rating. Additionally on ESPN Deportes, the match was seen in an average of 73,000 Hispanic television homes (121,000 viewers), a 1.6 Hispanic coverage rating. The previous high was Thurs., Aug. 23, 2007, in a regular-season match between Chivas USA and the Galaxy — 532,000 TV homes (658,000 viewers) for a 0.6 rating.

Other corners to kick around:

== HBO says there were 1.25 million pay-per-view buys (650,000 from cable/600,000 from satellite dish folk) from Saturday’s Manny Pacquiao-Miguel Cotto fight in Las Vegas, resulting in $70 million generated to split up amongst those connected with it. Of that total, 110,000 buys were from Puerto Rico, Cotto’s home market. How many were purchased in the Phillipines? Not sure. HBO replays the fight — free, sorta of, if you buy HBO — Saturday at 10 p.m.

== HBO’s next “Real Sports” (Tuesday, 10 p.m.) includes a piece by Mary Carillo on 43-year-old New York firefighter Matt Long and his ability to compete in the recent Lake Placid Ironman event — four years after riding to work during a transit strike when he was run over by a bus and impaled on his own bicycle. Long was featured in last Sunday’s presentation of the Arete Awards for Sports Courage on CBS.

== Kevin Calabro and Mark Jackson drew the short straws: They’re calling ESPN’s coverage of Denver at the Clippers tonight, 7:30 p.m.


== Latest webisode of “Mayne Street” involves missing Lakers courtside tickets, and a lot of leg room for Aubrey Plaza before she’s banished to an ESPN outlet in the Ukrane:

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Nine paragraphs on a dead dog, and Michael Vick has no connection whatsoever


By Greg Bluestein
The Associated Press

ATLANTA — Uga VII, the white English bulldog mascot for the University of Georgia’s football team for almost two seasons, died Thursday of heart-related causes, the dog’s owner said.

The 56-pound dog, nicknamed “Loran’s Best,” was known as a laid-back mascot who seemed oblivious to crowd noise during boisterous games and would sit patiently as excited fans snapped photos of him. He often roamed the sidelines in a shirt with a ‘G’ stitched on it, sometimes resting on a bag of ice to cool off in his customized dog house.

The school said there would be no mascot at Saturday’s game in Athens against Southeastern Conference rival Kentucky, but that a wreath will be laid on his doghouse on the field’s sidelines. Sonny Seiler, the dog’s owner, said he likely wouldn’t name a replacement until next year.

“We are all in a state of shock,” Seiler said in a news release issued by the university. “We had no warning whatsoever.”

The 4-year-old dog made his debut as the mascot in August 2008 after his father, Uga VI, died of congestive heart failure. He had big paws to fill — Uga VI was the school’s winningest mascot, racking up a 87-27 record, seven wins in nine bowl appearances and a pair of Southeastern Conference championships.

But Seiler said the dog distinguished himself in his own way.

“He was 10-3 last year which is not bad for a freshman,” said Seiler. “Uga VII was not as active or mischievous as his father but more distinguished. He realized his role when he put his shirt on. He was well-behaved and always appreciated the significance of his role.”

The dog was the latest in a line of mascots that have been featured on the covers of Sports Illustrated, Time, Newsweek and in several movies. He also was a compelling symbol for football fans across the nation, said Damon Evans, the school’s athletic director.

“Just as his ancestors, he had captured the hearts of college football fans everywhere as the country’s No. 1 mascot,” Evans said. “He had been truly embraced by all those who follow the Georgia Bulldogs across the country. We will miss him dearly.”

On the Net:

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Coming Friday: Xs and Os with Alexi and the Galaxy … again

Back at the end of June, Alexi Lalas made an appearance on Comedy Central’s “Colbert Nation” to say it was time to care about soccer:

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Is It Time To Care About Soccer? – Alexi Lalas
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor U.S. Speedskating

Lalas is back on ESPN’s telecast of Sunday’s MLS Cup (5:30 p.m.) telling L.A. fans it’s time to care about the Galaxy again.

The former star player and team GM fired from his post late last season has mixed feelings about seeing this team make it to the title game. Imagine if he’d been allowed to stick around one more year, with Bruce Arena as the coach, and be in Seattle this weekend as the one who orchestrated this title-contender instead of being accused of being the one responsible for the mess it was in less than a year ago.

We caught up with Alexi doing voice-over work back in Bristol, Conn., on the U.S.-Denmark game and drained him for some info on how he feels about this situation and who he’s pulling for (surprise) in Sunday’s game.

He says he misses “the day-to-day business” of soccer, but the TV work “is a wonderful thing to do.” He’ll explain.

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