Our Daily Dread: The UnFriendLy UFL

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A story on CNN’s website today (linked here) notes that “unfriend” has been picked as word of the year by the New Oxford American Dictionary, beating out things such as “netbook,” “hashtag” and “sexting.”

Oxford defines “unfriend,” a verb: “To remove someone as a ‘friend’ on a social networking site such as Facebook.”

It also notes that on some blogs Tuesday, debate about the decision centered on whether the “unfriend” or “defriend” was the proper word for weeding someone from one’s online circle.

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Somehow this brings us to the United Football League.

We have unfriended them. They’re UnFriendLy in our social circles. We’ve been abandoned.

We’ve kept seeing this billboard (above) around town the last couple of months, and it has definitely had us interested … in an odd way. It promotes a professional football game at the Home Depot Center for this Friday, two teams full of NFL rejects, pointing the spotlight on the names on the two coaches participating.

It looks more like a UFC event than the UFL.

Two guys who will “battle for U.” What, in a halftime arm wrestling? A clipboard toss competition? Honestly, these guys should be wearing nametags as much as the players.

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But, from what we can now determine, this game isn’t taking place in Southern California. And we can’t get a straight answer.

The official site of the Home Depot Center (linked here), home of the MLS Galaxy and Chivas, is publicizing only the upcoming high school football state championships and a Mia Hamm-Nomar Garciaparra charity soccer event.

Through a Google search, we find out through some sketch reports that back in mid-October, the league pulled the plug on this. Someone decided (linked here) that the contest between your Las Vegas Locomotives (aka, the Locos) and the New York Sentinels should stay at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas and not venture this way.

It goes against the league’s original plan to showcase their four teams in not just their four “hometowns” but also in potential markets for expansion.

Because, in L.A., you know, there is no pro football. And this could be the answer.

“This is a move to help the Locos build a solid fan base in their home city, help sell tickets for the championship game to be held in Vegas (on the Friday after Thanksgiving) to not ruin L.A. as a potential UFL market,” the story says, attributing this information to no one in particular.

It also explains: The UFL isn’t drawing.

They thought they’d get 20,000 a game. They’ve been estimating crowd counts as closer to about 12,500. Those who are actually in attendance think that’s about twice as much as are really there. That’s less than what the old XFL used to draw (23,400 in its one year). Even the older USFL was a much bigger attaction, with far greater names.

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JP Losman (bio linked here), the former Venice High standout and UCLA scholarship holder who left the program as a redshirt and ended up with improving his NFL stock at Tulane, continues to pilot the Locos of Vegas, who last week clinched a championship berth. This, after his career with the NFL’s Buffalo Bills (33 starts in four years) seemed to fizzle. He’d been reduced to a backup. The 28-year-old decided to join this upstart D-league-type league back in August. Fassel, the former New York Giants coach, would be the two most high-profile faces — even with Jim Haslett (Florida Tuskers, in Orlando), Dennis Green (California Redwood, in San Francisco) and Cotrell (New York) coaching the other teams.

We know of this Losman. We actually wanted to see him play. We can’t now.

He’s not our friend.

What the XFL did for Tommy Maddox and the Arena Football League did for Kurt Warner, this UFL thing could be useful for Losman. A stop in L.A. this week would have really upped his profile.

Instead, he’s back in Vegas, off the strip, competing with Carrot Top and some reality show ventrilloquist for attention. Here, we’d have embraced him. Now, we erase his memory.

If there was a curiosity factor for this UFL, it’s gone. Like most of these coaches’ futures. Plant a franchise here next year, and we’ll tell you right now, we don’t care. You had your chance. You had us at the crazy billboard, which is still up near the 110 Harbor Freeway near Sepulveda, a few miles from the HDC. Which will apparently be dark on Friday.

This unfriendly UFL is about as goin’ rogue as some woman trying to reclaim her political career.

Thanks, nonfriend. It was nice not knowing you.

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Lancaster goes with Lawless as new manager; Astros promote Clements to Double-A

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Wes Clements, who drew praise from Houston Astros assistant general manager Ricky Bennett for the way he handled the Single-A Lancaster JetHawks during his first year as a manager in the team’s organization, has been named skipper of the Double-A Corpus Christi team for 2010.

Clements, 51, was the focus of a feature story last September (linked here) after the JetHawks finished 56-84, but made progress with rising stars such as catcher/outfielder Koby Clemens (son of Roger Clemens, who led the minor leagues with 123 RBIs), and outfielder Jon Gaston (who tied for the minor league lead with 35 home runs). Both players are expected to start the season with the Double-A Hooks.

“This is a great thing,” Clements said via email today. “The Corpus Christi stadium and organization has won awards all the time for best minor league field, stadium, front office, etc.”

Brad Mills, the new Houston Astros manager, was a teammate of Clements at the University of Arizona in the late ’70s (as was current Red Sox manager Terry Francona), a squad that won the College World Series in 1980. . Clements was Houston’s sixth-round selection in the 1980 draft and spent his first five pro seasons in the Astros system.

To replace Clements at Lancaster, the JetHawks hired former big-leaguer Tom Lawless as their manager. Lawless spent eight seasons in the majors (1982-1900) with Cincinnati, Montreal, St. Louis and Toronto. He played in two World Series hit a dramatic 3-run homer in Game 4 of the 1987 World Series against the Minnesota Twins. He is also the only player to ever be traded for Pete Rose, in 1984.

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Our Daily Dread: What’s the deal? When poor sportsmanship competes against ‘always compete’?

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AP Photo/Matt Sayles

This email from a USC alum, in regards to the way the USC-Stanford game came to a messy conclusion, with Cardinal coach Jim Harbaugh electing to attempt a two-point conversion with a 48-21 lead in the fourth quarter, trying to hit the 50-point mark:

My UCLA-graduate wife, who is decidedly unsympathetic (re USC defeats) and I are having a debate re football sportsmanship or lack thereof.

I think Harbaugh’s decision to try for a two-point conversion while leading by a kabillion points was classless.

She equates it to Pete Carroll putting in first-team linebackers to hold on to a shutout near the end of a one-sided win. What’s good for the goose (offense) is good for the gander (defense), I guess she thinks. Why not have an offense go for 50 points if a defense can go for a shutout?

I know this doesn’t reach the caliber of debate on sending more troops to Afghanistan, but not-so-great minds are wondering?

One response:

USC accuses Stanford of pouring it on? The gods laughed.

Our immediate response:

Payback can be a bitch, no matter what decision you make in this one. You can’t tell your team to stop playing. It works both ways.

That said, you’d think a guy coaching a bunch of potential Stanford grads would be smart enough not to poke the wolf while it’s wounded.

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Our expanded response:

The Stanford braintrust will announce as soon as today that Harbaugh has been given a contract extension. Nice timing. And probably a good thing for USC. It means he’ll still be around in the years to come, and not bolting for the NFL.

When you’re that close to becoming the team about to hand USC it’s worst beating in Coliseum history, how do you not go for the throat? You’re in a position that every USC opponent has probably dreamed about for years. You do it now and expect the payback somewhere down the road.

Or….

If you’re Pete Carroll, why not try to sign him as your new offensive coordinator? Obviously there’s a few holes in the USC coaching roster.

They’ll be discussing this more on the sports-talk shows today, but one stat that came up on the Dan Patrick Show discussion: In 2008, USC was up 49-0 against Washington State, and on a 4th-and-2, the Trojans went for it, passed, got the first down, and kept on going … in 2005, up 52-6 on UCLA, on a late fourth-quarter drive, USC passed the ball three times. UCLA really wasn’t in danger of coming back.

“What’s the deal?” asked Carroll to Harbaugh.

“What’s the deal?” Harbaugh answered.

And what was the deal with the Stanford band’s halftime show? Some suggest they’ve earned their way to another administrative beatdown with their tribute to “Girls Gone Wild” entrepreneur/tax evader/USC alum Joe Francis.

Saturday’s game reminds me of a USC-Arizona State non-contest back in the late ’80s, in Tempe, Ariz. The Trojans beat the Sun Devils that day, 50-0. I still marvel at the score — the perfect score in football. You score 50. The other team gets nothing. And the USC coach at the time, Larry Smith, didn’t gloat about it. He just did what he felt he had to do — considering he was the former Arizona coach and got so much grief over the years from ASU people.

It was payback time. Thanks for playing.

It’s coaching survival. Carroll will have a chance to squash Stanford’s dream sometime soon — maybe next year. You file it away as part of the game, and you move foward.

If Harbaugh didn’t do it, we wouldn’t be talking about it now. He wanted fiddy. He eventually got fiddyfive. Be careful what you wish for.

And always compete …

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AP Photo/Matt Sayles

More responses from readers who seem to have trouble with the comment button but are emailing me at thomas.hoffarth@dailynews.com:

== I don’t mind teams making a statement by either putting a lot of points on the board or keeping a shut-out. College football is a beauty contest, and sometimes you have to do those things. Personally, I don’t like keeping starters in those games because you risk an unnecessary injury. Also, blowouts can give young backups some valuable playing time. That being said, going for 2 is over the top. I can’t remember ever seeing that happen in another college game when you are up that late in the game by as many points as Stanford was. It’s one thing to keep trying to score, but to go for 2, that’s really rubbing it in. Of course, the more embarrassing thing is that SC was in a position of looking for mercy from Stanford. How the hell did that happen? Harbaugh is the perfect coach for Stanford…he’s an arrogant prick just like the majority of their alumni are. I bet Carroll now hates Stanford just as much as John McKay did. When (if) SC has a potent offense again, I expect to see him attempt to hang 100 on Stanford. That will be fun to watch.

== It was tacky but I did not have a huge problem with it, especially since I did not see it as I was downing a beer in the parking lot by that time. I agree: it was like keeping the first team defense in in a blowout to give the defense a chance for a shut out. Pete has always said “always compete” so Harbaugh was letting his kids compete. Still, it’s not fun when you are on the receiving end of such a beat-down. Give ‘em credit though, that is a program on the up-swing.

== The example used by ESPN of USC vs WSU in 2008 couldn’t be further from a clear representation of what was going on…and I am a WSU fan. I was seated 5 rows behind the USC bench where you could clearly see the interaction between USC coaches and players. USC was up 49-0 at the end of the first half and driving…they did go for a first down inside the 20 rather than kick a field goal to go up 52-0. They maintained possession and with the clock running down and 2 coaches pleading with Carrol to punch it in for a score…Pete took off his headphones, handed them to an asst on the sidelines and said to the coaches…”Locker Room”. WSU would not have been able to stop USC from scoring if they put 15 players on the field that day. With that he began running off the field for halftime and let the clock expire with the ball inside the 5 yard line.
The decision by Harbaugh is classless.

== Hey, Harbaugh could have put Toby Gebhart in for the two pointer if he REALLY wanted the deuce. He was taking it easy on USC and let them stop the other tailback. Gebhart was virtually unstoppable, other than that fumble. Kind of harkens back to the bad blood days of John McKay and John Ralston when McKay answered a question (don’t remember what, but his response was classic): I don’t want to get into a pissing contest with a skunk! LOL …
We take football too seriously. Enjoy the moment. Agonize the moment. It’s cathartic. Have fun.

== It really doesn’t matter much. Give them their little bit of glory or spoils as you have it. At the end of the day, their mascot is still a tree.

== More comments via Scott Wolf’s USC blog: (linked here)

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Play it forward: Nov. 16-22 on your L.A. sports calendar

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MONDAY

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We suspect Michael Roll, Drew Gordon, Nikola Dragovic, Malcolm Lee and Jerime Anderson are your starting five, for now, for Ben Howland. Off the bench: James Keefe is back in, fifth-year senior Michael Roll … uh … freshman kid, son of Detlef Schrempf … a 5-8 guard named Spencer Soo …Get used to it. And we now launch ESPN’s 12-game, 24-hour cram session.
College basketball: UCLA vs. Cal State Fullerton, Pauley Pavilion, 9 p.m., ESPN, 570-AM.

The Mats try to get off the mat from last Friday’s game at Purdue with a stop-over in Tempe, hoping to face Arizona State in Tuesday’s followup.
College basketball: Cal State Northridge vs. Texas Christian, NIT Season Tipoff Tournament at Tempe, Ariz., 7:30 p.m., gomatadors.cstv.com.

The sun sets on the Kings’ five-game roadie in Sunrise, Fla., without any thoughts of that 7-0 loss in Atlanta or 4-1 to start it all in Chicago. Probably. Just get home in one piece.
NHL: Kings at Florida, 4:30 p.m., FSN West, 1150-AM.

Brady Quinn is ready, perhaps, for another closeup. Cue up the Village People music.
NFL: Baltimore at Cleveland, 5:30 p.m., ESPN.

TUESDAY

Ernie Harwell, diagnosed with inoperable cancer, tells Bob Costas in this MLB Network interview that he thinks he’s seen his last baseball game. “Back in July, the doctors gave me six months to live, give or take a few months,” the 91-year-old Harwell said. “I’m hoping to reach my birthday on Jan. 25, but I’m pretty sure I won’t make the baseball season. But you never know as the Lord works wonders. I’m not overwhelmed by the circumstances. One of the doctors said, ‘If you were my father, I’d say, don’t do anything, just relax and wait for the inevitable.’ But I had great peace about that and closure to it, and I knew God was in charge and whatever happens, happens for the best. I really have a lot of serenity and great support from my wife, family and friends. It’s been so far a fairly easy task to accept it.”
Interview: Bob Costas with Ernie Harwell, MLB Network, 5 p.m.

These two games are actually live, starting at 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. local time. Swear.
College basketball: Monmouth vs. St. Peters, 3 a.m., ESPN; Drexel vs. Niagra, 5 a.m., ESPN.

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They started a five-game homestand with a loss Sunday to Houston. … Aaron Brooks? … And how did Ben Wallace end up back with the Pistons?
NBA: Lakers vs. Detroit, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., FSN West, 710-AM.

Great non-Scott, the Hornets are a mess. Even messier, in some ways, than the Clippers.
NBA: Clippers at New Orleans, 5 p.m., Prime Ticket, 980-AM.

As for these Trojans, the starters are Dwight Lewis, Marcus Johnson, Marcus SImmons … who are we kidding here? And the coach’s name again is …?
College basketball: USC vs. UC Riverside, Galen Center, 7:30 p.m., USCTrojans.com.

WEDNESDAY

Nowhere else to fly, it’s a home game against the Flyers.
NHL: Kings vs. Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m., FSN West, 1150-AM.

The Grizzlies actually have a worse record than the Clippers. Swear.
NBA: Clippers at Memphis, 5 p.m., Prime Ticket, 980-AM.

Support your local hoops. And don’t look again at the Anteaters’ game against No. 3 Texas on Sunday.
College basketball: UC Irvine at Loyola Marymount, 8 p.m., Prime Ticket.

THURSDAY

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Probably best the Bulls are out of Chicago for a road trip. Saves Derrick Rose some local embarassment in the “What’s Sexy Now Chicago Athlete” award voting, even if it means posing with Marisa Miller (more on this, linked here).
NBA: Lakers vs. Chicago, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., FSN West, 710-AM.

Oprah may re-run the show she did the other day with the lady attacked by the chimpanzee. Watch that instead of this.
NFL: Miami at Carolina, NFL Network, 5:20 p.m.

FRIDAY

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We heard through the Grapevine, Bakersfield’s team bus may have trouble getting to Westwood in Friday traffic.
College basketball: UCLA vs. Cal State Bakersfield, Pauley Pavilion, 7:30 p.m., FSN West, 570-AM.

The end of Orlando’s game against Boston on ESPN could run long and force us to miss the start of this one. We can only hope.
NBA: Clippers vs. Denver, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., ESPN, Prime Ticket, 980-AM.

SATURDAY

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The Bruins, we predict, will end up with enough wins to be bowl eligible. This one, based on what we’ve seen of the Sun Devils, shouldn’t be much of a struggle. Then comes USC.
College football: UCLA vs. Arizona State, Rose Bowl, 1 p.m., FSN West, 570-AM.

Can we knock off the Saturday day-time hockey games until further notice? Or play ‘em outside.
NHL: Kings vs. Calgary, Staples Center, 1 p.m., FSN West, 1150-AM.

Another reason to support the local cagers.
College basketball: USC vs. Loyola Marymount, Galen Center, 5 p.m., USCTrojans.com.

SUNDAY

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On May 6, a 2-2 tie at Salt Lake. On June 13, a 2-0 loss at Home Depot Center. On this day, the Galaxy finds the real deal — a chance to win their third MLS Cup in team history, and Beckham has everyone’s attention.
MLS Cup: Galaxy vs. Real Salt Lake, in Seattle, 5:30 p.m., ESPN.

Russell Westbrook, who averaged about 5 assists a game as a rookie for the Oklahoma Citians, is up to 7.7 a game so far this season, with an 11-assist game in a three-point win over San Antonio on Saturday, then seven more in a loss — for real? — to the Clippers on Sunday night.
NBA: Lakers vs. Oklahoma City, Staples Center, 6:30 p.m., FSN West, 710-AM.

Looks interesting on paper. If your paper was 1987.
NFL: Washington at Dallas, 10 a.m., Channel 11.

Looks really good on paper. If your paper was 1984.
NFL: Philadelphia at Chicago, 5:20 p.m., Channel 4.

According to those who do the mathematics required in motor sports, Jimmie Johnson just needs to finish 25th or better in this season finale to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup title. Again. For the fourth season in a row. “We finished 38th last week,” Johnson said after winning in Phoenix on Sunday. “We saw in Texas anything can happen. So we don’t need to get too excited about it.” Oh, go ahead. You can afford it. C’mon, get happy.
NASCAR: Ford 400 from Miami, 11:30 a.m., Channel 7.

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Our Daily Dread: Memories of Curt Flood come flooding back, for a price

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The Associated Press

Earlier this year, Bob Gibson auctioned off his Hall of Fame ring. This month, there’s a price tag on the base Lou Brock touched to break the stolen base record.

Those two have nothing on another St. Louis Cardinals star of the 1960s. Beyond the Gold Gloves, signed balls, gloves and the like, Curt Flood’s estate is offering bidders an opportunity this weekend to purchase true history.

Flood is remembered most not for .293 batting average or his seven Gold Gloves but as the player who 40 years ago tried to get free agency started. His lawsuit attempt failed, but auction includes several artifacts from that crusade.

“He changed the way they do business in the world of sports,” said Flood’s widow, Judy Pace Flood, an actress who lives in Los Angeles. “He challenged the rules. He is the father of free agency.

“I think every professional athlete should thank God for Curt Flood and I think every sports agent should have a little shrine that says ‘Curt Flood, thank you.’”

Flood, who died at age 59 in 1997 in L.A., took on baseball’s reserve clause when he refused a trade to the Philadelphia Phillies shortly after the 1969 season. The challenge and the legal battle that ensued effectively ended his career, although he went on to play for the Phillies and Washington Senators.

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Bree’s comeback just starting

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AP Photo/John Raoux
Breanna McMahon performs strength training exercises in Orlando, Fla., during a session last week.

An update from an Oct. 6 blog (linked here) about Bree McMahon:

By Antonio Gonzalez
The Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. — Breanna McMahon was just beginning her senior season and hoping to play soccer in college when the accident happened.

It was at a car-wash fundraiser for her club team in September that an SUV accidentally pinned her against a brick wall, crippling the 17-year-old and forcing the amputation of her left leg.

There’s more to the story, however, than a personal tragedy.

Former U.S. soccer star Mia Hamm called to tell Bree she was “my hero.” Colleges have taken up funds to help with medical bills. Strangers have sent letters wishing her well.

The outpouring is at least in part a show of admiration for Breanna, for the way she’s borne her injury. The teen still plans to attend college on a soccer scholarship — and to do everything she can to play with a prosthetic.

She also has forgiven the driver of the SUV. She is, after all, one of Breanna’s best friends.

****************************

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Star-struck Pennsylvania writer doesn’t know how to handle Denzel Washington appearing in local gym

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AP Photo

The Associated Press

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Actor Denzel Washington was playing proud father as he cheered on his son Malcolm’s first game with the University of Pennsylvania basketball team.

Washington sat three rows behind Penn’s bench Friday night during the Quakers’ season opener at Penn State. Wearing a black sweat shirt and black cap pulled down low over his forehead, the Hollywood star went virtually unnoticed in the Jordan Center crowd.

He declined to answer a reporter’s question before the game, waving his arms and nodding in the direction of the Penn bench.

The 5-foot-9 Malcolm Washington is a walk-on guard at the Ivy League school after serving as captain at Winward School in L.A., which won the CIF Division V state championship. He did not play in Penn’s 70-55 loss. Forward Conor Turley, a former Campbell Hall standout, had eight points off the bench for Penn.

Penn’s visit to Penn State to start the new season was perfect timing for Washington, who is in central Pennsylvania filming the movie “Unstoppable.”

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The Media Learning Curve: Nov. 6-13

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There’s a formula for doing a respectable newspaper sports column, and Dave Kindred is kind enough to share.

One part gin, another part gumption, and tell the editor to get the hell out of the way.

Or, use Kindred’s method. It’s enough to make a run-o-the-mill sports blogger maybe even take notice.

According to his recipe (linked here), you take three parts preparation, four parts reporting, three parts organizing notes and five parts writing. Not writing first, then rewriting, then Google searching for a cooler verb than adding something snarky.

Yes, there’s a model that works. Try it sometime. Or don’t.

Like Ray Ratto’s piece here, deciding that baseball will someday use instant replay only it pays off somehow (linked here).

Like Mike Lupica does … naw, he doesn’t really. Who really likes him (linked here)?

See if Stephen A. Smith gives it a go, now that he’s back at the Philly Inquirer (linked here).

That’s today’s writing lesson. Among the things we learned about the sports media world at the Media Learning Center Sponsored by A Greater Understanding Of Our Craft:

== Your NFL Week 10 L.A. TV guide, already one game old (linked here)

== Your college football week 11 L.A. TV guide — you’ll need it if you’re a UCLA fan (linked here).

== Check out the free Iooss/Leifer exhibit in Century City (linked here)

== Why CNBC’s Darren Rovell really likes the USC football website — “The only thing missing is live tweets from the games. Banned? Nope. (Ben) Malcolmson said he currently doesn’t tweet from games because the phone service is spotty in the stadiums on game day.” (linked here).

== There’s no Scully news, keep moving (linked here).

== A review of Bill Simmons’ new basketball book: “A collection of personal obsessions masquerading as an encyclopedia. … Simmons wouldn’t be Simmons without the pointless asides. One of the Sports Guy’s biggest flaws, though, is that he tries too hard to entertain: He’d be twice as funny–and a lot less repetitive–with half the jokes … The book is more a collection of extended blog posts than a work of literature, an anthology that’s best read in short bursts. Instead of taking my time, I devoured the book in a couple of sittings because it was so fun to read–until it got a lot less fun when the jokes and pop-culture comparisons started repeating themselves. How’s this for an analogy: Pounding on Bill Simmons for The Book of Basketball’s excesses is like scarfing down 20 ice cream sundaes and blaming Baskin-Robbins for the stomachache.” (linked here) That’s not what Courtney Cummz said (linked here).

== Will Jim Lampley be left off the NBC Winter Olympic roster? (linked here)

== From Q-and-A from TheBigLead with Dick Vitale, he says:”My idols are people like Vin Scully and Ernie Harwell. You work as long as you possibly can. Physically, emotionally, if you can handle the travel … Obviously ESPN has become a big-time player in all sports now, but I think it’s going to be really tough for CBS to give the NCAA tournament up.” (linked here)

== AND (SNIFF) FINALLY:

== Did she really need to go on ABC (with owns ESPN, no less) and cry about having Steve Phillips dump her?

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Iooss and Leifer … take a picture, it’ll last longer in the Century City photo exhibit

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Walter Iooss and Neil Leifer – competitors and co-workers — who, by rough estimates, may together have shot about a billion photos over the last thousand years for Sports Illustrated, have their works on display at a place called the Annenberg Space for Photography (2000 Avenue of the Stars, Century City) starting Saturday and running through March 7.

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Iooss and Leifer, both 66, present “Sport: Iooss & Leifer,” begining with a lecture from Iooss on Saturday from 6:30 to 8 p.m. The 80 prints on display will be supplimented by hundreds of digital photos that include interviews and commentary from the athletes captured. According to the official website, the exhibiti “will also explore the concepts of the athlete as a hero and role model in our society, as well as how sports are used to improve the public well-being.”

Did you know: SI’s Swimsuit Issue took its form and style because of Iooss’ involvement in the early 1970s.

And that’s Leifer, left, with Muhammad Ali, displaying the iconic photo Leifer took him him standing over a knocked out Sonny Liston in 1965. Note: Herb Scharfman (Wikipedia bio here), the other Sports Illustrated photographer at the fight, is seen between Ali’s legs, looking up, missing the shot from behind.

More information: http://www.annenbergspaceforphotography.org/ Admission is free. The building is south of Santa Monica Blvd., and north of Olympic, on the east side of Avenue of the Stars, across the street from the Century Plaza Hotel.

== The official Walter Iooss site (linked here)

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== Among the many books by Iooss:
= “Sports Illustrated: Athlete” (2008, linked here)
= “Classic Baseball” (2006, linked here)
= “Hoops: Four Decades of the Pro Game” (2005, linked here)
= “Classic Golf: The Photographs of Walter Iooss, Jr.” (2004, linked here)
= “Gladiators: 40 Years of Football” (2000, linked here)
= “Walter Iooss: A Lifetime Shooting Sports and Beauty” (1999, linked here)
= “Junior: Griffey on Griffey” (1997, linked here)
= “Sporting Life: The Journals” (1996, linked here)
= “Rare Air: Michael on Michael” (1993, linked here)
= “Sports People” (1988, linked here)

== The official Neil Leifer site (where you can buy photos, linked here).

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== Among the many books by Leifer:
= “Ballet in the Dirt: The Golden Age of Baseball” (2008, linked here)
= “A Year In Sports: From the Rose Bowl to Figure Skating” (2006, linked here)
= “The Golden Age of American Football: 1958 to 1978″ (1980, linked here)
= “The Best of Leifer” (2001, linked here)
= “Neil Leifer: Portraits” (2003, linked here)

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The Media Learning Curve: The hardest workin’ blog in the sports media business goes more Q-n-A with JB

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You quickly find there’s far more to James Brown that meets the eye of CBS.

Long before his broadcasting career launched at CBS, then flourished at Fox, then continued back at CBS, Brown was a high-school All-American basketball player at the famed DeMatha High in Maryland, decided to play at Harvard, and was a fourth-round pick of the Atlanta Hawks in 1974. He didn’t make the roster (having found a fast friend in Pete Maravich), and later tried out for the Boston Celtics.

That said, his broadcasting path took a greater meaning based on his faith seeing his athletic career end knowing he had an Ivy League education to fall back on.

Following up on today’s media column (linked here), we have more Q-and-A with JB, plus notes that need to be reported in some form or another:

Q: In your book, you mention about how, after you gave a commitment to Harvard to play basketball, you got a letter from John Wooden asking about your interest to come to UCLA. You wanted to take a trip, but your mother talked you out of it, based on the principle you already agreed to the previous school. Do you ever wonder how your life could have changed if you’d attended UCLA between 1969 and ’73 — having been on national title teams with Lew Alcindor, Curtis Rowe, Sidney Wicks, Henry Bibby, then later with Bill Walton and Keith Wilkes?

James Brown: “I do, heavens yes. Please …. UCLA was the mecca of basketball. It made me think about what Red Auerbach told me after I had a tryout with the Celtics but didn’t make it — he said I’d have had a better chance if I developed my game more in college. So who knows. At this stage in my life, I know the route I took was the right one. I gave (the NBA) two good shots, so I can look back and I’m comfortable with the decisions. I knew the Ivy League school was good enough for many athletes, including Bill Bradley, but the reason I didn’t make the NBA was my fault for failing to stay at the top of my game. I may not have played as much with all those stars — that’s one way of looking at it — but I would have liked to think I’d have improved, coming in as a two-time high school All-American. I needed to develop, probably not as a forward, but eventually as a big guard.”

Q: Where do you see yourself in the broadcasting field five or 10 years from now?

JB: “I’m always open to new challenges to keep my excitement level up. What I want to add to the mix is more work in the news division. I enjoyed doing the Michael Vick story for “60 Minutes” and my aim is to add more things like that. When something in news to the mix. Having worked at HBO with ‘Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel,’ that was a great experience. But moving back to CBS and then Showtime (for ‘Inside the NFL’), I had to give up the HBO job. I’ve been blessed to do the NFL, NBA, Super Bowls, NCAA Final Four and a Winter Olympics … I’d love someday to work on a Summer Olympics and NCAA Final Four.”

The rest of the media notes:

== Great job by Ernie Johnson, who had his own battle with lymphoma, who did this interview with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar a day after it was announced he has leukemia:

NBA TV talks to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Nov. 10, 2009 from Turner Sports on Vimeo.

On to what seem to be much more trivial matters:

== CBS says its Sunday NFL pregame show (hosted by JB) will include Frank Luntz, an “expert in communication and pioneer of the ‘Instant Response’ focus group” who will try to determine which coaches and players could run for political office and which would serve themselves best by not ever speaking based on their sound bites. Does that also apply with NFL studio analysts (i.e., Shannon Sharpe)?

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== UCLA’s college basketball season opener at Pauley Pavilion against Cal State Fullerton (Monday, 9 p.m., with Dave Pasch and Doris Burke) launches ESPN’s 12-game, 24-hour “Tip-Off Marathon” (including ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN360.com) that put some schools and players in ridiculous circumstances all for the lure of national TV exposure and the illusion of being apart of something greater than the game.

Because of this bizzarness stretching five time zones, Pasch and Burke not only call the opener, but also the closer — Tuesday, 8:30 p.m., from Tempe, Ariz., on ESPN2, with a matchup in the NIT preseason event that’s based on Monday’s results — it could be Cal State Northridge (which plays TCU in the opener) against Arizona State.

The most intrusive time windows include an 11 p.m. tipoff for San Diego State at St. Mary’s on Monday, and Hawaii hosting Northern Colorado at 10 p.m. local time (1 a.m. PDT/4 a.m. EDT) but that’s more the college kid’s body clock schedule than having to have games played with a 6 a.m. (Monmouth at St. Peter’s) and 8 a.m. (Drexel at Niagara) live tipoff — a first for ESPN after more than 8,200 live college basketball games over the last 30 years.

Among the broadcasters participating are Bob Knight (doing analysis on Arkansas-Louisville from St. Louis at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, ESPN2), Dick Vitale (on Memphis-Kansas from St. Louis at 7 p.m., Tuesday, ESPN) and Steve Lavin (doing analysis on Gonzaga-Michigan State, ESPN, 5 p.m. Tuesday). Eric Collins has Clemson-Liberty (10 a.m. local tip), Dan Shulman calls two games in the stretch (both Arkansas-Louisville and Memphis-Kansas) and Pam Ward calls two womens’ games (both from a tournament in San Antonio).

== The 250-plus women’s college basketball schedule on the ESPN family of nets actually begins Sunday with Baylor facing Tennessee (2 p.m., ESPN2, with Dave O’Brien, Carolyn Peck and Rebecca Lobo). Carol Stiff, the senior director of programming and acquisitions for ESPN’s groups, says the fact there is so many women’s games scheduled this season is reason to classify the women’s game as “healthy … We’re committing our resources … I think that bodes well for the game. There’s plenty of talent being cultivated and coming through the ranks. We have players that stay with us for four years. The sport is taking all steps in the right direction to grow this game for years to come.”

== We’d be remiss if we didn’t include the news that Jason Stewart’s new movie with Gina Gershon in “Ann Rule’s Everything She Always Wanted” (info linked here) airs on Lifetime this weekend — Part I Saturday at 5 p.m. and Part II Sunday at 5 p.m.. Gershon will be a guest on Jim Rome’s syndicated radio show today (9 a.m. to noon) to talk about her harrowing experience with longtime Rome call screener JStew.

== Tracy Austin returns as host of Tennis Channel’s “Academy” show that starts again Sunday at 3:30 p.m. More info: www.tennischannel.com/schedule. Espisode one goes to Ft. Lauderdale for focus on Harold Solomon, former U.S. Davis Cup winner and coach of such stars as Jim Courier, Jennifer Capriati, Monica Seles and current No. 5 singles player Elena Dementieva.

== Jim Barbar and Mac McCausland — Google ‘em if you need to check their credentials — call tonight’s CSUN-Purdue college basketball game for ESPN360.com (4 p.m.).

==

THE NFL ON CBS, home of Super Bowl XLIV and broadcasting its Golden Anniversary 50th year of the NFL, continues its 2009 NFL season on Sunday, Nov. 15 (1:00-7:00 PM, ET) beginning with THE NFL TODAY (12:00 Noon-1:00 PM, ET).

This week THE NFL TODAY welcomes expert in communication and pioneer of the “Instant Response” focus group, Frank Luntz, in the studio to rate sound bites of several coaches and players. Based on his expertise Luntz will answer, “What NFL coach should run for political office?” and “What controversial NFL star player is better off keeping his mouth shut?”

James Brown hosts THE NFL TODAY along with analysts Dan Marino, Boomer Esiason, Shannon Sharpe and Bill Cowher, NFL TODAY “General Manager” Charley Casserly, as well as Lesley Visser and Sam Ryan reporting.

== That overseas England exhibition kickball game on Saturday that David Beckham is missing because of his committment to getting the Galaxy to the MLS Cup airs on Fox Soccer Channel — Brazil vs. England in Quatar, 9 a.m., right after the U.S.-Slovakia friendly at 7 a.m.

== AND FINALLY:

== The last two episodes of “Mayne Street” go yard, with Ben Stiller’s appearance that debuted this week — chomp, chomp …

… and if you missed Jimmy Kimmel (“Are you really on television any more?”) the week before:

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