For $25, you can put Pete Rose into the Hall of Fame … Maury Wills, too

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The “People” have spoken. Maybe.

Missing from the first 11 elections for the Shrine of the Eternals — aka, the People’s Hall of Fame for baseball imortality, Pete Rose has made it onto the 2010 ballot for exclusive entry into the Pasadena-based Baseball Reliquary’s honored class.

Rose, who has been ineligibie for Cooperstown’s Baseball Hall of Fame induction since commissioner Bart Giamatti banned him for gambling 20 years ago, is one of nine first-timers to be listed on the Shrine ballot, announced executive director Terry Cannon.

In explaining Rose’s credentials, Cannon wrote:

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“The inimitable “Charlie Hustle” began his assault on the record books in 1963 as the first piece of what would become the Big Red Machine; his prowess at hitting a baseball would be matched only by his penchant for generating controversy, and, in the eyes of many, his eventual placement on baseball’s ineligible list and banishment from the Hall of Fame made what he had achieved between the white lines seem irrelevant.”

If Rose is one of the top three vote-getters, he’ll make it into the Shrine of Eternals ceremony set for this July in Pasadena — and considering he’s still living in Sherman Oaks and makes many public appearances, even he would post pretty good odds of him showing up for this.

“This past year we had several Reliquary members express an interest in Rose being included on the Shrine ballot, so I guess there has been sufficient passage of time for people to mull over Rose’s transgressions, contemplate the price he’s paid for them, and realistically consider his worthiness for enshrinement,” said Cannon.

“As far as his chances for election, I really have no idea how his candidacy will be received by the Reliquary membership at large. It will certainly be interesting to see what his voting percentage is like.”

The Baseball Reliquary (linked here), dedicated to “fostering an appreciation of American art and culture through the context of baseball history,” has already inducted 33 into the Shrine:

Jim Abbott, Dick Allen, Emmett Ashford, Moe Berg, Yogi Berra, Ila Borders, Jim Bouton, Jim Brosnan, Bill Buckner, Roberto Clemente, Steve Dalkowski, Rod Dedeaux, Jim Eisenreich, Dock Ellis, Mark Fidrych, Curt Flood, Josh Gibson, William “Dummy” Hoy, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Bill James, Bill “Spaceman” Lee, Roger Maris, Marvin Miller, Minnie Minoso, Buck O’Neil, Satchel Paige, Jimmy Piersall, Pam Postema, Jackie Robinson, Lester Rodney, Fernando Valenzuela, Bill Veeck, Jr., and Kenichi Zenimura.

Cannon said only three others have been inducted after their first appearance on the ballot, other than the first year: Borders (’03), Brosnan (’07) and O’Neill (’08).

The Shrine’s philosophical difference from the Baseball Hall of Fame is that, according to its mission statement, “statistical accomplishment is not a criterion for election. Rather, the Shrine’s annual ballot is comprised of individuals – from the obscure to the well-known – who have altered the baseball world in ways that supersede statistics.”

Membership in The Baseball Reliquary is all that’s required to vote (with a $25 annual fee), making it a far-more transparent and public exercise. Ballots will be mailed to members on April 1.

The nine others on the ballot for the first time:

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== Maury Willis: The Dodgers shortstop singlehandedly restored the stolen base as a potent offensive weapon in the 1960s, paving the way for the even greater stardom of Hall-of-Famers Lou Brock and Rickey Henderson. Wills electrified the baseball world by stealing 104 bases in his 1962 MVP season, but his popularity and public acclaim came with a steep price, as he would eventually battle cocaine and alcohol addiction.

== Steve Blass: One of the National League’s top pitchers in the late ’60s and early ’70s who inexplicably lost his control after winning a career-high 19 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1972. He was out of baseball by 1975, and to this day pitchers who have had success and then mysteriously could not find the strike zone are referred to as having “Steve Blass disease.”

== Jay Buhner: The right-handed power hitter for the Seattle Mariners from 1988-2001 was known as much for his shaved scalp, goatee, free-spirited ways and occasional fielding miscues (hence his nickname “Bonehead,” or “Bone” for short) as for his dramatic home runs.

== Jefferson Burdick (1900-1963): He is often referred to as “the father of card collecting,” ammazzing 300,000-plus trading cards, with 30,000 of them baseball cards. He developed a system of cataloging that remains in use today. He donated his collection to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and remains a stellar example of the baseball card collector as researcher and scholar rather than speculator and celebrity hunter.

== Hector Espino (1939-1997): Known as “the Babe Ruth of Mexico,” Espino hit more than 450 home runs between 1962 and 1984 in the Mexican League, while steadfastly refusing to play in the United States because of the racism he encountered while playing in Florida during the Civil Rights era. Like Jackie Robinson’s No. 42, his No. 21 was retired by all Mexican professional teams.

== Eddie Grant (1883-1918): The first major league ballplayer killed in action during World War I, the Harvard-educated Grant was a light-hitting infielder for the Philadelphia Phillies, Cincinnati Reds, and New York Giants from 1907 to 1915. His unusual academic pedigree stood out in an era when many fellow players were barely literate, and his bravery was honored by a legendary granite monument that stood for decades in New York City’s Polo Grounds.

== Conorado Marrero: The elder statesman of Cuban baseball, the diminutive 5-foot-7 Marrero was a great amateur pitcher in his homeland before joining the Washington Senators from 1950 to 1954. After returning to Cuba, where he is reportedly the last surviving major leaguer living on the island, he taught baseball to children and became a beloved goodwill ambassador for the amateur game.

== Frank O’Rourke (1916-1989): One of the greatest, albeit largely unknown, baseball fiction writers of the post-World War II era. He authored gritty, highly realistic short stories and novels that were influenced by his ballplaying experiences (he even worked out with the Philadelphia Phillies in spring training in the late 1940s) and his intimacy with the major leaguers he used for his fictional characters.

One other candidate is back on the ballot after an 11-year absence (he previously appeared on the 1999 ballot):

== Roger Angel: The self-described baseball “reporter” whose elegant and masterful prose, and remarkable power of observation, has been on display for years through his books and essays in The New Yorker magazine. He established a new standard for baseball journalism.

The other eligiblie candidates, in alphabetical order (with number of years on the ballot in parenthesis):

= Hank Aguirre (6); Eliot Asinof (7); Billy Bean (8); Chet Brewer (11); Charlie Brown 93); Helen Callaghan (7); Charles M. Conlon (9); Dizzy Dean (10); Ed Delahanty (7); Bucky Dent (2); Eddie Feigner (10); Lisa Fernandez (10); Rube Foster (12), Ted Giannoulas (8); Jim “Mudcat” Grant (6); Pete Gray (12); Ernie Harwell (7); Dr. Frank Jobe (8); Charles “Pop” Kelchner (3); Mike “King” Kelly (3); Effa Manley (12); Dr. Mike Marshall (5); Jocko Maxwell (2); Tug McGraw (7); “Nuf Ced” McGreevey (4); Fred Merkle (4); Manny Mota (3); Phil Pote (8); Vic Power (2); Dan Quisenberry (4); J.R. Richard (11); Rusty Staub (5); Casey Stengel (12); Chuck Stevens (2); Luis Tiant (8); Fay Vincent (9); Rube Waddell (12); John Montgomery Ward (4); Wally Yonamine (3) and Don Zimmer (6)

More info on the Shrine of the Eternals: contact Terry Cannon, Executive Director of the Baseball Reliquary, at P.O. Box 1850, Monrovia, CA 91017; by phone at (626) 791-7647; or by e-mail at terymar@earthlink.net.

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Play it forward: Jan. 18-24 on your sports calendar

Highlights of the week ahead in sports, both here and afar:

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MONDAY
NBA: Clippers vs. New Jersey, Staples Center, 12:30 p.m., Prime Ticket; Lakers vs. Orlando, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., TNT:
The NBA’s annual L.A. MLK Day doubleheader nets an appearance by the Nets (1-19 on the road this season, 0-15 against Western Conference teams) in the early afternoon and a magical NBA Finals rematch in the early evening. Given the choice, the national network takes the later, third in line after its done with Phoenix-Memphis and Dallas-Boston.

TUESDAY
NHL: Kings vs. San Jose, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., FSN West:
The weekly Sharks shooting proves this: After a 6-2 win at San Jose on Jan. 4, and a 2-1 loss in L.A. on Jan. 11, San Jose remains No. 1 in the Western Conference; the Kings are back to languishing near the No. 8 spot. Problem is, after this, no more meetings. The Kings’ 3-1-1 series lead, though, is still impressive.

WEDNESDAY

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Golf: PGA Tour: Bob Hope Classic, first round, Golf Channel, noon to 3 p.m. (Golf Channel has all five rounds, including the final round on Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m.):
Pat Perez won this last year at 33 under. But if anyone in the gallery recognizes him, it’ll be because he’s playing with Kurt Russell, Alice Cooper, Michael Bolton, Robby Krieger, Anthony Anderson, Dennis Quaid, Chirs O’Donnell, Jerry Ferrara or Kevin Nealon. Then again, there’s current and former athletes like Evan Longoria, Greg Maddux, Bo Jackson, Sterling Sharpe, Jason Taylor and Jeremy Roenick in the field as well. All the celebs that one tournament can hold before Pebble Beach, thanks to the legacy of the tournament’s namesake (but no more Chrysler sponsorship because, well, you know, the car company can’t afford to pay the bill). So whatever happened to George Lopez? Yeah, he’s not invited any more for some reason. But Yogi Berra is the honorary something or other. Yoo-hoo!

NBA: Clippers vs. Chicago, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., Prime Ticket:
Blake Griffin is scheduled to undergo more season-ending surgery on his knee today. He must change his Facebook status to: Needs a hug from Donald Sterling. And please, someone check to make sure his heath care benefits have been paid up.

THURSDAY

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NBA: Lakers at Cleveland, 5 p.m., TNT:
Play it with puppets. Seriously. Then no one gets hurt. Instead, we have best in the West and the tops in the East required to play one more time against each other in the regular season, and this time, it’s in Cleveland because a) the Grammy Awards need some set-up time, and the Lakers have been booted for eight in a row on the road and b) they already met in L.A. on Christmas Day and, well, you remember how that went. Perhaps Kobe can entice Cavs fans to throw their foam fingers onto the court after LeBron and Shaq get whistled for fouling too hard.

NBA: Clippers at Denver, 7:30 p.m., TNT:
The Clippers, too, must get out of town for eight roadies in a row. With their luck, they’ll get hit up with roaming charges.

NHL: Kings vs. Buffalo, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., FSN West:
The Kings get to stay at home. For one more night.

College basketball: UCLA vs. Washington, Pauley Pavilion, 7:30 p.m., Prime Ticket; USC vs. Washington State, Galen Center, 7:30 p.m.:
Lorenzo Romar’s Huskies, the pre-season pick to win the Pac-10, haven’t been all that dominant behind Quincy Pondexter and Isiah Thomas. Junior forward Justin Holiday (Campbell Hall) has been averaging about 14 minutes a game off the bench.

FRIDAY

NBA: Lakers at New York, 5 p.m., Channel 9:
It was the Lakers’ last visit to face the Knicks — Feb. 2, 2009 — when Kobe Bryant lit up Madison Square Garden with a record 61-point night, then went for a night on the town with Spike Lee. For the Knicks, this is like making an appointment to get beat up again.

SATURDAY

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College basketball: UCLA vs. Washington State, Pauley Pavilion, 1 p.m., Prime Ticket; USC vs. Washington, Galen Center, 7:30 p.m., FSN West:
Cougars forward Klay Thompson leads the Pac-10 in scoring, but his dad, Mychal, the Lakers’ radio analyst, won’t get to see him play in L.A. since he’s on the road — like everyone else.

NHL: Kings at Detroit, 4 p.m., FSN West:
The Kings have their first of five away games in a row. Thanks, again, to the Grammy Awards needing Staples Center to practice their smooth moves.

SUNDAY

NFL: AFC championship: N.Y. Jets at Indianapolis, Channel 2, noon; NFC championship: Minnesota at New Orleans, Channel 11, 3:30 p.m.
Mark Sanchez — not Carson Palmer, Tony Romo, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlesburger, Phillip Rivers, Eli Manning, Donovan McNabb, Kurt Warner or Aaron Rodgers — is still playing. Just make note of that, Pete Carroll.

NBA: Lakers at Toronto, 3 p.m., Channel 9:
Remember when Raptors rookie point guard DeMar DeRozan played at USC? We hardly do either.

NBA: Clippers at Washington, 10 a.m., Prime Ticket:
Gilbert Arenas will not be in attendance. Most likely. Because it’s too early in the day.

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More Rock, and a little role-playing, with Dwayne Johnson

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During the promotion tour for his movie “Tooth Fairy,” someone asked Dwyane Johnson if he has plans of returning to the wrestling ring.

“Absolutely,” the 37-year-old told the Ottawa Sun (linked here). “The goal is to go back and do something special. I talked to (WWE chief) Vince (McMahon) a couple of months ago and we’re trying to come up with something. After I wrap (filming his next movie) ‘Faster,’ maybe in the summer I can go back.”

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“Faster,” a movie with Billy Bob Thornton and Salma Hayek where Johnson plays an ex-con out to avenge his brother’s death after they were double-crossed during a heist, is actually slated to come out after a film that’s in post production called “The Other Guys,” where Johnson teams with Samuel L. Jackson as New York cops trying to teach the ropes to Will Ferrell and Mark Walhberg.

It’s tough enough for us to handle the tooth of “Tooth Fairy,” and thinking how someone his size (6-foot-4, 260-pound) would be able to keep his balance on the ice without much prep work. After all, he grew up in Hawaii without much ice around him.

After finding out about his use of stunt doubles and hidden wires — and his love interest in the movie, Ashley Judd – we continue a Q-and-A that we started in today’s newspaper column (linked here):

Q: Did you ever injure yourself in the middle of a wrestling match but had to keep going?
A: “I tore my PCL once when I wrestling Mick Foley. Anytime you’re with a guy like that who does crazy stuff, I just had to keep going. I guess it wasn’t too bad.”

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Q: After growing up in Pennsylvania and playing in that football hot-bed during high school, what was the college football experience like for you?
A: “There were a lot of different reasons why Miami attracted me. It was a program that was very brash, I came in with that attitude. When I got there in 1990, we took a lot of pride in talking trash, playing brash, dancing, doing all that stuff. Playing in the Orange Bowl was also very unique, very special. It was old and it creaked, but it was a special place.
“I was fortunate to play in almost all the bowls, starting with the Cotton Bowl, Orange Sugar and Fiesta. In the ’93 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, we lost to Alabama for the national championship (34-13 loss, ending a 29-game winnning streak). I got in a couple plays when they let the young dogs out. I’ll never forget that play when George Teague took the ball from one of our receivers, Lamar Thomas, and ran it back for a touchdown.
“The injuries I had in my senior year, two ruptured discs, made me very unproductive. I didn’t get drafted. That was the year Warren Sapp took my place and really took off. Dennis Erickson was my coach then, and I had Randy Shannon and Tommy Tubberville as my defensive coaches. It was a great time, with Gino Toretta, Gene Costa and Ryan Collins as our quarterbacks.”

Q: What sports are you most into watching when you get a chance:
A: “I love mixed martial arts and if I could go to a football game, I’d do it, but generally I try to avoid crowds. I’m usually watching at home or buying a big pay-per-view event.”

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Q: Do you still get comments about your performance in ‘Gridiron Gang’ (linked here) and what that movie meant to the kids playing high school football at Camp Kilpatrick?
A: “That was a great movie and I enjoyed that. Again, there’s so much about the story of Sean Porter and the Stanleys, some unsung heroes. There are Sean Porters working in all areas and places like that. It was an honor to make it. It was great to shoot that movie there and talk to the kids every day. You want a movie like that to be a commercial success, but we knew it wasn’t going to light the world on fire in terms of box office. It was small. But I still get a lot of people, mostly parents, who thank me for making it. They are kids in trouble — I was one of them, getting arrested when I was that age. It was important to tell that story.”

Q: You have an executive producer credit for a documentary called ‘Racing Dreams’ (IMDB.com link here) about the culture of go-kart racing … what’s the status of that?
A: “It never got distributed nationally, but it did make it to Tribeca. It’s a wonderful movie where we followed three families around with kids about 13, 14 years old. I’ve had a couple of buddies involved in NASCAR, but I was not exposed to that culture of racing — especially that subculture of how important it is within the families to do well. They had already shot it and were looking for more funding, so I got on board with my partner — my ex-wife — and it turned out to be a pretty cool documentary. I think it resonates with young people who have this desire to do something great. I’m sure you’ll see it around somewhere.”

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Q: Would you like to get involved in any future sports movies, or do you reach an age where you can’t do that anymore?
A: “When do a couple and have some success, then more offers start coming. There aren’t any on the horizon, but if there’s a sports story that’s moving and inspiring, I’d be happy to do it. The great thing about sports is that it’s always inspiring.”

Q: After doing this movie, do you plan on playing any hockey?
A: “I can appreciate the game from a different perspectve, completely different. And I understand their passion. But in terms of getting on the ice, I highly doubt I’ll be I in any celebrity games. I won’t fool ‘em.”

==LINKS:
== To the official “Tooth Fairy” movie site (linked here)
== To his appareance at Saturday’s Kings-Bruins game at Staples Center, to help his The Rock Foundation (linked here)
== A recent interview with Parade magazine (linked here)

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Coming Sunday: The Rock meets the puck

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Dwayne Johnson (above) drops the ceremonial opening puck at Saturday’s Kings-Bruins game at Staples Center, with the Kings’ Dustin Brown, left, and Boston’s Chara Zdeno. They are joined by Kings mascot Bailey and Kings Hall of Famer Luc Robitaille. Left, Johnson poses with Bailey off the ice.
Photos by Noah Graham/L.A. Kings

Dwayne Johnson played a quarterback in “The Game Plan,” and a football coach at Camp Kilpatrick in “Gridiron Gang.”

The former University of Miami defensive end wasn’t so much prepared to ice skate for his new role in “Tooth Fairy,” which comes out Friday.

“We had a two week time period where we were going to learn how to skate,” Johnson explained the other day. “You talk to an athlete, and there’s a thread of arrogance when there’s some physicality. ‘Oh, sure I can do it.’ That was my thought. ‘No problem. You need me to skate two weeks? I got it. I’ll be skating like I’ve been doing it my whole life.’”

And how’d that go for you?

“It was very sobering,” he admitted.

Johnson, aka “The Rock,” admits more in a Q-and-A that appears in Sunday’s Daily News.

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The Media Learning Curve: Jan. 8-15

Somehow, the cast of MTV’s “Jersey Shore” found FSN West reporter Patrick O’Neal – or vice versa — during Thursday’s Kings-Ducks coverage (above). We didn’t learn much from that encounter.

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That said, we did seem to learn more about life whenever we flipped on ABC and found “Room 222″ during our wonder years (’69-’74) (show bio linked here). Oh, Miss Johnson (Karen Valentine) . ….

And did you know: Guidance counselor Mrs. McIntyre (Denise Nicholas) used to be married to L.A. sportscaster Jim Hill

We go back to class to try to learn something new every week about the sports media from scanning other blogs, reading other publications, and listening to what the TV told us.

Stuff like:

== ESPN’s Rick Reilly (linked here) tries to write the last word on the passing of Christine Daniels/Mike Penner, but I’m not sure it even comes close to hitting the mark.

== How Mark McGwire orchested his steroid admission in the media with the help of a former presidental press secretary (linked here).

== We like the headline — “Five Offensively Stupid Reactions to Mark McGwire’s Steroid Use” — as well as the five chosen pundints, one of which was NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams leading off his telecast with a commentary (linked here).

== If there’s an integrity-of-the-game issue in the NHL, this producer paid for it (linked here). And turns out the guy is the son of a former Penguins player (linked here).

== Gary McCord and David Feherty (plus Natalie Gulbis, Duffy Waldorf and Rocco Media) play themselves on an episode of “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” coming up next week (linked here).

== Somehow, we missed the memo about Junior Seau castrating a thoroughbred at Fairplex in Pomona on the next episode of “Sports Jobs”:

== We’d be more interested in the shift of NASCAR coverage from over-the-air to cable if more viewers actually could tell the two apart (linked here).

== Art Rust, Jr. (1927-2010) (linked here)

== Need to know more about ESPN NFL reporter Adam Schefter? (linked here)

== Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert brings the Second Amendment right to bare arms in his commentary about Gilbert Arenas, and tells Mark McGwire: “You might want to inject some steroids into those tear ducts to clear up that case of pussy eye”:

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Sport Report – Gilbert Arenas & Mark McGwire
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor Economy

== Yes, Elisabeth and Tim Hasselbeck will change jobs for a day, meaning he can now be satired on “Saturday Night Live” as a member of “The View” who believes everything he reads on the Internet (linked here).

== Surprisingly not all were entertained by Joe Theismann back in the live NFL game booth (linked here).

== AND FINALLY:

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== Why we like ESPN polls with colored maps (linked here):

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The Media Learning Curve: If you can’t muzzle ‘em …

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From our column today on the launch of the sports-talk leg of the best and worst of the L.A. sports media for 2010 (linked here), “Mason and Ireland Show” co-host John Ireland wrote to us:

“Mason and I work a lot — more than any guys I know — but the truth is that there is no show without Dave. Without him, I’m convinced that the show would be one long advertisement for Purina One and Roger Dunn Golf Shops. Besides booking all the big-name guests, he’s an invaluble resource who steers the ship.

“But now that you’ve put him in a feature article, he will undoubtedly become an insufferable primadonna who will demand his own show. He’ll make all of the interns address him as “Mr. Singer” and he’ll start parking in Chris Berry’s parking space. He’s already changed his own title from “producer” to “executive producer,” now to “Senior Executive Producer.” Next, he’ll apply for “Supreme Commander of All Producers.”

“Will we ever hear the end of this? As Dave says in the South Coast Med Spa endorsement that he stole from me, “never!”

We have more:

== NBC has 13 hours of live coverage from the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Spokane, Wash., starting with Saturday (1:30 to 3 p.m., live pairs free skate) and Sunday (1:30 to 3 p.m., live men’s free skate). The live ladies and dance competition is next weekend. Tom Hammond, Scott Hamilton, Sandra Bezic and Andrea Joyce are behind the mike. Bob Costas and Dick Button join them next weekend. Spreading the event over two weekends doesn’t sit well with some competitors. Skater Johnny Weir told the Boston Globe: “I think it’s so stupid. I know we need the support of NBC, but it’s just a hassle.”

== ESPN2 goes with 113 hours of live coveage from the Australian Open, starting Sunday at 4 p.m. and up through the men’s and women’s finals on Saturday, Jan. 30. Cliff Drysdale and Dick Enberg call most of the matches, with host Chris Fowler also doing some. Chris McKendry hosts with analysts Darren Cahill, Mary Carillo, Mary Joe Fernandez, Brad Gilbert, Pam Shriver and Patrick McEnroe. DirecTV also has its channel mix, allowing viewers to check out different courts, etc., and Tennis Channel’s additional coverage.

== L.A.-based TVG will cover the 39th annual Eclipse Awards live Monday from the Beverly Wilshire. It starts with “red carpet” coverage at 4 p.m. followed by the awards presentation at 5 p.m. hosted by Kenny Rice.

== NBC has added eight-time PGA Tour winner Brad Faxon to its golf coveage, putting him in an outer tower on several events this season. Faxon will have the option to play as well as commentate at a number of events this season, including NBC’s coverage of the Northern Trust Open from Riviera Country Club on the first week of February. “I’m hoping that for at least one tournament I can walk off the course and right into the booth to provide a first-hand account on the players and the course,” Faxon said. “It should add an extra dimension to the broadcast.”

== CBS’ “60 Minutes” has a piece for Sunday’s episode (Channel 2, 8 p.m.) with Scott Pelley looking into how tiny American Samoa sends so many players to the NFL — the most famous of which is probably Pittsburgh linebacker (and former USC star) Troy Polamalu, born in the U.S. to Samoan parents. CBS says there are more than 30 Samoans in the NFL and another 200-plus playing Division 1 college football — amazing considering there are 65,000 people living on the islands. “What if there were 120 million Samoans,” wonders Polamalu. “How many Samoans would there then be in the NFL?”

== Highlights of the next edition of HBO’s “Real Sports” (Tuesday, 10 p.m.) is a Bernie Goldberg update on football-related concussions, Frank Deford updating on what caused the Dallas Cowboys’ indoor practice facility in Irving, Tex., to collapse last May and leave special teams coach Joe DeCamillis and scouting assistant Rich Behm with severe spinal cord injuries and Bryant Gumbel talks with golf pro Ken Green, who survived an RV accident that took the lives of his girlfriend, brother and dog in June. Green had his lower right leg amputated because of injuries.

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AND FINALLY:

== Of all those who could have replaced the late Rory Markas on the last 15 games of USC basketball, Pete Arbogast was and is the best candidate. After doing the USC-Cal game last Friday, he’ll be back with Jim Hefner on the radio broadcast of the Trojans-Bruins contest on Saturday (4:30 p.m., KSPN-AM 710).

Two things come to mind, though.

One, on the WeAreSC.com blog, Arbogast did a nice attempt at remembering Markas as someone who “I go way back” with. How ironic that Markas once replaced Arbogast on the Clippers’ radio gig. And then Arbogast says he was the one who recommended that Markas get the Angels’ gig when it opened after 2001.

“I’d have loved to be doing SC basketball all these years,” Arbogast wrote, “but as our boss said once to me: ‘Hey, he’s doing just fine, why would we need or want to make a switch.’ I found no response that could counter that logic, and just plain gave up. That was in 2002, and that is the last time I brought it up to anyone.”

The post reads: “Remembering Rory Markus.” But not remembering how he really spells his last name.

And then, during the USC-Cal broadcast on Saturday, Arbogast also did a promo telling listeners if they wanted more coverage to turn to the Daily News. He added: “Our producer Ann Beebe back in the studio probably just fell out of her chair.”

And we almost ran our car off the road laughing.

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Coming Friday: 18 years in the making: The annual best/worst of L.A. sports radio guys

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Hans Gutknecht/Daily News Staff Photographer (website linked here)

The 18th edition of the Daily News best and worst of the L.A. sports media traditionally starts with a feature story about a sports-talk host. But we’re kind of beyond that. And, there’s not as many to pick from as in the past.

Both good and bad.

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Maybe there are three so-called all-sports radio stations in Southern California — four, if you count the one in San Diego that has one of our favorite guys still hanging on for dear life — but the amount of local coverage continues to dwindle — except at KSPN-AM (710).

Is there not enough going on in L.A. to make something happen? The economy, my friend, has a big say in that. Radio is hanging on as a viable medium as much as newspapers and Western Union Telegraph.

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We took Wednesday to examine how a show like “Mason and Ireland” gets glued together, hanging around executive producer Dave Singer (above, in the control room, and here with Steve Mason discussing the rundown before the show) to watch all the hurdles that get in the way of trying to get the news and discussion out there to the listeners.

Luckily, we happened to pick a horribly busy day as well –since KSPN-AM (710) is the home of the Lakers and USC, both had entitlement to the headlines, even after the Clippers announced that Blake Griffin would be on the shelf for the rest of the year. The upcoming Lane Kiffin press conference kept getting pushed further and further into the station’s pregame show for the Lakers-Mavs broadcast at 5:30 p.m. Eventually, the Kiffin arrival had to be put on the station’s podcast.

We’ll have the usual Top 10/Bottom 5 list as well, plus our favorite syndicated radio shows and local sports anchors. Feel free to submit your own opinions. Mine are only worth what the blog will hold.

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Everything you need to know about NBC’s Winter Olympics coverage but were too bored to ask

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The net spelled it all out in a press release this morning, touting how NBC will combine with USA, MSNBC, CNBC, Universal HD and NBCOlympics.com to carry the first all-high-def Winter Olympics with more than 835 hours of all 15 sports from Vancouver.

Get some sleep now. Or wait until the Games begin.

The 17 days in Vancouver, starting Feb. 12, average about 50 hours a day of coverage. The 1976 Innsbruck Winter Games that ABC did had a total of 43 1/2 hours. We find that to be remarkable, since most Americans even then thought that was pretty much overkill.

NBC will have an afternoon, prime time and late night segment that take up about 193 hours. Even though Vancouver is in the Pacific Time Zone — hey, so is L.A. — the men’s and women’s figure skating, alpine skiing, speed skating and snowboarding will be delayed in prime time.

USA Network has 41 hours of all the curling, as usual, plus U.S. men’s and women’s ice hockey. MSNBC takes 100 hours of al the other hockey, plus speed skating and some figure skating. CNBC has 100 hours of what’s called “long-form” sports, including curling, hockey and biathlon.

NBCOlympics.com has 400 hours of live stuff, with 1,000 more hours on demand to replays.

And after it’s all over in late February, Jay Leno will return to his usual 11:35 p.m. spot. On NBC. That’s what they’re saying.

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By the way, Con-seco broke down

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“We received word from Jose Canseco, the former baseball star, saying, ‘I am having a breakdown. I can’t emotionally do it. I am emotionally drained. I am tired of defending myself,’” Larry King was forced to tell his CNN viewing audience when Tuesday’s show did not come off as scheduled.

A shame.

This, after CNN promoted the fact that Canseco would come on to bash former Bash Brother Mark McGwire.

According to USA Today (linked here), Canseco’s blasting away at McGwire on other sources — including WMVP-AM 1000 in Chicago, and with ESPN — took its toll on him.

“I’ve got no problems with a few of the things he’s saying, but again, it’s ironic and strange that Mark McGwire denies that I injected him with steroids,” Canseco told the radio show. “He’s calling me a liar again. I’ve defended Mark, I’ve said a lot of good things about him, but I can’t believe he just called me a liar … I want to challenge him on national TV to a polygraph examination. I want to see him call me a liar under a polygraph examination.”

We want a polygraph as well to see if Canseco was lying about why he bailed on King’s show.

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