Left out of today’s media column about the MLB Network’s “30 Clubs / 30 Days” series — remember, the Dodgers debuts today, and the Angels replays several times — (linked here) — there are still some things left in the rosin bag:
== Whether the Dodgers or Angels have a shot, or care about, adding 42-year-old former Cy Young Award-winning pitcher John Smoltz somewhere down the line may depend on how much he enjoys working as a game analyst for three different bosses this summer. The MLB Network, TBS and the Braves’ Peachtree TV announced they’d signed on with Smoltz, who’ll start by working the Opening Day studio shift for MLB Net, then do the Yankees-Red Sox game with Bob Costas on April 6. “From early in his career with the Braves, I always felt that John Smoltz had the potential to be an excellent broadcaster when his playing days were over,” said Costas. “Now that that career has placed him on a path to the Hall of Fame, I’m glad MLB Network will be part of the next chapter of his baseball life. John Smoltz has always been a thoughtful observer of the game.” Smoltz says he’ll continue to stay in shape in hopes of pitching again, as he did a year ago when he was added to the St. Louis Cardinals’ roster near season’s end for the playoffs. TBS announced that, in place of the fired Chip Caray, it will use Ernie Johnson, Dick Stockton and Brian Anderson as its play-by-play men on its Sunday morning national games starting April 11, and have Smoltz, Ron Darling and Buck Martinez as the analysts.
== Bill Macdonald will sub in for Spero Dedes on the Lakers’ radio play-by-play for tonight’s game at Staples Center against Minnesota. As you may have picked up watching Thursday’s NCAA tournament games, Dedes is in San Jose doing the first two rounds, so after he does his second game on Saturday, he’ll be able to return to the Lakers for their Sunday night contest against Washington, also at Staples Center. John Ireland filled in for Dedes on the Lakers-Sacramento game on Tuesday as Dedes prepped for his Thursday opener.
== Angela Ruggiero, the four-time Olympic medalist for the U.S. women’s hockey team from Simi Valley, will do the analysis for CBS College Sports’ coverage of the NCAA women’s hockey championship (Sunday, 10 a.m.). The two semifinal games between Cornell-Mercyhurst and Minnesota-Minnesota Duluth will stream on NCAA.com on Friday.
== The ESPN family coverage of the NCAA men’s hockey tournament starts with the tournament selection show on Sunday (8:30 a.m., ESPN2). John Buccigross will host with analysts Barry Melrose and former University of Michigan hockey standout Sean Ritchlin. The show plans to include Enrico Blasi, coach of Miami of Ohio, whose team dedicated this season to the late Brendan Burke, the former team manager and son of Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke who was killed in a car accident in February. Brendan Burke also was openly gay and considered a pioneer in young athletes coming out. Buccigross recently received the GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism Article for a piece he did on Brendan Burke.
== Westlake Village-based Universal Sports will air 16 hours of live coverage from the World Figure Skating Championships in Torino, Italy, starting Tuesday. Almost every top skater from the recent Vancouver Olympics will be competing again. Andrea Joyce, Peter Carruthers, Michael Weiss, Tara Lipinski and Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto will provide commentary. David Michaels produces it. The entire schedule, which begins at 4 a.m. Tuesday with the compulsory dance, is at UniversalSports.com/tvschedule.
== The noise this week surrounding Augusta National — not from Tiger Woods’ announced appearance but for 3D coverage — is more an experiment than actually providing a service to viewers. Saying this will be the “first major live sports event to be produced in the enhanced format specifically for in-home consumption” is a long way of saying not many will see it, but we’ll do it anyway. Comcast will distribute it starting with two hours of the Par 3 tournament on April 7. If your computer is 3D-enabled (and how would you know?) you can watch it online at Masters.com. Otherwise, Comcast customers who have the 3D-enabled TV sets can see it on its service, separate from the 2D production on ESPN and CBS. TV sets in the U.S. with 3D capacity have only been available for sale in the last couple of weeks.
== New Chivas USA coach Martn Vsquez joins “Fox Football Fone-In” co-hosts Nick Webster and Eric Wynalda on Monday’s Fox Soccer Channel two-hour live call-in show (4 to 6 p.m., repeated at 8 p.m.). One thing to ask: Will there be a season this season? Fox Soccer Channel has a MLS doubleheader set for Saturday, March 27 if the current labor issue is settled.
== ESPN says it received almost 5.4 million brackets for the ESPN.com Men’s Tournament Challenge, passing last year’s mark of 5.0 million.
The consensus Final Four: Kansas-Syracuse and Kentucky-Duke.
Don’t go out on a limb there.
Among the analysis gleaned from all those entries, says the press release:
0.06% of entries picked “Leigh” to defeat top-seeded Kansas.
Or Lehigh, depending on how much you want to trash the little school from Kansas.
You gotta start somewhere.
The winner is determined by a point system that rewards the best guesser with $10,000. The loser must recite the top 10 Vivian Leigh movies of all time. It’ll be a breeze.