’60 Minutes’ uses Stahl tactics to get to the bottom of the Bryan twins

CBS’ “60 Minutes” will send Lesley Stahl out to discover what makes Bob and Mike Bryan tick as the world’s top-ranked men’s doubles team out of Camarillo will get some Sunday prime-time coverage (7 p.m.) after the NCAA basketball tournament winds down this weekend.

What’s the secret to their success?

“We’re never going to give up on each other,” says Bob in the piece. “Other teams are worried if they play a bad match, ‘Is the guy…going to leave me on the street?’ But we’re never going to do that.”

Stahl asks the probing question: “Are you the best doubles players in the world?”

“We like to think we are,” answers Mike. Or Bob. We’re not sure.

“We compliment each other well,” Bob, or Mike, adds later. “But us together, and we’re one really good complete player.”

Here’s a clip:


Watch CBS News Videos Online

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The latest on Vin Scully: All is good

After Vin Scully was released from the West Hills Hospital and Medical Center today at about 11 a.m., the Dodgers’ Hall of Fame broadcaster issued the following statement:

“Thank you to everyone for their thoughts and prayers and I apologize for any concern that I caused. Most importantly, I’m looking forward to Sunday’s game, my first of the spring. Thank you and see you at the stadium.”

Scully plans to fly to Glendale, Ariz., on Saturday and do the Dodgers-Cleveland telecast from the Dodgers’ spring training site on Sunday for Prime Ticket. He also will do the Dodgers’ game from Glendale on Saturday, March 28.

More background on the story that broke late last night on KNBC-Channel 4 (lnked here).

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The Media Learning Curve: 30 (or less) paragraphs to read in 30 seconds

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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.

AND FINALLY:

== 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:

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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.

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Coming Phriday: The MLB Network, phinished in Phlorida, phixes its sites upon the phabulousness of Phoenix

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And Glendale, Tempe, Scottsdale, Mesa, Peoria, Goodyear, Tuscon and — no surprise here — Surprise.

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The MLB Network, baseball’s self-supported cable channel,has turned the corner on its “30 Clubs in 30 Days” hour-long specials, and the Dodgers and Angels are the first two stops in Arizona for network correspondents Matt Vasgersian , Trenni Kusnierek and Hazel Mae to seek out and discuss.

Peter Gammons has also made the trip west from New Jersey (and Florida) to take in the Phoenix flavor.

We’re here, too, scooting up and down Interstate 10, catching a few games, watching how this MLB thing works. We’ll focus on it in Friday’s media column, as we just finished hanging out with Vasgersian as he talked to Jered Weaver during his stop at Tempe Diablo Stadium (below) and with Kusnierek as she talked to several Dodgers on her trip to Glendale.

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Meanwhile, see the video log of material that MLB.com has with previous “30 in 30″ shows (linked here).

And if you’re still interested in the hour-long specials, here’s how it has aired:

The Florida loop:
Detroit Tigers March 3rd
New York Yankees March 4th
Philadelphia Phillies March 5th
Toronto Blue Jays March 6th
Pittsburgh Pirates March 7th
Baltimore Orioles March 8th
Tampa Bay Rays March 9th
Minnesota Twins March 10th
Boston Red Sox March 11th
Florida Marlins March 12th
St. Louis Cardinals March 13th
New York Mets March 14th
Houston Astros March 15th
Washington Nationals March 16th
Atlanta Braves March 17th

The Arizona swing:
Angels March 18th
Dodgers March 19th
Milwaukee Brewers March 20th
San Francisco Giants March 21st
Oakland Athletics March 22nd
Cincinnati Reds March 23rd
Cleveland Indians March 24th
Texas Rangers March 25th
Colorado Rockies March 26th
Arizona Diamondbacks March 27th
Kansas City Royals March 28th
Seattle Mariners March 29th
Chicago Cubs March 30th
Chicago White Sox March 31st
San Diego Padres April 1st

And now the Rangers got some explaining to do …

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Matsui’s magic eye drops an eye-opener for Angels

The things you discover while standing around at Tempe Diablo Stadium hours before the Angels take the field:

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An cool eye-drop solution by a Japanese manufacturer has quickly endeared Hideki Matsui with his new Angels teammates.

Matsui, last fall’s World Series MVP for the New York Yankees before coming to Anaheim in a one-year, $6 million free-agent deal to DH and perhaps play some outfield, has been using an eye drop that is said to sting a little more but quickly has a more cooling effect than most of the stuff you can pick up at the local pharmacy.

The name of the secret stuff — is it on the MLB’s list of banned substances? — is made by Rohto, which we’ve found on Amazon.com (linked here) but isn’t always available. Some have said it can be occasionally found at CVS and Drugstore.com (linked here), where it goes for as much as $8.99 for a .4-oz bottle. It was shown to us by a Japanese reporter who is among the dozens following Matsui’s every move.

Catcher Mike Napoli and second baseman Howie Kendrick are two of the Angels who say they’ve pestered Matsui enough about the product so that he’s asked the makers of the eye drops ship him two cases so far this spring to Tempe. Outfielder Juan Riviera even said, perhaps jokingly, that after using these eye drops, the baseballs look like beach balls when they come to the plate.

True or not, Rivera hit his first home run of the spring over the left-field wall in the fifth inning during the Angels’ 7-6 loss to Arizona on Wednesday afternoon. Kendrick had a run-scoring double and an RBI single as well.

Matsui started as the DH Wednesday and went 0-for-3.

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Our Daily Dread: When St. Pat’s Day infiltrates baseball … top of the mornin’, now give us $19.95

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It happens every spring.

St. Patrick’s Day lands in Florida and Arizona in the form of a Halloween-type party. How much can a team sell that’s green?

For the Oakland A’s, no problem.

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For the Dodgers or Angels, eh … Something you fork out the dough for, wear it one day, toss it in the closet, forget it’s there, buy again next year.

At the MLB.com store (linked here), there’s a whole selection of green stuff to buy to celebrate the occasion. Don’t underestimate baseball’s ability to cash in some green for itself on this annual occurance.

The Boston Red Sox have the most items available for St. Pat’s shoppers — 30, including this T-shirt which probably goes over well at an Irish pub and share ‘em with Celtics fans.

The Dodgers have only four items, including this women’s T-shirt that isn’t made by Alyssa Milano. It’s called “Distressed Cap Logo Missy T-shirt by Soft as a Grape.” Item No: 3950480. Just $19.99.

Order it today and it’ll ship in 1-2 business days. Just in time for April I Feel Like A Fool Day.

The Angels have just — just one lousy green hat. So people will think you’re cheering for the Oakland A’s.

See how that works?

Now go buy the kids a round of Shamrock Shakes…

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Another blanket indictment of warm-n-fuzzy feeling promotions

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When the Cleveland Cavs played a game on March 5, it convinced enough of their fans help establish a new Guinness World Record — the sellout crowd all wore a fleece blanket at the same time at Quicken Loans Arena.

That’s 20,562 according to a Guinness adjudicator. See how happy they all are with themselves? They all got a commemorative magnet certifying their participation at the record-breaking event.

Said Cavaliers President Len Komorosk (linked here): “Our fans were an integral part of the success to give Cleveland the bragging rights of a Guinness World Record.”

Not so fast, my King James arena hogs. The Angels can’t leave well enough alone.

The team announced Tuesday that on April 6 — the Tuesday after the season opener — when the play Minnesota at Angels Stadium, that fleece record will go down like a smelly towel.

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All fans in attendance will be given a free Hideki Matsui blankie. At some point during the contest, everyone in the stands — the team anticipates a crowd in excess of 40,000 — will be asked to wear their blankie for five minutes. At that point, a Guinness World Record adjudicator will certify the record and hold a ceremony to announce the achievement.

Just as long as they get more than, say, 20,000. According to the Angels’ press release on this, the Cavs’ record stands at 17,758. The story we found above clearly states about 3,000 more than that.

The Angels say this is the first franchise attempt at setting a record. The Dodgers are alreadyin the Guinness World Record book for attracting the most fans in the history of sports (if you add up the tickets bought season after season … it adds up fast).

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But if the Dodgers really wanted to burst the Angels’ record bubble on this one, it could try to top it on May 4. That’s the day they’re giving out a fleece “This is my Town” blanket to the first 50,000 fans.

Dodger Stadium holds more than Angels Stadium. About 15,000 more. It’s just a matter of size.

And it could give USC or UCLA an idea once football season starts this fall …. in other words, this could never end.

Death by fleece.

Say, one more question? Do dogs count in the record? If so, the next time this is broken could at the Westminster Kennel Club event.

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Keeping the beach volleybal vibe alive for the kids

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Karch Kiraly is bringing back the Corona Light Wide Open, one of the nation’s leading grassroots beach volleyball tours.

The tour will make nine stops, beginning at South Beach Park in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on May 15-16.

It is the official qualifying tour for the 2010 US Open of Beach Volleyball, a USA Volleyball-sanctioned national championship that will be played Sept. 17-19 in Manhattan Beach.

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The other stops:

== Galveston, Texas, May 22-23
== Siesta Key, Fla., June 19-20
== Huntington Beach, June 26-27
== Santa Cruz,, July 10-11
== Chicago, July 31-Aug. 1
== Long Island, N.Y., Aug. 7-8
== Breckenridge, Colo., Aug. 14-15
== Point Pleasant, N.J., Aug. 21-22

“The Corona Light Wide Open is one of the few beach volleyball events in the world that
captures the true essence and vibe of the beach,” said Kiraly, the winningest player in
beach volleyball history out of UCLA. “It’s all about playing the sport and living the lifestyle.

“Last year we quickly saw how people wanted a top-shelf, competitive beach volleyball tournament and a package of activities on the beach that allowed them not only to compete for a spot in the US Open, but have some fun and really let loose. This year,
we are taking the Wide Open experience to a much higher level.”

The inaugural tour drew more than 3,500 players competing in up to 16 different
divisions.

Kiraly, a three-time Olympic gold medalist, co-founded the tour last year and will be
the chief volleyball officer this year. He will oversee the tournament structure and
rules development, conduct clinics and participate in exhibition matches in select
markets.

Meanwhile, the AVP announced Tuesday that it would bring back and expanded version of its Junior Camps, held in conjunction with eight AVP pro beach volleyball tour events.

“Being on site, the kids will not only be taught the classic beach fundamentals, but they will have an opportunity to experience the soul of the game and a sense of the possibilities,” said AVP commissioner Mike Dodd. “Teaching young people to appreciate and enjoy our game is a responsibility the AVP accepts with pride.”

Current and former AVP players, along with experienced coaches, will teach girls and boys ages 8-18 training techniques to improve their sand and indoor games with skills demonstrations, drills and workouts designed specifically for their skill and age level. Small courts, lower nets and lighter balls will be used for campers age 12 and below.

Just in time with the NCAA approving sand volleyball as a sanctioned sport, teams can sign up as well. Groups of 10 or more get a $50 discount. More info: www.avp.com/Play-Beach/Camps.aspx.

The schedule (with some dates on Saturday/Sunday and others on Tuesday-Thursday before the AVP tournament):

== Fort Lauderdale, Fla. April 17-18
== Santa Barbara, May 1-2
== Huntington Beach, June 5-6
== Virginia Beach, Va., June 19-20
== Belmar, N.J., June 26-27
== Malibu July 20-22
== Manhattan Beach, Aug. 17-19
== Chicago, Ill., Aug. 28-29

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Because we need to know ESPN’s reaction to Tiger’s return

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Unless you’ve taken a really long bathroom break at work, you can’t help but know already that Tiger Woods is coming back, at the Masters, in April … now get on with your day of paper shuffling.

Unless you’re ESPN, televising the first two rounds of the Masters for the first time, just giddy that this has landed in its electronic lap.

How will ESPN deal with this? If you’ve been watching this morning’s “SportsCenter,” you already know.

It’s the Hindenburg of sport stories.

And ESPN just issued this release:

March 16, 2010

ESPN Statement on Tiger Woods’ decision to return to competitive golf

“Tiger’s return to competitive golf at this year’s Masters Tournament will surely be one of the biggest stories the sporting world has seen. We will cover the Masters Tournament and Tiger’s return across a variety of ESPN platforms, both domestically and internationally.” — John Wildhack, ESPN Executive Vice President, Programming & Acquisitions

Note: ESPN will have First and Second Round coverage of The Masters (April 8-9), as well as live coverage of the Par 3 Contest (Apr. 7).

– 30 —

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Our Daily Dread: ‘Cause nothing says ‘Showtime’ better than alcohol, ‘Big Game’ James and three unsuspecting women

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Again, we’re not worthy …. but how soon we can’t forget:

That’s “Big Game” James Worthy with a couple of ladies apparently on their break from the Foot Locker, and their escort, helping to promote 1800 Tequila’s new sponorship of the Lakers with a special edition bottle of their premium silver tequila — purple and gold labels, as per Jerry Buss’ instructions.

The bottles go for $24.99 at your favorite liquor retail outlet this week. Supposedly, they will be filled with the stuff that can make you silly.

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According to the 1800 Tequila press release:

“This is the first time that a spirits company has signed an exclusive tequila deal with the NBA Champion Lakers. Based in Los Angeles, CA, the Lakers play their home games at the Staples Center. Holding records for the most wins, the LA Lakers have the longest consecutive winning streak, the highest winning percentage, the most NBA Finals appearances and the second-most NBA championships. 1800 Tequila is thrilled to make their foray into the professional sports arena with the support of such a celebrated team.”

For real? Thanks for that update, stupid PR person.

The Lakers’ response from chief marking officer Tim Harris, which may be used in a court of law when trying to talk your way out of that DUI after the next Laker game: “Our goal is to ensure that Lakers games are the most enjoyable and exciting games to watch. Through this groundbreaking partnership, 1800 will provide Lakers fans with the familiar flavor of the super-premium spirit and a variety of beverage choices to enjoy while celebrating courtside, while ensuring that we communicate responsible drinking.”

Damn, they had to add those last three words to the statement …

As for why Worthy was picked to help promote this … we can only guess he was the first to volunteer, since Norm Nixon heard about it too late. But then again, according to stuff we’re reading (linked here), Worthy may be leaving Lakerland (and his Channel 2 gig?) to join former teammate Michael Jordan in the Charlotte Bobcats’ front office.

That could be a deadly combo…. Like the time when Worthy was picked up almost 20 years ago for … what was it again (linked here)?

Or as Worthy’s ex-wife Angela once said (linked here) in a “48 Hours” story after her 12-year marriage to James ended: “That feeling of entitlement, that whatever I want, I can have, and that feeling of invincibility. It’s a lethal cocktail.”

Mixed, today, with 1800 Tequila. Shaken, not stirred up.

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