Bob Brower/MLB Network
Kevin Millar, right, joins Al Leiter and Harold Reynolds in Studio 42 of the MLB Network during a recent visit.
== New MLB Network studio analyst Kevin Millar, who keeps a home in Mesa, Ariz., as well as Beaumont, Tex., says he gets to Southern California often to visit his dad, who lives in Valencia, and his mom, who is based in Encino. If so, how did he get such a Southern twang after all those years in Southern California — growing up in the Santa Clarita Valley, attending Hart High in Newhall as a freshman and then going to and graduating from West L.A.’s Uni High.
“Yeah, they say I got this hillbilly thing going,” Millar said Thursday.
Just a couple of weeks after the Chicago Cubs took Chad Tracy over him for the 25th roster spot, Millar wants to have fun and keep in the loop working for the MLB Network in the meantime. Recently, pitcher John Smoltz signed on with MLB Network while saying he would also not retire in case a team wanted him later this summer.
“But guys like Smoltz, they’re good; I’m a common player,” said Millar. “I can’t sit around the gym and just come back. It’s a bummer (about being released) but that’s just part of the business.”
Millar also said if given the chance to play for the Dodgers or Angels, he’d be here in a second.
“I’ve been dying to get there,” he said of Southern Calfornia. “When Grady Little (his former manager with the Red Sox) got the job with the Dodgers, they already had Olmedo Seanz signed to a two-year deal, so that spot was filled. Then Nomar (Garciaparra) came when the McCourts bought the team. So it never really worked. And I’ve been begging (Angels manager Mike) Scioscia for many years, but it’s always got to be that right fit. It would be a dream to be out on the West Coast.”
== Fox has Joe Buck and Eric Karros calling Saturday’s Yankees-Angels game from Anaheim (noon, Channel 11), going to 86 percent of the country.
== ESPN’s coverage of Monday’s 4 p.m. Dodgers-Mets game from Citi Field in New York with Dan Schulman, Nomar Garciaparra and Chris Singleton won’t be blacked out in the L.A. market as it competes with the Prime Ticket coverage.
== Likewise, ESPN’s coverage of the Lakers-Oklahoma City Game 4 on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. with Shulman, Doris Burke and RIc Bucher won’t be blacked out even as KCAL Channel 9 does it.
== Bob Papa, Lennox Lewis and Max Kellerman will call HBO’s Chris Arreaola-Tomasz Adamek and Alfredo Angulo-Joel Julio bouts Saturday (delayed at 11:15 p.m.) from Ontario.
The third episode of the all-access reality series “24/7 Mayweather/Mosley” debuts at 8:30 p.m., leading into the May 1 bout.
== Keep an eye out for a story by ESPN’s Tom Friend on Kermit Alexander, the former UCLA and L.A. Rams defensive back, plus an NFLPA president, who has a compelling story to tell about adopting a Haitian orphan that helped turn his own life around, following a time when he was coaching Pop Warner football in Watts and had one o fhis former players, in a random gang-related shooting, kill Alexander’s mother and three of his family members. The piece, “Out of the Rubble,” is slated for Sunday’s ESPN “SportsCenter” at 8 a.m., 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. A video clip (linked here).
== As expected, the USGA officially announced that the June 17-20 U.S. Open from Pebble Beach will go prime time on ESPN and NBC to the Eastern and Central time zones, as it did with the U.S. Open from Torrey Pines in San Diego back in ’08. ESPN has 14 hours of the first two rounds (10 a.m. to noon and 2 to 7 p.m.). NBC has 16 hours for all four rounds, from noon to 2 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, 1:30 to 8 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
== Last week’s “Battle of the Valley” All-Star basketball games played at CSUN will air starting tonight on Time Warner Cable channel 101 thorughout Southern California. The boys’ game (7:30 p.m.) is followed by the girls’ contest (10 p.m.), with a replay on Saturday. Randy Rosenbloom has the call with analysts Jake Downey and Rich Allen.
== The MLB Network will find room to air minor-league baseball games this season, including the Triple-A All-Star Game, with Phillies broadcaster Tom McCarthy and the MLB Net’s Mitch Williams calling it from Allentown, Pa., on July 14.
The regular coverage starts with Monday’s coverage of the Gwinnett Braves (Atlanta’s Triple-A team) at the Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay’s Triple-A team) at 8 a.m., following by Burlington (Kansas City) at Quad Cities (St. Louis) on Monday, May 3 at 9 a.m.
== And check out former Dodgers GM Fred Claire’s story on Vin Scully from MLB.com (linked here), which includes a link to a recent MLB Network story on Scully’s top 9 calls (at least, those that have been saved on tape)
== AND FINALLY:
== From The Onion Sports (linked here):
“All Sports To Cease So Skip Bayless Has Nothing To Talk About”
NEW YORK–Expressing regret that joyless, wrongheaded ESPN commentator and attack journalist Skip Bayless could not be dealt with otherwise, commissioners from every major professional sporting league, top officials of amateur athletic associations, and representatives of player unions reached an agreement Wednesday to end the practice of competitive sports in order to forever deprive Bayless of any subject matter.