Citizens of Los Angeles v. McCourt, Frank and Jamie … Game over

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In honor of Fan Appreciation Weekend at Dodger Stadium, the final homestand, Joe Torre’s going-away party and another page turned in the Dodgers’ team chapter, we’ve taken up a collection and have something to present to the owners of the team.

Frank and Jamie McCourt: You’ve been served.

By the powers vested in us, the citizens of Los Angeles, we hereby declare a class-action divorce from the McCourts and demand full custody of the Dodgers.

Ipso facto, E pluribus unum, carpe diem and, considering how much the two of them have been spending on their hairstylists, coiffure interruptus.

Divorcing ourselves from the courtroom circus that has become McCourt v. McCourt over the last few months, culminating in a charade that ended with closing arguments this week, has been a very difficult task.

Frank and Jamie each contend they own the Dodgers in one bad shape or another. They don’t want to play nice about it as they attempt to split up their leveraged fortunes and actually stop believin’.

An otherwise wise judge now has to waste his time going over the testimony and has until around Christmas to rule on their marital unbliss. But then, with appeals, new trials and just plain stubbornness, Frank could use millions of more borrowed dollars that perhaps could be better spent on a hypnotist for Jonathan Broxton to drag this out.

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We can’t wait’ll next year. Because, in all seriousness, who really owns the Dodgers?

Isn’t it community property that’s property of the community?

Shouldn’t the fans take ownership of this situation?

Maybe we’re treading on Chavez Ravine ground that has already seen enough abuse, but we propose a new legal measure of revenge.

Don’t worry, Silverstein. We’re not even messing with typos here. Exclusive, inclusive or reclusive, we’ll make this as plain and painless as possible.

Now, in California, petitions for the dissolution of marriage are based only on a) irreconcilable differences or b) incurable insanity. We intend to hit for the cycle on this. Sign us up for both.

And irregardless of whether that’s an actual word or not, we add irrational behavior unbecoming of a O’Malley successor, irrevocable trust, irreversible damage, irregular heartbeat, irreplaceable left fielders with dreadlocks, illogical thinking and, not to get too graphic, but irritable towel syndrome (have you tried to pull off one of those sheets of sandpaper in the restrooms at Dodger Stadium)?

You may try to rephrase this as a case of “emancipation.” We will stick with the big D-word, without the help of anyone from LegalDoom.com.

Despite having watched plenty of episodes of “Family Court with Judge Penny,” we’re not about to squeeze every nickel out of you in this, although we know payback can be bitchin’.

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In the division of assets, our demands are simple.

We get:

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== Vin Scully.
== Nancy Bea Hefley.
== Roger Owens, the peanut man.
== Dodger Stadium.
== The land surrounding Dodger Stadium.
== The promise never to “enhance” the land surrounding Dodger Stadium with a shopping mall, Indian casino or rifle range.
== The Dodger Stadium naming rights (which we vow to never use).
== The annual Jackie Robinson night promotion.
== Hollywood Stars Night (can’t believe that was so botched this season that it didn’t even happen).
== All remaining light-blue paint left.
== All future prospects in the farm system under the age of 21.
== Andre Either’s bat.
== James Loney’s glove.
== Clayton Kershaw arm.
== Larry Bowa’s attitude.
== The four seats next to the dugout where the McCourts currently have reserved, but will be used on a rotating basis, given away to four fans each game who originally buy a ticket to the left-field pavilion.

As such, we also propose the McCourts can have:

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== Continued liabilities of all deferred salary payments, including but not limited to Manny Ramirez, Juan Pierre, Jason Schmidt, Darren Dreifort, Don Stanhouse and Vladimir Shpunt.
== All concession stand workers, especially those who act as if punching the order into the cash register pad is the first time they’ve seen it in their lives.
== Any future trademark rights to “$2 Tuesdays.”
== All broken maple bats.
== All advertising decals on the outfield walls.
== One percent of parking revenue, not to exceed .002 cents per automobile per year.
== Rental of the Stadium Club one night every 10 years, at an agreed-upon date, for family functions only (with a necessary cleaning deposit).
== All profits from the California Pizza Kitchen stand, since no one should be eating that stuff anyway.
== Rhianna.
== The ear-piercing center-field speaker system.
== The overpaid guy running the “Dodger Dream Foundation.”
== Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s future requests for free tickets.

As for Tommy Lasorda: That’s open for negotiation.

We accept a demand to be named later, but respect whatever visitation rights you intend to set up in the interim. We can pick him up at the local McDonald’s parking lot and take him to the games on every other weekend if that’s amicable.

Sorry it’s come to this. Really. Truly. True Bluely.

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It’s not your fault. It’s our fault for not doing this earlier. Even if this is a no-fault state of confusion now.

Enjoy the final games of the 2010 season, McCourts. An usher will escort you out of the facility whenever you’ve finished cleaning out our wallets.

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Just added to the ESPN ’30 For 30′: ‘Fernando Nation’

Photo by Heinz Kluetmeier/SportsIllustrated.com

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An hour-long documentary about Fernando Valenzuela’s cultural impact on the city of Los Angeles has been added to the ESPN “30 For 30″ series, to air on Tuesday, Oct. 26 on ESPN at 5 p.m.

L.A.-raised Cruz Angeles, who created some buzz with his 2009 Sundance Film Festival feature, “Don’t Let Me Drown,” directed the project.

The ESPN summary of it:

‘The Natural’ is supposed to be a blue-eyed boy who teethed on a 36-ounce Louisville Slugger. He should run like the wind and throw boysenberries through brick. He should come from California.” – Steve Wulf, Sports Illustrated, 1981. So how was it that a pudgy 20-year-old, Mexican, left-handed pitcher from a remote village in the Sonoran desert, unable to speak a word of English, could sell out stadiums across America and become a rock star overnight? In “Fernando Nation,” Mexican-born and Los Angeles-raised director Cruz Angeles traces the history of a community that was torn apart when Dodger Stadium was built in Chavez Ravine and then revitalized by one of the most captivating pitching phenoms baseball has ever seen. Nicknamed “El Toro” by his fans, Fernando Valenzuela ignited a fire that spread from LA to New York–and beyond. He vaulted himself onto the prime time stage and proved with his signature look to the heavens and killer screwball that the American dream was not reserved for those born on U.S. soil. In this layered look at the myth and the man, Cruz Angeles recalls the euphoria around Fernando’s arrival and probes a phenomenon that transcended baseball for many Mexican-Americans. Fernando Valenzuela himself opens up to share his perspective on this very special time. Three decades later, “Fernandomania” lives.

The documentary will actually debut on Sunday, Oct. 24 at 6 p.m. on ESPN Deportes before it’s appearance on ESPN.

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Johnny Miller’s Ryder Cup banquet awaits

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By Doug Ferguson
The Associated Press

NEWPORT, Wales — You can count on Johnny Miller to be impartial at the Ryder Cup as an analyst for NBC Sports.

American or European, he can get under anyone’s skin.

As great as he was as a player — Miller will tell you that himself — he only played in the Ryder Cup twice. Still, he has managed to become a big part of the event through commentary that is always blunt, sometimes shocking, usually accurate.

Even some of his victims agree with that.

“I like a lot of what he does,” Justin Leonard said last week. “It can be a little too critical. I’m sure most guys on tour would say the same thing. We don’t want anyone saying we choked. We know we did. We just don’t want to hear anyone else say we did.”

Leonard says he is not a “Johnny basher,” even though few other player were bashed worse.

“My hunch is that Justin needs to go home and watch it on television,” Miller blurted out in 1999 when Leonard and Hal Sutton were losing a fourballs match Saturday afternoon at Brookline.

That remains among the most famous of the “Johnny moments,” and there have been plenty over the years. Like the time he said Craig Parry’s swing would make Ben Hogan puke. And remember, Miller is the first analyst to introduce the word “choke” into the golf broadcast, a word players don’t even like hearing in conversation.

And there might be plenty of that going on this week at Celtic Manor.

Continue reading

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Chevy bails out Fox with an earlier World Series Game 3 start

Fox’s ability to find a sponsor willing to finance a pushed-up start to the third game of the upcoming World Series is a start in the right direction toward making the product more viewer-friendly for future generations.

It’s not a major move, per say – a 3:57 p.m. PT/6:57 p.m. ET for the game set on Saturday, Oct. 30 – considering it’s only an hour earlier from every other start time (except Sunday’s Game 4, which will wait for the finish of Fox’s NFL coverage).

“We’ve said over the years that if advertisers were willing to support earlier starts at prime time levels, we’d be able to begin games earlier,” said Fox Sports president Eric Shanks in a release, noting that Chevrolet is the sponsor (with parent-company GM still 60 percent owned by the U.S. government) that stepped up.

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A Ryder Cup quiz for you to take, because Suduku in Wales hasn’t caught on

By Doug Freguson
The Associated Press

How well do you know Ryder Cup history? Try this quiz:

FRIDAY FOURSOMES

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1. Where did the Ryder Cup get its name?
a.) An English seed merchant.
b.) A tabloid columnist.
c.) A rental truck company that paid $50 million to be the title sponsor.

2. Who is the oldest player in Ryder Cup history?
a.) Fred Funk
b.) Christy O’Connor Sr.
c.) Raymond Floyd

3. Which American has won the most points in the Ryder Cup?
a.) Billy Casper
b.) Jack Nicklaus
c.) Gardner Dickinson

4. Where was the first Ryder Cup held?
a.) Valhalla Golf Club
b.) Worcester Country Club
c.) Newport Country Club

FRIDAY FOURBALLS

5. Which Ryder Cup tandem has won the most matches?
a.) Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson
b.) Seve Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazabal
c.) Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson

6. Which player has had the most partners in the Ryder Cup?
a.) Raymond Floyd
b.) Bernhard Langer
c.) Tiger Woods

7. Who was the last player to win all five of his matches?
a.) Justin Rose
b.) Larry Nelson
c.) Corey Pavin

8. Who has played in the most Ryder Cup matches?
a.) Bernhard Langer
b.) Sam Snead
c.) Nick Faldo

SATURDAY FOURSOMES

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9. What is the surname of the first set of brothers to compete in the same Ryder Cup?
a.) Hebert
b.) Hunt
c.) Whitcombe
(Note: At right, Italy’s Eduardo and Francesco Molinari will be on the European Ryder Cup team).

10. What significant change in the Ryder Cup occurred in 1979?
a.) Players from continental Europe were eligible.
b.) Captains no longer could play in the matches.
c.) The Ryder Cup turned its first profit.

11. Which U.S. captain put together the No. 1 and No. 2 players in the world, only to see them get beat on the last hole?
a.) Hal Sutton
b.) Ben Crenshaw
c.) Dave Stockton

12. The Ryder Cup was not played on consecutive days in 1951 at Pinehurst. Why was no golf played on Saturday?
a.) Record flooding.
b.) A hurricane warning.
c.) Both teams attended a college football game.

SATURDAY FOURBALLS

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13. Who is the youngest player to compete in the Ryder Cup?
a.) Tiger Woods
b.) Sergio Garcia
c.) Gene Sarazen

14. How many majors did Jack Nicklaus win before competing in his first Ryder Cup?
a.) None
b.) Three
c.) Seven

15. Where was the first Ryder Cup held outside of England or the United States?
a.) Muirfield
b.) Valderrama
c.) St. Andrews

16. Who was the last playing captain at the Ryder Cup?
a.) Dai Rees
b.) Dave Marr
c.) Arnold Palmer

SUNDAY SINGLES

17. Who holed a 45-foot putt to complete the biggest comeback in Ryder Cup history?
a.) Justin Leonard
b.) Peter Baker
c.) Philip Walton

18. Name the only player to go 18 holes in all five matches.
a.) Phil Mickelson
b.) Curtis Strange
c.) Tom Watson

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19. What is considered the greatest gesture of sportsmanship in the Ryder Cup?
a.) Jack Nicklaus conceding Tony Jacklin a short par putt in 1969 so the Ryder Cup would end in a tie.
b.) Hal Sutton sending out Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson as partners — twice.
c.) Ben Crenshaw waiting until after the 1999 matches were over before crying.

20. Who made a hole-in-one to close out his singles match?
a.) Howard Clark
b.) Scott Verplank
c.) Paul Casey

21. When was the last time the year’s four major champions played in the Ryder Cup?
a.) 1989
b.) 1979
c.) 1969

22. Name the only European who has a winning record despite having never played on a winning team (minimum three events)?
a.) Henry Cotton
b.) Peter Oosterhuis
c.) Tony Jacklin

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23. Who was Bernhard Langer’s opponent when he missed his 6-foot par putt on the 18th hole at Kiawah Island?
a.) Hale Irwin
b.) Mark Calcavecchia
c.) Payne Stewart

24. Where did Europe win on American soil for the first time?
a.) Muirfield Village
b.) Oak Hill
c.) PGA National

25. Name the only player to beat Tiger Woods in a Ryder Cup singles match.
a.) Jesper Parnevik
b.) Costantino Rocca
c.) Lee Westwood

26. Who was the only American who failed to earn a point as a captain’s pick?
a.) Curtis Strange
b.) Jay Haas
c.) Fred Couples

27. Who has earned the most singles points without ever having lost a match?
a.) Tom Kite
b.) Colin Montgomerie
c.) Tom Lehman

28. Name the only American who lost the decisive singles match and won the decisive singles match.
a.) Jim Furyk
b.) Justin Leonard
c.) Andy North

Continue reading

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Halfway home on The Top 100: NFL’s Greatest Players

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Players ranked Nos. 51-60 are revealed in all their glory on the NFL Network’s “The Top 100″ next episode that debuts Thursday at 6 p.m. (preceeded by an encore of Nos. 61-70 at 5 p.m.).

You can see the complete list on NFL.com (linked here), interestingly to see how the “fans rank” element is added to the list (i.e.: Steve Young, No. 81 on the list, but No. 13 on the fan ranking).

From the first 40 picks (61 to 100), three are active players, six are recently retired and the rest are all in the Hall of Fame.

The show’s appeal is seeing who “presents” each player, ranging from ex-players and coaches, to directors, authors and stat man extraordinare Steve Hirdt.

Here’s the list so far as far as that goes (player, then presenter):

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100. Joe Namath (Spike Lee)
99. Michael Strahan (Jon Runyan)
98. Lee Roy Selmon (Ron Wolf)
97. Derrick Brooks (Jon Gruden)
96. Mel Hein (Steve Hirdt)
95. Larry Allen (John Randle)
94. Lenny Moore (Bobby Mitchell)
93. Sam Huff (Sonny Jurgensen)
92. Michael Irvin (Troy Aikman)
91. Fran Tarkenton (Sen. Amy Klobuchar)

90. Kurt Warner (Nick Bakay)
89. Ernie Nevers (Steve Hirdt)
88. Ed Reed (Hines Ward)
87. Crazylegs Hirsch (Michael MacCambridge)
86. Willie Davis (Bobby Mitchell)
85. Marcus Allen (Matt Millen)
84. Joe Schmidt (Jerry Glanville)
83. Norm Van Brocklin (Sonny Jurgensen)
82. Ted Hendricks (Howie Long)
81. Steve Young (Mike Holmgren)

80. Troy Aikman (Drew Brees)
79. Emlen Tunnell (Michael MacCambridge)
78. Bruce Matthews (Warren Moon)
77. Tony Dorsett (Roger Staubach)
76. Art Shell (Ron Wolf)
75. Darrell Green (Carl Lewis)
74. Marion Motley (Mike Brown)
73. Ozzie Newsome (Marty Schottenheimer)
72. Jonathan Ogden (Michael Strahan, video linked here)
71. Paul Warfield (Mercury Morris)

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70. Marshall Faulk (Kurt Warner)
69. Bobby Bell (Michael MacCambridge)
68. Mike Webster (Dan Dierdorf)
67. Kellen Winslow (Joe Gibbs)
66. Willie Brown (Mercury Morris)
65. Randy Moss (Brian Billick)
64. Herb Adderley (Raymond Berry)
63. Jim Otto (Bill Bergey)
62. Randy White (Mark May)
61. LaDainian Tomlinson (Reggie Bush)

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Let there be light: A multi-purpose soccer ball

Congrats to Jessica Lin, Jessica Matthews, Julia Silverman and Hemali Thakkar for being honored with the “Next Generation Award” by Popular Mechanics for an energy-gerating soccer ball.

The four were undergrads at Harvard when they figured out a way to harness the kinetic energy of a soccer ball and use that as a LED light for families in the sub-Saharan African desert.

The way the sOccket works is that, after 15 minutes of kicking it around, the ball can put out three hours of light, an alternative to the kerosene lamps used in a place where less than 25 percent of the population has access to reliable electricity. The device was field-tested in South Africa during last summer’s World Cup.

The sOccket also has an imbedded DC jack and weighs only 5 ounces more than a FIFA-regulated ball. A future model is planned to generate enough juice to charge a cellphone.

== More on the sOccket (linked here)
== For more on Popular Mechanic’s “Breakthrough 2010″ awards (linked here).

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The Glory Details

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Apt to picking up a good baseball-related book this time of year, we came upon “Glory In The Fall: The Greatest Moments in World Series History” (linked here), edited by Peter Golenbock (Union Square Press, $22.95, 420 pages).

There’s a piece by the L.A. Times’ Jim Murray from Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, and another by Sports Illustrated’s Peter Gammons, about Orel Hershiser’s contribution to that Dodgers’ championship.

A piece from the L.A. Daily News’ Steve Dilbeck after Game 6 of the 2002 World Series — Scott Spezio’s game-winning homer to bring the Angels back and vault them to the title the next night.

Good times.

Yet, in reading the introduction by Golenbock, a well-respected, prolific author (linked here), we found ourselves gently returning the book to the shelf.

As Golenbock lists “off the top of my head, if you asked me which are the greatest World Series moments,” he includes Don Larsen’s perfect game, Willie Mays’ catch, the home runs by Carlton Fisk, Joe Carter, Bill Mazerowski

“And the Tampa Bay Rays playing in the 2008 World Series. I know. Kirk Gibson’s home run off Mitch Williams is far more important, but if you had been a Rays fan as long as I had, you’d understand.”

Hmmmm. Where do we start …

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Your Ryder Cup coverage, or how to plan your weekend naptime

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You look at a map of Wales and can’t help but think — such a green country. So many golf courses must be there. And all so green.

The nine-hour time difference between the Ryder Cup in Wales and your home television set will provide many of the usual Wimbledon-British Open-type warps in trying to follow the action of the U.S. team against the dirty dozen from Europe.

Note the posting of this blog — if you’re reading it live at 1 a.m. Tuesday, you’re body clock is in a good position to move forward before it falls back.

ESPN has Day 1 of the Ryder Cup — Friday in Wales, but Thursday night here — starting at 11:30 p.m.

Thursday’s opening ceremonies will go on ESPN during the 8 a.m. SportsCenter, followed by a preview show at 11 a.m.

ESPN will also re-air coverage from all three days, starting at 10 a.m. Friday on ESPN2 (the first day goes from 11:30 p.m. Thursday to 10 a.m. Friday on ESPN).

Mike Tirico anchors the event with Paul Azinger (the ’08 Ryder Cup captain), while Curtis Strainge (’02 captain) will be among the analysts, with Andy North, Judy Rankin, Bill Kratzert and Peter Alliss. Also beware of essays and commentary from Tom Rinaldi and Rick Reilly.

(Tirico, by the way, has an insane flight schedule, having to work ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” from Chicago, go to Wales, then be back for Monday, Oct. 4 in Miami for the New England-Miami NFL game).

NBC comes in for the weekend — Dan Hicks, Johnny Miller, Gary Koch, Peter Jacobsen and Brad Faxon, plus Roger Maltbie, Mark Rolfing and Dottie Pepper, with essayist Jimmy Roberts – but Saturday’s four-ball and foursome matches are on 5 1/2-hour tape delay (from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m.). That’s already not going over well with some of those state-side golf followers. Sunday is live from 4 to 10 a.m.

The delay from the Ryder Cup is nothing new. Back in 2002, NBC did the same thing from The Belfry in England after USA Network had delayed first-day coverage. NBC came on Saturday at 5 a.m., delayed.

Golf Channel plans 20 hours of live reporting starting today at 9 a.m. with press conferences, including Wednesday (9 a.m.), Thursday (3 p.m.) and Friday (10 a.m.). Kelly Tilghman, Frank Nobilo, Rich Lerner, Steve Sands, Alex Miceli, Tim Rosaforte, Ken Schofield, Mark Rolfing and Randall Mell are there. Lerner will cover the European team, while Sands is with the U.S. On the weekend, Golf Channel goes to the Ryder Cup from 3-5 p.m. Saturday and 10-to-11 a.m. Sunday.

Sirius XM Radio has live coverage on Sirius 209/XM 146 on Thursday (11:30 p.m.), Saturday (5 a.m. to 3 p.m. delayed) and Sunday (4 a.m.).

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Coming up on another redemptive season of HBO’s ‘Eastbound & Down’

Two new talking 7-inch Kenny Powers bobbleheads produced by a company called Bif Bang Pow! are coming out in time for the holiest of holidays, one by this Thanksgiving and the other set for a Jan., 2011 delivery, available for preorder on EntertainmentEarth.com (linked here and linked here).

Among the things one of the other will say: “You’re f__king out!,” “So that is why I’m better than everyone else in the world,” “Kenny Powers is a man, “”Kenny Powers is an athlete,” “Kenny Powers is a lover,” and “The thing that Kenny Powers is the most… is a G-dDamn champion.”

*****

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Emerging in the “darkest third-world hole” he’s ever been in — Copales, Mexico, “about a thousand, hundred million miles from where I should be” — this Stephen Janowski, expert cockfighter, finally reveals himself to the local Mexican League baseball team to be the true Kenny Powers and wants to turn his life around. Again.

“In Mexico, a man can truely get lost,” Powers says at the end “Chapter 7,” the episode that aired on HBO Sunday night and will repeat this week. “And if you’re a bankrobber or maybe someone who’s committed a f–ked up crazy crime, then that’s a good thing. But hiding takes its toll. At first you don’t realize it. but soon the identity you tried to shed starts getting pissed and knocking at your insides. You know, when dealing with deep depression and sad s–t, it’s cool to pretend like nothing is wrong. That sometimes works. But eventually you gotta call a G-Damn spade a spade — yes, I’m f–ked up and I gotta change …

“Sometimes you gotta wash away the pain and look at the world that is the jackass hiding beneath. Sometimes, I gotta get back in the game.”

That’s the essence of the launch of the second season of “Eastbound & Down” — hey, is that Pedro from “Napoleon Dynamite?”

Not to spoil anything, but here’s a gameplan provided by HBO for the coming month:

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== Sunday, Oct. 3: “Chapter 8: Charros owner Sebastian Cisneros (Michael Pena) agrees to pull out all the stops in promoting Kenny Powers’ return to organized baseball, but Kenny loses motivation after learning a secret about April from an old friend.”

== Sunday, Oct. 10: “Chapter 9: Puzzled by the Mexican fans’ lukewarm reception, Kenny starts a grassroots PR campaign to burnish his image, but it takes a vintage Powers flare-up to bring the crowd to its feet. Kenny makes inroads with Vida (Ana de la Reguera) by inviting her to Sebastian’s yacht party.”

== Sunday, Oct. 17: “Chapter 10: Though Charros fans respond to Kenny, he is warned by Roger (Marco Rodriguez) about the perils of showboating. Kenny learns he has serious competition in his courtship of Vida.”

== Sunday, Oct. 24: “Chapter 11: Kenny considers a new full-time life working in Mexico.”

== Sunday, Oct. 31: “Chapter 12: Kenny settles some old scores and shows Mexico what he’s really made of.”

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