The Media Learning Curve: Nov. 5-12

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It was the opinion earlier this week on TheBigLead.com (linked here) that “L’Affaire Netwon … has been nothing short of fascinating – from a media point of view.”

The headline on that story — “Has the pressure to deliver led to sloppy reporting on Cameron Newton?” — isn’t really even a question. It’s a statement disguised as being inquisitive. And, in the Internet existence, it’s a means to some kind of end.

Since there is no bylined author of this particular post, we have no one to really thank/dispute/acknowledge for pointing out what’s painfully obvious: Journalists who once worked at newspapers and had college degrees, but have crossed over into the new medium, find themselves having to prove their worth after signing two-to-three year contracts.

“Things are incredibly heated right now in the online battle for eyeballs among the big media outlets (ESPN, Yahoo, Fox, CBS Sports, Sports Illustrated, NY Times). Writing columns and features and breaking some news isn’t enough anymore – you’ve also got to deliver with radio interviews (promote the brand!), dabble in social media (get that twitter count up!) and don’t forget the big-picture investigative home runs, too. Oh, and while you’re doing this, you probably should be up-to-speed on what the blogs (this site, Deadspin, Sports by Brooks, etc, none of which have to adhere to strict journalistic standards) and message boards are doing, because you never know when they’ll produce something of news value (for instance … Did Mr. SEC find the Florida leak?).

“Now, your contract is up. In these tight economic times, even cash cows like ESPN are looking to trim the budget wherever possible. That $250k salary of yours? Well, have you produced anything blockbuster like your competition? Has your body of work justified the enormous salary? If the answer’s no, you could be asked to take a significant pay cut.

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“Back to Newton. Keep contracts in the back of your mind … could this pressure possibly have led to some of the sloppy reporting on Cam Newton?”

Over on Deadspin.com (linked here), under the headline “The Cam Newton Scandal Spirales Into Incoherency,” blog poster Barry Petchesky ends his rundown of what hasn’t and hasn’t happened with: “We don’t know a hell of a lot right now.”

Exactly.

If the “reporting” merely was sloppy, it could be dabbed up with a wet paper towel. This stuff can’t even be hosed down with a power spray. It’s stuck to the bottom of the tail-chasers’ shoes.

Before the pressure builds, and jobs are lost, get back to us when you have something solid. Because once someone blows the lid off this thing, something better stick to the walls.

After today’s media column offering (linked here), we milk more notes from our unnamed (and some named) sources:

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== ESPN says its Zenyatta-enhanced coverage of the Breeders’ Cup Classic last Saturday did a 2.9 rating, the highest rating ever on cable, and a jump of 168 percent (from a 1.1) from a year ago. ESPN’s entire Saturday afternoon coverage did a 2.2 rating, up from 0.9 in ’09. According to Neilson, the Breeders’ Cup averaged a 1.0 from 2006-08.

== The final installment of the “24/7 Pacquiao-Margarito” airs tonight on HBO at 9:30 p.m. HBO will reair all four episodes in a row at various times Saturday — including 9-to-11 a.m. on HBO and 2-4 p.m. on HBO2.

== Your L.A. NFL weekend TV listings:

= Sunday
= 10 a.m., Channel 11: Minnesota at Chicago (with Kenny Albert, Darryl Johnston and Tony Siragusa), instead of Carolina-Tampa Bay or Detroit-Buffalo.
= 10 a.m., Channel 2: Cincinnati at Indianapolis (with Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf), instead of N.Y. Jets-Cleveland (with Jim Nantz and Phil Simms), Houston-Jacksonville or Tennessee-Miami.
= 1 p.m., Channel 11: Dallas at N.Y. Giants (with Joe Buck, Troy Aikman and Pam Oliver) instead of St. Louis-San Francisco or Seattle-Arizona. CBS also has Kansas City-Denver in this window.
= 5:15 p.m., Channel 4: New England at Pittsburgh (with Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth and Andrea Kremer).
= Monday
= 5:30 p.m., ESPN: Philadelphia at Washington (with Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski, Michelle Tafoya and Suzy Kolber).
=Baltimore-Atlanta played Thursday; San Diego, Oakland, New Orleans and Green Bay have a bye week.

== Ron Franklin, Ed Cunningham and Shelley Smith has the call for USC’s ABC telecast Saturday in Arizona (5 p.m., Channel 7), sharing a national window with Clemson-Florida State (with Mike Patrick, Craig James and Jeannine Edwards) and Oklahoma State-Texas (with Sean McDonough, Matt Millen and Heather Cox). ESPN’s “GameDay” goes to Columbus, Ohio, which leads into its airing of Penn State-Ohio State at 12:30 p.m. (with Brent Musburger, Kirk Herbstreit and Erin Andrews) that goes either on ABC or ESPN (with Virginia Tech-North Carolina and Texas Tech-Oklahoma in the mix). In that window, most buzz will be stolen by Georgia-Auburn (12:30 p.m., Channel 2), with Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson.

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== Versus tries its first attempt at 3D version by carrying Oregon-Cal at 4:30 p.m., following up with another online experiment incorporated into its coverage of San Diego State-Texas Christian at 1 p.m. The opener will feature something they’ve called “Versus Vision,” where technology allows for viewers who go onto the website www.versus.com to watch highlights in a 180-degree, user-controlled 3D experience. Ted Robinson, Kelly Stouffer and Lindsay Soto call that one. In the Oregon-Cal game, Wayne Larrivee, Erik Kramer and Heidi Androl are on the 3D telecast, with Ron Thulin, Glenn Parker and Lewis Johnson are on the regular HD telecast.

== The only way to visually take in tonight’s UCLA-Cal State Northridge regular-season basketball opener at Pauley Pavilion — other than being there in person — is via the school’s two webcasts. Bill Courtland, a 1980 graduate of CSUN who recently received a Volunteer Service Award from the school, starts his fourth year on play-by-play doing the games on www.gomatadors.com with Alan Zinsmeister. Bruins broadcasters Chris Roberts and Tracy Murray, doing the game on 570-AM radio, provide the audio on UCLA’s www.uclabruins.com. At least five CSUN games will be on ESPN and/or Fox Sports Net this season, starting with three appearances in the Nov. 25-28 76 Classic from Anaheim over Thanksgiving weekend. Prime Ticket has CSUN’s home game against Cal Poly on Saturday, Jan. 22, on its schedule.

== Bill Walton, who left ESPN as a broadcaster in November, 2009 after experiencing chonic back problems, continues a limited return as a game analyst by agreeing to doing selected telecasts that Comcast SportsNet New England does on Celtics’ road games in January and February. Walton is also doing five-to-10 broadcasts for the Sacramento Kings, promising to be available when the team plays the Lakers and Clippers in L.A. as well as do some games from a studio near his home in San Diego.

== The Zenyatta-centric Breeders’ Cup Classic did a 2.9 rating last Saturday for ESPN — up from 1.1 a year ago (a boost of 168 percent). However, news that Mine That Bird, and not Zenyatta, seems to have the buzz to carry the next horse movie (linked here)

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== Your MLB Network highlights for the weekend: Bob Costas’ “Studio 42″ series starts again today with an hour-long sitdown featuring Hall of Famer George Brett (5 p.m.). The network then has the latest of its “Triumph and Tragedy” series focused on the 1919 Black Sox scandal (Saturday, 6 p.m.). Matt Vasgersian hosts an episode that includes the reading of commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis’ judgment against the “eight men out” of the White Sox, read by current players such as Josh Hamilton, Mark Teixeira and Eric Chavez.

== The third season of Tracy Austin’s “Tennis Channel Academy” show, which she co-hosts with Roger Federer coach Paul Annacone, starts Sunday from the Malibu Racquet Club at 4:30 p.m. on Tennis Channel and runs through Dec. 26.

== The last NHRA drag race of the season in Pomona hits ESPN-ville, with highlights of qualifying (Saturday, 7:30 p.m., ESPN2) and coverage of eliminations (Sunday, 6 p.m., ESPN), with Paul Page and Mike Dunn.

== AND FINALLY:

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== If you haven’t already stumbled upon the Rex Hudler Wonder Dog Hour that airs Saturdays this offseason (usually after Notre Dame game coverage) on the Angels’ flagship KLAA-AM (830), catch up with downloads on the Hudman’s website (linked here).

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Phil says, Jeanie says: The Angina Monologues

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Pick a date from the Lakers’ 2009-10 season. There’s a good possibility that the dating life of Phil Jackson and Jeanie Buss has been documented, now for public consumption.

Jeanie, who runs the business side of the Lakers and happens to be the owner’s daughter, seems to have given up on ever having someone of importance pop her the question. That’s evident by what she writes in her new book, “Laker Girl” (with Steve Springer, $24.95, Triumph Books, 278 pages).

Phil, who on-again, off-again runs the courtship side of the Lakers, questions whether the players are listening to him anymore, but seems to enjoy the ride on his high-built chair. That’s evident from what he contributes to a new book, “Journey To The Ring” (with Andy Bernstein, $35, Time Capsule Press LLC, 216 pages).

Jeanie uses many words – good verbs, strong adjectives – and few color photos in a standard-sized book to deliver her diary-form account of the Lakers’ run to their 16th franchise championship. She’s very diligent about talking about when Phil comes home grumpy after a loss, when he calls just to release frustration, when he goes into the kitchen to cook and relieve stress, and how they end up watching “48 Hours Mystery” together. She also frequently tells him point blank that he can’t say or do certain things – even if he thinks it’s humorous. Sometimes, he appears to listen.

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Phil is like most men in this scenario — very visual, leaning on the larger-scale, coffee-table-sized format to accompany the photographic brilliance of Bernstein, the Senior Director of NBA Photos. Phil expresses himself through extended captions, how things went down from his perspective. He says just enough to get his point across. No wasting sentences. Period.

He wrote, she wrote.

You can read between the lines as the two quests of a ring intersect at seminal moments, often with two different definitions of what rings they are most focused on pursuing.

Oct. 27, 2009: Opening day, handing out the championship rings:

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Phil, explaining a photo of him holding hands with Jeanie at midcourt before the game, but not making eye contact: “After the warm-ups, there is a five-minute break for the ring ceremony before the season opener against the Clippers. Usually, the commissioner, David Stern, gives a short congratulatory talk and then announces the players receiving rings. Jeanie Buss, representing the Lakers, hands out the rings – she loves doing this public appearance . . . I think I should have kissed her!”

Jeanie, on the day after, explaining how she was looking at the photographs taken of the ceremony: “One looked like a wedding picture. My wedding. The ring I’m presenting to Phil in the picture is, of course, the championship ring. But to me it appears that we are getting married. NBA commissioner David Stern is in the background between us as if he is officiating the ceremony, and the championship trophy looms above us like an altar. I posted the shot on my Twitter account as our fake wedding photo since there won’t be a real one with Phil. A championship ring is not a bad second prize.”

Our takeaway: Jeanie was married once before, and it didn’t turn out so great. Phil was married once before, and had four children. He had the starter wife. She didn’t have much of a starter husband. She deserves another shot.

Nov. 8, 2009: Lamar Odom gets married:

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Phil: “Lamar has a very busy summer. He had a whirlwind romance and ended up marrying Khloe Kardashian the weekend before training camp. Then LO has to jump right into action when the season starts as Pau is on the sidelines because of a hamstring injury.”

Jeanie: “I wanted to go (to the Odom-Kardashian nuptials) because I love weddings. Phil, however, I wasn’t so sure about . . . To my surprise, Phil said we had to go to this wedding. Lamar is so important to him that Phil wanted to support him in every way possible . . . When the music (at the reception) started, Phil was ready to leave. ‘Come on, can’t we stay and dance?’ I asked. ‘No,’ he said, ‘we’ve got to go.’ So I didn’t get a chance to go for the bouquet. We again ran in to the paparazzi when we got outside. They were yelling at Phil, ‘When are you going to marry Jeanie? When are you going to marry Jeanie?’ . . . Phil didn’t think it was funny. He was actually kind of speechless. So I answered for him: ‘Look, I got over it. You people need to get over it, too. He is never going to marry me.’”

Our takeaway: She’s not over it. But the more she can talk about it loudly in public, it could back Phil into a corner. Good strategy.

Nov. 26, 2009: Thanksgiving:

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Phil, under a photo of him carving a turkey at his place in Playa Del Rey: “Ah yes, its turkey time – one of my favorite times of year. I collaborate with my daughter, Brooke, and her family to make the Thanksgiving dinner. Brooke is a terrific cook, and she is doing all the vegetables and assorted things that make dinner great. I’ve been charged with doing the turkey and then carving it up – the easy part. We have so much to be grateful for and just a couple of hours before this shot I told my players that I was thankful for them, just before we had one of our lighter practices: The Turkey Trot.”

Jeanie: ” ‘Why do you make the players practice on Thanksgiving?’ I asked him. ‘It seems like you should have made them practice yesterday (an off day) and then given them today off.’ ‘Because,’ he said, ‘most of the guys are not from Los Angeles, so they are away from home. Even if they are married and their wives are here, they are still not ‘home.’ So it’s really important for them to think of the team as their family. This being a family holiday, I want to bring them together.’ Phil traditionally forms two teams – one with the big guys and one with the smaller players – and has a Thanksgiving scrimmage . . . It was a pretty lively game. . . . Before I met Phil, I was always with the rest of the Buss family at Thanksgiving. We went to Las Vegas five years in a row before Phil came into my life. … This Thanksgiving, my family went to Disneyland and ate in a private restaurant named Club 33. . . . My dad know show to make things fun.”

Our takeaway: She admits she’s given up her family Thanksgiving tradition to start one with Phil, who brings his family into the picture. It’s not Club 33, but she seems to be having fun with Phil’s brood.

Jan., 25, 2010: The visit to the White House:

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Phil: “The visit to the White House was a major moment of our road trip. The players all look very attentive posing with President Obama. Pau’s hair even looks coiffed. On the right, Magic (Johnson), Mitch Kupchak and Jeanie Buss stood in with the team. We were given spots to occupy from the smalls to the bigs. Which is why I’ve been placed in left field instead of standing net to Jeanie, although Adam Morrison is a great guy.”

Jeanie: “We were lined up by height, so although Phil wanted to be next to me, we were separated. I wound up on the end, which was fine with me. … When President Obama got to me, I introduced myself. . . He replied, ‘I know who you are.’ I thought I was going to die.”

Our takeaway: Jeanie could easily fall for another guy if he just admits that he knows who she is.

Feb. 20: A spot to pose for a picture:

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Phil: “This picture was taken in Jeanie’s office with the trophies in the background . . . One thing, the pile on the desk is not how my desk looks. I keep mine cleared off.”

Jeanie: “I’m being pulled in three directions. I picked up Princess Cujo (her dog) at the hospital . . . I went to tonight’s premiere in Westwood for the HBO documentary (on Magic Johnson and Larry Bird). Phil went to dinner with some friends and wanted me to skip the premiere and go with them. I graciously declined, feeling my place was at the premiere supporting Magic and representing the Lakers organization. Phil pouts a bit when I don’t choose him first. . . Time and time again, I think I’ve proved that my job is my priority.”

Our takeaway: Jeanie hides behind her work, to stay busy, and keep her mind off personal things. The more clutter on the desk, the more work there is to do.

April 18: The playoffs begin against Oklahoma City:

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Phil: “Before this round of the playoffs, I was fined by the league for allegedly putting ‘spin’ on some issues regarding Kevin Durant’s number of foul shots – he shot the most in the league and also led the league in scoring. Here, I’m trying to downplay the issue.”

Jeanie: “Another day, another $35,000. For the second time in 10 days, Phil was fined that amount for remarks about the officiating. ‘I don’t know why Phil says the things he says,’ I told (NBA commissioner) David (Stern). ‘I can’t control him. I can’t make him stop.’”

Our takeaway: Jeanie is frustrated that she can’t change Phil. No matter how much money he has to give away to the NBA for his aside commentary. That’s $70,000 thrown away — which could pay for a nice engagement ring.

May 27: Game 5 against Phoenix:

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Phil: “The team’s reaction to an unbelievable ending to this 103-101 game tells you just how the players feel about their win and their teammate (Ron Artest). We had a good laugh in the locker room after this game … a laugh of relief.”

Jeanie: “I had to watch the game from home because I was sick. I felt ill last night after Phil grilled steaks on the barbeque for dinner . . . It was important for him to know (I wasn’t going to the game) as soon as possible because he has to leave a little earlier from our house if he’s alone and can’t use the carpool lane.”

Our takeaway: Jeanie isn’t happy just being a carpool buddy.

June 17: Game 7 against the Boston Celtics:

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Phil, who after Game 6 wrote on the dry board: “1 to (picture of a ring)”: “During the playoffs I write the number of wins left for the championship, a countdown to the ring. This game would allow us to get that coveted title back and win the ring again.”

Jeanie: “Phil was in a great mood driving to Staples Center. We were having a good time . . . Upon arriving at the arena, we always part at the door to the locker room. We kiss and then Phil walks in. Tonight, he just turned to walk away. ‘You are not going to kiss me?’ I said. I think he felt funny because there were so many more people around than usual. But he walked back and gave me the kiss. ‘You are going to stay and be here for me afterward, aren’t you?’ he asked. ‘Absolutely,’ I replied. ‘I’ll be here no matter what happens.’

Phil, after the game: “The confetti rains on Lamar as he exults in the Lakers’ reign. We are so proud of this team’s perseverance during the playoffs. . . . My turn at the podium after the seventh game, and here I am thanking the Lakers fans for their heartfelt support. The walk from the court to the locker room is filled with well-wishers. I’m usually one to acknowledge the fans with only a wave or a smile, but here I’m giving somebody a high-five.”

Our takeaway: Phil would gladly high-five a stranger in the stands than give Jeanie a good-luck kiss?

June 21: The victory parade:

Phil: “The parade of champions . . . There was a crowd of more than 50,000 fans who celebrated with the players as they went through downtown Los Angeles. A lot of these fans don’t get a chance to get into the games, and it’s a great way to celebrate the victory with them.”

Jeanie: “For the championship parade, I rode on the truck with the players because Phil asked me to represent him. Phil doesn’t do parades. He doesn’t like crowds. Even if he had not had medical appointments today, he wouldn’t have been there. I, on the other hand, love the parade . . . It doesn’t get old and you never know if you’ll have another one . . .”

Our takeaway: From what Phil wrote, you’d think he was there. From what Jeanie wrote, you’d think she’d like a parade every year. Boyfriends get old. Parades, and weddings, don’t.

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In closing:

On page 212, Phil says in the acknowledgements: “Of course, my thanks to Jeanie Buss, my sweetheart, who talked me into the Second Coming with the Lakers.”

On page 274, Jeanie concludes: “I know Phil and I are never going to be married. I don’t think I’ll ever be married again. Phil is planning to leave the Lakers at the end of next season and that means he will probably leave me as well. I know I cannot move to his retirement home in Montana, nor do I see him staying in a big city like Los Angeles. . . It’s been a good live, and I do not regret a minute of it.”

Our final takeaway: Jeanie says she’s 48, married to her job, carried away with her dreams. Phil is 65, varied in his interests, buried in retirement paperwork. A computer geek at eHarmony could see the harm of this dynamic. Heck, let’s go get some frozen yogurt and win another title for old times.

There’s no Hollywood ending in sight. And if we were to judge a book by its cover, we’d already be questioning just how honest Jeanie has been with us along this journey. Why?

Well, for starters, on the cover of Jeanie’s book, that isn’t Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol standing there in the backround. Andy Bernstein took that cover shot, but Jeanie thanks “Rodney Webb and Ray Reese for serving as the cover models.”

And, yes, Andy Bernstein took that cover shot as well. You’d think he’s be pushing for a long-term relationship, considering how much he stands to make as the couple’s official wedding photographer.

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Dave Niehaus (1935-2010)

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Dave Niehaus, a former California Angels broadcaster who made it to the Baseball Hall of Fame by calling Seattle Mariners’ games since their inception, has died of a heart attack. He was 75.

Niehaus, who lived in Bellevue, Washington, battled heart problems in the past, undergoing two angioplasties in 1996.

Niehaus worked on the Angels’ broadcasts with Dick Enberg and Don Drysdale as the No. 3 man starting in 1969, and also did games on KMPC-AM for the NFL’s Rams and UCLA basketball.

He joined the Mariners as the lead play-by-play man for their first game on April 6, 1977 and called more than 5,200 games over 34 seasons.

He was the recipient of the 2008 Ford C. Frick award and was inducted into the broadcasters wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

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“I’m a fan, No. 1,” he said of his induction. “I’m a lucky guy. I love the game. If I wasn’t out here doing the games broadcasting I’d be out here sitting in the stands.

“I’ve been very lucky. I’ve said this a million times: I’ve never had to go to work a day in my life. And I hope that comes across to the people that have listened to me for generations.”

Niehaus also said of doing play-by-play: “I can’t imagine not doing it. I can imagine not doing it, but might as well dig a hole and put me in it.”

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How Steve Prefontaine still matters to Oregon athletics

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The Associated Press

EUGENE, Ore. — In the mass of tailgaters gathered outside Autzen Stadium before a recent Oregon game, two young men sported T-shirts with the bold words: “Stop Chip.”

A nod to coach Chip Kelly, the slogan was a clever play on shirts that were donned all over Eugene some four decades ago that proclaimed “Stop Pre” in honor of the seemingly unstoppable Steve Prefontaine.

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The spirit of Pre still resonates in Eugene and has become inspiration for the No. 1 Ducks. It is a connection that crosses both time and athletic disciplines.

Prefontaine was a brash runner who trained in the early 1970s under Oregon’s renowned coach Bill Bowerman, the co-founder of Nike.

At one point, Prefontaine held seven American records in distances ranging from 2,000 meters to the 10K. He was known for running every race full-bore, rejecting any suggestion that he pace himself.

But along with his undeniable talent, Pre attracted attention with James Dean good looks and a devil-may-care attitude. And, much like Dean, Pre died in a car accident at the height of his career. He was 24.

“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift,” Prefontaine once said, exemplary of his hard-charging style.

Pre’s message struck a nerve with coach Kelly, who last season took the Ducks to Pre’s Rock, as it is known, a memorial near the accident site.

“Steve Prefontaine did not care who he was running against. He was going to run as hard as he could for as long as he could,” Kelly said. “That’s what I hope our attitude is in this football program.”

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The Cam Newton Network

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Before you go finger-pointing and read this latest dispatch from the Associated Press — which took five reporters to put together — consider the words of Paul Finebaum.

Referred to by the Orlando Sentinel as the Southeastern Conference’s most influential member of the media, Finebaum said on Dan Patrick’s syndicated radio show this morning when asked what bothered him most about the media coverage of Auburn quarterback Cam Newton and his alleged improper recruitment: “The reporting of it. It is very slip-shod . . . it’s made very little sense. I think you have a lot of reporters who are chasing their tail trying to get online first and that has created a very unfortunate feeding frenzy. We don’t know any of the facts right now. We just know what a bunch of unnamed sources are saying to reporters. I think some if it (as smear campaign). . . . The sources seem to be coming from some very convenient places.”

Now, your AP version, which promises it will update in a few hours:

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Why Eagles coach Andy Reid never made it as an NFL quarterback

From Sunday’s telecast of the Philadelphia-Indianapolis game, a clip of Eagles coach “Andrew Ried” competing in an NFL Punt, Pass and Kick competition in 1971.

Where he perhaps the biggest 13-year-old kid in the country.

Check the graphic: That’s how they misspelled his name.

Since he was from L.A. — Marshall High — he had to wear the local NFL team outfit. Because of the date given, we’re guessing this was done at halftime of the Rams-Washington Redskins game on Monday Night Football (linked here), which would explain the TV clip and the graphics. It was the last Monday Night Football telecast of the ABC season (linked here).

If he’s launching it from the 20, and it goes to what looks like the 45 (on the other side of the midfield stripe), that’s a 35 yard pass. Or, it’s 15 yards.

Roman Gabriel, Andy Reid was not.

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Maybe if Jim Brown had done a little more “Dancing With the Stars” and a little less with helping gang members go straight, the whole vote would have been different

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How did Jerry Rice become No. 1 on the Top 100 Greatest NFL Players?

Because that’s how the voters voted. All of ‘em.

In the NFL Network series that ended last week, whatever general consensus that had Jim Brown standing alone at the top of any “best of” player lists was put to some rest when it was Rice who took the spot (linked here).

The former San Francisco 49ers receiver was voted in by the NFL Films pannel of experts as well as a fan vote on NFL.com.

Brown, voted No. 2 by the experts, was only No. 9 by the fans. They had Joe Montana in the second slot, appropriately. Montana was No. 4 in the experts’ poll, behind Lawrence Taylor.

If you’re looking for some Southern California angles, former USC stars Ronnie Lott and Anthony Munoz were Nos 11 and 12, former L.A. Rams teammates Deacon Jones and Merlin Olsen were Nos. 15 and 27, and former Granada High quarterback John Elway was No. 23 (but No. 8 in the fan vote).

The highest rated active players by the experts were Peyton Manning (No. 8), Ray Lewis (No. 18), Brett Favre (No. 20) and Tom Brady (No. 21).

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Why The Garv (finally) has another shot at Fame

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Hasn’t enough time passed for Steve Garvey’s off-the-field transgressions to finally be overlooked and a Baseball Hall of Fame induction based on what he did between the lines be recognized again?

In 2007, which was the 15th and final year that Garvey was on the annual ballot, the former Dodgers All-Star first baseman whiffed a final time, only getting 21.1 percent of the vote (75 percent is needed for election).

But it’s not over yet.

Garvey muscled his way today onto a ballot with eight former major league players, three executives and one former manager to be on a new 12-name Expansion Era ballot for the Committee to Consider Managers, Umpires, Executives and Long-Retired Players for Hall of Fame election.

It will be reviewed and voted upon at the 2010 Baseball Winter Meetings by a 16-member electorate. The results will be announced on Dec. 6.

Every candidate receiving votes on 75 percent of the 16 ballots cast will earn election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and will be honored in July, 2011.

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Joining Garvey for players under renewed considersation: Tommy John, Vida Blue, Dave Concepcion, Ron Guidry, Al Oliver, Ted Simmons and Rusty Staub. Also, former manager Billy Martin, and executives Pat Gillick, Marvin Miller and George Steinbrenner are also on the ballot.

Now, it’s up to the 16-member electorate voting on these 12. They are Hall of Fame members Johnny Bench, Whitey Herzog, Eddie Murray, Jim Palmer, Tony Perez, Frank Robinson, Ryne Sandberg and Ozzie Smith, plus major league executives Bill Giles, David Glass, Andy MacPhail and Jerry Reinsdorf. Also, veteran media members Bob Elliott (Toronto Sun), Tim Kurkjian (ESPN), Ross Newhan (retired from the Los Angeles Times) and Tom Verducci (Sports Illustrated) have a say.

The Baseball Writers Association of America came up with this new Expansion Era ballot as kind of an oversight committee to re-examine a player’s worth — in many cases, brought upon by recent players found to be or accused of performance enhancing drug use. The Expansion Era covers candidates whose most significant career impact was realized during the 1973-present time frame.

Eligibility is based on players who played in at least 10 major league seasons, who are not on MLB’s ineligible list, and have been retired for 21 or more seasons . Managers and umpires with 10 or more years in baseball and retired for at least five years, with any candidates who are 65 years or older first-eligible six months from the date of the election following retirement; and executives who have been retired for at least five years, with any active executives 65 or older eligible for consideration.

This is the first of a three-year cycle of re-examination. The “Golden Era” (1947-72) and “Pre-Integration (1871-1946) is also being considered, as ppposed to the previous veterans committees who did the selections.

Garvey’s credentials: a .294 career average over 19 major league seasons with the Dodgers and Padres, amassing 2,599 hits, 272 home runs, 1,308 RBI and 10 All-Star Game selections. He hit .338 with 11 home runs and 31 RBIs in 11 postseason series, was named the 1978 and 1984 NLCS MVP and won the 1981 Roberto Clemente Award. Garvey won four Gold Glove Awards and played in an N.L. record 1,207 straight games.

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In “The Great Book of Los Angeles Sports Lists,” long-time Southern California radio sports-talk host Steve Hartman has his own Top 10 list why Garven should be in the Hall, including:

== Team success: When Garvey moved from third to first in 1973, the Dodgers had gone seven years without a post-season appearance. They then had a first- or second-place finish nine of the next 10 seasons, including four division titles, four NL pennants and one World Series title. Then, of course, he went to the Padres and took them to their first World Series appearance. “The man was a flat-out winner,” Hartman writes.

== Iron Man Record: Billy Williams, who had the longest consecutive-game streak in NL history before Garvey broke it, got into the Hall of Fame — bolstered by that reocrd he once held. “Apparently Garvey did not receive the same consideration from baseball writers,” Hartman says.

== Star appeal: “Garvey was the complete package … It’s interesting that baseball writers would sometimes look down on Garvey because he was too good to be true. The fact that his post-baseball life included some controversy … should not have a bearing on his Hall of Fame candidacy. As far as we know, Garvey never did drugs or used steroids. His baseball numbers are clean.”

== Nobody Cares About On-Base Percentage: Writers love to point out that Garvey had only a .329 career on-base percentage. But “this is an absolute joke because no one cared about on-base percentage when he played.” His “total package is beyond dispute. Garvey should be — and I predict will be — a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.”

What others think of Garvey’s career:

== From Cybermetrics.com (linked here)
== A pro- and con- argument from 2007, calling him the Best First Baseman Not in the Hall of Fame: (linked here)
== Why the SonsOfSteveGarvey.com blog weren’t confident he’d ever get voted in (linked here).

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Play it forward: Nov. 8-14 on your sports calendar

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

MONDAY

NFL: Pittsburgh at Cincinnati, 5:30 p.m., ESPN:

Troy Polamalu says Roger Goodell has too much power, the headlines snapped the other day. The Pittsburgh Steelers star wasn’t acting defensive when sticking up for teammate James Harrison, fined again for another hit deemed too violent by the league. Read more into what he said: “There needs to be some type of separation of power like our government.

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“There should be some type of players involved in decisions over how much people should be fined or what they should be fined for, as well as coaches, as well as front office people. I don’t think it should be just totally based on what two or three people may say who are totally away from the game. I think it should be some of the players who are currently playing.” That makes much more sense than that sexy headline. Now let’s see what happens when Polamalu snaps the leg of former USC roommate and current Bengals QB Carson Palmer.

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Poker: 2010 World Series final table, 8:30 p.m., ESPN3.com:

From the 7,319 who entered the tournament months ago, it’s down to Tampa Bay’s John Racener against Canadian Jonathan Duhamel. It’s actually taking place Monday, and the edited-down version of it plays today. Watch it live today online or wait until ESPN edits it down for broadcast on Tuesday.

TUESDAY

NBA: Lakers vs. Minnesota, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., FSW:

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T’wolves coach Kurt Rambis and power forward Kevin Love haven’t resolved their power struggle yet over the minutes played per game by the later. “You have to be on crystal meth not to give Love more minutes on that team,” said one scout on BleacherReport.com. “It makes no sense.” As Chris Broussard explained last week in TrueHoop.com, the T’wolves are 14-38 when Love plays 30 minutes or more, and 40-128 when he plays less than 30 minutes. Both are ridiculously bad, but showing Love more love seems to be the lesser of two evils for the team, which got off to an 0-4 start.

NBA: Clippers at New Orleans, 5 p.m., Prime:

All that jazz: The 6-0 Hornets won’t lose their first one here.

College basketball: UCLA vs. Cal State L.A., Pauley Pavilion, 7:30 p.m., BruinsTV.com:

A fast-paced 36-point exhibition win over Westmont last week was much easier to watch than the near-loss to Concordia in a similar practice match a year ago. With one more practice game here to work things out, UCLA sophomore forward says this version of the team wants to be more like the Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns, “but with more defense.” Lots more D.

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AP Photo/Lori Shepler
Ducks right wing George Parros, top right, and Penguins defenseman Deryk Engelland get into a fight during last Friday’s game in Anaheim.

NHL: Ducks at San Jose, 7:30 p.m., Prime:

Smooth move again by the Ducks’ George Parros to shave his trademark mustache off to support the “Movember” cancer awareness. “I was totally conflicted,” the team’s tough-guy said. “I really wasn’t excited about it. But at the end of the day, I did it because it was for a good cause.” See, we noticed. “Movember” is an annual charity event during November where men actually are asked to grow a moustache to raise funds and awareness for men’s health issues. Check it out at www.movemeber.com.

WEDNESDAY

NBA: Clippers at San Antonio, 6:30 p.m., Prime:

They played each other nine days ago, and the Spurs won by nine. And the Clippers’ backup forward Craig Smith lasted less than a minute, ejected for clotheslining George Hill. Baron Davis wasn’t around to see it, either. Maybe this time.

NHL: Ducks vs. N.Y. Islanders, Honda Center, 7 p.m., FSW:

Last week, the Isles announced that A-1 First Class is the Official Moving Company of the team. Said the company’s president Matthew Schwartzberg: “We know that the next big move is going to be bringing the Stanley Cup to the island.” Not unless you take the Hot Tub Time Machine back to the mid ’70s.

THURSDAY

NFL: Baltimore at Atlanta, 5:20 p.m., NFL Network:

The NFL’s annual expansion to four days a week starts now — and with it, Joe Theismann returns behind the mike. Craig Ferguson (above) thinks that’s a big deal.

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NBA: Lakers at Denver, 7:30 p.m., TNT:

George Karl’s return to the Nuggets bench has produced a 4-2 start, including back-to-back wins over the Clippers and Mavs at home. “My hope is that it’s the beginning of a 50-win season and getting back to being a premier team in the Western Conference,” says Karl, diagnosed with head and neck cancer last January, which caused him to miss the last 14 regular season games and the playoffs. “I still am amazed at the soothsayers that say we’re not very good. I think we’re pretty good.” If Karl is more mellow, maybe it’s because of Carmelo Anthony’s performance: A team-high 38 minutes a game, producing 24.7 points a contest with nearly four assists and eight rebounds.

NHL: Kings vs. Dallas, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., FSW:

The non-Star-struck Kings are the NHL’s first team to win 10 games and produce 20 points. And they’re 6-0-0 at home. Their 5-2 win in Dallas on Oct. 28 got the puck rolling on this latest blitz.

FRIDAY

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College basketball: UCLA vs. Cal State Northridge, Pauley Pavilion, 7:30 p.m., BruinsTV.com, gomatadors.com:

No. 1 in the regular-season schedule for both teams. And this we know about this year’s Matadors — one returning starter (6-foot-7 forward Lenny Daniel) from a team that finished seventh in the league last year. Daniel, who set single season school record 44 blocks last year and had 7.8 rebounds a game, also has junior guard Vinnie McGhee to lean on (53 three-pointers last year). Otherwise coach Bobby Braswell, starting his 15th season (216-205) will wait and see how it sorts out.

NBA: Clippers vs. Detroit, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., Prime:

At this point, the Pistons are playing even worse than the Clippers, and couldn’t be blamed if it did inquire about any leftover government bailout money so it could try to lure Bill Laimbeer out of retirement.

NHL: Ducks vs. Dallas, Honda Center, 7 p.m., FSW:

The Ducks dinged the Stars, 5-2, back on Oct. 26.

College football: Boise State at Idaho, 6 p.m., ESPN2:

The Broncos’ 22-game win streak is the longest in college football right now.

SATURDAY

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Boxing: Manny Pacquiao vs. Antonio Margarito, 8 p.m., HBO pay-per-view:

Congressman Pacquiao’s pursuit of the world super welterweight title concerns trainer Freddie Roach, who thinks his guy isn’t focused enough — and admitted it on Sunday’s episode of CBS’ “60 Minutes.” That may also concern 70,000 spectators expected to pack Cowboys Stadium or the millions of homes coughing up as much as $64.95 for a high-def telecast. “I’m worried about it, yes,” said Roach on the piece. “I’m walking around at two in the morning. Something is not right and we are not preparing the way we should for this fight.”

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Pacquiao has only lost three times in his pro career, which started when his 16 years old, in 105-pound division bouts. Could he lose this one? “If he keeps on the road he’s going, yes,” Roach says. If that’s the case, just fill Pacman’s gloves with quick-dry cement and watch what happens. Margarito won’t know what hit him.

Mixed martial arts: UFC 122: Yushin Okami vs. Nate Marquardt, 8 p.m. (delayed), Spike TV:

Japanese middleweight Okami goes to Germany to meet Marquardt. We’d rather see a rematch between Calvin Borell and Javier Castellano in the jockey-weight division.

College football: USC at Arizona, 5 p.m., Channel 7:

The Wildcats’ Rose Bowl hopes took a detour last Saturday against Stanford, even as Nick Foles got his feet back under him. The Trojans could actually tie Arizona in the Pac-10 standings with a win.

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College basketball: USC vs. UC Irvine, Galen Center, 1 p.m., USCTrojans.com:

The Trojans, 16-14 overall and 8-10 in league play last season while serving their punishment, lost three of their top four scorers, but feature one of the Pac-10′s best frontlines in 6-foot-10 forward Nikola Vucevic, voted the league’s most
improved player last season, and 6-foot-9 Alex Stepheson. Coach Kevin O’Neill hired a strength and conditioning coach this season, and Vucevic looks stronger. “I’ve seen a big-time jump in him conditioning-wise and strength-wise. His game is just overall better,” O’Neill said. “I think he’s primed to have a great junior year.”

NHL: Kings vs. N.Y. Islanders, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., FSW:

There are rumors that the Flames want to dump forward Jarome Iginla, and the Kings could be interested. Iggy would pop in L.A. Will he be here by this game?

SUNDAY

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MLS playoffs: Western Conference final: Galaxy vs. FC Dallas, 6 p.m., ESPN2:

The Galaxy is one boot away from getting back to the Nov. 21 MLS Cup — they defeated Dallas’ football club 1-0 without Buddle or Donovan (or Beckham) on May 20 in Dallas, then closed the regular season with a 2-1 home win to claim that groovy Supporters’ Shield thing. But here’s the catch: If they win, they’ll face either San Jose or Colorado, battling Saturday for the Eastern Conference title (Saturday, 6:30 p.m., Fox Soccer Channel). Yup, two of the teams that the Galaxy had to snuff out en route to the Western Conference regular-season championship, who finished fifth and sixth in the West. How did that work?

NFL: New England at Pittsburgh, 5:20 p.m., Channel 4:

Two prime-time games in one week for the Steelers seems reasonable.

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NBA: Lakers vs. Phoenix, Staples Center, 6:30 p.m., FSW:

The Lakers’ 114-106 win over the Stoudemire-abandoned Suns in Phoenix two weeks ago was an eye-opener. “We’re very fortunate,” said Kobe Bryant. “We’ve got a couple of guys that can just stop momentum, me and Pau. Whenever it got close, we just went to one of us.’” It was tied at 76 after Hedo Turkoglu, who struggled through most of his debut in Phoenix, made a driving layup, but the Lakers scored the next nine, the last on Steve Blake’s 3-pointer to make it a nine-point lead.

NHL: Ducks at Chicago, 4 p.m., Prime:

Did you know: The defending Stanley Cup champs are still searching for the game-winning puck from the Game 6 OT win. Patrick Kane scored to end the Hawks’ 49-year championship drought, but the puck that got by Philadelphia goaltender Michael Leighton has never been tracked down. Kane suspects Ben Eager picked it up, and still has it, after he was traded by Chicago to Atlanta. “(The Flyers’ Chris) Pronger probably threw it in the garbage or something,” Eager replied. Let’s go to the video:

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