Play it forward: Jan. 31-Feb. 6 on your sports calendar


AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar
A snow sculpture depicting Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu sacking and forcing a fumble by Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is on display at a playground in Boyce Park in Monroeville, Pa.

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


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

As Luc Mbah a Moute will have it, these Bucks remain in flux. Start with Michael Redd, who blew out his left knee last January against the Lakers and still hasn’t come close to making it all the way back yet. He’s making $18.3 million this season — the league’s fifth-highest-paid player. Former Clipper Corey Maggette (who scored 29 points with 11 rebounds in a six-point OT win over Toronto on Friday) has been helping to carry the load with Andrew Bogut since Brandon Jennings broke is foot on Dec. 18.


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

The Lakers’ 10-point loss against the 6-12 Rockets on Dec. 1 was one of those milestones in the season — it was their fourth defeat in a row. So they followed it up winning eight of their next nine, with seven of those games on an extended road trip.


NHL: Kings at Minnesota, 5 p.m., Prime:

Can AEG president Tim Leiweke believe what he’s seeing with these Kings? The 2010 Executive of the Year according to the Los Angeles Sports Council who’s been busier trying to get a downtown NFL stadium built near Staples Center has only come out recently to say that the Kings aren’t for sale. Does that mean they’ll free up some money to bolster the Kings’ lineup as the post-All-Star game stretch to the playoffs gets headed up? A wildly unpopular 10-game road trip that could end up re-solidifying the team’s focus on a playoff run starts against the Wild, who have split the two previous meetings with the Kings, each taking a 3-2 decision that ended tied after regulation. The Kings are 10-13 away from home so far, one of just two teams in the five-team Pacific Division (along with Anaheim) that are below .500 away from home. The Wild is barely at .500 at home.



College basketball: USC at UCLA, Pauley Pavilion, 8 p.m., FSW:


What plans do the Bruins have in ending a four-game losing streak against the Trojans? A premature celebration could be called for. “When the other team starts to celebrate with 40 seconds left, that’s just kind of a slap in the face,” UCLA center Joshua Smith said after watching that happen in the Trojans’ 11-point win at the Galen Center on Jan. 9. “Don’t get me wrong. They won fair and square. Nothing against them. But with 40 seconds left, you just let the clock run out, shake our hands and go celebrate in the locker room.” Smith fouled out with just eight points and three rebounds in 22 minutes, trying to defend against the Trojans’ Nik Vucevik (20 points) and Alex Stephenson (left, who had 13 points, 16 rebounds).

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

Newly-minted Eastern Conference All-Star starting guard Derrick Rose missed the second of two free throws with less than a second left that would have sent the Bulls into overtime against the Clippers on Dec. 18. Instead, it was a one-point loss, and Rose had 24 points (vs. 29 for Blake Griffin).

NHL: Kings at Edmonton, 6:30 p.m., Channel 13:

The Kings’ 5-2 win over the Oilers a couple of weeks ago made it two in a row against Edmonton this season. The next two are in Oiler territory.

NHL: Ducks vs. San Jose, Honda Center, 7 p.m., KDOC:

Last meeting: a 1-0 Jonas Hiller shutout in early January.



NBA: Lakers vs. San Antonio, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., TNT:

This challenge before the 11-day, seven-game pre-Grammy and All-Star break road trip might clarify any misconception about the Lakers’ post-season intentions, in light of their 15-point loss to the Spurs back on Dec. 28, where Kobe Bryant was 8-of-27 shooting (and the team was 8-for-23 from 3-point range). DeJuan Blair (17 points, 15 rebounds) pushed the Spurs past a two-point halftime deficit into a five-point lead by scoring six points in the paint during a 4 1/2 minute span of the third quarter.

Golf: PGA’s Waste Management Phoenix Open, first round, 1 p.m., Golf Channel:

Golf Channel cleans up on all four rounds, then recycles it for later viewing — especially the highlights from the traditionally noisy No. 16 par 3. At least the energy generated for this event will be clean — the tourney says all 125,000 kilowats of power will be “extracted, generated, and/or consumed without any significant negative impact to the environment” through wind power purchased by Green-E Certified Renewable Energy Credits or RECs from APS, Arizona’s largest and longest-serving electricity utility.


NBA: Clippers at Atlanta, 4:30 p.m., Prime:

Here’s the first of 11 in a row on the road for the Clippers. Joe Johnson (29), Jamal Crawford (24) and Josh Smith (22) combined for 75 of the Hawks’ 107 points in a nine-point win at Staples Center on Jan. 2.



College basketball: UCLA vs. St. John’s, Pauley Pavilion, 10 a.m., Channel 2:

The Bruins set this one up with the Johnnies before they hired Steve Lavin as their coach, and then agreed to make it a national telecast (hence, another ridiculous tip-off time). Wait a sec: Why doesn’t UCLA play Notre Dame this season?

NBA: Lakers at New Orleans, 5 p.m., Channel 9:

The first of seven in a row on the road, back up against the team that leads the league in fewest points allowed per game. Put it this way: This season, the Hornets’ 101.3 defensive rating means they give up 101.3 points for every 100 defensive possessions. A year ago, their rating was 110.1 — meaning they’ve given up 8.8 fewer points per 100 possessions. Only one team has made a bigger improvement in that category over the last 35 years: the 1997-98 San Antonio Spurs.

NHL: Kings at Calgary, 7 p.m., FSW:


The Flames have been one of the league’s hotter teams, and captain Jarome Arthur-Leigh Adekunle Tig Junior Elvis Iginla (his real name) is a good part of that reason. Still, he’s mentioned all the time in trade rumors with Philadelphia, Montreal and the N.Y. Rangers.

NHL: Ducks at Colorado, noon, Prime:

Peter Forsberg, attempting a return to the NHL at age 37 nearly three years after last playing with the Avalanche in the 2008 playoffs, has been skating with the team after arriving in Denver late last week. This could be his coming-back matinee party.



NFL: Super Bowl XLV in Dallas: Green Bay vs. Pittsburgh, 3:15 p.m., Channel 11:


If the Super Bowl commercials seem to get a little more hairy this time around, blame it on the Steelers’ Troy Polamalu and the Packers’ Clay Matthews.
The former USC stars have done as much for their teams as they have for shampoo endorsements — Matthews signed a one-year endorsement deal with Suave hair products recently, having asked for such a deal after seeing Polamalu enjoy his relationship with the Head and Shoulders folks.
You do what you gotta do for your ‘do. Right, A.J. Hawk?
All that’s left is for the Steelers’ Brett Keisel to get some love for his outstanding beard.

NBA: Clippers at Miami, 9 a.m., Prime Ticket:

LeBron James (ankle), Dwayne Wade (wrist) and Chris Bosh (ankle) have been in and out of the lineup lately for the Heat, who suffered the 111-105 loss to the Clippers back on Jan. 12. Yet, without Eric Gordon, the visiting team has a much tougher road of it this time. And, there’s the early wake-up call.

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A California Sports HOF honor for Bob Miller


Kings Hockey Hall of Fame play-by-play man Bob Miller will be among the Class of 2011 inductees for the California Sports Hall of Fame’s fifth annual ceremony in Ontario on Feb. 27.

Included with Miller will be Dick Vermeil, the former UCLA football coach and Super Bowl-winning coach with the St. Louis Rams (from Calistoga, and a San Jose State grad); Raiders Pro Football Hall of Famer Mike Haynes, former WBC heavyweight champ Ken Norton (a native of San Diego), and three-time world boxing champion Tony Lopez (from Sacramento).

Former inductees include Magic Johnson, Jackie Robinson, Jerry West, John Wooden, Willie Mays, Reggie Jackson, Rafer Johnson, Deacon Jones, Eric Dickerson, Tommy Lasorda, Dan Fouts, Dave Winfield, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Mike Powell, Tom Flores, Marcus Allen, Cheryl Miller, Jim Plunkett and Karch Kiraly.

Chick Hearn, Vin Scully, Jim Murray and Jim Hill are previous media inductees.

The California Sports Hall of Fame, created by former NFL running back Christian Okoye, provides scholarships to disadvantaged student athletes and hosts free athletic clinics for at-risk youth, featuring active and retired pro athletes and Olympians.

More information:

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On second thought, one last ride around the dirt track


(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
A rider kicks up some dirt during a practice session prior to the Monster Energy AMA Supercross race last Saturday at Dodger Stadium.

Permission to revisit the Supercross / Dodger Stadium column last week, in a human moment:

With more ability and space to process what happened versus what was intended, it’s obvious that I had some misdirected frustration and let it get the best of me. Sorry for that.

It seems to be the kind of stuff that happens in all sorts of areas of life – with family, with spouses, with work. Even as you’re in the back yard cleaning up dog poop, and come to realize you can’t really be upset with the creator of this mess.

You’re just the one stuck with the job picking up the pieces.


To see Dodger Stadium buried under mounds of dirt – no matter what the reason – was a jolt to the senses. Not just by me. I thought Orel Hershiser had the same feeling as well when I talked to him about it. I thought head groundskeeper Eric Hansen echoed that, too.

So where would I go with it? Who was to blame? Who benefitted?

I saw this unfold in a couple of stages. The first time, at a media day on Thursday, led to a blog posting with photos explaining how it all came about. The second time, at Saturday’s AMA Supercross, led to a column with some colorful language that was more of a reaction to what I was watching.

That column had about 960 words. I wish I could take about 100 of back. Especially those right at the top.

Going in, I had the structure of a column in mind — actually taking the side that that we shouldn’t jump to conclusions as to why the McCourts agreed for the first time to let this event take place. My research found information that Walter O’Malley, the Dodgers owner who moved the team to L.A. and oversaw the construction of Dodger Stadium, had wanted this place built 50 years ago to be a multi-purpose facility, drawing income in the offseason for a variety of things. He did it with movies and conventions. Not with messing with the finely manicured diamond that he’d spent millions to maintain on a year-round basis.

Did the McCourts really need the money that bad to allow anyone to come in and fill it with dirt? It sure appeared to be that way, but looks can be deceiving. Yet, it wasn’t unprecedented.

Then, things got a little twisted around.


Walking through the parking lot en route to the stadium entrance, in amongst the fans that were doing the same thing, I saw the black leather, the bandanas, the tattoos, tight jeans, enhanced cleavage, big hair … and the smoking. It was creating an impression as I was trying to gather my thoughts even more about why this was taking place.

Having been to some Mickey Thompson Off-Road Race events at the Coliseum way back when, and a few X Games events with similar races taking place, I saw some similarities in the crowds. Surely, not enough stereotypes collected that represented the entire assemblage. But enough, I thought, to provide some comic relief to the situation. I needed the laugh more than anyone — to diffuse my edginess about the whole scene.

Once inside, the swarm of bees’ noise got into my head as well. I couldn’t focus. I had to sit inside the glass-paneled suite to block out the sound as I tried to create some paragraphs.

All that together seemed to be a toxic mix of what would come out on the keyboard. Again, the emotions got the best of me.

I have plenty of respect for the riders who were leaps and bounds some of the more daring athletes I’ve come across to watch in person in my lifetime. What I wrote had nothing to do with their performance. I don’t think that’s even an issue — although others disagree. Nor did I want to trash AMA for its coup in getting the Dodgers to agree to hold this event there. It raised the bar of the sport’s visibility to a new audience.

As for the readers who have endured my columns before — not those reading me for the first time — they’d be better prepared to know where I was coming from with this. I wasn’t trying to carpet bomb those who enjoy AMA Supercross. I was trying to have fun at their expense. It just seemed to backfire.


Some of the incoming emails and comments had solid points to make, and I appreciated where they were coming from. But then there were others who not only reinforced the absurd stereotypes thrown out there, but really could have benefitted from a spell-check, grammar-check and human dignity-check.

(The word some of you were searching for was “Supercross,” not “Suppercross.” Loser has only one “s”. Whoever wrote “Your and Idiot” … that’s my favorite. That, and “I hold both an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a high level position in the financial services industry. My income has been in the six figure area for over 20 years, and I would describe my political inclination as liberal. I am a huge motocross fan!!” Your family must be proud.)

I don’t consider that subset of Supercross fan a reflection on the total population, nor do I even think anything I’d write in response to their email appeasing their reactions. It felt more like an orchestrated campaign rather than individual responses moved by true outrage. Their outrage, in those cases, was handed to them.

Yet, they were an easy target, and chances are the kind of folks you’d find in any kind of crowd of that size — baseball included.

Stubbornly, I tried to stand my ground in a follow-up blog post that really was too watered down to clearly explain what happened.

The bottom line was that the disappointment in my own inability to clearly write was compounded by the reaction. Whose fault is that? Mine. Thanks for holding us to a higher standard.

I wasn’t trying to push anyone’s buttons or manufacture dozens of web hits. I’ve done those sophomoric kinds of columns before (see: lacrosse fan and drag racing fan). I needed a shower afterward, but I knew (or thought I knew) what I was doing then. This time, it was completely unintentional.

That wine stain is all over me this time. You have every reason to whine in reply.

I’ll keep trying to inform and entertain, opine and discern, and throw in some humor when it’s called for. Then hope I don’t go ego-over-handlebars again.

See you at the Monster Truck rally in a couple of weeks. Or not.


== The original column, with the 900-plus comments still attached (linked here)
== The blog followup (linked here)

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The Media Learning Curve: Jan. 21-28


Photo courtesy of Rich Marotta
Rich Marotta, left, with Oscar de la Hoya and Tom Kelly on a boxing telecast in the 1980s.

Following up with more Q-and-A with Rich Marotta from today’s column (linked here):


= On how the role of the colorman has evolved into someone who has to provide more analysis: “There are certain aspects of an analyst that make him stand out, just from sheer aspect of establishing an rhythm and chemistry with a partner. You need to have a feel about how much your partner needs to describe in a play and how much he actually does describe. What does the play-by-play man leave out? The colorman, to me, has been there to complete the picture, the whole picture — the atmosphere, the scene, the fans, what some guy at the other end of the field is doing. It’s painting a word picture of the whole situation.
“A play-by-play man describes the play; the colorman adds the importance of the whole picture. But sometimes,,a colorman will try to add and automatically talk about that play that was just described.”

== On the Kings’ broadcasts today with Bob Miller and Jim Fox: “There are a terrific team. Jim is really good at just about every aspect of being a colorman. He uses the technology — he’s the best ever at the Telestrator, be it local or national.”


== On what he sees and hears from ex-athlete analysts today that is missing from what can be provided by a professional broadcaster: “Some of them are hung up on whatever the cliche of the day is. I can’t believe someone will say: ‘That’s a catch he’s got to make.’ That was one of the main things I tried to avoid getting into that habit. Rule No. 1: Don’t fall into cliches. I also made it a rule to be able to deliver an opinion which is good as long as its understood by the audience that it is an opnion and not a fact. And then there’s preparation — from a non-athlete, it’s much more important to be prepared. I think when I prepped for a football broadcast, I did so out of fear. I was a total nutcase in trying to find all the aspects I could. A player will know Xs and Os, but they may fall down on other aspects like the history of the teams playing, or the personalities involved. That’s what sets the good ones apart.
“Another pet peeve of mine: Not everyone learns the art of interviewing. And with a local telecast, that’s often the role of the colorman. I still don’t know why some can’t interview on the air. That even happens to me now on boxing matches, I never understood why some made it so difficult to get in there and ask: ‘Did you get hurt in the fifth round? How did the seventh round change for you? Where do you go from here?’ It’s almost tortue for some people to do that. Just ask the question that would normally come from the people who just watched and what they’d want to ask. And then listen to the answer — that will often be where your next question comes from.”


== On how he learned his craft at Cal State Northridge: “I got to do everything there — work at the college radio station, to play-by-play, color, broadcast in a studio, do sports talk features, sports talk hosting. My roommate was (longtime broadcaster) Geoff Witcher, so think of what our conversations were like. He was often the partner on my broadcasts, and we learned how important it was to have a good relationship with each other on and off the air. I think I’ve always been pretty good friends with the people I’ve worked with and that chemistry really builds into the conversation on the air. It makes everything work better. When you feel comfortable enough with the people you work with, that comfort comes across on the air. That all works in a big circular manner.”

== On advise he’d give to up-and-coming broadcasters who might want to try the analyst/colorman role: “The first thing is: Expect rejection, and be able to live with that. That’s probably going to happen anywhere you go. Know your sport inside and out. Talk to players and see what they’re talking about and thinking about so you think along with them. And really talk to the coaches — have conversations with them without just being in an interview situation. Sit down and chat and learn more about the verbage of the sport to make it a more level playing field. Also see if you can carve out a niche in that area. See if you could do work in play-by-play as well as color. That was an advantage for me knowing both roles, to understand the rhythm of the play-by-play and know what his needs are.
“It won’t be an easy role. It was easier for me to do it when i did it. But be willing to even be a third person in on a broadcast, to be entertaining, not overanalyze things. Complete the booth.”


The rest of the media news of note:

== An update on ESPN’s Stuart Scott (linked here)

== Bill Macdonald hosts the Lakers’ first “Courtside View” telecast of the season tonight at 7:30 p.m. — while Joel Meyers and Stu Lantz call the game on Fox Sports West, another version airs on Prime Ticket using as little commercial interruption and through the angles of different cameras and sounds of the game.

== ABC’s Mike Breen, Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy (with Lisa Salters) call the Lakers-Celtics game from Staples Center (Sunday, 12:30 p.m., Channel 7), the first regular Sunday afternoon broadcast for the rest of the season. Mike Tirico, Hubie Brown and Heather Cox are at the Miami-Oklahoma City game (10 a.m., Channel 7) preceeding the Lakers-Celtics.

== NBA TV’s “24 Hours with Kevin Love” (Tuesday, 3:30 p.m.) lets cameras into him home as he talks about a day in his life — on this day, as the former UCLA star preps for a game against Washington. A preview (linked here).


== Fox’s Thom Brennaman, Brian Billick, Jay Glazer and Tony Siragusa handle the call on the NFL Pro Bowl back in Hawaii (Sunday, 4 p.m., Channel 11), a week before Fox sends everyone else to Dallas for the Super Bowl. Curt Menefee and Terry Bradshaw are also in Honolulu for pre-game duties.

== ESPNU has 10 hours of programming for prep football national signing day (Wednesday, 6 a.m. to 4 p.m.), simulcast on Rece Davis and Lowell Galindo host it, with former Miami coach Randy Shannon joined by Tom Luginbill, Bruce Feldman, Robert Smith, Kirk Herbstreit and other recruiting gurus. Maybe more worthy of a TiVo set is the ESPNU re-airing “The Best That Never Was,” a 30 for 30 documentary on Marcus Dupree, which airs from 3-to-4 a.m. on Wednesday, leading into the signing broadcast. The coverage of ESPNU’s national signing day reairs Wedneday night at 8 p.m.

CBS College Sports has its seven hours of overcoverage starting at 7 a.m. with Tom Lemming and Rich Rodriguez, the recently ousted Michigan coach, and former Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer. and are tied into this production.

Prime Ticket airs its own high school signing day special (Wednesday, 7 p.m.), streamed on that will include Centennial’s Michael Eubank, Serra’s Marqise Lee, Servite’s Troy Niklas and Lakewood’s Torian White making their college choices live at noon.


== That sporting titan of MTV2 has the Eastern and Western Conference finals of the Lingerie Football League (Saturday, 3 p.m.) with 90 minutes of “live gridiron featuring the hottest female athletes playing full-contact football” says the press release. Your L.A. Temptation (4-0) faces the Chicago Bliss (3-1), followed by the Philadelphia Passion (3-0) meeting up with the Tampa Breeze (3-0). Both games are in Jacksonville with the winners meeting in Las Vegas on Feb. 6. Oh, the broadcasters? Tom Dore , a 7-foot-2 former basketball star at Missouri who also worked for the Chicago Bulls, and Sean Salisbury. Yes, that Sean Salisbury.

== The NFL Network has the Under Armour Senior Bowl (Saturday, 1 p.m.) for the fifth year in a row. Bob Papa calls it with Mike Mayock and Charles Davis, and Paul Burmeister and Stacey Dales on the sidelines.

== The Super Bowl highlight marathon on the NFL Network starts Saturday at 7 a.m. with Super Bowl I (Green Bay-Kansas City from the Coliseum) and goes through to Sunday at 12:30 p.m. with Super Bowl XLIV (New Orleans-Indianapolis).


== Versus’ coverage of the NHL All Star weekend begins with the player draft (tonight, 5 p.m., that includes the Kings’ Anze Kopitar, above) and the skills competition (Saturday, 4 p.m.) before the actual exhibition game (Sunday, 1 p.m.) from Raleigh, N.C. Mike Emrick, Eddie Olczyk, Charissa Thompson and Bob Harwood are on the call of the game, with Bill Patrick, Keith Jones and Brian Engbloom in the studio.


== CBS, which extended its rights deal with the PGA through 2019 this week, starts its season with the Farmer’s Insurance event from Torrey Pines with third- and final-round coverage (Saturday and Sunday, noon to 3 p.m.). Jim Nantz starts his 26th year overall covering golf for CBS, with Nick Faldo (in his fourth year) as the lead analyst. Ian Baker-Finch, Gary McCord, David Feherty, Peter Kostis, Bill Macatee, Verne Lundquist and Peter Oosterhuis join in — and will be at Riviera Country Club in four weeks for the Northern Trust Open.

Golf Channel’s coverage continues today (noon to 3 p.m., replayed from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.) and it will replay CBS’ coverage on Saturday and Sunday (6:30 to 8:30 p.m.). Davis Love III has agreed to be miked up during Golf Channel’s coverage.

== CBS’ coverage of the four event on the AMA Supercross tour from Oakland airs on a 12-hour delay (Sunday, 9-to-10 a.m., leading into the Duke-St. John’s basketball game, Channel 2)

== NBC has seven hours of coverage from the U.S. Figure Skating championships (Saturday, noon to 3 p.m. and 9-11 p.m. both delayed; Sunday from 1-3 p.m. live) with Tom Hammond, Scott Hamilton, Sandra Bezic, Tracy Wilson and Andrea Joyce.

== ESPN says it has sorted out the rest of its MLB midweek broadcast pairings — Sean McDonough will do play-by-play, with Aaron Boone and Rick Sutcliffe on Monday night games; Dave O’Brien will be teammed with Nomar Garciaparra on Wednesday nights.


== Responding to an overwhelming demand, the World Fishing Network, which describes itself as “North America’s only 24-hour fishing lifestyle television network,” has come out with a mobile app for iPhone and iPad users that “enables anglers to record every detail of every catch within seconds of reeling” in a fish. It goes for $2.99 now, up to $4.99 after the special offer ends.


== ombudsman Don Ohlmeyer says it in his final column after 18 months on the job (linked here): “Some might misunderstand the fact that my every comment has not been a scathing, blistering indictment of network miscues. That might be because, after 40 years in the business, I have an appreciation of the intricacies and difficulties of what ESPN is trying to accomplish. There is plenty to criticize in Bristol, but in some respects I marvel at how well the company presents its product on so many varied platforms. The sheer magnitude of the undertaking today makes any other production operation seem puny by comparison. ….

“There are some reassuring thoughts about ESPN I’d like to leave you with. The people behind the products care deeply. Do they listen to the complaints from the audience? Yes, they do. Do they take them seriously? My experience over this term says again, yes they do. Will they address concerns? They will if they think they have merit and it doesn’t run counter to some other goal the company seeks to accomplish. So, are your communications important? Absolutely! ”


From episode 3 last week of the “Onion Sports Dome” on Comedy Central (Tuesday nights, 10:30 p.m.):

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Coming Friday: Rich Marotta’s claim to fame


David Crane/Daily News Staff Photographer

Rich Marotta, right, with SCSB president and Kings play by play man Bob Miller at Tuesday’s ceremony.

Rich Marotta, the former colorman on the Kings, Clippers, Raiders and Express who has become one of the authoratitive voices in the boxing broadcasting world, enjoyed a day to shine in front of family and friends when he was inducted into the Southern California Sports Broadcasters’ Hall of Fame on Tuesday.

With part three of the annual best-and-worst of the L.A. media landing this week, we talked to Marotta, a Notre Dame High of Sherman Oaks and Cal State Northridge grad, about whether someone like him — a non-ex-athlete — could land a job as an analyst today, a role that seems to move farther and farther away from simply being a professional broadcaster who adds color to an event.

Marotta recently gave up doing his weekly radio boxing show because of a committment to a Top Rank boxing series for FSN he has been doing 36 weeks a year with Barry Tompkins.

As documented in the current issue of Don Barrett’s (linked here), Marotta’s speech at the 20th annual SCSB ceremony included (accompanied by Barrett’s photo):


“I have walked on a journey that has left me so lucky and it is so great because I may have fancied myself at one time as a play-by-play guy, but really what I was able to do was sit down next to the greatest, starting with Bob Miller, with Bill King, the greatest wordsmith that I’ve ever been associated with while doing L.A. Raiders football, and on with Ralph Lawler at the L.A. Clippers, and Tom Kelly, the greatest sportscasting voice I’ve ever heard, with the easiest and breeziest style possible. It has been quite a journey.

“With all the great broadcasters I’ve sat next to and as great as they are and the excitement they bring to every game or match is reflected well on me. I’ve not only sat next to them but they’ve all allowed me at some point to contribute.

“I can still remember Bob Miller doing everything possible to make me comfortable on those broadcasts. He was a giant already when I joined him and nobody knew me. And Bill King, the legend with the Raiders and an icon with the NFL, could have crushed me and he didn’t. During my first season he kept asking if I was getting everything in that I wanted to say.”

Kelly once told him as they were doing L.A. Express games: “He said, ‘Let me call the play and I’ll get out of your way and you say whatever you want. I’ve listened to you on the Raiders broadcasts and like what you say and I want to hear it, too.’”

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10 new candidates on Baseball Reliquary’s Shrine of the Eternals ballot


Bob Hope, Annie Savoy, Donald Fehr, David Wells and Curtis Pride are part of the eclectic group of new 10 candidates for the 2011 election for the Baseball Reliquary’s Shrine of the Eternals.

The 50-name ballot was released by Terry Cannon, the director of the Pasadena-based non-profit organization. The top three votegetters by members of the Baseball Reliquary (who begin casting ballots on April 1) will be enshrined on Sunday, July 17.


For starters, it’s not the Bob Hope you’re thinking of — the one-time owner of the Cleveland Indians who was far more famously a comedian. This one is a veteran publicity director with 40 years of experience to rose to prominence during Henry Aaron’s pursuit of Babe Ruth’s lifetime home run record in 1973 and ’74. Hope shepherded the slugger through the intense media blitz that preceded the event. During owner Ted Turner’s early reign, Hope contrived a memorable series of promotional events for the lowly Braves, including his most famous (and most sexist) stunt, the 1977 Wet T-Shirt Contest.

Savoy, the sashaying acolyte of the Church of Baseball in director Ron Shelton’s romantic comedy “Bull Durham,” has become a popular culture icon. Susan Sarandon, once banned from appearing at the Baseball Hall of Fame because of her “political” views, played the role of the baseball-, poetry-, and sex-loving Annie who spent each season tutoring a fledgling player in the mysteries of baseball, love, and life before sending him out into the world.


Fehr, who succeeded Marvin Miller and Ken Moffett as head of the Players Association, presided over the rocky negotiations between baseball labor and management from 1985 to 2009. During his tenure ,Fehr steered the union through lockouts, player strikes, basic agreement tiffs, drug-testing efforts, expansion and television revenue issues, and the notorious collusion case of the mid-1980s in which the union emerged victorious over then-commissioner Peter Ueberroth and a cabal of owners.

Wells, who ended his 21-year career as a member of the Dodgers, was known as the rambunctious, voluble and talented southpaw known as much for his Ruthian training regimen — booze, brawls, and babes. He became a fan favorite in New York, once pitching a perect game, and another time once wearing an original Babe Ruth cap on the mound.


Pride, when he debuted with the Montreal Expos in 1993, was the big league’s first deaf player since 1945. He ended up playing 12 seasons with eight teams, the last three season with the Angels (2004-06). He received the Tony Congliaro Award in 1996, presented annually to an MLB player who best overcomes adversity. He’s currently the head baseball coach at Gallaudet University.

Former knuckleball pitcher Wilbur Wood, former Providence Grays manager Frank Bancroft, Society for American Baseball Research founder Bob Davids, former troubled Chicago Cubs shortstop Charlie Hollocher and Kansas City Monarchs founding owner J.L. Wilkinson are also on the ballot for the first time.

Meanwhile, Glenn Burke, the former Dodgers gay centerfielder who died of AIDS at the age of 42 in 1995, is also back on the ballot after an eight-year absence.

The other 39 eligible candidates (with years on the ballot in parentheses):
Eliot Asinof (8)
Steve Blass (2)
Chet Brewer (12)
Charlie Brown (4)
Jefferson Burdick (2)
Helen Callaghan (8)
Charles M. Conlon (10)
Dizzy Dean (11)
Ed Delahanty (8)
Bucky Dent (3)
Hector Espino (2)
Eddie Feigner (11)
Lisa Fernandez (11)
Rube Foster (13)
Ted Giannoulas (9)
Eddie Grant (2)
Jim “Mudcat” Grant (7)
Pete Gray (13)
Ernie Harwell (8)
Dr. Frank Jobe (9)
Charles “Pop” Kelchner (4)
Effa Manley (13)
Conrado Marrero (2)
Dr. Mike Marshall (6)
Tug McGraw (8)
Fred Merkle (5)
Manny Mota (4)
Phil Pote (9)
Vic Power (3)
Dan Quisenberry (5)
J.R. Richard (12)
Rusty Staub (6)
Chuck Stevens (3)
Luis Tiant (9)
Fay Vincent (10)
Rube Waddell (13)
John Montgomery Ward (5)
Maury Wills (2)
Don Zimmer (7)

For more info on the Shrine of the Eternals, contact Cannon at P.O. Box 1850, Monrovia, CA 91017; by phone at (626) 791-7647; or by e-mail at

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Not to backpedal on the motocross and Dodger Stadium, but nearly 800 comments later, what have we learned?


Thank you, I believe, is the proper response to all the emails, comments and phone messages that have been posted and left following the recent column (linked here) on Dodger Stadium yielding its facility to last Saturday’s AMA Motocross and an upcoming Monster Truck show.

Thanks, as well, to those who have been provoked to participate in what has become an unintentional sociological experiment into how people today consume, digest and respond to the media.


Apparently, since many voices needed to be heard on the subject, today’s technology has made that easier. Admirably, many signed their names to their opinions.

My ultimate regret is that the point I tried to make was lost in the noise this created. The focus of the story was to point out that of the many uses the stadium could undergo, it’s a shame that a place considered to have one of the best baseball diamonds in the country would be buried by tons of dirt — whether it be for a motocross, monster truck event or this was a shame

It was written in humor with the intention of sharing the history of the stadium, with no intention of insulting any particular group.


Have a look at previous blog items posted here several days before the event (linked here and linked here).

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Play it forward: Jan. 24-30 on your sports calendar

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



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

Upon further review, the Kings request that all instant replay decisions be done away with. Someone up there isn’t looking out for their best wishes. What are you going to do, fine us?


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

Counting two preseason games, and a six-point loss in Salt Lake City on the day after Thanksgiving, the Lakers have yet to post a win over the Jazz this year. Al Jefferson, a pickup to help the team match up better against the Lakers, had 20 points and eight rebounds last time as the Jazz, coming back from a 19-point deficit, scored the last 11 points to win last time out.


NBA: Clippers at Dallas, 5:30 p.m., Prime:

The flat-rimmed, “Blake Griffin Works” fitted cap on the team’s online store has just been reduced from $55 to $41.25. We’d suggest the new “Griffin Monster Dunk” black T-shirts with the phrase “Poster Child,” going for just $27.33 (linked here).

NHL: Ducks at Columbus, 4 p.m., FSW:

It’s the Ducks’ only game this week, then they fly away home.



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

Last chance to get your Ice Girls calendar signed before the team heads out on a 10-game, three-plus week road trip – they won’t be back home until Feb. 24.

NBA: Clippers at Houston, 5:30 p.m., Prime:

Last meeting in December, Eric Gordon was hit for two fouls in the first 4:25, went scoreless in the first half, and Clippers never recovered.


College basketball: UCLA at Arizona, 6 p.m., ESPN2; USC at Arizona State, 5:30 p.m.:

The Bruins have lost two in a row in Tucson; the Trojans have lost four in a row in Tempe.

Golf: PGA’s Farmer Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, first round, noon, Golf Channel:


Tiger Woods has committed to opening his 2011 season here, down to No. 3 in the world rankings now behind Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer. That’s just unacceptable in the western world. CBS has the third- and final-round coverage on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 3 p.m.


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

They’re also offering the “Courtside View” option on Prime Ticket, with the cameras down at Nicholson level. Show some class. Don’t be a joker.


Tennis: Australian Open, women’s final, midnight, ESPN2:

We’ll get behind the “Petkodance” that Germany’s Andrea Petkovic does after dumping an opponent – like when she ousted Maria Sharapova to move into the quarterfinals. We’ll have to remember it Oktoberfest time. Technically, this match happens Saturday morning, and this runs until 2:30 a.m., with replays Saturday our time at 6 a.m. and 7 p.m.


Figure Skating: U.S. Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina: women’s free skate, 8 p.m., Channel 4:


If you know that a soap star named Rebecca Budig won the first series of ABC’s “Skating With The Stars,” now comes the real reality show. Can North Carolina handle a non-NASCAR event? Hill Carrow, the chairman of the group that brought this event to Greensboro, told the Charlotte Observor that he has received calls from fans who insist on sitting on the “50-yard line.” Carrow adds: “This is not football, basketball, golf or NASCAR. Having grown up in North Carolina, I know it’s not a top-of-the-mind thing for most North Carolinians. But we are a great sports state, and this is a great sport that will showcase the very best American figure skaters.” Alissa Czisny (right), currently ranked first in the world, is the favorite with Rachel Flatt, Ashley Wagner and Mirai Nagasu. The men’s finale is Sunday.

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

Is this still a good Charlotte? Without Larry Brown?

College basketball: UCLA at Arizona State, 12:30 p.m., Prime; USC at Arizona, 4:30 p.m., Prime:

The Sun Devils, at the bottom of the Pac-10 standings, shot 50 percent from the floor in a loss at conference leader Washington, but that was only the second time that’s happened all season.

Tennis: Australian Open, men’s final, midnight, ESPN2:


Second-seeded Roger Federer is on track to be the second man to win this event at least five times. Top-seeded Rafael Nadal, still fighting off a virus, could be the first to hold all four Grand Slam titles simultaneously since Australian legend Rod Laver in 1969. Technically, it’s Sunday morning, and this runs until 3:30 a.m., with replays Sunday our time at 7 a.m. and 4 p.m.

College football: The Senior Bowl, 1 p.m., NFL Network:

Guys you may recognize in Mobile, Alabama: UCLA’s Kai Forbath and Christian Yount; plus USC’s Kristofer O’Dowd, Ronald Johnson and Shareece Wright.

MMA: Herschel Walker vs. Scott Carson, 10 p.m., Showtime:

Part of the Strikeforce card in San Jose, the 48-year-old former Heisman Trophy winner puts his 1-0 record on the line. It was originally scheduled for last month but postponed after Walker got a cut above his eye during training. up between Walker and Carson was originally scheduled for Dec. 4, but was postponed after Walker sustained a cut above his eye during a training session. Walker, with a fifth-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and training in Muay Thai and Kenpo, had a third-round TKO over someone name Greg Nagy almost a year ago. Carson (4-1), who lives in Gardena, is a longtime traininer partner of Chuck Liddell and trains in Lake Forest.



NBA: Lakers vs. Boston, Staples Center, 12:30 p.m., Channel 7:

One notable new face from the teams that faced off in last year’s NBA Final: The Celtics’ Shaquille O’Neal, who could be making his final Staples Center appearance. What’s left in the tank for the Aging Diesel? The other night, coming back from an abdominal strain, he scored 23 points (12 above his season average, hitting 10 of 12 from the floor), hit all three free throws, took five rebounds and blocked five shots in 35 minutes during a victory over the Bobcats. For a guy in his 19th season, and having played more than 1,200 regular season games, still carrying a career average of 23.8 points,10.9 rebounds and 147.4 kgs (that’s 325 pounds) is pretty remarkable.

NHL: All Star game in Raleigh, North Carolina, 1 p.m., Versus:

Carolina’s Eric Staal and Detroit’s Nicklas Lindstrom were voted captains by fellow all-stars — not Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby — and they’ll pick the teams in a live fantasy draft on Friday (Versus, 5 p.m.), then play it out today. Not outdoors. Staal can either draft his little brother Marc, or snub him. The Sedin brothers could be split up. And who wants Crosby if he’s already laying the groundwork for skipping out on this exhibition? Anze Kopitar is waiting to find out.


NFL: Pro Bowl in Honolulu, 4 p.m., Channel 11:

How did Matt Cassel become the leader of the AFC again?

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It’s all fun and games until Phil Shulman creates dead air at Dodger Stadium

Thanks to for coming up with the video on KTTV Channel 11′s “Good Day LA” attempt at one of those “reporter shows how easy it is” crash courses on the AMA Supercross track at Dodger Stadium:

Phil Shuman Crashes at Supercross:

The Dodgers also posted a video they commissioned of Trey Canard taking a tour of the track with a “Go Pro” camera on his helmet (linked here).

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Ron Swanson’s Pyramid of Greatness


It’s bigger than John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success, so it must be better.

It’s what Ron Swanson pulled out to show his new youth league basketball team that he was forced to coach in the season 2 debut episode of the NBC sit-com “Parks and Rec” on Thursday.

If you can’t read all of it because of the size we’re limited here, we’ll provide some of the highlights:

== The top square is “HONOR: If you need it defined, you don’t have it.”

== Under that: “BUFFETS: Whenever available, choose quantity over quality.” To its left: “AMERICA: The only country that matters. If you want to experience other ‘cultures,’ use an atlas or a ham radio.”

== Fifth row down far left is “DISCIPLINE: The ability to repeat a boring thing over and over again.” Far right is “SKIM MILK: That’s right. It’s on here twice. Avoid it.”

== Third row up from the bottom includes “INTENSITY: Give 100%. 110% is impossible. Only idiots recommend that.” And “OLD WOODEN SAILING SHIPS: They’re beautiful.” (Maybe that’s a tribute to John Wooden). And “B.O.: Cultivating a manly musk puts your opponents on notice.”

== Second row up has “FRIENDS: One to three is sufficient.” And “PERSPIRATION: Only sweat during physical activity or love making. No emotional sweating.” And “CRYING: Acceptable at funerals and the Grand Canyon.”

== And the foundation row includes “CAPITALISM: God’s way of determining who is smart, and who is poor.” And “POISE: Sting like a bee. Don’t float like a butterfly. That’s ridiculous.” And “HANDSHAKES: Firm. Dry. Solid. 3 seconds.” And “BODY GROOMING: Only women shave below their neck.”

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