The Media Learning Curve: April 23-May 6


Trust us, it takes us longer to learn more new things as we move ahead in the sports media world. We have no issue with that.

In addition to the stuff we shoveled into today’s newspaper and online editions (linked here), we trust you’ll consider these notes of some promimence:

== The conversation late Thursday night between TNT’s Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith on what the Lakers’ Andrew Bynum said in the post-game locker room chat about a lack of trust among his teammates after the Game 2 loss to Dallas:

Barkley: “Well, it’s human nature to blame other people when things don’t go well. That’s just human nature.”

Smith: “That’s not my human nature. That’s not the human nature of championship teams. That’s not human nature of teams that won back-to-back. That’s not human nature of a franchise that has won that many championships. That shouldn’t have been said, first of all. If he has 13 other guys that he has a problem with, they stand right next to you in the locker room. Go talk to them before you talk to the (media). I don’t appreciate that.”

Barkley: “He shouldn’t have said that. He was 100 percent wrong. It’s just like players passing the buck. It was 100 percent wrong for him to say that in that situation because he could say that in a team meeting tomorrow or on a plane, but (not) now.”

== Perhaps only Vin Scully could figure out an elegant way of incorporating the news about the death of Osama Bin Laden during a Dodger broadcast.

On Monday’s Dodgers-Cubs game, Scully talked about how ESPN’s coverage of the Phillies-Mets game Sunday night in Philadelphia had suddenly gotten sidetracked by fans chanting “U-S-A! U-S-A!” in the stands. “And you know where they were in the game at that point? The ninth inning,” Scully said. “The score tied 1 to 1. Nine-one-one. Nine-11. How about that?”


== Again, the crew working the Manny Pacquiao-Shane Mosley pay-per-view fight Saturday (6 p.m.) through Showtime productions: James Brown is the host, Gus Johnson will call it, with Al Bernstein and Antonio Tarver doing commentary, and Jim Gray chasing interviews. The final episode of “Fight Camp 360” airs tonight on Showtime (10 p.m.) and replays on CBS Saturday (11 a.m., Channel 2), with a “red carpet” show with the dashing Mario Lopez and the irrepressible Ines Sainz starting on the PPV telecast at 4 p.m.


== Showtime GM of sports Ken Hershman, asked in a conference call recently about any difficultly in coordinating this event between Showtime and CBS, said: “Oh, like way hard (laughter). I think the interesting thing about CBS, to be serious, is that a lot of companies talk synergy and they buy all these assets and they talk about how they’re going to work great together and then they all internally fight with each other and nobody ends up doing anything. And I’ve been part of those organizations.

“But the real uniqueness with CBS is that when we presented this opportunity there wasn’t a push-back or resistance. It was really more excitement and encouragement and them saying, ‘OK, what can we do?’ We actually had to scale back some of the things their divisions wanted to do because we just weren’t ready to get there yet. But we will in the future.

“The company just works together really well and they get it and the priorities were met and exceeded and I couldn’t be more pleased. I wish I could sit here and say it was some monumental task that I was able to pull off and that we overcame but to be honest it really wasn’t. It was quite well received and handled really, really well and we’re excited to see it all come to fruition and I think it’s going to be all pretty impressive.”


== Mark Quenzel, the NFL Network’s senior vice president of programming and production, said it Thursday about why he picked the Brad Nessler-Mike Mayock broacast team for the network’s eight prime-time NFL games, instead of the rumored Gus Johnson on play-by-play:


“We considered a number of people. I don’t want to go candidly into a lot of detail as to who they were. But the point is when you’re looking at a broadcast team, and the key is team, it’s a combination. It’s two guys.You have to make sure that they can each be individually talented. You have to believe they’re compatible, they work together and they’ll make each other better. Once we decided that Mike was really the guy that was the best for us on the analyst side, we looked around and it was clear to me that Brad, with all his experience and all the things I mentioned earlier, gave this team the best chance to succeed. I think they’ll be a great combination. But I emphasize it really is about the combination.”

Mayock pointed out that the last time he worked with Nessler was on a college football in the early 1990s when Mayock was thrown in as an emergency sideline reporter to do a game with Nessler and Gary Danielson. Quenzel said there was no “tryout” with Nessler and Mayock that seal this deal.

“Brad did not do a tryout with Mike,” said Quenzel. “And the reason is, I said upfront, Brad and I worked together for so many years (at ESPN). I know what Brad does, what he brings to the table and where the strengths are. I think when we’re done doing a couple with Mike, it was as much to understand what would work with Mike as anything else. So at that point I felt like I had enough information in my knowledge of Brad over the years allowed us to go in and say we know what’s going on, and we know what we’re looking for. And Brad was the best thing for us. … One of the things with the history of Brad and obviously from Mike, is they both could be classified as workaholics. They study and study and study some more. So I’m comfortable.”

Also asked about this two-man team versus a three-man team that he most recently had with Bob Papa, Joe Theismann and Matt Millen, Quenzel said: “I’ve been involved in both situations, both here and at ESPN where they have a threeman booth as well. I think it can work either way. I think I prefer a twoman booth. I think the dynamic we have between Brad and Mike lends itself to a twoman booth. So I’ve seen them work both ways, but I prefer a twoman booth, and I think we’ve got an excellent twoman booth right now.”


== A month ago, ESPN backed off some of its poker telecasts in the wake of a government probe of online companies. Wednesday, the network announced plans to increase its World Series of Poker coverage from July 14-19, with 34 hours of “semi-live” broadcasts from the main event on ESPN2 and ESPN. It will be covered in real time and air on a 30-minute delay.

This is the first time ESPN has daily coverage of the WSOP main event, where every hand will be shown unedited and hole cards will be available post-flop (for all players still in the hand). Lon McEachern and David Tuchman will handle the play-by-play during the six-day event, while a rotation of professional poker players (to be named later) will provide analysis.

The 2011 World Series of Poker’s Tuesday night telecasts with McEachern and Norman Chad will begin July 26 on ESPN for 16 consecutive weeks leading up to the November Nine final table on Nov. 8.


== Congrats to Dan Karcher, in his 22nd year calling games for Triple-A Colorado Springs Sky Sox who recently did hit 3,000th game with the team.


Karcher, 52, grew up in Anaheim and attended Cal State Fullerton, listening to Vin Scully and Dick Enberg call Dodgers and Angels games.

As he told the Colorado Springs Gazette (linked here): “If you were a kid growing up in that area, it was hard not to be influenced by those two icons. When I think back to my fondest memory as a child, it was going to Angels Stadium with my dad for the first time. That’s where I got the bug. I’ve always had in my mind that I wanted to be a broadcaster and a baseball play-by-play guy. I never had a doubt as far as what direction I’d go. I know a lot of people struggle with not knowing what they want to do, but I’ve been very fortunate to always know what it was I wanted to do and to be able to do it.”

And the Angels never hired him?

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