Urban Meyer on USC suspending Marc Tyler: Why are we making such a big deal out of this?


Former University of Florida head coach Urban Meyer, biding his time these days as an analyst for ESPN, was asked on today’s “College Football Live” show about the difficulty in keeping high-profile athletes from putting their cleats in their mouth with all the social media out there these days — in light of USC’s Marc Tyler getting suspended for things he said in an apparent inebriated state to a TMZ “reporter” and video-camera holder.

Meyer’s response might be along the lines of what you’d expect from a former SEC coach.

“I think back to when I was 20 years, and I’d like to meet the first person that’s ever made a mistake,” said Meyer. “(This) was a stupid mistake and I think USC handled it correctly.

“What we actually did at Florida the last couple of years is have a player-relations guy on your staff who educates your players. And then simply put: You make a rule. Don’t embarrass the university or the football team, or there will be a price to pay.

“I just think we gotta move on. It’s over. It was a 20-year-old’s mistake that didn’t hurt anybody. He said some stupid things. His father came out and agreed with USC did. But I think part of the problem is we’re making such a big deal out of this. It’s not a big deal. It’s a mistake. Move on.”

Asked if he thought the players fail to understand how damaging social media can be if not handled properly, Meyer added: “Once again, what makes it damaging is the non-stop … we’re sitting here talking about it now and it happened a day or two ago? I have a problem with people who keep reporting and reporting on it. It’s not that big a deal. The kid made a mistake. Plenty of people make mistakes. Don’t do it again or you’ll miss a game. He’s going to sit a game. Move on.”

For the record, this is Tyler’s third alcohol-related incident, with the previous two involving him either hitting or spitting on a woman. Tyler was supposedly in an alcohol education program when this latest TMZ event happened.

Eventually, ESPN brought on Chris Spielman, the former Ohio State All-American linebacker and network game analyst, to talk about the problems college teams face with today’s social media always in their faces: “I wouldn’t be surprised if you see teams hire a Twitter coach, or a Facebook coach, a social network coach hired on a staff to monitor what these guys do and help and educate them. Another way would get a giant slide show at a team meeting, and show the dumbest tweets and Facebook posts, whatever, show them how foolish certain people look.”

Spielman also said he thought if today’s college athletes don’t understand their actions have repercussions on the Internet, “then their parents are doing a poor job of educating them. We’ve raised a narcissistic generation — it’s all about me, they’re the news and they want to let everyone know they’re the news. Educate your kids on the dangers and pitfalls that can come and understand what you put out there is a reputation of yourself, your faith, your family …”

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Why you can’t pick your nose at an MLB baseball game


Because somehow, a TV camera, somewhere, will pick it up as well.

Not that it happened here. That’s my brother, Tony, on the far right, and his son, Steven, left in the Angels gear, at a game in Oakland last Friday. They had no idea, of course, the FSW camera would be focused on them while promoting ticket sales.

Or that the woman in front of them would be hitting herself on the forehead…

Just be careful out there….

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Steve Shannon (1941-2011)


Photo from the Springfield (Ill.) State-Journal Register

Steve Shannon, who called Angels games on KMPC-AM (710) and KTLA-Channel 5 as well as UCLA football and basketball in the early 1980s, died after a long illness. He was 69.


Shannon, born Steve Bloomfield, was buried on July 16 in Springfield, Ill. (obit linked here). He had quadruple bypass surgery in January 1998 and also suffered from diabetes.

Shannon worked with Ron Fairly on Angels games, replacing Al Wisk on KMPC for the 1980 and ’81 seasons on radio, and with the late Bob Starr on televised games. He and Fairly also did UCLA football games on TV.

Norm Rosenfield, a publicist with the Triple-A Denver Bears and longtime friend of Shannon’s, also relays a story about how Shannon could have been in line to replace Jerry Doggett on the Dodgers’ broadcasts.

“I got a call one day, in 1976, from Steve, asking me to pick him up at the airport,” Rosenfield said. “I didn’t know where we were going. Finally he told me to go to Dodger Stadium. Once we were there, we were at (owner) Peter O’Malley’s office. Steve goes in, I’m waiting for him, and he finally comes out of the meeting holding a radio. And then Peter comes out.

“It turns out that Steve was up for the job that Doggett left open, and before the team eventually hired Ross Porter. Steve thought he had the job until the last minute when Ross called to say he’d accept it. Not many knew at the time that Ross, who worked for Channel 4, wanted to do play-by-play.”

Shannon joined the Angels at the end of the 1979 playoffs to do radio, and stayed on for two more seasons. He covered UCLA’s basketball team in the 1980 season when the Bruins went to the NCAA title game.

He spent 10 years broadcasting Major League Baseball with the Angels, Kansas City Royals (1978-’79) and Milwaukee Brewers (1981-87) with Bob Uecker, when the team was owned by Bud Selig. Shannon was also the first broacaster of NBA games on the USA Network in the 1980s and called games for the old ABA’s Denver Rockets. He turned down an offer in 1980 to call L.A. Rams games.

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Play It Forward: July 18-24 on your sports calendar


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


MLB: Angels vs. Texas, Angel Stadium, Tuesday at 7 p.m., Channel 13; Wednesday at 7 p.m., FSW; Thursday at 12:35 p.m., FSW:


Without “The Cowboy,” there’s no Los Angeles Angels. Of anywhere. Period. Gene Autry saddled up to the Baseball Gods in the late ’50s and got himself a big-league team, to rival the Dodgers. It was born in 1961. And 50 years later, the team is paying him back. They’ve already retired the No. 26 in his honor, but they do him one better by inducting him into the Angels Hall of Fame, in a ceremony before the first game of this series (Channel 13, 6:30 p.m.).


Nolan Ryan, the Texas Rangers CEO and president whose known his share of top-notch cowboys over the year, was to be part of the presentation with Rod Carew, Bobby Grich, Brian Downing and Chuck Finley. But the 64-year-old was in a Houston hospital on Monday under going tests about a recurring heart condition and it’s not likely that he’ll be out in time to travel. Autry’s wife, Jackie, will accept the honor on behalf of her late husband, who died in October, 1998. Autry is the ninth inductee into the club’s Hall, after Ryan, Grich, Carew, Downing, Finley, Don Baylor, Jim Fregosi and Jimmie Reese. By the time this series ends, the Angels could close in on the Rangers, winners of 12 in a row, for the lead in the AL West, with All-Stars Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson scheduled to go head-to-head in Thursday afternoon’s heated-up finale.



MLB: Dodgers at San Francisco, 7:15 p.m., Prime:

They’ve got All-Stars pitchers like Lincecum, Cain, and of course, the dapper Brian Wilson with a seal-skin tux. But the Giants can’t stop singing the praises of Ryan Vogelsong, a miserable journeyman reliever who somehow got picked to be on last week’s NL All-Star team. Oh, right, the manager was Bruce Bochy. Between 2000 and 2006, Vogelsong had a career record of 10-22 with the Giants and Pirates before he was released. He got signed, and cut, by the Phillies’ and Angels’ Triple-A teams, plus two teams in Japan — so he wasn’t on a big-league game for five season. This year, he’s got six wins already and an ERA nearly four runs lower than his career average. “I don’t think there’s a guy here who has been through more of a weird road,” said Lincecum about the latest Brian Sabien salvage project. With Jonathan Sanchez and Barry Zito coming and going on the DL, Vogelsong remains in the starting rotation, and is on schedule to face Chad Billingsley in the opener. The teams continue the series Tuesday night (7:15 p.m., Channel 9) and Wednesday afternoon (12:45 p.m., Prime), where Clayton Kershaw is in line to face Tim Lincecum in a rematch of the season opener.

WNBA: Sparks vs. San Antonio, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m.:


You’d think the Sparks could have had Jordan Sparks sing the national anthem before a game by now. Maybe they have and we just blocked it out of our heads. Nevertheless, they’re trying to draw fans to this game by promoting the fact a leaner, meaner Ruben Studdard will do a halftime concert. No, we didn’t studder.


MLB: Philadelphia at Chicago, 5 p.m., MLB Network:

Cliff Lee, who had a run of three straight shutouts stopped by a loss in Toronto, a no-decision against Atlanta and giving up the only run in last week’s All-Star game, takes the hill tonight at Wrigley Field.


Horse racing: Del Mar opener, 2 p.m., TVG:


It beats standing around waiting to see the Ringling Brothers & Barnum & Bailey Circus during a 10-show run at Staples Center. And check out the new Del Mar and Verizon Wireless new phone app — it allows on-track mobile wagering, streaming of live races, replays, Cybertote (real time results, odds, will pays, scratches, etc.), and a betting calculator. Read more about it: mobile.dmtc.com. The schedule runs through Sept. 7. Don’t phone it in.


Golf: PGA Champions, Senior British Open, first round, 9 a.m., ESPN2:

Take your sandwich and head over to Surrey, England, for more wind, rain and tall weeds. With older gentleman playing it. The second round is also on ESPN2, before moving to ESPN (Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m.).

Golf: PGA Canadian Open, first round, noon, Golf Channel:

The tour’s beyond-U.S. borders continues, in Vancouver, where they’ve stopped rioting in the street. It finishes up on the weekend on CBS (Saturday and Sunday, noon).


MLB: Dodgers vs. Washington, Dodger Stadium, 7:10 p.m., Prime:


Relief pitcher Tyler Clippard, the Washington Nationals’ lone rep at last week’s MLB All-Star game, was summoned into the contest with two outs in the fourth inning, after the American League touched up Cliff Lee for three hits and a run. Clippard, who’s only real claim to fame is lead the majors in the non-official “holds” category, made three pitches and didn’t even get an out. He gave up a single to Adrian Beltre, but then left-fielder Tyler Pence threw out Jose Batista trying to score, ending the inning. When the NL wracked up three runs in the bottom of the fourth, Clippard, replaced the next inning by Clayton Kershaw, was somehow credited with the game’s winning pitcher — matching his win total for the first half of the season. Davey Johnson’s bullpen bully takes his seat back in right field for this series, which finishes with games Saturday (7:10 p.m., Prime) and Sunday (1:10 p.m., Prime).

MLB: Angels at Baltimore, 4:05 p.m., FSW:


Vlad Guerrero “seems like an incredibly friendly, nice dude, and I bet he works his butt off,” writes SBNation.com “Camden Chat” contributor Andrew G (linked here). “That ends the nice things I have to say about him …. Vlad Guerrero is the embodiment of my anger towards the Orioles. He needs to go away forever. Right now. … I don’t expect the Orioles to heed this call. Not for one second. Why? Because Vlad is basically a nutshell of everything that is wrong with the franchise, and releasing him would be bafflingly, uncharacteristically smart of them.” Think the Angels would take him back? The Orioles have temporarily got rid of Guerrero putting him on the 15-day disabled list with a broken bone in his right hand. It’s retroactive to July 11, so he won’t be available until next week. Guerrero has not played since being struck in the hand by a pitch from Boston’s Kyle Weiland on July 10. He’s batting .279 with seven homers and 31 RBIs. The series continues Saturday (4:05 p.m., FSW) and Sunday (10:35 a.m., FSW).


WNBA All-Star Game, 12:30 p.m., Channel 7:

Live from San Antonio. You realize it’s never been held in L.A.? Three times in New York. Twice in Connecticut. Even two times in Washington D.C. Candace Parker was voted into the West lineup, but, of course, she’s still hurt. So she’ll miss this, as well as the layup contest.



MLB: Hall of Fame inductions, 9:30 a.m., MLB Network:

Pat Gillick, an outfielder out of Notre Dame High of Sherman Oaks, L.A. Valley College and USC (on the Trojans’ 1958 national championship baseball team) who gained far more baseball glory from becoming a successful general manager in Baltimore, Seattle, Toronto and Philadelphia. He joins former Angels pitcher Bert Blyleven and second baseman Roberto Alomar in receiving their lifetime vistors’ pass to Cooperstown.


Cycling: Tour de France, final stage, 5 a.m., Versus:

It’s been a survival of the fittest tour so far, with crashes making most of the headlines. U.S. rider Christopher Horner broke his nose and had a concussion after a spill toward the end of Stage 7 and had to quit. On Sunday’s Stage 9, four riders withdrew after crashing on a slick descent. The same day, a French TV car hit Spain’s Juan Antonio Flecha, who banged into Holland’s Johnny Hoogerland, sending him into a barbed wire fence. “Unfortunately, the race is being decided by crashes,” Levi Leipheimer told the Christian Science Monitor last week. “Of course, they’re part of the sport, but I don’t think it’s right to have [them] to this degree.” Let’s just end this thing safe and sound by the time it reaches the Champs-lyses.

Soccer: Galaxy vs. Manchester City, Home Depot Center, 1 p.m., ESPN:

Another World Football Challenge event, not at the bigger Coliseum.

Swimming: FINA Aquatics World Championships, 11 a.m., Channel 4:


It’s five aquatic disciplines — swimming, water polo, diving, open water swimming and synchronized swimming — from Shanghai, China, with some of them used as qualifiers for the 2012 Summer Games. The Olympic-type swim-fan stuff starts today and runs through July 31, with the spotlight on the usual the usual suspects for the Americans: Michael Phelps, Jason Lezak, Ryan Lochte, Amanda Beard, Natalie Coughlin, Jessica Hardy, Katie Hoff and Rebecca Soni.

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Where the Vanity of Frank and Jamie is Fair game


You would almost pity the man if he weren’t such a scoundrel, or a schlemiel, depending on your perspective. Always with a fine suit on, his thin lips moving constantly as they work their way into some new sort of trouble, he’s been owner of the team for seven years, since he blew into town with Jamie, his tense, skinny Chihuahua of a wife who favors a look that could be described as Real Housewives Business Casual–tight navy skirts, highlighted blond hair, and enormous handbags.

Continue reading a piece on L.A.’s most infamous power couple in the August issue of Vanity Fair (linked here) with Emma Stone on the cover.

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A Miracle finish in how to dot the “i” in Ohio State


AP Photo/Courtesy Juli Miracle

The Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio — An Ohio State fan has received a Buckeyes-themed send-off, filling in as the ‘I’ of the O-H-I-O cheer from his open casket.
Juli Miracle of Newark tells The Columbus Dispatch she staged the photo for her 80-year-old father, Roy Miracle, before his funeral because he was fun loving and revered Ohio State.
“I didn’t do it for anybody but Dad and I,” she said. “To me, it was the best honor and tribute to do for him and OSU.”
She submitted the photo to an Ohio State website for O-H-I-O shots, noting “”Now Dad
is the permanent ‘I.’”
Miracle died July 1. The end of his funeral service was marked by an “O-H-I-O” cheer
from the congregation.

Online: www.osu.edu/O-H-I-O.
Information from: The Columbus Dispatch, http://www.dispatch.com

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More on Shaq-TNT: No cartoon versions of ‘Kazaam’ on the horizon

i-efd72d3155edb6b0999d637ebf136a90-Shaq kobe.jpg

The countdown begins to Shaquille O’Neal giving Kobe Bryant a live, studio critique. Should an NBA season develop anytime soon.

The thing is, Shaq quotes always look better on paper than they do coming out of his mouth. Maybe they’re just easier to understand.

While we were on a conference call with him and Turner Sports president David Levy earlier this morning, it wasn’t until we saw a transcript of the thing a few hours ago that we could decipher some of what he was mumbling about in this multi-year, multi-platform deal that the former Lakers star did with TNT.

Yep, he’ll be there on the NBA studio show, trading incoherency with Charles Barkley and forcing Ernie Johnson and Kenny Smith to translate.

That’ll make for great closed-captioning TV.


One of the things we did catch was that while O’Neal may have a development deal with Turner’s entertainment and animation division, it won’t involve creating a “Kazaam” cartoon series. Probably.

“Kazaam is back in the bottle and gone forever,” he said.

Levy said that it was actually Barkley who was “one of the biggest proponent of bringing Shaquille on board. We have always had four people sitting up there in any way shape or form. I think there will be enough to go around for everybody and certainly Shaquille’s insight will only enhance the overall show. We are always looking for ways to improve the show and we believe bringing Shaquille on will do that.”

More questions may have gone unanswered than answered: What will happen to Chris Weber on the TNT set? Will Shaq be part of the TNT/CBS college basketball coverage? Will he go out to do games from time to time?

Shaq wouldn’t expand much on why he picked TNT over ESPN or any other medium, just saying that ESPN was “very tempting” and that Turner and TNT “was just the best fit for me. … It was my favorite show. … it was a deal I couldn’t resist. … I didn’t want to make it a ‘this and that’-type of war.”


He won’t have trouble fitting in with the group because, as he says, “I’ve always been a team player. I know when to fit in or sit back and relax. I’m just honored that they invited me and chose me. I’m just going to make it more fun than it already is.”

He said his philosophy about giving his opinions: “Some people give unfair criticism. Some people give fair criticism. I have the ability and backing to give fair criticism. The only time I have a problem with people giving criticism is when they haven’t walked that walk. I have walked many walks in my 19-year career. I think any criticism I give should be fair. … I’m just going to try to be charismatic, funny, and very professional. My favorite analytical guy is Bryant Gumbel. I love him. He’s so smooth and he’s intelligent. Hopefully, I can get to that level one day.”

Just keep it real, sport.

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Post script, Feherty: It’s not over til the fat Welshman sings …


One last quit from David Feherty, who once upon a time thought he’d grow up to sing opera professionally:

== Greatest opera singer you’ve ever heard:


“There are great actor-singers. And there are great singers who couldn’t act, like (Luciano) Pavarotti. Who is the greatest ever when it came to tenors. Incomparable. Currently, I’d say Bryn Terfel (left). He’s the Tiger Woods of bass baritones. He’s liquid gold pouring out of the heavens. He’s got a voice that’s unfair for a big fat Welshman.”

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Foudy, Chastain: Compare, contrast comparisons to ’99 Women’s World Cup


Jay Leno, right, talks with Mia Hamm, Brandi Chastain and Julie Foudy after their 1999 Women’s World Cup victory.

Got a chance to ask Julie Foudy and Brandi Chastain, two heroes from the 1999 Women’s World Cup title team at the Rose Bowl and now part of ESPN’s coverage, to react to a quote by current U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo about how the current team was tired of being measured up to that last title squad:

Foudy: “I’d be tired of it too if I were them. It’s understandable. What I think I hear from them is they just want forge their own identity. And that’s what I love about this moment. The country can embrace this team and wrap their arms around it. And they are the ones who did it. It wasn’t someone from another team. They’ve given this country such a reason to love them. You can’t do much better than that — scoring the 122nd minute with a player down, then winning in penalty kicks (against Brazil in the quarterfinals). You couldn’t have scripted it better.”


Chastain: “I’d also say that whether they like it or not they’re tired of hearing it, we are one big team, being part of U.S. soccer. No one will take this moment away from this team, but you can’t take someone like Julie Foudy out of the U.S. soccer history books. We’re all part of this same goal to make women’s soccer in the United States and in the world more popular and give it more exposure with all these special stories. At times, when we hear that ‘we’re tired of it,’ it’s disheartening to me personally. Once you’re apart of U.S. soccer, you’re always apart of it. And we’re just trying to make soccer better.”

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