Media column version 09.23.11

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A link to today’s media column (linked here) where we refocus efforts to figuring out how the NFL, CBS and KCBS Channel 2 combined to muff the transfer of the Raiders-Bills game to the Chargers-Patriots game last Sunday, along with a review of a new ESPN-made flick about Steve Bartman, the Dodgers’ new radio home starting next year and the HBO replay of the Mayweather-Ortiz fight complete with Larry Merchant’s promise to beat up the winner in a previous lifetime.

What today’s column woefally failed to include: A well-deserved thanks and good luck to Don Barrett, who today wraps up his website, LARadio.com, after 15 years. “I get to do something most radio people aren’t able to do when their radio station run ends – say goodbye,” he wrote.” Today closes the chapter on my fifth career. I have been blessed with numerous journeys – radio, tv, movie marketing, family therapist, and author. … As John Chancellor said when he left NBC, ‘the culture has passed me by.’ I have similar feelings about LARadio.com. It’s just time.” The consolidation of local radio, combined with layoffs and the way Facebook and other social media has allowed his “LARPs” to keep in touch all kind of led to this move.

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One of the people Don thanks in his final column: Scott St. James, “The Jammer,” one of the original on-air folks at the first real all-sports station in L.A. — KMPC-AM (710) in the early ’90s. Writes Don: “And Scott St. James contributed a thought-provoking column for a time a few years ago. His observations about life were always spot on, or at least feisty enough to provoke conversation. Scott was a superstar in St. Louis before becoming a LARP and tv star. I am at a loss to understand why a general talk or sports station hasn’t snagged him for a regular show. Never at a loss for words, Scott is a master storyteller and isn’t that what radio is all about.”

Don was always a great resource on cross-checking stories that could happen all the time at places like all-sports KSPN-AM (710) or KLAC-AM (570), even KLAA-AM (830). He was always willing to give full credit as well when re-running a note he found. His network of sources were invaluable to keeping up on the weekly flip-flopping of programing, talent and station management changes.

And, above all, he’s simply a very nice, stand-up guy.

Don goes down smokin’ too — he also had the not-yet-announced news of the Dodgers’ pending radio switch from AM-790 to Clear Channel’s AM-570 starting next season, calling it a three-to-five year deal. He’s always dialed in.

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Dodgers moving to AM-570 starting in 2012

The Dodgers can’t get a TV rights deal in place to save their hides. But a radio deal … that’s different. And maybe a new influx of income for the time being.

After airing games the last four seasons on talk-radio KABC-AM (790), the Dodgers are expected to announce Friday a new multi-year deal to move to all-sports KLAC-AM (570) starting in 2012, according to more than one source not authorized to speak about the contract.

The Dodgers, who have apparently got the OK through bankruptcy court to approve the move, had been with KABC from 1973 to 1997 before skipping around to KXTA (1998-2002) and KFWB (’03-’07) prior to circling back to KABC. KMPC (1958-60) and KFI (’61-’72) have also been Dodger flagship stations.

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They’ll do the talking

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Broadcast pairings for games that seem to matter to you this weekend:

College football on Saturday:
== USC at Arizona State, 7:15 p.m., ESPN: Joe Tessitore, Rod Gilmore and Shelley Smith
== UCLA at Oregon State, 12:30 p.m., Prime Ticket: Bill Macdonald, J.J. Stokes and Amy Bender
== Oregon at Arizona, 7:15 p.m., ESPN2: Carter Blackburn and Brock Huard
== LSU at West Virginia, 5 p.m., Channel 7: Brent Musburger, Kirk Herbstreit and Erin Andrews
== Notre Dame at Pittsburgh, 9 a.m, Channel 7: Dave Pasch, Chris Spielman, Urban Meyer and Quint Kessenich
== Cal at Washington, 12:30 p.m., FSW: Craig Bolerjack, Joel Klatt and Petros Papadakis
== San Diego State at Michigan, 9 a.m., Big Ten Network: Eric Collins, Chris Martin and Dionne Miller
== Arkansas at Alabama, 12:30 p.m., Channel 2: Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson and Tracy Wolfson

The NFL on Sunday:
== N.Y. Giants at Philadelphia, 10 a.m., Channel 11: Kenny Albert, Darryl Johnston and Tony Siragusa
== Kansas City at San Diego, 1 p.m., Channel 2: Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts
== Green Bay at Chicago, 1 p.m., Channel 11: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman and Pam Oliver
== Pittsburgh at Indianapolis, 5:15 p.m., Channel 4: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth and Michelle Tafoya.

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What would Bill Belichick wear for Halloween?

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Part II of “Bill Belichick: A Football Life” (NFL Network, tonight at 7 p.m., following a re-air of Part I at 6 p.m.) promises more surprises in documenting the otherwise stoic existence of the New England Patroits’ head coach, geting more into his upbringing, how he has trouble unlocking his car door, and how he dresses for a Randy Moss Halloween party during the 2009 season.

Not to give it away, but with his get-up, he’d be more in line for coaching the Oakland Raiders. Arrrrrrggg.

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Erin Andrews can’t be this naive … can she?

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ESPN aspiring sideline reporter Erin Andrews is featured in the October edition of Self magazine, a fact we only know of now because a publicist from the magazine has given us a heads up.

As well as photos and videos.

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The pitch: Andrews is “looking amazing and demoing the latest workout craze-CrossFit. I thought you may be interested in this and the photos.”

But, of course.

“Please let me know if you would like any of the other photos.”

We insist. Send more. Send them all. Exhibit A, B and C. She can use all the altruistic attention that she continues to bring to herself, despite how readers may interpret it in the privacy of their own homes.

It is worth noting that Ms. Andrews appears to be wearing her cool Reebok ZigTech shoes, which she is still allowed to endorse through ESPN’s policy (as long as she’s not reporting about a rival shoe company on ESPN time, which would be a conflict of interest, and a huge mistake).

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To reset her recent past: She’s been through an incident where someone was spying on her through a hotel door peephole camera, going to court, having to testify, having videos of it leaked on the Internet. She says she never wants that to happen again.

Is this considered a compromise? Or more compromising positions to expose herself to the world?

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Or is her existence on the planet Naive, which apparenly lacks in oxygen supply to the brain, make this all fine, unable to fathom how it could put her into another bad situation?

Having your picture snapped on the sideline while you’re eating a submarine sandwich is one thing. This is another. Like that GQ spread she did two years ago (linked here) getting all dolled up in football equipment and being put in a locker room with some other fellows.

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How can anyone feel sorry for her anymore?

We only hope this has an happy ending …

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Let’s go to the video:

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More (or less) on what happened Sunday with the Raiders-to-Chargers switcheroo

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More questions, and some answers, from NFL TV spokesman Dan Masonson after KCBS Channel 2 questionably left the Raiders-Bills game with 27 seconds remaining and the final score in doubt and went to 90 seconds of commercials and promo before joining the start of the Chargers-Patroits game at 1:15 p.m on Sunday:

Q: Do you think there’s someone, based on 20/20 hindsight, who might be able to address this situation? Where did the switch occur, and was it automated, or done by a person following orders?

A: The switch was made by CBS which was following the NFL’s secondary market TV policy which states that Los Angeles is a secondary market for the Chargers. All secondary markets must carry in their entirety all road games of their local team. Los Angeles has been a secondary market for the Chargers for at least the past 35 years.

Q: Who can explain why it benefits L.A. to be a secondary-market team of the Chargers if these kinds of things happen?

A: This is based on location of the market – the Los Angeles TV affiliates’ signals reach within 75 miles of the Chargers stadium. This benefits Chargers fans in the Los Angeles area who were counting on watching Chargers-Patriots in its entirety.

Q: Can someone explain more protocol on why this happened, versus a forward-thinking person making a judgment based on the fact that an L.A. viewer just invested three hours of watching a game they weren’t allowed to see end?

Q: The policy here is not Los Angeles-centric. The same switch to the later game happened in primary and secondary markets for all road teams playing on CBS at 4:15 PM ET on Sunday. This switch follows a TV policy which promises to show road games of the local team in their entirety. If the Chargers had scored a touchdown on the first drive of the game, the team’s fans in the Los Angeles market would have missed a key play for a game they were told they were going to get in its entirety.

Q: Here’s another way to look at it: ESPN’s policy is to stay with a game until it ends. They may direct viewers to another channel (ESPN2, or Classic or whatever) for the start of a game that’s coming up and overlapping. Could CBS have moved the start of the Chargers-Patriots to CBS Sports Network cable channel?

A: NFL policy is to stay with the game you start through to its conclusion, unless a switch is necessary to show the local team’s game in its entirety. ESPN shows a single game in a national window. That’s different from the situation we are talking about with a regionalized game on broadcast television, so switching to a cable outlet is not an option.

Q: Could there have been a split screen — like CBS has done with the NCAA tournament?

A: No.

Q: What happens in the future if this comes up again — there are two more cases where CBS has a doubleheader and the Chargers have a road game that starts at 1:15 p.m.? It’s a huge disservice to L.A. viewers — whether or not they follow the Raiders still — if there’s no credible explanation.

A: When situations like this arise in the future, we will take a look at them. We always review our policies and seek ways to improve them. But keep in mind that we have to balance many different factors and conflicting audience desires.

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A classical approach to launching a ‘different’ sports media site, if you’re willing to buy into it

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On one end, you’ve got the creation of Grantland.com, the dreamwork of Bill Simmons and the financial muscle of ESPN backing it up.

Over on this end, there’s another classic approach to getting quality sportswriting to the masses.

When we had first come across (linked here) the concept of a sports website called The Classical a few weeks ago, soliciting seed money pledges that would get it to a $50,000 goal so it could launch by Sept. 29, we noted that 98 had signed up, kicked in $3,542 at that point, and there were 44 days to go.

Checking back with 10 days to go, it appears to have reached its goal. And even a little more pocket change — nearly 1,000 backers are there now, about a grand past the goal, with more probably coming.

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Using the website kickstarter.com, which helps groups raise money to fund projects such as plays, technology, documentaries and video games, this New York-based group of experienced sportswriters put out there an idea of wanting to deliver a product “the way that smart people talk about sports,” and not make it just another blog or Tumblr. The start-up money will fund a budget for one year to keep at least two people working on it fulltime while “we show and prove ourselves.”

You can see by the site (linked here) that one backer kicked in $5,000, but it’s the little ones that add up: 163 kicked in $50, 283 had $25, 173 went with $10, 104 had $5 and 43 just was OK with $1.

It adds up, eh? Maybe it will even allow them by buy the domain name www.theclassical.com.

Check out the site for more info on the writers pulling this together, their credentials, and their vision statement.

And, for what it’s worth, note that Simmons was voted the No. 1 in the “five biggest jerks in sports” by Maxim magazine in its October issue (Frank McCourt was No. 5) for being the “most popular sportswriter in America (and) also the most thin-skinned.”

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Play It Forward: Sept. 19-25 on your sports calendar

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

THIS WEEK’S BEST BETS

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Reality show series premieres: “Dancing With The Stars,” Season 13, tonight and Tuesday at 8 p.m., Channel 7; “Amazing Race,” Season 19, Sunday at 8 p.m., Channel 2:

Metta World Artest Wurrier, or something like that, is on one side of the dance floor, and TV week. World-famous around-the-globe sailor Zac Sunderland is over on the other end, taking on some water. Someday, maybe, they’ll meet in the middle of the week on “Survivor.” But until then, the ultimate goal for both the Lakers’ forward and the Thousand Oaks wunderkind is surviving this latest incarnation of the battle of the reality show stars.

Give Peace a chance here. He’s one of two athletes (with soccer goalie Hope Solo, here with her instructor below) who’ve been recruited to the recurring dance-off taped in L.A., even though the series is very close to slipping on its own banana appeal. Jocks have had the inside track on winning this tango, following in the footsteps of Emmitt Smith, Apolo Ono, Helio Castroneves, Kristi Yamaguchi, Shawn Johnson and Hines Ward. Note: There’s never been an NBA dancin’ fool. Mostly because the league is full tilt by this time and it’s unavoidable.

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Over the next 10 weeks, Artest/Peace may hope for some NBA labor peace happening sooner rather than later. When asked by ESPNLA.com earlier this week during his rehersals if it was more fun than he expected, Artest responded: “Definitely. When I first envisioned myself ever doing ‘Dancing With The Stars’ … I’m like, ‘No. Impossible. I’m not doing that. I could never ever move like that because it looks like a female.’ But now that you’re actually doing it, it’s not that bad, you know? … I’m sure when my friends see it, they’re just gonna kill me.” Maybe not when they realize you’re donating all your money, starting with the $125,000 appearance fee, to the Cancer Research Foundation, on behalf of his daughter. Our solo hope: Just finish ahead of Chaz Bono.

Meanwhile, when we last saw Kid Sunderland, he was helping rescue his sister, Abby, out of the Indian Ocean when her attempt to beat his record for youngest solo navigator around the planet capsized on her. Here, the 19-year-old Zac is joined by his dad, Laurence, in another adventure.

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“We’ve had to work together in the yachting arena,” Laurence says of helping his son achieve his world sailing record. “[There] you don’t play for points or money – you play for life.” Among the 11 new teams (linked here) are also Olympic snowboarders Andy Finch and Tommy Czeschin, as well as former NFL player Marcus Pollard and his wife Amani. According to spies who report to Wikipedia (linked here), taping of the show started in mid-June as teams were “seen leaving Los Angeles International Airport and heading to Taiwan.” By plane? That’s way too easy.

MONDAY

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MLB: Angels at Toronto, 4:07 p.m., FSW:

Did you know Canadian bacon is actually ham? While the AL West lead is slipping further away, the Angels have four days in Toronto to figure out if they’re still going to come home involved in this thing.

MLB: St. Louis at Philadelphia, 4 p.m., MLB Network:

Just another day for Roy Halladay, and his Cy candidacy. Watch and learn, Clayton.

NFL: St. Louis at N.Y. Giants, 5:30 p.m., ESPN:

One giant leap for ESPN viewers, and a week removed from any 9/11 remembrances.

TUESDAY

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MLB: Dodgers vs. San Francisco, Dodger Stadium, 7:10 p.m., Channel 9:

The Dodgers’ home schedule comes full circle. It started on March 31 against the Giants with Clayton Kershaw against Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum and the defending World Series champs, and now it’s against a Giants team that won’t be able to catch Arizona for the NL West lead — but Cy Young candidate Kershaw is going after his 20th win, while Lincecum would settle for his record not dropping to .500. Prediction: Kershaw picks up the win, and the Big Panda doesn’t hit for the cycle. The last two games of the season at Dodger Stadium are Wednesday and Thursday (both at 7:10 p.m., Prime).

MLB: Tampa Bay at N.Y. Yankees, 4 p.m., MLB Network:

East coast bias? Of course. The Rays play seven of their last 10 against the AL East leaders, scrambling for a wildcard spot. Will the Yankees help the Red Sox out here?

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WEDNESDAY

NHL exhibition: Kings vs. Phoenix, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m.:

Ice it up. The Kings and Ducks will also square off Sunday (6:30 p.m.) at the Lakers’ abandoned home near L.A. Live.

THURSDAY

Golf: PGA Tour Championship, first round, 10 a.m., Golf Channel:

From the East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, with Coke sponsoring everything, comes the final 30 left in the FedEx Chase for the Ginormous Glass Cup (is that what it’s called again)? Golf Channel has the second round Friday while NBC has the last two rounds (Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m.). Winner gets $1.4 mil and, perhaps, the whole vat of flavored sugar water.

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FRIDAY

Movie: “Moneyball,” theatres nationwide:

Women will watch it for Brad Pitt. Men will watch it to see how Brad Pitt pulls off being Billy Beane, and if the baseball scenes are realistic enough with Jonah Hill as a main character. That kind of compromise could turn this into the pits.

MLB: Angels vs. Oakland, Angel Stadium, 7:05 p.m., FSW:

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Here’s the real “Moneyball” series — Beane’s A’s trying to keep the Angels from the playoff payoff. Are the Angels coming home still involved in the AL West race, or just wandering toward the finish line? The home stretch comes back to the Athletics back in town, where the Angels won two of three against them back in Oakland last week. The series finishes up Saturday (6:05 p.m., Channel 13, with a cool gumball machine giveaway) and Sunday (12:35 p.m., FSW).

MLB: Dodgers at San Diego, 7:05 p.m., Prime:

The next-to-last series of the year drags on Saturday (5:35 p.m., Prime) and Sunday (1:05 p.m., Prime).

SATURDAY

College football: USC at Arizona State, 7:15 p.m., ESPN:

The 3-0 Trojans hit the road for the first time, facing their first true “test” – -against a Sun Devils team that just lost to Illinois.

College football: UCLA at Oregon State, 12:30 p.m., Prime Ticket:

We cannot guarantee that Rick Neuheisel will make this trip to Corvallis, but we just know it’ll be over quickly. Because it’s a day game again.

College football: Notre Dame at Pittsburgh, 9 a.m., ESPN:; Oregon at Arizona, 7:15 p.m., ESPN2; Cal at Washington, 12:30 p.m., FSW:

Keep the camera on Brian Kelly. He may explode this week.

MLS: Galaxy at Columbus, 4:30 p.m., FSW:

A Southern California football team visits Ohio State territory on a fall afternoon.

SUNDAY

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Horse racing: Final day at Pomona Fairplex, first post, 1 p.m.:

Can astronauts make a satellite wager from anywhere in space for these races? Can they also order deep-friend butter sticks that are available to fans entering this arena?

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NFL Pittsburgh at Indianapolis, 5:15 p.m., Channel 4:

It looked good about a month ago. Really good. Sorry, no flex schedule for a few weeks.

MLB: Boston at N.Y. Yankees, 10 a.m., TBS; San Francisco at Arizona, 1 p.m., TBS:

Hey batta: Get used to this network’s coverage: It begins its playoff schedule on Sept. 30. For better or not-so-better.

Beach volleyball: Hermosa Beach Open, 3 p.m., Versus:

Where summer is endless. Except this marks the end of the somewhat abbreviated pro beach volleyball tour. Sorry. Next summer: The Olympics in London.

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Sorry L.A. Raider viewers: The NFL’s ‘obligation’ to start the Chargers on time makes your game’s finish ‘Heidi’ and seek …

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At 1:13 p.m. today, San Diego kicked Oakland to the curb in the Los Angeles’ TV market.

Raiders’ viewers who already invested three hours into watching their team take a 35-31 lead at Buffalo with 27 seconds left were faced with this: The Bills approaching the line of scrimmage, third and 10 from the Raiders’ 15, about to take a shot at the end zone and possibly seize the lead.

Then a scroll came across the screen on the KCBS-Channel 2 coverage, and a voice said: “Due to contractual obligations, we now leave this game to bring you the start of your next scheduled game after these words from your local station.”

The scroll indicated we’d be going to San Diego’s game at New England.

“Obligated?” Yes, because, as we’ve seen in the past, the NFL-less Los Angeles is a secondary TV market to the neighbors to the south, the San Diego Chargers — meaning, we are force-fed Chargers games under league guidelines.

Why? Because, is all we’re told.

You thought 16 years later, after having no team in L.A., someday we’d have the picnic of getting the best games possible, and actually seeing the finish of one that we’d already decided to watch from the start at 10 a.m.?

Imagine if you’re the one at the switch having to make that call, knowing the backlash, but just following a lame rule.

Before the shotgun snap even took place with Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick calling signals, the swirling CBS logo came up, followed by a commercial for McDonald’s sausage McMuffins, one for a cell phone company, another for Nissan, one more for McDonald’s extra-value menu, a station promo the “CSI” season premiere, and then an areal shot of with Jim Nantz proclaiming: “Looking down at Gillette Stadium in Foxoboro, Mass. — Chargers, Patriots … hello friends.”

Nantz and Phil Simms bantered a bit, sized up the weather conditions, and eventually kickoff occured.

Meanwhile, back in Buffalo …

While we’re not obligated to tell you what happened with the end of Oakland-Buffalo, the scroll roll at the bottom of the screen said at 1:17 p.m. that Buffalo took a 37-35 lead with 14 seconds left. A minute later, CBS left the Chargers-Patriots game and went back to the New York studio where James Brown narrated the game-winning play: Fitzpatrick hitting tight end David Nelson on fourth-down to go ahead. The PAT made it 38-35.

Eight minutes later, the Chargers-Pats game was switched to the studio for the replay of the Raiders’ Hail Mary attempt to win, a pass intercepted in the end zone that could have been caught for a game-winning TD.

A KCBS-Channel 2 spokesman suggested we contact a CBS spokesperson. The network referred us to an NFL spokesman. The NFL offered neither an apology nor an offer to revisit the policy to see if it can altered in future weeks.

“Los Angeles is a secondary market for the Chargers,” said NFL TV spokesman Dan Masonson. “All secondary markets must carry in their entirety all road games of their local team.”

That’s all your obligated to say?

“We have nothing to add, that is the policy,” he said.

You can revisit the contract, right? You can admit this was a mistake and the rules of this could have been more flexable, correct?

At ESPN, the network policy is to stay until the end of the game, even if it means joining the next one late. Of course, ESPN can always direct viewers to another channel (ESPN2, Classic, etc.) to see the finish. NBC has directed people to its cable channel, Versus, when an NHL playoff game runs long.

What’s CBS’ options? Or Fox? Apparently with the NFL, it’s cut and dried. And their answer — then go pay $300-plus for DirecTV’s “NFL Sunday Ticket.”

But that completely misses the point.

“Heidi” and seek, my friends.

It may not have been as important as the so-called “Heidi Bowl” of 1968 (linked here) — when the Raiders’ comeback win over the N.Y. Jets wasn’t seen by NBC audiences because the start of the movie “Heidi” aired at 7 p.m. as scheduled.

And know this, Raider fan: If the roles were reversed, and the Chargers were coming down to the wire in a game, and your game was scheduled to come on next, the NFL would stay with the Chargers until it ended.

So maybe it was a public service, as it turned out, that you didn’t see how it ended. But you’d at least deserved that right.

Charge this one to our accounts should the Chargers officially move back to L.A. and really obligate us to watch their games.

And if it’s any consolation: NFL Network will replay the Raiders-Bills game Wednesday at 5 p.m. PT. Uninterrupted in the final 27 seconds.

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Mariners give Niehaus the Chick Hearn treatment … will we wait until he’s long gone before we put up a statue up for Vin Scully?

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The Associated Press

SEATTLE — With his grandkids crawling all over his bronzed likeness, the Seattle Mariners honored late Hall of Fame broadcaster Dave Niehaus today with the first statue in franchise history.

The sculpture sits on the right field concourse of Safeco Field and the radio booth where Niehaus called hundreds of games serves as the backdrop.

“When I first saw the pictures of the clay version of this amazing statue, I cried with a smile on my face,” Niehaus’ widow, Marilyn, said during today’s ceremony.

“He would be humbled by this honor. I know his family is.”

The image created by Chicago artist Lou Cella is of Niehaus, who was the Mariners’ lead broadcaster from the first game in franchise history through the end of the 2010 season, sitting behind a desk wearing a headset, with a scorebook and microphone on the desktop.

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