‘Hi, I’m Ricky, can I tell you about an amazing new cologne from David Beckham?’

Today’s episode of the Ellen DeGeneres Show (Channel 4, 4 p.m.) will bring back the Galaxy’s David Beckham to do a spot-on hidden-camera stunt where he’s posing as an employee at Target trying to get women to smell his new perfume.

The kicker: Ellen is in the studio, feeding Beckham all his lines.

Ellen: “It’s a very rustic scent.”

Becks: “It’s a very rough expense.”

Even better is when Becks gets the women to smell it after he’s sprayed it on his leg. And tries to convince them he’s from Australia. And Texas.

“If you stink, come and buy cologne.”

See the video above. Thanks to the Galaxy official site for posting it.

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It adds up to an MLB Net special on statistics


Don’t get lost in the ratings numbers of the Emmy Awards ceremonies or viewership of the Eagles-Falcons game on Sunday night — at least DVR the new MLB Network special, “Behind the Seams: The Stat Story” (7 p.m.), just in time for the release of the movie “Moneyball” this coming week.

Bob Costas narrates the special produced by MLB Productions that looks at the evolution of statistics as a means of measuring success in baseball. Those interviewed include the numbers’ biggest drivers: SABRmetrics guru and Boston Red Sox senior adviser on baseball operationsBill James, Elias Sports Bureau’s Steve Hirdt, MLB’s official historian John Thorn, Baseball-Reference.com’s Sean Forman, Sports Illustrated’s Joe Sheehan, Fangraphs.com contributor Jonah Keri, New York Times writer Alan Schwarz, Rotisserie League Baseball creator Dan Okrent and SB Nation’s Rob Neyer discussing the history of baseball statistics, highlighted by the formation of the Society for American Baseball Research.

An MLB Productions crew spent five days at the 41st annual SABR convention this summer in Long Beach taping interviews with members of the organization for the special.

Current general managers, managers and players, including Sandy Alderson, Billy Beane, Tony La Russa and the Angels’ Jered Weaver explain how in-depth statistical research have influenced their decisions in baseball today and the growth of fantasy baseball, and Hall of Famers Lou Brock, Tony Gwynn, Tommy Lasorda and Earl Weaver describe the advantages and disadvantages to using statistics during games.

Adds Weaver: “When you’re doing good, all the fantasy players say, “Hey, I’m so glad I picked you up.” But if you’re not doing so good they start talking about who they want to trade you for. [Fantasy players say,] “I’m getting ready to trade you if you keep this up.”

Lasorda may be familier with the line: “Numbers are like a French hooker — you can do anything you want with them.”

The former Dodgers manager says in the piece: “Today, they manage with statistics. You can’t do it. Statistics are lies. Believe me, they’re lies.”

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Media column version 09.16.11

UPDATED: 8:45 a.m.


A link to today’s media column (linked here), which focuses more into Jay Mariotti’s media comeback options now that his personal issues seem to have been resolved (along with a cyberbook tour), the NFL ratings from Week 1 and why Dan Le Batard’s dad could have his own TV show with Petro Papadakis’ father … or something like that.

What it doesn’t include: Why Jason Smith has left ESPN Radio (he announced Thursday night that he’s got a new gig with the Culver City-based NFL Network, starting Sunday, hosting “NFL Fantasy Live” and writing for nfl.com). “All Night With Jason Smith” has been on since he replaced Todd Wright in September, of 2005. He had worked for KSPN-AM (710) before that, and did his ESPN Radio national show out of the ESPN studios in L.A. Live the last couple of years.

Or why Brian Kenney has also left ESPN for the MLB Network. He starts studio work on Monday.

With Smith, Dan Patrick, Tony Bruno and Erik Kuselias gone from ESPN Radio, and Scott Van Pelt and Doug Gottlieb still around, what does the national side still have to offer. If you said Colin Cowherd and Mike & Mike …. sorry.

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Time Warner snags state high school title games

A 15-year deal announced today between Time Warner Cable and the CIF state offices means that the cable company becomes the “official distributor” of the state and regional championship events starting with the football playoffs at Home Depot Center in December.

Those events have regularily been televised on Fox Sports Net throughout the state with the help of Comcast Cable distributing it in the northern part of the state.

TWC will have a minimum of 60 games to produce for cable TV, the internet and mobile platforms, with a minimum of 80 games throughout the life of the deal.

CIF executive director Marie M. Ishida called it an “unprecidented partnership tha twill bring exposure to CIF schools and athletes like never before.”

It is not clear yet whether TWC will sell programming of the games to Fox Sports Net to continue televising it.

Recently, Time Warner Cable purchased the rights to distribute Lakers home and road regular season games on its own cable channel, starting in 2012, but no deals have been announced for what cable systems will be allowed to carry that network.

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Because Staples Center isn’t loud enough


One of the latest staples to the Staples Center Experience is getting used to the new 4D high-def videoboard, where occasionally you can find the score and time of game mixed in with all the other flashing, strobing and iris-searing visuals.

Add to that a mega sound system, and we’re definitely ready to blow the hinges off this office supply store.


Staples Center, starting its 13th year of existence, announced today a new $3.4 million JBL Professional Vertec Audio System, which they say is “a premier loudspeaker system that is in use worldwide to support numerous international tours and special events. …

“The sound system upgrade was due in large part to address the arena’s need to provide the best audio system and technology available on the market to its tenant teams and national touring productions and concerts, as well as for special events like professional boxing. ”

The arena “needed” the upgrade? Or someone decided it wasn’t loud enough already.

Part of the gagetry, they say, is a Wi-Fi tablet that remotely adjusts delay times, EQ, and levels, so there’s better coverage throughout the building.

Sorry, but all the subtleties here aren’t something we’re bound to hear, with this perpetual ringing already in our ears from previous Staples Center events.

“Technology has grown tremendously since we opened Staples Center in 1999 and as part of our overall annual upgrades we decided it was time for us to improve our audio system,” said Lee Zeidman, the arena’s general manager, managing to avoid tweeting about the new and improved subwoofers and tweeters.

Thanks, but we’ll probably just put on our Bose headphones and enjoy the visual experience as best we can.

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Beware the wrath of old man King: Another Dodger season-seat holder who says he’s mad as heck and isn’t going to take it anymore


Longtime listener, perhaps first-time caller Larry King made it clear that he’s dropping his Dodgers’ season seats after this season because of his disappointment with Frank McCourt’s running of the franchise.

Calling in today to the MLB Network Radio channel on SiriusXM today to vent with hosts Kevin Kennedy and Jim Duquette, the former CNN talk-show host said:


“My contract’s up on my season tickets. I’m in partnership with another guy. We’re not renewing and the reason we’re not renewing is that I think we spent $400 a ticket for a guy to, instead of bidding on any free agent, spent the money on himself. And that to me is inexcusable. And I know Frank McCourt personally, I don’t dislike him personally, but he does not belong as an owner of a baseball team in my opinion.”

The Brooklyn native King, who only turns 78 this fall, made his intial call to the show to go on a rant about the fact the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw was ejected from Wednesday’s game after hitting Arizona’s Gerardo Parra in the top of the sixth inning.

“I am really ticked at that incredibly stupid call last night by Major League Baseball and (home plate umpire) Bill Welke in throwing out Kershaw,” said King. “I’ve gone to a lot of baseball in my years. That was dumb, beyond dumb.


“I like umpires…but when umpires take control, more of their control of the game rather than the game playing itself, and they last night took away a chance, the kid was pitching unbelievable. He might win the Cy Young Award. He’s already pitched to the guy (Parra) and never threw at him, he’s throwing a one-hitter, and the guy leaned in and got hit slightly on the wrist, never hurt, ran down to first base.

“And the umpire not only throws him out, throws him out like he’s trying out for a movie to be with (Arnold) Schwarzenegger, a violent heave of the hands like the world has come to an end.

“No one has told Kershaw that if you throw near him you’re out, and no one has told (manager Don) Mattingly. The whole thing is a joke. I’d love to hear an explanation by (MLB executive and former Dodgers manager Joe) Torre, Welke and the league. That should not go unheeded because I know that umpires can sometimes run amok. But that was bizarre.”

Nearly as bizarre as King thinking he could call into a talk show and actually make perfect sense.

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Belichick in the raw: The NFL Net has it


Bill Belichick may not have the stage presence of Bill Bellamy. Or even Billy Barty.

But despite what you may think, something seems to click with “Bill Belichick: A Football Life,” which launches tonight (6 p.m., NFL Network).

The New England Patroits’ otherwise too-bland-for-TV head coach allowed NFL Films to hook him with a microphone for the entire 2009 season and edit it into a two-part documentary. The second part airs Sept. 22 at 7 p.m.

The attempt of NFL Films here is to create a series with unprecended asses to an individual, to tell their stories as they move through their life in the NFL. Future episodes will focus on Kurt Warner, Walter Payton and the late Reggie White.

“Bill Belichick doesn’t only make history – he studies it; he understands his place in it; and he appreciates our desire to capture it,” said NFL Films President Steve Sabol. “Like Vince Lombardi’s Packers in 1967, Belichick and the Patriots gave us access to his football life and what we created is a portrait of the coach, the father, the taskmaster – and most importantly – the man.”

Actor Josh Charles narrates it. A quick preview (linked here).

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Pipe it in: Your NFL Week 2 NFL broadcasting lineup


So here’s a construction truck, driving down the street recently. Apparently in search of a particular kind of pipe to use on his next job.

Bag it. The NFL’s on. It can wait.

Here’s what the networks have to offer those without DirecTV’s “Sunday Ticket”:

== Oakland-Buffalo, 10 a.m. on Channel 2 (with Kevin Harlan and Solomon Wilcots)
== Chicago-New Orleans, 10 a.m. on Channel 11 (with Joe Buck and Troy Aikman)
== San Diego-New England, 1 p.m. on Channel 2 (with Jim Nantz and Phil Simms)
== Philadelphia-Atlanta, 5:15 p.m. on Channel 4 (with Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth).

Why it matters?

A record 107.4 million viewers flocked to Week 1 of the NFL, according to Nielsen’s numbers for games televised between Sept. 8-12 on Fox, CBS, NBC and ESPN. That translates into the most-watched opening weekend ever in league history.

NBC’s prime-time lineup benefitted the most, having more than 27 million viewers for its Sept. 8 New Orleans-Green Bay Thursday night opener, and then 25 million more for Sunday’s Dallas-N.Y. Jets contest on 9/11. It didn’t hurt that both went down to the final minute before the outcome was determined. The top six highest-rated prime-time TV shows for the week of Sept. 5-11 were those two football games and related pre-game shows and NFL specials.

In all 30 NFL markets, the NFL was the top-ranked TV event, and it was tops in 53 of Nielsen’s 56 metered markets – including L.A.

Fox’s Sunday afternoon national window of the N.Y. Giants-Washington game had 25.8 million viewers as well. The L.A. market was initially slated to get that game, but KTTV-Channel 11 made a late switch to carry Minnesota at San Diego when the Chargers sold out. With that game drawing a 10.2 rating in L.A., there’s more than 800,000 viewers that could have been added to the Giants-Redskins total.

The viewership spike comes despite the fact fewer watched ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” doubleheader than did in 2010. The New England-Miami game had 14.6 million viewers (down 3 percent from the N.Y. Jets-Baltimore game a year ago), and the Oakland-Denver game had 11.1 million viewers (down 7 percent from San Diego-Kansas City last year).

How much can the NFL break this stuff down?

It notes in a press release that the Cowboys-Jets was the first meeting in five years between starting quarterbacks with Hispanic heritage. Meaning, the lure of Mark Sanchez and Tony Romo were responsible for the fact that “Sunday Night Football” had a record 2.74 million Hispanic viewers?

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The stars align for the official announcement of the 2015 Special Olympics Summer World Games for L.A.


The Associated Press
Tim Shriver, the CEO and President of Special Olympics, addresses the Staples Center crowd during the announcement today that the 2015 Summer Games will be held in Los Angeles.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver was “always the master of the bait and switch,” said her son, Tim, with a slight grin.

“She was great at gathering everyone together to believe they were going to meet some ‘real big stars,’” he said, “but eventually we’d realize that we were about to meet some other kinds of ‘real’ stars.”


Those would be the competitors for the Special Olympics, an organization Eunice Kennedy Shriver started with a summer day camp in 1963 to help empower children and adults with intellectual disabilities through sports and therapeutic physical fitness.

In a city already chock full of Hollywood’s brightest, Los Angeles will see things in a whole special light with the formal announcement Wednesday that the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games are officially a Southern California event.

Tim Shriver, Eunice’s third-oldest of five children and the current chairman and CEO of Special Olympics, told a Staples Center press conference audience that included his sister and former California first lady, Maria, that L.A. will “be a home to our call for global action to teach everyone that nobody is a ‘nobody.’ . . . you can look to Special Olympics to learn about courage, guts and raw determination.”

In less than four years from now, some 7,000 Special Olympic athletes from the four million who compete worldwide in 170 nations will descent upon Southern California, along with about 3,000 coaches, in what is being called the “largest humanitarian event” on the planet.

With the campuses of USC and UCLA designated as the Olympic villages, there will be 21 sports staged, open to the public and free of charge, in places such as Long Beach (sailing and rowing), Home Depot Center in Carson (soccer, tennis), Griffith Park (golf, cycling) and the L.A. Equestrian Center.

USC will also be used for track and field, basketball and swimming, while UCLA will host volleyball, judo, gymnastics, soccer and power lifting.The South Hall of the L.A. Convention Center will be put to use for bocce ball, roller skating, table tennis and team handball.

All of this will generate the need for some 40,000 volunteers, said Pat McClenahan, the president and CEO of the 2015 Special Olympics Organizing Committee.

“It’s a huge responsibility and we are glad to accept it,” said McClenahan, a former longtime TV executive in Southern California whose 24 year old daughter, Kelly, is a Special Olympic athlete with cerebral palsy.

Continue reading

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A Kindle-r, through-the-ringer Jay Mariotti, after a no-contest plea

UPDATED: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday:


Did Jay Mariotti beat the system? It beat him up pretty good, thanks for asking.

The former Chicago Sun-Times columnist who ventured out to AOL Fanhouse and ESPN “Around The Horn” bellower pleaded no contest today to bargained-down misdemeanor charges of stalking and assault connected with a former girlfriend, and was sentenced to 90 days community service, a year of counseling and five years probation.

Basically, so he could leave it all behind. Somewhat.

Attorney Shawn Holley said her client maintained his innocence and pleaded no contest as a “practical consideration in light of the expense and unpredictability of trial. …

“Although Mr. Mariotti would have liked to have told his side of the story at trial, the fact that he is an accomplished writer provided him another avenue, in this case a book, to tell his side in an unconventional but progressive manner.”

So, as far as the system goes, the last words here will come from Mariotti, in a Kindle, $8.99 version of a 328 KB book he’s written called “The System” (linked here).


The Amazon.com description calls it “a raw, revealing, hold-nothing-back look at his eventful life. Mariotti takes the reader to places most authors do not, detailing his ordeal in a Los Angeles court case — the lies, run-arounds and suspicious machinations involving police, prosecutors, lawyers and a money-seeking opportunist — at a time when the justice system is being examined more critically than ever.

“Mariotti also rewinds a career filled with powerful experiences, fond memories, cautionary tales and a relentless trail of tumult and personal hardship. Whether he’s maneuvering through the corruption of the Chicago media industry, covering the rock-star career of Jordan, enduring a heart attack while on assignment in Katrina-ravaged New Orleans or dealing with a homophobic slur that became a national story, Mariotti recounts his three decades in journalism, including his travels around the world while following the biggest events, greatest athletes and most notable stories. He is a survivor who cuts through the traditional filters of his industry — and the one he covers — to deliver what people should know about sports, the media, the legal system and life in 21st-century America.”

Mariotti emailed us a copy of the book in PDF form, and we’ve started reading.

Ever see the movie “Something Wild” with Jeff Daniels and Melanie Griffith in 1986? There’s a starting point.

Mariotti describes his something of a mid-life crisis, escapes Chicago for L.A., gets involved with a woman, and his life is turned upside down because he stepped in a trap.

This is his account of the whole thing, starting with a chapter that reads “Used and Abused” and begins:

“At this point I might suggest children turn away and watch ‘Glee.’ I am exposing intimate details of a difficult relationships, a hard lesson for those too trusting about romance and shortsighted motives.”

Mariotti explains how between the legal system and this woman, he probably spent more than $700,000 to try to get himself free — that includes losing three jobs along the way, including a sports-talk gig at 710-AM KSPN.

You can follow him on a new (for legal reasons) Twitter account — @MariottiJ – where just a few minutes ago he wrote: “The book should answer all questions and serves as a cautionary tale for those in the public eye in the 21st century.”

We’ll talk to him as soon as we’re finished with the manuscript.

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