Crisis Averted! To accurately capture the end of the DirecTV-Fox gentleman’s truce, we turn to the money maker of the group

i-144520a6f9cec09a4870786d31999cfa-handshake.jpg

We’ll go with the info provided by the Wall Street Journal (linked here), which has some deep-rooted ties with News Corp and had an investment in this story getting done the right way:

NEW YORK (Dow Jones)–DirecTV Group Inc. (DTV) and Fox agreed to renew their contract for the programmer’s namesake network, Fox News and a handful of cable channels such as FX and National Geographic, ending a public spat that threatened to leave viewers without certain channels.

In Los Angeles, that would also include keeping Fox Sports West, Prime Ticket, Speed, Fox Soccer Channel … you know, stuff you’d normall watch.

Terms of the multiyear agreement weren’t disclosed. Fox and DirecTV spokesmen declined to give further details on the deal.

Well played. Fight it out in public, then don’t give the public the details of the agreement.

A pact allowing DirecTV to carry a package of Fox cable channels and regional sports networks expired Sept. 30, prompting a dispute between the companies as they initially disagreed on renewal terms. Similar agreements for Fox News and the network — presumably much larger deals — were set to expire at the end of December and January, respectively. Fox’s attempt to bundle all the properties into a single renewal arrangement complicated discussions at times, a DirecTV executive said last week.

C’mon, let’s just get it all done at once…

The two sides used websites and television ads to make their cases to the public. For example, DirecTV had said Fox demanded a 40% rate increase, while the network operator said that was untrue.

And cable companies sat back and waited for the flood of new disgrunteled customers. Didn’t happen.

“We both know the past 10 days have been challenging, but we’re pleased that both sides could eventually come together to ensure our viewers continue to enjoy Fox programming,” the companies said late Monday in a joint statement.

Plus, it insures we continue to make gobs of money.

Such disputes have become increasingly common in the television industry as network owners demand higher compensation for their content, and distributors face stalling subscription growth.

And they usually get resolved.

Fox is owned by News Corp., which also owns Dow Jones & Co., the publisher of this newswire.

Enough said.

Here’s a better way of summarizing what happened, thanks to Entertainment Weekly (linked here)

UPDATED: Tuesday, 9 a.m.:

Do you believe SportsFans.org is happy with this decision? Go to this link.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Play It Forward: Oct. 31-Nov. 6 on your sports calendar

i-e954f6f49803000af59e82ff09ce8111-BESTBET.jpg

MONDAY

NFL: San Diego at Kansas City, 5:30 p.m., ESPN:

A Chiefs’ victory means they’re tied for the AFC West lead with the Chargers and Raiders at 4-3. The Chiefs could also be the first team since the 2000 Pittsburgh Steelers to start a season 0-3 and then win its next four games.

Series: “Dancing With the Stars,” Channel 7, 8:30 p.m.:

i-3403cc430c820c87f3a88ce24eccd88b-Hope+Solo+Dancing+Stars+Rolls+1u3zX3RIme_l.jpg

Hope Solo in a Halloween costume? Might be worth checking out. it might also be worth it to her to just get eliminated. She was among 30 soccer players called up Thursday by U.S. women’s head coach Pia Sundhage for a Nov. 17 friendly against Sweden in Glendale, Ariz. The team will start training for two weeks. It won’t be the first time Solo has juggled her dancing duties with her day job. Before Week 2 of “Dancing with the Stars,” partner with Maksim Chmerkovskiy had to fly to Portland to rehearse with Solo as she got in practice for a game against Canada.On the show right after that mess, Solo and Chmerkovskiy scored 19 points for their jive, performed to Avril Lavigne’s “Girlfriend.” It was their lowest score of the season. Check back Tuesday (Channel 7, 9 p.m.) to see if she stayed alive.

TUESDAY

Documentary: “Unguarded,” ESPN, 5 p.m.:

i-174e1b0223645de5feebe8ae2411a5bb-basketball%20junkie-thumb-275x418-49330.jpg

Chris Herren’s hoop dreams, and his life, took a downward spiral, and this hour-long project directed by Jonathan Hock captures it all, including his rebound. “It’s painful,” Herren told the Boston Herald after seeing the premiere recently. “That’s the life I had to live. If I look back with regret, guilt or shame, I couldn’t be here today.” Herren, the Fall River, Mass., native who who recently published an autobiography titled “Basketball Junkie,” played briefly for Boston College, had drug problems, caught on with Jerry Tarkanian at Fresno State, then somehow had a dream come true playing for the Boston Celtics. In one scene, though, Herren recalls standing in the rain in his Celtics uniform outside the Boston Garden waiting for his dealer just minutes before tip-off,.

Awards show: “2011 Gold Glove Awards,” ESPN2, 7 p.m.:

The live ceremony to celebrate those who could catch and throw better than everyone else the past season. Better, we’re told, than the Golden Globes.

i-605febe95d3d13d1e9d07668bb161f50-west_book.jpg

WEDNESDAY

Book signing: Jerry West signs “West By West: My Charmed Tormented Life,” 6 p.m., ESPN Zone at L.A. Live:

Yup, this was supposed to be part of the festivites tied to the opening of the NBA season. But West will still show and sign copies across from the empty Staples Center.

THURSDAY

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

Oilers first overall draft pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had nine points (and a team-best five goals) in his first 10 games — and by playing in that 10th game last week, he has to stay with Edmonton for the remainder of the season. Is that even a question now?

i-c77598b9b569a08ce112b0716c01d899-0b0c4d3b667a1618fd0e6a706700dad3.jpg

MLS playoffs: Western Conference semifinals Game 2: Galaxy vs. New York Red Bull, Home Depot Center, 8 p.m., ESPN2:

The back end of a home-and-home series comes to L.A., with the Galaxy just needing a tie to advance. Post-game melee optional. The Red Bull needs a win of two or more goals to move on. Don’t count on it. The Galaxy, who haven’t lost at home this season (one of their five ties was against the Red Bulls in May) would end up facing the winner of the Seattle-Salt Lake City in a one-game match on Sunday at 6 p.m. at Home Depot Center for the Western Conference title. Then it’s a 13-day wait for the title match, back in Carson.

FRIDAY

i-351c15009817cc2cbb806cdbd568b423-bdcc75082745c818fc0e6a70670062f0.jpg

College football: USC at Colorado, 6 p.m., ESPN2:

The hangover from Saturday’s triple-OT loss to Stanford could have been worse. The Trojans could be in Eugene, Oregon. Instead, a trip to Boulder, Colo., against a 1-8 Buffaloes team that still hasn’t won a Pac-12 game, and may never do so the rest of this season. Colorado is ranked 117th in the country in points allowed a game — 38.3, or about 20 points a game more than they score.

SATURDAY

College football: UCLA vs. Arizona State, Rose Bowl, 4:30 p.m., Versus:

The rest of the college football world may not care — it’ll be going head-to-head with No. 1 LSU at No. 2 Alabama (5 p.m., Channel 2) — so the Bruins’ potential throttling by the Pac-12 South-leading Sun Devils will likely not be on anyone’s watch list. Unless, of course, they somehow win again, as Lee Corso predicted would happen a week ago against Cal.

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

i-39af1b5f3110a33ca2448ade801e1fa1-sp31nhl-Crosby.jpg

Once more anticipated in Hollywood than “Happy Feet Two” in 3D and “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” combined, the first visit to L.A. in two seasons by Pittsburgh’s Penguins is more like a kick in the head. It probably won’t be the first game back for Sidney Crosby since sustaining a concussion last January. He’s been cleared for contact in practice, but still doesn’t seem to be game-ready. Fortunately for Pittsburgh, Evgeni Malkin is back in the line-up after going down with a knee injury last February. Then again, the Pens won the Atlantic Division last year and took eight of their first 12 games this season. Back in Nov., 2009, the Kings slapped a 5-2 loss on the Penguins and shut Crosby out.

i-9e3a258d827f8f390abbd707afa6dec9-11742ea01369b318fc0e6a706700dda7.jpg

Horse racing: Breeders Cup Day 2: 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Channel 7; 12:30 p.m. to 4:15 p.m., ESPN:

Last year, it was Zenyatta who tried to cap off her career by beating the boys one last time. It didn’t happen. In this year’s $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, Havre de Grace (left) will see if she’s up to it in a 13-horse field. The 4-year-old filly is 5-of-6 this year and a solid challenge to Uncle Mo and Flat Out. Havre de Grace’s owner, Rick Porter, also entered her in the $2 million Ladies’ Classic on Friday as a backup plan. “The only reason we wouldn’t run in the Classic is if we drew the 1 hole or if we saw a complete difference in the weather on Friday and Saturday,” he said. A record total of 193 horses (nine more than last year), including 29 from overseas, were pre-entered for the $26 million, 15-race card at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. Bob Baffert has 11 entries, including Santa Anita Handicap winner Game On Dude, ridden by Chantal Sutherland and co-owed by former Dodgers manager Joe Torre, for the Classic.

SUNDAY

i-2ce87d78e0404c0c46892ad56d5f3242-lance-armstrong-new-york-city-marathon2.jpg

Running: New York City Marathon, 6-9:30 a.m., Universal Sports; 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Channel 4 (delayed):

Pray for more snow. And a Lance Armstrong appearance again.

NASCAR: AAA Texas 500, Fort Worth, Tex., noon, ESPN:

Three more stops in the Chase for the Cup, with Tony Stewart scrambling back into second place behind Carl Edwards.

NFL: Green Bay at San Diego, 1:15 p.m., TBA; Baltimore at Pittsburgh, 5:20 p.m., Channel 4:

The Chargers actually sold this out a couple of weeks ago. Does that mean it’s important, or just a lot of Packers fans in Southern California?

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Why the new Cal Lutheran University football stadium can really be considered a work of art

i-011b1ea842a8cf1239caf8acccf1960c-_3579962785.jpg

Photo by Erik Hagen/Cal Lutheran University
From the field level at William Rolland Stadium, fans in the East grandstand have a view of the new clock tower and the archway entrance.

i-8c2b168d8757dfaee851a36644619782-DSC01688.JPG

Photo by Tom Hoffarth
From inside the William Rolland Gallery of Fine Art, fans can watch Cal Lutheran’s game Saturday against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps — or at least part of the scoreboard.

Go to a football game now at Cal Lutheran, and a self-guided museum art tour is liable to break out.

Today, for example, you could have been taking a slow walk around a bronze sculpture created almost 100 years ago by Henri Louis Levasseur. A football flying through the goalposts would have been in your line of vision as well.

So while you’re interpreting the French artist’s work called “Two Figures Laboring,” the Kingsmen were hardly laboring putting another three on the scoreboard, to pad their third-quarter lead over Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.

i-d67d8be9344e6036dedd8ee8b15c6776-DSC01649.JPG

CalLu may be a tiny, private school that loves its NCAA Division III level football. But it’s also a heralded liberal arts college.

Bill Rolland, one of CalLu’s big-time donors, figured out a way to marry the two concepts.

His latest donation to the school was two-pronged — he helped finance a new $8.9 million football field on campus cristened as William Rolland Stadium, across the street from the old Mount Clef Stadium. Attached to it is a 2,200-square-foot Gallery of Fine Art, also in Rolland’s name, right off the southeast corner of the end zone and a few steps away from a nifty 70-foot clock tower.

A dedication ceremony to coincide with Homecoming and Founder’s Day weekend attraced more than 4,000 people to today’s game, a 54-6 victory.

The peaceful refuge of the air-conditioned veranda, where Native American Indian sculptures, oil-on-canvas landscapes and even a former Indianapolis 500 car once driven by Jim McElreath co-exist, may be the only thing of its kind in all of college football.

Think of this CalLu creation as if USC figured out a way to drag the L.A. County Museum of Art out of the La Brea tar pits and attach it to the peristyle end of the Colieum.

“I wish I could claim having this idea,” school president Chris Kimball said. “But it was all about Bill asking us if he could combine the two. The more we thought about it, why not bring athletics and academics together rather than separate them?”

i-081771453f1d61e48a37f47cac27e255-DSC01651.JPG

Photo by Tom Hoffarth
Bill Rolland poses Saturday next to the Jim McElreath Indianapolis 500 car that ran in the 1979 and 1980 races, built by Grant King. The 1,500-pound car is one of six that Rolland has in his collection, and will be rotated into the Gallery of Fine Art named after him at the new stadium on the Cal Lutheran University campus.

Rolland stood off to the side of his field-level gallery opening an hour before kickoff and admitted he was overwhelmed by the response from first-time visitors.

“I’m so emotional now, just taking it all in,” said the Medal of Valor-honored former L.A. City firefighter and Thousand Oaks native who ammassed his fortune in Southern California land development.

“Football is an art form, you know?” he continued.

Such as …

“I see the no-huddle offense, especially the one used by this team, as art,” said the former quarterback and linebacker at Army. “It’s constantly evolving. It’s so well-organized. It takes practice to make it perfect.”

Rolland says he has amassed enough in his eclectic collection to fill the current gallery three times over — including six Indy-style cars. But he’ll gladly use it the facility that can hold up to 300 visitors as a place to rotate exhibits from all kinds of collectors.

i-d59d6876d5346baf712b240ad9df3eb8-DSC01708.JPG

The only thing that will be permanent: A 7-foot-2 bronze just outside the stadium entrance unveiled Saturday called “Heading For The End Zone,” a statue (left) depicting a running back with the ball in one arm and holding off the defense with the other. Rolland commissioned it, and David Spellerberg created it.

Rolland, Kimball and Kingsman head coach Ben McEnroe were part of the pre-game ceremony to dedicate the new stadium, which has about 3,000 permanent seats and much more standing room for the time being.

On a piece of land where Sparky Anderson once taught baseball (the diamond named after him is just a punt away), where Tom Landry once brought his Dallas Cowboys for preseason NFL workouts and where John Wooden could visit the two of them during his summer basketball camps, William Rolland Stadium is a work of art until itself.

There are new vistas to appreciate. Look out past the North end zone, about a quarter-mile up, and not far from the “CLU” logo in the hills sits the home of Karsten Lundgren , one of the first university alumns and another major donor (i.e., the Lundgren Events Center). The view from his living room might as well serve as the first built-in luxury suite for the stadium.

McEnroe congratulated the workers for “staging one of the greatest comebacks in construction history,” since rain delays messed with the two-year time frame from conception to near-completion (there’s still a few bricks to be laid outside).

The new artificial FieldTurf had actually been tested twice before Saturday. After CalLu’s first home game was moved to Moorpark College, the games on Oct. 1 and 8 were at Rolland Stadium before it was fully finished.

A 28-24 win over Redlands was under the new lights — the first home game at night in CalLu history. A full house saw the Kingsmen trail 24-0 before rallying late.

Saturday was actually the first time Rolland’s museum had been game-tested. The East side of the stadium, which supports 2,000 seats, structurally sits on top of the gallery.

You’d hate to think that if the crowd really started stomping its feet and rocking the joint, paintings could come unhinged and get punctured by tipped-over sculptures.

“If that game where we had the huge comeback didn’t break a window,” Rolland said, “I don’t think anything ever will. We’re solid.”

i-d0073ecab85dd73a49e74c9767de81dc-DSC01713.JPG

Photo by Tom Hoffarth
The view looking West from the Rolland Stadium is referred to as the Wildwood Mesa, which was seen in the 1939 movie “Wuthering Heights” starring Laurence Oliver.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Pencil-pushing Corso gets his wood on for Stanford’s tree in latest ‘GameDay’ prediction

i-f168e71db7be2a64eb3cf7141df3b9a5-DSC01641.JPG

Maybe it has something to do with the fact he works for the Dixon Ticonderoga Company, makers of the famous yellow No. 2 pencil. He’s the director of business development, waiving a pencil as he makes his point on the ESNP “GameDay” set.

Or maybe he really thinks that Stanford, almost a nine-point favorite at USC, will really win.

That Lee Corso left the set and came back before the end wearing the complete Stanford tree get-up — a money tree, at that, with dollar bills taped to it — should make watching tonight’s Cardinal-Trojan game an afterthought.

i-847627d80661def28407eabc0a680417-DSC01642.JPG

Corso, as we pointed out in Friday’s media column (linked here and linked here), is 8-for-8 in mascot head-gear picks when “GameDay” has come to L.A. The last two visits — counting a year ago when Oregon played USC — he has gone against the Trojans.

Corso keeps his perfect 15-0 streak in tact when picking USC to win — avoiding the Trojans this time. He was also 1-0 when picking against Stanford.

His record, however, is also 3-0 when picking against USC. He’s 6-2 this season and 137-63 in the previous 200 picks.

And for the record, plenty of Dan Patrick show-related signs did appear in the background during the three hours that the show aired on ESPNU (6-7 a.m.) and ESPN (7-9 a.m.) One referred to the Rick Neuheisel “passion bucket.” Another, to Patrick’s recently wearing a plaid shirt. A “Where’s Waldo DP” sign got some airtime. Surely, others were on that we didn’t quite catch but we’ll find at DanPatrick.com come Monday.

We did, however, notice one that surely ESPN can’t be too pleased about. Just as Kirk Herbstreit was about to talk about the USC-Stanford matchup near the end of the telecast, a sign came out of nowhere that effectively used the letters “ESPN” to incorporate into the stacked spelling of the word “penis” four times — with pictures of Lou Holtz’s face.

You’re tackling rowdy kids with any DP references, but this “penis” work of art slips in. Nice work, weiner security.

i-113cdb2a5d3e02b0366dcdccc885c588-DSC01643.JPG
Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Reggie on Billy: Racial slurs and anti-Semitic words bothered me

i-0fec76d8ebb2d876808a35dff53d7545-Reggie-Jackson-1977-Billy-Martin.jpg

The Associated Press

Reggie Jackson said he heard manager Billy Martin use racial and anti-Semitic remarks then, and felt it was time to talk about them now.

“You need to set the record straight,” the former Yankees and Angels Hall of Fame slugger told The Associated Press on Friday. “They’re the truth.”

The late Martin managed the New York Yankees in the late 1970s, a fiery time that included a pair of World Series championships in ’77 and ’78 against the Dodgers. Jackson spoke about Martin in an interview with the MLB Network that will be shown Monday night.

“I did not accept the way he managed me. I did not accept the way he managed (Jewish pitcher) Ken Holtzman. I thought there was anti-Semitism there,” Jackson said in the MLB Network interview with Bob Costas.

“I couldn’t accept the racial epithets in reference to players like (black players) Elliott Maddox or Billy Sample. There are players that played for him that would tell you that.”

Jackson told the AP that “sometimes it’s uncomfortable, but it’s real and you can’t ignore it. … There’s a certain time that when somebody asks you a question, you answer them. I don’t think I said anything with venom. If you can express yourself without anger and make it as palatable as you can, that’s what you do.”

Jackson was asked how often Martin used such language.

“Sometimes,” he said. “It wasn’t all the time.”

The relationship between Jackson and Martin was tumultuous, played out against a backdrop of what became known as “The Bronx Zoo.”

“He was a guy I never got to know really well. Obviously, we didn’t see eye to eye,” Jackson said.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

It’s Out of the Question: The big deal edition

What’s the deal without Pete Carroll or Jim Harbaugh occupying the Coliseum sidelines during a USC-Stanford game day, each trying to one-up each other on how to look serious while answering a nasally Erin Andrews question just before kickoff without bursting into laughter?

Bright lights, big city.

Dim the hot flashes. There’s something terribly missing here.

Then again, if you really want to make a Trojan hoarse, or a Cardinal red in the face, go ahead and ask him what’s the deal with:

Stanford, a point-spread favorite at USC for the first time ever? Is that a blind-side move neither Matt Kalil nor Jonathan Martin could see coming?

Lane Kiffin’s white-windbreaker, white-visor ensemble — the latter of which always seems to have a tag sticking up in the back? Add a scarf and mojito, and couldn’t he be coaching the Trojans co-ed intramural badminton team?

Stanford’s 38-for-38 success rate in that so-called, 20-yards-and-in red zone this season — 30 TDs, 8 FGs? Yeah, but how many failed two-point conversions after that can they boast about?

The 6-1 Trojans elevated to a No. 20 ranking after last week’s win at Notre Dame? Did you know that’s the farthest down in the AP poll that any USC team, on or off probation, has been with this exact win-loss record since the first ranking in 1936? Do you compute?

The NCAA allowing conferences to give an extra $2,000 in spending money to scholarship athletes? What could Andrew Luck or Matt Barkley do with an extra two grand? A trip to Lawry’s with a handful of lawyers to fill out their NFL draft-eligible paperwork over a six-course meal?

All this “Suck for Luck” strategy being played out among the NFL’s worst teams in the league? Did Carroll get the memo and keep it from Harbaugh?

== Student-athletes can’t look out for their own best interests, pull out of school and transfer without being penalized a full year of playing? But do-as-I-say, not-as-I-do athletic directors can follow rank and yank himself out of a conference and take a better cash deal somewhere else without worrying about setting any kind of poor example of sportsmanship?

== Does Joe Paterno even know his Penn State squad is the most under-the-radar 7-1 team in the country, about to go 8-1 against Illinois?

== Had T.O. (as in, Terrell Owens) arranged to have his workout in T.O. (as in, Thousand Oaks) instead of Calabasas, could more NFL scouts have found it on their GPS?

== Tiki Barber: Still unemployed NFL running back and TV broadcaster, or the new hot haircutting place next to L&L Hawaiian BBQ in Reseda?

== If the Galaxy could guarantee a goal a game from 16-year-old Jack McBean, how far would that go in keeping David Beckham interested in sticking around another season?

== Time to retire the Al Davis Halloween costumes this year?

i-08a253694a992925016d4c54039b916c-AlDavis_HalloweenMask.jpg
Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

‘We will see you tomorrow night’: 20 years later, Joe Buck echos Jack Buck’s World Series call

i-0a566accd2591c46e4c2218000e4393c-26bucdingdong583xx.jpg

David Freese and Kirby Puckett were connected, 20 years (and one day) apart, by a bottom-of-the 11th-inning game-winning home run in Game 6 of the World Series to force a seventh-game.

Joe Buck called the former on Thursday night for Fox. His dad, Hall of Famer Jack Buck, called the later in Minnesota in 1991 for CBS.

They both used the same line: “We will see you tomorrow night.”

i-fa8e21e99443cdb666ab9b3c86f826b5-jack-buck-joe-buck-001067864.jpg

Joe Buck, in his 16th season as Fox’s lead baseball play-by-play broadcaster, said he did it to celebrate his dad’s call.

“I started my career through nepotism, connections, and early on I tried everything to sound different from my dad,” Joe Buck told Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch after Thursday’s game. “But in the best game I ever witnessed, ever called, my first thing was to go back to my dad.

“I never would have done that (earlier in my career, trying to distance himself from the family tie. But now I look for opportunities to celebrate him.

“I think I started thinking about it … in the ninth inning. I have become smart enough in all these years of doing it that you can’t in any way shape or form force anything. It has to be right, it has to fit. Those calls are always in the back of my mind. With it being here in St. Louis (where his dad worked for so many years as the voice of the Cards), with it being a St. Louis kid who hit it, and with the crowd doing what the crowd did, I guess it fit OK. But in the end I’m just happy to get through the broadcast and feel good about the whole 4 hours, not just the last five seconds.

“I don’t really consider it some crowning achievement. I’m not going to become like a Jack Buck cover band, and start doing his calls whenever I can cram one in. I felt like this one fit, it was clean in this situation. It wasn’t like it was a base hit and somebody scored from first. … It was a simple straightaway home run that I thought he hit as soon as
the ball left his bat. It gave me a second to gather myself. When I saw (center fielder Josh) Hamilton’s shoulders drop I knew it was OK to say it. … That was building in my mind.

“The beauty of that when it originally was said in ’91 was that (he meant) ‘We knew we’re going to see you for a Game 7. If you bothered to watch this long for this kind of game,
you’re going to be back tomorrow night.’

“I can 1,000 percent guarantee that will never come out of my mouth again. It was the perfect time, and the last time. … It was the perfect time to use it.”

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

At least they both wore No. 23: Sabrmetrically, Gibson’s HR may be frozen in time, but Freese’s Game 6 surpasses his World Series performance

i-5f6a71d302fd5462142cb42ab2b71ede-c525f404396ed418fc0e6a70670020d0.jpg

A weekly email from the Society of American Baseball Research (SABR) pointed out that David Freese’s performance in Game 6 on Thursday night for St. Louis “surpassed Kirk Gibson’s game-winning 1988 home run as the highest single-game WPA (win probability added) performance in World Series history.”

Timing, apparently, is everything with this stat. Don’t factor in the drama.

The link to David Schoenfeld’s piece on ESPN.com’s “Sweet Spot” blog (linked here), via SABR’s BaseballReference.com, explains how WPA determines the value of each play based on the score, inning and situation, and calculates how the odds of winning or losing the game changed based on that play.

The two-out, bottom-of-the-ninth, down-by-one two-run homer that the Dodgers’ Gibson hit off Oakland Hall of Fame reliever Dennis Eckersley in 1988 registered a .870 WPA for his moment, previously the greatest in World Series history. It wasn’t an elimination game. And there’s no way to quantify Gibson being a complete physical mess at the time, either.

Freese got a .969 WPA for his game — most of it from the two-out, two-strike, two-run triple in the bottom of the ninth that tied the game at 7-7 which, from this statistic, was more valuable than his game-winning home run in the 11th.

Add to that teammate Lance Berkman’s .832 — he tied the game in the bottom of the 10th with his two-out single. The fact the Cardinals were on the brink of elimination factored heavily into the equation.

Meaning, the Rangers’ Josh Hamilton didn’t register in the Top 10 with his two-run homer in the top of the 10th that could have been remembered as the series clincher.

WPA is a stat that can be a little tough to wrap your head around.

Bill Mazeroski’s Game 7 bottom-of-the-ninth homer to win the World Series for Pittsburgh over the New York Yankees didn’t make the Top 10 of this list. But teammate Hal Smith’s three-run home run in the bottom of the eighth with two outs to give the Pirates a 9-7 lead did?

Joe Carter’s 1992 World Series-winning homer for Toronto? He had a .596 for the game. Not Top 10. If Toronto lost that game, they’d only have been tied in the series against Philadelphia. But Ed Spraugue’s homer to win Game 2 of that series made the Top 10?

Bobby Thompson’s homer to win the NL pennant for the New York Giants in 1951? His game was .718. But not a World Series game.

Kirby Puckett’s Game 6 homer in the 11th in 1991 for Minnesota, to avoid elimination? It came when the game was tied, true, as did Freese.

Now, we demand a recount, especially if Sprague is somehow ahead of that one.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Weekly media column version 10.28.11

What’s covered in today’s weekly media column (linked here): Five good questions with Lee Corso, the ESPN “GameDay” studio analyst who’ll be on site in front of the Coliseum on Saturday morning, trying to decide if he’ll pick USC or Stanford to win that night’s game, along with Dan Patrick’s “Occupy GameDay” plans, and more rumblings from DirecTV about dropping Fox channels starting on Tuesday.

The print edition includes this graphic:

ESPN’s Lee Corso is 8 for 8 on regular-season “GameDay” picks when on the set in L.A. prior to a USC or UCLA game (not counting Jan. 1 Rose Bowl visits to Pasadena):
Oct. 30, 2010: Oregon at USC (Corso picked Oregon, Ducks win, 53-32)
Sept. 13, 2008: Ohio State at USC (Corso picked USC, Trojans win, 35-3)
Nov. 25, 2006: Notre Dame at USC (Corso picked USC, Trojans win, 44-24)
Sept. 16, 2006: Nebraska at USC (Corso picked USC, Trojans win, 28-10)
Dec. 3, 2005: UCLA at USC (Corso picked USC, Trojans win, 66-19)
Nov. 27, 2004: Notre Dame at USC (Corso picked USC, Trojans win, 41-10)
Oct. 9, 2004: Cal at USC (Corso picked USC, Trojans win, 23-17)
Oct. 17, 1998: Oregon at UCLA (Corso picked UCLA, Bruins win, 41-38)
Note: In 200 previous “GameDay” predictions, Corso is 137-63 (69 percent), and 6-2 this season (75 percent), coming off an incorrect pick of Wisconsin to beat Michigan State last Saturday.

What’s not covered in the column: A couple more questions with Corso, the show’s only original remaining member (since 1987) and celebrating his 25th season:

i-050a9c4c0a60537d19e699f4cb132b41-Corso_release.jpg
i-739bd37cab0f968a0e5677c483327f18-mel-brooks.jpg

Q: Just once on an L.A. trip, why couldn’t ESPN bring Mel Brooks (left) onto the set of “GameDay” just to mess with the viewers that early in the morning?

A: I don’t know, that’s all up to ESPN. I know last time in was in L.A. (last season) we brought Will Ferrell on and I picked Oregon to win and we had a fight on the set. That was a lot of fun.

What Corso failed to mention: Corso was wearing a giant “Corso” head before he took it off to put on the Ducks’ gear. See that video above.

Q: What’s your most vivid memory of coming into the Coliseum as a coach (he coached for 28 years, including 17 as the head coach at Louisville, Indiana and Northern Illinois)?

A: Joey Browner. I’ll never forget him. There’s a 6-foot-9 defensive back returning punts for touchdowns against us (Sept, 13, 1982, in a 28-7 USC win over Corso’s Indiana team, earning Browner the Sports Illustrated college player of the week mention). I thought the Trojan horse would collapse from running all over the place that day. The year before, I arranged for USC to come to come to Bloomington (Indiana) because I promised the athletic director that I’d deliver a Rose Bowl team to Indiana that season. I didn’t tell him it would be USC coming to play us. And that score was 0-0 going into the fourth quarter, and Marcus Allen scores three touchdowns against us, and we lose 21-0.

Here’s more from another Q-and-A done with Corso last week for the ESPN “Front Row” blog by Rachel Margolis (linked here) prior to his 200th pick:

FR: What has it meant to you to be a part of College GameDay for all 25 years?

LC: It has meant so much to me — such a big part of my life after coaching. I love that GameDay has grown so much in the last 25 years, and the fact that it is now an event- not just a show. I love seeing how the cities, colleges and students rally behind College GameDay, and to see the enthusiasm and excitement of the students is great.

FR: Does it surprise you how popular College GameDay has become and what do you think the reason is?

LC: No, not in the least. The secret behind our show is that it is done in front of a live audience — that is the one thing we do compared to the other studio shows at ESPN. It is unbelievable to be on that stage with the crowd behind us.

FR: What has changed the most since you started going on the road?

LC: So much has changed — a longer show, new faces, but the biggest thing is the popularity. The fact that the show has grown so big, and that the fans are so enthusiastic is electrifying. They get up so early in the morning and they flock to the set, or spend the night to get a great spot in the crowd. That is what keeps going and inspires me the most.

FR: How did you start using the mascot heads to make your final selection of the show?

LC: I believe it was the Ohio State-Penn State game, a top five matchup, in 1996. Brutus the Buckeye walked by Kirk and I the day before the show. I said to Kirk (Herbsteit) if you get me that mascot head, I will put it on tomorrow. I won’t have to say anything and they will know who I pick. So that is how it began. The crowd, the truck and ESPN went crazy and I said I think I have something here!

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Where Jenny Batsche intersects with ESPN’s “GameDay” in L.A.

UPDATED: 3 p.m. Friday:

i-a1cea4bb2a348606f33e54420b525bba-smallDPoccupy.JPG

Dan Patrick will be a bit preoccupied Saturday morning.

Could he sneak past ESPN security, get a couple of USC fans to hoist him out of the mosh pit, and position himself just beyond Erin Andrews’ left shoulder to sneak onto the “College GameDay” coverage?

Or does he lay low and smile knowingly as he counts how many signs related to his syndicated radio and TV show find their way on camera during the live telecast?

With a fortuitous scheduling quirk, Patrick will be on hand to personally experience the movement known on his show as “#OccupyGameDay,” planning to be somewhere during the early-morning telecast Saturday outside the Coliseum prior to the USC-Stanford game.

i-36cd8f6d11792ba76d0b5659a053fa83-Hair6501.jpg

The former ESPN employee has no stealth agenda of revenge. He’s far more entertained by all the fans and followers who’ve put their creative energy into honoring him and the show with their background signage.

“We didn’t initiate any of this, but we will tolerate and we will celebrate it,” said Patrick, who broke away from ESPN in 2007 after 18 years to start his own syndicated radio show, heard locally on KLAC-AM (570) from 6-to-9 a.m., simulcast on Fox Sports West and DirecTV.

Motivation to keep “Occupy” moving within the “GameDay” crowd from campus to campus each week seems to be derived from the fact that ESPN sticks to a policy of refusing to allow employees to appear as guests on Patrick’s show.

Here, Patrick’s fans can stick it back.

“It’s more than four years (since leaving ESPN), and I must be doing something right,” said Patrick. “But when the kings of promotion won’t allow their people come on my show? It must be deeper rooted on their side than mine.

i-f1ab18417f2c6dc740c8cb46fc6e533e-Perloff.jpg

“They can be so sensative, as if they control the universe. They’re not beyond reproach. I hope someday to move past it, but I don’t think it will happen with current management.”

ESPN spokesperson Keri Potts said: “We effort to keep the GameDay signs in our set location college football- and college sports-themed. We try to prevent any call to action or promotional signs as the show is not an avenue for outside advertisers or the general public to promote their causes or interests.”

She also said that ESPN’s policy about radio interviews is not to book ESPN talent with any direct competitors to stations that carry ESPN Radio programming, so it is not specific to Patrick’s show.

Nonetheless, Patrick’s fans at “GameDay” go for deeply embedded show references, paying homage to him and his “Dan-ettes” support staff – Paul Pabst, Patrick “Seton” O’Connor, Todd Fritz and Andrew “McLovin” Perloff.

The first was a year ago outside Wrigley Field in Chicago before an Illinois-Northwestern game, with a “GameDay” sign referring to “passion bucket,” a phrase that came from UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel and latched onto by Patrick and his audience.

In Oregon recently, a fan was able to get “I (Heart) DP” sign up long enough to get on air. Nine photos with Patrick-related messages were snapped by listeners (or members of “DanNation”) and posted after the “GameDay” show’s last appearance in East Lansing, Mich.

Someone named DJ emailed Patrick’s show this week looking for the spelling of “Jenny Batsche.” That’s the name of Patrick’s former high school girl friend.

Look for that sign Saturday.

“Privately, I think some of the ‘GameDay’ folks are fine with it, because of the fact it adds to the bigger audience and brings more eyeballs, but then you see how the ‘mothership’ (ESPN) has people wrestle them away as if they’re contraband,” said Patrick, in L.A. with his family Friday and Saturday for his son’s birthday before jetting back to New York to do NBC’s “Football Night In America” studio show Sunday night.

As long as his campus-crazy audience respects the “GameDay” show, does nothing mean-spirited and has fun with it, Patrick doesn’t expect any trouble.

“This is where, as the parents of two college-age kids, I’m glad their educations are well spent,” he said.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email