From today’s Sports Business Daily (and note the irony in how it also cites all these others who tweeted out their response to the news):
The Boston Globe’s Bob Ryan said he is “saying goodbye” to his full-time columnist position following the London Games.
Ryan, appearing on ESPN’s “The B.S. Report,” said, “There will be a part-time need. There will be an afterlife, but it won’t be a full-time afterlife.”
Ryan: “I really and truly believe that my time has come and gone, that the dynamics of the business — of what it means to be involved in the sports business with all of the tweeting and the blogging, an audience with a different taste — it’s not me anymore.” He added, “I can very happily say I have had a great run. I think it’s time for someone else to have their run.”
Ryan appears on several ESPN shows, including serving as a regular panelist on “Around The Horn” and a frequent guest host of “PTI.”
He said, “If they want me on TV, that’s great. We haven’t even explored that.” Ryan noted the Olympics this summer is a “perfect way for me to go out”
Northeastern Univ. journalism professor Dan Kennedy wrote on his Twitter account, “Bob Ryan’s retirement will be a huge loss for the @BostonGlobe. He’s earned his legendary status.”
WEEI.com’s Ryan Hadfield wrote, “He leaves, still, the best columnist in the market…by far.”
WBZ-CBS’ Dan Roche wrote, “No one…I repeat…no one has or will bring as much passion to his craft/life as Bob Ryan.”
The Orange County Register’s Mark Whicker wrote, “Hope Globe readers savor the last few months of Bob Ryan, a friend and role model (though he’ll still be on 15 TV shows). True enthusiast.” .
As an aspiring actor living in the Hollywood area of L.A. the last four years, Eddie Mata figured out pretty quickly that it really does matter who you know.
As he campaigns now to be one of the finalists who could win a trip to New York and live this summer in the MLB Fan Cave — a veritable baseball fish bowl on East 4th and Broadway in Manhattan where last year two lucky fans lived and watched watch all 2,430 games played during the season — Mata also knows it wouldn’t hurt right now to have a few more cyber friends.
Not that Twitter endorsements already from Dodgers shortstop Dee Gordon, actors Lou Diamond Phillips, Andrew Dice Clay and Tom Arnold, former players Kevin Brown and Chuck Knoblauch, movie critic Ben Lyons, Laura Posada (Jorge’s wife), Dallas Latos (Mat’s wife), and almost two dozen other active players haven’t gotten him enough attention.
“Why do I stand out from the rest? I’m charasmatic, charming, got a sense of humor, energy, I’m knowledgeable, creative and most importantly — I have so much passion for the game,” said Mata, a Brooklyn-born Yankees fan with a Tony Danza-like personna who also works himself in as a hitting instruction to pre-high school Southern Californians, calling himself the “Batting Doctor” (his website is linked here).
“I will draw fans to the cave. People always connect to me. That’s just the kind of guy I am.”
Mata got to the final 50 from more than 22,000 who applied. Last year’s winners, Mike O’Hara and Ryan Wagner, outlasted 10,000 applicants to win, chronicling their experiences on Twitter, Facebook, the MLB Network and MLBFanCave.com. The 2012 version of the cave will accomodate six fans this time around.
In addition to Mata, those with local connections pushing to make the group of 30 that will go to spring training in Arizona for the final cutdown include Dodgers fans Nick Hamilton (of L.A.) and Jeremy Dorn (of Walnut Creek), as well as Angels fans Matthew James, Ricardo Marquez and Joseph Meehan (all of Anaheim) and Kris Neild (of Glastonbury, Conn.).
All applicants submitted video clips (Mata’s is above) and essays to promote their candidacy. Creativity doesn’t hurt. A story posted on MLB.com about the finalists (linked here) noted how Marquez used a connection at San Diego State to film a video promoting himself with endorsements from Aztecs manager and Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, Dodgers outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr., and Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg.
The urgency is that the deadline for voting on this phase at MLBFanCave.com ends February 22. Connecting to Mata via Twitter (@eddiemata) and his Facebook page (linked here) also helps the cause.
“I’m battling,” said the 36-year-old Mata. “I’m like Steinbrenner right now — my attitude is that no way anyone outshines me.”
Mata says he’ll take a break from his acting pursuit to confine himself to the cave, where games are on at almost all hours on 15 TV screens throughout the building that once housed a Tower Records store.
“My job is to make the final curtain,” he said. “I’ve found that acting is a lot like stepping into a batter’s box. You can nail it — hit the ball squarely — but then sometimes it goes right into someone’s glove. That’s the audition process. You’ve got to accept failure and rejection all the time. I know I’ll get to the big stage. I’ll always leave with a positive note.”
The saving grace for Mata living in L.A. is that he can stay connected to Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, one of his favorite players. Mata says he often uses video of Mattingly’s swing to illustrate to kids about the right way to connect on a pitch.
“His swing is gorgeous,” said Mata, who says he keeps up with Yankees games on the YES network by getting the MLB package on DirecTV. “On my laptop, I have a program where I’ll shoot the kid’s swing with a camcorder and break it down with a split screen — the kid on one side, and I can put Mattingly on the other. Sometimes I have to remind the kids — look, that’s the manager of the Dodgers.
“I promise the parents: I can teach your son how to hit a baseball very far. And I can.”
Now, we’ll see how far Mata can get himself into his next pre-historic housing pursuit.
Former USC star offensive lineman Anthony Munoz, former Kings star Marcel Dionne,and former Olympic sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos were among the six to be named today in the sixth class of the California Sports Hall of Fame.
They will be inducted along with former Oakland/L.A. Raiders linebacker Ted Hendricks and former NBA star Rick Barry at the 2012 ceremonies on Sunday, April 1 at the Ontario Convention Center.
The California Sports Hall of Fame (linked here) was created by Christian Okoye, the former all-pro running back for the Kansas City Chiefs out of the University of the Pacific. Okoye’s mission has been to promote education and sports programs for children throughtout the state.
Highlights of the week ahead in sports, both here and afar:
THIS WEEK’S BEST BET
Golf: PGA Northern Trust Open, Riviera Country Club, Thursday through Sunday, Golf Channel and Channel 2:
So, who do you trust these days?
Fred Couples (top) has earned our trust. The two-time champ at Riviera (1990, 1992) and three-time runner-up (’93, ’94 and ’96) led this annual L.A. PGA Tour stop in Pacific Palisades a year ago after three rounds at 8-under, then fired three birdies to start the final round. Then things broke badly. Toward Aaron Baddeley, more specifically.
Couples’ double bogey at No. 7 left the door open for Baddeley (left), who, on that same hole made a 20-foot birdie. He finished with a 69 to win the tournament over Vijay Singh.The 52-year-old Couples, trying to be the oldest PGA Tour winner in the last 35 years, dropped into a tie for seventh, willing his way through the course with his recurring back problems. We’re not surprised he’ll be back for his 30th appearance in this event, tying him with Gene Littler, with a shot at joining Ben Hogan (3), Arnold Palmer (3), Lloyd Mangrum (4) and MacDonald Smith (4) as the only players to win this three or more times.
You’ve got to trust the abilities of world No. 1-ranked Luke Donald. The 2011 PGA Tour player of the year has three top-10 finishes in his last 10 starts at Riviera, and was runner-up in 2010. He’s back in the field.
So is two-time event winner Phil Mickelson. We trust he’s cleared a runway or two at Santa Monica Airport to make this thing work again in his favor. Although after his performance this weekend at Pebble Beach, he may be flying without the aid of a private plane.
On the other end of the age spectrum, we’ve come to trust Patrick Cantlay, the junior at UCLA and top-ranked amateur in the world who got a sponsor’s exemption to be here. This will be his Northern Trust Open debut.
Keegan Bradley missed the cut last year at Riviera. Then he went on to win the PGA Championship and was the first rookie to win twice on the PGA Tour since 2004. We trust he’ll make it to the final weekend this time.
Surely, we trust Jason Gore (right), another sponsor’s exemption after a Twitter campaign got him in. We trust his former Pepperdine teammate, Andy Walker, a 36-year-old who got in by writing a letter about how hard he’s been trying to promote diversity in golf, and now he’ll get to make his first PGA field.
Tiger Woods? We’ve got some trust issues with him now. Because he doesn’t trust himself here anymore. He decided to pass again on what used to be his backyard event — but then, he’s done that every year now since 2006. Probably because he’s failed to win this thing in eight tries as a pro (after getting two exemptions to play when he was 16 and 17 back in the early ’90s). “I’m shocked that he doesn’t play here, but I guess he doesn’t play well here,” Couples said during last year’s event about Woods. “If I can play well here, any human being in the world can play well here.” Trust us, if Tiger keeps turning down Jerry West’s invites, they’ll eventually stop coming.
NBA: Clippers at Dallas, 5:30 p.m., Prime:
With a chance to win five of six on their Grammy road trip, the Clippers (17-8) have kept their cushion ahead of the rest in the Pacific Division with the franchise’s best start since 1974. Dallas (17-10) has won three in a row, but lost to the Clippers, 91-89, back on Jan. 18 when Chauncey Billips hit a 3-pointer with one second left. The storyline in Dallas is how Dirk Nowitzki was picked for his 11th straight All-Star game, as the coaches who select the reserves simply overlooked the fact that last year’s NBA Finals MVP is averaging just 17.6 points a game, his worst production since his second season in the league.
NBA: Lakers vs. Atlanta, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., FSW:
Kiss-Cam alert: On Valentine’s Day, it’s important you’re seated next to someone you don’t want your better half to see you with somewhere else in the building. Or on TV. Or on YouTube. The Lakers hope that home is where the heart is after a break-even roadie. The Hawks have been making noise behind Joe Johnson (18.4 points a game) and Josh Smith (15.9), plus a bench that includes Tracy McGrady and former Laker Vlad Radmanovic and Jannero Pargo.
College basketball: USC vs. UCLA, L.A. Sports Arena, 7:30 p.m., Prime:
No one on the current Trojans’ roster remembers the bad old days of when they played at the musty old Sports Arena – it’s just that Trojan boosters thought they’d never have to go back to the place once the Galen Center opened in 2006. When UCLA has the place as its temporary home court, they’re 7-4. Back on Jan. 15, the Bruins had no trouble collecting a 66-47 win at Galen Center, having raced out to an 18-point halftime lead. The Bruins’ 19-point win marked the program’s largest margin of victory at USC’s home arena since an 82-52 win in 1974. At the Sports Arena, of course.
NBA: Clippers vs. Washington, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., FSW:
Gee, Wiz. Welcome home.
NBA: Clippers at Portland, 7:30 p.m., TNT:
Gerald Wallace scored 20 points, making a key 3-pointer with two minutes left, in the Blazers’ 105-97 win at Portland over the Clippers in on Jan. 10. Compare that to the fact he went scoreless in their previous meeting on New Year’s Day. Wallace may be averaging 13.5 a game this season, but he rarely hits that number — often going off for 23 one night and four the next.
NHL: Kings vs. Phoenix, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., FSW:
If it turns out that the Kings aren’t adept at catching San Jose for the top spot in the Pacific Division, then it’s clear that they’ll be fighting it out with the Coyotes (and and a couple of others) for the seventh and/or eight spot in the conference standings. And going into this week, they’re about as even as you can get. The Kings have had three days off at home since their six-game Grammy trip ended. Jonathan Quick registered his league-leading sixth shutout last time the Coyotes were in L.A., a 1-0 overtime win on Drew Doughty’s goal. But that shouldn’t be a surprise. The Kings lead the NHL in one-goal games, and 10 of their last 12 losses have been by a single goal. The Kings’ 9-3-4 record against Pacific Division foes is by far the best record any team in the division has against each other. This game is also “Dodgers Pride Night With The Kings,” meaning Dodgers GM Ned Colletti will drop the puck.
NBA: Lakers vs. Phoenix, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., FSW, ESPN:
Steve Nash was named to the Western Conference All-Star team? Over Ricky Rubio?
Well, the 38-year-old, two-time league MVP and now eight-time All-Star is the only one in the league averaging double-digit assists.
College basketball: Loyola Marymount vs. Valpariaso, Gersten Pavilion, 6 p.m., ESPNU:
Here’s one of the ESPN BracketBuster games, giving teams on the bubble as the NCAA tournament nears another shot at improving things like their RPI rating. Valpo (18-9), coached by former star player Bryce Drew, is No. 86 and shooting up according to RealTimeRPI.com. The Lions (16-10) are at 107.
College basketball: UCLA at St. John’s, 10 a.m., Channel 2:
What about the rumor floating around that Steve Lavin would leave St. John’s at the end of this season, move back to L.A. and apply for the USC job if it opened up? Lavin said the other day he’ll be back on the bench — somewhere — next season, even if the 47-year-old hasn’t been able to guide the Red Storm since November when he had a setback in his prostate cancer recovery. The former UCLA coach was with St. John’s when they came to play at Pauley Pavilion against the Bruins a year ago, winning 66-59. Mike Dunlop, the former guard from Loyola Marymount, has guided St. John’s to a 10-15 record this season in Lavin’s absence.
College basketball: Long Beach State at Creighton, 7 p.m., ESPN2:
Another BracketBuster: The Big West’s 49ers (19-6), on a 12-game win streak, haven’t faced a Top 25 team since a win over Xavier in late December. The 15th-ranked Bluejays (21-5) lost their last home game to Wichita State by 21 points. RealTimeRPI.com has Long Beach State at No. 34 and moving up, with Creighton at No. 25 but dropping.
NBA: Clippers vs. San Antonio, Staples Center, 12:30 p.m., Prime:
Blake Griffin had 28 points, but Chris Paul was just 3-of-10 shooting in the Clippers’ 115-90 loss at San Antonio in their previous meeting on Dec. 28.
NHL: Kings vs. Calgary, Staples Center, 7 p.m., FSW:
Since the Flames got Miikka Kiprusoff in a trade with San Jose in 2003, he’s played more games than any other NHL goaltender, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. He recently passed Mike Vernon as the franchise leader in games played by a goalie as well. Kiprusoff was in the nets to endure a 4-1 loss to the Kings on Jan. 14, but he beat them five days later, 2-1, in a shootout at Staples Center. That’s nothing to spit at.
NBA: Lakers at Phoenix, 5 p.m., Channel 9:
Two days after their last encounter, they meet again.
Women’s college basketball: UCLA at USC, Galen Center, noon, FSW:
Ashley Corral, who passed up Cheryl Miller in career assists for the Trojans, had eight of them (with 10 points and eight rebounds) in a 47-43 win at Westwood in the previous matchup on Jan. 14.
Series: “Eastbound & Down,” season three premiere, 10 p.m., HBO:
Baseball’s top relief pitcher of 2002 hasn’t given up on his comeback 10 years later. Back from Mexico, Kenny Powers is now with the Myrtle Beach Mermen. At least, for the moment. This is supposed to be the final season of the series, so you better freakin’ enjoy it for what it’s worth. That’s eight episodes, with Jason Sudeikis, Will Ferrell and Matthew McConaughey joining the cast. You can prep yourself for this year’s episodes by buying a Mermen powder-blue T-shirt (linked here). With Powers’ No. 55 on the back, of course. The Mermen also have their own Facebook page (linked here).
Exhibition: Harlem Globetrotters, Staples Center, noon and 5 p.m.:
They’re based in Phoenix. They’re owned by Burbank-based Shamrock Capital Grown Fund, which is the Roy Disney family fund that is run by Stanley Gold — one of the groups bidding on ownership of the Dodgers. They’ve actually got a couple of squads, one of which is on the East Coast right now. And their current 29-person roster includes 7-foot-4, 270-pound rookie center Jermaine “Stretch” Middleton (left), who calls L.A. his home, and 6-foot-5 forward Wun “The Shot” Versher, a Compton native out of Dominguez High who played at Arizona State nine years ago. They’re also playing at the Honda Center in Anaheim on Saturday (1 and 7 p.m.) at in Ontario on Monday (2 p.m.).
Running: Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon, Rose Bowl, 7:30 a.m.:
Miles 2 and 3 hit the Rose Parade route on Orange Grove and Colorado Blvd. Miles 11, 12 and 13 are a tour around the north end of the Brookside Golf Course. Otherwise, you’re on your own.
The next owner of the Dodgers slid some of the caprese salad appetizer next to the spicy fried calamari, careful not to interfere with the integrity of Sisley Italian Kitchen’s famous Italian quesadilla that was already in front him.
It might seem as Josh Macciello has a lot on his plate at the moment in the Sherman Oaks restaurant. But don’t doubt that he’ll have plenty of appetite left for the main course.
“I want everyone to know that I want the whole enchilada,” said Macciello, not afraid to mix his culinary metaphors.
Specifically, that would be the Dodgers’ franchise, the stadium, and the land that surrounds it.
He’s willing to pay $2.2 billion for it. An all-cash deal. And all of it to make Frank McCourt disappear.
“Why would I overbid?” Macciello continued, grabbing a fork. “We need closure to start the healing process. No fan wants to hand over $20 to park and think they’re giving him any more of their money.
“So I want to give him an offer he can’t refuse.”
Don’t worry. The Brooklyn native and Studio City resident with the pointed black beard and elaborately tattooed right shoulder just getting warmed up.
Media reports change almost daily in an attempt to nail down who has met certain “deadlines” and “qualified” to move “to the next round” in this unique process. Magic Johnson, Peter O’Malley, Stan Kroenke and Michael Heisley apparently are in.
Few, if any one, bother to include the 36-year-old Macciello.
When he made his intentions known with an introductory mini-media blitz last month, some polarizing reaction was predictable. While one started up a fansite, JoshForDodgers.com, to monitor his progress, others stayed skeptical of his net worth, labeling him a publicity seeker.
Add to that the jilted supporters of one of the most storied franchises in sports history who are simply too skittish that he could be McCourt version 2.0 — someone who appears paper-rich but ends up disappointing everyone.
Macciello understands the doubters, but he has no doubt he can win them over.
If needed, he can produce proof that he’s made his millions in TV and movie development projects. Lately, a discovery that some property he owns in Arizona turned out to be gold-rich, yet-to-be-mined land has been verified to be worth billions more.
Yet, Macciello was so agitated by the failure of acknowledgement from representatives from the New York-based Blackstone Group, hired by McCourt to handle the bankruptcy sale, that he took his case to the sports talk radio airwaves last week. On 710-AM’s Steve Mason and John Ireland show, Macciello answered questions from callers and defended himself as a viable option amidst more apprehension.
One caller told him he sounded like some fast-talking used-car salesman. Macciello reminded them that was the first career choice by current baseball commissioner Bud Selig.
Sources close to Macciello’s group who did not want to be identified because of nondisclosure agreements produced documents that show Macciello put into escrow a $2.2 billion bid on Jan. 18 with the intent to buy the Dodgers and all its holdings through his company, Armital Sports, Inc.
Macciello would own 51 percent. The other 49 percent would be owned by Eagle Crest LLC, headed up by two of Macciello’s financial partners. One of them is South Korean-born business man Myung-Ho Lee, who has, according to more confidential documentation given to the Blackstone Group, $10 billion deposited in the Hong Kong branch of the world’s largest bank, HSBC. Lee is in the process of having it transferred to a U.S. branch, and Macciello says he’s got access to $3 billion of that, with additional money going toward stadium repairs and roster salary.
The three-man group will combine to pay a $75,000 vetting fee that Major League Baseball has requested for this process.
“You think I’d pay that much just for media attention?” Macciello asked. “That’s stupid. I’m not looking to be a Karsashian.”
Representatives for McCourt or the Blackstone Group did not return requests to comment on Macciello’s bid.
As it all turns out, Macciello’s window of opportunity to get into the bidding has not closed. He has recently been informed that he’ll have until March 1 to secure his offer.
The only real set deadline in this whole process it that McCourt picks the new owner by April 1. After the transaction is completed, he has until the end of April to pay off his debtors.
However, if Macciello isn’t satisfied with how he’s treated, he’s prepared to stall the entire sale proceedings by taking whatever legal action is necessary – an ironic twist to how the litigious McCourt has put the Dodgers ownership into this awkward holding pattern in the first place.
“I don’t want to sue anybody,” Macciello said. “But what other choice might I have?
“Everyone’s putting deadlines on everything, but that’s all make-believe by the media. The reality is, my attorneys feel I have plenty proof of funding here, and all I’m fighting for is a fair chance.
“Once we get past this hurdle, I will win this team. I will stop at nothing.”
Call him the wildcard in this whole drama, and you won’t be far off. He says that on a scale of 1-to-10, his chances of owning the Dodgers: “I live every day on a scale of hitting a 10. Realistically, you might think I’m psychotic, but I think I’m going to own the Los Angeles Dodgers and I’m going to bring a World Series by the end of this year. That’s what’s in my head. And there’s no doubt in my mind.”
Saturday, Macciello continued to make friends and influence people. He suited up and participated in a charity softball tournament in West Covina sponsored by Dodgers online bloggers, raising money for the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. Macciello made a $5,000 donation to the cause on top of it.
Here’s what could definitely play into Macciello’s favor – once the MLB approves the final pool of buyers, McCourt has the final say in who he sells it to. If he takes Macciello’s offer, McCourt, who some predicted would be lucky to break even, stands to clear some $700 million, according to Macciello’s calculations.
Likewise, McCourt could also see this as his last opportunity to give Selig and the other MLB owners the equivalent of some neighborhood kids lighting a paper bag on fire and setting it on their porch.
“I’m counting on that as the winning factor,” admitted Macciello. “But if he’s counting on me to do a worse job (than him), I’m counting on doing the best job.
“Everyone now realizes that McCourt is going to make the most amount of money on a bankruptcy in the history of the world. We just want to get back in that race, meet with him, have him give me a number on a napkin, and I’ll pay it.
“You know, the one thing that really scares me – what if you’re all so scared of getting another Frank McCourt that you’re losing the greatest owner you could ever have? That’s a possibility. What if I could win six championships like the O’Malley family, but everyone is so scared of me, because of what McCourt did, that you pass on me?
“I feel that my ownership of the Dodgers will be more than just a guy fulfilling his dreams. It’ll impact this country, which has no guidance right now. People feel lost in this horrible time in America right now, that there’s no hope with big business and government and everyone else screwing them over. And then here comes this guy, who’s not part of all that, who wins this organization, the underdog.”
Macciello, decked out in a flat-billed blue L.A. cap with a Dodgers’ No. 23 home jersey that has his name on the back, picked up another piece of calamari and started talking more about his immediate plans.
He’s keeping Don Mattingly as the Dodgers manager, and Ned Colletti as the general manager. He’ll invest millions into an onside security to make everyone feel safer. If fans aren’t crazy about “Don’t Stop Believin’” played after the seventh-inning stretch, he’ll let them pick the song.
He’s confounded why 50 cents worth of beer can be sold for $9. He can imagine when trolley cars bring fans in and out of the stadium as part of a public transportation service.
And, when all’s said and done, he’ll be just fine moving from the third-base season seats that he’s shared with some friends since 1999 over to the row of seats that McCourt set aside for himself next to the Dodgers’ dugout.
“The way I see it, I’m like Gibson at bat right now,” he said. “I’m in that same hole, facing one of the best closers in the game. And it doesn’t look like I have a chance. So I’m hoping to perform like he did. That’s my inspiration.”
Staff photo by Michael Owen Baker The Macciello family (from left): 6-year-old twins Joseph and Anthony, wife Anna, Josh and 11-year-old daughter Nichole, at their Studio City home.
WHO IS JOSH MACCIELLO?
Age: 36 Resident: Studio City Family: Married to wife Anna for 13 years. “She doesn’t get $1,000 haircuts,” Josh confirmed. The couple has twin 6-year-old boys and an 11-year-old daughter. Business background: He is the CEO of Reno-based Armital Entertainment LLC and co-chairman of Armital LLC. His Dodger ownership plan: Macciello’s new company, Armital Sports, Inc., would own 51 percent of the team. The other 49 percent would go to Eagle Crest LLC, comprised of two key investors. One is Myung-Ho Lee, is a South Korean-born former manager of Michael Jackson’s estate and current CEO of Union Finance & Investment, whose clients include Hyundai, Samsung and Daewoo. He once sat on the board of Sony/ ATV Music and is on the board of the Korean Stock Exchange. The other, who requested his name not be publicized, is a Fresno-based businessman who owns a major renewable fuel company.
What’s included in today’s weekly media column (linked here): A condensed version of the piece we did last week week on the blog about why a newspaper might even have a sports media column in the first place (the original rambling version is linked here), as well as other notes and quotes.
What’s not included:
== The second round of the MLB Network’s “Baseball IQ” game show started Thursday, and the Dodgers’ representative, Director of Ticket Operations Seth Bluman, was knocked out of the field of 16. The Angels’ assistant equipment manager Shane Demmitt goes against the Mariners special assistant to the GM Tony Blengio at 6 p.m. on Wednesday. Anyone who’s watched the first round knows — this is one tough test of knowledge. It’s not even easier sitting at home.
== ESPN announced this morning that a documentary about Magic Johnson’s declaration to the world 20 years ago that he had HIV will premiere March 11. ESPN Films and NBA Entertainment got together to make “The Announcement,” directed by Nelson George, and narrated by Johnson, who currently works as an ESPN NBA studio analyst. Here’s a trailer for the film — as if any of us want to relive that moment again:
My sincerest thanks to Robert Baly at VinScullyIsMyHomeboy.com (linked here), Howard Cole at the Orange County Registers’ Dodger blog (linked here) and Jon Weisman at DodgerThoughts.com (linked here) for helping me get the word out about a piece of Dodger literature I hope will provide a boost to an innercity literacy program that’s close to my heart.
A new autographed copy of Clayton and Ellen Kershaw’s book, “Arise,” about their charity efforts in Africa that came out last month, is up for auction at eBay.com through Feb. 17 (linked here), with 100 percent of the proceeds going toward the Friends of St. Lawrence-Watts’ literacy program that helps elementary school kids in the Watts area improve their reading skills to make their lives, and those of their families, much better as they are able to move on to better high schools and colleges.
You can read about some of the success stories on the non-profits’ website: www.friendsofwatts.org as we move toward an annual fundraiser on Thursday, March 1 at the Hermosa Comedy and Magic Club — everyone’s invited. Or if you wanted to make a donation at the site, that’s welcome as well.
Thanks to the book’s publishers, Regal Books (www.regalbooks.com) for making the donation.
Update: Thanks, too, to Steve Dilbeck at the L.A. Times for linking up our auction (linked here)
The Dodgers’ 2012 spring training broadcast schedule from Glendale, Arizl., includes 18 games televised back on Prime Ticket (13 dates) or KCAL-Channel 9 (two dates) with Eric Collins and Steve Lyons, with Charley Steiner and Rick Monday calling each nine games on the new flagship radio station, KLAC-AM (570).
The only exhibition game that Vin Scully will be apart of is the Dodgers-Angels contest at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday, April 3 on KCAL.
Most radio games will also stream live on dodgers.com and ProAngle Media will produce all 15 high definition telecasts.
The first televised game is the second game of spring training on Tuesday, March 6 at 1 p.m. on Prime Ticket as the Dodgers face the Giants.
UPDATE: The Dodgers announced that Scully will now add the Dodgers’ spring games on March 17 and 18 to his plans, doing both for TV.
Shaquille O’Neal called in to NBA TV’s “GameTime” Tuesday night to talk about how former Lakers teammate Kobe Bryant passed him for No. 5 on the league’s all-time scoring list (linked here):
“First of all, I’d like to congratulate Kobe and his family; he’s always been a great player. I can remember when me, him and Derek Fisher walked into the first day of practice. Kobe was practicing and shooting the ball by himself and he told everyone that he wanted to be the greatest Laker ever. I will be the first to say that he is the greatest Laker ever. He has a lot of great accomplishments, a lot of championships, passed up the great Jerry West, passed up Magic, shot the ball more than Kareem and he passed me up, so congratulations to Kobe Bryant and his family.”
NBA TV co-host Dennis Scott asked O’Neal about his relationship with Kobe:
Shaq: “When I first came to Orlando, I can remember when you (Scott) picked me up and said, “Well big man, even though you are a rookie you are our leader so we go as far as you go.” In Orlando, we had a lot of trials and tribulations but you know in Orlando I jumped on you, you jumped on me. I jumped on Nick (Anderson), we jumped on (Scott) Skiles… That’s what great leaders do.
“The great John Wooden said, “The true definition of a great player is a player that makes his other players better.” I knew that Kobe is a fierce guy, a fierce competitor and, at times, I knew that if I made him mad he was going to play out of this world, and he knew that if he made me mad that I was going to play out of this world. So that’s why I tweeted earlier that we are the greatest Laker one-two punch ever created. There will never be a one-two punch more controversial, more entertaining and more dominant than Kobe and myself. So again, congratulations to Kobe Bryant and his family and keep shooting.”
NBA TV co-host Brent Barry asked if Shaq thought Kobe would ever reach Michael Jordan’s all-time record, now that he’s some 3,700 points short:
O’Neal: “He probably has four or five years left and I don’t have my Shaq-alator in front of me, but he is probably going to average 25 or more points per season so he may pass Michael Jordan. He may pass Wilt Chamberlain.
“I am jealous of Kobe in the sense that his injury bug is a much bigger bug than mine. If you look at his career, he never really had a season where he had to miss six to eight weeks because of an injury. I think the most he missed because of injury was two weeks. I missed 250 games averaging 25 points a game. I did the math earlier and that’s another 5,000 points. If I would have done that, and if your father would have taught me how to shoot free throws the correct way, I wouldn’t have missed 5,000 (points).
“I may have only missed 3,000. I’m kind of upset that in my career I missed all those games due to injury and I missed a lot free throws. If I didn’t have that, I would have passed my idol – Wilt Chamberlain. It’s neither here nor there, and like I said earlier, congratulations to Kobe Bryant. As long as I passed up all my other idols – Hakeem [Olajuwon], Patrick Ewing and all those other guys, I think I did a great job.
“Like I said, he’s [Kobe] the greatest Laker ever. He told me that when he was 18-years-old and I believed him. I pushed his buttons and upset him at times but it made us play to the point where we were able to win three out of four championships and that’s all I was trying to do. That’s what all great leaders do.”