You can’t fool us: It’s a Scully bobblehead hostage situation, and they’ve figured it out as a no-Vin deal

i-5c6744396125852c081ce865d90361f1-vin-scully-bobblehead-alt_medium poses.jpg

From The Sporting News.com (linked here) headlined:
Vin Scully bobblehead used as lure for Dodgers fans to purchase extra tickets

The Los Angeles Dodgers want to cash in on the popularity of Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully.

Scully, who has been a part of the franchise since 1950 when it still was in Brooklyn, will be honored with a bobblehead night Aug. 30 at Dodger Stadium. Scully bobbleheads will be given to the first 50,000 fans who attend the Dodgers-Arizona Diamondbacks game that night.

The Dodgers want to capitalize on the event by making fans buy tickets to other games in addition to the bobblehead night. Fans will need to purchase either a season ticket or a 10-game plan.

The club also is not making individual seats available to its Aug. 7 home game against the Colorado Rockies.

From SBNation.com (linked here) under the headline: Dodgers Vin Scully Bobblehead Comes With Catch

Scully will be the 10th and final bobblehead given out this season by the Dodgers, on August 30 against the Arizona Diamondbacks. But fans can’t buy single game tickets to this game in hopes of securing a cherished Scully bobblehead.

Rather, fans must buy a ticket package of at least 10 games to get tickets for the August 30 game.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Save the date: Jim Abbott book signings

i-306fd7f59333306c1ad1c799d1d23487-JimAbbott.jpg

Pick up the Jim Abbott autobiography “Imperfect” and have him sign it during some upcoming Southern California appearances:
He’ll be signing copies of his book: Imperfect

Wednesday: 7 p.m., Angels Stadium team store

Saturday: 1 p.m., Costco, 900 South Harbor Blvd., Fullerton

June 5: 7 p.m., Barnes & Noble, 210 Americana Way, Glendale

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

The wayback machine, 1993: Bob Miller and Jim Fox, in a Hockey 101 primer (and it holds up well)

In 1993, when the Kings went to the Stanley Cup final for the first time, we quizzed our local NHL experts on the best ways to get novice hockey fans up to speed and be a little more Gretzky-literate about what they were about to watch.

i-450c58ccf77d76a8788f3b02b7738915-table-top-hockey.jpg

Although technology has changed a lot in the last 20 years – big-screen, high-def, wide-angle TV sets are far more than norm, and replay angles have improved by leaps and bounds, as well as use of the telestrator to explain how plays develop – the basics really don’t change. Neither do the broadcasters: The Kings announcers have been covering the team since long before that last Stanley Cup appearance.

Long before, and long after Fox tried its glowing puck graphic tricks in the mid 1990s.

But the basics really don’t change.

Here are some excerpts of a column we did on the subject in May, 1993:

Tip No. 1: Don’t necessarily try to focus on the puck.

i-18fba829bb67473728f6556410df7d6d-PuckHead.gif

Said Bob Miller, the Kings’ play-by-play voice going into his 20th season at the time:
“I usually tell people who watch the game for the first time just to focus on the area in front of the net. That’s where the puck will end up sometime.”

Added Jim Fox, the Kings’ TV analyst: “The camera’s focus on the puck isn’t as important as its ability to provide close enough action to see as many skaters as possible at the same time. It’s just like watching a basketball game on ice. If you can tell who’s carrying the puck, you don’t need to focus on the puck and follow it pass to pass.”
And from Nick Nickson, the Kings’ radio play-by-play voice: “The game has plenty to offer away from the puck. On a four-on-four power play, for example, a defenseman can sneak in and read the play and get a three-on-two going the other way.”

Tip No. 2: If you missed a play the first time, the replay will probably catch it – at a better angle.

Miller: “Slow-motion replay is best used in hockey than in any other TV sport. In football, you don’t need it that much. In basketball, how many times do you need to see a slam dunk? Hockey is too fast and needs to be slowed down to see it, especially on scoring plays.”

Fox: “The novice fan will learn more from the slo-mo, watching how the puck is deflected, where screens are set . . . I rely on the replay.”

Bob Borgen, who produced the Kings’ telecasts on the local Prime Ticket: “Sometimes we discover things on the replay that even surprises us. Hockey, to me, is like improvisational jazz. The puck can be all over the place. And it can get so wide on TV that with one camera, you can’t see the little things the first time.”

i-641ea4bf10989ec343f2049130902273-nhl-hockey-rink-diagram.gif

Tip No. 3: Don’t get hung up if the announcers don’t explain the rules. The red and blue lines are you friends.

Miller: “It always puzzles me why some think we have to explain all the terms with new viewers. There aren’t that many things to explain.”

Just know there are only two times a whistle blows: An offsides – just like an offsides in football, except here we have a blue line to show you clearly – and icing, which probably is the most difficult one for people to understand.

“The most questions I get are about penalties,” said Miller. “To the novice, every check must look like a penalty.”

Tip No. 4: A fight is not always a fight.

i-fae5ce8c019ea60a8cca1674a8e47746-APTOPIX-Kings-Canucks_Mort.jpg

Fox: “I wouldn’t expect a new viewer to understand that there are some fights that allow the players to police the game themselves rather than a set-up fight between two guys who feel they have to earn their money.
“If the game could eliminate the second category, we’d all be happier. But just watch how the players are grabbing jerseys and can’t plant themselves. Few fights turn into injury.”

Neither Miller nor Fox watch a TV monitor when they call a game because they feel the screen can be too restrictive.
“I can watch hockey on TV and enjoy it,” said Miller, “but not as much as in person.”
Added Al Michaels, a long-time Kings’ season-ticket holder: “There’s no trick to it. Get a 46-inch big-screen TV and wait for the replay.”

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Play It Forward: May 28-June 3 on your sports calendar

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

THIS WEEK’S BEST BET

i-01a5f19d18281e3e9af47078dd9f9adb-5359990.jpg

NHL Stanley Cup Finals: Kings vs. New Jersey:
Game 1: Wednesday at New Jersey, 5 p.m., Channel 4
Game 2: Saturday at New Jersey, 5 p.m., Channel 4:

i-1d6bfbe6eea9e07f938f662f7d15e449-New-Jersey-Devils-dominate-Los-Angeles-Kings-in-shootout-2-1-NHL-Match-Update-bkw1lsbo04ob1dgnqcjdmfat-.jpg
i-0925fa070c17404e7ff4827b8d22a69e-b2374d66c958b00e100f6a706700f58a.jpg

Not to be a Devils’ advocate in this series, but they’ve already beaten the Kings twice this year. Even if it was in a period of 12 days way back in October. Devils goalie Martin Brodeur tweaked his right shoulder at the time and had to leave after the first period in an eventual 2-1 shootout victory over the Kings on Oct. 13 at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. Ilya Kovalchuk, a free agent whom the Kings pursued in the off season, scored one of the shootout goals for the Devils (pictured above), who were otherwise constantly turned away by Jonathan Quick. Given that it was the Kings’ first game back on the mainland after their first two games in Europe, they could be expected to be a little disposition challenged.

But then, on Oct. 25, neither Brodeur nor Quick played, and the Devils snatched away a 3-0 win at Staples Center. Quick had a team record three consecutive shutouts coming in, but then-coach Terry Murray put in Jonathan Bernier. (Sorry, Terry, not a smooth move). Johan Hedberg started for the Devils, as Broudeur still was suffering from the shoulder injury, and stopped 31 Kings’ shots.

As for the 40-year-old Brodeur (above, during the Eastern Conference Game 6 final victory over the Rangers), the four-time Vezina Trophy winner and a league-record best 24 playoff shutouts in his 19 seasons in New Jersey has an 12-5 record so far in the playoffs with one first-round shutout and a 2.04 GGA. He’s never faced the Kings in the playoffs and has a 8-6-0-1 in his career against them with a 2.13 GGA. The Kings, in the final for the first time in 19 years, are in position to do something their rival Anaheim Ducks have never done — defeat Brodeur in a Stanley Cup final. And they start in perfect fashion, away from home for the first two.

MONDAY

MLB: Dodgers vs. Milwaukee, 5:10 p.m., Prime:

i-84710669bed010f0ac9a89335595fd9a-2011-11-22T193508Z_01_MIL05_RTRIDSP_3_BASEBALL-AWARDS-MVP.jpg

Hold you applause: Ryan Braun makes his first L.A. appearance since winning last year’s NL MVP award, but will runner-up Matt Kemp be ready to go bat-for-bat against him? The Dodgers have Kemp targeted for coming off the DL on Tuesday (7:10 p.m., Channel 9), the same day they’re giving out a four-headed bobblehead of Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes, Bill Russell and Ron Cey. The four-game series continues Wednesday (Kershaw vs. Gallardo) and Thursday (Billingsley vs. Greinke), both at 7:10 p.m., Prime.

MLB: Angels vs. New York Yankees, Angel Stadium, 6:05 p.m., FSW:

i-8117d932f6e3c378a45d67827c9bf0c1-b14d7f071538090e100f6a706700f8c0.jpg

Andy Pettitte’s comeback attempt at age 39 (he turns 40 in a couple of weeks) is on schedule to arrive in Anaheim for a meeting Tuesday (7:05 p.m., FSW) against Dan Haren. Raul Ibanez, another soon-to-be 40-year-old, helped Pettitte beat Cincinnati recently with a two-run homer. The Yankees still need a closer, with Mariano Riviera and David Robertson down. Any volunteers? The series finishes Wednesday (7:05 p.m., FSW).

NBA Eastern Conference finals, Game 1: Boston at Miami, 5:30 p.m., ESPN:

Rajon Rondo can’t do it all himself. The Heat knocked out the Celtics in five games in the conference semifinals last year. In 2010, the Celtics eliminated the Heat in the first round and then knocked LeBron James and the Cavaliers out in the second — his final game with Cleveland. Game 2 is in Miami on Wednesday with Games 3 and 4 in Boston on Friday and Sunday (both 5:30 p.m. on ESPN).

College lacrosse: NCAA men’s final: Loyola (Md.) vs. Maryland, 10 a.m., ESPN:

At Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., No. 1 Greyhounds (17-1) should have the upper stick over the state-rival Terps (12-5).

TUESDAY

NBA Western Conference finals, Game 2: Oklahoma City at San Antonio, 6 p.m., TNT:

What, you were expecting a Lakers-Clippers matchup all of the sudden. They’ll continue with Game 3 and 4 in OKC on Thursday (6 p.m., TNT) and Saturday (5:30 p.m., TNT).

i-bd835f5e77ba45207f33baea0de366af-Northern+Trust+Open+Round+One+pjQVjn_xG-sl.jpg

College golf: NCAA Division I tournament, at Riviera Country Club, first round of individual play, 7 a.m.:

UCLA sophomore Patrick Cantlay, the first Bruin to win college golf’s top honor in receiving Ben Hogan Award, has plenty of familiarity with this Palisades layout, having played in last February’s PGA Northern Trust Open (he didn’t make the cut, shooting 8-over 150). The 20-year-old is the world’s top- ranked amateur, finishing in a tie for 47th at the Masters and was the also the low amateur at the 2011 U.S. Open (tying for 21st). As a freshman, he was second in last year’s NCAA championship. UCLA, ranked third in the country and the team winners in 1988 (with coach Eddie Merrins) and 2008 (with coach Derek Freeman, and Kevin Chappell as the individual winner), qualified for its 10th straight NCAA championship last week. Augusta State is the two-time defending men’s NCAA champ. Three rounds of stroke play team competition ends Thursday, and then the top eight seeds compete in a three-day match play starting Friday.

Soccer: U.S. Open Cup: Galaxy at Carolina RailHawks, 4 p.m.:

Is this the moment in the season when AEG sends Darryl Sutter over to Home Depot Center to whip Becks, Donovan and the boys into shape? That makes as much sense as sending the team all the way to Cary, N.C., to play a game in the middle of a stumbling MLS season. The hillbillies have bought up all the tickets in hopes of seeing some real Hollywood stars … so what if there’s a U.S. Open Cup victory when this charade is all over. (Oh, right, because they’re no where near defending their MLS Cup with a 3-8-2 mark, last in the Western Conference. The Galaxy’s second-round match up could be against Chivas USA on June 5. Chivas has to beat the Ventura County Fusion tonight at Ventura College. Good luck to y’all.

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

The Sparks also host Seattle for the second time in about two weeks on Sunday (5:30 p.m., KDOC-Channel 56), having defeated the Storm twice by eight and 13 points in the first two games of the season.

WEDNESDAY

NBA: Draft Lottery, 5 p.m., ESPN:

i-552e156e41cd3a2029a03aa7c1d0e7c2-136382058_crop_650x440.jpg

They’re distributing ping-pong balls again, this time in New York’s Times Square, for the top 14 picks in the June 28 draft. Charlotte as the most-favored status (a 25 percent chance of winning) for the chance to grab Kentucky’s unibrowed wonder Anthony Davis (or any of his four Wildcat teammates that also declared entry). But New Orleans has two lottery picks (taking one from Minnesota, which originally took it from the Clippers). Those two picks give the Hornets an 14.8 percent chance of the No. 1 choice. Of the 14 teams eligible, the newly-renamed Brooklyn Nets have a 7.5 percent chance of coming up with the top pick.

THURSDAY

i-7b4c6dc50e67fd9b49b1e3d14458e5b5-alphabet-soup.gif

Scripps National Spelling Bee: Semifinals, 7 a.m., ESPN2; finals, 5 p.m., ESPN:

i-4ecbaa7ca96b725751bfdef5910ce1b9-lori-anne-madison-insidenova-thumb-315xauto-37167.jpg

There’s a 6-year-old in the field: Lori Anne C. Madison of Woodbridge, Va., who, according to the organization, is the youngest speller in the event on record. She won the Prince William County Spelling Bee against constants who, in some cases, were twice her age. Do we have to spell this out for you – it’ll be compelling, life-scaring TV at its reality-show finest. Madison, who is home-schooled, told Fox News: “I was confident because I have been in spelling bees with older kids before and I judge them by who they are, not about age.” Madison said she started spelling and reading when she was 3 years old — “very early,” she explained. “Plus, I work hard and love to find new interesting words in the dictionary.” That attitude doesn’t succedaneum (a word meaning “to act as a substitute,” which was the winning word use in the 2001 competition. All preliminary rounds on Wednesday start at 5 a.m. on ESPN3, the website. Sage Steele is the event’s anchor person. Samantha Steele is a reporter. Where’s Iron Man when you need him? More info: www.spellingbee.com

FRIDAY

i-b0c4f93254da9bf51242bd97c3c3db8a-cowboy_hat_promo2.jpg

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

On Saturday (7:05 p.m., FSW), the Angels will attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the “largest gathering of people wearing cowboy hats,” since everyone in attendance will be handed one. Sponsored, appropriately, by Yokohama. Nice to make the Rangers feel at home. “These record attempts are becoming an annual event for us,” Vice-President of Sales & Marketing, Robert Alvarado said. “By attempting our third world record to compliment the last two seasons’ events, we will deliver a unique and memorable experience that our fans have come to expect.” At the start of the fifth inning, an anticipated sellout of more than 40,000 will be prompted to wear their Angels cowboy hats for 10 consecutive minutes — which apparently does the trick. This is the third Guinness World Record attempted by the Angels, after going for the “largest gathering of people wearing blankets” (2010) and “largest gathering of people wearing masks” (2011). The current record for the largest gathering of people wearing cowboy hats — a mere 500. That can’t be right. Ever been to bar on a Wednesday afternoon in Houston? The series ends Sunday (12:35 p.m., FSW).

MLB: Dodgers at Colorado, 5:40 p.m., Prime:

Jamie Moyer is slated to make a return outing in the series opener against the Dodgers, unless he yields to old age or boredom. The Dodgers roughed him up for seven hits and five runs on May 11, but he also whiffed seven. This is the first of 19 road games that the Dodgers will play in the month of June, and it could start with some altitude sickness, even though the Dodgers swept the Rockies in three during Colorado’s visit to Dodger Stadium recently. The series continues Saturday (1:10 p.m., Prime) and Sunday (12:10 p.m., Channel 9).

SATURDAY

Running: Prefontane Classic, noon, Channel 4:

i-9ceb27416d1076144cfc1c9f22acfce9-40416_w400xh600.jpg

Meet director Tom Jordan has proclaimed to the Eugene Register-Guard that the list for this year’s Bowerman Mile at the 38th Pre Classic on the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field is the “greatest field of milers ever assembled on American soil … superior to anything you’ll see at the Olympics or World Championships (because) we have no limits on the number of entrants per country. No limits. Sounds like a catchy movie title. Kenya’s Asbel Kiprop (right) and Silas Kiplagat, both 22, are the world’s top-ranked milers and are entered. Kiprop won gold in the 1500 meters at the 2008 Summer Olympics.

SUNDAY

Golf: PGA Memorial at Dublin, Ohio, final round, 11:30 a.m., Channel 2:

Steve Stricker won this event last year, and Zach Johnson won the PGA event last week, but the buzz in the tour world for this event is that Dustin Johnson, bothered by back pain for the better part of the past two months, plans to return for this event. He hasn’t played since he tied for 35th at the WGC event in the second week in March. Johnson finished fourth at the event a year ago, four shots back of Stricker, with a final round of 65. Golf Channel has the first two rounds Thursday and Friday; CBS has Saturday’s third round.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

More from McSorley, comparing ’93 to ’12, etc.

i-ccf0d04b4bcaad6dda73e47b172ce557-d005d5190a60c3e9efd7bf349cb7_grande.jpg

Via wn.com

As a followup to our story (linked here) with former Kings defenseman Marty McSorley, a few points he can make from his perspective:

Comparing the Kings’ 93 to this squad:

== “We were much more of a run-and-gun team. We had (Kelly) Hrudey (in goal), who was good, and (Rob) Stauber also had some good games — nothing like Quick, who has been unbelieveable. But goaltending for us didn’t have to be that good. Obviously we also had a guy (Wayne Gretzky) who everyone wanted to come out to see, so the fanfare around the team was so much greater.

“The style of play was much different then. What Montreal did (in the final) and wasn’t really documented was how they had an early trap working in that series. They were trying to counteract a team that could easily score seven goals a night.

i-8e64efcca54df8ae68c2f28c83379115-46-t1045662-500.jpg

“This team is very different, much bigger. We played hard games, but not like the 0-0 ones this team can grind out. That wasn’t who we were. We had a lot of personalities, but that’s what (owner) Bruce McNall had a feel for and wha the wanted.

“It’s great what this current team has done getting huge help from (rookies) like Voynov and King and Nolan, with veteran defensemen that let Martinez step in comfortably. The third line also has a lot of energy. I was curious to see if Stoll would be a third-line centerman, but he’s doing it. The kid in the net also doesn’t force the third and fourth lines to score, but they’ve been very deep. Management will have to make some decisions by July 1 on who to keep — and they’ve got pay Quick.

“They’re all firing. They don’t have any ‘controversy’ hanging over them. The biggest thing is they challenged themselves before the playoffs, and now they’re far more. They all skate so well and shoot so well. They all want to do great things with the puck.”

On what makes this 2012 team tick:

== “They’ve got everyone helping and chipping in. The play of some guys allows the others to just do their jobs. That’s a huge help. Not too much is asked from a lot of them. They’ve got three veteran defensemen aside from from the kid in the nets, and they’re a big part of it. Quick puts them in position to win, and now Anze Kopitar he stepped up as a true leader. Richards and Carter take the emphasis of checking off Kopitar, which gives him more freedom. Now you have two lines with legitimate scorers.”

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Nineteen years later, will anyone stick up for Marty McSorley? Or will he be forced to play the role of a King-sized martyr?

i-e264d6ee95e25d39b2d6c03cb8580a4f-DSC02068.JPG

Photo by Tom Hoffarth/Daily News
Marty McSorley poses with fans and autograph seekers before Game 4 of the Kings-Phoenix Western Conference finals at Staples Center last Sunday.

Marty McSorley can turn surly.

In his NHL glory days, it happened when he came face to face with an opposing player — someone who would stupidly want to pick a fight with one of the league’s most legendary brawlers.

With the Kings fighting their way to the Stanley Cup finals for the second time ever and first time in 19 years, the thing that causes a distinct change in McSorley’s otherwise kind-natured demeanor is when he’s in a face-off with a media member.

Just so you know, he’s not amused by the “Curse of the Curved Stick” storyline.

“You’re not in my shoes,” the 49-year-old admitted.

i-2d0c32509429f5719f1a4bbe2f61a3e6-mcsorleyss.jpg
i-440c4deb8cf80515041a5719d4b77fb5-MartyMcSorleyLarge.jpg

He’ll attend charity events as a member of the Kings Alumni Association, and once the master of ceremonies spots him, there’ll be a joke made from the podium at his expense.

He’ll sign autographs for hours to please a line of Kings fans, as he did in the concourse at Staples Center before Game 4 of the recent Western Conference finals. Almost on cue, someone will make what they believe is a light-hearted remark about whether the Sharpie he’s using is illegal.

McSorley gives a half-smile, more of a pained look, and tries to set them straight.

“They think it’s funny, they snicker about it, but they get caught up in what they took away from ’93 with a bit of a misguided scenario,” he said. “That shouldn’t be the focus. That’s the part that’s confusing to me.”

Does this thing that many call a “curse” haunt him?

“No,” he said, “because, for me, you play the game as hard as you can. It’s more disappointing to know you played all year and put as much into it, and then you get singled out. For this? Really? For a Stanley Cup final?”

Is this something he’s ever been asked to apologize for?

“No,” he said, “because I can’t believe it’s gotten so sensationalized. It’d be interesting to see if this had happened to any number of other players (in Kings’ history).”

Is anyone coming to his defense? Not so much.

At a time when everyone still seems to want to stick it to him, when does someone stick up for McSorley?

Continue reading

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Weekly media column version 05.25.12

i-56fbf94ff483db29771cdb381de74131-originalkings graphic.jpg

What’s included in this week’s sports media column (linked here):

i-1075a3a733c96ab77bed241e5dd5bf92-kingslogo.jpg

The best reasons for the Kings’ inclusion in the Stanley Cup final, from purely a viewers, readers and tweeter’s point of view, including the potential for more local news flub-ups in coverage of the on-ice events (which the Kings, above, have tried to stay ahead of the curved stick here with a light-hearted cheat sheet)

What isn’t included:

== Save of the day (and a beauty) to Kevin Olsen, a reader in Burbank who politely points out that the L.A. Kings actually did play a game in Sacramento once. In 1994. On Easter Sunday. And he was there, “that’s how I seem to remember it.” The NHL had “neutral ice” games at various venues around the U.S. and Canada and Sacramento’s Arco Arena hosted one that day. Here’s the game summary (linked here). Kings won, 6-1. Gretzky had three assists. We demand an apology right this minute to Chuck Henry.

== The NHL Network will have a three-hour live show during “Media Day,” and NHL.com will let fans pick among three podiums to watch players at their press conferences.
Starting with Game 1 of the Cup Final on Wednesday, NHL Network has a three-hour pregame show that includes analyst Barry Melrose. Darren Pang will be assigned, with Steve Mears, to cover all the Kings-related activity.

== Two Sports Illustrated pieces on Doc Emrick, who Kings followers will hear call the Stanley Cup final for NBC and NBC Sports Newtork, one done a year ago by Richard Deistch (linked here) and then recently by Michael Farber (linked here).

i-317c059d2a55f775ce6587cbfa217d8c-SIcoverimage002.jpg

== Lee Jenkins’ Sports Illustrated cover piece on the 78-hours of the L.A. L.A. Paloosa (linked here) is equal to or greater than the effort by Grantland.com’s Bill Simmons (linked here). But neither took their picture with the Chick Hearn statue.

== An excerpt of the Frank Deford essay/commentary on NPR.com that he delivered Wednesday included this assessment of why the NHL isn’t so much part of the ESPN national-driven discussion (linked here):

“What we used to call ‘the sports world’ is actually now ‘ESPN-world.’ And of all the major sports leagues it carries, ESPN doesn’t carry the NHL. As a consequence, the NHL is like a tree falling in the forest — because pretty much if a sport isn’t on ESPN, then it doesn’t count as a sport. Poker became a sport when ESPN started showing it.
“Angry hockey people even tabulate the few minutes that ESPN deigns to mention the NHL. ESPN replies that hockey is not in the ‘national discussion.’ The NHL is not just like LeBron or Kobe, or baby bumps, or Mitt Romney’s dog.
“Hockey fans say that the NHL can’t be in the national discussion unless ESPN discusses it, because in American sports today, that’s how you get national: You get on ESPN. Look at it this way, ESPN to sports is like Fox, MSNBC, the Comedy Channel and MTV all in one.
“ESPN might have a problem, though. The New York Rangers and the Los Angeles Kings may very well end up playing in the NHL finals. Is ESPN even bigger than L.A. and New York City, together? Stay tuned.”

Again, the latest Deford autobiography, “Over Time: My Life as a Sportswriter,” is available in book stores (linked here).

== More background on the @LAKings digital media team from Yahoo.com (linked here).

== Video of how NBC Sports Network’s Pierre McGuire was between the glass at the right time during Game 4 of the Eastern Conference final of the Stanley Cup playoffs (from the New York Times link):

McGuire calls himself an analyst who sometimes acts as a reporter, as he was put in a unique situation during Game 4 of the Rangers-Devils Eastern Conference series.
McGuire, a former bench coach in Pittsburgh, went on a mini-media tour this week to explain how being allowed to stand in that “privileged position” comes with it a responsibility to maintain a “professionalism” that goes with “a respect factor” not to reveal everything that goes on. Even if it leads to criticism that he isn’t telling viewers enough.
McGuire told Dan Patrick on his syndicated radio show this week there are “certain things that can be reported and certain things that can’t,” especially when it comes to confidential injury information. “It’s not fair to say what the injury is. I don’t believe in that. When people start to do that kind of reporting, when you’re basically invading (the bench) territory of the teams, then that (analyst) position will probably get shut down.”

== Victor Rojas and Eric Byrnes are on the call for Fox’s regional coverage of the Angels-Mariners game from Seattle (Saturday, 4 p.m., Channel 11, going to 11 percent of the country, while most see Philadelphia-St. Louis with Joe Buck and Tim McCarver). Question: If either Angels pitcher Jerome Williams or the Mariners’ Felix Hernandez takes a no-no past, say, the fifth inning, will Rojas say anything about it or would be be forced to if Fox’s national coverage cuts to this game (recall that the Chicago White Sox’s Phil Humber threw the perfect game at Seattle earlier this year on a Fox regional telecast).

== From the ESPN “SportsCenter” Sunday piece that will run on Dan Wheldon prior to ABC’s coverage of the Indianapolis 500:

ESPN’s vice president of motorsports production Rich Feinberg said the piece “celebrates his life and certainly touches upon the thrilling victory that he achieved in the 100th, centennial anniversary, of the Indy 500 last year. We’ll also touch on the tragedy of Las Vegas. For many viewers, and for the sport, this is the first time we’ve seen oval racing, not only in these cars, but since the tough events and horrible events of last year’s Las Vegas race.
“The feature is a touching tribute to him. It’s not meant to be an analytical breakdown of what happened in Las Vegas, but much more celebrate his life. It includes an exclusive interview and sit-down that we did with his wife Susie Wheldon.
“There is also a tribute planned in the prerace ceremony, and we certainly plan on covering that and offering it for our viewers to experience.”

== Jim Carlisle of the Ventura County Star explains further what happened during last Monday’s Dodgers-D’backs telecast, when there were no commercials shown for the first seven innings because of a glitch in the Fox Sports Network production out of Houston (linked here). Somehow, that didn’t bother us too much, either.

== As NFL Films president Steve Sabol battles with brain cancer, the HBO series “Hard Knocks” continues to be without a team as the subject matter for its upcoming season. Several teams have turned it down. The New York Post reports that the networks hopes to have a team decided by June 1, although it would not be a surprise at this point if the series at least skipped 2012.

AND FINALLY:

i-a72186a7171aadf9129e08070d8ebfbd-NEWVin-Scully-Shirt.jpg

== A site called TheForestLab.com (linked here) has these shirts for sale. For $28. Amazing what a Photoshop can do. Illegal? We’ll see whose lawyers speak up first.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

The wayback machine, 1993: Bob Miller finds out he won’t be doing a first-round Kings’ playoff game for the first time in his 20 years with the team

Excerpted from the Daily News archives, Friday, April 16, 1993:

i-1d5ba6bb4131361968cf196b0d15d64d-wnx5wdxdo5hbdx55.jpg
i-d9202561558ffe7f53d011832c5d4394-l6249v64kxsc269s.jpg

For the first time in 13 years, the NHL has playoff games on over-the-air networks. For the Kings’ Game 1 first-round opener in Calgary, the L.A. market will get an ABC coverage, with Al Michaels and John Davidson. This is a year removed from when CBS covered the 1992 Winter Games.

Three years earlier, Kings play-by-play man Bob Miller let go of his radio duties to do a TV-only broadcast for Prime Ticket with Jim Fox. That left Nick Nickson and Brian Engblom on the XTRA-AM (690) broadcasts over radio.

Miller talked about how he stayed at his Woodland Hills home for Game 1 from the Saddledome rather than join the Kings’ traveling party and would later go to Calgary for Game 2 on the following Wednesday.

“It seems a little weird and I’m not really happy about it. I feel left out,” said Miller.

“I understand that the league wants the network exposure and I’m all for that. But I don’t understand how you abandon people you’ve been with all year. To me the fairest thing to do would be to let ABC do the game, but not shut out the local TV.”

As part of the new five-year, $80 million ESPN-NHL TV contract, ESPN bought time on ABC for five straight Sunday playoff games, with the Kings-Flames being one of three regional telecasts. Prime Ticket was upset over losing local TV ad revenue from the change.

Interestingly, Kings owner Bruce McNall helped orchestrate the ESPN-ABC-NHL TV deal.

ABC also did the Kings-Flames Game 4 from the Forum on Sunday April 25, changing the faceoff from 7:30 p.m. to noon.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

When the NBC Sports Network can’t get ads for Farmers Insurance, this must be the next best thing …

One indication that the NBC Sports Network lacks in a strong advertiser base is how many times during the NHL playoffs that we’ve been exposed to this one particular spot — a bunch of talking barnyard animals lament how their owner looks so lonely as “she’s out walking the cornfield again” since it’s difficult for her to meet her true love. They then suggest she tap into FarmesOnly.com, the dating service for farmers, ranchers and “good ol’ county folks.”

Google the term “animal husbandry” and see if it’s a more accurate portrayal of what’s going on here.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email