A familiar view? Naw, not really

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In our blog post last week (linked here) about the Jim Rome CBS Sports Network set that the view out the “window” on the new set had to have come from a shot taken either from the towering Ritz Carlton across the street from Chick Hearn Court, or even from the Convention Center to the west.

It wasn’t until we got off the Metrolink on Saturday and noticed this view (above). This is looking at Staples Center from Flower Street, near 12th Street — the south east side of the arena. With that larger building to the left, it would make more sense that the shot in “Rome” comes from this angle, just higher up. There’s an abandoned 10-plus story building right behind us here that would be perfect to shoot from and could account for the “Rome” backdrop.

But then again, it’s not real to the “Rome” studio. “Rome” has far too many “other” buildings in the vicinity, which aren’t there. Oh, well, we tried. Again.

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A statue’s-eye view of this whole Staples centric circus

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Yup, the grayish beard is for the hockey playoffs, and the chat with Chick was for my own well being. He’s a good listener.

You gotta wonder what Chick Hearn would have said about this whole L.A. sports weekend spectacle.

It’s the obvious question, having just unwedged myself from the Metrolink blue line at the Chick Hearn Station near Pico, followed the herd to Chick Hearn Court, and then plopped down in the chair next to the bronze Chick Hearn statue for a counseling session.

Why does he seem to be perpetually enamored with all the chaos going on around him?

Because he doesn’t have to concern himself with parking, for one.

The word’s eye view of the late Basketball Hall of Fame broadcaster would be a dandy way to caption this moment in time that we may never see again.

If we were to guess, it would be about the opposite of what we heard from Clipper Darrell.

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A couple of fans, including one in a Lakers’ poncho and sombrero that wasn’t Vic “The Brick” Jacobs, attempt to console Clipper Darrell outside Staples Center late Saturday afternoon.

He emerged from the Staples Center concourse sometime about 2:30 p.m. Saturday – that’d probably be in third quarter when the Clippers all but squandered a 24-point lead to San Antonio.

Darrell likely didn’t even notice that by then, Staples Center workers had removed all the red, white and blue arching balloon displays, replaced that 100-yard Clippers banner atop the third-level courtyard that said “Risen!” with a purple-and-gold Lakers banner,
and took down all the Clippers-related flags near the north entrance and had already run Lakers flags up in their place.

The change-over had already taken place as far as Clipper Darrell was concerned. He let loose with a F-bomb that echoed through the plaza.

No harm, no foul language?

The Spurs apparently just put Game 3, and most likely this Clippers’ postseason, into the refrigerator. Clipper Darrell wasn’t jigglin’.

About a half hour later, all these “Clipper Nation All In” T-shirts with people inside of them emerged in great mass from their rented seats, as if Staples Center employees trying to tidy up before the Lakers’ crowd arrived simply swept them outside with their brooms.

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Clippers fans made their way out of Staples Center on Saturday oblivious to the their balloons had been taken down and Lakers banners were back up.

The Clippers, no matter how much you think they’re sitting at the adult table during this L.A. playoff holiday feast, remain collateral damage in this AEG weekend scenario, one that Staple Center GM Lee Zeidman keeps telling reporters is this “perfect storm” and an “unprecedented moment” for the sports and entertainment capital of the world.

The bottom line is that it’s capitalism at its best for the Anshutz Entertainment Group. They’re just like another airlines that grossly overbooks a flight, but neither the NBA, NHL or the AEG-sponsored Tour of California will blink.

The Clippers, of course, accepted the indignity of agreeing to play tonight, knowing that somehow they could get bumped to Monday, forcing all their fans to go home and come back – again – to be disappointed.

The perfect perfect storm could play out this afternoon, if some 18,000-plus Kings fans come pouring out in celebration mode from the arena at about, say, 5 p.m., after a two OT victory and a trip to the Stanley Cup finals is secured, and then they don’t even hold the doors open for the 18,000-plus Clippers fans who have been standing around waiting to get back into the building just to have spurs dug into their shins one last time.

Not a Phi Beta Kappa move.

Kings’ fans inconvenienced by having to show up today before the AEG cock crows so they avoid this vicious cycle of overbooking sporting events have been promised free donuts and coffee for their troubles.

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Clippers’ fans inconvenienced by the belief they’ll see their team win a game in this series have been faked into the popcorn machine.

If everyone rode a bike to Staples Center this weekend, parking might a little more manageable. But we really weren’t given full discloser about what else is happening in the neighborhood this weekend.

A multi-level telecommunications marketing company (we’re saying that in the nicest way) is hosting a three-day international training session this weekend at the L.A. Convention Center – with most of the 250,000 participants all dressed in fancy attire and taking up rooms at the JW Marriott in L.A. Live. The added foot traffic – and lines created at the local eateries – makes us all a little uncomfortable.

A Roger Waters concert down the street at the Coliseum on Saturday
night was just another brick in the wall of cars trying to get to the Lakers’ game.

And tonight at the Nokia Theatre in L.A. Live, they’ll be having rehearsals for the “American Idol” two-night finale early this week. Be aware: Steven Tyler may be working the local Burger King drive-through window.

If you’re wise enough to sardine yourself today into the germ-free Metrolink artery, you’ll have removed half the frustration of dealing with the last remnants of Occupy Staples Center.

This should be a joyful confluence of six playoff games and a big-adventure bike race. And one we hope only comes around as much as a solar eclipse (like the one tonight?)

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If anything, we’ve enjoyed the people-watching opportunities – particularly, the return-to-normal looks on the faces of this Nation of Clipperdome. Inevitably, they’ll be next to us at a Pantry counter seat, picking over their cole slaw, and cracking a smile that, for a
least one weekend, there were a bunch of red, white and blue Clippers balloons attached to the Jerry West, Magic Johnson and Chick Hearn statues in Star Plaza.

We pretty much know what Hearn would have said about that.

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Does this Staples Center road map to insanity make sense to you?

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It better. It’s how you must navigate around the Tour of California, Kings’ Game 4 or Clippers’ Game 4 Sunday in downtown L.A.

On top of that, thousands are expected to participate in a “ride before the pros” event, from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., along the 5-mile cycling circuit.

Here are the street closures:
= Figueroa Street from Pico Blvd. to Olympic Blvd
= Chick Hearn Court from Flower Street to Georgia Street
= Pico Blvd. from Flower Street to Figueroa Street
= Flower Street from Pico Blvd. to 11th Street
= Olympic Blvd. from Figueroa Street to Olive Street
= Olive Street, North of Olympic Blvd.
= 11th Street from Flower Street to Hill Street
= Hill Street, North of 11th Street

All of the streets will be re-opened prior to the end of the Kings’ game. Whenever that happens.

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Q and A with Orel Hershiser: Is there a hidden ball trick with the 59th scoreless inning piece of horsehide? Or does Lasorda need a history lesson …

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Getty Images
Orel Hershiser, left, and Tommy Lasorda chat with Arizona Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson before a game at Dodger Stadium last Tuesday. All three were key parts to the Dodgers’ 1988 World Series victory over heavily favored Oakland.

If Orel Hershiser were to dig through his socks draw and find the baseball that was used to record the final out that gave him the record-breaking 59th consecutive scoreless inning in 1988, what would it be worth on the open market?

It’s something we won’t know, at least for now.

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The Dodgers’ Cy Young Award winner once had that item as part of a personal collection of uniforms, bats and other things commissioned to Grey Flannel Auctions to sell off the highest bidder (the auction is at this link and runs through May 30). But when he realized that ball was something he didn’t want to part with – it accidentally got put in with everything else he was cleaning out – he talked the company into having it retracted.

But then again, is that really the ball that Dodgers right fielder Jose Gonzalez caught in the 10th inning at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego during a scoreless game to clinch the record?

Former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda has long told the story that Gonzalez, in a moment of brain cramping, tossed the ball into the stands.

We checked in with Hershiser, who happened to be with Lasorda at a Dodger Stadium suite last Tuesday night after he threw out the first pitch on his bobblehead giveaway night, to find out what’s really going on here:

Continue reading

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Lakers, Clippers may has well be a mil-to-one by weekend

Odds to win 2012 NBA Championship, posted today by www.Bovada.lv:

San Antonio Spurs 7/4
Oklahoma City Thunder 2/1
Miami Heat 10/3
Boston Celtics 7/1
Indiana Pacers 12/1
Los Angeles Lakers 25/1
Philadelphia 76ers 50/1
Los Angeles Clippers 100/1

Odds to win 2012 NBA Championship, posted on May 14:

Miami Heat 11/10
San Antonio Spurs 3/1
Oklahoma City Thunder 15/4
Boston Celtics 8/1
Los Angeles Lakers 9/1
Los Angeles Clippers 40/1
Indiana Pacers 60/1
Philadelphia 76ers 65/1

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Patrick O’Neal, in defense of dad, via HufPost

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In light of the profile we did of Fox Sports West/Prime Ticket reporter Patrick O’Neal four months ago (linked here) — which included a poignant discussion of his work from his dad, actor Ryan O’Neal – comes this 2,137-word guest column on the Huffington Post (linked here) called “In Defense of Dad.”

Hang onto this one if you need something to read on Father’s Day.

It starts off with some boxing references, a sport Ryan O’Neal keeps close to the heart:

“I’m sick of the low blows, the kidney punches, and the shots after the bell and on the breaks. I’m sick of all the trash talking. From Vanity Fair, The Today Show and The View just to name a few. From mean spirited bloggers who say my father is an awful man, and would be better off dead. … All this nasty criticism you throw at my dad reminds me of the guy that throws the sucker-punch. The weakling that hits someone when they aren’t looking, and then disappears into the crowd because they’re scared they might get punched back …”

“I haven’t been a perfect son or brother. I have been busy trying to be a good father to my girls, and do the best job I can as a broadcaster. I haven’t always been there for my dad or my brothers, sister, nieces and nephews. For that I’m sorry. I believe in family, and I believe in our family. That’s why I wrote this, it’s about FAMILY. I love you all. And Dad, thanks for everything you have done for me over the years. I’m sorry I disappeared from time to time. I was trying to make my way in this world — not always easy. I made mistakes, and hurt your feelings along the way, and I’m sorry for that. I’m sorry you are going through a tough time right now. I know you miss Farrah and you’re dealing with some physical and emotional pain. Please hang in there because we still make a good paddle tennis team, even if I have to carry us. Team O’Neal forever!”

Read the comments posted here as well. It’s worth it.

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Weekly media column version 05.18.12

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

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How Staples Center accomodates not just NBC, ESPN/ABC and TNT for its six NBA and NHL playoff games this weekend, but how the Canadian production trucks are also mashed in there, and how the pieces all come together …. plus more on the MLB Network’s power play to secure some post-season live telecasts, and the pros and cons from the network “up front” presentations in New York this week.

What’s not included:

== The 18th annual “Smack-Off” commences today (linked here) on Jim Rome’s syndicated radio show (9 a.m. to noon, KLAC-AM 570). Brad in Corona is back to defend his title, having also won it in a rookie effort in 2009 that became what we determined to be a gamechanger in the event’s history. Someday, Jay Mohr may just pull it off. A history of the event has its own Wikipedia page (linked here, apparently in dire need of additional citations for verification by reliable sources). Keep it clean, boys and girls.

== The Sparks launch their 16th WNBA season with Larry Burnett and Tracy Warren calling their games on the Time Warner Cable-produced telecasts that’ll be seen, outside the TWC subscriber base, on KDOC-Channel 56 starting Friday night when the team opens in Seattle. Burnett is in his 15th season calling Sparks games. Warren did games for ESPN, the Big Ten Network and Fox Sports Net. TWC does 13 Sparks this season, with 11 appearing on KDOC. Tuesday’s rescheduled home opener for the Sparks will be on the NBA Network.

== The New York Times has declared the Kings as champions of NHL Twitter feeds (linked here) based on snarkiness that, by sheer coincidence, drives up their numbers. Deadspin.com seconds that (linked here).

== “You probably don’t know Bob Miller, but I do,” writes an Edmonton Journal columist (linked here)

== A quote to remember when you’re in search of a Kings’ playoff game:
ESPN president John Skipper said during the upfront presentations in New York that he doesn’t see the NBC Sports Network as much of a threat. “We’ve been doing this for 32 years, and there is a little too much respect paid to their brand name. They don’t look like we look. We have more viewers in an average minute on ESPN mobile then they have on all of NBC Sports Network.”
An ESPN spokesman confirmed: During the average minute in the TV daytime, there’s 93,999 people using ESPN Mobile and apps compared to 82,421 watching NBC Sports Network.
NBC Sports Network, which is in about 20 million fewer homes than ESPN, responded (linked here): “The NBC Sports Group brands are among the most powerful brands in sports. We don’t look like anyone else and we’re very proud of that fact. They’ve been at this a long time and at a significantly higher cost to consumers. Our audience and market share are increasing as evidenced by the NHL playoffs and at great value to our viewers.”

== Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch interviews Skipper about this, that and other things (linked here), including this Magic Johnson-related question, in light of him recently saying on an ESPN NBA show that Lakers coach Mike Brown would surely be fired if the team lost its Game 7 first-round match up against Denver:

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Q: Magic Johnson is now a part owner of the Dodgers. He has long been a vice president with the Lakers. How should viewers view an analyst who has business ties with sports that you cover?

Skipper: It’s an interesting question, and I think the main thing we have to be is transparent. I am not sure what we have done relative to making sure what we have disclosed with Magic. He is not likely to be doing anything on our air relative to the Dodgers, and we would be pretty careful around what exposure we provide there.

In basketball, he has been a vice president a long time and that has been transparent. If you have seen Magic this year, he has been terrific in terms of being willing to have critical opinions and take on people. We are cognizant of it. We just have to be transparent. We can’t be hiding anything. We can’t be doing anything that feels like it’s a conflict. But it is a reasonable thing for us to be concerned about.

Q: Your NBA pregame show has had a new direction this year without a traditional host, and a location move to Los Angeles. How would you evaluate that change and has it worked?

Skipper: I think it has worked great. It has been fun. We are trying to do things different. TNT, of course, has a fabulous show. They have been tough to compete with. It’s a great show and Charles Barkley is a unique personality. We decided not to be a second version of what they do. We try to do something different and that’s what you do. When you have a tough, pre-eminent competitor, you have to do something different.

== Max Bretos and Taylor Twellman call the Galaxy-Chivas SuperClasico match on Saturday (7:30 p.m., ESPN2) from Home Depot Center. Studio analyst Alexi Lalas will be on site for studio segments as well.

== Then there’s this phantom tweeter that has since disappeared has been making network suits a little uneasy about how much information he knows, and knows how the networks can manipulate the numbers (linked here).

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== And finally: From Deadspin.com (linked here), a screen grab of a graphic during an Angels’ recent broadcast against Oakland in the seventh inning that pretty much sums up the team’s performance lately. What is there left to say? Something else… This was actually done intentionally. We heard analyst Mark Gubicza keep referring to the George Harrison song, “Something,” as the night went on…

== CBS Sports Network has “Dangerous Game: Inside PBR,” where pro bull riders Ty Murray, Luke Snyder, Shorty Gorham and Jeff Robinson sit around discussing why the heck they do this thing. It debuts Sunday at noon.

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Way to stick it to SoCal: New lacrosse movie launches in its ‘other’ hotbed areas

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There are no Southern California theatres scheduled to be part of the limited release Friday of the new lacrosse-based movie “Crooked Arrows.” Most of the cities that will have it, in hopes of creating a buzz, are in the the sport’s hotter hotbeds of New York, Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas, Colorado and Connecticut.

Feel left out?

The official website (linked here) reports that it’ll be in SoCal venues such as AMC Burbank, Winnetka 24 in Chatsworth, Archlight Beach Cities in El Segundo, Rave 18 in L.A., AMC Rolling Hills and Muvico Thousand Oaks 14 starting June 1.

Can’t hardly wait.

The movie’s premise: A fictional Native American high school lacross team hires a new coach (Brandon Routh), who pulls them together to get to the state prep school championship game. Cameos are from several top college players in the country.

Writer Todd Baird and producers Mitchell Peck and Adam Leff came up with the story as a “Mighty Ducks”-type movie produced by the big studios in the late 1990s, but it wasn’t really embraced at the time. The financing of the film was spearheaded by former Syracuse All-America Jeffrey McCormick, who met Peck and independent producer J. Todd Harris, who Peck brought aboard.

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Rome + O.C. = L.A. Live adjacent?

UPDATED: THURSDAY 5 p.m.:

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It’s been six weeks since Jim Rome’s new half-hour afternoon sports show launched on the CBS Sports Network, and aside from getting used to a new-ish format, there’s one other slight thing that’s a little harder to adjust to: Where does it originate?

CBS and Rome made it fairly common knowledge that “Rome” is taped at a studio in an undisclosed Orange County location — the exact spot is incidental, but it’s not far from the radio studio where Rome does his syndicated radio show from 9 a.m. to noon each day, and close to his O.C. home.

So is it a bit disingenuous when viewers tuning into “Rome” see Staples Center in the background? It’s a one of those vistas where you’d have to be … standing on the Harbor Freeway, or the roof of the L.A. Convention Center. Maybe a corner window at the Ritz Carlton Hotel across the street? Or, ironically, it’s something that could be seen from the studio offices of ESPN, the company who Rome used to work for (but resisted doing his “Jim Rome Is Burning” show from those 12,300-square-foot L.A. studios built in 2009, preferring to again stay in the O.C.).

Granted, Jay Leno’s NBC “Tonight Show” out of Burbank has an L.A. skyline as a backdrop. Most viewers surely realize it’s there for set decoration, not even an accurate outline of Hollywood and L.A. landmarks. CBS’ Letterman does the same with a New York cityscape for “Late Show.”

But Leno and Letterman are also doing a variety and entertainment show. It’s not one where viewers come for some entertainment but also to be informed, take in news and listen to guests offering educated opinions.

More than a few emailers have wondered how CBS could take such journalistic liberties to make it appear that Rome is L.A. adjacent.

“The show backdrop showcases the great sports city of Los Angeles and is not meant to be a literal indication of where the show originates,” said Mike Antinoro, the executive VP of programming for Dick Clark Productions, which handles production of the show.

Antinoro also said he doesn’t think it comprises the integrity of the show. Rome, via email, said he had nothing to add to Antinoro’s quote.

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Where things get a little squishy is a case recently when Rome did a live, split-screen interview with Lakers coach Mike Brown. On one side of the screen, Brown was shown at his home, with the graphic underneath indicating he was in “Anaheim, Calif.” On the other side was Rome, above the graphic that read “Los Angeles.”

Truth is, Rome was much closer to Anaheim than he was L.A.

Listen, if Arte Morenois open to criticism for calling his team the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim when all he’s only after is the L.A. affiliation, this seems fair game as well.

Aside from all that, do we even address the fact that the view of Staples Center and the surrounding downtown L.A. buildings make it appear to be nighttime, while the show is taped at 3 p.m. local time?

Maybe we’ll revisit this all again next time we’re watching the show while working out at our local 24 Hour Fitness that isn’t really open 24 hours.

Got any thoughts about whether this bothers you or not as a viewer? Please leave comments on this one….

UPDATE: On today’s show, Rome came on at the top and said he was “coming to you from Southern California,” not Los Angeles as he normally says, and in a split screen interview with Arizona Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt, who was graphically described to be in Tempe, Ariz.., the graphic under Rome’s live shot said simply “ROME Studios.”

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Around the hornblowers’ jibber, jabber, yadda, yadda, yadda that’s how you fill time when explaining the Kings’ playoff run

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How do you explain the Kings’ playoff run so far?

We happened upon ESPN’s “Around The Horn” this afternoon when the question was posed by host Tony Reali to the four panelists.

Based on their answers, it’s apparent none of them has even seen a game of the Kings’ 10-1 playoffs so far, but could have been able to were able to quickly graze upon some information through a quick Google search and a predictable tap dance.

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Michael Smith: “Real simple. They’re getting contributions from everyone. Every line is scoring. They’re getting great defense in front of Jonathan Quick. You mentioned how great he’s been in between the pipes. And the Coyotes right now are coming apart. Game misconducts . . . really fell apart in the second period. And 0-for-9 on the power play this series.”

Reali gave him two points.

Bob Ryan: “Quick is an obvious starting point, but I’ll must this, over the last two years, if you go back to last year, you could have had eight or nine different teams win with a different bounce of the puck here or there. That’s exactly the same thing this year. Eight (seed) is not that far from one (seed). Whoever one is.”

Reali gave him two points.

Tim Cowlishaw: “Even by NHL Stanley Cup standards, this is a remarkable run to see teams from the bottom of the bracket going deep into the playoffs, but they are 7-0 on the road against 1, 2 and 3 seeds. They’re beating the top teams in the West time after time.”

Reali actually gave him four points for that, along with the remark: “Not an answer. You didn’t explain it. At least you remarked about it.”

Kevin Blackistone: “In 10 of 11 playoff games, they’ve allowed two or fewer goals. That is absolutely amazing! That means they’re in every game. They’re never out of every game. They never have to chase. The goaltending – it’s all about goaltending in the second half of the season.”

Reali gave him two points and remarked “I think that counts as an explanation.”

So what did we learn from these four? That we’ll never get those three minutes of our life back.

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