The Sports Business Daily was among several who reported Monday night that NBC spoiled the results of Missy Franklin’s win in the 100-meter backstroke before the race aired during its delayed primetime broadcast.
After NBC’s Dan Hicks finished calling the men’s 200 meter final, sandwiched between Franklin’s qualifying for the 200 meters final and her race in the backstroke when he said going into a commercial break: “How good can Missy Franklin be tonight? Finals of 100 back coming up.”
On the East Coast, a promo for Tuesday’s morning’s episode of “Today” then aired, with the voiceover: “When you’re 17 years old and win your first Gold Medal, there’s nobody you’d rather share it with. We’re there when Missy Franklin and her parents reunite.”
Then they showed Franklin eventually winning that first gold.
On the West Coast, the NBC “Today” show promo was swapped out with one instead that promised a feature on men’s swimmer Ryan Lochte and the U.S. men’s gymnastics team.
The New York Times reported (linked here) that the promo wasn’t properly screened by NBC’s marekting people before it aired in the East and Central, but not in the West or Mountain.
“They said, `Let’s try to crash the spot and rush it to air,’ and I think they miscalculated a little bit about where the show was,” said John Miller, the chief marketing officer of the NBC Universal Group.
Miller said he was a “little surprised” by the vehemence about the Franklin promo on Twitter.
“It’s not as if these results are a secret,” he said. “The race was seven or eight hours old, so the number of people who were surprised was somewhat small, and a few people said, `Look what they’ve done!’”
== Update on Twitter messiness: Guy Adams, the L.A.-based London Independent writer who had his Twitter account suspended because of an NBC protest, was back to tweeting today.
Day 3 of the London Olympics have finished — just not on TV yet. There’s still five hours of prime time waiting to be rehashed. Still, among the stuff we’ve come across from watching, and reading about, these events so far before we retire for the afternoon:
== A Swiss soccer player and a Greek triple jumper have already been expelled from the London Olympics for sending an offensive Twitter comment.
But neither had their Twitter accounts suspended, which is what happened to the London Independent’s L.A. correspondent Guy Adams after he tweeted out to readers that they should complain about NBC’s tape-delayed coverage — and included the email address of NBC Olympics president Gary Zenkel.
“The man responsible for NBC pretending the Olympics haven’t started yet is Gary Zenkel. Tell him what u think!” it read, before going on to provide his corporate email address.
“If this Gary Zenkel doesn’t want to hear from the many tens of thousands of customers he upset with his network’s coverage, I think he’s in the wrong job,” Adams said in an interview with The Associated Press. “His address is not a private email address. It’s a corporate address. It’s not his private email address. It’s a corporate account. It’s company information.”
The London Independent Deputy Editor Archie Bland called the suspension heavy-handed that that Twitter had “over-reached itself and strayed into censorship were heightened” by the social media platform’s deal with NBCUniversal to be the official partner (linked here, via the Sports Business Daily).
Adams also did a column (linked here) highlighting the Twitter trend of #NBCfail messages relating to the network deciding against show the Opening Ceremonies on Friday live. It was delayed some six hours on the West Coast.
It was one of several columns we found, including those from the Associated Press’ David Bauder(linked here) and the New York Times’ Richard Sandomir (linked here) that focused on Twitter-related complaining about NBC’s coverage.
“I think almost definitely we would have done the same thing,” CBS Chairman Les Moonves told Broadcasting & Cable about whether his network would have delayed live coverage and folded it into the prime-time telecasts.
What does the sniveling Twitter reaction reveal about those watching the Olympics and sending constant messages out about their experience?
That we’re showing ourselves to be nothing but “a nation of self-absorbed whiners,” writes Monte Burke of Forbes.com (linked here).
(AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
U.S. gymnast Kyla Ross, center, is hugged by teammate McKayla Maroney, as coach Jenny Zhang, left, approaches them during the Sunday’s Olympic qualifying in London.
Highlights of the week ahead in sports, both here and afar:
THIS WEEK’S BEST BET
London Summer Olympics: Women’s gymnastics team final, Tuesday, 8 p.m. (delayed), all-around competition, Thursday, 8 p.m. (delayed), Channel 4:
Those of us who’ve been following the storyline of NBC’s “American Ninja Warrior” sadly saw the end come last week. No worries. That gymnastics-related reality show has been replaced by the U.S. women’s gymnastics team trying to win gold on those ultra-pink North Greenwich Arena mats, dressed in their own Barbie-themed uniforms. Pass the Pepto Bismol.
“It’s a little weird but I love it,” said U.S. all-around star Jordyn Wieber (right). “I like it better than plain colors.” Wieber — or “Weeee-Beer” as her teammates are calling her with a stretched British accent — would complete a perfect Wheaties team photo (they’ve already been on the Sports Illustrated cover) with so-called “Fab Five” teammates Gabby “The Flying Squirrel” Douglas, Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney and Kyla Ross if they win the squad title on Tuesday. Thursday’s all-around competition has Douglas and Raisman qualifying after favorite Wieber didn’t make the cut. Individual apparatus medals happen next week. Men’s team gymnastics (Monday) and all-around (Wednesday) alternate in during the week.
The rest of the week’s highlights: Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings continue their three-peat quest in women’s beach volleyball, the women’s and men’s tennis finals happen in Wimbledon (Saturday and Sunday), Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte team up in the U.S. 800 meter freestyle relay team (Tuesday) then competing against each other again in the 200m IM (Thursday) before Phelps’ final solo event in the 100 meter butterfly (Friday), and Usain Bolt returns to the men’s 100 meter dash (Sunday) trying to break his world record of 9.58 seconds. Also, Oscar Pistorius, the South African double amputee, tries to qualify in the men’s 400 meters (Sunday).
MLB: Angels at Texas, 4 p.m., FSW, ESPN:
It’s understandable if Jered Weaver gets all shook up when Elvis Andrus steps up to the plate. The Rangers’ shortstop has hit .431 against the Angels’ Cy Young candidate during his career — 22-for-51, with a 1.130 OPS. Even as Weaver recorded a 6-1 win against the Rangers less than two weeks ago, Texas’ only run came from a Andrus’ solo homer. Weaver (13-1, 2.26 ERA) goes against the Rangers in the second game of this four-game set on Tuesday ( 5:15 p.m.), pushed back a day to allow Ervin Santana (4-10, 6.00) to open the series against Roy Oswalt (3-1, 5.22), who has been battling back stiffness. The Angels’ Mike Trout, who sat out with an injured knee on Sunday, is a ridiculous 20-for-48 with a .417 average, two homers and 10 RBIs against Rangers’ pitching staff this year. And the Rangers’ Josh Hamilton is a ridiculous .115 over the last 17 games, dropped from No. 3 to No. 5 in the lineup. The rest of the series includes Dan Haren vs. Yu Darvish on Wednesday and C.J. Wilson vs. Matt Harrison on Thursday. This is also the Angels’ first of 10 road games in 10 days.
MLB: Dodgers vs. Arizona, Dodger Stadium, 7:10 p.m., Prime:
Plenty will be pumped up to see Hanley Ramirez in person for the first time but there’s the added incentive of a Kirk Gibson bobblehead giveaway on Tuesday (7:10 p.m., Channel 9). This one features a right-hand fist pump to commemorate his 1988 World Series Game 1 homer. Way to embarrass the D’backs manager. This series ends with an afternooner on Wednesday (12:10 p.m., Prime). No Trevor Bauer sightings, though. The former UCLA star out of Hart High (1-2, 6.06), who won his first major-league game against the Dodgers before the All-Star break in Phoenix, has been sent back to Triple-A and likely won’t come back until September callups. The D’backs have beaten the Dodgers five out of nine meetings so far this year.
Keep this show on for more rumors than you can handle in one seventh-inning stretch as the Angels and Dodgers may not be finished pulling other guys onto the roster. Especially pay attention to what teams like Texas, San Francisco and Arizona are trying to get done. ESPN also has a 90-minute trade special starting at noon leading up to the 1 p.m. deadline.
MLB: Baltimore at N.Y. Yankees, 10 a.m., MLB Network; Detroit at Boston, 4 p.m., ESPN:
Scheduled Yankees starter Phil Hughes (10-8, 4.08) is 7-4 with a 3.24 ERA in 13 starts since May 12.
AP Photo/Ben Curtis David Beckham, center left, chats with Britain’s Prince William, center right, at the end of the men’s soccer match between Britain and the United Arab Emirates at the Summer Olympics on Sunday at Wembley Stadium in London.
Soccer: Galaxy vs. Real Madrid, Home Depot Center, 7:30 p.m.:
Before we buy our tickets, are Beckham and Donovan being shipped somewhere for another meaningless exhibition? This is part of the World Football Challenge, so we’re glad to participate. But we won’t get fooled again by the advertisements. That may be the real Real team, but we gotta know if the real Galaxy shows up, too.
MLB: Dodgers vs. Chicago Cubs, Dodger Stadium, 7:10 p.m., Prime:
What are the odds that Ryan Dempster is pitching for the Dodgers against his old team by the time this series rolls around? His next scheduled Cubs’ start it Tuesday against Pittsburgh, but if the Dodgers grab him in time, he could start Wednesday in the series finale against Arizona on Wednesday. This series finishes Saturday (6:10 p.m., Prime) and Sunday (1:10 p.m., Prime).
MLB: Angels at Chicago White Sox, 5:10 p.m., FSW:
They’ve only played twice this year, with the White Sox’s Chris Sale (11-3, 2.37 ERA) beating the Angels 6-1 on May 17. Interesting how the White Sox’s Paul Konerko (.330, 17 HRs, 51 RBIs) has similiar numbers to the Angels’ Mike Trout, except he’s 20 points lower in the average department. The series continues Saturday (4:10 p.m., FSW) and Sunday (11:10 p.m., FSW).
UFC: Mauricio Rua vs. Brandon Vera, Staples Center, 5 p.m., Channel 11:
You know how these made-for-Fox events can change at an injury’s notice. What they’re calling “UFC on Fox 4″ had a main event set with Brian Stann, but his ailments forced this to change to this one between light heavyweights Rua (20-6 MMA, 4-4 UFC) and Vera (12-5 MMA, 8-5 UFC) for a five-rounder. Rua, competing for the first time since Nov., 2011, has split his last six fights. He had been set to go against Thiago Silva at UFC 149 in Calgary until Silva was injured. Rua-Vera is the last of a 10-fight card, with some of them also available on Spike TV. The doors at Staples Center open at 1 p.m.
Pro Football Hall of Fame inductions, 4 p.m., NFL Network:
The additions of cornerback Jack Butler, center Dermontti Dawson, defensive end/linebacker Chris Doleman, defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy, running back Curtis Martin and tackle Willie Roaf bring the total members number to 273.
A year ago, Kelly Slater rode to his 11th championship, ending local star Brett Simpson’s back-to-back title run. “There’s no other event that attracts so many people. To surf in front of a stadium audience like this, nothing compares,” said Slater. “It’s surfing on the main stage.” According to Surfline.com, the report isn’t so swell: “An overlapping series of small Southern Hemisphere Southwest and South swells and small, local Northwest windswell that will provide contestable waves for the first few days of the event. A slightly better South-southwest swell is on track for the last few days of the event.” More info: USOpenofSurfing.com
NFL exhibition: New Orleans vs. Arizona in Canton, Ohio, 5 p.m., NFL Network:
Drew Brees, start earning your money.
MLS: Galaxy at Seattle, 6 p.m., ESPN2:
The Sounders have arleady handed the Galaxy a sound beating in Seattle this year, 2-0, back on May 2 against Galaxy backup goalkeeper Bill Gaudette. These two end the MLS regular season on … .wait for it … October 28, in Carson.
What’s included in today’s weekly media column (linked here): Kings longtime TV analyst Jim Fox (that’s a video of him above getting emotional during the parade) has his day with the Stanley Cup — well, four hours — which is longer than he’d ever got to touch it during his 10 years as a player. More notes on the Kings’ Stanley Cup DVD release, too.
What’s not included:
Photo by Evan Gole
== Kings senior director of communications Jeff Moeller explained more of the details that he and team vice president Mike Altieri have been involved with in coordinating player and staff time with the Cup:
“No day is the same,” said Moeller. “A lot depends on where the Cup is coming from and where it goes next – travel plays a big role in it.”
Tuesday, for example, the Cup was in Orange County in the morning, went to Angel Stadium for about an hour, then to a Kings’ Premium Seating event at 2 p.m. where it stayed until 10 p.m.
The day before, it was in Alberta, Canada, with coach Daryl Sutter, then came back to L.A. for NHL DVD video premiere event at L.A. Life.
The cup will end up going to some 200 events this summer — about half are Kings-directed, but some are also connected with the league and Hockey Hall of Fame, a balance of requests from players and staff as well as TV partners and community relations.
The Kings will also have the Cup for about a week as it gets engraved in Quebec in late September.
“You talk to the clubs who have won the Stanley Cup in recent years, but there is not a manual for this and the number of ways you get tugged at, and the events you get requests for, are — needless to say — plentiful,” said Moeller, who was with the Cup and its handlers when it went to Russia for two players and then Slovenia for Anze Kopitar.
“I think it took us 27 hours to get from Los Angeles to Chelyabinski, Russia, near Siberia. But as soon as we got there, that player — Slava Voynov – was ‘on the clock’ when it came to his time with the Cup. So you hope you got your sleep on the plane because you were no longer on your own schedule there and then.
“When the day ends for one person, another person’s time with the Cup begins. It is like a rock show.”
== Our video contribution from the Redondo Beach Cafe visit (linked here). Some more on the events of Wednesday (linked here).
== The Kings’ “Stanley Cup 2012 Champions” DVD and Blue Ray (Warner Bros., $24.99, 184 minutes) includes plenty of on-air commentary from Kings’ broadcasters Bob Miller, Nick Nickson, Jim Fox and Daryl Evans, as well as media members such as the L.A. Times’ Helene Elliott and ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun. Those hoping to hear Miller’s call of the championship clinched won’t be disappointed to hear Nickson’s radio caption used twice, once in the opening highlights, and then in a condensed Game 6 rewind: “The long wait is over. After 45 years, the Kings can wear the crown. The Los Angeles Kings have won the Stanley Cup!” A Miller-Fox CD is still in the works for a team-created multi-media project that will be produced to benefit the team’s charity foundation. Miller, however, gets the last word on this DVD: “They had been loyal, devoted fans for years,” he says at the end while on camera. “For all of them, to see that Cup paraded down Figueroa Street right by Staples Center is a tremendous highlight for all of us.”
Scott Varley/Staff Photographer Wednesday’s special time with the Stanley Cup started with Kings broadcasters and Alumni Association members Jim Fox and Daryl Evans delivering it to some 500 fans waiting at the Redondo Beach Cafe. It ended with Fox hosting a party in Rancho Palos Verdes, where all four Kings’ broadcasters attended.
The clock was about to strike midnight late Wednesday – curfew time — and the Stanley Cup had to prepare for a graceful exit.
Cup keeper Mike Bolt put on his white gloves, but then asked Jim Fox, the Kings’ longtime TV analyst and host of the party, if he would like the honors of personally escorting out one of the world’s most revered sports trophies.
Photo by Evan Gole
Fox didn’t hesitate.
He and his wife, Susie, got on each side of the 35-inch tall, 34 -pound hunk of engraved silver and gently carried it out the front door of their friends’ Palos Verdes Estates home, down the stairs and up the driveway into the darkness.
Bolt opened the back hatch of his rented Chevy Traverse. Fox angled the Cup just right so it fit snug into the large black trunk, and Bolt closed the lid and latched it shut.
The Stanley Cup, L.A.’s latest rock star, was about to make another road trip, flying to New York on Thursday where Dustin Brown and Jonathan Quick were awaiting its arrival for the full day they’d been planning to spend with it.
Photo by Evan Gole
But as he stood there, watching the life of the party be driven away after nearly 200 of his family and friends got some intimate time with it, Fox was hardly bittersweet.
“I wasn’t sad at all when it was leaving,” Fox said. “I really wasn’t. We had such a great time with it. I was just so glad it was there and everyone at the party got what they wanted.”
From a consumer’s point of view, this XXX Olympiad from London is a media game-changer.
So the question is: Do you respond well to change?
It’s basically just a matter of how crazy you want to make it for yourself for the next 17 days.
TV, computers, mobile phones and tablets all have their pros and cons, depending on your need for immediacy, consistency and adaptability.
The whole NBCUniversal family touts having more than 5,500 hours of coverage between the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, a mind-numbing number that should leave some viewer collateral damage.
As NBC starts its seventh consecutive Summer Olympics coverage, we’ve targeted these as the top 12 ways – aside from your friendly newspaper and its website — to keep track of what’s going on the other side of the pond, noting that it’s quite easy to multitask with some of these:
The photo may have come from Getty Images, but we found it first @Olympics, the handle for the IOC’s Twitter account: “5 rings, 5 days and 5 hours to @london2012 #olympics pic.twitter.com/kikxF1ly, via Photobucket
The Associated Press
LONDON — Hello @Twitter world!!! I’m at #Olympics. Shd be training not tweeting …
Laugh if you like, but there was a bit of a buzz about athletes risking their medal chances with every “tweet” and “like” on Twitter and Facebook.
“I have found quite a close correlation between the number of tweets at competitive times and the level of under-performance,” said Sebastian Coe, a two-time Olympic gold medalist in the 1,500 meters and the head organizer of what is being dubbed the “Social Media Games.”
“From a personal perspective, when I was an athlete I just wanted complete and total focus,” he said. “I knew it was my time and that they don’t come around that often. If I was focusing on trying to defend a title I wouldn’t be reading Twitter, I wouldn’t be interested in it. Why would I?”
British tennis star Andy Murray echoed those sentiments.
“You don’t want to be on it (Twitter) too much,” Murray said. “It’s a bit like sitting on a computer 20 minutes, 30 minutes before your match. You wouldn’t be advised to do that. The same applies with tweeting or mobile phones, I would have thought.”
Highlights of the week ahead in sports, both here and afar:
THIS WEEK’S BEST BET
XXX Summer Olympics, Opening Ceremonies from London, Friday from 7:30 p.m.-to-midnight (delayed), Channel 4:
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da: All dressed up in Ralph Lauren ascots and berets — hecho in China — the U.S. team struts into London’s Olympic Stadium possibly mistaken for Team France. Unless you miss the giant USA logo on the front. Cigarettes anyone? The $43 million ceremony for these Triple-X Games, all full of anthems, oaths and torch lighting, begins appropriately at 20:12 GMT. The Daily Mail says a large part of the show will be based on “British rural idyll” (that is, local farm life). The Queen will see it in person. After that, you’ve got to assume there’ll be appearances by Sir Paul McCartney, Harry Potter, shepherd’s pie, Adele, a herd of cows, Susan Boyle, blood pudding, Rowan Atkinson, a gaggle of goats, James Bond and the Herman’s Hermits singing “I’m Henry the VII, I am.” Unless they’re saving some of them for the closing gala.
NBC NewsWire via Getty Images U.S. women’s soccer team player Heather Mitts, left, poses with David Lauren and U.S. fencer Tim Morehouse in the Ralph Lauren-made Opening Ceremony uniform.
Back to those misfit U.S. outfits: Matthew Kitchen at NBCOlympics.com (linked here) has already described the one worn on “The Today Show” by soccer star Heather Mitts as looking “like a college student trying to fit in while studying abroad. She’s more likely to be chasing unshowered mustachioed men than gold medals and that’s an issue. … If we really wanted the outfits represent all of America our athletes would walk in to the stadium dressed in NASCAR T-shirts, cutoffs, red, white, and blue jester hates, Kanye glasses, and face paint. They’d be wearing the American flag as a cape, and instead of walking in order they’d just shove their way to the front while either telling other countries how much better we are than them, or simply talking loudly on cellphones and stuffing fast food in their faces. America the beautiful.” Rick Newman of U.S. News and World Report (linked here) adds: “Assume for a moment that those very same uniforms were made in America, which they certainly could have been (we do still make a few things here, believe it or not). Would everything seem to be just fine, then? Um, sure, if you send your kids to prep school and summer in the Hamptons. You’d feel right at home amidst people wearing blue blazers, white slacks, and for the women, white skirts and bobby socks. James, fetch me my riding whip. Ralph Lauren apparently hasn’t noticed, but a lot of Americans are a little touchy these days about the growing gap between the wealthy and everybody else.” Not sure who’ll tote the stars and stripes, but Spain has already said the Lakers’ Pau Gasol will replaced the injured Rafael Nadal. Must be nice to have limited choices.
MLB: Angels vs. Kansas City, Angel Stadium, 7 p.m., FSW:
Royals closer and Dodgers hefty castoff Jonathan Broxton (1-2, 2.34, 22 saves, 4 blown saves) could have made the AL All-Star team in K.C. recently — Billy Butler was the team’s lone pick instead. But by the time this series in Anaheim is over, Big Bad Jon could be property of the San Francisco Giants or New York Mets, according to trade rumors. The Angels may be interested as well. Watch how this develops Tuesday (7 p.m., FSW) and Wednesday (12:35 p.m., FSW).
MLB: Dodgers at St. Louis, 5 p.m., Prime:
After a three-game sweep in the Big Apple, the heat is on the Dodgers to perform in a four-game series in St. Louis, and it can be measured in Fahrenheit and humidity. Starting today, the forecast in degrees is projected to be 103, 102, 101 and finally cooling off to 96 with isolated thunderstorms. The humidity: 75, 79, 78 and 78. No sweat, right? Convert it all to Celsius and see if that makes it any better on the heat index. Especially if you’re Chad Billingsley (4-9, 4.30), who spent some time on the DL to rest a weary elbow after losing five starts in a row, giving up 20 earned runs and 41 hits in 29 innings over that stretch. He’s back in the rotation today (with an 0-2 record in four starts for his career at Busch Stadium, with a 6.41 ERA) against the defending World Series champs — it’s still hard to believe — who have hovered around the .500 mark with rookie manager Mike Matheny. He’s finally got Lance Berkman activated after missing 47 games with a knee injury, but the starting pitching staff is hurting. A hot day in St. Louis can produce a 12-run inning, which the Cardinals pulled off the other day against the Cubs, sending 17 men to the plate and hitting seven doubles. The series continues Tuesday (5 p.m., Channel 9); Wednesday (5 p.m., Channel 9) and Thursday (10:30 a.m., Prime).
Soccer: Galaxy vs. Tottenham Hotspur, Home Depot Center, 7:30 p.m., ESPN3:
What are the chances that the 41-year-old Brad Friedel, the former UCLA and U.S. National team standout, puts on the big oven mitts and gets the start in the nets for the Spurs? For the fourth season in a row, and second consecutive season against an English Premier League club, the Galaxy hosts a major international friendly. They played to a 1-1 draw with Manchester City last year. Not great timing for this, though: This means the Galaxy will have five matches in 15 days in the middle of one of the toughest part of the MLS schedule. More friendlies taking place this week: Liverpool FC vs. AS Rome at Boston’s Fenway Park (Wednesday, 3:30 p.m., ESPN2), Liverpool FC vs. Tottenham Hotspur in Baltimore (Saturday, 10 a.m., ESPN2) and Chelsea FC vs. AC Milan in Miami (Saturday, 3:30 p.m., ESPN2).
Hockey: Kings’ Stanley Cup Championship DVD/Blue Ray release:
It’s official: They’ve made a video about the whole thing. For $34.99. With a Bob Miller and Jim Fox call of the championship included (we’re told).
Soccer: MLS All Stars vs. Chelsea FC in Philadelphia, 5:30 p.m., ESPN2:
The Galaxy’s Landon Donovan and David Beckham are scheduled to make an appearance, with fans in the stands supposedly being given out T-shirts that read: “Let’s kick them in the crown jewels.” Only in Philly. When they had these two in a midseason exhibition, the MLS Stars outlasted Chelsea 1-0 before some 21,000 in Bridgeview, Ill., in 2006.
A couple more men’s soccer games as well at Wembley Stadium to get it rolling.
MLB: Dodgers at San Francisco, 7 p.m., Prime:
During the Dodgers’ ugly seven-game losing streak last June, Barry Zito, Ryan Vogelsong and Tim Lincecum shut them out on back-to-back-to-back nights at AT&T Park. For Lincecum, it was his first win in nearly two months and brought the Giants even with the Dodgers for the NL West lead. The importance of this series, which continues Saturday (1 p.m., Channel 11) and Sunday (1 p.m., Prime), could set the tone for the team’s meeting nine more times — three in L.A. in later August, three in San Francisco in the second weekend of September, and the last three of the season back in L.A. on Oct. 1-3.
MLB: Angels vs. Tampa Bay, Angel Stadium, 7 p.m., FSW:
Luke Scott’s at least got the muttonchop look going for him — a flashback to George Scott (no relation, apparently) and drawing as much attention to the Rays outfielder/first baseman since maybe Brady Anderson was called “90210″ for his Luke Perry look in the 1980s. It was only a matter of time until the sideburns got their own Twitter account. Over @LukesSideburns, you can find things like: “Batman would look so much more badass if he could find a way to work me into his costume.” Scott, in his first year at Tampa after two seasons in Baltimore, is hitting only a meager .225 but has 12 homers and 45 RBIs in 67 games, and that’s after a 9-for-16 four-game stretch against Cleveland last week. The rest of the Rays are in contention for the AL wildcard, second in the AL East. This series continues Saturday (6 p.m., FSW) and Sunday (12:30 p.m., FSW)
XXX Summer Olympics: Swimming, beach volleyball, gymnastics, basketball, 5 a.m. to 6 p.m.; 8 p.m. to midnight (delayed), Channel 4:
Everyone into the pool for the first of eight swimming days in a row. Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte are locked in at the start in the 400m individual medley. Lochte, the reigning world champion in the event, held off Phelps, the reigning Olympic champion, at the recent U.S. Olympic trials. Lochte, above left, pulled away during the breaststroke leg, winning in 4 minutes 7.06 seconds as Phelps touched the wall in 4:07.89. On the women’s side, Natalie Coughlin and Missy Franklin are part of the U.S. women’s 400 freestyle relay with gold at stake. Other medals up for grabs on the first day: men’s road racing in cycling, archery, shooting, fencing, weightlifting and judo. More highlights: U.S. women’s soccer vs. Columbia (9 a.m., NBC Sports Network); U.S. women’s basketball team starts out against Croatia (11:45 a.m., Channel 4); U.S. women’s volleyball vs. Korea (3 p.m., Channel 4); first round tennis matches from Wimbledon (4 a.m., Bravo).
MLS: Galaxy at FC Dallas, 5 p.m., NBC Sports Network:
The channel doesn’t have Olympic events? The Dallas franchise just signed a new deal with a nutrition company that will have its name splashed across the red-and-white striped jerseys, starting with this game. In case you aren’t familiar with who the Galaxy is playing.
ATP: Farmers Classic at UCLA Tennis Center, singles final, 1 p.m., ESPN2; doubles final, 7 p.m. (delayed), Tennis Channel:
Sam Querrey and James Blake aren’t in London for Olympic tennis – they’re instead among the headliners and on course to go from Monday’s first day to this finish in the 28-man event. Thousand Oaks’ Querrey, seeded second behind France’s Benoit Paire, won here in 2009 and ’10, but missed last year with an injury. On the doubles side, Mike and Bob Bryan, who won this six times in the last 11 years, are at the Olympics In its 86th year, the event saw Ernests Gulbis win the singles last year (he isn’t in this year’s field) and Mark Knowles and Xavier Malisse take the doubles title (Malisse is back, playing with fellow Belgian Ruben Bemelmans. Querrey is also playing doubles, with
NASCAR: Sprint Cup Brickyard 400, 10 a.m., ESPN:
A year ago, 138,000 saw Paul Menard, who qualified 15th, celebrate his first career victory in 167 starts, passing defending champ Jamie McMurray with three laps left and holding off Jeff Gordon. Menard’s billionaire dad, John, owner of the family’s hardware chain store and former Indianapolis 500 car owner, seemed more excited. “I’ve been waiting to kiss these bricks for such a long time. I’m ready!” John Menard yelled. We were under the impression this was still called the Brickyard 400, but then we’ve seen it also called “Crown Royal presents the Curtiss Shaver 400 at the Brickyard.” The Nationwide Indy 250 is Saturday (1:30 p.m., ESPN). Whatever they’re calling that now.
XXX Summer Olympics: Swimming, beach volleyball, gymnastics, basketball, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.; 8 p.m. to midnight (delayed), Channel 4:
The debut of the U.S. men’s basketball team comes at the expense of France (6:30 a.m., NBC Sports Network), followed by Pau Gasol and Spain against China (8:30 a.m., NBC Sports Network). In swimming, the men’s 400-meter freestyle relay usually requires split-second attention as the U.S., France and Australia top-guns go full speed ahead, while the women’s 400m freestyle and 100m butterfly are at stake for medals as well. Diving hands out its first medal as well. And women’s gymnastics starts with team qualifications (delayed in prime time). Other highlights: U.S. men’s volleyball vs. Serbia (11:45 a.m., Channel 4); U.S. men’s water polo vs. Montenegro (2:40 p.m., Channel 4). Somewhere in there is Kim Rhode going for gold again in the women’s skeet. The 33-year-old can be the first U.S. athletes in an individual sport to win a medal in five straight Olympics.
Somehow, this Smurf-arific piece of literature missed the cut … but you if you can find it used for $2.99, we wouldn’t object at this link….
Thanks again to David Davis for adding his insights on how he went head-on into finding out more about how the 1908 Olympic marathon played out in “Showdown at Shepherd’s Bush” in today’s “Writing On (and off) the Wall” column (linked here).
A link to a the review of the book we did earlier in the week on the blog (linked here).
Here are the other 11 books we singled out as ones worth tracking down before the 2012 Games begin on Friday:
== “The Complete Book of the Olympics: 2012 Edition” by David Wallechinsky and Jaime Loucky (linked here)
== “Igniting the Flame: America’s First Olympic Team” by Jim Reisler (linked here)
== “Munich 1972: Tragedy, Terror and Triumph at the Olympic Games” by David Clay Large (linked here)
== “Redemption: A Rebellious Spirit, A Praying Mother and the Unlikely Path to Olympic Gold” by Bryan Clay (linked here)
== “The Price of Gold: The Toll and the Triumph of One Man’s Olympic Dream” by Marty Nothstein (linked here)
== “Off Balance: A Memoir” by Dominique Moceanu (linked here)
== “Winning Balance: What I’ve Learned so far about Love, Faith and Living Your Dreams” by Shawn Johnson (linked here)
== “In The Water, They Can’t See You Cry: A Memoir” by Amanda Beard (linked here)
== “The Treasures of the Olympic Games: An Interactive History of the Olympic Games” by the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland (linked here).
== “How to Watch the Olympics: The Essential Guide to the Rules, Statistics, Heroes and Zeroes of Every Sport” by David Goldblatt and Johnny Acton (linked here)
A 13th book: Maybe we could have included Jack McCallum’s “Dream Team: How Michael, Magic, Larry, Charles, and the Greatest Team of All Time Conquered the World and Changed the Game of Basketball Forever” (Random House, $28, 384 pages, linked here). But we’re OK really not going to buy into the premise.