A shell-game shuffle coming at KSPN-AM (710): Good, bad or bound to repeat history?

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How’s this sound, starting as soon as Tuesday, but more likely either Monday, Sept. 10 or 17?

== The best-rated show on the station, Steve Mason and John Ireland, shifts from the 2-to-6 p.m. prime drive-time spot to the otherwise ghost town of sports-talk from noon-to-3 p.m.

== Max Kellerman and Marcellus Wiley, who have been on from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., go to the spotlight of 3-to-7 p.m., up against KLAC-AM (570) Petros Papadakis and Matt “Money” Smith. The real push to make this move comes from the fact Wiley will begin as the new co-host of ESPN’s “Sports Nation” 2-to-3 p.m. show when it moves from Bristol, Conn., to L.A., replacing Colin Cowherd. That could happen as early as December.

== Mark Willard, after doing news updates from 6-to-10 a.m. while Cowherd’s national ESPN show airs, goes solo from 10 a.m. to noon.

== The night-time shift of 7 p.m. to whenever continues to be filled with experimental local so-called talent.

We’ve got a couple of sources in different departments of the station and back in Bristol who confirm it’s happening, but we’re just waiting to hear some sort of explanation from station GM Scott McCarthy and program director Mike Thompson to see if and when they’ll make it official.

The ultimate switch of Kellerman-Wiley could be the lynchpin in having this all backfire on the station, just as a somewhat desperate decision in 2008 when the station manager at the time, Bob Koontz, brought in Dave Dameshek from Pittsburgh, at the recommendation of Jimmy Kimmel, to be the drive-time savior. It was a spectacular crash and burn that also saw the Mason and Ireland team split up, move earlier, then go back to their drive-time spot where they’ve been a success ever since.

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Muy bien: Dodgers’ Jarrin also coming back, for Year 55

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At this point in the game, it’s really a package deal: If Vin Scully says he’s coming back for another season, it’s likely that Jaime Jarrin will be back as well as the Spanish-language voice of the Dodgers.

The team made it official today, with Jarrin coming back for his 55th season in 2013, which is part of his current three-year contract to do games for KTNQ-AM (1020).

“I am honored to extend my career during such a thrilling time in Dodger history and under new ownership that has demonstrated a strong commitment to the Latinos in Los Angeles and in revitalizing the Dodgers throughout Latin America,” Jarrn said in a statement. “I am confident this leadership can bring a championship back to Los Angeles and I am happy to be a part of it.”

Jarrn’s tenue with the Dodgers is the second-longest in MLB broadcasting history, behind Scully’s 63, heading into Year 64 next season. Both are in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

The Dodgers report that 40 percent of their fans are Latino and nearly one million of the three million in attendance are of Hispanic descent.

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Weekly media column version 08.31.12

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What’s included in this week’s sports media column (linked here): An open letter to our cable and dish company — it’s time to start the a la cart menus before you break us into a crying ball of viewership. We also have some college football news of note, and what Jim Rome may have up his radio sleeve.

What’s not included:

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twitter.com/wholtzman

== The festivities surrounding Vin Scully’s bobblehead giveaway were captured magnificently by the Prime Ticket pregame show, including the way he threw out the ceremonial first pitch, to the closeups of him watching his granddaughter sing the National Anthem.

What was missed, but not because of anyone’s mistake: A few photos of the rainbow that appeared over the right-field pavilion just as he and his family came onto the field at about 6:30 p.m. for the pregame festivities. Some of the story and video is captured on this MLB.com story (linked here). Thanks to a major link from Deadspin.com (linked here) via a photo taken and sent on the Twitter account of Whitney Holtzman of Scully noticing the rainbow as he was posing with his bobblehead for photographers (above).

== Mark Gubicza works not with Victor Rojas, but Dave Sims, on the Angels-Mariners game from Seattle on Saturday (Channel 11, 1 p.m.), which goes to just 10 percent of the country, but also has Felix Hernandez making the start for the Mariners. The main game: St. Louis at Washington, with the bizarro team of Chris Myers and Tom Verducci on the call, going to 65 percent of the country.

== An eight-episode digital series called “Suit Up” is to debut Sept. 12 on Yahoo! Screen (linked here), producted by Fox Digital Studio and DirecTV. The plan is to have this series focused on an crisis manager who has to fix a corrupt, dysfunctional college football program named Glory University start on the Yahoo! playform before it goes to DirecTV’s Audience Network in January.
The actors involved: Marc Evan Jackson, Barry Corbin, Brian Thomas Smith and a recurring role by Petros Papadakis. As himself.
The show’s trailer:

== Papadakis starts his new season with the crew of Craig Bolerjack and Joel Klatt from the Colorado vs. Colorado State game from Denver (Saturday, 1 p.m., FX).

== Allen Pinkett figured out a way to cut his trip to Ireland short. The Notre Dame radio analyst and former star running back was on his way home Thursday and won’t be part of the Irish’s syndicated broadcast of its game against Navy on Saturday after comments he made in a sports-talk radio interview claiming the Notre Dame program needed more “criminals” to be successful. Pinkett has since apologized, but Notre Dame’s IMG Network, which has employed him since 2001 (he’s not employed by the school), said the decision to send him home is so the game is “free of distraction . . . further decisions on this matter will be made in the coming days.”

== Said Erin Andrews on a conference call this about her new Fox gig, which cloisters her in network’s L.A. studios for the college football show instead of being out in a new city every weekend on ESPN: “I’ll miss being on campus. I did it for 10 years. I’m a sports fan and who doesn’t love having the best seats in the house right down there on the sidelines? This is another way to become more versatile and I’ll have my opportunities to get out on the field for NFL.”

== Comedian actor Rob Riggle, recently part of Comedy Central’s “Daily Show” and host of the last ESPN ESPY Awards, will be the new laughable prognosticating element of Fox’s NFL Sunday pregame show starting next week. Riggle, who remains a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves after nine years of active duty, takes over for Frank Caliendo, who has been with the pregmae show the last nine years. Jimmy Kimmel had the role from 1999-2002.

== The Culver City-based NFL Network has added Chris Rose to its Sunday night “NFL GameDay Highlights” (4:30 p.m., with Steve Mariucci and Deion Sanders) and “NFL GameDay Final” (8:30 p.m., with Sanders, Marshall Faulk and Michael Irvin). Rose will continue working weekdays on the MLB Network’s “Intentional Talk.”

== Andy Bernstein, the senior NBA photographer who has worked for the Lakers, Kings, Dodgers and Clippers, will be inducted into the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and Museum in Commack, N.Y., on April 21, 2013.

== The FoxSportsWest.com Prep Zone lineup of high school football coverage for tonight’s Week 1:
= Loyola at West Covina (7 p.m.)
= Thunder Ridge (Colorado) at Vista Murrieta (7 p.m.)
= Mission Hills (San Diego) at Mission Viejo (7 p.m.)
= Heritage at Rancho Verde (7 p.m.)
= St. Bonaventure vs Corona Centennial at Moorpark College (10:30 p.m., delayed on FSW)

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Does Gil Hodges deserves Hall induction after all these years? Authors profess it may be the Dodgers’ undoing on ‘backward’ number retirement policy

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When authors Tom Clavin and Danny Peary combined their resources to launch a 2010 book entitled: “Roger Maris: Baseball’s Reluctant Hero,” there was an intentional undercurrent to the narrative.

Coming up on the 50th year anniversary of the New York Yankee slugger breaking Babe Ruth’s single-season home run record, only to see it shattered by enhanced sluggers like Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds, Maris deserved renewed induction consideration by those voters in charge of Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, Clavin and Peary made clear.

The same holistic intent can easily be read into the author’s follow up baseball bio, “Gil Hodges: The Brooklyn Bums, The Miracle Mets and the Extraordinary Life of a Baseball Legend” (New American Library, $26.95, 403 pages).

It’s a question Dodgers Hall of Fame broadcast Vin Scully brings up every time the vote comes around — Doesn’t Hodges deserve a plaque along with Dodgers of his era like Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider, Pee Wee Reese and Roy Campanella?

Hodges as so far been by passed by the regular Hall voters from 1969 to ’83, then by the Veterans Committee ever since, starting in 1984.

Hodges’ latest miss on getting voted in came last December, when it was announced that the 16 member committee voting on 10 finalists who played in “The Golden Era” of 1947-’72, got Hodges into the final group, but only the Chicago Cubs’ Ron Santo gained induction this past July.

The next time Hodges could come up for re-election is in 2014.

That gives Clavin and Peary more time to lobby, and Chapter 29 of their book is devoted almost solely to making the argument on Hodges’ behalf. It even cites a time in 1959 when Hodges, four years shy of retiring, competed against Willie Mays in the campy “Home Run Derby” TV show filmed at L.A.’s Wrigley Field, just more than a year after the Dodgers moved here from Brooklyn. They note that at the time, host Mark Scott (referred to in the book as “Mark Frost”) said to Mays at one point: “Baseball’s Hall of Fame has got a spot reserved for both you and Gil.”

Why not? From 1949 to ’59, Hodges averaged 30 homers and 101 RBIs, tying an NL record with 11 straight 20 homer seasons, to go with three Gold Gloves and helping the Dodgers win seven NL pennants and two World Series.

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One of the arguments made by the authors on page 374 centers on an on-going debate about why the franchise waits to retire numbers until after someone is voted into the Hall. Meaning, Hodges’ No. 14 is not among those honored along the roof of the left and right-field pavilion:

“If the writers and veterans have an excuse for their faulty voting over the years in regard to Hodges, it is that the Los Angeles Dodgers have never retired his number. The Mets did so, but not the organization he belonged to for 20 years. The Dodgers’ backward policy, even during the years of Walter O’Malley and then his son Peter O’Malley ran the team, was to retire uniform numbers only after a player had been voted into Cooperstown.

“Essentially, they continue to outsource the Hodges vote to younger sportswriters who never saw him play. The Dodgers did break their policy and retired Jim Gilliam’s number. Their choosing Gilliam, who was popular for years as a player and coach in Los Angeles, and not Hodges deserves an explanation that has never been given.

“Meanwhile, Hall of Fame voters have been able to say: If the Dodgers don’t even consider Hodges for their Hall of Fame, there’s no reason I should consider him for ours.”

Is that a policy that could change with the new ownership group?

The last paragraph of the Clavin-Peary argument is clear: “When he finally becomes a Hall of Famer, (Gil Hodges’ widow, Joan) realizes, countless fans will learn about the man who remains, with Lou Gehrig and Jackie Robinson, baseball’s ultimate role model. Then they surely will benefit from discovering the right way he played, managed and lived his life.”

UPDATE: A response from Howard Cole on his blog, ColeOnLA.com (linked here).

More books done recently on Hodges:

== “Praying for Gil Hodges: A Memoir of the 1955 World Series and One Family’s Love of the Brooklyn Dodgers, by Thomas Oliphant in 2006 (linked here, with essentially the same book cover photo).

== “Gil Hodges: The Quiet Man,” by Marino Amoruso with Pee Wee Reese in 1991 (linked here).

== “Gil Hodges: Baseball Miracle Man,” by John Devaney in 1973 (linked here)

== “The Gil Hodges Story,” by Milton Shapiro in 1960 (linked here).

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Pac-12 to DirecTV subscribers: ‘We recommend finding another TV provider’

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The live coverage of two Pac-12 football games tonight exclusively on the new Pac-12 Network, and four more over the weekend, is cause for some concern in these parts who don’t have access to the new channels.

If you have Time Warner Cable, Comcast or Cox Cable, you should be good. If you’ve got DirecTV, Dish Network, AT&T or Verizon Fios, there’s nothing new to report in negotiations.

It has led to the Pac-12 making its viewpoint clear on this in this “Dear Fan” letter it published on its website (linked here).

There’s no deal pending with DirecTV, the Pac-12 admits.

“If you’re one of the fans who won’t be satisfied without Pac-12 football, or our more than 135 men’s basketball games and hundreds of other live events, we recommend finding Pac-12 Networks with another television provider.”

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According to ESPN number busting, having USC (or UCLA) on its college football schedule isn’t so attractive … unless you really figure out what those numbers mean

UPDATED: Noon, 08.31.12:

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More background fodder to consider as ESPN, a vested TV partner with the Pac-12, goes week to week in announcing which college football games it welcomes for a prime-time showing, while there are others that really don’t attract the same number of eyeballs as you’d think:

An ESPN analysis release of the college football ratings it has generated over the last 12 years — from 2000 to 2011 — reveals that those in Birmingham, Ala., Oklahoma City and Columbus, Ohio are most likely to move the needle, while those in Los Angeles aren’t so much.

Meaning, USC may be No. 1 in the current AP poll, and won was in some national title games over the years, but the L.A. market’s 1.4 combined rating is only No. 43 in the 56 measured by this Neilsen-related number crunching exercise.

No. 1 Birmingham, Ala. (5.9 rating) is the home market for the University of Alabama. No. 2 Oklahoma City (4.3), as well as Tulsa (No. 7 with a 3.3 mark) are University of Oklahoma territory. Also at No. 2, Columbus (4.3) is home to The Ohio State University, which also gets a boost from the Dayton TV market (No. 11 at 2.8) and from Cleveland (No. 20 at 2.4).

How to read into this: Some teams reach multiple markets and can boast that their combined coverage is more than just a simple rating in one or two locations. Other teams, such as Arkansas, Nebraska, Boise State or Kansas State, does not play home games in a metered market.

And then there’s L.A., the No. 2 sized market in all of the country, next to New York, and that 1.4 rating (or percentage of all TVs in use) still represents far more viewers than something double that in any of the aformentioned cities.

Thus, the inherent flaw in these numbers:

Birmingham’s 5.9 rating translates to 43,000 households. Columbus’s 4.3 rating is almost equal to that — 40,000 households

Los Angeles’s 1.4 rating translates to 77,000 households.

Bingo.

The rest of the Top 25 on this list:
No. 4: Greenville, N.C. (4.1)
No. 5 (tie): New Orleans and Atlanta (3.4)
No. 7 (tie): Jacksonville and Tulsa (3.3)
No. 9: Las Vegas (3.2)
No. 10: Knoxville, Tenn. (3.0)
No. 11: Dayton, Ohio (2.8)
No. 12 (tie): Greensboro, N.C., Austin, Tex., Charlotte, N.C., and Fort Myers, Fla. (2.7).
No. 16 (tie): Pittsburgh, Nashville, Norfolk, Va., and Memphis (2.5)
No. 20: Cleveland (2.4)
No. 21: Orlando, Fla. (2.3)
No. 22 (tie): Raleigh-Durham, N.C., West Palm Beach, Fla., and Detroit (2.2)
No. 25 (tie): Cincinnati, Richmond, Va., Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla., Portland, Ore., and Kansas City (2.0)

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Pac-12′s new iPad app launched

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The “Pac-12 Now” iPad app, giving people access to watch all seven of the conference’s new TV channels through the “TV Everywhere” function on Pac-12.com, was released today.

The hook is that one has to be part of a cable service that already has Pac-12 Network access. To date, Time Warner Cable, Cox and Bright House subscribers can access this app.

“We’re working as quickly as possible with our affiliate partners to expand the availability of Pac-12 Now,” said Gary Stevenson, president of Pac-12 Enterprises. “We look forward to putting this technology in the hands of more fans across the country as the college football season unfolds.”

The first week of college football includes the Pac-12 Network having exclusive coverage of the season openers on Thursday for Utah and Arizona State, on Friday for Stanford and on Saturday for Washington, Cal and Oregon State.

The iPad app will be followed this fall with new apps for iPhone and Android.

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Will Adrian Gonzalez lead the Dodgers to the land of hope and dreams? New TBS post-season TV spot hints at it

If you blink between the 1:37 and 1:38 mark in this new Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band-inspired promo that TBS has released to inspire interest in its post-season MLB coverage, you’ll miss the swing of newest Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.

How he got there into this video montage is somewhat interesting — aside from the fact there are much more clips of Angels-related highlights.

The spots will not only air on TBS, but also Fox, the MLB Network and MLB.com.

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Curious about how UCLA looked in China? Got P12N?

The Pac-12 Network announced it will have UCLA’s basketball exhibition game against the Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball Association on tape today at 7 p.m., airing right after the women’s volleyball match between UCLA and the Jiangsu Chinese Team.

“There is a lot of excitement about the UCLA basketball program and this is a unique opportunity for the Pac-12 Networks to be the first to showcase this dynamic Bruins team when they face off with the world-renowned Shanghai Sharks,” Pac-12 Enterprises President Gary Stevenson said in a statement.

UCLA wrapped up their three-game basketball tour in China averaging better than 93 points per game.

Roxy Bernstein will do play by play with Don MacLean as the analyst.

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ESPN helps Dodgers, Angels cover more payroll moving forward

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The Dodgers know their pending local rights TV deal will provide a major source of cash windfall, starting in 2014.

With that comes some more ESPN dollars to spend on the side.

Call it green energy.

In a contract extension so big even Major League Baseball is breathlessly referring to it as “a new all-time record” for the its broadcasting rights, ESPN will pay a reported $5.6 billion over the next eight years, the two announced today.

The package, which averages $700 million a year, doubles the current $306 million a year agreement and includes another $50 million in digital, radio and international rights.

Meaning, the Dodgers and Angels stand to receive somewhere around $25 million each a season from the split among the 30 teams, up from about $12 million currently, just from ESPN alone.

The added bonus for ESPN is that it gets one of the two wild-card games starting in 2014, alternating between an NL or AL game, as well as carrying any regular-season tie-breakers that need to be played.

ESPN will continue its regular Sunday night showcase game in prime time, as well as windows on Monday and Wednesday. By agreeing to show up to 90 games a season, that increases the current deal by 13 percent.

Content was also increased for its “Baseball Tonight” studio show as well as some MLB Production specials that will be carried on ESPN.

ESPN has also made a commitment to include each of the 30 MLB teams at least once per season in a live game telecast.

ESPN started televising MLB games in 1990.

MLB commissioner Bud Selig said that the “level of ESPN’s commitment ot baseball – both financially and through its expanded content – is a testament to the strength of our game and its unprecedented popularity among our fans.”

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