KLAC knows where its bread is buttered: Dodger pregame Sunday cuts off Packers-49ers game in mid-fourth-quarter drive on 570-AM

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Posted by Don Martin on LARadio.com, an email from reader Brad Cramer of LaHabra Heights:

“Kudos to Don Martin and the decision-makers at KLAC. Sunday afternoon, the station was carrying the second game of Dial-Global’s syndicated NFL doubleheader between the 49ers and Packers. At exactly 4:30, with just a few minutes left in the game and the Packers driving to try and tie the score, KLAC ended its coverage [in mid-play, no less] and began the Dodgers pre-game show.

“I understand that the station is contractually obligated to do that, but Joe or Jane Listener driving in his or her vehicle doesn’t know that. What’s really puzzling is that a simple announcement to the audience that the station was beginning its Dodger coverage, and those who wanted to hear the completion of the football game could simply tune down the dial to sister station KTLK was all that was needed.

“By doing this, Clear Channel would not have a bunch of listeners ticked off at them for cutting off the football game. The only problem is: that would have necessitated someone at the station to voice the announcement. For a station that relies almost exclusively on Fox Sports Radio’s syndicated programming, that could be a problem. I guess the late comedian Rodney Dangerfield and KLAC’s listeners have a lot in common: They get no respect at all.”

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In the Pac-12, Matt Barkley can throw for six TDs in a game and not even get nominated for conference player of the week

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UCLA running back Johnathan Franklin, who ran for a career-best 217 yards on 26 carries and caught three passes for 59 yards and a TD in the Bruins’ win over Nebraska, was named the Pac-12 offensive player of the week for the second straight week today.

Also nominated for the honor:

== Ka’Deem Carey, running back, Arizona: 126 yards on 26 carries and three TDs, plus one receiving TD, in a 59-38 upset over Oklahoma State.

== Isi Sofele, running back, Cal: 104 yards on 19 carries and one TD in a 50-31 win over Southern Utah.

== Christian Powell, fullback, Colorado: 147 yards and three TDs in a 30-28 loss to Sacramento State.

== Kenjon Barner, running back, Oregon: A career-high 201 yards on 34 carries and three TDs in a 42-25 win over Fresno State.

== Robert Woods, receiver, USC: 10 catches for 93 yards and two TDs, plus a 76-yard run to set up another TD in a 42-29 win over Syracuse.

== Chris Coyle, tight end, Arizona State: 10 catches for 131 yards and two TDs in a 45-14 win over Illinois.

== Sean Mannion, quarterback, Oregon State: 29 of 47 passing for 276 yards and 1 TD in a 10-7 win over Wisconsin.

Not nominated:

== Matt Barkley, quarterback, USC: 23 (21 of them to Robert Woods and Marquis Lee) of 30 passing, 187 yards, six TDs (of 13, 29, 4, 22, 4 and 3 yards), one INT.

Note: Barkley (23 of 38 passing, 372 yards, 4 TDs, 0 INTs) did get a nomination for offensive player of the week after the Trojans’ season-opening win over Hawaii, but Lee (10 catches, 197 yards, 1 TD) didn’t. Lee (1 KO return for 100-yard TD) was, however, named special teams player of the week.

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Five things we learned this weekend: Sept. 7-9

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Where does comedian Rob Riggle go for his material? The Daily News sports section, apparently. In his debut as the funny-man prognosticator for the “NFL on Fox” pregame show Sunday, Riggle’s sketch included him scanning the Tuesday, Sept. 4 edition of the newspaper for updates as to what was going on in the NFL from his “master bedroom” … which turned out to be David Beckham’s house. Note: Riggle wasn’t using a laptop and searching for the Daily News website. He’s still a print guy.

Helping you stay ahead of the sports world learning curve:

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(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
UCLA tight end Joseph Fauria, left, celebrates with guard Jeff Baca, right, after scoring a touchdown during the first half Saturday against Nebraska at the Rose Bowl.

1. Caution: Despite objections, teams at No. 2 and No. 22 in the latest AP poll are closer than they appear. There’s 2-0 USC hanging onto its second-best ranking after the not-so-electrifying 13-point win against Syracuse, and 2-0 UCLA poll vaulting into the Top 25 after its stunner against Nebraska in what they’re calling a “signature win” for coach Jim Mora. Put the two on a neutral field, and which one would be the field-goal favorite? Probably neither, since they each seem to lack a kicker.

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2. The Dodgers, in almost all calculable scenarios, needed to sweep the Giants, and do so convincingly. Instead, they left the heart of their lineup in San Francisco, and ripped the hearts out of their fans by watching them drop two of three, including a shutout in the finale after ace Clayton Kershaw couldn’t convince Don Mattingly to let him pitch. Sitting 5 back in the NL West is one thing, but 2 back in the NL wildcard is more disheartening. That’s what happens when the heart of the lineup goes 1-for-23 with runners in scoring position. Kershaw says he’s been told he’ll get five starts left this season, likely the next one Tuesday in Arizona (where Matt Kemp is also expected to rejoin the party). If things fall right, Kershaw will throw the opener of the final three-game series against the Giants on Oct. 1. At that point, will it matter? No, because Joe Blanton will likely get at least four more starts over the last 21 games as well.

3. We’re not sticking a surgically repaired neck out here on this one: Peyton Manning has Denver already misremembering everything it ever knew about Tim Tebow. His no-huddle offensive manuvers gave the Broncos 10 minutes less in that critical time-of-possession category than what Ben Roethlisberger had with running the Pittsburgh offense, but it mattered nothing at all in Denver’s 31-19 victory. “It’s just one game,” he said afterward. “I try to keep it in perspective.” If only he got a cut of all the new orange and blue No. 18 jerseys that’ll be selling at the Rocky Mountain Pro Bass Shops this week.

Robert Hingle/US Presswire

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4. The value of Robert Griffin III’s rookie card just went up by the power of III. As Andrew Luck would have it, RG3′s debut came at the expense of the $100 million man, Drew Brees, in the Superdome, with a 320-yard passing performance, and two TDs, during a 40-32 win over the Bounty-Gated Saints. Even classier, Griffin stayed loyal to his Adidas endorsement deal by trying to black out the Nike swoosh on his Redskins’ warmup shirt.

5. So, the Vikings nail a field goal in overtime, but don’t get to celebrate the win until the Jags … don’t do anything afterward? Guess we’re still not sure how games are decided beyond the regulation 60 minutes. Tie goes to the runner?

Photo of the weekend:

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AP Photo/Chris Carlson
Angels center fielder Mike Trout robs Detroit’s Prince Fielder of a home run in the final out of Saturday’s 6-1 win at Angel Stadium. The Angels’ sweep of the Tigers this weekend gives them six wins in a row and 11 of their last 12 heading into a four-game series against Oakland. Trout also hit lead-off homers in back-to-back games Saturday and Sunday.

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Play It Forward: Sept. 10-16 on your sports calendar

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

THIS WEEK’S BEST BET

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IndyCar.com
Will Power takes a test run at Auto Club Speedway on Sept. 6.

IndyCar Racing League: MAV500 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Saturday at 5:30 p.m., NBC Sports Network:

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The year was 2005 when we last saw the IRL doing donuts through Southern California – it was called the Toyota Indy 400, and Dario Franchitti edged Andretti Green Racing teammate Tony Kanaan by a mere .1117 of a second. There was Ashley Judd happily embracing her husband in the victory circle with Hollywood pals like Patrick Dempsey joining the party. Sooner or later, you knew the IRL would return, and they’ve made this one the final event of the ’12 season, with Will Power able to clinch the title.

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Power, whose California successes this year included winning the Long Beach Grand Prix back in April and finishing second at the Grand Prix of Sonoma last month, has a 17-point lead over Ryan Hunter-Reay heading into this 250-lap event. The field is expected to include reigning Indy 500-winner Franchitti, Kanaan, Scott Dixon and Helio Castroneves, and Power said during a recent test run that “this track will be great to race on; it is so wide and we’ll have room to drive. I think I have already run three completely different set-ups and we still have lots to learn before we come back (for more test runs) and then qualify and race. During a 500-mile race anything can happen. We want the championship and will work with 100 percent focus to get it. No slowing down.” Qualifying is Friday, and the 50-lap Indy Lights Race is Saturday at 3 p.m. Parking lots open at 7 a.m. with a Franchitti Walk of Fame induction ceremony at 2 p.m.

MONDAY

NFL: Cincinnati at Baltimore, 4 p.m.; ESPN; San Diego at Oakland, 7:15 p.m., ESPN:

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The opener of this “MNF” doubleheader has the recent passing of former Ravens owner Art Modell hanging over it. A key matchup for the AFC North rivals are the Ravens’ Ray Lewis against Bengals new running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who scored a TD against the Ravens twice a year ago while with New England, including one in a 23-20 AFC title game last January. The backend has the AFC West rivals with Philip Rivers matching arm strength with Carson Palmer in the Black Hole. These two also meet on the final game of the regular season.

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

The Angels’ three-game sweep in Oakland last week may have closed the gap in the AL wildcard, but a four-game sweep here could do even more Grade-A damage. It could hinge on whether Jered Weaver can make a start after being skipped in the rotation with shoulder tendinitis. Weaver is tentatively slotted to pitch Tuesday (7:05 p.m.), as the series continues Wednesday (7:05 p.m.) and Thursday (12:35 p.m.). Oakland hasn’t really figured out how to make up for the loss of pitcher Brandon McCarthy, who needed emergency surgery after taking a line drive to the head off the bat of Erick Aybar last week.

MLB: Detroit at Chicago White Sox, 5 p.m., MLB Network:

The Tigers know what needs to be done: A sweep here, and they could be back leading the AL Central.

Tennis: U.S. Open, men’s final, Andy Murray vs. Novak Djokovic/David Ferrer, 1 p.m., Channel 2:

Tell the gals at “The Talk” they’ve been pre-empted. Same for “Dr. Phil” and “Judge Judy” if things go as long as anticipated.

TUESDAY

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MLB: Dodgers at Arizona, 6:40 p.m., Channel 9:

We see you probably already know: These are first two of the final 21 games left in the season – with 11 of the next 15 on the road — and the Dodgers can’t afford to squander this opportunity as they did against the D’backs last week, splitting four. With Clayton Kershaw’s setback, the Dodgers haven’t named a pitcher to start this two-game set. Kershaw is the likely candidate, but then again, it’ll be against Ian Kennedy (12-11), who went 6 1/3 scoreless innings of a 2-0 win over the Dodgers on Aug. 30. Meanwhile, Trevor Cahill (10-11), scheduled to start Wednesday (6:40 p.m., Prime), took a no-hitter into the seventh against the Giants in his last start before winning, 6-2 — but that was his first victory since July 30, when he beat the Dodgers, 7-2, giving up one run in six innings.

MLB: N.Y. Yankees at Boston, 4 p.m., MLB Network:

They’re on TV again Wednesday (4 p.m., ESPN) and Thursday (4 p.m., MLB Net), and then play the final three games of the season head-to-head at Yankee Stadium on Oct. 1-3, in case it matters to someone.

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Soccer: 2014 World Cup qualifier semifinal: U.S. vs. Jamaica, at Columbus, Ohio, 5 p.m., ESPN2:

They’re telling us that Jamaica’s 2-1 upset last Friday over the Americans, who were without the injured Landon Donovan and Michael Bradley, makes this one at the Columbus Crew Stadium a somewhat must-win situation, since Jamaica (2-0-1) leads Group A at the halfway point and the U.S. (1-1-1) is tied with Guatemala in a situation where the top three move on.

WEDNESDAY

MLB: Washington at N.Y. Mets, 4:10 p.m.:

John Lannan (2-0, 3.46 ERA in 13 innings) is in, Stephen Strasburg (15-6, 3.16 ERA in 159 1/3 innings) is out in the Nats’ rotation for the first time.

THURSDAY

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The Associated Press

MLB: Dodgers vs. St. Louis, Dodger Stadium, 7:10 p.m., Prime:

Somehow, the Cards’ have a real wild-card in the NL wildcard race. Chris Carpenter,, the 37-year-old 2005 NL Cy Young Award winner who has already been the league’s Comeback Player of the Year in ’04 and ’09, had what was called season-ending surgery in July to relieve nerve compression that caused numbness on much of the right side of his body. That included removal of the first rib on that right side. Recovery time was supposed to be six months. But he’s been throwing simulated games in hopes of coming back sooner rather than later. “I’m hesitant to say anything because I don’t want to present it as an absolute. We’ll have to see how it goes,” Carpenter said. The series goes Friday (7:10 p.m.), Saturday (6:10 p.m.) and Sunday (1:05 p.m.).

WNBA: Sparks vs. Chicago, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., TWC101:

The Sparks, locked into a playoff spot with the help of a 12-1 record so far at home, end the regular season with four in a row at Staples Center, starting with this one and including a meeting Friday with Eastern Conference-leading Connecticut (8 p.m.).

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NFL: Chicago at Green Bay, 5:30 p.m., NFL Network:

The Packers’ offense couldn’t play much more sluggish than it did in its opener at San Francisco.

FRIDAY

MLB: Angels at Kansas City, 4:10 p.m., FSW:

Zack Greinke won his ’09 AL Cy Young with a 16-8 record and 2.16 ERA as a member of the Royals, and the latest Angels’ acquisition is set to pitch the opener of this series — his first start in K.C.’s Kaufman Stadium since he left the team after the 2010 season. The series continues Saturday (4:10 p.m.) and Sunday (11:10 a.m.).

MLS: Galaxy vs. Colorado, Home Depot Center, 8 p.m., KDOC:

We wondered if the Galaxy had actually ended their season. Nope. Just had a two-week break, and have six games left in the season. Over their break, they signed up veteran Swede midfielder Christian Wilhelmsson, who could possibly make some public appearances at the Ikea store just down the street from the Home Depot Center.

Tennis: Davis Cup semifinals: U.S. vs. Spain in Gijon, Spain, singles first round, 3-to-9 a.m., Tennis Channel:

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The Bryan brothers can hardly toast their record-breaking 12 major doubles victory at the U.S. Open before they’re jetting off with coach Jim Courier, who also picked Thousand Oaks’ Sam Querrey to replace the ailing Mardy Fish and join John Isner as the singles players trying to reign in Spain. David Ferrer and Nicolas Almagro are playing singles for Spain — not world No. 3 Rafael Nadal, who missed the Olympics and the U.S. Open with a knee injury – while Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez are the doubles team. Defending Cup champion Spain, going after its fourth finals appearance in five years, has ousted the U.S. in their last two meetings — last year’s quarterfinals (in Austin, Tex.) and the ’08 semifinals (in Madrid). The most recent U.S. Davis title came in 2007. The doubles play on Saturday (5 a.m., Tennis Channel) and reverse singles on Sunday (3-to-9 a.m., Tennis Channel).

MLB: Washington at Atlanta, 4:30 p.m., MLB Network:

Yes, the Dodgers would appreciate some help from the Nats in knocking the Braves down a notch or two.

SATURDAY

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(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Stanford head coach David Shaw leads his black-clad Cardinal team onto the field before their game against Duke on Saturday at Stanford last Saturday.

College football: USC at Stanford, 4:30 p.m., Channel 11:

Cardinal defensive tackle Terrence Stephens got his teammates together after a 50-13 win over Duke last Saturday and called out: “Who’s next?” His teammates replied: “Trojans!” Stephens asked again: “Who’s house?” The response: “Our house!” In a rematch of last year’s triple-OT contest at the Coliseum, where Andrew Luck prevailed over Matt Barkley’s team. “The game that we played tonight,” Stanford coach David Shaw said later Saturday, “still wouldn’t be good enough to beat USC.” Stanford junior QB Josh Nunes is 32 of 56 passing for 400 yards and four TDs against one pick in two wins so far.

College football: UCLA vs. Houston, Rose Bowl, 7:30 p.m. Pac-12 Network:

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These Bruins start a run of six games where they may not face anyone of Top 25 caliber, yet it starts against an 0-2 Cougars program that claimed a 38-34 win over UCLA a year ago in Houston. Johnathan Franklin, who leads the nation with 431 yards rushing after two games, ran for 128 yards and a touchdown in 16 carries a year against against Houston. Cougars sophomore quarterback David Piland threw for 580 yards in 7 7 attempts during a 56-49 loss against Louisiana Tech.

College football: Cal at Ohio State, 9 a.m., Channel 7; Alabama at Arkansas, 12:30 p.m., Channel 2; Notre Dame at Michigan State, 5 p.m., Channel 7; Florida at Tennessee, 3 p.m., ESPN; Texas at Mississippi, 6:15 p.m., ESPN:

Thanks, Razorbacks. You just damaged Alabama’s strength of schedule.

Boxing: Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. vs. Sergio Martinez, from Las Vegas, 6 p.m., HBO Pay Per View:

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images

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A question posed by BadLeftHook.com: For quite some time, you took criticism for supposedly building your success on your father’s name. Do you feel any urge to beat Sergio Martinez to quiet your remaining critics? Said the 26-year-old junior, he of the 46-0-1 record with 32 KOs and WBC middleweight title belt, having started as a super feather weight as a 17-year-old: “I will always be criticized for being perceived as riding my father’s coattails and I have learned to live with it. I am proud of my father’s accomplishments. Not only is he a Hall of Fame member but he is also universally acknowledged as the best fighter to ever come out of Mxico — a country that has produced an incredible amount of world champions. I am proud to be his son and I am proud to have his name. Like my father I want to be the best but I want to write my own story. I don’t want to be known only as the son of Julio Csar Chvez, I want to be is the next Julio Csar Chvez. My victory over Sergio Martnez will give me my own level of recognition. Whether that finally satisfies my critics remains to be seen but I know it will be an exciting chapter, with many more to come, in the story of Julio Csar Chvez Jr.”

MLB: Baltimore at Oakland, 6 p.m., MLB Network:

Angels’ scoreboard watching just got easier.

Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastics Champions, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m.:

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It’s not really like Cirque de Sol, except there are U.S. men’s and women’s gymnasts from the recent London Olympics as well as the 2011 World Championship team, in a show with artistic and trampoline competitors that promises to be “a high-flying, dynamic experience that will celebrate the sports’ beauty and skill.” Can’t get much more specific than that. And it comes with this caviat: At Sunday’s performance in Ontario, “Fierce Five” members McKayla Maroney (left knee) of Long Beach and Aly Raisman (both bruised knees) were injured while performing on the uneven bars so their status could be compromised. What do you think of that McKayla? The tour is in San Diego on Thursday and Glendale, Ariz., Friday before coming to L.A., and then goes to Anaheim’s’ Honda Center on Sunday. The 40-stop tour ends in Brooklyn in mid November. More info: http://usagym.org/pages/events/tour/

SUNDAY

NFL: Arizona at New England/New Orleans-Carolina/Minnesota at Indianapolis, 10 a.m., Channel 11; Oakland at Miami, 10 a.m., Channel 2; N.Y. Jets at Pittsburgh/Tennessee at San Diego, 1:25 p.m., Channel 2; Detroit at San Francisco, 5:15 p.m., Channel 4:

We suddenly like the range of the 49ers’ David Akers from 49 yards and beyond.

NASCAR Sprint Cup: Geico 400 at Chicagoland Speedway, Joilet, Ill., 10 a.m., ESPN:

The 10-race chase to the finish starts with Jeff Gordon knocking out Kyle Bush to make the final field with top-seed Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex Jr., Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle, Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne, Clint Bowyer and Matt Kenseth. The rest, including Bush and Carl Edwards, will be racing just to keep it honest.

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Soccer: U.S. women vs. Australia, Home Depot Center, 12:30 p.m., Channel 4:

The ladies continue their Olympic post-gold tour by giving you the chance to spend $115 for a front-row seat to this exhibition – or even better, cough up $225 for a seat on the field, and you keep the bright red chair. It’s one of those fold-up deals, but still …

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Pac-12 Net will be dished out by Dish … can rival DirecTV afford to keep what commissioner Scott calls is a fan ‘disconnect’?

UPDATED: 5 p.m. SATURDAY

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Dish Network has reached an agreement to carry the Pac-12 Networks, it was announced early this morning, leaving DirecTV, Charter, AT&T U-verse and Verizon FiOS as the other major cable and dish operators who have yet to work out a distribution deal.

The deal with Dish, which joins Time Warner, Cox, Comcast and Bright House as the major carriers for the Pac-12 Network, also gives it exclusive sponsorship on Pac-12 campuses. That means stadium signage and logo rights, which could be a perceived advantage over rival DirecTV when it comes to getting the word out about one product versus the other.

Dish customers will have the ability to watch Pac-12 football games today as a free preview. Those games include Sacramento State-Colorado (noon, Channel 445), Eastern Washington-Washington State (noon., Channel 446), Southern Utah-Cal (noon, Channel 413), Fresno State-oregon (3:30 p.m., Channel 413), Oklahoma State-Arizona (7:30 p.m., Channel 413) and Duke-Stanford (7:30 p.m., Channel 445).

Dish, with 14.1 million satellite customers, is the third-largest pay-TV provider in the country, behind Comcast (22.1 million) and DirecTV (19.9 million). Time Warner, which covers much of Southern California, has about 12.3 million. Comcast and Time Warner have seen the largest recent drops in customer subscribers, while almost everyone (except AT&T and Verizon) has posted losses (see story linked here).

Before today’s UCLA-Nebraska kickoff at the Rose Bowl, Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said despite not having every major provider signed up to date, “but if you look at it, we’re three weeks into it and we have four out of the top five distributors … I think it’s on par, if not better than any other launch that’s taken place. It ranks up there with early success. But these things take time.”

Scott said that DirecTV has been “offered the same deal that Dish has been offered, so no doubt it’s a fair deal. Dish thought so, and 40 cable companies thought so, so I hope they listen to their customers the same way the others have.

“What I’ve seen written, is (DirecTV) questions how much their fans need it (or) want it. Is what’s on Fox, ESPN enough? Do they need to see all these games? I think they’ve been dismissive of the 20 conference games we have coming up … We’re going to have some big rivalry games. We think that’s a disconnect for them, at least what I hear from fans.

“We are realistic. … We have a lot of work to do. We won’t be satisfied until we have all five. That’s our goal.”

Next Saturday, UCLA’s game at the Rose Bowl against Houston is on the Pac-12 Network. USC’s home game against Cal on Sept. 22 is the Trojans’ first football game exclusively on the network.

Dish has put the Pac-12 channels on its America’s Top 120+ package and above for customers who live in the six states with a conference school. It’s available nationwide in the Multi-Sport Pack for $9 per month.

(Staff writer Steve Ramirez contributed to this report.)

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Weekly sports media column version 09.07.12

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What’s included in this week’s version of the media column (linked here): What CBS, NBC, Fox, ESPN and the NFL Network want you to love about them for the upcoming season.

What’s not included:

== Sean McDonough, Chris Spielman and Shelley Smith are on-call for the USC-Syracuse game Saturday from New Jersey (12:30 p.m., Channel 7).

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Gus Johnson, Charles Davis and Julie Alexandria have UCLA hosting Nebraska at the Rose Bowl (4:30 p.m., Channel 11).

ESPN’s No. 1 crew of Brent Musburger, Kirk Herbstreit and Heather Cox are doing Florida at Texas A&M (12:30 p.m., ESPN), with the “GameDay” show originating from College Station, Tex.

ABC yields to NASCAR in the traditional prime-time spot (the Federated Auto Parts 400 from Richmond, Va., at 4:30 p.m.) and instead carries Penn State-Virginia (9 a.m., with Mike Patrick, Ed Cunningham and George Smith) followed by the split-regional with either USC-Syracuse or Air Force-Michigan (with Bob Wischusen, Danny Kanell and Maria Taylor), which goes to ESPN2 in the L.A. market.

== Sunday NFL TV crews: Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston and Tony Siragusa have Washington-New Orleans (10 a.m., Channel 11), Joe Buck, Troy Aikman and Pam Oliver are on San Francisco-Green Bay (1:25 p.m., Channel 11), and Jim Nantz and Phil Simms have New England-Tennessee (10 a.m., Channel 2).

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== A reminder: The new NFL TV rules have pushed the afternoon game of a network doubleheader back to 1:25 p.m. The decision goes back to some uproar that happened in Week 2 last season, when KCBS-Channel 2 cut off the final moments of the Oakland-Buffalo game – and we missed the Bills’ game-winning touchdown in their 38-35 victory in the final 27 seconds — because the channel says it was “obligated” to show the start of the San Diego game in New England.
The push-back probably won’t solve the problem entirely, especially if games go into overtime. But in an NFL-less market like L.A., it shouldn’t matter which game we are “obligated” to see in the afternoon. The obligation has to be to finish up the first game and join the second in progress.

== Jacksonville Jaguars and former UCLA star running back Maurice Jones-Drew, who recently ended a long holdout, will begin the third season of his “Runnin’ with MJD” weekly fantasy football talk show today from 4-6 p.m. on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio, channel 87 on XM and channel 210 on Sirius Premier.

Likewise, John Madden is back for a ninth season as a commentator on SiriusXM NFL Radio, hosting “Madden Football” every Wednesday (11 a.m.-to-noon) with Adam Schein and Rich Gannon. He will also be with Chris “Mad Dog” Russo for a weekly NFL show Fridays at 2 p.m. on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Radio, channel 86.

== Cal’s AD did eventually drop her DirecTV for Comast so she could get the Bears’ opening football game (linked here). And she did a video to prove it (linked here).

== Grantland.com launched its YouTube channel, as Bill Simmons explains in his mission statement:

== Bob Timmermann’s essay on why the “perfect” TV system, whether it’s dish or cable, doesn’t exist for an L.A. sports fan at the moment (linked here).

== Is ESPN “College GameDay” better off or worse with Samantha Steele replacing Erin Andrews (can’t believe we even care). A USA Today poll decided by some 1,600-plus voters thought Steele “rocked” (linked here).

And finally:

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== After the Vin Scully call of tonight’s Dodgers-Giants game (Prime, 7:05 p.m.), it’s the team of Matt Vasgersian, Tim McCarver and Ken Rosenthal on Saturday (Channel 11, 1:05 p.m.) and Dan Shulman, Orel Hershiser and Terry Francona on Sunday (ESPN, 5:05 p.m.).
And for those who missed out on landing a Scully bobblehead from last week’s offering at Dodger Stadium, you must know there are versions of it for sale on eBay.com north of the $50 “buy it now” price range. But few realize that the Dodgers also produced some 3,000 “special edition” Scully bobbleheads that come with a special switch and allows you to hear him call Kirk Gibson’s 1988 World Series home run. Those bobbleheads were offered as a promotional item as part of a $640 ticket package deal. Some have sold this week on eBay.com for about $300. Another available on Lomita-based BobblesGalore.com has one for just $699.95. One autographed copy of a Scully bobblehead (not the special edition) was going for $850. Supply and demand has its limits.

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Why David Neal turns out to be a natural as Fox’s World Cup coordinator

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Maybe you don’t know David Neal by name, but you know his work.

As a producer at NBC, he won an Emmy for the opening montage of the 1988 World Series Game 2 between the Dodgers and A’s, interweaving Kirk Gibson’s game-winning homer in the opener the night before with the climax to the movie “The Natural.”

Naturally, Neal’s appointment this week by Fox Sports as its executive producer in charge of four upcoming World Cup soccer tournaments is based in a large part on his expertise overseeing big-time events in the 24 years since that night.

Fox has broadcast, cable and digital coverage in the U.S. for the FIFA men’s 2018 World Cup in Russia as well as 2022 in Qatar. The network gets its first leap into coverage with the women’s World Cup in 2015 set for Canada, as well as the 2019 event, which has yet to determine a home site.

Neal, who grew up in Woodland Hills, graduated from Taft High and USC and lives in Santa Monica these days, has 30 years in the bank and 34 Emmy awards at NBC Sports as an executive producer as well as the executive vice president of NBC Olympics.
He produced nine Olympics in total, going back to 1988, plus four NBA Finals, two World Series and a Super Bowl pregame show.

Add to that his last two years serving as the head of his own production company, where he had a consulting deal with Miami-based Univision and a makeover of their Deportes Network cable channel earlier this year, which emphasizes soccer content.

That included Neal helping to coordinate coverage of the CONCACAF Gold Cup at the Rose Bowl with the U.S.-Mexico final in June, 2011, which drew 11 million viewers.

“I got a quick and deep emersion from a very interesting point of view – in Spanish, where there’s an avid a group following the sport as you’d ever have,” said Neal.

Neal said he also incorporated a SkyCam in the coverage as well as computer-generated 3D axis graphics, things Univision had not tried before.
It’s not unlike the Olympic events that Neal has been involved with.

“I remember my first Olympics at NBC going into the world broadcasters meeting – this is two years in advance,” said Neal. “You’re coming into things as the American point of view, this 300-pound gorilla. But you also see how important the event is to the 30 or 40 other rights holders. They all had issues they wanted addressed.

“I learned that a big, international event really requires skill and diplomacy. We have to negotiate in an environment where everyone wants something different. It’s a much different skill set. I expect dealing with the IOC will be similar to that at FIFA.”

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What goes around comes around the bases nearly 20 years later: Delino DeShields, Jr., stealing the hearts in Lancaster with 101 swipes

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Lancaster JetHawks
Delino DeShields Jr., right, stole 18 bases in 24 games for the Lancaster JetHawks, third best on the team. But that’s not the whole story.

It’s the go-trade when one is listing the worst deals in Dodgers’ history, and, in hindsight perhaps one of the most lopsided in all of baseball: In November of 1993, the Dodgers sent a young long-relief pitcher named Pedro Martinez to the Montreal Expos in exchange for second baseman Delino DeShields.

Martinez had a 10-5 record and 2.61 ERA as a 21-year-old with the Dodgers, but the concern in the front office was this kid at 5-foot-11 and barely 170 pounds couldn’t hold up over the long haul.

DeShields was a risk-reward prospect who, in four years at Montreal, stole 42, 56, 46 and 43 bases. He also struck out 96, a league-high 151, 108 and 64 times. But Dodgers GM Fred Claire was at a contract impasse with Jody Reed, and needed to do something.

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DeShields was the answer. And turns out, the answer to a trivia question.

He lasted three injury, complaint-filled seasons with the Dodgers, stealing 27, 39 and 48 bases and never really playing a full year. His strikeouts: 53, 83 and 124. He left the team as a free agent in 1996 having stole more in contract money than anything else. He ended up with 463 steals in a 13-year career that continued in St. Louis, Baltimore and the Chicago Cubs. He’s currently the manager of the Cincinnati Reds’ Single-A Dayton Dragons, having spent the last four seasons in the team’s minor-league organization.

As for Martinez: 18 seasons and 409 starts in the big leagues, claiming three Cy Young Awards, winning 219 games, being on eight All-Star teams (one All-Star MVP award), five ERA titles, three strike-out titles, with a possible Hall of Fame induction awaiting him.

Are the Dodgers doomed to repeat that by giving away Rubby De La Rosa to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for more than $250 million in contracted players? Some are already wondering that.

But it isn’t the only reason why the name of DeShields has popped up again in Southern California baseball:

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The Lancaster JetHawks, the single-A affilate of the Houston Astros, ended the regular season with an 11-5 win at the High Desert Mavericks on Monday. In seventh inning, JetHawks second baseman Delino DeShields Jr. stole second base after drawing a walk — giving him 100 steals between his time with Low A Lexington and Lancaster. A few moments later, DeShields stole third to finish the season with 101, most ever for an Astros minor leaguer.

The 20-year-old DeShields, Houston’s first-round pick in 2010 (No. 8 overall), stole 83 bases at Lexington in 111 games before being called up to Lancaster.

Cincinnati Reds minor-leaguer Billy Hamilton finished his sason with 155 steals with the Single-A Bakersfield Blaze, but wasn’t called up to the big team when rosters were expanded.

The JetHawks (74-66) aren’t done yet. They face Lake Elsinore in Game 1 of the playoffs on Wednesday. The JetHawks have clinched a playoff spot and home field advantage in the South Division Mini-Series. Games 2 and 3 (if necessary) are at The Hangar in Lancaster on Thursday and Friday.

Maybe after that, the Astros call him for pinch-running duties?

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