UCLA’s Larimore on ESPN’s ‘E:60′: ‘Finally, it was clear I couldn’t go on smashing my head into things. Nothing good was going to come out of that for me.’

Excerpts from the ESPN “E:60″ story that aired today with ABC News special correspondent Bob Woodruff talking to 22-year-old Patrick Larimore, the UCLA linebacker out of Hart High in Valencia who “retired” before this season because of problems he has had after suffering six concussions over the last several years:

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== After a video clip showed Larimore participating in a summer touch-football league game the summer before his sophomore year in high school, describing a play when he received a concussion: “I remember I was chasing a receiver and my own player just came down and we collided, head to head, and I was knocked out on the field. It was very hazy. It’s hard to describe. But you feel like you’re detached, you’re like a shell. You’re not really in the moment, you’re like an observer.”

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Fear not, this ‘Fearsome Foursome’ doc has plenty of heart and soul, thanks to narrator/writer Jennifer Allen

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NFL Photos
The Los Angeles’ Rams’ “Fearsome Foursome” in 1964: Lamar Lundy, Merlin Olsen, Rosey Grier and Deacon Jones, who started alongside each other from 1963 to 1966.

Jennifer Allen’s personal stake in the legacy of the Los Angeles Rams’ “Fearsome Foursome” of the 1960s is pretty evident.

It’s become a large part of her own lineage.

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“To say the Fearsome Foursome has an impact on my life is an understatement,” she honestly states in the hour-long documentary that she narrates about the lifetime bond of Rosey Grier, Deacon Jones, Merlin Olsen and Lamar Lundy in the new NFL Films-produced piece that debuts Wednesday on the NFL Network at 5 p.m.

(For a sneak peek, go to this link on the NFL.com site. The doc repeats Wednesday at 10 p.m., Thursday at noon and Saturday at 7 and 10 p.m.)

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The daughter of the late Rams coach George Allen had an up-close-and-personal experience growing up among the four men who may have been most familiar as blue-and-white clad Rams but stood together at the line of scrimmage like a pack of black-and-blue 6-foot-5-and-bigger Grizzly bears on their hind legs, pawing at opposing quarterbacks as soon as the center snap took place, and creating a place for themselves in NFL lore.

In fact, the four only played together for four years, from 1963 to ’66. Allen only coached them for one year in L.A. Grier suffered an Achilles injury in a 1967 exhibition game and never came back, replaced at defensive end by Roger Brown, as the Rams went from a second-division team to a perennial playoff contender.

Here, Allen’s touching interviews with Grier and Jones – the only two surviving members – as well as with the families of Olsen and Lundy don’t just relive their glory on the field but bring to light the way they impacted each others’ lives off it in retirement, taking care of each other at all costs. It stays true to the NFL Network’s series “A Football Life,” that has touched on other past stars and coaches.

“It’s a great marriage,” says Dick Enberg, the Rams’ broadcaster from 1966 to ’76, in the piece about the four. “You saw the magic. And to be outside and watch it is to applaud it. And even be guilty of being envious that you don’t have that special kind of relationship with a team of your own.”

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Baseball Hall Frick finalists: No Enberg, Doggett this time

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The 10 finalists for the 2013 Frick Award are Tom Cheek, Ken Coleman, Jacques Doucet, John Gordon, Bill King, Graham McNamee, Eric Nadel, Eduardo Ortega, Mike Shannon and Dewayne Staats, the Baseball Hall of Fame announced today. The winner will be announced Dec. 4 and inducted into the Hall in July, 2013.

The final 10 came from a list of 41, that actually had been pared down from 200 candidates. The list of 41 included three broadcasters who have already been inducted as players — Bert Blyleven, Ron Santo and Phil Rizzuto – as well as former Dodgers broadcaster Jerry Doggett and long-time Angels broadcaster Dick Enberg, currently working for the San Diego Padres.

Fan voting put Cheek, King and Doucet onto the final 10 ballot. The other seven were picked by the Hall of Fame research committee. The 21-member electorate (16 living Frick Award winners, including Vin Scully and Jaime Jarrin, plus five historians and columnists) will determine the winner.

The late Bill King may be the most familiar name to L.A. sports fans. He worked for 25 seasons (1981-2005) as the Oakland A’s lead play-by-play voice on radio as well as doing Los Angeles Raiders games when the team moved here from Oakland.

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Play It Forward: Oct. 8-14 on your sports calendar

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

THIS WEEK’S BEST BET

NHL: Kings vs. N.Y. Rangers, Staples Center, Friday at 7:30 p.m., NBC Sports Network; Ducks vs. San Jose, Honda Center, Friday at 7:30 p.m., Prime:

Your long-anticipated Kings’ banner-raising ceremony on opening night against a bunch of visiting New Yorkers has been pre-empted. Reason: Greed. What the puck? It doesn’t mean that everything we saw last June after Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals just didn’t happen. The Kings’ players DNA is all over the Stanley Cup by now, as are their names hammered onto it for good measure. CSI: Bettman can check all the facts.

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Fact is, the current lockout has already canceled the first two weeks of this 2012-13 season — covering 82 total games, four of them Kings’ home contests. It was supposed to start Thursday with four games. Perhaps they’ll be reclaimed if things get settled sooner rather than later, and there’s a condensed schedule that looks something like what the NBA went through last year. Still, there’s that nagging feeling this distribution of money could drag things on longer — go back the 2004-05 season, which was canceled because they couldn’t get a Collective Bargaining Agreement done.

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Could it happen again? “I am hopeful this all sorts out easily because labor peace is preferable to the alternative,” commissioner Gary Bettman said. Not recently. That was during a news conference on May 30 before Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals. The best alternative we can offer is the Kings planned a Stanley Cup tour around L.A. on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and they’re still going to do it. That includes stops at Knotts Berry Farm, the ESPN Zone at L.A. Live, the Grove and the Americana center in Glendale. More info (at this link). For those who need some other sort of overseas hockey fix: ESPN will do some Russian-based Kontinental Hockey League games this season, starting Tuesday with Dynamo Moscow, featuring Washington Caps captain Alexander Ovechkin, playing host to Lev (10 a.m., ESPN3 website, replayed at 5 p.m. on ESPN2 with Steve Levy and Barry Melrose calling it).

Photos above:
AP Photo/The Canadian Press
Top: Kings scout Denis Fugere gets set to present the Stanley Cup during a charity street hockey game on Sept. 20 in Saint Jerome, Quebec. Fugere brought the cup to his hometown for the day. Below: Kings goaltender Jonathan Bernier makes a save against Ottawa’s Guillaume Latendresse during first period of a charity hockey game in Chateauguay, Quebec on Sept. 27.

MONDAY

NFL Week 5: Houston at N.Y. Jets, 5:30 p.m., ESPN:

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Wouldn’t this be the perfect stage for Jets coach Rex Ryan to unceremoniously pull Mark Sanchez in the middle of the game and watch the home crowd go nuts as he hands the keys to the offense to Tim Tebow (1 completion this season for 9 yards, 38 yards rushing)? Sanchez was just 13 of 29 passing for 103 yards, an interception, and a fumble in last week’s 34-0 loss to San Francisco, yet Ryan says the former USC star is still his money player. Why? ESPN.com’s Darren Rovell wrote last week that while “Ryan might say it’s not about the money, when you look at the numbers, the Jets most likely will give Sanchez the benefit of the doubt for a while.” Point of fact: Sanchez’ total cost to the Jets this year exceeds $9 million (including an $8 million signing bonus). That’s 8 1/2 times more what they’ve invested in Tebow. Going forward, Sanchez has $20.5 million guaranteed the next two years. Tebow’s total commitment: $3.63 million, including giving the Denver Broncos $2.53 million for his services — or five times less than what Sanchez costs them. Still, with a 2-2 record to date, the Jets still want to win, right? “I’ve been in situations like this before,” Sanchez said. “I’m confident I can handle it, and there’s only one way in my mind to go about it — and that’s really to attack it.” (By the way, Houston had the NFL’s best defense in net yards allowed per game at 237, and was second-best against the pass at 182.8.)

MLB playoffs: NLDS Game 2: Washington at St. Louis, 1:30 p.m., TBS:

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Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann has had nine days off since his last regular-season start and this one. He went 3-0 with a 2.61 ERA over his last five starts.
Games 3-4-5 move to D.C. for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday if needed.

MLB playoffs: ALDS Game 2: N.Y. Yankees at Baltimore, 5 p.m., TBS:

With any luck, no more rain to deal with for this one, or Games 3-4-5 that are set for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in New York between these two AL East foes.

TUESDAY

MLB playoffs: NLDS Game 3: San Francisco at Cincinnati, 2:30 p.m., TBS:

The Reds, with a 2-0 lead heading home, haven’t won a post-season series since 1995 — when they beat the Dodgers. The series continues, if needed, Wednesday and Thursday for Games 4 and 5 in Cincinnati.

MLB playoffs: ALDS Game 3: Detroit at Oakland, 6 p.m., TBS:

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You counting the Athletics out just because they’re down 2-0 to the Tigers? Somehow, this feels a lot like when Texas took a 5-1 lead in the third inning over these same A’s in the final game of the regular season. And then the Rangers lost, 12-5, giving away the AL West title. These A’s are, for lack of a better term, too young and dumb to let the stress get to them. They aren’t paid enough to get stressed out. There’s also precedent for this kind of comeback — in 1995, the first year of the wildcard, the Mariners fell behind the first two games in New York to the Yankees but won three in a row at the Kingdome.

WEDNESDAY

NBA exhibition: Lakers vs. Portland in Ontario, 7 p.m., TWC SportsNet:

The Citizens Business Bank Arena used to have tickets available as low as upper level $12 and as much as floor level $352, but both those options are gone. You know, it’s just a practice game, right?

THURSDAY

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NBA exhibition: Clippers vs. Miami in Beijing, China, 4:30 a.m., NBA TV:

When the Clippers made their exhibition debut against Denver in Las Vegas, Eric Bledsoe was sporting some new Nike LeBron X “Blue Diamond” shoes. LeBron can thank him in person when they pose for photo ops. Erik Spoelstra and Vinny Del Negro are likely to be mistaken for the team chapparones. These two also have a Sunday exhibition in Shanghai as well before returning home.

NFL Week 6: Pittsburgh at Tennessee, 5:20 p.m., NFL Network:

The 2-2 Steelers have yet to win on the road, and the Titans may still be without QB Jake Locker.

College football: Arizona State at Colorado, 6 p.m., ESPN:

The 4-1 Sun Devils are the only unbeaten team in the Pac-12 South, with wins over Utah and Cal by a combined 64-24. The 1-4 Buffs haven’t played since the 42-14 loss at home against UCLA.

FRIDAY

College football: Navy at Central Michigan, 5 p.m., ESPN2:

The Midshipmen’s 28-21 win at Air Force last week means they only have to beat Army on Dec. 8 to reclaim the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy. As if Central Michigan cares.

SATURDAY

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

Expect a Pete Carroll sighting somewhere at CenturyLink Field, home of his Seattle Seahawks and the Huskies’ temporary home field as their stadium is getting renovated. Because Carroll’s Seahawks are in town to play Sunday at home against New England, the former USC head coach can watch both his former top two assistants, Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian, go at each other. Sarkisian’s Huskies knocked off Trojans teams coached by Carroll and Kiffin in ’09 and ’10, but Kiffin got one back last November, as Marqise Lee caught a touchdown pass and returned the second-half kickoff 88 yards for a score, and Curtis McNeal had a 79-yard TD sprint among his career-high 148 yards rushing in a 40-17 victory at the Coliseum. Matt Barkley passed for 174 yards and one touchdown while running for an early score for the Trojans; Keith Price passed for just 125 yards for Washington, although he completed 12 of 16, but had no TDs. The Trojans are the fourth opponent in the Top 11 that the Huskies have played this season, and they’ve only manage to beat then-No. 8 Stanford, 17-13, on Sept. 27.

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College football: UCLA vs. Utah, Rose Bowl, noon, Channel 11:

The Utes’ 31-6 win in Salt Lake City last November amidst snow and ice that brought the wind chill down to 19 degrees at kickoff was mostly the result of John White IV’s 167 yards rushing on 33 carries and three TDs (two rushing, one receiving), plus the Bruins’ 12 penalties for 91 yards. White ran for 68 yards on 13 carries against USC last week. Utah could pull a fast one and bench quarterback Jon Hayes for Travis Wilson, a freshman out of San Clemente who came on in relief last week and completed four of six passes for 49 yards against the Trojans.

College football:
Texas vs. Oklahoma in Dallas, 9 a.m., Channel 7
Oregon State at BYU, 12:30 p.m., Channel 7
Alabama at Missouri, 12:30 p.m., Channel 2
West Virginia at Texas Tech, 12:30 p.m., ESPN
Stanford at Notre Dame, 12:30 p.m., Channel 4
South Carolina at LSU, 5 p.m., ESPN
Cal at Washington State, 7:30 p.m., Pac 12 Network

The annual Red River Rivalry between the Longhorns and Sooners at least has two teams ranked in the Top 15 — since 1945, one or both teams went into this game ranked in the Top 25 more than 90 percent of the time. It still seems strange that for the two strongest programs left in the 10-team Big 12, the conference’s only two unbeaten teams (in league play) is Kansas State and West Virginia.

NBA exhibition: Lakers vs. Utah, Staples Center, 7 p.m., TWC SportsNet:

After trips to Fresno and Ontario, a true home game makes the pretendness of the exhibition season feel more real.

NASCAR: Sprint Cup Bank of America 500 at Charlotte, N.C., 4 p.m., Channel 7:

Kasey Kahne won the Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte on May 27 with a track record 155.687 mph. Matt Kenseth won last year’s BofA 500.

MLB playoffs: AL Championship Series Game 1: 5 p.m., TBS:

Game 2 is Sunday on TBS at 1 p.m.

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SUNDAY

NFL Week 6:
Green Bay at Houston, 5:20 p.m., Channel 4
N.Y. Giants at San Francisco, 1:25 p.m., Channel 11
Oakland at Atlanta, 10 a.m., Channel 2
Indianapolis at N.Y. Jets, 10 a.m.
Dallas at Baltimore, 10 a.m., Channel 11
New England at Seattle, 1:05 p.m.

The Falcons are 5-0 for the first time in franchise history. Beat the Raiders here and they’re bowl eligible.

MLB playoffs: NL Championship Series Game 1: 5 p.m., Channel 11:

Somehow the Cardinals still have time to scratch their way back to this moment and keep their hopes alive for a World Series repeat. Hear that Pujols?

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Five things we learned this past weekend: Oct. 5-7

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(AP Photo/Gary Kazanjian)
Dwight Howard, right, shares a laugh with new Lakers teammates Andrew Goudelock, left, and Darius Morris in the first half of Sunday’s exhibition game against Golden State in Fresno.

Just a little help staying ahead of the sports world learning curve:

1. How did the Lakers’ main players look trying to master Mike Brown’s new Princeton offense? Was that ridiculous final score in favor of the Warriors an indication of what really happened? Honestly, we have no clue.

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We could have used an Ivy Leaguer with a few connections to hook up those of us with DirecTV, Dish, Charter, Verizon FiOS, AT&T U-verse, Cox – anything but Time Warner Cable, which proudly aired Sunday night’s Lakers’ exhibition game in Fresno. Until then, we’ll sit back and pretend we know what’s going on by a) listening to games on the radio (but not on the 710-AM website), b) reading the newspaper (there’s a novel idea), c) talking to friends who have TWC SportsNet (and maybe asking to borrow their password so we can access things online) or d) letting others do the whining for us. Actually, it’s even a bit deceptive to say that Time Warner late last week signed up Bright House Communications to take the channel, because that’s a company with just a tiny slice of the Lakers’ coverage market (Bakersfield), TWC used to own it, and now it negotiates on Bright House’s behalf. “I think the most confusing part of all this is the name Time Warner Cable as the name of the channel,” said Lakers business chief Jeanie Buss. “I would be upset as well if I was in an area that was only serviced by Cox Cable so I wouldn’t even have the option of switching to TWC.” Confusing, amusing and, really, a result of the Lakers’ own choosing. And that’s before hearing about Reeves Nelson’s air ball on a free throw that missed so badly, it went under the net.

2. The fix is in at UCLA, which, already teetering on the edge at No. 25 in the AP Top 25 poll, couldn’t even get a cursory “others receiving votes” after its 43-17 collapse at Cal on Saturday. Be thankful if you didn’t have the Pac-12 Network to watch how it all unraveled. You could have seen all the drops that the Bruins’ receivers had, and then wondered why the team already has two defensive players who have caught passes for a TD on offense. USC, meanwhile, could have salted away a lopsided victory Thursday night in Salt Lake City, but made the degree of difficulty look far more important with its 38-28 decision over Utah, still enough to slink up from No. 13 to No. 11 in the AP poll (thanks to losses by previous No. 3 Florida State and No. 5 Georgia dropped them farther than No. 4 LSU dropped after its loss to No. 10 Florida). It could have pushed Matt Barkley back into the Heisman talk, but then, Geno Smith’s four TDs in a win over Texas should keep the West Virginia quarterback as the lead dog for another week (24 TDs total this season without a pick for the 5-0 Mountaineers). In all, nine Top 25 teams lost on Saturday – that hasn’t happened since Oct. 18, 2008. Yet we’ve already got our first group of bowl-eligible teams: Ohio University was the quickest to 6-0 only because its win over Buffalo was earlier in the day than victories captured by Ohio State, South Carolina and Oregon. Don’t celebrate too early. Last season’s Illinois team started 6-0, finished 6-6 and all that was left to feast on was UCLA in the Kraft Hunger Bowl on New Year’s Eve.

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(AP Photo/John Bazemore)
A woman speaks to a another spectator after being hit with a bottle as fans from the upper deck threw trash onto the field after a umpire call during the eighth inning of the NL wild card game between the Atlanta Braves and the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday in Atlanta. The game was stopped after officials decided Braves’ Andrelton Simmons was out on the infield fly rule and fans littered the field with debris. The Cardinals went on to win 6-3.

3. The infield fly rule, according to the MLB’s section 2.00 of the rulebook definition of terms, is “a fair fly ball (not including a line drive nor an attempted bunt) which can be caught by an infielder with ordinary effort, when first and second, or first, second and third bases are occupied, before two are out. . . . when it seems apparent that a batted ball will be an Infield Fly, the umpire shall immediately declare ‘Infield Fly’ for the benefit of the runners. The infield fly is in no sense to be considered an appeal play. The umpire’s judgment must govern, and the decision should be made immediately.” MLB rulekeeper Joe Torre immediately ruled that the Atlanta Braves’ protest would be denied after a botched infield fly call didn’t help their cause in Friday’s do-or-die NL Wild Card game against St. Louis. The ump erred. But then, so did the Braves – three of them in the course of the contest. That’s why they lost. Not because of some slow-triggered ump added down the left-field line. Braves fans who want to litter the field with bottles, cans and foam tomahawks only showed their ignorance. Not a classy way to show Chipper Jones the final exit.

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4. The Indianapolis Colts of 2012 are going to be your New Orleans Saints of 2005. Colts coach Chuck Pagano, hospitalized with what’s been called a treatable form of leukemia, inspired the team with a letter this week asking them not to dedicate a game to him but just even its record to 2-2 by capturing a win over Green Bay. Thanks to a late field-goal miss by the Packers, which followed rookie quarterback Andrew Luck’s two-minute-drill TD drive, the comeback victory was accomplished, erasing Aaron Rodgers’ heroics. The Colts’ victory was so important, Fox stayed on with its post-game show nearly 10 minutes long to make sure viewers saw how it ended. So was all the “Chuckstrong” support that was evident throughout the stadium.

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5. St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher may have been nominated for the Robert Goulet Memorial Mustached American of the Year award by the American Mustache Institute – he’ll find out if he won at the AMI’s Oct. 27 “Stash Bash” in Mesa, Ariz., But honestly, the former Taft High and USC standout has nothing on Philadelphia Eagles head man Andy Reid. With or without the application of Miracle Grow, Reid’s labia sebuculas (that’s Latin for “lip sweater”) rivals a tackling dummy, surpassing Craig Stadler, nearing Wilfrod Brimley and not far from having to change his name to Yosemite Sam. Coo-coo-ca-choo. Reid was shown in a Fox montage during Sunday’s Eagles-Steelers game of those with facial hair “from the expertly sculpted (Steelers coach Mike Tomlin) to the unruly.” Reid has said he stopped trimming the walrus look after the passing of his L.A. Marshall High offensive line coach Andy Cheschelski, as a way to honor him as well as another one of his prep coaches, Danny Hime. “Those guys have been watching over me since I was a kid, and I really appreciate all they’ve done for me in my life,” Reid recently told Sports Illustrated’s Peter King. “My wife doesn’t even know why I’m doing this.”

And a bonus thing we learned:

== Brand new episodes of “Cougar Town” are coming to TBS this January. So the series hasn’t just died a natural death on ABC? Sorry to hear that.

Finally, our favorite photo(s) of the week:

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(AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning sniffs smelling salts on the sideline in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game at New England. When he woke up, the Broncos still were on the wrong side of a 31-21 score.

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Q and A: The book of Bettman: Wanna bet Kings fans don’t cheer him next time he’s in the hood?

The last time Gary Bettman grabbed a mike and stepped onto center ice at Staples Center, something happened that took him by surprise: There was no cascade of booing to drown him out.

The NHL’s commissioner, a consistent target of fan distain over the last two decades, almost sheepishly handed the Stanley Cup over to Kings captain Dustin Brown on that June evening last summer, and actually appeared to be enjoying himself.

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“He was loose. He was happy. And for once, the presentation of the chalice wasn’t overshadowed by the fans’ hatred of the man giving it away,” wrote author Jonathan Gatehouse, whose new biography, “The Instigator: How Gary Bettman Remade the NHL and Changed the Game Forever,” (Triumph Books, $24.95, 344 pages) couldn’t have been better timed.

With Bettman authorizing the latest lockout of the players as a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is slowly being worked out, already wiping out the first two weeks of the regular season away that for the Kings was scheduled to start Friday against the N.Y. Rangers with a banner-raising ceremony, now’s as good a time as any examine the man perceived to be the greatest roadblock in getting the game back on track.

At least, if you’re not one of the league’s 30 owners who pay him well.

Next time Bettman shows up in L.A., wanna bet there’s a different reaction?

(A video montage by Yahoo!Sports PuckDaddy.com shows how Bettman’s reception in previous Cup ceremonies wasn’t handled much the same way it was in L.A.):

This is a hat trick of sorts for Bettman, whose previous labor negotiation strategy has led to the complete annihilation of the 2004-05 season, and a 48-game shortened schedule in ’94-’95.

And wouldn’t you know – if it wasn’t for another Kings owner, the notorious Bruce McNall, convincing Bettman to leave his NBA front-office post as commissioner David Stern’s legal eagle and take this job in the winter of 1992, we might not even be in this place today.

McNall cashed out not long after the hiring. Bettman has somehow stuck around and become very rich.

Gatehouse, a Toronto-based business writer for Canadian newsmagazine Maclean’s, explains what readers may extract from his crisp, pointed research of Bettman at a time when the league suddenly finds itself at another sort of tipping point, much of it at the expense of a Kings’ formal coronation:
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It’s out of the question: Kiffin isn’t out of the woods on the decision to let Woods play

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The Associated Press

Who is the current president?
What is today’s date?
What is 100 minus 7, minus 7, minus 7?
That’s not an Arizona State University admissions test.
Those are the three questions that USC standout receiver Robert Woods apparently answered correctly when forced by the Trojans’ sideline medical staff Thursday night during a standard concussion-syndrome test.
Woods passed without a No. 2 pencil or a calculator, standing upright and smiling. This was just moments after he staggered, wobbled, spun and then collapsed face-first at midfield, seemingly headed for the wrong sideline. He had just been part of a brain-jarring, helmet-to-helmet hit while laying down a block on a punt return in the first quarter against Utah.

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The 20-year-old was slapped on the back and allowed by those in charge of protecting him from himself to go back into the game, and he eventually yanked in a touchdown pass during the Trojans’ come from behind win.
So all’s good?
Lane Kiffin should have his head examined.
His initial response after the game was that Woods’ ability to return after missing just one play while being checked out “shows what kind of tough kid he is.”
Who’s kidding whom?
Friday, Kiffin repeated that Woods was “fine to go back in – that’s not my decision. Our medical staff errs on the side of being safe.”
Here’s a no-brainer — take some responsibility. Order Woods, or any one in that situation, to sit. And wait. And look them in the eye at halftime. Double, triple and quadruple check.
Do it for your player’s safety. And, perhaps, to protect yourself, too.

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== Hopefully, you’re aware that California governor Jerry Brown just passed Senate Bill 1524 – the ground-breaking Student-Athlete Bill of Rights that requires universities the size of USC or USC to guarantee scholarships for players forced to retire because of injury as well as cover all deductibles for injuries related to their sports participation.
UCLA has had two football players, Patrick Larimore and Chris Ward, have to quit because of recent injuries, and the school compensated them with its own policy.
Let’s not find out down that road that Woods will need the benefits of that bill just because someone let him play.

== Did Matt Barkley put himself back in the Heisman conversation after delivering the Trojans back from a miserable 14-0 deficit to 28 unanswered points at Utah? Aside from the fact it was two Barkley-related snafus that got the team into that mess in the first place?

== How is a star like Utah’s Star Lotulelei not sought after more than even Barkley in the 2013 NFL draft?

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== Does it validate your gut feeling about Mike Trout’s AL MVP credentials knowing that noted “Baseball Nerd” (according to his MLB.com blog, linked here) Keith Olbermann, about as traditional a traditionalists you can find, recently wrote that the Angels rookie’s 10.72 Wins Above Replacement figure, which calibrates 30 percent better than runner-up Robinson Cano, is 54 perfect “more valuable” than Tigers’ Triple Crown winner Miggy Cabrera and should be the deciding factor in this vote?

== In 1978, it has been confirmed that Affirmed won the Triple Crown. But didn’t Alydar have a higher WAR? Or are we confusing that with War Admiral?

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== What’s missing from the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx jerseys? A sponorship.
They actually use their nicknames as identification during the season, and the playoffs.
Meanwhile, their Western Conference final opponents aren’t embrassed to have “Farmers” across the breastplate of their sleeveless blouses. As if we’re just labeling a group of hard-working people based on their off-the-court occupations.
If the Sparks were so desperate for a title sponsorship, what would have been so wrong with soliciting a few bucks from Sparkletts bottled water?
Sparks energy drink? AC/Delco spark plugs? Nicholas Sparks? Jordin Sparks? Spark Woodfire Grill in Studio City?

== Can you name a big-time MLS team anymore with an American as its primary star player?

== BYU is going to break out black uniforms for today’s game against Oregon State. The Mormon school is selling its soul to …Nike?

== What are we supposed to do with the knowledge the Hulk Hogan has a sex tape out there somewhere? Is that kind of wrestling real?

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Think the MLB is trying to hard (still) to manufacture drama?

With the two one-and-done wild card games to be played today, the MLB has “honored the occasion by combing through its extensive film library to put together a highlight reel documenting some of the most dramatic and memorable games in baseball history in which everything was at stake for both teams, as it is today for all four clubs involved,” according to the email we received from an MLB spokesperson.

So this reel includes Bobby Thomson’s “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” in 1951, Bill Mazeroski’s 1960 World Series-clinching home run and David Freese’s Game 7 from last year’s World Series.

Don’t be confused: If Baltimore comes from behind and dramatically beats Texas today in 15 innings, and then St. Louis somehow pulls out a miracle in Atlanta, the Orioles and Cardinals don’t go straigh to the World Series.

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Weekly media column version 10.05.12

UPDATED: 11 AM, FRIDAY

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(Erick Galindo/TWCSportsNet)
Kobe Bryant and David Beckham meet at the Time Warner Cable SportsNet studios for an interview on Monday’s night of the network’s launch..

What’s included in this week’s media column (linked here): Do the Lakers and the Buss family get thrown under the bus from the Time Warner Cable SportsNet channel deal, which has some Lakers fans freaked out as the first exhibition game comes up Sunday. Why worry?

What isn’t included:

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== More with Lakers radio voice John Ireland on the TWC particulars and how it affects his job:

On how he benefits as much from working on the radio (while some don’t get the TV games) but also wins by being a TWC SportsNet employee: “First of all, I hope for the sake of Lakers fans, that TWCS gets picked up by all carriers. I went to the launch on Monday, and it’s a great channel. I knew the games would be the games, but the other shows they’re doing are really good. Most of my friends are Lakers fans, and they’re going to love this. Amanda Brown, who produces our radio show (on 710-AM), is a Time Warner subscriber and she sent me an email after the first night saying she was addicted–after one night. She doesn’t think she’s going to turn it off. I know that these deals need to be worked out, but when that happens, Lakers fans are going to see things they’ve never seen before.
“Having said that, those of us on the radio side know that we’re going to have listeners we’ve never had before until they can see the games. That’s a great opportunity for us. In my own mind, I always try to talk to the people who are stuck in their cars on the road and take seriously that Mychal and I are their only means to find out what’s going on. Now, we’re going to have people listening at home, on their phones, on their computers–a whole new audience. That’s exciting for us, and we’re ready for that challenge.”

On how he or the station quantifies listeners for Lakers games on 710: “Our bosses, Mike Thompson and Dave Shore, call this the ‘two step.’ Those guys are really good at reading numbers, and they can tell you when somebody steps in their car, how long they listen, exactly when they step out, and go inside their house and watch the rest on TV. It probably helps us when the games start during rush hour, but honestly, people listen whenever the Lakers are on, because they’re the Lakers. I always remember that we never know how many people are listening at any given time, and frankly, it doesn’t matter to Mychal (Thompson) and I. We want everybody to know that they can tune in any time, and we will be their eyes and ears at the game. We take that seriously, and don’t want to leave any fans without their Lakers fix. If you want to know what is happening during any game, we’ve got your back.”

On how he thinks the TWC negotiations will sort themselves out: “I tend to be an optimist with things like this. I’m a DirecTV subscriber, and I’ve called and written those guys multiple times. I’ve been with DirecTV since 1995, and love their service. I can’t imagine once they see how good the TWCS networks are, they won’t cut a deal before the regular season starts. And remember, with TWCS you get two HD channels–one English, one Spanish. That’s one of the reasons that Lakers started this partnership. It serves millions more fans that ever before. DirecTV has been great about giving subscribers what they want, and everybody is going to want this. I know there are people negiotiating every day, and these things tend to go down to the wire. The first regular season game is October 30, and I’m hoping a deal gets done before then.”

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== Ted Robinson, Glenn Parker and Ryan Nece call UCLA’s game at Cal (7 p.m. Pac-12 Network). In other Pac-12 games: Joe Tessitore, Matt Millen and Lewis Johnson have Washington at Oregon (7:30 p.m., ESPN). Craig Bolerjack, Joel Klatt and Petros Papadakis are doing Arizona at Stanford (noon, Channel 11) and Kevin Calabro, Adam Archuleta and Yogi Roth have Washington State-Oregon State (noon, Pac-12 Net).

== ESPN “GameDay” is at South Carolina, the same place where Brent Musburger, Kirk Herbstreit and Heather Cox call the Georgia-South Carolina game (4 p.m., ESPN). Brad Nessler, Todd Blackledge and Holly Rowe have Nebraska at Ohio State (5 p.m., Channel 7). Gus Johnson and Charles Davis do West Virginia at Texas (4 p.m., Channel 11). Tom Hammond and Mike Mayock are at Soldier Field in Chicago for Miami vs. Notre Dame (4:30 p.m., Channel 4). Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson have LSU at Florida (12:30 p.m., Channel 2). And for good measure: Spero Dedes and Steve Beuerlein have the Air Force-Navy game from Colorado Springs (8:30 a.m., Channel 2).

== The NFL menu on local over-the-air channels: Fox has Philadelphia at Pittsburgh (10 a.m. Channel 11, with Joe Buck, Troy Aikman and Pam Oliver, going to 40 percent of the country); CBS has Cleveland at N.Y. Giants (10 a.m., Channel 2, with Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf) and Denver at New England (1:25 p.m., Channel 2, with Jim Nantz and Phil Simms). NBC has San Diego at New Orleans (5:20 p.m., Channel 4, with Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth and Michele Tafoya). The Monday night game: Houston at the N.Y. Jets.

== TBS’ broadcasting plans for this weekend, starting with the wild cards today: Brian Anderson, Ron Darling and Tom Verducci have NL’s St. Louis at Atlanta (2 p.m.), with Ernie Johnson, John Smoltz, Cal Ripken and Craig Sager doing the AL’s Baltimore at Texas (5:30 p.m.).

The divisional series: ALDS Game 1 Oakland at Detroit (3 p.m., Saturday) with Don Orsillo, Buck Martinez and Jaime Maggio; NLDS Game 1 Cincinnati at San Francisco (6:30 p.m., Saturday) has Anderson, Darling, Joe Simpson and Verducci. NLDS Game 1 Washington at St. Louis/Atlanta (noon, Sunday) has Dick Stockton, Bob Brenly and David Aldridge. ALDS Game 1 N.Y. Yankees at Baltimore/Texas (3:15 p.m. Sunday) sticks with Johnson, Smoltz, Ripken and Sager, while NLDS Game 2 Cincinnati-San Francisco stays with Anderson, Darling, Simpson and Verducci. The MLB Network has ALDS Game 2 Oakland-Detroit (9 a.m., Sunday) with Matt Vasgersian and Jim Kaat.

ESPN Radio has every playoff game, using Dan Shulman and Orel Hershiser on today’s Baltimore-Texas wild card game, then staying with that winner as it hosts the next ALDS series against the N.Y. Yankees. Jon Sciambi and Chris Singleton are on the NL’s St. Louis-Atlanta wild card, then staying with that winner in its NLDS against Washington. Dave O’Brien and Aaron Boone have the Detroit-Oakland ALDS, and Gary Cohen and Rick Sutcliffe have the Cincinnati-San Francisco NLDS — except for Games 3, 4 and 5 in Cincinnati when Chris Berman has decided he’ll do the play-by-play.
Shulman and Hershiser will stay on the AL Championships Series and the World Series Sciambi and Terry Francona are on the NL Championship Series.

== Pam Ward, Rebecca Lobo and Holly Rowe, who did Thursday’s Game 1 of the WNBA’s Western Conference finals between the Sparks and Minnesota Lynx, are on Game 2 from Staples Center (Sunday, 12:30 p.m., Channel 7). Game 3 would be in Minnesota on Wednesday, Oct. 10 at 5 p.m. on ESPN2.

== Friday’s high school football games on Fox Sports West and Prep Zone online:
= St. John Bosco at Orange Lutheran, FSW, 7:30 p.m.
= Servite at Santa Margarita, 7 p.m., Prep Zone
= Upland vs Rancho Cucamonga @ Los Osos High, 7 p.m., Prep Zone
= Loyola at Crespi, 7 p.m., Prep Zone
= Notre Dame at Alemany, 7 p.m., Prep Zone

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Jeanie dreams of her Laker channel: Why the Lakers’ head of business operations says she isn’t freaking out with DirecTV

UPDATED: Thursday, 5 p.m.

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Jeanie Buss, the Lakers’ executive vice president of business operations, isn’t blind to the fact there could be misguided blame heaped onto the team by default because of its connection to the launch of the new Time Warner Cable SportsNet.

Problem is, she can’t see the new channel, either. It’s not on her DirecTV service.

Her strategy: Wait it out.

“To me, it brings back memories of moving from the Forum to Staples Center in 1999,” she said today. “Our fans were concerned about the traffic, about the sightlines — even about the hotdogs. One fan said he wanted to ‘keep the seats they had at the Forum’ and we had to explain they could but that the Lakers wouldn’t be playing there. Fortunately, the Lakers won a championship our first year at Staples Center and assured our fans we could be successful in a new environment.

“I am hoping the move to a new broadcast home will follow that same championship pattern.”

The $3 billion, 20-year deal TWC deal provides the Lakers with plenty of flexability to exceed the NBA’s salary cap and be prepared for the luxury taxes that they will incur not just this year but in seasons to come.

But it also puts a large target on the team’s back when fans who aren’t TWC subscribers for the time being may feel marginalized in the process since the SportsNet and Deportes channels launched on Monday.

Buss has a backup plan when she’s not actually at a Lakers game – head over to former Lakers coach and still boyfriend Phil Jackson’s apartment in Playa del Rey to watch on his TWC service, likely starting with the first exhibition game Sunday in Fresno against Golden State.

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