Play It Forward: Jan. 14-20

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

THIS WEEK’S BEST BET:

Kings fan Bailey Miller posted this tattoo he received last month on his Twitter account (@KingsDude182).

NHL SEASON OPENERS: Kings vs. Chicago, Staples Center, Saturday at noon, Channel 4; Ducks at Vancouver, Saturday at 7 p.m., FSW:

The only banners that the Kings have on their wall of fame inside their home dome is something about a Smythe Division title and a Campbell Conference claim in the early ‘90s that, honestly, mean nothing much to today’s fans. Was Dustin Brown or Jonathan Quick even born then? The bedsheet of infamy that will now be fluttering from the rafters – and not the wall — when this 2013 season finally starts with an elaborate pregame show should receive a far more rousing reception. Better late than never, eh? “We’re going to do something different,” Kings governor Tim Leiweke said of the move to the ceiling decorations, “so we have room to hang the others.” The Stanley Cup champs are returning almost entirely in tact, with a 48-game sprint ahead of them through April 27, all against Western Conference foes. That includes four against the Ducks, who, lest we forget, they also have a Stanley Cup in their history sometime. Way back when. We seem to recall. When Emilio Esteves was their coach?

BEST OF THE REST:

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Sunday Q-and-A: Dr. James Andrews cuts to the chase — there are ways to prevent kids in the operating room

Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III needed three different repairs on his right knee this week by Dr. James Andrews after injuring it in the Redskins’ playoff loss to Seattle. (Photo by Getty Images)

This time, Dr. James Andrews had an up-close-and-personal encounter with Robert Griffin III’s right knee.

The renowned athletic surgeon spent hours at his Florida clinic on Wednesday to repair the lateral collateral ligament, reconstruct the partially torn anterior cruciate ligament and fix up the medial meniscus for the Washington Redskins rookie quarterback.

Dr. James Andrews watches from the sidelines during the 2013 BCS Championship game between Alabama and Notre Dame on Monday, Jan. 7. He operated on Robert Griffin III’s knee two days later. (John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports)

He also needed just a couple of seconds to insist his own reputation was hardly damaged after a rehash of conflicting reports that he allowed the former Heisman Trophy winner to return to a game last December without fully examining his tweaked knee on the sidelines after it happened..

“Of course not,” Andrews said the other morning, asked if he was concerned how his actions were perceived. “People don’t understand what goes on down on the football field. The coach (Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan) didn’t know what we were really saying. I’ve put that all behind me now.”

The NFL Players Association also confirmed its own findings that Andrews and the Redskins’ medical staff did nothing wrong. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell concurred.

It’s not as if Andrews, on the Alabama sidelines during their BCS title game victory over Notre Dame on Monday, needed any more excitement this week.

He said he wasn’t at liberty to explain how RGIII’s surgery went, only that he’s “well on his way to recovery” and, after eight months of projected rehab, he’ll likely start the 2013 season.

“He’s such a great kid, unbelievable,” the 71-year-old Andrews said of the 22-year-old.

Interestingly, USA Today tracked down Robert Griffin II for his opinion of the surgery. Quoting him in Friday’s editions, RGIII’s father declared the injury was “not as bad as everybody thinks. . . . When he sees his coaches and everyone else, it’s going to be like nothing ever happened.”

Along with that vote of confidence, Andrews might want to slip RGII a copy of his new book, “Any Given Monday: Sports Injuries and How to Prevent Them, For Athletes, Parents and Coaches – Based on My Life in Sports Medicine” (Scribner, $25, 270 pages, with Don Yaeger).

Not to imply that RGII falls into the category of parents who are often are the ones blinded most by their child’s athletic potential, and get caught up most by delusions of grandeur. But there’s a trap door there, and almost any dad or mom can look guilty at some point of pushing their children unnecessarily past their natural athletic resistance, unaware of the proper training methods, and the results can be expensive.

Which is where Andrews often comes in.

To his credit, he is trying to take the lead in preventive medicine, rather than reactive repairing. He’s had too many first encounters with young athletes on an operating table.

Andrews explained how this new reference book, the proceeds from which will go toward a sports injury campaign organization he helped launch in 2009 (www.stopsportsinjuries.org), can be put to its intended purpose:

QUESTION: How disheartening – if that’s the right word – is to see a 14-year-old pitcher nowadays come into your office expecting you to magically fix his elbow?
ANSWER:
Well, let me tell you, you just look at him and say, “Why did this happen? What can we do to prevent this?” And the parents are the ones who say, “We’ve done everything we could to make sure our son had a chance to develop in a sport,” but most times, they’ve had no clue the injury risks involved. They claim, “We didn’t know he could get hurt doing that.” It’s all a matter of education.

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A mini Kings Fan Fest breaks out in El Segundo … but still, no schedule?

The Kings’ Jordan Nolan signs autographs for young hockey players at the Kings’ El Segundo facility after a Saturday morning workout.

The consensus is that the Stanley Cup champion Kings will open the 2013 season on Saturday, Jan. 19, with a nooner against Chicago at Staples Center. And the Ducks will go to Vancouver on the same night, starting a 48-game regular-season sprint toward the playoffs.

But then, no schedule has been released. Yet. Because the NHLPA has yet to get ratification of the new collective bargaining agreement. Officially.

With that, no official practices can take place — except the Kings had 10 players take the ice at their El Segundo facility for an hour this morning between 10:30 and 11:30 a.m., skating and doing drills on their own. The group included captain Dustin Brown as well as Jonathan Bernier, Dwight King, Jordan Nolan, Kyle Clifford, Brad Richardson, Alec Martinez and Jarret Stoll.

King and Nolan took time to sign autographs for Jr. Kings teams that were using the adjoining rink for their practices.

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It’s Out of the Question: Can Oprah break Lance into a million little pieces?

O.J. Simpson once had his chance of media-theatre redemption  with Chris Myers. We came away unsatisfied. Alex Rodriguez had his chance with Peter Gammons. We weren’t convinced. LeBron James had his chance with Jim Gray. What a talented train wreck.

Tiger Woods did it without a caddy – he just admitted he screwed up his marriage in front of cameras, family and hand-picked friends, then did a walk-off.

With that kind of reference point, what are the chances of Lance Armstrong channeling his inner soul and owning up to his misdeeds on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN channel? We aren’t remotely interested, to tell you the truth.

An athlete can use the media to get his message across — explanations, apologies, career decisions – but it’s up to the media meathead to make sure to make him squirm.

Considering all the hell Armstrong once went through in beating cancer, why should he fear a middle-aged woman with a house-wife following on a network very few can even find on their TV?

Once upon a time, Oprah broke author Jim Frey into a million little pieces after he admitted he fabricated much of his tale of redemption that was so powerful she had recommended it as a “book club” selection. She took it personal, and dropped the hammer.

(And for the record, she apologized for her harsh treatment later. Why?)

Does Armstrong need to fear the same kind of arm-twisting? Hardly. This is a hand-packed, soft-serve interrogation. Morley Safer would be turning over in his grave if he wasn’t still alive.

As Oprah struggles to remain relevant, Armstrong has it worse.

We’re not even led to believe we’ll find out next week just what Armstrong is peddling this time. We’ve heard his spin cycle too many times to even care.

David Eldridge, the cycling writer for Australia’s The Sporting Journal website, wrote it best: “So Lance Armstrong has finally had a gutful of being a clam. Hoo-bloody-ray. … . It’s time for Armstrong to stop thinking of himself and spare a thought for those swimming in his bulldust. Oprah awaits. I wonder if she will remember to check what ‘gifts’ Armstrong leaves under the seats for the studio audience?”

== One of the new things they’re going to put into the renovated Dodger Stadium clubhouse is something called a “quiet room.” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly learned about such a space of meditation from talking to former Lakers coach Phil Jackson, and thought there was some merit in it.

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Weekly media column version 01.11.13

 

Staff photo by John McCoy

What made it into this week’s column: Why Jay Mohr remains a stand-up guy in his new role as morning sports-talk host, thanks to his kids getting him up earlier than any professional man should have to roll out of bed.

A year ago, while on the set for the movie “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone,” Jay Mohr got a visit from then-8 month old son Meredith. (Photo from www.celebbabylaundry.com)

What could have made it in but did not?

Why, more Mohr quotes, of course. Such as:

 == The biggest surprise to hosting the show so far:

The audience is the biggest surprise, their level of enthusiasm. To me, I had this idea going in: ‘Let’s act like I’m guest hosting and in a month people will realize, oh, my gosh, he’s still here.’ But on Day One, people were calling in, almost choosing sides – I’m riding with you, man. I’m fired up.  They seemed as excited as I was and that makes you very grateful. You don’t get that on a movie set. Crips driving in from Diamond Bar carrying sandbags to put in front of Jennifer Aniston’s feet so she hits her mark aren’t the ones saying, ‘So glad you’re here, buddy! Yeah! Acting! Do it!’ But it’s important to people, right now.

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It could be Pete Rose’s honey of a boo(b) boo, agreeing to do a reality show

Above: A promo for “Pete Rose: Hits and Mrs.”

For someone who says he’s not comfortable talking about the use of performance-enhancing drugs related to the latest Baseball Hall of Fame balloting, Pete Rose’s eyes light up when he’s admiring his fiancée’s breast augmentations.

“For my birthday, are you going to get a bigger boob job?” Rose asked former Playboy model Kiana Kim during a gathering of media types today at Sisley’s Italian restaurant in Sherman Oaks to promote their new reality show on The Learning Channel.

Kim’s 14-year-old daughter, Cassie, sat within earshot, either ignoring the remark or was too busy texting on her cellphone to notice it.

The six-episode series that debuts with back-to-back shows Sunday is called “Pete Rose: Hits and Mrs.,” but it might as well be a spinoff of the ABC comedy show “Modern Family” – Rose has the part of Ed O’Neal’s Jay Pritchett character, living with the younger trophy wife and trying to explain to his grown children why he isn’t have an end-life crisis.

(Considering Rose’s legal trouble of his past, one sports-talk show host  suggested a better title might be “Melons and Felons.”)

Pete Rose and Kiana Kim take in the WBC World Championship Heavyweight fight between Vitali Klitschko and Chris Arreloa at the Staples Center in 2009 (Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

“She’s the star of the show – I’m the fill-in,” the 71-year-old Rose says of Kim, reported to be 31 but Rose says he’s never asked her age and she’s never told him.

“I don’t care how old she is, as long as it’s over 19 or 20 — I don’t want to go to jail,” he said. “I was just talking to Larry King about that today.”

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Costas’ red-carpet treatment to baseball movies

While one of the more anticipated baseball movies of recent years is set to launch in April — “42,” the story of Jackie Robinson’s first year with the Dodgers in 1947 — the MLB Network has decided to go retro with putting horsehide flicks into perspective with a six-week series hosted by Bob Costas that begins Monday.

The series, “Costas at the Movies,” launches with a look at Ron Shelton’s 1994 movie, “Cobb,” starting Tommy Lee Jones as Hall of Famer Ty Cobb and Robert Wuhl as reporter Al Stump, who is assigned to do his biography.  Jones and Shelton will sit with Costas for a 30-minute interview (airing at 5 p.m.), after which the movie “Cobb” will air on the MLB Network.

“We want to go behind-the-scenes and provide a forum for these actors and directors to discuss how they were able to deliver a genuine baseball film,” Costas said.

The series continues with “The Bad News Bears” (Jan. 21), with actress  Tatum O’Neal; “A League of Their Own” (Jan. 28) with actress Geena Davis and director Penny Marshall; “Eight Men Out” (Feb. 4) with director John Sayles and actor John Cusack; and “The Natural” (Feb. 11), with director Barry Levinson.

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How does Armstrong buy his way out of this vicious cycle?

 

Getty Images

UPDATED: 10 p.m. TUESDAY

Imagine Lance Armstrong, sitting on top of his bike, peering over the edge of his own fiduciary cliff.

Despite some estimates that his personal worth is in the $100 million range, even with all the sponsors who have dropped him as a client in recent months, the guy is morally bankrupt.

His Livestrong Foundation, which has inspired millions in their personal battles against cancer, teeters in credibility.

The air has been taken out of his tires – the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency has concluded that, despite years of denial and nasty retorts, he did indeed  illegally use banned substances through an elaborate covert system and would thus be sentenced to a lifetime ban, as well has having to give up his seven Tour de France victories.

So there Armstrong ponders his future, reportedly in a quandary as whether there’s any benefit to him starting a public Tour de Apology trip — admitting he has been dirty, throw himself on the mercy of the public court of opinion, shed a few tears of remorse, and pay any restitution that comes with it.

This is the point where the 41-year-old could go “Thelma and Louise” and just ride that bike over the edge and into the abyss and be done with it all.

He could seek salvation, allow for some healing time, and pedal forward.

Or, Lance Armstrong can continue to be Barry Bonds.

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The 2013 Baseball Reliquary Shrine of the Eternals ballot: Bo, Topps’ top guy, the Wiffle Ball inventor and the first agent

Before you begin the process of separating the wheat from the shaft in determining who’s somewhat most deserving of inclusion in the 2013 class of the Baseball Hall of Fame when it is announced Wednesday, it’s easier to get your juices flowing over the list of the 50 candidates who’ve been included on the ballot for this summer’s Baseball Reliquary Shrine of the Eternals induction — and that’ll include
first-timers like Bo Jackson, Rocky Colavito, Warren Cromartie, Carlos Delgado, Pete Reiser and Wiffle Ball inventor Dave Mullany (sorry, we wish we could set it up where you could just click on the photo at the right and “add to cart.”)

This is the 15th year of voting by dues-paying members of the non-profit Reliquary (and you can be one, too — it’s open to the public). Ballots will be mailed in April. The top three vote-getters will be enshrined in a ceremony at the Pasadena Central Library on Sunday, July 21. For more information on the Reliquary, visit the website or contact executive director Terry Cannon at terymar@earthlink.net.

According to Cannon: The Shrine of the Eternals is similar in concept to the annual elections held at the Baseball Hall of Fame, but differs philosophically in that statistical accomplishment is not a criterion for election. Rather, the Shrine’s annual ballot is comprised of individuals – from the obscure to the well-known – who have altered the baseball world in ways that supersede statistics.

As for the 50 candidates, 11 are on the ballot for the first time, and one thankfully returns after a long absence. Those who remain on the ballot from previous elections include Steve Bilko, Glenn Burke, Jose Canseco, Lisa Fernandez, Charlie Finley, Ernie Harwell, Manny Mota, Hideo Nomo and Fay Vincent.

(Not that we have any imput with the Board of Directors who compile the ballot, but isn’t it time to include Vin Scully?)

Consider the newcomers and learn a little baseball history in the process:

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Five things we learned this past weekend: Jan. 4-6

Getting up to speed on the water-cooler conversation as the next work week begins:

We’re led to believe the NHL owners and players have a tentative agreement in place after four months of posturing, and all it needs is some language clarification (English and French, presumably), some legal fine-tuning, ratification on both sides, training camps opening a soon as Wednesday, a 48-game season starting as soon as later this month, and a Kings’ banner-raising ceremony somewhere in all that. It’s embarassing the way the Kings’ fans reacted when tracked down for local TV crews at the El Segundo rink — all were so pleased that the delay was over, and so looking forward to coming back to Staples Center to see the team play again. Stanley Cup hangover, be gone. For starters, we’ll side with Toronto Globe And Mail columnist Jeff Blair: The best thing the NHL can do to regain any of the fans’ trust is to banish Gary Bettman and sidekick Bill Daly into the cornfield. Then, we stop acting like sheepish enablers. As tough as it might be, stop supporting the NHL sponsors, watching the games, being taken for granted. Check out the Facebook page “Just Drop It” started by Kings fan Steve Chase, who never renewed his season seats after the 2004-05 lockout (video above). Now’s not the time to drop the ball on this opportunity.

Kobe Bryant takes the inbounds pass, casts off a 3-pointer, misses, Denver rebounds. Two-point-six seconds left, and the Lakers trail by five. “This crowd is stunned,” said play-by-play man Bill Macdonald. “Everyone watching at home on television, as stunned as we are.” Honestly, most Lakers followed passed “stunned” a few weeks ago. More stunning is that James Worthy even bothers to show up for the post-game shows any longer. “Sour grapes . . . sour grapes . . . you take a bite of that apple and it’s just really sour,” Worthy said after Sunday night’s loss. Seems to sum it up just as sweet as anything else. 

Watching Ray Lewis play in his final home game was something special. But not watching the video of how RG3 ended up ending his season. Joe Theismann isn’t even interested in reviewing that. But in light of conflicting stories on who really allowed the Washington Redskins QB go back onto the field — coach Mike Shanahan vs. Dr. James Andrews — this is going to lead to all kinds of knee-jerk reactions. Don’t hurt youself joining in the conversation.

 Watch for yourself how an “exclusive” ABC “Nightline” report tries to depict USC team doctor James Tibone as some kind of negligent drug pusher – injecting former Trojan linebacker Armond Armstead with enough generic Toradol to give him a heart attack. The story, for starters, might be slighly more credible had not ABC reporter Brian Ross been assigned to it. His Jim Gray-like smarminess in the way he conducted himself in the report includes getting himself kicked out of USC practices and a Sun Bowl press conference for something as basic as failing to get the proper credentials to be there in there in the first place. Not that it’s any surprise Ross’ credibility is in question. That said, the smugness again displayed by USC coach Lane Kiffin (at least he’s not wearing sunglasses and a hoodie) in dismissing Ross’ line of questioning makes everything worse. Great pull by Daily News reporter Scott Wolf for the reference to John McKay’s 1966 book on how to work with the media on getting the correct information out to the public rather than try to fight on and on and on about it.

Don’t assume Notre Dame has the prayer market cornered for tonight’s college football national championship. And not just because Alabama head coach “Saint Nick” Saban is described as “an active, church-going Catholic” by the Birmingham News.

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