The week ahead as we see it on the sports calendar:
THIS WEEK’S BEST BET:
Before Yasiel Puig can get out of the ondeck circle, Adrian Gonzalez and Nick Punto have already come across the plate, as they did on Gonzalez’sa two-run home run during the first inning of the Dodgers game against Tampa Bay on Saturday, Aug. 10. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
MLB: DODGERS vs. BOSTON, Dodger Stadium, Friday-Sunday: Let’s make a deal – every time Adrian Gonzalez or Carl Crawford of even Nick Punto step up to the plate during the Dodgers’ three-game series with the Red Sox, we think about to about this time a year and wonder: What if? If the Dodgers’ braintrust wasn’t savvy and wealthy enough to pull off that waiver-wire deadline deal at the end of August, 2012 and take on all that extra payroll – including pitcher Josh Beckett – while giving up first baseman James Loney, infielder Ivan DeJesus Jr., right-handed pitching prospects Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa and outfielder Jerry Sands, where would they be today? Maybe the move saved the Red Sox some $270 million in contracts spread out over 2018, but it saved the Dodgers some face. While Beckett has been on the DL most of this year, Gonzalez, Crawford and Punto have been key ingredients in their latest surge to the NL West lead. So how’d the Red Sox fare in all this? The 24-year-old hot shot De La Rosa has finally worked his way onto the roster recently, but not into the starting rotation – a place the Dodgers were comfortable in placing him during the 2010 season before he blew out his arm. He remains on a pitch count as they’re handling him with care two years removed from Tommy John surgery. Webster remains at Triple-A Pawtucket (5-4, 4.13 ERA after a brief callup in April, going 1-2 with a 9.57 ERA). Sands and DeJesus were traded to the Pirates for ineffective reliever Joel Hanrahan, and are still wallowing away at Triple-A Indianapolis. And, of course, Looney left to join Tampa Bay as a free agent.
Surely, all of this will give the national broadcast teams something to talk on and on about as the series progresses. If only Manny Ramirez was still part of the conversation. (You know, he is now available to either team). The series: Friday 7:10 p.m., Prime Saturday, 1:10 p.m., Channel 11 Sunday, 5:05 p.m., ESPN
Oakland Raiders fan “Dr. Death” Ray Perez, center, poses for photographs with fans before an exhibition game in Oakland on Aug. 9. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
The death clock is apparently ticking on the Oakland Raiders.
It is too late for Dr. Death to come to the rescue?
If the rumors are true, Mark Davis, son of the late Raiders managing general partner Al Davis, may be in a fix. According to the latest research by Forbes, a Raiders franchise that hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2002 because of a 49-111 record since then under seven different head coaches is worth $825 million. But that’s No. 32 – and last – on the list of most valuable NFL teams today. If Davis and his Prince Valiant haircut can’t inspire local investors or business leaders to help him generate income from a new stadium, he may start threatening to move.
Back to L.A.
This must be one of those irreversible DNA mutation strains that modern science just can’t stop.
Just the thought of the Raiders on their Oakland death bed kills a guy like Dr. Death.
“The Raiders are my life here, and it’s on the verge of extinction,” said the Black Hole season-ticket holder otherwise known as Ray Perez, a 25-year-old college broadcast student from West Sacramento who waits tables at Joe’s Crab Shack to support his silver-and-black addiction.
“There’s no Dr. Death if they move to L.A. People need to understand that. When they aren’t playing, I have a subconscious depression. I was at the first exhibition game (recently), watching Raiders fans hugging and laughing. I realized then how excited I was to be there. If they move, I will probably cry. This all affects my livelihood and my culture. This is personal.” Perez’s game-day apparel is complete with knives sticking out of his helmet, dreadlocks, shoulder pads, black-and-white striped pants and the No. 26 jersey as a tribute to the late Raiders cornerback Skip Thomas, the former USC standout who wore the “Dr. Death” nickname when he played during the 1970s.
Perez has been met with the mayor of Oakland and attended – in full costume – Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority meetings. He has a regular forum on Facebook, Twitter and a podcast that registers 30,000 listeners. But in his latest attempt to change the course of history, Perez’s petition on Change.org entitled “Raiders: Don’t Move to L.A. – Commit to Staying In Oakland” has generated as many as many as 1,000 signatures a day over the last couple of weeks.
Honestly, L.A.’s NFL fans may be torn on this one. Do we support keeping the Raiders locked up in their original habitat and away from our children? Or are we romantically driven, after a 20-year hiatus, to welcome them back with open armed security?
Perez explains the immediacy in collecting these cybersignatures: Continue reading →
So what’s the gameplan, pally?
If you’re still so in love with your Time Warner Cable subscription and you’ve got to keep tabs on those can’t-miss-‘em Dodgers on their next road adventure, how quickly can you load the car with a supply of adult diapers and In-N-Out double-doubles and point yourself toward Cape Canaveral?
Think you can get to Miami safely by Monday? Or resolve to just listen to Rick Monday on the radio? Aside from having Saturday’s Dodgers-Phillies game from Philadelphia, KCAL-Channel 9 has the exclusive L.A. rights to carry all four Dodgers-Marlins games from Miami next week.
You really going to sit there and not watch Clayton Kershaw’s next two starts slip past your TV screen?
What’s the alternative?
Somehow, KCAL is dragged by its heels into this TWC-CBS blackout carriage dispute since Aug. 2 because it is owned by the network (that also has custody of KCBS-Channel 2).
Nothing new to report for those who couldn’t see their PGA Championship last week and are also about to miss their ArenaFootball League championship game this morning.
Then comes the NFL and the U.S. Open tennis. Another classic class-action lawsuit was filed this week in L.A. Superior Court on behalf of TWC subscribers who felt they’ve been duped. This is a different set of lawyers than the ones who’ve already class-actioned TWC back in June, with more clients upset they’ve been paying extra to have Lakers and Dodgers channels attached on their monthly bill when they really don’t want them.
Tell you what — if you’ve gone this long already without a daily dose of “The Price Is Right,” what’s left to live for? Continue reading →
What made it into the main media column that rolled out today:
The fundamental hurdle for Fox Sports Wonderful (aka, FS1) to clear is having content and chemistry, or else it’s a “funny or die” situation. Today’s column is a version of the blog post we put up late Thursday.
A “Fox Sports Live” rehearsal for the FS1 channel launch, captured by a FS1 tweet.
It’s kind of a funny story.
Fox Sports Wonderful – otherwise known as Fox Sports 1 to those who’ve already seen the half-hour infomercials after every Dodgers and Angels game lately – has been in this ready-or-not, here-we-come overdrive for the last few months. It has splattered promos, press conferences and personality profiles every which direction to make sure we know there’s a planet-altering launch about to happen on Saturday. Along with that, it should be pointed out, comes the simultaneous appearance of Fox Sports 2. The first replaces Speed channel; the second supplants the Fuel channel. It’s a tag-team effort.
Fueled by talking points that seem to speedily circle back to how much “fun” they’re all about to put back into sports, the momentum for these best damn new sports channels has been growing like fungus around Fox’s L.A.-based campus.
But who was going to buy into it? For weeks, the dish, satellite and teleco carriers who may have only been mildly annoyed in having to charge about a quarter a month to subscribers of Speed and Fuel balked as expected about having to approve a jump in the neighborhood of 80 cents to its customers, with the likelihood it would double somewhere down the road.
It took some compromising to verify today that DirecTV, Dish and Time Warner Cable will each have FS1 and FS2 for the launch, but all may not be so tidy yet.
Fox can claim, as it did in its press release, that “every major distributor (is) on board, making this the biggest sports cable network launch in history, and one of the largest network launches ever.” That’s a 90-million home landing area.
But sources in the industry who are familiar with DirecTV’s situation say the company has not signed a deal and it could be weeks, or even months, before the satellite provider does so. Until then, distributors will allowed Fox to upgrade Speed to FS1 as long as there is no extra charge for the channel.
Once the real price kicks in, expect some fundamental push-and-pull on both sides.
“Having everyone on board speaks to the strength of the product and the investment Fox has made, and it speaks to the partnerships we have with distributors – we can work things out without a big public spat, which is good for everyone and we don’t have this hanging around all weekend (during the launch),” Fox Sports co-President & co-COO Eric Shanks said this morning.
The latest (and a bit more humorous approach rather than a Larry Scott rant) to the Pac-12′s attempt to get DirecTV customers to drop their service and switch to “one of the many providers” offering the Pac-12 Network came with a series of videos launched today.
(Might want to include this with Verizon FIOS and Charter subscribers as well, since they’ve held out in the Pac-12′s desire to have its channel put on a basic tier with an 80 cent charge if they’re in a Pac-12-friendly city).
No, that’s not the question here. But it could be. It’s not that we don’t enjoy hearing “God Bless America,” but why in the middle of a baseball game? To remember 9/11? To remember those in the military? It’s just out of place, especially when “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” follows it, and you’ve created an extra long break between innings. Why are we put on this patriotic guilt trip in the middle of a sporting event any how?
By the way (not to go George Carlin here), but why would God bless America, and not other countries? That’s nothing to sneeze at, especially if you’re atheist or agnostic. And don’t you only offer a “God Bless” when someone sneezes? And how the hell did Bobcat Goodthwait get a movie made with that title?
One jerk at a time here.
Anyway, we’ll take this opportunity to start posting a poll here when the mood hits us, the results of which have no impact in the grand scheme of things, but at least provide a release of some sort.
Which is why unscientific polls are conducted in the first place, right? Especially when you see the results, and the results are so small, you wonder why you even bothered.
Start with this, OK? And if you don’t want to play along, don’t. It’s America, God bless it.
Allyson Felix poses for a photograph outside Saint Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow’s Red Square prior to the IAAF World Championships. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
The choices are as thin as they come this week, but we’ll give it to you anyway, so that if you’re on vacation, you’ll realize you’re really not missing all that much:
THIS WEEK’S BEST BET:
TRACK AND FIELD WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS in Moscow, Monday-Sunday: It never gets old seeing Allyson Felix compete in an elite track and field event. The 27-year-old out of L.A. Baptist High and USC has done the 100, 200 and 400 meters during her decorated career, but the 2012 London Summer Games 200 meter champion is fine just focusing on that one distance this time, “which I have not done in quite some time,” she told reporters. The women’s 200 starts with qualifying heats Thursday, and the finals on Friday. Felix also hopes to be part of the U.S. women’s 4×400 relay (Friday) and 4×100 relay (Sunday). As for being one of the older U.S. competitors this time, Felix said: “It is very weird, time is going by… and it’s a lot of fun to see the younger athletes come up. It is great to be able to give them advice, make sure they stay focused and enjoy the journey and all that. They have blank pages in front of them, it is the beginning of their careers. It is definitely a different experience to be one of the older people on the team.” Other athletes with USC ties competing include reigning womens’ high jump champion Jesse Williams, men’s 110 high hurdler Ryan Wilson and men’s 800 meter runner Duane Solomon. UCLA incoming senior Marcus Nilsson will compete in the decathlon representing Sweden.
More on the schedule:http://www.iaaf.org Universal Sports has daily coverage live; Channel 4 has taped coverage Saturday (9 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.) and Sunday (11:30 a.m.)
BEST OF THE REST:
DODGERS vs. N.Y. METS, Dodger Stadium, 7:10 p.m., Prime: Take note that Mets’ 31-year-old situational reliever Scott Rice continues to hold a roster spot at this point in the season. The former Royal High of Simi Valley left-hander, who has made a MLB-high 60 appearances with 12 holds with a 4-5 record and 3.53 ERA, spent the previous 14 seasons in the minor leagues, including some time last year in at the Dodgers’ Triple-A Albuquerque team. All-Star starter Matt Harvey (9-3, 2.09 ERA), scheduled to pitch against the Dodgers on Tuesday, didn’t have a decision in the Mets’ 7-3 win over the Dodgers in New York in late April, giving up three runs in six innings. The series continues: Tuesday, 7:10 p.m., Channel 9 Wednesday, 7:10 p.m., Prime Continue reading →
Adam Scott lines up a putt on the 15th green during Saturday’s third round of the PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
At about 2 o’clock this afternoon, Adam Scott pulled out what looked like was a giant egg beater and stood over his golf ball, trying to whip an uphill putt from about 20 feet out and make a birdie on the ninth hole at the PGA Championship.
He missed it, slipping back behind new leader Jim Furyk.
You probably missed it, too, if you were searching for KCBS Channel 2, and you have the misfortunes of still being married to your Time Warner Cable subscription.
Great Scott, what’s going on here?
“Not too much damage,” said CBS analyst Gary McCord as Scott tapped in for his par, handed his over-sized putting apparatus to his caddy, and sloughed off to the next hole.
Guess it depends on how you really want to assess the damage in all this messiness. Continue reading →
Don’t stop believin’. Just stop buying everything you hear, see, smell or prick, OK?
“Girl Says NO To Marriage Proposal at Rock Cats Baseball Game” was the video posted Aug. 3 by the New Britain Double-A minor league affiliate of the Minnesota Twins, garnishing more than a million YouTube hits for those looking for some sizzling, embarrassing blooper material to circulate.
Except – for those of you who couldn’t detect the deplorable minor-league acting involved in all this – it was all staged.
The Associated Press, USA Today, “Good Morning America,” and even the BBC ran with it. It was the No. 1 story on AOL.com and No. 2 on Yahoo.com for a time.
After the team came clean and apologized, the team’s VP of marketing said he “could not be more pleased with the outcome” based on their “digital strategy to set the video on a viral path.”
You going to sit there and get punk’d like that? Only if you’re the type to cross the street without looking both ways when the green light flashes “Walk.”
What else are we not supposed to just accept as the honest-to-Puig truth any more?