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.