We can’t say we’re spoiled yet by the Dodgers-Giants rivalry circa 2013

ppd1d2cf117062a0f6a7067008621In the twisted DNA of the Dodgers-Giants’ heated and hated rivalry, one team should always have the opportunity to mutate, mangle or mame the other’s chances of clinching a playoff spot at least one series every September.

As it has played itself out for 2013, the Dodgers’ opportunity to count down what remains of any magic number combination and lock up the NL West isn’t likely to happen in front of the visiting Giants, last season’s World Series champions.

These Giants, simply fighting to stay out of the NL West basement, are set against allowing it to happen. They’ve said so.

Just as Dodgers wouldn’t have any part of it 20 years ago, when rookie Mike Piazza pounded two home runs in a 12-1 win over San Francisco on the last day of the season to thorougly thwart the Giants’ attempt to catch Atlanta for the NL West title.

That particular triumph, for what it was worth, evened the Dodgers’ season at a crisp 81-81.

Vin_Scully_icon_20675533“I can even remember saying after Piazza hit that second home run – Not here, not now, not ever,” Vin Scully recalled Saturday night about that 1993 finale played before more than 54,000.

“That was our playoff game,” said Tim Wallach, the Dodgers’ third baseman that day, after the current Dodgers’ third base coach hit fungos to Mark McGwire’s kids next to the batting cage during Saturday’s batting practice. “That was our season.”

If it’s happened once, it’s happened a thousand times. Or, at least it’s seemed that way.

a56dcfc9dff8296a5b778fbf55ef938fReally, the Dodgers and Giants have bashed each others brains out – sometimes as closer to literal as possible – nearly 1,000 times since planting their West Coast business beachheads some 55 years ago, after both found it financially appealing to pull up stakes in New York and promote expansion.

Saturday’s Dodgers-Giants meeting at Dodger Stadium was No. 978. With the 2014 schedule already posted, the 1,000th meeting will occur, barring any rain out, earthquake or rhubarb, on Sept. 23, a Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium, taking place with only four more games remaining on the Dodgers’ regular-season schedule after that.

Joe Konte has already done the math. And based on history, chemistry and physics, he expects nothing but something explosive to take place on that day. Continue reading

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Weekly media column version 09.13.13 — It’s been exposed: Redskins is a naughty word, and media needs its keyboards washed out

UPDATED: Noon, Friday:

Check your calendar: It's time to start campaigning to eliminate "Redskins" from our vocabulary.

Check your calendar: It’s time to start campaigning to eliminate “Redskins” from our vocabulary.

What made news this week for column material:

A defining moment in the sports media: What does the word “Redskins” mean?
slang_defThe American Heritage Dictionary: n. Offensive Slang.Used as a disparaging term for a Native American.
Oxford Dictionary: noun. dated offensive. American Indian.
Merriam-Webster: usually offensive: American Indian
Urban Dictionary: An offensive and derogatory term referring to native Americans. Comes from when the government paid for each ‘indian’ one killed. Instead of carrying the bodies they would take the scalps to prove they had murdered a native american.

From the New York Times, 1962 (from CBSSports.com)

From the New York Times, 1962 (from CBSSports.com, pointing out the name Redskins has been objectionable for more than 40 years as far as some groups are concerned)

As more high-profile journalists, columnists, writers, bloggers and Twitter afficinators decide they’ll stop using the nickname “Redskins” in referring to the NFL team in Washington, what’s the end game?
Last June, Tim Graham, a former ESPN.com writer who works now for the Buffalo News, wrote a piece: “I’m not out to change the world or the NFL or what you believe. My plan is to change me and how I operate. Beyond the period at the end of this sentence, I intend never to use the word redskin again. . . .”
Longtime Philadelphia Daily News sports columnist John Smallwood followed a week later: “It probably won’t make much difference to a lot of people other than me. But it’s something I can do. It’s something that I chose to do.”
Rich Eisen, a prominent host on the NFL Network, told Dan Patrick on his show Thursday that he’s now receiving emails asking him not to use the word “Redskins” on the league-owned channel.
redskins_mascot“I act like I don’t receive the email,” Eisen said. “But seriously, I don’t know. It’s a difficult spot for someone like me, or you, to be asked that by a friend.”
Replied Patrick: “But saying the name doesn’t mean we support it.”
“If I go on the air and just say ‘Washington’ will that cause (team owner) Dan Snyder to change the team name?” Eisen followed.
Choice is what matters, no matter who offers the inspiration, what the reasons may be, what results you’re trying to champion.
Redskin_Theater,_Anadarko,_OklahomaIt’s worth thinking about, and perhaps even counting the number of times you hear Joe Buck say “Redskins” during the Fox coverage of the Washington-Green Bay game on Sunday morning.
== Ed Sherman’s recent take on the Redskins naming tale, with linke to Peter King’s MMQB.com proclamation and ESPN ombudsman Robert Lipsyte laying down his thoughts.
== Slate has its say in the matter; Christine Brennan talks out her line of  reasoning at USA Today.

== Keith Olbermann’s take on what will entice the Redskins’ name change — more money (above), without commenting about media getting to be part of the story.

== CBSSports.com reports that when the Redskins take the field in Green Bay Sunday, they’ll have to contend with members of the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin, who will also be on hand to protest the team name, according to the Green Bay Gazette.

What is your opinion on the use of the nickname “Redskins”
More offensive than Indians, Braves or Redmen
Not offended, don’t care if the name remains
Not offended, but name should be changed
Offended, changed the name
  
Free polls from Pollhost.com

What else could have been involved in the media column process but we’ve saved for this space instead: Continue reading

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This week’s media column: Seeing Redskins

From the U.S. News and World Report story in May, 2013 entitled: "How Do We Stop."

From the U.S. News and World Report opinion story in May, 2013 entitled: “Changing the Terrible Name of Washington’s Football Franchise.”

Once upon a time, Jack Kent Cooke concurrently was the sole owner of the NFL’s Washington Redskins and the Los Angeles Daily News, from 1985 until his death in 1998.

Having worked for the Cooke media empire during that period, I was curious as if there ever an instance when a gumption-filled  editor, sensative to the name “Redskins” as it represents what has been interpreted as being a derogatory slur against Native Americans, ever stood up and made a case among his peers – or personally to Cooke — to have it banned from print in his publication.

I couldn’t find anyone who remembered such an act of defiance ever taking place.

Not that it would have been the best way to advance one’s career during that Cooke regime. But then again, could it have started some activism that made these latest noble media boycott attempts seem trivial and unnecessary?

Read the rest in this week’s media column

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College football ’13 TV lineup for Week 3: See no evil — USC, going up against Alabama-Texas A&M, also buried on P12 Net

Pavement_Hashing_MarkingSorry, but we haven’t included any of the ESPN3 games that are also available via video streaming. Honestly, we just can’t enjoy watching a game that way — laptop, cell phone, wristwatch — unless we’re very desperate or a relative is involved. We hope you’re not predisposed  enough to need to watch games that aren’t even worthy of being picked up for TV (although USC’s next opponent, Utah State, is available only on an ESPN3 coverage, so …)

OF LOCAL INTEREST:
LIDWTCDWYQKKBJP.20130423214950
== Saturday, 9 a.m., Channel 7: UCLA at Nebraska (Sean McDonough, Chris Spielman, Shannon Spake)
== Saturday, noon, Pac-12 Network: USC vs. Boston College, Coliseum (Ted Robinson, Glenn Parker, Drea Avent)

PAC-12 WILLING PARTICIPANTS:
All games Saturday:
== 9 a.m, CBSSN: Stanford at Army (Ben Holden, Tom Bradley, Kristine Leahy)
== Noon, Pac-12 Net Mountain: Fresno State at Colorado (Kevin Calabro, Yogi Roth, Jill Savage)
== 12:30 p.m., Channel 7: Tennessee at Oregon (Mike Patrick, Ed Cunningham, Jeannine Edwards)
== 3:30 p.m., Pac-12 Net : Southern Utah at Washington State (JB Long, Jeremy Bloom)
== 3 p.m., BTN : Washington at Illinois (Eric Collins,  J Leman, Evan Fitzgerald)
== 4 p.m., Channel 11: Ohio State at Cal (Gus Johnson, Charles Davis, Kristina Pink)
== 6 p.m., Fox Sports 1: Oregon State at Utah  (Craig Bolerjack, Joey Harrington, Ryan Nece)
== 7:30 p.m., ESPN: Wisconsin at Arizona State (Dave Pasch, Brian Griese, Tom Luginbill)
== 7:30 p.m., Pac-12 Net: Texas-San Antonio at Arizona (Roxy Bernstein, Anthony Herron)

MARQUEE GAMES OF THE WEEK:

== Saturday, 12:30 p.m., Channel 2: Alabama at Texas A&M (Verne Lundquis, Gary Danielson, Tracy Wolfson)
== Saturday, 5 p.m., Channel 7: Notre Dame at Purdue (Brent Musburger, Kirk Herbstreit, Heather Cox)

BEST OF THE REST: Continue reading

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NFL ’13 TV lineup for Week 2: Oh, brother, now we got some Raider fever, and we can’t be bothered

terrelle-pryor-oakland-raiders-indianapolis-coltsTHURSDAY:
== 5:25 p.m., NFL Network: N.Y. Jets at New England (Brad Nessler, Mike Mayock)

SUNDAY:
== 10 a.m., Channel 2: San Diego at Philadelphia (Greg Gumbel, Dan Dierdorf); CBS also has Miami-Indianapolis, Tennessee-Houston and Cleveland-Baltimore in this window.
== 10 a.m., Channel 11: Washington-Green Bay (Joe Buck, Troy Aikman): Fox also has Dallas-Kansas City, St. Louis-Atlanta, Carolina-Buffalo and Minnesota-Chicago in this window
== 1:25 p.m., Channel 2: Denver at N.Y. Giants (Jim Nantz, Phil Simms); CBS also has Jacksonville-Oakland with Spero Dedes and Steve Tasker in this window; Fox has New Orleans-Tampa Bay and Detroit-Arizona in this window.
== 5:30 p.m., Channel 4: San Francisco at Seattle (Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth and Michele Tafoya)

MONDAY:
== 5:40 p.m., ESPN: Pittsburgh at Cincinnati (Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden)

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The ballad of Kenny Powers has a final stanza: “Eastbound and Down” returns Sept. 29

tv_eastbound_down02Kenny and April Powers have two boys now, living in North Carolina, livin’ the dream … and you know that can’t possibly satisfy his every need.

The Danny McBride sit-com will have eight more episodes in its fourth and final season as HBO announced “Eastbound & Down” is ready to be called in from the bullpen on Sunday, Sept. 29 at 10 p.m., the network announced today.

The series, that started in 2009 with Powers as a washed-up major-league relief pitcher who looks like the late Rod Beck and acts more like Mitch Williams, ended season three with Powers faking his own death after an aborted comeback (after another season in the Mexican League) and proclaiming, again, his love for April

The first episode of the final season is entitled “Chapter 22″ (it’s episode 22) with the synopsis: “Bored with his dead-end job and suburban lifestyle, Kenny ponders a career move after partying with Guy Young, a former teammate and current host of a raucous TV talk show.”

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Get to the point: Jets 2, Bucs 1, credibility 0?

How many noticed this score come across the bottom of the screen during the Raiders-Colts game Sunday morning on KCBS-Channel 2?:

Resampled_2013-09-08_10-45-59_55My friend Jim Krause (a stellar accountant by trade, no less) texted me that screen shot with the question: How is that score possible?
(Also probably thinking: Is it too late to take the unders?)
The Bucs actually led 7-2 at the time, scoring a touchdown with 1:07 left in the first quarter.
Second question: Can you actually score just one point, independent of a PAT after a touchdown, in an NFL game?
With rules about the defense able to return a blocked conversion or missed field goal, we know it exists in college (remember the 2013 Fiesta Bowl) and the Canadian Football League, but not in the NFL. Right?  Unless …

4kq52

 

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Play It Forward: Sept. 9-15 on your sports calendar — How much corn can a Bruin husk in one trip to Nebraska?

The week ahead on your L.A. sports calendar and beyond:

THIS WEEK’S BEST BET:

UCLA defensive end Datone Jones sacks Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez for a safety on Sept. 8, 2012, at the Rose Bowl. UCLA won 36-30. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

UCLA defensive end Datone Jones sacks Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez for a safety on Sept. 8, 2012, at the Rose Bowl. UCLA won 36-30. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL:
UCLA at NEBRASKA, 9 a.m. Saturday, Channel 7:
With the game tied at 27-27 and about nine minutes left in the final quarter, there went Bruins defensive end Datone Jones. Breaking through the Nebraska line and spiking Cornhuskers quarterback Taylor Martinez into the end zone turf for a safety in last year’s Rose Bowl meeting propelled UCLA to an eventual 36-30 win over the nation’s No. 16-ranked team, and put coach Jim Mora onto college football’s radar. So, too, was Brett Hundley, who completed 21 of 33 passing for 305 yards and four TDs in his first home game. “We were sitting in the sideline, just chilling, and then Datone sacks him, and it’s an explosion in the Rose Bowl,” Hundley said at the time. “That’s just what we needed.” Boom goes the Huskers. Martinez, meanwhile, had no TD tosses and one pick, but the Corona native will be back in his senior season to face the Bruins again, having guided Nebraska to a 2-0 mark so far after Saturday’s win over Southern Miss. Interesting fact: Nebraska doesn’t have a road game until near mid-October – it plays five in a row at home to start its season, with the Bruins coming in as the main course.

THE BEST OF THE REST: Continue reading

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Q and A: How Kyle Turley deals with life, two doses at a time, trying to help others face their concussion-related demons by telling his story in a new documentary

Kyle Turley, as he appears in the documentary "United States of Football," written and directed by Sean Pamphilon.

Kyle Turley, as he appears in the documentary “United States of Football,” written and directed by Sean Pamphilon.

One thousand milligrams of Depakote, split into two daily doses, has become Kyle Turley’s performance enhancing drug of choice. The power-packed pharmaceuticals are engineered to treat seizure disorders, moodiness, vertigo and migraine headaches.

Honestly, this is neither Turley’s medication of choice, nor does it really enhance his performance.

kyleturleysicover“It’s a pretty heavy dose, just to deal with everyday stuff, and that’s the scary thing about it,” said the former All-Pro NFL offensive lineman who starred with New Orleans, St. Louis and Kansas City from 1998 to 2007 before retiring  with serious concussion-related issues.

“But with all that I’m dealing with, there’s that point where things can escalate to levels where you finally have to look at yourself in the mirror and acknowledge the Hulk, you know?”

No, we really don’t. Because we haven’t had our head bashed in hundreds of times as part of our job requirement.

10200906-standardFor Turley, making music and touring with his own country  band brings him some release and sanity to his post-playing predicament – his next album on his Gridiron Records label coming out this month is called “Skull Shaker.”

That’s an interesting way to keep raising awareness for better NFL accountability in helping those like him who suffer from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, known as CTE, or conditions even worse.

It once brought Turley to that dark place where he sat in a parking lot and contemplated suicide  – something that others ex-players in his situation, most notably Junior Seau, went ahead and pulled the trigger, their coping mechanisms all out of whack. What saved Turley was the presence of mind to call an NFL-supported hotline that counseled him on the spot.

Turley’s involvement in a new independent documentary in theaters, “The United States of Football,” also puts him out there to show what kind of life-altering decisions he faces moving forward with a wife and two small children. He feels some relief after the NFL reached a settlement and will agree to pay $765 million toward immediately helping those who are breaking badly.

Turley, who turns 38 later this month, explains more:

Continue reading

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It’s Out of the Question: If the Coliseum’s going to get a new name, why not offer it to the highest bidding alum? (Like they don’t have the ego to follow through on it)

Here's one rendering of a Coliseum upgrade by the company RTKL in 1999 (http://pacrepublic.com/renderings-of-an-la-coliseum-upgrade/)

Here’s one rendering of a Coliseum upgrade by the company RTKL in 1999 (http://pacrepublic.com/renderings-of-an-la-coliseum-upgrade/)

Maybe you’ve heard: USC calls all the shots at the Coliseum now.

Next, the university will be looking for some cash to fix up the place, preserving it “for generations to come,” they promise.

That could lead to, big gulp here, awarding naming rights to the 90-year-old National Historic Landmark — one of 144 in the state along with the Alcatraz Island, the Lake Merritt Wild Duck Refuge, the Donner Camp Sites in Nevada County, the Richard M. Nixon Birthplace and something called the Fresno Sanitary Landfill (otherwise known as simply “Fresno.”)

Who’s USC going to call for some cash?

Please, for the love of Gary Coleman, don’t call us for the press conference where they’re going to unveil signage for the CashCall Coliseum.

Certainly, you’ve already got your own personalized nickname for the Grand Dame of L.A. Game Fame. It’s likely based on your encounter with a potential injury lawsuit. Or making an unwise choice in where to leave your parked car. Or deciding it was best to pull a U-turn before heading into one of the restrooms.

Now, it’s your chance to be proactive.

You may notice when you saunter into the place today after being frisked, wanded and patted down — and that’s before you reach the security checkpoint – there remains a great need for spackling cracks, bolting down loose seats or additional shade relief. These things take money, about $100 million the university reports. They could always add another surcharge on the already substantive Cardinal and Gold membership requirement. But really, what better way to turn on the money faucets than prostituting the naming rights?

Got any suggestions for the current Kifflandia Neverland Ranch?

It’s gotta be snappy, reflective of the Southern California lifestyle, bold and beautiful as it rolls off the checkbook. Heck, most didn’t even realize the Great Western Forum long ago got its name because a local bank bought the first major sporting facility naming rights deal. Most just thought it made sense. And dollars.

We can agree that alliteration works best – or, less worse — in these acts of corporate desperation.

carlsxSo, if not CashCall, would you consider CarMax, Carl’s Jr., Capital One, Charles Schwab, Chevron, Chiquita, Cigna, Chubb, Circuit City, Cigna, Citigroup, Clorox, Coca-Cola, Colgate-Palmolive, Comcast, Charter, Clear Channel, ConAgra, Countrywide Financial or CVS.

Costco-foodcourt(Sorry, but we can’t endorse Costco. You may greatly improve the quality and price of the grandstand hot dog and pizza, but the risk is too great that they’d start jacking up our annual membership fees just to cover all the added exposure to market the 120-pound bag of Cheez-Its).

If Farmer’s Field isn’t on the drawing board any longer, can we leverage it?

5-characteristics-to-look-for-in-every-potential-new-hireIf a staffing specialist like Accountemps or Administaff signed on, could they help during a soon-to-be open coaching search?

If Andy Gump could pull a few levers, maybe he could also kicked in some additional product outside the gates as they relieve their latest anxieties.

Even better if Andrew Clondike Gump III was a USC alum.

Free polls from Pollhost.com
If USC eventually takes out a naming rights deal for the Coliseum, which company would make the best fit?
Costco CashCall CarMax Carl’s Jr. CVS Citibank Capital One Clear Channel Andy Gump Rick Caruso   

Which leads to this suggestion: Isn’t there a foolhardy USC captain of industry/deep pocket donor, already with too many plaques honoring himself on a library wing, a film school studio or business department war room, prepared to match his ego with an obscene endowment (whatever Pat Haden proposes) to put his name in perpetuity across the top of the most hallowed piece of L.A. sports property?

cs_1795-edit_sp13__fullMay we present the Rick J. Caruso (Class of ’80) Coliseum for the next big  mixed-use property/retail outlet idea? Just pick whichever end zone you’d prefer to park your mega-yacht.

Continue reading

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