Weekly media column version 09.20.13 — Taking stock in the Bostock murder 35 years later with MLB Network’s legwork

UPDATED: 10:30 a.m. FRIDAY:

There remains a sad, strange incompleteness to the story surrounding the shooting death of Lyman Bostock, even 35 years after the fact.

Five years ago, ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” reporter Tom Rinaldi did a piece about how the Angels outfielder was shot and killed while sitting in car in Gary, Indiana, during the team’s road trip to Chicago.

At the time, Rinaldi tracked down the man who murdered Bostock, Leonard Smith – who was tried for murder, found innocent on grounds of insanity, spent six months in a mental institution and was turned loose. Smith still did not explain why he did it.

The MLB Network puts its spin on the story (a preview clip above) with a piece that airs Sunday at 7 p.m. – the 35th anniversary of the date it happened. This time, we hear the first on-camera interview with Bostock’s widow, Yuovene Whistler.

“I couldn’t even say that he was murdered,” she says in the piece. “The words would not come off. He just ‘died.’ Just admitting that he was murdered was very traumatic. Once I was able to work through my own personal pain and get clarity on that, it really was about Lyman and just his legacy.”

Bob Costas narrates “The Lyman Bostock Story,” which includes interviews with former Angels broadcaster Dick Enberg, teammates Bert Blyleven, Don Baylor, Kenny Landreaux, Roy Smalley and Ron Jackson, plus former Angels manager Jim Fregosi. Bostock’s former agent, Abdul-Jalil al-Hakim is also included, saying Bostock “was instrumental in having the rules and the laws change in Indiana, so I guess in some ways Lyman still lives. But to me, that’s too great a cost.”

Enberg was close to Bostock during that one and only season they crossed paths. Enberg, of course, was once a teacher and baseball coach at San Fernando Valley State, which became Cal State Northridge.

Enberg recalls in the MLB piece how he had to go on the air and announce Bostock’s death to the L.A. TV audience.

“It was horrific. I mean, who expects to go on the air having to announce that one of your ballplayers, someone that everyone cares about is dead suddenly? I mean, you came on the air and you started with,  ‘We begin today’s broadcast telecast with terrible news,’ and then just bluntly saying, ‘Lyman Bostock was murdered last night in Gary, Indiana.’

“We are not trained to handle a tragedy like that, are we? You think in all of baseball history how many times has that happened? Where a ballplayer plays one day and the next day he’s expected to appear, but he’s gone.”

Here’s a piece we did in 2008 ago about Bostock’s story being told by Rinaldi, which included a story by staff writer Jill Painter. Here’s more from when we talked to Enberg at the time about how he remembered Bostock. Continue reading

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College football ’13 TV lineup for L.A. in Week 4: How far will ESPN GameDay go to get a story? Fargo (you betcha)

Utah State quarterback Chuckie Keeton nearly engineered an upset over Auburn in the 2011 opener, back when he was a true freshman.

Utah State quarterback Chuckie Keeton nearly engineered an upset over Auburn in the 2011 opener, back when he was a true freshman.

12:30 p.m. Saturday, Channel 7: USC vs. Utah State, Coliseum (with Dave Flemming, David Diaz-Infante and Shelley Smith)
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Pac-12 Network: UCLA vs. New Mexico State, Rose Bowl (Ted Robinson, Glenn Parker and Drea Avent)

PAC-12 WILLING PARTICIPANTS (all games Saturday):
Noon, Pac-12 Network:
Idaho State at Washington (Kevin Calabro, Yogi Roth, Jill Savage)
4 p.m., Channel 11: Arizona State at Stanford Gus Johnson, Charles Davis, Kristina Pink)
4:30 p.m., CBS Sports Net: Oregon State at San Diego State (Andrew Catalon, Aaron Taylor, Lauren Gardner)
7:30 p.m., Pac-12 Net: Washington State at Idaho
7:15 p.m., ESPN2: Utah at BYU (Mark Jones, Brock Huard, Lewis Johnson)

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NFL ’13 TV lineup for L.A. in Week 3: Start it up with the Andy Reid Bowl

5:25 p.m., NFL Network: Kansas City at Philadelphia (with Brad Nessler and Mike Mayock). How big is this for Andy Reid?

10 a.m., Channel 2: San Diego at Tennessee (with Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts) The rest of CBS’ games in this window: Houston-Baltimore and Cleveland-Minnesota.

10 a.m., Channel 11: Green Bay at Cincinnati (with Joe Buck and Troy Aikman). The rest of Fox’s games in this window: St. Louis-Dallas, N.Y. Giants-Carolina, Tampa Bay-New England, Detroit-Washington, Arizona-New Orleans.

1:25 p.m., Channel 2: Indianapolis at San Francisco (with Jim Nantz and Phil Simms). CBS also has Buffalo-N.Y. Jets and Jacksonville-Seattle in this window. Fox has Atlanta-Miami in this window.

5:40 p.m., ESPN: Oakland at Denver (with Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden)

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The Phoenix Phan trip: When does it end?

When will the Dodgers wrap up the NL West title?
Wednesday in Phoenix
Thursday in Phoenix
Friday in San Diego
Saturday in San Diego
Sunday in San Diego
Monday’s off day
Tuesday-Thursday in San Francisco
Friday-Sunday at Dodger Stadium vs. Colorado
Free polls from Pollhost.com

Dodger fans can get antsy over waiting to see the team clinch the NL West in Arizona. Just as long as they do it while they’re there to see it.
Monday’s column linked here
Tuesday’s column linked here

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Play It Forward: Sept. 16-22 — Could USC or UCLA ignite their running game with a viewing of “Rush”?

The week ahead on the sports calendar:

Rush_13BEST BET:

MOVIE: “RUSH,” opens in L.A. and N.Y. theaters:
Formula 1 racing may not provide the perfect formula for a Hollywood blockbuster, but if Oscar-winner Ron Howard is allowed to direct the story of the relationship and rivalry between English playboy James Hunt (played by Chris Hemsworth) and Australian crash-and-burn survivor Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl) during the 1976 season, we’ll give it the green light.

Niki Lauda and Steve Hunt as they were in 1977.

Niki Lauda and Steve Hunt as they were in 1977.

Hunt died unexpectedly of a heart attack in 1993; Lauda, now 64, could have easily died from his fiery crash during the ’76 season, but he’s around to promote this, scars and all. “When after the accident I came out into the world and people looked at me, they were shocked,” Lauda recently told the UK Telegraph. “It upset me. I thought they were impolite not to hide their negative emotions about my look. When I saw the movie it let me see the story from the other side, from the point of view of other people looking at me. It helped me understand why people were shocked.”
rush00 Universal Studios passed on this film pitched Howard, so he produced it independently for $45 million – and Universal will be the ones releasing it after all, first in L.A. and New York, and next week nationwide. “The challenge was to combine things that I had experienced in a way — the need to get the technical authenticity of ‘Apollo 13,’ or the danger of  ‘Backdraft,’ or the personal connection with ‘Cinderella Man’ or the character stuff of ‘A Beautiful Mind’ or ‘Frost/Nixon,’ but all in the same movie,” Howard said during a triumphant presentation at the Toronto Film Festival last week, not to namedrop other top-notch films he’s produced (and somehow leaving out “DaVinci Code,” “The Paper,” “Parenthood,” “Willow,” “Coccoon” and, a personal favorite, “Grand Theft Auto.”)  “I knew intuitively I had confidence I could do it because the challenge was similar to others I had faced but never with this kind of density and it sort of made the degree of difficulty bar drift higher than I have ever done before.”

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