What we covered this week:
It’s been 25 years since No. 1 Notre Dame faced No. 2 USC at the Coliseum for an epic nationally televised matchup. As the two meet up again in South Bend, Ind., for the annual rivalry contest, it’s worth looking back to see how the Notre Dame brand came back into prominence at a time when it seemed nothing could have been more improbable as a lead media story than the Dodgers’ October comeback to win the 1988 World Series.
What we covered during the week, and other things to note:
== Current (Oct. 21) issue of Sports Illustrated (with Kobe Bean Bryant as the cover subject) allows for staff writer Tom Verducci to interview Pedro Martinez — which must have been a difficult thing to line up since the two have been on the same TBS MLB studio show set all postseason.
Of course, Verducci gives Martinez rave reviews (aside from the fact that Martinez isn’t always that easy to understand).
Verducci: Why have you decided to try television?
Martinez: I had too much time not doing anything at home.
It gets somewhat more interesting from there.
== The Dodgers-Cards NLCS pieces, from why the MLB still does midweek day games in the playoffs, to the white towel effect, to TBS’ Truss Cam lurking in the outfield. Oh, and to the Vin Scully-Drabble Factor, thanks so much to Kevin Fagan, working this week on his Christmas season strip deadlines. And, no, it’s not too late to vote on the TBS PitchTrax graphic. Thumbs up or down?
== A Fox Sports exec is going to run the L.A. Sports Council now.
== Can’t get enough Kirk Gibson video and audio 25 years later, including the rarely posted Don Drysdale call on L.A. radio.
== Keith Jackson submits himself to joining the Fox College Saturday show (Saturday, FS1, 7-9 a.m.) from the Fox lot in L.A, joining Joel Klatt, Eddie George, Petros Papadakis, Mike Pereira, Clay Travis and host Rob Stone.
== Did Bill Simmons push Magic Johnson out at ESPN on the NBA studio show. Goodness, gracious, has it really come to that? The real point is: Who is left on the show worth listening to now (as if Magic really had much insight to add anyway)?
== Must read: “10 Reasons Vin Scully SUCKS and is the WORST Broadcaster in Sports” by DJ Gallo of SportsPickle.com.
“Everywhere you turn, people are slurping Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully. Come on. Enough is enough.”
Among his 10 reasons:
= He’s not national: “He used to do national games! Yeah, used to. He obviously couldn’t hack it.”
= He has zero Twitter followers
= He doesn’t do media feuds
= He relies on context and storytelling like a crutch
= He’s old: “You want to appeal to the 18-to-34 demo — the only demo that matters — and you’re wheeling out an 85 year-old man? Yeah, good luck with that.”
= No one says a bad word about him.
Of the comments listed, many who took it seriously and went crazy defending Scully, the one was enjoyed most was from Jeremy William Bright of Ritenour Senior High: “I don’t know what’s funnier, the story or the comments. LOL”
== Thanks to Ed Sherman of “The Sherman Report” for reposting that 1959 Dodgers-Cardinals game we stumbled upon — a 10-inning contest at the Coliseum that lasted just 2 hours, 11 minutes (spoiler alert: Dodgers lost on this July 25 tilt, in a game where Rip Repulski came up as a Dodger pinch hitter in the 10th representing the tying run — he batted for Maury Wills, who replaced the ejected Don ZImmer. Rip didn’t rip it. He whiffed).
== Sherman, by the way, did this Q-and-A with “Unbeatable” author Jerry Barca, referenced in the media column, about the book when it came out in August. Barca was also one of the producers of our favorite documentary of the year, “Plimpton! Starring George Plimpton As Himself.”
== HBO’s “Real Sports” sends Mary Carillo out to do a piece about the Clippers’ “likeable, wholesome sports superstar” Chris Paul (as described in the network press release) and new head of the NBA Players Association (Tuesday, 10 p.m.) Meanwhile, host Bryant Gumbel allows Reggie Jackson to promote his new upcoming book “Becoming Mr. October” with a sit-down to discuss his legacy (and perhaps even mention he once played for the Angels).
One more piece: Soledad O’Brien goes to the League of Legends World Champions at Staples Center to watch a video gaming competition in a piece called “eSports.”
== The NFL Network’s weekly series “A Football Life” focuses on longtime broadcaster and player Pat Summerall (Tuesday, 6 p.m.). The NFL Films produced hour-long special includes interviews with John Madden, Summerall’s widow, Cheri, his sons Kyle and Jay, daughter Susan, as well as broadcasters Frank Gifford, Jim Nantz, Troy Aikman, Al Michaels and Joe Buck, plus CBS/Fox execs Ed Goren and David Hill.
== ESPN ombudsman Robert Lipsyte says “journalism won” in the case of ESPN vs. PBS’ “Frontline” and its concussion expose.
== The NFL has denied a Wall Street Journal report that the league has considered expanding its Thursday night game presence by creating a double-header scenario and selling off another one of CBS/Fox’s Sunday games to another cable network sometime soon. Mike Florio at ProFootballTalk.com doesn’t like the chances either.
== The Association of Surfing Professionals signed the first TV agreement in the history of pro surfing when ESPN struck up a deal to be the exclusive domestic rights holder starting in 2014. The initial deal calls for 11 recap programs each year of the men’s and women’s tour events throughout the season. ESPN, which included live surfing as part of its first Southern California-based X Games, will include the ASP under its X Games branding.
== Austin Croshere, a former prep star at Santa Monica’s Crossroads School who played at Providence and had nine years in the NBA, has been added to Fox Sports 1’s college basketball studio show this fall. Croshere had been an analysis for Fox Sports Indiana on Pacers games.
== HBO replays last week’s Timothy Bradley-Juan Manual Marquez world welterweight title bout on Saturday (9:45 p.m.)
== Circle back and read the entire transcript of Bob Costas’ halftime essay from last week’s NBC Washington-Dallas game — for as tight a time as he had explaining why gun issues were a major problem in the NFL, he got this one out with almost too much time to make an impact as an oral argument:
“With Washington playing Dallas here tonight, it seems like an appropriate time to acknowledge the ongoing controversy about the name ‘Redskins.’
“Let’s start here. There is no reason to believe that owner Daniel Snyder, or any official or player from his team, harbors animus toward Native Americans or wishes to disrespect them. This is undoubtedly also true of the vast majority of those who don’t think twice about the longstanding moniker. And in fact, as best can be determined, even a majority of Native Americans say they are not offended.
“But, having stipulated that, there’s still a distinction to be made. Objections to names like ‘Braves,’ ‘Chiefs,’ ‘Warriors,’ and the like strike many of us as political correctness run amok. These nicknames honor, rather than demean. They are pretty much the same as ‘Vikings,’ ‘Patriots,’ or even ‘Cowboys.’ And names like ‘Blackhawks,’ ‘Seminoles,’ and ‘Chippewas,’ while potentially more problematic, can still be okay provided the symbols are appropriately respectful – which is where the Cleveland Indians with the combination of their name and ‘Chief Wahoo’ logo have sometimes run into trouble.
“A number of teams, mostly in the college ranks, have changed their names in response to objections. The Stanford Cardinal and the Dartmouth Big Green were each once the Indians; the St. John’s Redmen have become the Red Storm, and the Miami of Ohio Redskins – that’s right, Redskins – are now the Red Hawks.
“Still, the NFL franchise that represents the nation’s capital has maintained its name. But think for a moment about the term ‘Redskins,’ and how it truly differs from all the others. Ask yourself what the equivalent would be, if directed toward African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, or members of any other ethnic group.
“When considered that way, ‘Redskins’ can’t possibly honor a heritage, or noble character trait, nor can it possibly be considered a neutral term. It’s an insult, a slur, no matter how benign the present-day intent. It is fair to say that for a long time now, and certainly in 2013, no offense has been intended. But, if you take a step back, isn’t it clear to see how offense ‘might’ legitimately be taken?”
Of course, Costas got pushback. But he also defended using the “Sunday Night Football” platform to give his thoughts on the Dan Patrick radio show: “It’s a football issue. It’s right there. It’s a football issue … I’’m not comparing this in importance, or comparing myself to any of those who crusaded for a worthy cause, but I’m sure that people said if someone wrote in a New York newspaper in 1947, or prior to that, saying, ‘It’s wrong that there are not black players in Major League Baseball, stick to sports. Tell me who hit the ground ball to short, don’t talk about Tommie Smith and John Carlos and their clenched fists.”