Play It Forward: Jan. 13-19 on your sports calendar — Pack up the kids, crank up the car, and get the heck out of Grammyland

THIS WEEK’S BEST BETS:

Road-Trip-Kit-Sidebar-Image-Gear-PatrolTHE GRAMMY ROAD TRIPS BEGIN:
LAKERS at PHOENIX, Wednesday at 6 p.m., TWC SportsNet
KINGS at ST. LOUIS, Thursday at 5 p.m., NBC Sports Net
CLIPPERS at NEW YORK, Friday at 4 p.m., Prime:
sutter-620x280Wanna get away? Again?
It’s really sounding like a broken record — those who run Staples Center have blurred lines when it comes to deciding what takes precedent in its building. So what if the Lakers, Clippers and Kings fill all the dates between October and May. When Grammy season arrives, the sound you hear are from the planes taking all those teams as far away as possible. Even though the awards ceremony/circus isn’t until Sunday, Jan. 26, the place needs to be cleared out for dress-up rehearsals and possibly installing new hydraulic equipment for a special Justin Timberlake entrance.

dantoni15s-1-web This is the time when Katie Perry’s Roar drowns out Mike D’Antoni’s list of excuses about the latest injuries. When Eminem can be more Berzerk than Clipper Darrell after another Blake Griffin dunk. When Kendrick Lamar has more cred entering the building than Lamar Odom (is he retired yet?)
Yeezus.
doc-rivers All this means is that while the Kings have a home game Monday, they’re gone for eight games through Jan. 30. They are 12-8-2 away from home this season so far.
The Lakers are at home Tuesday, then they’re out the door for seven in a row away, until Jan. 28. They’re 6-13 on the road.
The Clippers are home Wednesday, then they beat it for seven in a row on the road, until Jan. 29. They’re 9-10 away from home.
And all the while, Rhianna remains Unapologetic. Ask Matt Kemp about that one.

THE BEST OF THE REST:

Continue reading “Play It Forward: Jan. 13-19 on your sports calendar — Pack up the kids, crank up the car, and get the heck out of Grammyland” »

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Sunday Q and A: Why Jeff Suppan, 17 seasons and 11,000 MLB batters later, understands ‘the best ability is availability’

jeff-suppan-mlb-autographed-baseball-nlcs-mvp-inscription-3362367Jeff Suppan never needed to be a Superman on the mound.
His accomplishments in the 2006 National League Championship Series for the St. Louis Cardinals were surely MVP-worthy.

628x471Starting a pro baseball career at age 18, right after graduating from Encino’s Crespi High, and making it through 17 big-league seasons, enough to  accumulate 140 wins for seven teams, and finding himself on teams that made the playoff seven times and went to two World Series definitely accounts for something.

But the fact remains that with a four-pitch repertoire through a text-book mechanically sound delivery, he simply did what he was supposed to do and succeeded on many levels. Now’s the time when it’s all put into context.

When he officially announced his retirement on this past Jan. 2 – his 39th birthday, and the sixth anniversary of his mother Kathleen’s passing – it brought some closure for his family.

jeff-suppan-autographed-baseball-card-boston-red-sox-1996-upper-deck-collectors-choice-rookie-class-428-292x400He hadn’t made a pitch for a big league team since he was in San Diego in the middle of the 2012 season. Yet the Calabasas resident has had plenty on his plate the last six years running Soups Sports Grill in Woodland Hills with his wife Dana, as well as taking care of his kids aged 4 and 2.
He explains the process:

QUESTION: What made you decide now this was the time to let everyone know your decision that it was time to retire?

Continue reading “Sunday Q and A: Why Jeff Suppan, 17 seasons and 11,000 MLB batters later, understands ‘the best ability is availability’” »

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Updated: Weekly media column version 01.10.14 — Why LeBatard flounders with his decision to give up his Hall ballot to Deadspin

lebatardxmasWhat made it into this week’s media column:

Highly questionable, Dan LeBatard. 0108-flounder-animal-house-768-then-480wHighly debatable. And highly open to ridicule given the alternatives.
The ESPN TV and radio talk show host, who has kept his Baseball Writers’ Association of America vote for the Hall of Fame by virtue of once having it in a previous career as a full time columnist for the Miami Herald, became the “kick me” target of the day Wednesday  when the latest three enshrines were announced.
Thursday, he seemed to basking in the afterglow of surrendering his ballot to Deadspin.com, which then allowed its readers to fill out the 10 spots before it was officially submitted under LeBatard’s name.

Of course, it’s not the first time LeBatard tried to make a statement with a vote (see: NBA MVP 2013, just six months ago. We’ll direct you to the Deadspin version).

More soften criticism of LeBatard’s methods include from the Miami Herald, where Executive Sports Editor Jorge Rojas said in a statement:  “Whatever issues might be raised about the Hall of Fame voting process, we do not condone misrepresentation of any kind. Dan had a point to make. We think there are other ways he could have made it.”

We’ve got other notes about Dan Dierdorf’s final NFL game call for CBS this weekend, and more tributes to the Jerry Coleman. It’ll all be posted in the next few hours. (By the way, the Padres have announced a public memorial on Saturday, Jan. 18, at 10:30 a.m. at Petco Park).

What could have also been included:

+Notes we’ve added Friday morning:

== A CBS video tribute to Dierdorf is here, in his own words.

== An obit on former Philadelphia Daily News columnist Bill Conlin, via the ShermanReport.com.

== In our mention of Dick Enberg talking about Jerry Coleman in today’s column, we overlooked the fact Enberg celebrated his 79th birthday on Thursday. That fact was brought up by Bill Walton during the ESPN coverage of the UCLA-Arizona contest, where the former Bruins center was at his mushroomed-induced best.

+What we had from Thursday’s post:

== KLAC-AM (570) has been using FoxSports.com writer Bill Reiter and former Oakland Raiders linebacker Kirk Morrison for the noon-to-3 p.m. shift this week as management continues to work out a deal with KNBC-Channel 4 anchor Fred Roggin to eventually take over. The plan remains for Roggin to lead into the Petros Papadakis and Matt “Money” Smith 3-to-7 p.m. local shift.

Continue reading “Updated: Weekly media column version 01.10.14 — Why LeBatard flounders with his decision to give up his Hall ballot to Deadspin” »

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Wild pitch: Billboard announcing Dodgers’ TV launch premature

(Photo by Tom Hoffarth/Los Angeles Daily News)

(Photo by Tom Hoffarth/Los Angeles Daily News)

Oops.
A billboard announcing the launch of the Dodgers’ new SportsNet L.A. channel on Feb. 25 has been covered up after the team realized it was put up prematurely.
The Clear Channel billboard featuring Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig was in place for just a few hours on Wednesday off the 405 Freeway in Culver City. It drew attention on Twitter before a Dodgers employee saw it and realized the mistake had been made.
“We’re pleased about the excitement it generated, but we have asked the Clear Channel billboard operators to take it down until we are ready to start the campaign,” Lon Rosen, the Dodgers head of marketing, said this morning. “This isn’t a campaign where we were trying to leak the information out and stir up interest.”
Clear Channel Communications, one of the largest billboard companies in the world, also happens to own the Dodgers’ flagship radio station, KLAC-AM (570).
In Jan., 2013, the Dodgers announced they would launch their own channel after breaking long ties with Fox Sports West’s Prime Ticket partner. Time Warner Cable is behind the venture, reportedly paying as much as $7 billion for a 25-year deal. TWC launched a channel devoted to the Lakers called TWC SportsNet and TWC Deportes in Oct., 2012.
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Piazza, get angry? At this point in the hellish Hall-ride process, he should be

Mike Piazza, in Dodger gear, circa 1998.  (Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images)

Mike Piazza, in Dodger gear, circa 1998. (Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images)

In all unfairness to Mike Piazza, who for the second year in a row will not be able to sign baseballs with the notation “HOF #31” despite the fact he’s the greatest hitting catcher in the game’s history, the process by which someone qualifies for a Hall pass into Cooperstown has gotten curiouser and curiouser.
baseball-hall-of-fame-by-sports-espn-godotcomWe squeamishly hold the former Dodgers All-Star up as an example of how this whole staged production has gone down the rabbit hole following Wednesday’s announcement of those who have gotten the benefit of the doubt for the Baseball Hall of Fame vote.
Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas had the stats, accomplishments, awards and, apparently, clean enough urine sample to prove their worthiness.
Piazza, for some rhyme or unreasonable set of circumstances that seems to always circle back to a case of back ache, does not. Continue reading “Piazza, get angry? At this point in the hellish Hall-ride process, he should be” »

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