Play It Forward: Feb. 17-23 on your sports calendar — fire off the final skyworks for Sochi, with hockey pucks ablazin’

THIS WEEK’S BEST BET

During the Opening Ceremonies of the Sochi Winter Games on Feb. 7, fireworks could be seen over the Olympic Cauldron. What's in store for the Closing Ceremonies?  (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

During the Opening Ceremonies of the Sochi Winter Games on Feb. 7, fireworks could be seen over the Olympic Cauldron. What’s in store for the Closing Ceremonies? (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

XXII WINTER OLYMPICS: CLOSING CEREMONIES:
Sunday at 8 p.m., Channel 4 (delayed):

President Obama has dispatched tennis legend Billie Jean King with former Olympic speed skaters Bonnie Blair and Eric Heiden as part of the U.S. delegation for the final celebration. Ralph Lauren has also whipped up a new sweater design for the American athletes to wear when they march in for the last time — something a little less garish than those opening-ceremonies garb.olympicsweater_closeup
The build up to Putin’s closing number could be heightened by a few circumstances that play into how the Americans are viewed as they wave goodbye and good riddance —  such as whether Jonathan Quick and his U.S. men teammates figure out a way to make it clear to the hockey gold medal game (Sunday, 3:30 a.m., Channel 4), if there’s a U.S.-Canada final again in the women’s hockey gold-medal contest (Thursday at 9 a.m., Channel 4) and if Gracie Gold polishes up a sparkling performance in women’s figure skating (Wednesday at 7 a.m., NBC Sports Net; 8 p.m., Channel 4 delayed). If Bob Costas is around to see it through, all the better. If he plays his cards right, he could even get to carry in the U.S. flag if he’s gained enough sympathy from those who’ve missed him during his first-week eye issues.

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Weekly media column version 02.14.14: My valentine to you — a whole lotta nothing

From RadioLive.com blog post of the 11 worst Valentine's Day cards ever.

From RadioLive.com blog post of the 11 worst Valentine’s Day cards ever.

Sweet nothings, if you must.Ongoing coverage at the PGA’s Northern Trust Open has my heart-filled attention this weekend, so nothing new to complain about NBC’s Winter Olympics coverage (I may have seen as much this week as Bob Costas has with his good eye), TNT’s pending NBA All-Star Game coverage (Sunday, 5 p.m.) or even the way Golf Channel and CBS have this pro golf event on their radar.
If something comes up, please do bring it to our attention. Otherwise, give someone a hug and carry on.

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With Costas on the DL, NBC brings in Lauer to lighten things up

Bob-Costas-eye-swollen-due-to-pink-eyeBob Costas’ bothersome left eye, obvious since he started the NBC coverage of the Winter Olympics from Sochi, Russia on Thursday night, has become so narly that he’s backed off from hosting tonight’s prime-time coverage and will relinquish his seat to “Today” show co-host Matt Lauer.
“As a practical matter, I simply couldn’t do my job because my eyes had become so blurry, watery and sensitive to light,” Costas said this morning in a statement released by NBC. “I’m hopeful the symptoms will improve in the next couple of days and I can return to the broadcast. Also, the last thing I want is to go through the rest of my life owing Matt Lauer a bunch of favors.”Lauer announced the decision on this morning’s “Today” show, and had Costas, officially down with a diagnosis of conjunctivitis, or pink eye, make an appearance via phone to discuss the matter.
Lauer asked Costas for any tips.
“Just remember, Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov,” Costas said slowly. “There’s your Russian dancing pair.”

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Two Padres seasons later, TWC finally picks up Fox Sports San Diego

snoopy-missing-youIt only took full seasons of missing games, but subscribers to Time Warner Cable in the San Diego region will finally have access to Padres games on Fox Sports San Diego as the stalemate has ended.

In August, 2011, the Padres ended their agreement with Cox Communications Channel 4 after 15 years and agreed to the new FSSD deal. At first, only Cox and DirectTV picked it up for the 2012 season. Toward the end of that season, AT&T signed on. In 2013, Dish satellite service added it.

Time Warner Cable said in a press release FSSD will be available starting March 30, with a channel position to be decided.

“We’re happy for the many Padres fans who are Time Warner Cable customers who now will be able to follow their hometown baseball team on TV all season long,” said Henry Ford, Senior Vice President and GM of FSSD.  “With this agreement, Padres baseball will now be available in more homes in San Diego than ever before.”

“We’re pleased to have reached a reasonable long-term agreement for Fox Sports San Diego, and we look forward to launching this network in the near future,” said Jennifer Chun, the Senior VP of Content Acquisition for Time Warner Cable.

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Play it Forward: Feb. 10-16 on your sports calendar: Something to wedge into your schedule, Riviera style, even if some of the big names won’t

interior-image-large-1THIS WEEK’S BEST BET:

GOLF:
PGA TOUR NORTHERN TRUST OPEN

At Riviera Country Club, Pacific Palisades; Thursday-Friday, Golf Channel and Channel 2:

Chris Condon / Getty Images.

Chris Condon / Getty Images.

Defending champion John Merrick, the UCLA grad out of Long Beach who pulled off the thrilling playoff triumph, is certainly coming back. Two-time winner Phil Mickelson, though, has decided to park the private jet this week. Maybe it’s just too taxing. Fred Couples, the 1990 winner who has played this event 31 times, has managed to swing another sponsor’s exemption, and will make an appearance. Tiger Woods? Absent, as usual. Same with Rory McIlroy.
Past champs Bill Haas, Charles Howell III, Aaron Baddeley, Vijay Singh, Jim Furyk, Bill Haas and Mike Weir are clear. There’s 1999 champ Ernie Els, too, mixing it up with Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler, Retief Goosen, John Huh, Matt Kuchar and Matt Kuchar. Fourteen of the 30 who made it to the 2013 Tour championship are in this event, as are 23 of the top 30 players in the current FedExCup standings. But only two of the top 10 are here.

Jordan Spieth finishes play on the 10th hole during the second round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am on the Monterey Peninsula Country Club Shore Course in Pebble Beach. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Jordan Spieth finishes play on the 10th hole during the second round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am on the Monterey Peninsula Country Club Shore Course in Pebble Beach. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Yet, without Woods, Mickelson and McIlroy — and Justin Rose as the highest-ranking golfer available — the main attraction if you’re gallery surfing could easily be Jordan Spieth, the 20-year-old who shared the second-round lead at the recent AT&T Pebble Beach Open until a rash of bogeys pushed him down the leader board in round three — yet the Dallas native still finished tied for fourth, boosting his career earnings already to past $5 million in 36 events. In his only other Northern Open appearance, he missed the cut at 5-over. Hey, he was only 18 at the time in 2012.
Of all the young guns on the Tour, Couples said the “easy one” to be most excited about is Spieth. “I picked him for the Presidents Cup (last fall), I felt like he deserved it.” The tournament, now No. 13 on the new 2013-14 overlapping calendar schedule, has a purse of $6.7 million to split up, save the $1.2 million set aside for the winner, along with 500 FedEx Cup points. It’s not as if we need the Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore on hand for up-to-the-pitch-shot updates this time, even as rain is often the issue this time of year. The forecast, however, looks lovely – sun all week, just partly cloudy on Sunday, in the mid 70s. So even if it’s foggy in your parts, it’s clear with a zero percent chance of precipitation. Now, if there was just more participation.
rivieraAlso:
Wednesday’s pro-am begins at 6:40 a.m.
Thursday and Friday rounds begin at 6:40 a.m. (Golf Channel coverage from 2 to 5 p.m.. each day)
Saturday and Sunday rounds begin at 8 a.m. (Channel 2 coverage from noon to 3 p.m. each day; Golf Channel coverage each day is from 10 to 11:30 a.m.)

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