NBC’s NHL Stanley Cup Final analyst told Bob Costas on the network’s Belmont Stakes pre-race show Saturday afternoon, about an hour before the last leg of the Triple Crown was to be run, that California Chrome wouldn’t be making any history.
“For me, I like Wicked Strong,” Olczyk said. “He can sit behind California Chrome and beat him to the punch the last eight of a mile a win.”
Well, not so much.
Wicked Strong and California Chrome finished in a dead heat. For fourth place.
Eddie Olczyk skates before a Kings game against Caigary in 1996. (Ian Tomlinson /Allsport)
Then again, the decision to add the long-time horse-savvy Olczyk as part of the NBC crossover buildup to the race for his handicapping know-how wasn’t such a bad idea. Even if the one-time Kings player and a member of the last Rangers’ team to win a Stanley Cup had enough in front of him back at Staples Center preparing for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final broadcast that would be coming on just minutes after the race post-game show ended.
Olczyk’s years of involvement in thoroughbred racing as a full- and part-owner of many horses reaches back to his days as a kid growing up at Arlington Race Track near Chicago, where he currently has a philly named Lavender Patch on his watch. He has said he’s cherished his short but sweet time in Los Angeles in 1996 in part because of his access to Santa Anita and Hollywood Park.
After all, it was a Friday night race card at the now defunct Inglewood track that allowed Olczyk to cash a $497,000 winning Pick 6 ticket in 2003. He told the New York Times recently that he was flying back to Chicago from Las Vegas his flight was delayed. He had been handicapping races all afternoon, got his bet down through an Xpressbet account while on the runway at O’Hare, asked his son to record the races on the family DVR and he watched them once he got home.
And it was Costas who introduced Olczyk to Saturday’s Belmont pre-race coverage as someone who “hit the trifecta at the Preakness” a few weeks earlier.
Even Tommy Lasorda knows there are far too many subtle differences in how profanity is articulated in the English language. Particularly in the specialized world of sports jargonization.
So is it too much to ask the current Lasorda successor, Don Mattingly, if he could successfully give us a better definition of “Basically, we’re s#!**y,” before this becomes the working title for of the 2014 Dodgers Season in Review DVD?
Is it in the context of: “Since I’m doing such a s$*%%# job as the manager of an overpaid roster, can we just connect the dots and assume this is all a reflection of my inability to make a bunch of modern-day egos understand the Donnie Baseball system? Do we have to pass around more eye black and institute a mandatory mustache rule?”
Could it be: “Where did Punto, Hairston and Schumaker skip off to again? Can Trey Hillman find that out for me?”
Or is just a matter of having Yasiel Puig’s translator spend more quality time with Hanley Ramirez?
What made it into this week’s sports media column posted here:
NBC has Saturday’s Belmont Stakes — California Chrome’s attempt to win the Triple Crown — as the lead-in to the Kings-Rangers Stanley Cup Final Game 2 from Staples Center, both airing on KNBC-Channel 4.
The race goes off at about 3:52 p.m. The Kings pregame show is supposed to start at 4 p.m. with the faceoff at about 4:30 p.m.
Good luck with all that.
We’ve got notes about Game 1 ratings, X Games starting up in Austin, Tex., and coverage of the CIF Southern Section baseball finals, with Ross Porter back on the call. What didn’t quite make it in but has a home here:
==The NBCSN documentary “California Chrome: The Unlikely Champion” narrated by Bob Costas, debuted Wednesday but has repeated airings today (2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.) and Friday (12:30 p.m., 5 p.m. and 9 p.m.).
== If you get a letter from NBC’s Doc Emrick, it’s a good thing.
== The reveal for who has made the cover of the “Madden NFL 15” game — it’s either Carolina quarterback Cam Newton or Seattle defensive back Richard Sherman — will come on ESPN’s 3 p.m. SportsCenter on Friday. That’s news?
== If you’re trying to keep up with the latest educated speculation about how the DirecTV-Dodgers-SportsNet L.A. talks may go.
== And why was Keith Jackson at the Rose Bowl last week? This story doesn’t connect those basic dots.
== The ESPN blanket coverage of the NCAA baseball super regionals includes Pepperdine’s series against TCU in Fort Worth, Tex., that starts Saturday (1 p.m., ESPNU) and continues Sunday (3 p.m., ESPN) and, if necessary, on Monday (4 p.m., ESPNU). Adam Amin and Keith Moreland are on the call.
ESPN reports that ESPN2 and ESPNU combined for 20 game regional telecasts last week, reaching 13.1 milllion viewers (up 2 percent over last year). ESPN3 and WatchESPN also generated 124.5 million minutes, up 34 percent from last year.
We resisted. But NBC Sports guys couldn’t. This is their attempt at a “Tale of the Tape” deal with the Kings-Rangers Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final(with no “s”) later this afternoon, the first professional sports league final between the two cities in 33 years. We tried to resist even posting this, but … as long as they made an honest effort.