Media column version 08.22.14: A Mo’ne that’s a media work of art

mone-davis-had-an-amazing-answer-when-asked-who-she-pitches-likeWe’re going with this as the lead item:

SicoverSo you had a Sports Illustrated cover with Mo’ne Davis on it this week?
Here’s what showed up in our mail box.
The bottom line is that Davis, the 13-year-old Little Leaguer who wants to play college hoops at UConn someday, stole the headlines for most of this week. All she needed to do was take the Ice Bucket Challenge and be named the Cleveland Browns starting quarterback to really make herself a media sensation.
We look at the impact she had from a media standpoint in this week’s column.

And as for other things we wanted to add:

== Among the best media pieces we saw this week related to Mo’ne Davis:
= Anything from columnist Melissa Isaacson, starting with the idea of how much is too much attention at the Little League World Series, her friendship with Canada’s Emma Marsh, and this one on why Davis matters to other girls.
= The New York Times’ Jere Longman on how Davis has handled the attention.
= The Chicago Tribune’s Philip Hersh, on whether Davis is only great in defeating boys
= SI explains why she’s on their cover this week (in some regions, apparently not L.A.)
= A New York Newsday editorial
= Some people were selling her autograph on eBay? Yup, and still are.

== And there’s this NBC clip from 1989 when Vicky Brucker made headlines as a girl playing in the Little League World Series as she represented Eastview Little League in San Pedro. Notice how the media treated it back then versus today. Continue reading “Media column version 08.22.14: A Mo’ne that’s a media work of art” »

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Why Dan Patrick’s life is in ‘Jeopardy!’

danmagesDan Patrick spent a week away from his nationally syndicated morning radio show (heard locally on KLAC-AM 570) by taking his daughter to college — and then taping 15 episodes of the new “Sports Jeopardy!” series at the Sony studios in Culver City.

“I thought taking my daughter to school was the challenge,” he said Thursday afternoon during a break of taping five shows over a 10-hour period. “That was easy. This is like landing planes at LAX.”

The concept for a first-of-its-kind, non-video-game sports version of the long-running TV game show “Jeopardy!” came to light when the producers at the Sony-owned, famous these days for the on-demand episodes of “Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee” with Jerry Seinfeld, announced they had signed Patrick up for this project last April.

More than 30,000 potential contestants went online to apply for a test and audition, which have been taking place in various cities since June before the actual taping started this week.

“I really do have a new respect for Alex Trebek,” said Patrick of the “Jeopardy!” host who joined his radio show a couple of weeks ago in New York to give him some pointers. “There’s no fear of me ever taking his job. I’m just trying to consume all this information without taking Adderall or Riddlin. They did offer me a B-12 shot before the shows today and that would have helped if I didn’t have a phobia of needles. Maybe I could take it as a suppository?”

The “Sports Jeopardy!” series launches Sept. 24, and Patrick’s plans in L.A. this week are to tape 10 more episodes over the weekend before heading back to Connecticut, then do 12 more plus a two-day championship in January before seeing where it goes.

One of the people on his staff Howie Schwab, the former ESPN information know-it-all who at one time had his own gameshow “Stump the Schwab” a few years back.

“Even Howie will see a question here and go, ‘Now, that’s hard’,” said Patrick. “I consider myself upper-tier in sports trivia, but this will really humble you. So sometimes it’s good to have cold water splashed in your face to remind you of that. I’m getting my own ice bucket challenge here this week.”

More information at

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Play It Forward: Aug. 18-24 on your sports calendar — Who’s playing possum in the AL West?


Details/TV: Friday-Sunday, FSW and ESPN:
For whatever reason, the Angels continue to believe the magic of their Rally Monkey, going on more than a decade. Lately, the Oakland Athletics may have a stronger tie to their own new Rally Possum. Back on August 4 at the decrepit Oakland Coliseum, a place where sewage often backs up in the dugouts and rats hold conventions, a small possum appeared scurrying around on the warning track by the A’s bullpen. It held up the game, tied at 2-2 in the 10th inning, before vanishing under the stands just as the A’s Sam Fuld was coming to the plate. Fuld got a hit. Two more batters walked. And then with two outs and two strikes on him, Derek Norris pulled off the game-winning hit to beat Tampa Bay. Within minutes, fans were tweeting about the #RallyPossum.
080914_oak_possum_twitter_tiyozfoeFive days later, the possum made another sprint onto the warning track, just the A’s were amidst defeating the Twins, 9-4. Coincidence? “We’ll get behind anything,” said A’s first baseman Brandon Moss. “I love that kind of stuff … but then again, I’m kind of ADD … If the people in Anaheim aren’t sick of that rally monkey, I guess nothing gets old.”
mockup1Jeff Smardzija, obtained by the A’s from Chicago on July 4 to bolster Oakland’s staff, has benefited most from the possum appearances during his outings. “He knows when to show up – at the down times in the game. He must have a little ego on him, which I don’t mind. We’re going to have to give him a name, get him a jersey. We’ve got to keep feeding him.”
The Angels are hardly playing possum in the AL West race, finally catching up last weekend with some 40-odd games to play. The A’s have already won six of the first nine meetings, and there are four more to play in Anaheim at the end of this month, plus three more in Oakland in late September to really make this interesting. For this series, the climax on Sunday should put the A’s latest star pitching acquisition, Jon Lester, up against the Angels’ Jered Weaver. The series goes Friday (7 p.m.) and Saturday (6 p.m.) on FSW and Sunday (5 p.m.) on ESPN.

Before that, the Angels have to take a red-eye to Oakland after playing four in Boston. The Dodgers have a home series against San Diego and the New York Mets this week. The rest of the time we’ll see a Clippers Fan Fest on Monday, the conclusion of the 75th Little League World Series on Sunday, and in between, the Sparks start the WNBA playoffs, the Pacific Classic runs at Del Mar and the movie “When The Game Stands Tall” comes out about the Concord De La Salle football team, starring Jim Caviezel, below right, as coach Bob Ladouceur, left. Here’s a link to everything else.


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Media column version 08.15.14: How Ted Lasso loosens up the lackadaisical U.S. soccer folk

In the hopper for this week posted here:
We’ve not seen the last of Ted Lasso.
The Jason Sudeikis characterization of a former U.S. football coach who tries to revolutionize the English Premiere League has been expanded into a new NBC Sports marketing vehicle as the network’s coverage of the sport ramps up again on Saturday. We’ll look at what’s behind the campaign with some of Lasso’s “punditry” and how it continues to draw attention in this week’s column.

What could have been in there but will be more than happy to just exist here instead:

nbc-epl-topps== Don’t let your mom throw these away: Topps trading card company has partnered with NBC Sports to do a card package of EPL commentators. The “Season Starter Kits” have cards for Ted Lasso, as well as Arlo White, Rebecca Lowe, Robbie Earle, Kyle Martino and Robbie Mustoe.

== Also note that NBC has snatched the “Men in Blazers” show featuring Michael Davies and Roger Bennett, who started popping up during ESPN’s World Cup coverage earlier in the summer. The two will have a weekly Monday night show on NBCSN.

Continue reading “Media column version 08.15.14: How Ted Lasso loosens up the lackadaisical U.S. soccer folk” »

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Play It Forward: Aug. 11-17 on your sports calendar


Kerri Walsh Jennings and Whitney Pavlik celebrate their 2013 Manhattan Beach Open title.

Kerri Walsh Jenning, right, and Whitney Pavlik celebrate their 2013 Manhattan Beach Open title.

Details/TV: Men’s and women’s final, Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS Sports Net:
2013 Manhatttan Beach Open - ball and logo
Kerri Walsh Jennings, despite having won three Olympic gold medals and becoming the face (and body) of beach volleyball the last decade-plus, still has some work to do. She may have more career victories than any other female beach player in history. She could become the all-time leader in wins, male or female, and if that happens, it would be right around the time when the 2016 Rio Olympics take place. As for the Manhattan Beach Open – the most prestigious and longest-running tournament in the sport – she has won it four times. Pretty snappy, but that’s only fourth all-time on the list of women champs behind Linda Hanley (eight), Nina Matties and Kathy Gregory (seven each). With partner Whitney Pavlik, Jennings won last year’s MB Open, made all the sweeter because her husband, Casey Jennings, took the men’s title with Matt Fuerbringer in an upset over Sean Rosenthal and Phil Dalhausser. The Jennings family will get their bronze plaques put up on the Manhattan Beach pier in a ceremony Thursday that leads into the weekend competition for this 54th event, all the more special since the family lives in Manhattan Beach. This year, Kerri Walsh Jennings will be with current teammate April Ross and should be the top seeds. As the 39-year-old Matt Fuerbringer has gone back into retirement, Casey Jennings has been partnering with Avrey Drost, and the two had a nice showing at the recent FIVB event in Long Beach. Dalhausser-Rosenthal may not play this weekend because of a Dalhausser injury, but it will be a game-time decision. John Hyden and Tri Bourne will likely be the men’s top seed, with Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson seeded second.

The rest of the week includes the U.S. men’s national basketball team trying to get itself together with an exhibition in Chicago against Brazil (Saturday, 6 p.m., ESPN), the U.S. Amateur Golf Championship in Georgia, the start of the Premiere League and WWE SummerSlam at Staples Center. Read more here.

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