Play It Forward — Sept. 29-Oct. 5 on your sports calendar: An MLB postseason fit for a So Cal dentist

orenstein_Candyland-1949THIS WEEK’S BEST BET:


Details/TV: At Dodger Stadium, Game 1: Friday, 3:30 p.m., Fox Sports 1

Details/TV: At Angel Stadium, Game 1:  6 or 6:30 p.m., TBS

091114-mlb-2014postseason-pi-mpIf we’re going to continue to excite ourselves in this mental sweet spot and jump three giant steps head on the Candyland board in anticipation of the first World Series/Freeway Series title match up between the Dodgers and Angels, now is the time to check your insulin levels. Fill all cavities with realistic data and properly brush up on just what hurdles lie ahead before venturing through the Gumdrop Mountains. A year ago, the Cardinals became nothing more than a Molasses Swamp for the Dodgers, with Yasiel Puig’s meltdown coinciding with how  Clayton Kershaw’s final pitching performance felt like a root canal for the entire city. “That experience will help, especially since we have basically the same team,” Kershaw said Sunday morning before the final game of the regular season. “For me, personally, all of what happened will give me a better idea on what’s coming up.”  In nine post-season appearances (six starts), Kershaw has just a 1-3 mark and 4.23 ERA, with two of those losses to St. Louis a year ago. There’s no sugar coating the Angels’ three-year post-season drought, either. They may have the big-league’s best record going in, but there’s doubt if Josh Hamilton will be healthy enough. baseball-lollipopTo get through the Lollipop Woods here, make sure veteran ace Jered Weaver sets the tone in his Game 1 start. Weaver has a 2-1 career mark and 1.88 ERA in his division series appearances from 2007, ‘08 and ‘09.  The 18-game winner, who’ll next pitch on the day before he turns 32, has lost just three games since the All-Star break, one of them in what was essentially a tune-up against the Mariners in his final start. The Angels won 10 of the 19 meetings against Oakland this season as the two battled for the AL West title for a long while.

Continuing the NLDS for the Dodgers this week:
Game 2: At Dodger Stadium, Saturday, 6:30 p.m., MLB Network

Continuing the ALDS for the Angels this week:
Game 2: At Angel Stadium, Friday, TBA, TBS
Game 3: At Oakland/Kansas City, Sunday, TBA, TBS

AL Wildcard game: Oakland at Kansas City, Tuesday at 5 p.m., TBS
NL Wildcard game: San Francisco at Pittsburgh, Wednesday at 5 p.m., ESPN
NLCS: San Francisco/Pittsburgh at Washington, Game 1: Friday, TBA, Fox Sports 1
ALCS: Detroit at Baltimore, Game 1: Thursday, TBA., TBS


They’ve figured out that after USC plays Arizona State at the Coliseum on Saturday (4:30 p.m., Channel 11), then UCLA can play host to Utah at the Rose Bowl (7:30 p.m., ESPN), which also works well for those Westwood fans who celebrate Yom Kipper. plus the Lakers and Clippers start training camps. Need more? It’s linked here.

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Media column version 09.26.14 — Now if only TWC can get out of its own way on trying to give So Cal its Dodgers coverage

The post-game coverage of Wednesday night's TWC SportsNet L.A. game, as shown on KDOC-Channel 56, captured Dee Gordon jumping into the stands down the right-field line at Dodger Stadium to shower himself, and fans, with champagne.

The post-game coverage of Wednesday night’s TWC SportsNet L.A. game, as shown on KDOC-Channel 56, captured Dee Gordon jumping into the stands down the right-field line at Dodger Stadium to shower himself, and fans, with champagne.

The focus this week has become a two-part project:

It’s only been about six months since we’ve seen what a Time Warner Cable SportsNet L.A. telecast of a Dodgers game actually looks, sounds, tastes and smells like.
You digging in?
We’ve talked to pre- and post-game analyst Orel Hershiser and game producer Glenn Diamond about the productand why it seems TWC can’t get out of its way in trying to spread good will with its efforts to make the product available the last week of the regular season. The link to that column, which appears on A1 of today’s editions, is here.

In the sports section, we examine the need for a new “We Need To Talk” female-driven sports show that CBS Sports Net launches on Tuesday, as well as Fox Sports West/Prime Ticket vice president Steve Simpson talking about about how the Angels have fared this season without a lot of direct competition from Dodger viewers, and why it took so long for ESPN to suspend the guy who calls himself the “Sports Guy.” Again. The link to that column is here.

What will be relegated to blogospheric notations:

(Notes updated Friday morning:)

== Is Simmons a victim of his own un-edited star-system success? Ethics expert Kelly McBride at the Poynter Institute lays it all out there. And I’m in full support of Ed Sherman’s headline that classifies this as a classless rant by Simmons with a link to an updated and well-crafted response by ESPN ombudsman Bob Lipsyte.

== Phil Simms has to do a Washington-N.Y. Giants game tonight for CBS/NFL Network. And he’s standing behind his declaration of independence not to utter the nickname for the home team during the telecast.

== Mark Jones, Rod Gilmore and Jessica Mendoza have USC’s football game at the Coliseum against Oregon State on Saturday (ESPN, 7:30 p.m.)

== Morgana, the famous “Kissing Bandit” from the 1970s and ’80s, is the focus of ESPN “E:60” half-hour special to air Friday at 4:30 p.m. The network press release says she “breaks her silence” after 15 years, with the help of reporter Wright Thompson. A quick preview here with a clip that includes Dodgers manager Don Mattingly chiming on what she did way back when. Maybe ESPN got the idea for this from the 2013 documentary on her by Adam Kurland called “Always Leave Them Wanting More” that made it onto Morgana denied Kurland an interview:
morgana2== Are the Chicago Cubs next to launch into a team-own channel? They’re chewing on it.

Continue reading “Media column version 09.26.14 — Now if only TWC can get out of its own way on trying to give So Cal its Dodgers coverage” »

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Play It Foward — Sept. 22-28 on your sports calendar: How much longer do the Dodgers’ stretch the suspense?


Dodgers reliever Kenley Jansen goes cannon-ball into the Arizona Diamondbacks' pool after the Dodgers clinched the NL West last season at Chase Field. (Ross D. Franklin/AP)

Dodgers reliever Kenley Jansen goes cannon-ball into the Arizona Diamondbacks’ pool after the Dodgers clinched the NL West last season at Chase Field. (Ross D. Franklin/AP)

Details/TV: Dodger Stadium, Monday-Wednesday, SportsNet L.A., KDOC-Channel 56, ESPN:

Details/TV: Dodger Stadium, Friday-Sunday, SportsNet L.A. and KDOC-Channel 56:

If not now, then when? This game of playing capture the NL West flag was already a done deal a year ago. The Dodgers’ leap into the Arizona Diamondbacks right-field pool happened in game No. 153, giving them nine days to figure out how they wanted to approach the postseason circus. Tell us again how that turned out. This time, it could go down to all the way down to Fan Appreciation Day in game 162. Or, a sweep of the current second-place Giants may add up to something more productive. Especially with NL Cy Young lock Clayton Kershaw not only pitching the final game of the series, trying to record his 21st victory in his 27th start and end all the arguments about his MVP candidacy, but he would also be on regular rotation when October starts roll around. Closing out this thing at home also has this quirky twist – while the Dodgers have the best road record in all of baseball, they’re just five games over .500 at Dodger Stadium. To start the final homestand, Tommy Lasorda celebrates his 87th birthday on Monday, with Frank Sinatra Jr. set to sing the national anthem.
The series vs. San Francisco: Each night at 7:10 p.m. (games Tuesday and Wednesday also on ESPN)
The series vs. Colorado: Friday at 7:10 p.m., Saturday at 6:10 p.m., Sunday at 1:10 p.m.


hi-res-5675394_crop_northUCLA trips over to Arizona State for a Thursday night game (7 p.m., FS1), while USC stays up late to host Oregon State on Saturday night (7:30 p.m., ESPN); the 40th Ryder Cup heads to Scotland for some middle-of-the-night exposure starting Thursday; the Kings and Ducks practice against each other at Staples Center, and Santa Anita gears up for its Autumn meet that concludes with the Breeders’ Cup. The link is here.

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Media column version 09.19.14: What would you do if you were starting up a sports-talk radio station in L.A.? It’s news to KFWB

BxM0mAMCYAAb9ix.png largeWhat made it into the main event this week, linked here:
KFWB, the former “news 980” station, will finally complete its transformation to “The Beast” on Monday morning with a new all-sports lineup, most of it made up of local hosts surrounding Jim Rome’s syndicated CBS Radio show from 9 a.m. to noon.
Best of luck, Beastie Boys. (And girls, like Jeanne Zelasko).
Our top five suggestions on how to make this work in a market that can be somewhat fickle about its sports-talk of the last 20-plus years.

We also had this note that somehow got misplaced so we’ll run it here:

== Starting with Fox taking Saturday’s game against the Cubs at Wrigley Field (Channel 11, 10 a.m., with Matt Vasgersian, John Smoltz and Jon Paul Morosi), all but one Dodger game (Sunday at Chicago, only on SportNet L.A.) will be available on TV to Southern California viewers no matter what cable or dish provider they have, for as far as the team goes in the playoffs. The Time Warner Cable orchestration of having the final six regular-season games – it could be cut to five if Fox takes the last Saturday game – is small consolation to the season-long rights-fee issue that has seen nearly three-quarters of the region blacked out from Dodgers games in 2014, after the launch of the team-owned channel that has been handed off in distribution negotiating to TWC Sports execs. Consider these KDOC games a TWC walk of shame, especially after it has taken out full-page newspaper ads claiming that they are “putting fans first” with this arranged marriage. No irony in that the final telecast Sunday is of the Dodgers’ Fan Appreciation Day from Dodger Stadium. So this is how you appreciate your fans? Maybe during the KDOC broadcasts that interrupt its regular repeats of the old ABC sit-com “Cougartown” and starts with the three-game series against San Francisco on Monday, Vin Scully can do a retrospective of the season that most missed. What this KDOC coverage will eventually prove, as it includes the SportsNet LA pre- and post-game shows, is that this gesture should have taken place maybe in April, May and June – giving viewers a taste of what the coverage looks like and perhaps enticing them to switch over to TWC. You don’t miss what you never see, right? TWC plans more wraparound coverage of the Dodgers games in the playoffs as well. Looking forward, Dodgers’ playoff games would take place on ESPN (an Oct. 1 wild-card game), Fox Sports 1 or the MLB Network (during the NL Division Series) and then Fox-Channel 11 (during the NL Championship Series and World Series). The Angels’ involvement in American League playoff games would all be on TBS until the World Series that would begin Oct. 21 in Anaheim. And then KDOC can go back to claiming itself to be the home of the MLS’ Chivas USA squad.

What is relegated to becoming a mere footnote:

== The column we churned out earlier this week on the Time Warner Cable disingenuous decision to simulcast its SportsNet L.A. Dodgers games with KDOC-Channel 56.

7ac3b7bd711d7aaa95d9ce9b5f7d0dac_400x400== After working as a morning-drive sports reporter for 34 years, going back to KNX radio in 1981, Rich Marotta announced Wednesday that he’s retiring from doing updates on KFI-AM (640)’s Bill Handel Show. Marotta had been part of that show for the last 21-plus years. The former Kings TV analyst, inducted into the Southern California Sports Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2011, has also spent much of his time lately growing the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame that he founded a few years ago.
“The KFI job has been a fantastic experience, but now I’m going to get some sleep,” Marotta said. “I’m just happy because I feel I’ve done as well as I could, grew in a lot of areas, having lost too much on my fastball and I’m leaving on my terms — not being fired. This is a retirement from radio, but I’m also hoping to get back into the loop in TV boxing. I’ve had to turn down a few gigs in the last year and I know if you keep saying no, then pretty soon they stop asking. So I’m hoping promoters, producers and sports networks will work me back into the equation.”

== Why wouldn’t you support Dick Enberg for the Baseball Hall of Fame’s Ford Frick Award? Continue reading “Media column version 09.19.14: What would you do if you were starting up a sports-talk radio station in L.A.? It’s news to KFWB” »

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Thanks again, TWC and the Dodgers, for reminding us about just how little you care

7113c85e0fe01f3482bde6a7a0a61a4dIf the Dodgers are in the business of scrambling to do a little good will hunting during the last two weeks of the season, the announcement made by Time Warner Cable this morning that it has suddenly figured out a way to simulcast the team’s final six home games from its SportsNet L.A. feed to KDOC-Channel 56 between Sept. 22-28 could not be a more empty, condescending gesture.

Dodger fans should be considering another kind of gesture in reply.

Here’s more where that came from …




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