Media column version 10.31.14 — Fox best find new serious dance partners for 2015 Series

Erin Andrews re-tweeted this photo  -- kids dressed as her interviewing Seattle's Richard Sherman. Andrews called it "awesome!"

Erin Andrews re-tweeted this photo — kids dressed for Halloween, one hass her interviewing Seattle’s Richard Sherman. Andrews called it “amazing!” We’re kind of spooked that a parent would allow this as an acceptable way to scare away evil spirits. The whole thing appeared on the Washington Post’s website, and included a costume for a kid who wanted to be Bob Costas with pink-eye during the Winter Olympics.

What made up this week’s sports media column, linked here:

B1Knv3DCIAAeO1q.jpg largeIs that John Smoltz warming up in the Fox bullpen, hoping to get a start by the 2015 MLB season? Or our binoculars as out of focus as Harold Reynold’s anaylsis?
After all the stuff we’ve digested during the just completed 2014 World Series, the Fox and baseball friends network might want to reconsider its deployment of a) Harold Reynolds and b) Erin Andrews, or else c) just run the whole event on Fox Sports 1 so fewer can find it. Go the link above for more brilliance on that topic.

What was decidedly more noteworthy in this particular spot:

== Our best Twitter keepers when it comes to instant analysis of Reynolds’ analysis during Fox’s World Series coverage: Continue reading “Media column version 10.31.14 — Fox best find new serious dance partners for 2015 Series” »

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Play It Forward: Oct. 27-Nov. 2 on your sports calendar — Clippers are the visitors against the Lakers in the first regular-season meeting, so where does Ballmer sit?

Clippers owner Steve Ballmer throws T-shirts into the crowd during the team's exhibition game at Staples Center last week against Phoenix. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Clippers owner Steve Ballmer throws T-shirts into the crowd during the team’s exhibition game at Staples Center last week against Phoenix. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

THIS WEEK’S BEST BET:
NBA: CLIPPERS at LAKERS
Details/TV: Staples Center, Friday at 7:30 p.m., ESPN, Prime Ticket, TWC SportsNet:

Adam Silver’s silver lining to swapping out Donald T. Sterling for Steve Ballmer in the NBA hierarchy is that everyone wants a piece of the new guy now in a good way. During an appearance on Jim Rome’s Showtime show recently, Ballmer tried to explain why he’s trying to get fans to commit to arriving early and helping the players get all geeked up before the game starts, even if there’s this tradition of arriving late because of difficult traffic around Staples Center:
“We’re comin’ baby – we’re committed, we’re focused, we’ve got one of the most outstanding teams and we have one of the most outstanding coaches, we’re gonna support this team, starting with me and through the fan base, we’ll be the best can be and we’re gonna get after it totally, 100, 200, 600 percent – boom – and we will have the best year we know how.”
image001There has been no rebuttal posted from the current Lakers ownership family – maybe only a subtle reminder that this is a Lakers’ home game, so not even Ballmer will get that customary courtside seat he’s been getting used to in the preseason. Ballmer’s $2 billion payoff may be personal – it’s allowed him to squeeze into a Clippers jersey (with a heavily bandaged right shoulder) and get on the cover of Bloomberg Businessweek magazine under the headline “Basket Ballmer.” Get it? The 6-foot-5 Detroit native may not be ready to ask Doc Rivers for some playing time – at 58, he’s no doubt a little Microsoft on defense. So let’s see how many Clippers fans come to this one on Halloween night dressed up as him.
The rest of Staples Center is convinced they’ll see Kobe Bryant dressed as the Black Mamba. “I think Kobe is going to have an unbelievable year,” said TNT analyst Greg Anthony. “I don’t know if we’ve ever had a player whose skill set has evolved as well as his has. You go back before his injury and he had his most efficient season ever. He’s at a state in his career where he can match his intellectual talents with his athletic ability to compensate for what he’s lost individually. He is up there in years, but his skill set will offset what he has lost athletically.” So if the Lakers open against Dwight Howard and Houston on Tuesday (Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., TNT), you’d guess Bryant would sit out the next night in Phoenix (Wednesday, 7 p.m., TWC SportsNet) before this first of four meetings with the Clippers during the regular season. This game turns out to be on the wrong end of a season-opening back-to-back scheduling trap for Ballmer’s ballers, after they start Thursday against Kevin Durant-deficient Oklahoma City (Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., TNT).

Among the national opening night matchups of note:
Dallas at San Antonio: Tuesday at 4 p.m., TNT
Chicago at New York: Wednesday at 4 p.m., ESPN
Oklahoma City at Portland: Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., ESPN
New York at Cleveland: Thursday at 5 p.m., TNT

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE REST OF THE WEEK:

Even though both are 3-year-olds, California Chrome and Shared Belief have never raced against each other, but they will finally do so in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita (Saturday, 5:35 p.m., Channel 4) … UCLA matches up against Arizona at the Rose Bowl (Saturday, 7:30 p.m., ESPN) while USC goes to Washington State (Saturday, 1:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network), and then the first College Football Playoff committee Top 25 poll comes on (Tuesday, 4:30 p.m., ESPN) … The Kings start a nasty five-game road trip in Philadelphia (Tuesday, 4 p.m, FSW) that includes stops in Pittsburgh, Detroit and Carolina … UCLA is told it can use Pauley Pavilion finally for an exhibition basketball game (Friday, 7:30 p.m. vs. Azusa Pacific) … and  its year three for the Formula 1 U.S. Grand Prix, in Austin, Tex.

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It’s Out of the Question: The NFL’s interest in L.A. (again) is on a need-to-know basis

Remember about 10 years ago, when one of the plans to bring the NFL back to L.A. included a modernized Coliseum? Neither do we. What happened to that plan?

Remember about 10 years ago, when one of the plans to bring the NFL back to L.A. included a modernized Coliseum? Neither do we. What happened to that plan?

No one questions the National Football League’s intent here — some way, some how, some day, it wants to transplant a franchise back into lucrative Los Angeles, supplement every current owners’ retirement nest egg and apologize for losing the key to this major-city restroom stall that hasn’t been occupied in two decades.

The question here has do to with its long over-due diligence.

how-to-take-a-testCheck your spam file. You may be one of the unlucky ones asked to waste valuable college football viewing time to answer an NFL-commissioned a questionnaire emailed out to a reported 2,000 “potential customers” to gauge their inner-most dreams, fears, fantasies, turn-ons and turn-offs.

Maybe Victoria Secret should have been behind this instead of Roger Goodell?

It’s a survey that, frankly, is too vague. A bit condescending. And, if you read between the lines, leaves more questions about how of a financial commitment we’re going to be blindsided with down the road.

Before we even think about taking this eHarmony relationship back to the any next level, we have some more pertinent questions: Continue reading “It’s Out of the Question: The NFL’s interest in L.A. (again) is on a need-to-know basis” »

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Media column version 10.24.14: Considering the (un)source of the ESPN ‘hit piece’ on Kobe Bryant

JEANIEWhat made it into this week’s column, linked here:

So there was Lakers president, governor and valued Buss Family Values member Jeanie Buss at the crack of dawn this morning, invited onto “SportsCenter” and “The Herd” and “First Take,”  to give a counter-point to the ESPN piece that Henry Abbott negotiated about the life and times of the franchise as it relates to Kobe Bryant’s self-centered existence.

JEANIE2“Any free agent that would be afraid to play with Kobe Bryant is probably a loser and I’m glad they wouldn’t come to the team,” she said in one felled soundbite. “I read the story, I don’t agree with any of it. If there is somebody that’s on our payroll who is saying things like that, I’ll soon get to the bottom of it and they won’t be working with us any more. That is an unacceptable comment, especially when it’s anonymous. I don’t buy any of it, I don’t agree with any of it and I have no doubt that Kobe will make people regret every saying (those things)..

“I don’t like reading that kind of stuff, I don’t want to hear about it. The Lakers fans know what Kobe is about and they quickly defended him as did many other people.”

Our own first, second and third take of the ESPN “hit piece” is what we’re focused on this week, now posted.

What will be content with being included in this list of noteworthy achievements:

E102714COVERPROMO

== ESPN’s justification for putting Chicago’s Derek Rose, not Bryant, on its NBA preview issue (but note the misleading headline refer at the bottom of the cover).

cover5== Remember when Bryant was a staple for ESPN magazine covers (including the very first one in 1998, with Alex Rodriguez, Kordell Stewart and Eric Lindros? What happened there?): Continue reading “Media column version 10.24.14: Considering the (un)source of the ESPN ‘hit piece’ on Kobe Bryant” »

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Play It Forward: Oct. 20-26 on your sports calendar — The wildness of a World Series that no one saw coming

Kansas City Royals base runner Alex Gordon (4) takes a lead off first against San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner  during their regular-season meeting on Aug. 8 in Kansas City. The Royals swept three from the Giants. (Photo: Peter G. Aiken-USA Today  Sports)

Kansas City Royals base runner Alex Gordon (4) takes a lead off first against San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner during their regular-season meeting on Aug. 8 in Kansas City. The Royals swept three from the Giants. (Photo: Peter G. Aiken-USA Today Sports)

THIS WEEK’S BEST BET:
110th WORLD SERIES:
GAME 1: KANSAS CITY vs. SAN FRANCISCO
Details/TV: Tuesday at Kansas City, 4:30 p.m., Channel 11:

The Royals’ Salvador Perez celebrates his two-run home run in the fourth inning in front of San Francisco Giants catcher Andrew Susac on August 10 at Kauffman Stadium. (Photo: John Sleezer/The Kansas City Star)

The Royals’ Salvador Perez celebrates his two-run home run in the fourth inning in front of San Francisco Giants catcher Andrew Susac on August 10 at Kauffman Stadium. (Photo: John Sleezer/The Kansas City Star)

Before the 2014 MLB season even launched, Vegas Insider had the Kansas City Royals at a generous 50-1 odds of winning the World Series. A pre-season preview by BleacherReport.com was a bit more generous: 35-1. “The Kansas City Royals’ last World Series title in 1985 was also the last time the team reached the postseason,” the post read. “If they can avoid the offensive struggles that plagued them in the first half last year and someone steps forward at the back of the rotation, they have an outside chance to snap that playoff drought in 2014.” They struggled offensively, no one stepped up in the back of the rotation … and here they are. The Giants were 25-1 World Series favorites by Bleacher Report, but just 20-1 by Vegas. “The good news is that Matt Cain looked like an ace once again in the second half (last season) … a bounce-back season from newcomer Michael Morse could be enough to make the offense a legitimate weapon. There are a lot of questions, but if nothing else, it’s an even-numbered year, and the Giants have done pretty well in those of late.” That last assessment, at least, turned out to be legit in describing how the Giants survived without the injured Cain or Morse. All in all, a double wild-card World Series is a first since the Angels knocked out the Giants in 2002.

Giants mangaer Bruce Bochy comes out to challenge an umpires call during the series against the Royals in August. (Photo: John Sleezer/The Kansas City Star)

Giants mangaer Bruce Bochy comes out to challenge an umpires call during the series against the Royals in August. (Photo: John Sleezer/The Kansas City Star)

This is also the first time two teams have been in the final round without 90 regular-season wins (in a non-strike-shortened season). There could be something to the fact that they played each other – a three-game series Aug. 8-10. The Royals, right in the middle of winning 12 of 13 from July 30 to Aug. 11, beat Madison Bumgardner 4-2 the first night, had James Shields pitch a four-hit, 5-0 shutout against Tim Hudson the next night, and capped it off with a 7-4 win over Tim Lincecum – with Greg Holland saving the first and last games. The average attendance for that weekend series: Just more than 30,000 in the 37,901-seat Kauffman Stadium. Maybe they should move this to nearby Arrowhead Stadium (79,400). Oddsmakers have made the Royals a 5-6 favorite, perhaps because of the home-field advantage afforded them by Mike Trout’s All-Star MVP performance in leading the American League to victory. So you can’t say the Angels, who helped ushered the Royals through their 8-0 playoff run, haven’t played a major part in this.

The series continues (all on Channel 11):
Game 2 at Kansas City: Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.
Game 3 at San Francisco: Friday at 4:30 p.m.
Game 4 at San Francisco: Saturday at 4:30 p.m.
If necessary: Game 5 at San Francisco: Sunday at 4 p.m.
THE REST OF THE WEEK INCLUDES:

USC, now the only Pac-12 team with four conference wins, hits the road to Utah  (Saturday, 7 p.m., FS1), as the 5-1 Utes come off a double-OT win at Oregon State last week … UCLA shouldn’t get altitude sickness in a game at Colorado (Saturday, 11 a.m., Pac-12 Network) … The Kings end a six-game home run with contests against Buffalo (Thursday, 7:30 p.m.) and Columbus (Sunday, 1 p.m.) … and the last of the NBA exhibitions are over when  the Lakers face Sacramento in Las Vegas (Friday, 7 p.m.) and the Clippers are at Staples Center against Portland (Friday at 7:30 p.m.). Here’s how it lays out.

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