It’s Out of the Question: Buffalo wings it to Detroit, and L.A. goes dark again in NFL decisions

Workers clear snow from the field at Ralph Wilson Stadium on Sunday in Orchard Park, N.Y. Snowed out at the stadium, the Bills are in Detroit to play their "home" NFL game against the New York Jets on Monday night.  (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

Workers clear snow from the field at Ralph Wilson Stadium on Sunday in Orchard Park, N.Y. Snowed out at the stadium, the Bills are in Detroit to play their “home” NFL game against the New York Jets on Monday night. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

Catch any of that chill blowing through Los Angeles this weekend?

That’s the NFL giving us the cold shoulder. Again.

Before Buffalo shuffled off to Detroit to play its previously under-the-Doppler radar Week 12 contest against the New York Jets of New Jersey, the result of more erratic climate-changing snowfall in the N’East, why didn’t anyone at the league offices even considered sending Orton Party of 52 to our sleepy little outpost instead?

If only to demonstrate how much the city and/or league misses each other’s in-the-grasp moments?

Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus speaks with the media after practice at the Detroit Lions' indoor  training facility in Allen Park, Mich., on Saturday.  (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus speaks with the media after practice at the Detroit Lions’ indoor training facility in Allen Park, Mich., on Saturday. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

The good ol’ Coliseum, unused and unspoiled this weekend, may have even filled to beyond half capacity with just L.A.-transplanted fans of two N.Y.-area teams. They could have even made a nominal donation to get in.

In Detroit, they’re giving all the tickets away for free for anyone who wants to attend the Monday night matinee at Ford Field. First come, first serve.

And L.A., you’ve been served again.

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Media column version 11.21.14 — The Jackson family values start to tug on allegiances during USC-UCLA week

43ad60cd35874a9567bf051101683a9eWhat made it into this week’s media column, posted here:

John Jackson will be on the sideline for Saturday’s USC-UCLA game at the Rose Bowl. Not the John Jackson who’ll be in the radio booth on the Trojans’ coverage for the rivalry game on KSPN-AM (710).
imagesIt’s his son, John III, a freshman at Mater Dei high school — who has accepted a recruiting invite from UCLA. Bruins baseball coach John Savage wants to gauge his interest in the program, even though the Class of 2018 member and starting quarterback on the freshman football team has yet to start his high school baseball career. The Jackson Family Values will be a topic of discussion here, as well as John II’s approach in covering this contest 25 years after he left the USC program.
Jackson’s week isn’t just focused on USC-UCLA — he  also has to be in Valencia on Friday night to call the Upland-Hart CIF-SS high school football quarterfinal playoff game for Fox Sports West at 7:30 p.m.

What is best suited to be read in this spot:

Continue reading “Media column version 11.21.14 — The Jackson family values start to tug on allegiances during USC-UCLA week” »

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Q&A: Al Michaels books his career journey on growing up wanting to be like Scully but discovering other ‘Miracles’ along the way instead

 

Are they trying to get Al and Linda Michaels on the Staples Center "Kiss Cam" during a Kings game?

Are they trying to get Al and Linda Michaels on the Staples Center “Kiss Cam” during a Kings game?

If Al Michaels had decided to write a book about his life as network broadcaster just five years ago, it would have been missing the ultimate opening chapter.

LARGE0062314963The autobiography that comes out Tuesday called “You Can’t Make This Up: Miracles, Memories and the Perfect Marriage of Sports and Television” ($28.99, HarperCollins, 288 pages) leads off with Michaels recounting the joy he and three generations of his family encountered sitting at Staples Center on June 11, 2012 – watching the Kings win the first Stanley Cup in franchise history.

It reminded him about how he felt about sports as a 6-year-old growing up in L.A., where he eventually attended the first Kings game in 1967 back at the Long Beach Arena.

He wrote:

“I’ve covered a couple of thousand sports events all over the world. I’ve called Super Bowls and World Series and NBA Finals, the Summer Olympics, the Winter Olympics – and have hosted the Stanley Cup Final. A number of years ago, a colleague at ABC figured out that I’ve appeared on live prime-time network television far more than anyone in history. But from day one, I’ve always tried to follow the advice the legendary sportscaster Curt Gowdy once gave me: Don’t ever get jaded.

“The Kings have helped take care of that. … When I go to a game, I don’t bring a media credential – I bring a ticket. I don’t have to prepare notes or try to gather nuggets of information in the locker room beforehand – I go straight to my seat. When I’m on the air, I work to be impartial. With the Kings, I can just be another fan who lives and dies with a team.”

SMALLBzO8USsIEAATn21 The Kings have thanked him not once, but twice now with special Stanley Cup visits to his home in Brentwood, so he and wife, Linda, their families can prolong the celebration.

Michaels, who turned 70 last week, could have been the Kings’ first colorman had owner Jack Kent Cooke not given the job to long-time friend Ed Fitkin to partner with Jiggs McDonald in the late ‘60s. In fact, Michaels once told us the story about how when he moved to L.A. as a 14-year-old in 1958, CBS did a game of the week and “I couldn’t wait for it. That was the only fix.” The Western Hockey League finally came to the L.A. Sports Arena.

But still …

“There was this annual thing that Gil Stratton used to do at Channel 2 every year where he’d read a letter asking Santa for certain things, and incorporate letters from viewers,” Michaels once told us. “I wrote a letter to Gil in 1959. And for some reason I didn’t use my real name. I signed it ‘George Exmont.’ I wanted Santa to bring us a National Hockey League team. He read it on the air in his newscast. My brother (David, five years younger) and I went wild. I loved Gil, because he was the only guy in town that gave you an NHL score.”

That story actually didn’t make it into the book. It was a story Michaels told us some 20 years ago for a piece we did on him for a Kings game program.

But Michaels, in his ninth season calling “Sunday Night Football” for NBC after 20 years of “Monday Night Football” for ABC,  remembers many other moments when the course of TV and sports history could have gone on a different path. He explained in a Q-and-A:

539wQ: We’ll skip to a chapter near the end of the book: You describe a meeting in a restroom with Lakers owner Jerry Buss. It’s 2003, at halftime during the Lakers-Spurs Game 5 playoff game — the Derek Fisher, 0.4-second finish – and you’re in San Antonio covering it for ABC with Doc Rivers as your analyst. Buss isn’t sure if Phil Jackson is going to come back to coach after the season. Rivers, fired from Orlando just a few games into that season, just agreed to coach the Boston Celtics the next year. So you run into Dr. Buss, and he admits to you that if Rivers hadn’t signed with Boston, he’d have been his first choice to coach the Lakers if Jackson left – which he did eventually. You’ve got this piece of information, finally decide to tell Rivers about what Buss said . . . and he gets quiet. “You know, I’m not sure if the ink on that Celtics contract is totally dry,” Rivers says. Did you think he might have changed his mind and gone after the Lakers job had things played out differently? Continue reading “Q&A: Al Michaels books his career journey on growing up wanting to be like Scully but discovering other ‘Miracles’ along the way instead” »

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Play It Forward Nov. 17-23 on your calendar: As far as city ownership goes, UCLA’s claim is USC’s issue

1385873743000-USP-NCAA-Football-UCLA-at-Southern-California-001THIS WEEK’S BEST BET:

USC at UCLA
Details/TV: Rose Bowl, Saturday at 5 p.m., Channel 7:
7945776The master scoreboard shows UCLA has won just 30 of the previous 83 meetings. But since Bruins coach Jim Mora has figured out a way to go 2-for-2 in his first two seasons running the program, there are no doubts left about any kind of monopoly swing. “UCLA runs L.A. now,” Bruins quarterback Brett Hundley could say with supreme confidence after he threw for 208 yards and ran for two touchdowns in a 35-14 win at the Coliseum last season — UCLA’s biggest margin of victory over USC since 1970 in a game where the Trojans came in favored by a field goal. Perhaps as a direct result of that, USC has its third different head coach on the sidelines in the last three years for this matchup.
Uscvictorybell-thumb-500x375-8722UCLA’s jump from No. 18 to 11 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings, perhaps changing for the better when the latest is announced Tuesday, plus its home-field advantage, gives it a reasonable favored status — a field goal, by most oddsmakers. Plus, all that recent history thing, too. What other incentive is there to win? UCLA takes this one, and the last one against Stanford, and it wins the Pac-12 South. USC wins this one, and Arizona State loses one of its final two games, and the Trojans have the division title.

THE BEST OF THE REST:

GalaxyMLS PLAYOFFS: WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS:
GALAXY vs. SEATTLE:
Details/TV: Leg 1: At Seattle, Saturday at 2 p.m., ESPN:
In the Landon Donovan-lives-to-play-another-round scenario, the Galaxy yielded the right to have home field for the second leg by losing to the Sounders in the season finale, 2-0, on two late goals by second-half substitute Marco Pappa. A 2-2 draw forged with Seattle in the next-to-last game of the season just a month ago came after the Galaxy had carved out a 2-0 lead at halftime. In their playoff history, the Galaxy have won the two previous series against the Sounders in 2010 and 2012.

BOXING: MANNY PACQUIAO vs. CHRIS ALGIERI
Details/TV: At Macau, China, Saturday at 6 p.m., HBO PPV ($69.95)
A month before this scheduled date to defend his WBO welterweight title, Pacquaio was playing in a pro basketball game in his native Philippines. “After he does (this fight), if he wants to try out for the New York Knicks, that’s OK with me,” said promoter Bob Arum. The 35-year-old Pacquaio (56-5-2, 38 KOs), still the lone congressional representative from the Sarangani Province of the Philippines, said basketball is good training for his footwork and balancing. Besides, the games are on Sunday, and he’s not training for fights on Sunday. Algieri (20-0, 8 KOs) always has his bachelor of science degree in Health Care Management and a Masters degree in Clinical Nutrition to fall back on. Chew on that.

Also:
The Clippers must figure out Chicago (Staples Center, Monday at 7:30 p.m., Prime Ticket) before heading out on a seven-game, 11-day road trip that starts in Orlando, Miami and Memphis …Long Beach State meets up with UCLA at Pauley Pavilion (Sunday, 7 p.m., Pac-12 Net) after facing Xavier and Kansas State … More at this link.

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It’s Out of the Question: When is class in session for USC-UCLA game?

Joyce and Tom Jackson hang out in the Rose Bowl tailgate section  before the UCLA-USC game in 2012.  (Hans Gutknecht/Staff Photographer)

Joyce and Tom Jackson hang out in the Rose Bowl tailgate section before the UCLA-USC game in 2012. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff Photographer)

Aren’t you the guy who got your really nice blue-and-gold UCLA jacket kinda messed up trying to jump-start my car after someone pushed it into a golf-course sand trap next to the Rose Bowl on a dark and rainy night after a football game a few years back?

200_sMa’am, can I thank you again for the way you cleverly passed your Trojan hat around Section 21 at the Coliseum that time when you  realized I had just ordered a half-dozen hot dogs from a vendor for my family, but I apparently lost my wallet when I was just up at the restroom and I couldn’t pay the bill, so you rallied a bunch of USC fans around me to help with donations?

Maybe you can question the loyalty of a UCLA or a USC fan during rivalry week. But nothing rivals those actions-speak-louder-than-words moments when respect, integrity and dignity cross over all that cross-town battle babbling.

But now we need words, so here’s this week’s call to action as the 84th edition of this Game that Prefers to Be Nameless comes up in Pasadena: In 84 words or more, can you give us a story about someone who fits the bill of an upper-crust, ambassador-at-large supporter for either the Bruins or Trojans football programs? First-person, third-person, or any person accounts of something recalled that might help re-establish etiquette standards leading up to and surrounding this contest?

Maybe this request stems from apparent systemic problems that ridiculously come up this time of year, mostly presumed to be student-conduct issues – you may have seen that the Joe Bruin statue on the UCLA campus was already sprayed “SC runs LA” in red paint. The answer is to put the giant bear back “in hibernation,” surrounded by plywood. The coach John Wooden statue is also under duct-taped wraps, just like the Tommy Trojan statue on the USC campus. Student guards are posted to sleep overnight on a constant watch, because the surveillance cameras pointed everywhere can’t catch everything.

Oh, those wacky pranksters. No harm, no foul. Hardy har hijinx.

We’re still dealing with this felony vandalism garbage?

qx8ofgh7tbhe1oql2ambYou’ve now been charged with finding the moral compass in the haystack. Apparently there aren’t enough examples of what sportsmanship looks like. Kids being kids doesn’t cut it.

So, tell us your experiences of a USC-UCLA moment when someone made their mark doing something with class instead of crass.

Pledging allegiance to the Trojan Republic or Bruin Democracy is not so much about how you’d like to be remembered. Isn’t this more about how you should not be forgotten?

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