In July 2013, a judge sentenced former Dodgers outfielder Milton Bradley to 32 months in prison and a year of domestic violence and anger-management classes after he was found guilty one month earlier on nine counts that included inflicting corporal injury on a spouse, assault with a deadly weapon (a baseball bat), criminal threats and brandishing a deadly weapon.
But he remains free pending a second appeal of his conviction. He hasn’t spent a day in jail.
And his former wife, Monique, died last September of strange physical ailments at age 33.
A haunting Sports Illustrated exclusive covering a 10-year period of the Bradley relationship is included in the new April 13 edition, and SI executive editor and senior writer Jon Wertheim, who co-authored the story with Michael McKnight, explains how the presentation of the “This Is What Domestic Abuse Looks Like” jarring piece came together in a Q-and-A with us.
What’s worth making a note of here and now:
== Full disclosure: We’ve been wavering internally on how to deal with this whole Dodgers-TWC-SportsNet LA-DirecTV disaster from long before Day 1.
We’ve been asked by plenty of readers for advice. We suggested sitting tight and riding it out.
With this story we did for Sunday’s editions on the distribution mess, we weren’t advocating you do anything illegal, just pointing out that some have creatively circumvented the MLB.tv restrictions and found a way to get the SportsNet L.A. feed through other means.
In a depression situation, you survive by whatever means you can.
We won’t say that Adrian Gonzalez’s three-homer game on Wednesday night was the straw that broke open the pack of Camels that we’ve put aside in case we needed to ease our nerves. But our son living in Pittsburgh and daughter in Portland could comfortably watch that same game on ESPN2. It was blacked out here as well as SportsNet L.A.
What it did was reinforce a tentative decision we made last week, just before Opening Day, that our household has resisted the option to switch to TWC long enough.
Our installation date is on April 15. It was scheduled far enough in advance to cancel it if we had second thoughts.
Right now, we don’t have any.
You’ve broken us down.
Send Bill Cowher over ASAP with his tool belt.
Nothing personal, DirecTV. We’re all in favor of protecting those who don’t want their monthly bills gouged an extra $5 just for a channel they don’t necessarily want. I’ve been a strong advocate for a la carte programming, even if the current bundling is less expensive but more expansive. I don’t blame TWC any longer for outbidding Prime Ticket, and others, for the TV rights to the Dodgers. If they weren’t going to pay this exorbitant amount, then try to pass it onto the viewers, someone else was.
We’re just finished with all this foolishness.
By dumb luck, we have the means and ability and live in an area where we do have a choice, yet we feel the anguish for those who don’t at this moment.
This is a selfish resolution, based on a quality-of-life issue, plain and not-so-simple.
We could keep waiting it out. We’re stubborn. But we’re also tired.
We can at least accept reality that, for now, we’ll bend. But we aren’t breaking the bank to do this. And we reserve the right to switch back if the numbers add up again.
The TWC promotional bundle currently out there actually makes financial sense when we consider that our household has paid for DirecTV as a separate entity, then had another service for phone and internet. The TWC package deal is reasonably less per month, has a stronger internet than our current Verizon provider and we understand we are substituting what has been premium customer service for one with a reputation that makes it one of the worst cable companies on anyone’s list.
But they’ve got the goods. And we’re hungry enough to bite.
Reluctantly. Regrettably. Not resourcefully.
I’m giving up on NFL Sunday Ticket? I haven’t bought it in years. I’m not a fantasy junkie. This doesn’t tap my veins.
I’m gaining SportsNet L.A. and — what do you know? — the Pac-12 Network. I’m keeping HBO and Showtime as well in the deal.
As a sports media writer, it’s not fair in many ways that I don’t have first-hand knowledge of the quality work that many have put into the SportsNet LA programming during its first year. But as a consumer, I can’t justify adding two TV delivery systems.
We listened to the post-game Dodger talk after Opening Day, and the first caller started to complain about the SportsNet LA distribution issue when he was cut off. The hosts decided that wasn’t what their show was going to be focused on. That’s an editorial decision AM-570 can make, but the fact is, at this point, they’re part-owned by the Dodgers. So you could say the team isn’t interested in hearing fan response on their own radio outlet.
What kind of message does that send?
Besides, the greater problem still isn’t being address in this whole situation. Even if SportsNet LA was available on every cable system, only those who pay a monthly cable or dish bill could afford to see it. Those who can’t afford the luxury of a cable or dish service would still be left in a black hole, unable to see any Dodgers game as it was in the prior Prime Ticket/KCAL Channel 9 construction. Think of all those intercity families who are asked to make a choice between food and cable, between rent or a satellite dish.
This is more moral and demoralization corrupt than anything the Dodgers want to admit to being an accessory of in this scenario, and someday, when this smoke clears, that will be the next debate.
You wonder what the citizens of Brooklyn once may have felt when the Dodgers finally did move away. Out of sight, out of mind. Some never recovered. These Dodgers are at a tipping point, and nothing any team executive says at this point (see this “exclusive” with CNBC where Dodgers CEO Stan Kasten laments that the situation) resonates with the customers. Just stop.
And stop using “if you want to hear Vin Scully” as a marketing ploy in this whole hostage situation.
Take off our blindfold, and give us a cup of dirty water. We surrender.
Unless something crazy happens before tax day, we’re going forward with the switch. Why wait’ll next year, as they used to say in Brooklyn, since we’re not even sure that’s going to come.
== Ratings for those who need ratings: The Dodgers’ opener had as many watching on TV than in the stadium, unless you were in an unmetered bar or restaurant or dorm room, and you weren’t counted.
== What do you make of this full-page ad taken out in Monday’s edition of the L.A. Daily News’ sports section, about “who owns Vin Scully”?
== Through Change.org, you can support a statue build in Scully’s honor, to be created by someone, and placed somewhere, at the cost of who-knows-what. Got any spare change?
== A Q-and-A with the Dodgers’ Hall of Fame broadcaster Jaime Jarrin, via PRI radio.
== Tommy Lasorda signs copies of his new book “My Way,” along with author Colin Gunderson, during a special event at Cal State Northridge on Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Matador Field, prior to the CSUN-UC Santa Barbara baseball game. A game ticket ($8) is necessary for entry, and book copies are for sale at the site. Lasorda also signs his book at the Barnes & Noble at the Grove in L.A. on Sunday at 2 p.m.
== As part of the two-day IMG World Congress of Sports summit at the JW Marriott in LA Live, sponsored by the Sports Business Journal/Sports Business Daily, a panel discussion Thursday morning centered on “the changing face” of the sports media.
The topic on the table at the start: Social media.
So there you had Jason Whitlock, the new editor-in-chief of the website-to-be-launched called The Undefeted by ESPN; Peter King, the senior Sports Illustrated writer, NBC NFL analyst and TheMMQB.com editor, Fox Sports sideline reporter Pam Oliver, and the recently retired ESPN executive editor John Walsh. (TMZ creator Harvey Levin was a no-show).
Whitlock: “My job as an opinion-maker and columnist, I look at social media as an opportunity to get my content out to people in a viral way, but I see social media, particularly Twitter, as something that’s pushing me and others in the wrong direction. I probably spend most of my time trying to fight the inertia of social media because it pushes you to have an instantaneous take and opinion. That’s not something I’ve ever really been that concerned with or interested in doing. … (I enjoy) more time to reflect and have a measured opinion. Social media pushes you (the other way). For what I’m doing, I’m fighting the good fight in my opinion not to bow to Twitter and social media.
“(Working at ESPN with more platforms), I’m less active in Twitter than when I worked at Fox Sports or AOL or the Kansas City Star, when I did feel more of a pressure to build a Twitter platform because I was looking for ways to get my content out. Right now, I don’t see Twitter as all that important for what I do …
“I tend, for good and bad, it’s gotten me in trouble, to treat Twitter as a joke. I don’t look for serious commentary there and I don’t put my serious thoughts there.”
King: “One of the things in our business, we are pulled in so many different directions now, out of necessity. In 2000, I covered the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis and I was one of 15 members of the media there. This year, I was one of 1,017. You have to basically say: How can I be different, what can I do that can be heard in this cacophony of crapola that is out there in the media these days? That becomes a challenge. … Today you’ve got to take social media and do it, but put it off to the side and don’t let it rule your life. You’ve just got to continue to do your job.”
Oliver: “I’ve resisted social media. I opened a Twitter account heading into the (latest NFL) season last year. I was influenced by a Long Island Ice Tea about this big (holds hands far apart). Now it’s been pointed out to me that I haven’t tweeted anything since November. I don’t really care for it. I feel like it takes away from what it is you’re trying to. And I don’t know how anyone has the energy for it. I feel like in some ways it’s an ego trip for a lot of people, building followers.
I haven’t gotten there in what I think is playing a game. If I have a conversation with (Giants coach) Tom Coughlin, and he mentions something about a player. Was he saying that for me to then run out and tweet it? I feel like there’s a fine line with this. Fox wants us more involved with Twitter, but so far I haven’t felt the need and it’s something that drives what I try to do with my job. We have to get back to where it’s pure. Journalism is pure. You don’t have to buy into every single thing that comes down the pike. I get the arguments on both sides, but me, I resist the whole thing. I’m in the grocery store and someone wants to take a selfie with me. As we started to pose, I noticed his video was actually running. Where are the boundaries? I’d like to let my work speak for itself. I don’t need to constantly say, ‘Look at me. Look what I’ve got.'”
Walsh: “Social media is a hey-day for future historians. It’s in its embryonic stages. We are living in an era that’s the greatest media era since the invention of the Gutenberg press. The idea we’re going to reach conclusions and have definitive answers about what social media is — you look at Twitter, well, is it promotion, advertising, content, news-breaking? It’s defining itself over a period of time. Future historians will look back and say: This is what social media meant to this era of American media. Right now it’s too early to judge. When something breaks, it’s too early to make judgments, but the consuming public want the answer to whatever questions breaking news puts forth for them. And those answers don’t come for sometimes days, weeks or months. It’ll be a long time before we really figure out what social media meant to this era.”
For those who need to know, Whitlock is 47 years old, King is 57, Oliver is 54 and Walsh just turned 70.
== Major props to KSPN-AM (710) program director Mike Thompson for going out to find more female co-hosts to rotate into the 10 a.m.-to-noon slot known as “ESPNLA Now.”
While ESPN.com reporter Ramona Shelburne has become a more regular when available, Thompson has also recently invited in former USC and Sparks star Lisa Leslie, Grantland.com editor and podcaster Juliet Litman and, this week, Cox Cable and RPV-TV reporter/host Maria Serrao, who, incidentally, works from a wheelchair since she has been partially paralyzed since age 5.
“It’s so important to have a talk station that is diverse in so many ways, opinion and style included,” Thompson said. “I’ve always seen Maria at the games so I thought I would give her a shot.
“Diversity and inclusion is a big priority for the company, but it’s good business in the format. I was impressed with Lisa. Juliet has game, too.”
It’s been awhile since the L.A. sports-talk market has had much of a non-male presence with an on-air personality — Lisa Bowman broke some ground in the 1980s with a run at KABC-AM (790) working with Bud Furillo and Tommy Hawkins and later with comedian Gabe Kaplan on KLAC-AM (570). Former Daily News columnist Paola Boivin did it for a couple years during the KMPC-AM (710) launch in the early ’90s. These days, Jeanne Zelasko holds down the early morning co-host spot at The Beast 980.
What’s the qualifications into picking a female to host in this market today?
“Being an old talk-radio guy that was in the format when it wasn’t just about politics, this is really all about the hosts,” said Thompson, who has programmed sports talk in L.A. off and on the last couple of decades. “Are they smart? Have a sense of humor? A little quirky perhaps? That applies to anyone you put on. There are plenty of folks of all shapes and backgrounds that fit that description. The listener has to be vested into them before the ‘topics’ discussed and I think it’s a disservice to the listener and the host to put someone on the air if they don’t have these things.”
Just prior to the last Super Bowl, ESPN Radio launched a weekend show where two very qualified females serve as co-hosts — Sara Spain and Prim Siripipat.
Would Thompson be daring enough to put local females in the studio to co-host an L.A.-only show?
“If I find the right talent — you bet,” he said. “I think we all need to take chances, be creative and find the next stars.”
== The Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) renewed a media rights deal with the NBC Sports Group that actually took the sport of beach volleyball nationally (outside of cable coverage) 25 years ago this year.
“With less than 500 days until the start of the Rio Olympics, we are excited to increase our coverage of this fan favorite Olympic sport,” said Jon Miller, President, Programming, NBC Sports and NBCSN.
Ten of the 17-plus hours of coverage this summer will be on NBC, with the rest on NBCSN, including live streaming on NBC Sports Live Extra. The Manhattan Beach Open, scheduled for Aug. 14-16, as well as the AVP Championships from Huntington Beach on Sept. 11-13, are likely included in this deal, but neither the network nor the AVP is ready to announce it yet. The AVP, based these days in Costa Mesa, plans a seven-stop tour that begins Memorial Day weekend in New Orleans.
== The Kings have decided it’s not worth their while to participate in the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs — their final home game Saturday at Staples Center has found its way to Channel 4 at noon with the odd combination of Sharks play-by-play man Randy Hahn and Kings analyst Jim Fox — yet NBC has lined up a massive array of broadcasters to use for the post-season this year, starting with the first game on April 15. Doc Emrick, Eddie Olczyk and Pierre McGuire remain the A-team for the ninth season together, with Dave Strader and Brian Engblom on the second unit that mostly gets assigned to Western Conference contests. Also this season, with as many as five games a night, NBC will use Kenny Albert, John Forslund, Gord Miller and Chris Cuthbert on play-by-play in the first round, with Bret Hedican and Joe Micheletti as inside-the-glass analysts. Coverage will go on NBC, NBCSN, the NHL Network and, for the first time since 1985, USA Network (instead of CNBC).
== The Pac-12 Network’s JB Long not only calls USC football’s spring game from the Coliseum at 3 p.m. on Saturday, but then heads over to the USC campus’ Dedeaux Field to continue the network coverage of the USC-UCLA three-game weekend baseball series, with Game 2 set for 7:30 p.m. He’s also doing Friday’s opener at 3 p.m., and Sunday’s finale at 2 p.m., with analyst Scott Erickson. Add to that Long’s assignment on Thursday when he worked with Holly McPeak to call two USC sand volleyball matches, one against Loyola Marymount and then San Francisco. He also called Tuesday’s USC-UC Santa Barbara baseball game from Dedeaux Field for the net.
== Eric Karros is joined by Kenny Albert and Jon Paul Morosi for the Angels-Kansas City game from Angel Stadium on Saturday at 6 p.m., the back end of a Fox Sports 1 doubleheader that starts the network’s MLB coverage for the season. Joe Buck, Harold Reynolds and Ken Rosenthal have the Red Sox-Yankees game in New York for the first game at 10 a.m. The FS1 pregame show returns at 9:30 a.m. with Kevin Burkhardt, C.J. Nitkowski and Frank Thomas.
== If you’ve missed some of the sixth season of “Gruden’s QB Camp” on ESPN2 — one episode features the “Monday Night Football” analyst grilling UCLA escapee Brett Hundley — most will replay at various times this coming week, including a compilation show Tuesday on ESPN at 6 p.m. that has Marcus Mariota, Jameis Winston, Bryce Petty and Garrett Grayson.
== HBO has confirmed a new 10-episode sit-com called “Ballers” will debut June 21 starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as a former football star who “tries to get his life on track in retirement while mentoring other current and former players though the daily grind.” The show was created by Steve Levinson (“Entourage” and “Boardwalk Empire”) with Mark Wahlberg and Peter Berg as two of the executive producers.
== John Strong, Alexi Lalas and Julie Steward-Binks are the Fox Sports 1 broadcast team on the Galaxy-Seattle MLS contest from StubHub Center on Sunday at 4 p.m.
== Your thoughts on how CBS/TBS’ three-man team did during the NCAA men’s basketball tournament Final Four and title game?
== The warmup to next week’s Grand Prix of Long Beach coverage has NBCSN doing the Grand Prix of Louisiana on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. Brian Till does play-by-play with Paul Tracy and Townsend Bell in the booth. Robin Miller, Marty Snider, Kevin Lee and Kelli Stavast are in the pits.
== Maybe it’s not an act of desperation, but it’s certainly starting to emote that scent.
To overcompenstate for having Marv Albert and Al Michaels do another Premiere Boxing Championship card on NBC — Saturday, at 5:30 p.m., live on Channel 4 — the network decided to toss in a side of Bob Costas as well, just so they can promote the fact it’s the first time these three have worked together on the same broadcast.
The three tenors? If they’re singing for their supper, sure.
We’d give you the names of the boxers competing, but why force you into an unnecessary Google search? One of them has the colorful nickname of “Irish” and another is “Kid Chocolate.” No, it’s not an episode of Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids.
Costas is on hand because this takes place in Brooklyn, and he’ll do a story on the “long and storied history of boxing in New York.” This forces Costas to come over to the Barclays Arena after calling Friday night’s Yankees-Red Sox game from Yankee Stadium for the MLB Network.
== And now, the “official” Pacquaio-Mayweather commercial is out:
== Do announcements involving the WWE belong on mainstream sports channels? While you ponder that, it’s been announced that USA Network will expand its WWE presence by bringing “SmackDown” on board in 2016, adding to its “Monday Night Raw” weekly series.