What will be coming up Sunday:
The 30 baseball book reviews for the month of April 2015 have been submitted for your approval, but one Q-and-A that we wanted to expand upon was with Ed Lucas, the blind writer/reporter covering the New York Yankees and Mets for YES Network and The Jersey Journal. He and his son, Chris, put together “Seeing Home: The Ed Lucas Story … A Blind Broadcaster’s Story of Overcoming Life’s Greatest Obstacles,” which may spur a movie version of Ed Lucas’ life, and was compelling enough for us to do more than just a review of the book.
In the meantime, the book’s website: www.seeinghomebook.com
What we need to get out there now with the major weekend of sports coming up:
== A frightening thought: Time Warner is coming out “in a stronger position, giving the company greater control over its destiny” after the failed merger with Comcast, writes the New York Times. Time Warner Cable is scheduled to report earnings today, “when industry observers will be looking for clues about whether the company plans to buy, sell or go it alone.” Now, Charter is doing the talking with a TWC merger, which, again, anyone who thinks they know how this will affect the Dodgers’ SportsNet LA distribution is just grabbing at air. But, people will read that and form opinions.
It’s still air.
Hall of Fame announcer Vin Scully says he would have been very uncomfortable if he had to announce a baseball game played in front of no fans.
Scully, who witnessed the 1965 Watts Riots and the 1992 L.A. riots during his 65 seasons in the Dodgers’ broadcast booth, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he thought it was a smart decision by Major League Baseball to have kept the public out of Camden Yards for safety and police staffing reasons when the Baltimore Orioles beat the Chicago White Sox 8-2.
Two games had been postponed because of looting and rioting around the ballpark. The turmoil prompted a citywide curfew and began hours after the funeral of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who sustained a fatal spinal cord injury while in police custody.
“I felt it was a very difficult assignment for everybody involved. But they made their decision,” Scully said.
“At least now it’s over, done, gone, and without any problems. That was the big thing. If there had been any demonstrations at all, there would have had to be a heavy police presence, which meant they would take the police presence away from where it should be. So I think it was a wise decision.”
The Orioles-White Sox game was shown live on MLB.com.
“My first thought was that it’s historical, if not hysterical,” Scully said. “But it would be very awkward for me. I rely a great deal on the crowd — because to me, the crowd adds all the necessary atmosphere. So not to have the crowd would be like missing your front tooth.”
== In light of those who are mounting extraordinary efforts to explore alternatives in how to see the Dodgers on SportsNet LA — with some even claiming to have the real answer, and then backtracking in what they were endorsing — more websites are trying to promote end-arounds to the Pacquiao-Mayweather pay-per-view TV model.
That’s a little too good to be true, don’t you think?
Time magazine notes that the Dish network is offering the fight free to those who sign up as new customers.
Or, as TMZ endorses, drive to Mexico.
== Because of today’s technology advancements in pay-per-view, here’s a take on why Pacquiao-Mayweather may be criticized for putting this fight off for so long, but financially, it will pay off even more, writes Bloomberg News.
== Here’s the difference in why Pacquiao-Mayweather is an easier media sell, but the sport itself isn’t.
It’s along the lines of what HBO’s Jim Lampley has said back in February to SI.com: “This is not a mass audience event. This is another large pay-per-view event. We actually shrink the audience to maximize the economic impact. If this smashes all records that’ll be 3 million plus homes. That’s dwarfed by people who watch other sports events … It will expand the degree of which boxing impacts the public discussion, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it expands the audience because of boxing’s economic delivery system is telescoping the audience. What might have a greater impact is what Mayweather’s adviser Al Heyman is doing in buying up time on a wide variety of networks in many decades. That might expand the audience for boxing to a far greater degree than just one fight.”
== Of all the media expended in covering the fight, this piece by the Washington Post about Nick Giongco, a 45-year-old sportswriter from the Manila Bulletin, kind of applies the icing. The media interviewing the media is where we’ve gone to find out even more than we need to know.
== Watch again the ESPN “Outside the Lines” piece done last Friday about Floyd Mayweather’s domestic abuse history, and you’ll maybe understand why ESPN employees such as Keith Olbermann and John Saunders and Sara Spain have said they will boycott watching Saturday’s fight. And then try to figure out what Stephen A. Smith has to gain by aligning himself unapologetic with Mayweather.
== Again, the dual-network broadcast set up for the fight has HBO’s Lampley as the agreed-upon blow-by-blow man, with Showtime’s Al Bernstein as the main analyst and HBO’s Roy Jones Jr. next to him. HBO’s Max Kellerman and Showtime’s Jim Gray are relegated to the locker rooms. Showtime’s James Brown is the “host.” Steve Farhood of Showtime and Harold Lederman of HBO are the unofficial scoring judges. Even more crazy, each network has its signature ring announcer at the event. HBO’s Michael Buffer will introduce Pacquiao; Showtime’s Jimmy Lennon Jr. will introduce Mayweather.
== In the aftermath of Saturday’s fight, HBO’s “The Fight Game with Jim Lampley” returns for a new episode on Tuesday at 10:30 p.m.
== Why the amazingness of Chicago seems to let those of us in L.A. wonder someday if the three-day TV production known as the NFL Draft would/could head this way (and why wouldn’t it with the NFL Network parked in the driveway already and ESPN’s LA Live studio right next to the Nokia Theatre).
== Meanwhile, the position we’ve held all along — who are the biggest losers in the NFL Draft coverage-of-hope telethon? The fans, as Michael Bradley points out in a Indiana University National Sports Journalism Center column. He writes: “(Fans) may like to wait, but what they are really sacrificing is the opportunity to find out what these reporters have learned. If they are holding back to ‘protect the shield’ during the Draft, what aren’t they telling us the rest of the year? The 2015 NFL Draft is about to begin, and the media is on the clock. Let’s see who has the guts to do it right.”
== NBC’s 1 p.m. pre-race coverage of Saturday’s Kentucky Derby goes with Tom Hammond in the main saddle, analysts Randy Moss and Jerry Baily, handicappers Mike Battaglia and Eddie Olczyk, the flitting around of and Larry Collumus calling the race. Rob Hyland is the producer. NBC Sports has increased its coverage of the event and all that surrounds it with more than 15 hours, incorporating NBC Sports Net on Saturday starting at 9 a.m.
== How much manpower is ESPN using this week on the NFL Draft, Pacquiao-Mayweather fight, Kentucky Derby … what are we missing? … Check out this boss chart they also worked very hard on to make their point.
Where’s their NHL Stanley Cup playoff coverage? Sorry, not on this radar.
== Silliest thing about this Vice Sports retrospective of the time 10 years when ESPN thought it could create and sell its own smart phone is watching anchor Trey Wingo trying to pimp it during what looks now like an aborted infomercial.
== A must-read by Craig Calcaterra of NBCSports.com’s Hardball Talk, wise enough to maintain his own blogspot so he can write this to warn those bloggers who don’t seem to understand that when they get bought up by a major corporation, you lose some freedoms … but also, if you’re not polished enough to be writing on that level, then stay in your own lane.
In this case, the blowback to the piece on SBNation-run Halos Heaven about Josh Hamilton took on a life of its own.
Mat Gleason, the SBNation writer who went under the byline Rev Halofan, has been since let by the company for violating guidelines and standards. Basically, no matter what you thought of the piece and the concept of free speech, SBNation’s “credibility” was really at stake here after a lot of major media people unleashed their own free speech and beat Gleason back with their own name-calling retaliation citing their own human decency standards.
== Joe Buck, Tom Verducci and Harold Reynolds may be together for the first time this season — we’d have to look that up — for the Angels’ game at San Francisco on Saturday (1 p.m., Fox Sports 1). Kevin Burkhardt, Mark Sweeney and Eric Karros are in the studio at 12:30 p.m., still without Pete Rose.
== And thanks to HallofVeryGood.com for this pull of a televised 1974 “Dean Martin Celebrity Roast of Hank Aaron.” The only one missing from the panel was Archie Bunker. Next week, the book “715: Reflections on Hammerin’ Hank and the Home Run That Made History” comes out. We’d like Al Downing to sign our copy.
== I want to give ESPN’s Shelley Smith all the best wishes of a safe return to the network while fighting breast cancer. It’s a triumphant moment for her.
== A track and field treat:The Pac-12 Network has the USC-UCLA dual meet from USC’s Cromwell Track and Field Stadium (Sunday, 4 p.m.), the first live event the net has done from the USC facility, which can be a completely trick proposition. Paul Sunderland, Dwight Stones, Tom Feuer and reporter Jill Savage call it.
== A special on the Pac-12 Networks debuting Sunday at 9 p.m. focus on “student-scholars” (as opposed to “student-athletes”) who have made a difference in a piece called “Conference of Champions.” UCLA’s Ryland Towne, a political science major who has helped with Special Olympics, and USC’s Kaitlin Mogentale, a graduating senior in Environmental Studies, are the two L.A.-based reps in the piece.
== It’s more than just a nice gesture by ESPN’s “E:60” to profile, and, in essence promote, a talent from another network with the first of a two-part profile on TNT anchor/play-by-play man Ernie Johnson, interviewed by Jeremy Schaap. The piece that debuted last Wednesday re-airs Sunday at 10 a.m. and Monday at 8 p.m. on ESPN2.
== Sports Illustrated is getting into the film business, with SI Films, as reported today by the Sports Business Daily, going “more squarely … in competition with ESPN, HBO and other producers of sports documentaries, and adds to other existing SI digital video efforts such as its daily program SI Now and its various initiatives each year around the Swimsuit franchise.” SI Group Editor Paul Fichtenbaum says: “This is a next logical step for SI, which has been in the storytelling business for more than 60 years.”
== And finally: Let’s make some TV — Our schedule says we’re heading to the set of Fred Roggin’s “Goin’ Roggin” tonight to tape two shows with foil Petros Papadakis, one that airs at the awesome Sunday midnight spot on Channel 4. They often also air on Saturday afternoons, but the NHL playoffs, Kentucky Derby and PGA event seem to be running interference. Side effects of “Goin’ Roggin” may include drowsiness, itching to change the channel and a rash of all other kinds of mental fatigue. Read the label.