Weekly media notes version 04.24.15: On Bill Roth, Pete Rose, Jamie Horowitz, Steve Byrnes and ‘Life in a Walk’

What will post on Sunday:
New UCLA radio football and basketball play-by-play man Bill Roth says he still hasn’t submitted a formal resume to the school’s athletic department to apply for an opening that was given to him officially on Wednesday.
He really doesn’t need to dig up additional paperwork. His own website has pretty much all UCLA needed to know before agreeing to take him in from Virginia Tech.
So while he met with coaches Steve Alford on Wednesday, and Jim Mora on Thursday, and basketball and football players and other UCLA staffers in between, Roth goes back to Virginia to collect his things and prepare to move out to Southern California this summer and, perhaps, lock down the next 20-something years as the replacement for Chris Roberts.
We’ve got more on Roth aside from the announcement, as well as input from those who know of his work (surely, they are among his 12.5 thousand twitter followers that could use a new handle very soon). A video clip from LANG reporter Jack Wang of Roth talking about his arrival with several media members was posted on Thursday morning (above)

What we decided is worth posting now:

In early 2013, Pete Rose tried to make a TV comeback with a reality show about his life and fiance.

In early 2013, Pete Rose tried to make a TV comeback with a reality show about his life and fiance. It was not a hit.

== Fox Sports officials still aren’t certain when Pete Rose will make his first appearance in their Pico Lot studios to begin his latest media rehabilitation process, but the strange timing of an announcement about his signing last Saturday afternoon with vague details certainly got what Fox wanted — a quick reaction.
“So, yes, hiring Rose is a way for Fox to get the type of publicity that has not come with its hiring of any other studio analyst,” wrote the New York Times’ Richard Sandomir. “Fox’s message is clear: Come watch Pete Rose, the banished superstar who for many years denied gambling on baseball, the ex-con and the career hits leader. Maybe he’ll be outrageous. Maybe he’ll be revelatory. Maybe he’ll say something that will blow his chance at returning to baseball.”
maxresdefaultThe all-time MLB hits leader, who maintains a place in Sherman Oaks, signed a deal to make at least 25 appearances a year on programs including pregame and postgame baseball shows on Fox and Fox Sports 1 and on “Fox Sports Live.” New MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday that Rose would be allowed to participate in some way during the July 14 All-Star Game in Cincinnati, which Fox will televise.
ddddqdefaultJeremy Schaap, sitting in for Keith Olbermann on “Olbermann” during Monday’s show, noted this “probably isn’t how Rose thought his comeback would play out, sitting in a TV studio dispensing peals of baseball wisdom like some tough-guy Yoda, but you’ve got to start the road to redemption somewhere. … At 74, Rose is a rookie broadcaster … (a man) who was gold for the media for so long. But he also disdained those who made a living in words. When Jim Bouton was pitching for the Astros in 1970, it was Rose who got on the top step of the dugout and greeted the author of ‘Ball Four’ with the admonition: ‘(Blank) you, Shakespeare.’ Which, it could be argued, was a compliment of sorts. I, for one, am eager to welcome Rose to the community of sports TV. It seems only fair that one who provided so much fodder for so long — 50 years — should get his shot on the other side of the camera.”
And how soon they do forget: Rose once had a regular voice on L.A. sports-talk radio, on the SportsFan Radio Network, with Joe McDonnell as his co-host in the mid 1990s on KMAX-FM (107.1).

635651575906768262-022215-Spring-Training0867== Rose, a former Cincinnati Reds manager who got in trouble while in that position for his gambling habits, had to face the media on more than one occasion. Now is when we’d welcome his reaction to what current Reds manager Bryan Price has had to endure in the media following his F-bomb riddled response to reporters’ questions before last Monday’s game  (think: Tommy Lasorda’s opinion about Dave Kingman’s performance).
Here’s a report on what led to the five-plus minute tyrade from the Cincinnati Enquirer’s C. Trent Rosecranz, with more analysis by the Washington Post on how Price might want to make some adjustments to living in today’s media world of instant reporting.

Continue reading “Weekly media notes version 04.24.15: On Bill Roth, Pete Rose, Jamie Horowitz, Steve Byrnes and ‘Life in a Walk’” »

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Surprise: UCLA decides to go with Bill Roth, longtime Virginia Tech voice, as new radio play-by-play man

Bill Roth, right, with former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden at Wooden's Encino home. (Photo from www.billroth.us)

Bill Roth, right, with former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden at Wooden’s Encino home. “Several years ago, I had the opportunity to visit Coach Wooden,” Roth said. “The experience was second to none, and little did I know that a few years later, I would have the privilege of getting behind the microphone for the team he so dearly loved.” (Photo from www.billroth.us)

Bill Roth, who spent the last 27 seasons calling football and basketball at Virginia Tech, emerged as the new hiring for UCLA’s radio voice position, the school announced Wednesday morning.
The Pittsburgh native and Syracuse University graduate (Class of ’87) comes with the endorsement of IMG College, the North Carolina-based company that has the multimedia rights for UCLA, as well as Virginia Tech.
Roth replaces Chris Roberts, who called Bruins football and basketball on the radio for the previous 23 seasons.
“I am tremendously grateful, honored and humbled to be named the new ‘Voice of the Bruins,’” said Roth in a statement. “I have tremendous respect for the UCLA tradition, having grown up sitting in front of the television in awe of national broadcasts featuring UCLA teams playing at historic venues like Pauley Pavilion and the Rose Bowl. …
“Words cannot express how excited I am to be joining the Bruin family.  To be part of college sports’ most accomplished athletic program is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I cannot wait to be part of the next chapter of UCLA’s storied history.”
In a statement released through Virginia Tech, Roth said it “has been such an incredibly difficult and emotional decision to leave. I love Virginia Tech … We’ve been through so much together …
“Professionally, this is a phenomenal opportunity to work at another prestigious and championship-level program. … I am extremely excited about the challenge to work in the nation’s second-largest media market and to live in a true global city, Los Angeles. Personally, I have a dozen family members who live within an hour of Pauley Pavilion. I’m eager to see them on a consistent basis. Being close to my family was a major part of this decision.”
Roth, who arrived at Virginia Tech at age 22 and a year removed from Syracuse, will remain at Virginia Tech to call its spring football game on Saturday. UCLA also has its “spring showcase” game at the Rose Bowl on Saturday.
His first game will be when UCLA opens its football season at the Rose Bowl against the University of Virginia on Sept. 5.

Marv Albert, left, poses with Bill Roth during a Virginia Broadcaster of the Year presentation.

Marv Albert, left, poses with Bill Roth during a Virginia Broadcaster of the Year presentation.

“It’s not every day that you’re able to add a Hall-of-Famer to your program,” said UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero, a reference to Roth’s membership in the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame and Syracuse’s famous WAER Hall of Fame.
“Bill is as accomplished of a broadcaster as there is in this country, and we could not be more excited to have him put his stamp on UCLA games. I know our fans will appreciate Bill’s unique ability to paint a picture of the action with his words and, when everything is said and done, expect that Bill will more than live up to the legacy set forth by the many great UCLA broadcasters that have come before.”

Said Virginia Tech athletic director Whit Babcock: “While we are certainly sad to see Bill depart from Virginia Tech, we are sincerely happy for him and his family for this new opportunity. Bill forever will be a Hokie, no matter where he works, and we thank him for his tremendous service, professionalism and friendship. He has been such a beloved part of the brand and the fabric of Virginia Tech. He will certainly be missed. We will honor Bill and his 27 years of service by creating an endowed scholarship in his name.”
Roth is also an 11-time Virginia Sportscaster of the Year, as voted on by the National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association. He has also called games for the Richmond Braves (the Atlanta Braves’ Triple-A affiliate) and ESPN on NCAA baseball, lacrosse and kickboxing.
Roberts called his last game for UCLA on March 27, the Bruins’ loss to Gonzaga in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Sources had indicated that front-runners for his replacement were San Diego Chargers’ play-by-play man Josh Lewin and former Fox NFL and Bruins defensive back Ron Pitts.

== A sampling of Bill Roth’s work at www.billroth.us

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30 baseball books for April ’15, Day 22: Mashing for Mashi, and the Giants’ Japanese pitcher who opened the door in the 1960s

On Masanori Murakami Day at Candlestick Park in 1965.

It’s Masanori Murakami Day at Candlestick Park in 1965.

The book: “Mashi: The Unfulfilled Baseball Dreams of Masanori Murakami, the First Japanese Major Leaguer”
The author: Robert K. Fitts
The vital statistics: University of Nebraska Publishing, 256 pages, $28.95
Find it: At Amazon.com, at BarnesandNoble.com, at Powells.com

EEE9780803255210_p0_v2_s600The pitch: Maybe you noticed in Tuesday’s Dodgers-Giants game, Nori Aoki went 2-for-5 with a stolen base out of the San Francisco lead off spot, raising his average to .344 and messing with Dodgers pitcher Brian Anderson in all kinds of ways.
The 33-year-old left fielder, all of 5-foot-9, was part of the Kansas City Royals’ AL champion team last season. He played for the Japanese League’s Yakult Swallows from 2004-09 before the team posted him  to Major League baseball after the 2011 season. The Milwaukee Brewers won the posting and signed him to a two-year-deal, making Aoki the first Japanese player to be acquired through this process.
“First name is Norichika, but they cut it down to Nori,” Vin Scully noted on the SportsNet LA broadcast. “Aoki … leading the club with ‘A’.”
Scully also noted his father is an insurance salesman, his mom is a piano teacher and he actually started his young as a pitcher but moved to the outfield when he attended Waseda University, where he majored in “human science.”
The Giants’ free-agent signing last off season of Aoki, who swings the bat from the left side with as much deft precision as former Japanese star and future Hall of Famer Ichiro Suzuki, was pretty much under the radar.
So now flash back 50 years ago, when the Giants really made some news with a Japanese player signing of Masanori Murakami.
On page 97, author Fitts writes about how “Murakami mania swept through San Francisco” in the week after his 1964 debut for the Giants – something of a fluke, actually, as the 19-year-old was just there with a couple of his teammates from the Japanese League to play for San Francisco’s Fresno farm team on loan and ended up being good enough to promote.
For five straight days, the San Francisco Chronicle chronicled his promotion, as did the Pacific Stars and Stripes, Oakland Tribune and Sporting News – right at the height of the 1964 Summer Olympics taking place in Tokyo.
Timing is everything.
The timing of Fitts’ book about why Mashi lasted just through the last half of ’64 and then stuck around for the 1965 season but didn’t come back – it was a sense of obligation, or giri, to his former Japanese League manager and team, which caused him to turn down a lucurative $30,000 deal from the Giants, who couldn’t guarantee that he’d be in their starting rotation – makes for a stunning “what if?” mystery that nicely plays into the Dodgers-Giants rivalry as well and into the context of how Japanese players have made their marks in the “big leagues” since.
Mashi’s MLB career consisted of just nine games in ’64, and 45 more in ’65. His only starting assignment was on Aug. 15 – Murakamai Day, as celebrated by the Giants, just four days after the Watts Riots erupted in L.A. Continue reading “30 baseball books for April ’15, Day 22: Mashing for Mashi, and the Giants’ Japanese pitcher who opened the door in the 1960s” »

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30 baseball books for April ’15, Day 21: Mystery (maybe) solved … Dodgers, Giants are most wanted

That's Bruce Willis, with a baseball bat, from the movie "Pulp Fiction." No, it just doesn't add up.

That’s Bruce Willis, with a baseball bat, from the movie “Pulp Fiction.” No, it just doesn’t add up.

The book: “Mystery Ball ’58: A Season-Long Whodunit”
The author: Jeff Polman
The vital statistics: Grassy Gutter Press, 266 pages, $12.99
Find it: At Amazon.com, at Barnesandnoble.com, at Powells.com

51SKRUZSBRLThe pitch: The mystery isn’t how the San Francisco Giants won the World Series last year.
Or two years prior.
Or two years prior to that.
It’s why I decided to try to slip a pulp-fiction novel into this whole mess of book reviews.
As the Dodgers and Giants face off today for the first of 19 meetings — and six times in the next 10 days — we’re asking for your help in resolving these mysterious circumstances.
Polman, a Culver City-based writer, caught our attention with this paperback because of a blurb written by Sports Illustrated’s respected Joe Sheehan: “Jeff Polman’s latest combines the Golden Era of Baseball with the Golden Era of Pulp to produce a page-turner and must read for anyone who likes ‘Clubhouse’ or ‘L.A. Confidential’.”
Josh Wilker, the acclaimed author of “Cardboard Gods” gives it a thumbs up, too, touting the “cracking dialogue.”
The premise: Snappy Drake, a former minor-league pitcher who works as an usher at Seals Stadium, finds a dead body in the grandstands after the Giants’ opening day against the Dodgers on the first day of big-league West Coast baseball.
An L.A. Herald Examiner reporter sneaks up to his house to see what he knows.
The “ball-noir” novel is off and running.
Except, we’re just not following it. Not as we anticipated. It’s just not resonating as we had hoped.
Dialogue, if you please:
“Paid my tab and hiked down the hill to my walk-up at 15th and Van Ness. The usual clammy fog was rolling in from South Bay. The thick kind that makes even mailboxes looks spooky. I hiked to the tip of my creaky wooden steps and stopped. A woman stood there in the shadows. I couldn’t see her face but the perfume she was wearing convinced me she had to be a looker. What I could see was a cloud of cigarette smoke blowing toward my face from where her head must have been, and a smart navy skirt that showed enough leg to keep my toes stapled to the porch step.
“ ‘Mr . . . Drake?’
“ ‘You could say that.’
“ ‘I hear you found that body after the game yesterday.’
“ ‘Yeah? Says who?’
“ ‘I was in the papers.’
“ ‘Too bad I don’t read ‘em. Can I help you?’
“She dropped her cigarette, pulverized it with the high red heel, and emerged from the shadow.”
What evil lurks in the hearts of this man? We will probably never know because we haven’t been drawn to finish this to the “Casablanca”-like conclusion. Continue reading “30 baseball books for April ’15, Day 21: Mystery (maybe) solved … Dodgers, Giants are most wanted” »

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30 baseball books for April ’15, Day 20: Warning — Objects may appear to be a bigger deal than they should be

Dodgers' lefthander Tommy John was pitching against the  Atlanta Braves on Opening Day 1978 after his landmark elbow surgery.

Picture this: Dodgers’ left-hander Tommy John was pitching against the Atlanta Braves on Opening Day 1978 after his landmark elbow surgery. He didn’t have to elbow hard for space in the new Josh Leventhal book.

The book: “A History of Baseball in 100 Objects: A Tour through the Bats, Balls, Uniforms, Awards, Documents and Other Artifacts that Tell the Story of the National Pastime.”
The author: Josh Leventhal
The vital statistics: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, 496 pages, $29.95
Find it: At Amazon.com, at BarnesandNoble.com, at Powells.com

The pitch: The objective of this book of objects is based on history.
Baseball final coverThat is, the history of books like this that have done well for the readers.
The 736-page “History of the World in 100 Objects” back in 2011 by British Museum director Neal MacGregor was stunning in its dual simplicity, presenting the importance of the Rosetta Stone to David Hockney paintings in both visuals and the written word.
The Smithsonian’s” History of America in 101 Objects” in 2013 went 784 pages – apparently there’s more to what’s in the U.S. than in the world to cover.
A “History of New York in 101 Objects” that arrived in 2014 was much more readable and eclectic in 336 pages — starting with the introduction to the Fordham Gneiss, the oldest rock known in the area which the island of Manhattan has as a foundation.
The sports world, especially baseball, has plenty to choose from in a visceral display of its life story, and those selected by Leventhal, who has previously produced high-quality books such as “Take Me Out to the Ballpark, “The World Series: An Illustrated History of the Fall Classic” and “Baseball Yesterday & Today,” go a wide range for obvious reasons.
As he writes in the intro, this isn’t just sifting through the basement of Cooperstown and finding stuff that interests us – although that could be a whole other reality TV show for the MLB Network.
“This book is not the history … of objects. Rather it is an exploration of the game of baseball as told through the equipment, documents and other artifacts that illustrate its key eras and events.”
Take Item No. 72 in your program, under the “Expansion” collection: There’s Tommy John’s elbow, “circa 1974.”
No, not something on Dr. Frank Jobe’s cutting room floor, or even a photograph that explains why the surgery that the Dodgers’ lefthander endured has changed the game as far as medical breakthroughs. It’s just a photo of John throwing. Which is comfortably fine.
But when you pinpoint that as a seminal moment in the sport, then it somehow becomes an “object” up for closer examination, which is the purpose of this exercise. In the four-page explanation, there is much more detail, including a look at the modern-day thinking that this surgery has become an “epidemic.”
Continue reading “30 baseball books for April ’15, Day 20: Warning — Objects may appear to be a bigger deal than they should be” »

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