Weekly media notes version 07.02.15 — Is Fox vindicated for the investment in FIFA Women’s World Cup?


IMG_3663The plan for this Sunday’s weekly media column:

fox-sports-wwc-logoBefore the top of the fifth inning in Wednesday’s Angels-Yankees telecast on FSW, Alex Curry showed up in the right-field seats to promote the fact that Fox’s parent network would be carrying Sunday’s FIFA Women’s World Cup final on Sunday from Vancouver (Channel 11, 4 p.m.)
The fans chanting “U-S-A” didn’t even know who the opponent was going to be at the time. Why would that matter? Seems everyone has soccer fever.
Or is just proud to have something to root for on this July Fourth weekend?
We intend to dive more into how Fox has planned for this event, and how their execs and analysts view the entire tournament to date.

What’s worth getting out there now before the holiday weekend:

Bob Ley went to Vietnam for an "Outside The Lines" show “Made in Vietnam: The American Sneaker Controversy" in 1998. (Photo: ESPN)

Bob Ley went to Vietnam for an “Outside The Lines” show “Made in Vietnam: The American Sneaker Controversy” in March, 1998. (Photo: ESPN)

== Save the date: ESPN plans a one-hour special to mark the 25th anniversary of “Outside The Lines” on Tuesday at 4 p.m., putting Bob Ley in the host chair to look back at the body of work they have put together as the most thoughtful news-generated shows that the network has stuck with over all this time.
“I would like congratulate Bob Ley — and the whole team — on 25 spectacular years of OTL,” said ESPN President John Skipper in a statement. “He has established himself as nothing less than the Walter Cronkite of sports journalism, clearly the leading sports news host of the past quarter century. The range and quickness of his intellect, his ever-present curiosity and his persistent search for truth distinguish his work for ESPN and makes OTL a must watch.”
No matter what time they try to bury it on the weekend. At least, the Sunday-Friday show  has become a sustainable must-watch half hour that extends important conversations about the day’s breaking news and creating investigative piece as well (i.e.: The latest in the Pete Rose betting scandal that showed he placed wagers while as an active player, despite his denials).
We have lined up an interview with Ley prior to the launch of this show to talk more about it and his career to this point. Meanwhile, check out the hour-long piece that SI.com’s Richard Deitsch did with Ley back in mid-June.
Rose, meanwhile, reappeared today on FS1’s “MLB Whiparound” (4-to-5 p.m.) but didn’t address his latest re-entry point in the news. Host Chris Myers said Rose spoke live earlier and the video here on FoxSports.com would suffice as his reaction.
In the “FS1 exclusive” clip of eight minutes, Rose said he couldn’t talk about the ESPN report because of his pending reinstatement meetings with commissioner Rob Manfred, “and I’m sure those questions will come up” when the meetings happen “sometime in August, I hope.” Rose says he “wants to” answer those questions.
Today’s episode: The Angels front-office mess as we’ve been tipped off by this tweet:

== And as long as we’re reading outside or between the lines: What’s happening leading up to Keith Olbermann’s August contract renewal? Has he been asked to dial it back or else?

10668673_1636175849957136_8743250956206138712_o== Because the sports commentary art work of Jim Thompson has been one of our media pleasures going back to his days as a weekly contributor to the L.A. Daily News’ sports section in the 1980s and ’90s, and since he continues to riff on things that spikes his brain on his Facebook.com page (which also displays his incredible bronze work), we thought it was most appropriate to let this lawyer from Westlake Village properly frame why Bob Costas felt a need to apologize to Chicago Cubs pitcher Pedro Strope after calling a game on MLB Network last Friday.
And we apologize for not making it appointment television to hear him with Tim McCarver  after a 35-year absence as they call the San Diego-St. Louis game from Busch Stadium today at 4 p.m. on the MLB Network. They used to be partners on the NBC “Game of the Week” back in 1980. McCarver hasn’t done a national game since retiring from Fox after the 2013 World Series.

== ESPN’s parallel coverage of the Dodgers-Mets game from Dodger Stadium in Friday at 7 p.m. uses Jon Sciambi, Rick Sutcliffe and Doug Glanville — opposite of SportsNet LA’s telecast with Vin Scully.
Fox’s Channel 11 regional coverage of Saturday’s Dodgers-Mets game with the bastardized 4 p.m. start uses Kenny Albert, Tom Verducci, Harold Reynolds and Ken Rosenthal.
And ESPN, prior to its San Francisco-Washington game as its Sunday Night Baseball game (5 p.m.) announces the MLB All-Star lineups with a half-hour special at 4:30 p.m. with Karl  Ravech, Aaron Boone and Tim Kurkjian.

== For those with access: Jimmy Kimmel’s appearance on the next edition of “At Bat With Larry King” on SportsNet LA (Sunday at 5 p.m.) includes this comment about growing up as a baseball fan not in L.A. — but close enough: “My favorite sport is baseball.  As a kid I would listen to or watch every Dodgers game growing up in Las Vegas, and Vin Scully’s voice, for me that represents my childhood.”
His adulthood is represented by Clayton Kershaw trying to knock an apple off his head during an appearance a year ago (above clip), which Kimmel also explains to King.

51idSeVjLyL== From the new book by colleague JP Hoornstra, “The Dodgers 50 Greatest Games of All Time,” (Riverdale Avenue Books, 356 pages, $19.99 paperback/$9.99 Kindle), three current team broadcasters had major roles in games making it into the top 25.
That would be:
= Orel Hershiser’s NLCS Game 7 win over the New York Mets in 1988, at No. 24.
= Rick Monday’s game-clinching homer at Montreal to secure the NL pennant in 1981, at No. 14.
= Nomar Garciaparra’s extra-inning walkoff homer on Sept. 18, 2006, punctuating an 11-10 triumph that only came because the Dodgers hit back-to-back-to-back-to-back homers in the bottom of the ninth to tie it, at No. 6.

== And because any profile these days with Scully as a focal point seems to draw national attention, here’s one more from the Washington Post.

== And apparently Kirk Gibson is back in the Fox Sports Detroit Tigers’ TV booth, the first time he’s appeared since he announce he is battling Parkinsons and says he’s not scared of the process and has involved voice therapy.

IMG_3659== We understand the absolute need to be ready in the Fox Sports West production truck if an Angels pitcher has a no-hitter going — namely because play-by-play man Victor Rojas profusely refuses to acknowledge it by name, for fear of jinxing it because of his baseball upbringing. But when this graphic flashed on the screen for just a couple of seconds during the Angels-Yankees game on Tuesday night, we came to realize that it’s never too early to keep the audience informed.
For this, we thank the FSW crew.
And for the record, Angels starter Andrew Heaney kept that no-hitter going until Mark Texiera homered to lead off the second. Still, that, and one more hit, was all Heaney gave up through seven inning to get his first major-league victory.

Timbers.vsDCUnited.052911.CM045== Fox Sports, which cranks up the CONCACAF Gold Cup Tournament — some of which will be played at StubHub Center in Carson next week — also carries the U.S.-Guatemala tuneup match on Friday at 3:30 p.m. on FS1. John Strong calls it with Brian Dunseth and Katie Witham from Nashville, Tenn., and a pre- and post-game show with Brad Friedel, Alexi Lalas and Eric Wynalda comes from the Women’s World Cup studios in Vancouver.
Today, Fox named Strong, the voice of the MLS’ Portland Timbers, as the lead play-by-play man for the tournament’s U.S. games and the title game — a decision that should please his media supporters.
Friedel and Lalas will join him. Other play-by-play voices hired for the event include JP Dellacamera, Mark Rogondino, Steve Cangialosi, Keith Costigan and Glenn Davis. Analysts incluce former Galaxy star Cobi Jones as well as Warren Barton, Brian Dunseth, Stu Holden and Janusz Michallik.

== So with all that’s going on at FS1, why would the topic of cutting jobs come up now instead of adding them? It’s called rearranging, apparently.

22912801_SA== The activation of NBC’s 10-year NASCAR that it signed back in July 2013 finally arrives with Saturday’s coverage of the XFINITY Series Subway Firecracker 250 at Daytona Beach (NBCSN, 4 p.m.), followed by the Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 on the famed track under the lights (Sunday, Channel 4, 4 p.m.)
Rick Allen becomes the lead broadcaster with former NASCAR driver Jeff Burton and Daytona 500 champion crew chief Steve Letarte. The studio team hosted by Krista Voda includes Kyle Petty and Dale Jarrett as the key analysts. They are also using reporters Rutledge Wood and Nate Ryan around the track, and hired Marty Snider, Kelli Stavast, Mike Massaro, and Dave Burns to cover the pits and complete the 12-person on-air team.
“We couldn’t be more excited,” said NBC Sports executive producer Sam Flood. “Fifteen years ago, we did our first big race in the old NASCAR-NBC contract, and that was in Daytona, and we can’t wait to get back there to do it again.  For the last 15 years we’ve watched Fox set the gold standard and do a wonderful job building the sport, growing the sport and telling the stories of these amazing drivers.”

== Meanwhile, NBCSN says its coverage of the IndyCar MAVTV 500 from Fontana last Saturday averaged 512,000 viewers, making it the most-watched IRL race on the network since 591,000 saw the Grand Prix of Baltimore; 591,000 in 2011. The race was also up 83 percent over last year’s event at Auto Club Speedway, when it was the season finale on Aug. 30 and had just 280,000 viewers.

2332_top1== We can’t be sure: Is LeBron James really the next great actor of our time? Entertainment Weekly asks because apparently that’s what’s on our minds at this moment as the new movie “Trainwreck” comes out, which is not a documentary about the Cleveland Cavs’ NBA Finals performance.
BTW: Just saw Tom Brady in “Ted 2,” and it was kind of … you know … the air just went out of the theater.

== From an LARadio.com piece by contributor Alan Oda about John Ireland and Steve Mason, voted No. 8 in the annual LA Radio Best On-Air of 2015:
Both men value the importance of their support staff.
“A huge part of our success has nothing to do with us.  We have a team of people behind us that really makes this easy. Amanda Brown produces our show now, Dave Singer did it before her. They’re at the station long before us, and leave long after we’re gone. And I’m mentioning just a few. There are people in sales, traffic, promotions and a lot of other departments that make the show work,” said Ireland.
Mason added: “We have a great team. What all of us are attempting is a great big lab experiment. This station is old school. Cross talk. Free form talk. And Amanda Brown is a big part of it. Jay Corrales, our board op. is part of it. Michael Funches and Jared Diglio and all of our talent. Despite the joking, we are all rooting for each other. And our program director Mike Thompson is an eccentric genius. He loves radio. The history of it. He is the best program director I have ever worked with. Period.”
Ireland also credits the engineering team to help keep the show going. “At KSPN, I’m doing a lot of shows from the road.  Our engineering staff, led by Mike Tosch and Tim Ahern, is the best I’ve ever worked with. These guys can get me on the air from a hotel, and arena, a restaurant – you name it.”
dbmontereyfiOn that note, writer/webmaster/creator of LARadio.com Don Barrett announced this week that after three years of trying to find the proper platform to monetize and sustain the site, he can no longer make it happen and the site will be going away sooner than later.
As the site advertises, it is “the most comprehensive listing” of 6,000 who worked in radio in the L.A. market over nearly the last 60 years.
“Social media has forever changed the landscape of information distribution … It is just time,” wrote Barrett, a former movie executive. “The reason for this early announcement is to offer you space over the next few days to share your thoughts about the medium of radio … I am not soliciting self-aggrandizement about the website or me. This is about you and your memories of radio in Los Angeles.”

== The start and finish of the Tour de France goes to NBCSN (Saturday, 4 a.m., for Stage 1 in The Netherlands and the 26th stage in Paris on July 26 at 7 a.m.) Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen return as the primary voices, with Todd Harris and Bob Roll in the studio joined by former riders Christian Vande Velde and Jens Voigt.
Also pay attention to a daily feature on NBCSports.com called “Broken Spokes: Behind the Tour with Steve Schlager,” as the reporter gives, well, the broken stuff he comes across along the daily grind of peddling paragraphs.
A desktop subscription to NBC Sports Group’s digital coverage is available for $29.99, and a mobile subscription goes for $19.99. Find the app at http://tourdefrance.nbcsports.com/ 

== HBO has announced it has purchased the rights to the 2014 documentary “Back On Board: Greg Louganis,” and will air it on Aug. 4.
The 90-minute piece focuses more on how the current generation of sports fans who know the 55-year-old Louganis as an LGBT advocate might not know so much about how he became an Olympic gold medalist diver at the 1984 L.A. Games who came out as gay at a time when it wasn’t all that popular. Cheryl Furjanic has credit as director, producer and writer, with Will Sweeney as the writer-producer. The film has already won the documentary feature audience award at the ’14 Outfest Los Angeles Film Festival.
Perhaps this might will supplant in our brains that 1997 made-for-TV flick called “Breaking the Surface: The Greg Louganis Story,” based on Louganis’ autobiography and employing Mario Lopez in the starring role.

== Good to read colleague Mark Whicker’s piece on International Boxing Hall of Famer Jim Lampley for Ring.com.

== ESPN needed Stephen A. Smith to host “NFL Live” for a couple of shows this week, in the middle of summer, when people were on vacation, and there was no real news to deal with, and the Earth remained on its axis. For some.

==  A fitting obituary on former L.A. Herald Examiner sports writer Jack Disney.

MontyPythonsMeaningOfLifeMrCreosoteItsOnlyWaferThin== The 99th annual Hot Dog Eating contest on Saturday from Coney Island, N.Y., on ESPN2 goes live at 9 a.m. and is regurgitated with replays at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on ESPN2 and at 1 p.m., 4 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. on ESPN.
Need to know more?
This is the 12th year that ESPN has decided to consume this.
And the women’s champ will be live on ESPN3 at 7:50 a.m.
And Paul Page and Richard Shea are calling it.
And Joey Chestnut is going after his ninth straight title.
And now we’re full.

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