The annual story that’s not news until it’s actually breaking news is starting to break down our defenses.
Why hasn’t Vin Scully announced yet whether he’s coming back to call games for the Dodgers in 2016?
Because. It’s his prerogative. The biggest name in Dodgers’ history always has that right of way. We yield. … It’s easy to get caught up in hand-wringing about why many still can’t hear Scully call games on the Dodgers’ new TV channel for the last two season. But there isRick Humphrey, a graphic artist living in Torrance who grew up in near Palos Verdes’ Lunada Bay and has worked for years at an aerospace company in El Segundo — just a short toss away from those SportsNet L.A. offices.
He has channeled his talents into something much more creative and productive. This illustration above serves as an illustrious tribute to Scully, that Humphrey would like to see raise money for the Dodgers’ Dream Foundation and give resources back to the inner-city in Scully’s name. More of the story here …
Glory Days:It’s Chris Marlowe and Paul Sunderland calling the 1992 Manhattan Beach Open (above)
What we have planned for this weekend’s edition:
Chris Marlowe wasn’t the first voice of Olympic beach volleyball when NBC brought it into the gold-medal area some 20 years ago at the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta.
NBC had assigned him and Paul Sunderland, teammates on the U.S. gold-medal-winning 1984 team at the L.A. Summer Games, to the indoor volleyball venue.
Instead, it was two other SoCal based broadcasters — Randy Rosenbloom, with former beach legend Kirk Kilgour — who planted the flag at that beachhead. Bill Walton was there, too, as a sideline reporter.
Considering all that Marlowe and Sunderland had accomplished as a broadcast team in delivering the sport as a TV commodity to that point with their stellar and colorful Prime Ticket coverage in the 1980s and ’90s, it’s easy to assume they’d have been there to help usher the sport into this new TV era.
“I don’t think anyone really realized how big the beach event would become from that particular tournament,” said Marlowe, who, since then, has called the beach game during the 2000, ’04, ’08 and ’12 Games, and is already signed up to do the 2016 event in Rio.
In an extended Q-and-A we’ve done with Marlowe, who a week after doing the AVP’s Manhattan Beach Open is back to call this weekend’s Long Beach World Series of Beach Volleyball and the FIVB Grand Slam finals, he reflects on when the sport stepped up its game to become an Olympic-quality TV experience.
Many of the top men’s beach players at the time were involved — Karch Kiraly and Kent Steffes were the first gold-medal winners, with Mike Whitmarsh and Mike Dodd taking the silver and Singin Smith out of the medal round — but others who brought the sport into this Olympic realm were either past their prime or not interested. For that matter, the U.S. women didn’t even gain a medal in 1996, but now it supports one of the strongest pools of talent in the world.
Marlowe, who won a gold medal at the 1984 Summer Games in L.A. as captain of the U.S. national indoor team, talks about how that transition went:
Chris Marlowe and Jim Menges won the 1977 Manhattan Beach Open. Photo: BVBInfo.com
Many of those players back then had a choice of playing on the beach in the summer or devote their time to the U.S. national indoor team, which was basically a full-time job. Some of the greats of all time didn’t get a chance, sure. They were at the tail ends of their career and you always wish some of the older guys from the ‘60s and ‘70s had made it. I’ll never forget Ron Von Hagen telling me the difference between beach volleyball players of today and yesteryear. Those today are called “professional” because they make money. Those from long ago are “beach bums” because they didn’t make the money. The sport has certainly changed. The way players go about it is much more professional with trainers, accountants, coaches. All in all, it’s been a very good progression. The reason there isn’t a great pipeline in men’s volleyball is the most outstanding players are overseas indoors or on the U.S. men’s national team. They can make so much money in places like Russia or Italy or Korea, some getting half-million dollar contacts. They can’t afford to pass that up. Some U.S. national team players could be on the beach today, as the prize money and sponsorship is coming back. But now, it’s just not as strong as it was in the 1980s and ‘90s. It’s starting to regenerate. It’s headed in the right direction.
What’s worth serving up to the masses at this point in the week:
Chris Marlowe, right, with Kevin Wong open the NBC coverage of the Manhattan Beach Open last Sunday.
== The complete TV schedule for the Long Beach World Series of Beach Volleyball goes this way as Marlowe works with Kevin Wong and Dain Blanton:
Saturday’s women’s and men’s semifinals are on Channel 4 at 1:30 p.m. (replayed on Universal Sports at midnight, 1 a.m. and 2 a.m.).
The women’s bronze medal games is on Universal Sports Sunday at 10 a.m., with the gold medal game at 11:30 a.m. on Channel 4. The men’s bronze medal game is at 1:30 p.m. on Universal Sports on Sunday, with the men’s gold medal game at 3 p.m. on Universal Sports.
Universal Sports also replays the women’s final (Sunday, 11 p.m.) and NBCSN replays the men’s final and third-place game (Tuesday, 4 p.m.)
Adrian Healey has been calling soccer at ESPN since 2003 and primarily on MLS games since 2011. (Photo by Scott Clarke / ESPN Images)
== If you’ve bought into the premise that Sunday’s MLS match up between the Galaxy and the expansion New York City FC (noon, ESPN) is, on paper, the most start-studded contest in the league’s 20-year history, you won’t get play-by-play manAdrian Healey to contradict that.
And not because he’s paid to be the one giving the match all the context it needs for those who may not understand the financial repercussions of these two rosters.
“It’s hard not to argue that, in terms in genuine star power on both sides,” said Healey as he arrived in L.A. to begin prep work having been to Seattle and Chattanooga, Tenn., to call matches for the network prior to this trip.
There are six Designated Players in this one – the Galaxy’s Steven Gerrard, Robbie Keane and Giovani Dos Santos, going up against the New Yorkers’ David Villa, Andrea Pirlo and Frank Lampart – with a combined salary of $29 million. Considering all are healthy.
The closest thing Healey can compare this two was in 2011, when he called matches between the David Beckham-led Galaxy (who also had Landon Donovan and Keane) and the New York Red Bull with Thierry Henry.
“But this one has taken it to a whole new sphere with all the stars involved — six of the top 13 paid players in the entire league.”
Galaxy forward Robbie Keane (7) drives past San Jose Earthquakes goalkeeper Jon Busch (18) to score in 2012.
Other MLS teams, and fans, may be tuning in just to hope the two super teams fail. Can someone watch this with a twinge of jealousy?
“In any sport and league, when New York and Los Angeles meet, you expect big stars,” said Healey. “Every team has the opportunity to do what these franchises have done, but they just don’t have the financial resources.It is a bit of a double-edge sword, but in a league with a tiny salary cap, you’d hope they recognize that the rising tide lifts all boats and this makes it an important matchup on the national scene.”
If one were to consider this a possible MLS Cup matchup in December, that would mean a lot of team chemistry improvement takes place over the next few months.
“The Galaxy is much closer to the finished article, and Bruce Arena has been doing this for eight years and has an amazing track record for melding superstars with the rank and file,” said Healey. “Nobody does a better job of that with him. NYC is a totally different situation starting from scratch. Jason Kreis knows how to win and has done it before, but a successful year for NYC would be just to have a presence in the postseason. That would be their mission accomplished.”
== The latest with ESPN’s “The Undefeated” website? The New York Times’ Richard Sandomir has circled back to sadly note that two months after the removal of Jason Whitlock as its founding editor: “The current plan is to post one piece a week until a launch that may not happen for several more months. Many, including those inside and outside ESPN, have begun to wonder if it will happen at all.”
We’ll keep this one short:
“Few men have made an initial splash into the world of baseball as Eddie Gaedel did in August 1951,” wrote Brian McKenna for the Society for American Baseball Research’s historical biography project.
It was something of a tiny splash, of course. Gaedel was just 3-foot-7. He wore the number 1/8. And he drew a walk in his only official MLB plate appearance for the St. Louis Browns on Aug. 19, 1951.
To mark the 64th anniversary of that plate appearance and what it a big deal it has become for people over the years, the L.A. Chapter of the Eddie Gaedel Society and the Baseball Reliquary will observe “Eddie Gaedel Day” on Wednesday from 7:30 to 10 p.m. at Griffins of Kinsale, a traditional Irish pub in South Pasadena.
You may even get to see Gaedel’s athletic supporter. For real. Here’s more info.
Stop by and raise a pint to Gaedel. Or even just a half pint. (Our remote connection to Gaedel? We share the same June 8 birthday. And he died just 10 days after I was born. And I continue to have a phobia of … “little people” … is that the proper term? I’m trying to overcome it).
Kent Steffes, left, and Karch Kiraly acknowledge the U.S. national anthem after winning gold in the first Summer Olympic beach volleyball competition at the 1996 Atlanta Games.
THIS WEEK’S BEST BET: FIVB $800,000 LONG BEACH WORLD SERIES OF BEACH VOLLEYBALL GRAND SLAM FINALS Details/TV: At Los Alamitos Beach across from the Long Beach Arena, Sunday at 1:30 p.m., Channel 4: The celebration off Shoreline Drive has amped up to become one of the most anticipated six-day events of the Southern California summer, after things begin Tuesday, this year’s celebration takes on a distinctive Rio flavor as anticipation mounts for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil. Amidst the competition, Friday has been set aside for a Brazilian-themed barbecue and a party that commemorates 20 years of beach volleyball as an Olympic sport. The four gold medalists from the Atlanta 1996 Summer Games – Team America’s Karch Kiraly and Kent Steffes as well as Jackie Silva and Sandra Pires from Brazil – will be the guests of honor. In last year’s event, Phil Dalhausser and Sean Rosenthal won the men’s division, but this year, Dalhausser has recently teamed up with Nick Lucena – winners of Sunday’s Manhattan Beach Open — as they pursue an Olympic qualifying spot.
Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross celebrate their 2014 Long Beach World Series of Volleyball title.
Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross won on the women’s side last year, and Jennings says she’s rested up from recent a shoulder separation that kept her from defending her title at the Manhattan Beach Open, and she will be shooting for her fourth straight championship in Long Beach. In addition to the top-notch play of the professionals, this also celebrates the men’s and women’s six-person game, the four-person co-ed teams, the college game and youth leagues. The Long Beach event is one of five important FIVB Grand Slam tournaments this year, and Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson are the only U.S. team, men or women, to win one as teams from Brazil have dominated both divisions. Lucena is the only American to gain any traction in 2015 as far as overall points as he and former partner Theo Brunner finished fourth at the FIBA World Championships last July in the Netherlands. The men’s and women’s gold-medal matches take place Sunday, with the quarters and semifinals on Saturday (11:30 a.m., Channel 4).
More info on schedule: www.WSOBV.com
THE REST OF THE WEEK:
The Angels play host to the newest World Series favorite, the Toronto Blue Jays, with three games on Friday, Saturday and Sunday on FSW, while the Dodgers go on the road to face the AL West’s Oakland and Houston … The Galaxy’s Sunday home contest (noon, ESPN2) becomes a star-studded affair against the new New York City FC … The 69th Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa., has Sweetwater Valley near San Diego as the West Region representative, starting Thursday … the 115th U.S. Amateur Open at Olympia Fields in Illinois includes recent British Open challenger Paul Dunne … More information at this link.
Carlos Cecchetto, Gabrielle D’Addario and Chris Marlowe look at mementos set up at the memorial service Saturday morning for Lou Riggs, the former Santa Monica College broadcaster teacher and TV coach who died last month from ALS. (photo by John McCoy Daily News)
In the weeks since the passing of Santa Monica College sportscasting instructor Lou Riggs, we’ve heard and read many of his former students reflect upon things they continue to learn from his teachings. A memorial service today at SMC reflected on how Riggs’ commitment to the craft changed the lives of many who continue in sportscasting today. A column based on that gathering can be found here.
To get a taste of what impact Riggs had, we humbly pass on this reflection we received in an email correspondence withDan Potash, a Beverly Hills High grad who has been an anchor and reporter with Root Sports in Pittsburgh covering the Pirates and Penguins since 2000:
“We first met in 1988, when I was a freshman at Santa Monica College. I was a student in his mass communications class. He quickly learned about my interest in sports and broadcasting and said I should take his Sportscasting class. I did … and was a repeat student for about two years — not because I kept failing the class, but because the class was so helpful. “Where else could you get media credentials to the Dodgers, Lakers, Clippers and Kings, sit in your own booth in the press box and do play-by-play on a tape recorder. It was great! When we would review our play-by-play material later in class and he would always say, ‘What’s the score? Someone who is just tuning in wants to know. You can never say the score enough!’ “That experience, combined with a solid internship at Prime Ticket and the old ‘Press Box’ show, and some time as a sports anchor for ‘West Side News’ on Continental Cablevision in Westchester, led to my first TV job. It was everything Lou said it would be — I just didn’t know it would be for $10,000 a year in West Virginia, at WDTV, the CBS affiliate in Clarksburg, WV. That was the summer of 1995. “Lou had told me that I would be a one man band. I would need to shoot, write, edit, produce, report and anchor all my own material. He was right… .and I love it. “He also told me that moving from L.A. to West Virginia would allow me to grow up as a person. Life in the big city was great, but following my dream far from home in a small town would really open my eyes. The ‘Master Jedi’ hit it on the head. I signed a one year contract in West Virginia, stayed for just over two years and it became a second home, and I am still close with many people who still live there. “I could only survive on Pop Tarts and Top Ramen for so long, so I moved to WCIV, the ABC affiliate in Charleston, SC, in 1997, before arriving at Fox Sports Net Pittsburgh in 2000 — now Root Sports. “Over the last 20 years I have done just about everything a sportscaster could dream of doing, and would still send material back home to Lou for his ‘approval.’ How could I not? He taught me everything, and you can always learn more. “I know I am not the only one he helped, and I am sure other have some great ‘Lou’ stories to tell. He loved watching his students advance their career in the field of sports casting. “I did reach out to him about three months before he passed — we spoke for about 30 minutes, and it was just like 1988 all over again. He was still teaching me, as a professor and a friend.”
This display of mementos was set up for a memorial service for Lou Riggs, the former Santa Monica College broadcaster teacher and TV coach. (photo by John McCoy Daily News)