Still in the formation stages of a Sunday media piece, but until then, what’s worth collecting and posting now:
== In the days since Monday’s passing of Eagles co-founder Glenn Frey, a CBS video has been circulating from 1985 when the Dodgers’ Vin Scully was asked to coach Frey in the Dodger Stadium booth and help direct him through a call of an inning as part of an MLB marketing idea that linked music to baseball.
We asked Scully what he recalled from that meeting. He responded via email with a peaceful, easy feeling:
“30 years ago means over 3,500 games ago. I do remember he was very down to Earth, highly excited about doing an inning and very sincere about his longtime desire to become a sportscaster.
“When Guerrero hit the home run, he really lost it for the moment and we both had a good laugh. He was genuine and very, very nice. Little did I know he would become a worldwide major talent. What a loss.”
== With Friday marking the 10th anniversary of Kobe Bryant’s 81-point game against Toronto at Staples Center, NBA.com has launched a microsite tribute and NBA TV says it will replay that game Friday at 8 a.m. and 11 a.m.
And yes, the game tape used here is the one Bill Macdonald and Stu Lantz called for Fox Sports West at the time. Macdonald was subbing in for TV play-by-play man at the time, Joel Meyers, who made the call to bail out on this game to accept an assignment for the NFC championship game on Westwood One radio instead.
And for whatever reason, Macdonald is in his fifth season as the Lakers’ TV voice on TWC SportsNet, and Meyers …
Working still in New Orleans?
Meanwhile, ESPN NBA analyst Jalen Rose (pictured behind Bryant celebrating in that game) has a particularly personal take, and lesson learned, of Bryant’s performance in his new book, “Got To Give The People What They Want: True Stories and Flagrant Opinions from Center Court.”
To set the stage, Rose first writes about when he was with Indiana Pacers in 2000, facing the Lakers in the NBA championship.
Rose had to guard Bryant in Game 2 with the Lakers up, 1-0, in the series.
“With about three minutes left in the first quarter, Kobe went up for a jumper on the wing. I turned around to look at the shot, and I felt something land on my foot. I heard a crunch and as I ran back up the floor, I had to step over Kobe, who was suddenly curled up on the floor screaming in pain. Oops. Casualty of war. … Unwritten Rule No. 1: Never stick your foot out underneath a guy after he takes a jumper. Anything could happen — a twisted ankle, a sprained foot, even a break. Remember: The ones who know the rules best are the best at breaking them.”
Bryant was out for Game 3, played little in Game 4, but the Lakers won the series in six games behind Shaquille O’Neal.
Fast forward to about 5 1/2-years later and Rose is writing on page 214 about his time in Toronto.
“The 2005-2006 season had some crazy twists and turns — starting with a night in Los Angeles, when you might say Kobe Bryant got his ultimate revenge on me for the Finals a few years earlier.
“(Toronto coach) Sam Mitchell had the idea to defend him with a 1-2-2 zone, and it kind of worked in the first half. Kobe had 26 points, but we were up 14. After halftime, the Black Mamba decided he wasn’t going to lose to the last-place Raptors and went to work like arguably no one in the history of the NBA. He scored 55 on us in the second half — it almost sounds impossible — to finish with an immortal 81 points. …
“Kobe didn’t say a word that night. Not one word. But way in the back of my head, the voice I heard was simple. This is basketball karma. This is what you get — even five years later — when you mess with Kobe Bryant.”
== Forbes declares the Lakers are the NBA’s “most profitable team” based on its $3.6 billion, 20-year deal with Time Warner Cable Sports. It also notes that SportsNet LA ratings “were off more than 50% for Lakers’ games during the 2014-15 season with Bryant sidelined by injuries most of the year, but the average audience size of 122,000 viewers per game was still the second highest in the NBA.”
== The timing of Greg Norman’s departure as the lead analyst on Fox’s USGA golf coverage this week leaves one to read between the lines of a strange press release that came out this week.
Golf.com reports a Fox source that says it was the network’s call after it decided Norman wasn’t as engaged in the telecast as they had hoped. Norman did an above-average job from this perspective, but is it better to cut your losses after the first of a 12-year TV agreement? Apparently.
The quote from John Entz, Fox Sports’ President of Production & Executive Producer: “After careful consideration, we have decided to make this change to our USGA Championships coverage. We want to thank Greg for his contributions last year, and wish him success in all his current and future endeavors.”
To make it even more awkward, Fox allowed Norman to give an exit quote: “I put a lot into my role this past year and really enjoyed the time I spent with the commentary team. I have a long history with Fox and wish them well on their journey showcasing USGA Championships. I also want to thank David Hill (former head of Fox Sports) and the USGA for believing in me and instilling their vote of confidence in me from the outset.”
So Norman believes someone at Fox doesn’t believe in him anymore?
Fox has until the June 16 U.S. Open at Oakmont, Penn., to really nail a replacement down, but until then, GolfDigest.com provides a list of suggestions, starting with Paul Azinger (ESPN/ABC, CBS, Golf Channel), Brandel Chamblee (The Golf Channel), Jack Nicklaus (good luck), Tiger Woods (even if it’s temporary) or Hale Irwin. Bet on Azinger, unless Fox could give a really big buyout check to Golf Channel/NBC and get someone with Fox attitude like David Feherty.
Feherty’s first assignment for NBC comes with the network’s coverage of the Waste Management Open from Scottdale, Ariz., on Super Bowl weekend (Feb. 4-7), which is usually a CBS event when the network isn’t involved with the Super Bowl.
== Golf Channel has all four days of this weekend’s PGA Tour CareerBuilder Challenge broadcasts from the Palm Spring area, noon-to-4 p.m. each day.
The San Diego Union-Tribune’s Tod Leonard talked to Johnny Miller about how, back in 1990, this previously named Bob Hole Desert Classic was his event as his first NBC broadcast assignment and might not have known exactly what he was getting into — especially after the media misconstruing his use of the word “choke,” which was never used after Peter Jacobsen missed a putt (especially since he made the said putt).
Miller joins Dan Hicks in the 18th tower for Saturday and Sunday coverage — somewhat rare. It’s the first time the two will be together at this event since 1998.
At some point this weekend, Golf Channel plans to have Miller’s NBC colleague Jacobsen call in and recount that 1990 incident with Miller. Jacobsen is playing in a Champions Tour event in Hawaii.
Steve Sands and Curt Byrum handle the first two rounds as the main broadcasters with Gary Koch, Roger Maltbie, Notah Begay and Jerry Foltz.
== NBC’s coverage of the U.S. Figure Skating Championships from St. Paul, Minn., goes live Saturday at noon (Channel 4), but continues to be a tape-delayed event coming on at 8 p.m. for the ladies’ long skate (three hours behind the actual competition). The men’s final skate is Sunday at 1 p.m.
Terry Gannon does play-by-play with Tara Lipinski as the host and Tanith White as an analyst with Johnny Weir, Scott Hamilton and Andrea Joyce also on hand to hand out ooohs and aaahs.
== College basketball TV assignments going into the weekend:
= Pac-12 Network has USC-Oregon covered Thursday at 6 p.m. by Rich Cellini and Mike Montgomery.
= UCLA-Oregon on Saturday at 1 p.m. has CBS’ Spero Dedes and Doug Gottlieb (Channel 2).
= USC-Oregon State on Sunday at noon has the Pac-12 Network’s Rich Cellin and Steve Lavin.
Also on the Pac-12 Network Los Angeles this weekend:
= USC at UCLA men’s volleyball, Saturday at 3 p.m., with Kevin Barnett and Al Scates.
= UCLA hosting Cal in women’s basketball, Friday at 6 p.m., and hosting Stanford on Sunday at 6 p.m. with Krista Blunk and Mary Murphy.
= USC hosting Stanford in women’s basketball, Friday at 8 p.m., and hosting Cal on Sunday at 2 p.m. with Kate Scott and Tammy Blackburn
= UCLA hosting Arizona in women’s gymnastics, Saturday at noon with Brian Webber.
== Larry Burnett allows ESPN/Pac-12 Network college basketball broadcaster Bill Walton to hold the talking stick even longer than usual during the “Open Season” show that airs Thursday at 3:05 p.m. on KCAA (1050-AM/106.5-FM) and streams on www.kcaaradio.com. The interview took place before the recent USC-UCLA game at Pauley Pavilion.
== Jim Nantz, Phil Simms and Tracy Wolfson have the AFC title game between New England and Denver (Sunday at noon, Channel 2), followed by Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews and Chris Myers doing the NFC title game between Arizona and Carolina (Sunday at 3:30 p.m., Channel 11).
== Media experts pick their favorite NFL broadcast teams. Nope, we weren’t asked, and we’re getting along just fine without trying to rank people.
== The “no kidding” headlined story of the week: “Rams Won’t Get As Much From LA As Lakers, Dodgers Do (via FiveThirtyEight). The obvious reasoning: The Rams won’t have a TWC channel printing money for them.
== At the 35 second mark of Rob Riggle’s latest piece for the Fox NFL pregame show, addressing the Rams’ move to L.A. is under consideration for those who want to be bandwagon NFL fans. Or does L.A. root for the Chargers? “Either is fine,” says Joel McHale. “It doesn’t matter. Nobody cares. It’s Los Angeles.”
== Channel 2’s Jim Hill, acting as a “therapist” for Stan Kroenke?
== St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Benjamin Hockman had a tweet this week that excerpted a piece by the late Brian Burwell from 2010 concerning the character of Rams owner Kroenke:
This is incredible. Written by the late great Bryan Burwell in ’10 about Kroenke and Khan, each looking to buy Rams. pic.twitter.com/s8OdFtbGDm
— Benjamin Hochman (@hochman) January 20, 2016
== We thought we might have been in the minority when we gave up watching the NFL Network’s spliced-together recreation of the first Super Bowl last Friday — there was too many studio people yammering over the game action for no apparent reason.
The New York Times’ Richard Sandomir did a piece right afterward rightly criticized it under the headline “For Broadcast of Super Bowl I, NFL Network Picks Excess Over Tact.” With that, the NFL Network says it will replay the game, without interruption, on Friday at 5 p.m. This time, in the 90- minute version (instead of three hours) we hope to hear Jim Simpson’s radio call much more than anyone’s elses’ recollections.
The NFL Network reports that “Super Bowl I: The Lost Game” was the channel’s most-watched original program in prime this season with an average audience of 558,000 viewers.
We’re counting on more watching this time.
== Another thanks, to “Saturday Night Live,” for using their own NBC network spoofable broadcasters Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth and Michele Tafoya to drive home the point about over-replaying anything, let alone gruesome injuries during NFL game.
As for Ronda Rousey is loaded in as the host for this Saturday’s episode, a list of former athletes who’ve done “SNL” guest-host stints used to be much easier to find during web searches, but now they’re somewhat mixed together with other athlete “appearances” and other guest shots. We’ll give her this: If she’s better than Michael Phelps, she should be just fine. If she reaches Charles Barkley or Peyton Manning or Derek Jeter mention, even better.
== The more we see the NFL Network’s Rick Eisen try to parody his “media empire” in these ads for a second-rate daily fantasy gambling site that he may someday regret he’s even associated with, the more we wonder: Is he really known well enough that viewers get the intended joke (below)?
== Maybe news travels slow in Britain, but now they’re mocking the Dodgers TWC deal in The Guardian. Bloody hell.
== More on the North Coast Repertory Theater in Solana Beach reviving the Dick Enberg-written play “McGuire” on Monday and Tuesday.
== Spinning off the AP story this week on a settlement in the MLB.TV out-of-market package, the Sports Business Daily reports that the price will drop from $129.99 to $109.99 as part of the agreement, and a single-team option be available for $84.99. A mid-season component of MLB.TV will be a $10 package that allows fans to watch a team’s road broadcast as long as they subscribe to the local regional sports network.
== The MLB Network’s latest in-house doc, “The Colorful Montreal Expos,” debuts on Tuesday at 6 p.m., narrated by William Shatner, a Montreal native. Here’s a clip.
== Episode 226 of “Real Sports” airing Tuesday (10 p.m., HBO) digs into the conflicts that colleges have with medical care concerning football players. Correspondent Jon Frankel reports. Also, Andrea Kremer has a piece about marijuana use in the NFL that follows up from a Jan. 2014 report.
== Anish Shroff, Anthony Becht, Dan Hawkins and Quint Kessenich are on the call for the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl from StubHub Center in Carson (Saturday at 3 p.m., ESPN2). ESPNU has been covering practices Wednesday and Thursday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. with the SEC Network’s Greg McElroy, ESPN’s NFL Front Office analyst Bill Polian and ESPN Scouts Inc.’s Kevin Weidl.
== Frank Deford’s weekly NPR commentary focuses on the topic of the Rams moving from St. Louis to L.A., but also seems to allow him to blow off some angst in that his pieces will be relegated to only once a month now, on the first Wednesdays. An NPR ombudsman sheds more light on what’s giving Deford more angst.
== Fox Sports is going to do some virtual magic during Saturday’s coverage of the still surviving Premiere Boxing Championships from Staples Center. This VR experience may be cutting edge, but …
Fox’s coverage begins at 5 p.m. (Channel 11) with Brian Kenny and Gus Johnson.
== ESPN boss John Skipper did an interview with the Wall Street Journal to talk about cord-cutting and rights fees. Read his responses in light of a report on this recent research about who can or can’t live without ESPN/ESPN2.
== ESPN’s latest press release about the ever evolving website, The Undefeated, as it hires four more writers under the latest editor-in-chief, Kevin Merida. What isn’t revealed in this release is that the site, once based at the ESPN L.A. Live offices, will be shifting operations to Washington, D.C. and keeping one writer and one editor in L.A.
== ESPN non-ombudsman James Brady posted his first critical mass about the network in the role of “public editor” and was particularly curious about the blurred line these “personalities” have when it comes to delivering news to giving opinions to even appearing in advertisements.
Asks Brady: “What’s the difference between a SportsCenter anchor, an on-air reporter, an analyst or a sideline reporter? Who’s expected to live by the traditional rules and ethics of journalism, and who isn’t?”
Things we’ve been pondering ourselves for decades …