What’s worth posting now:
== “Why Vin Scully should call the World Series before retiring” is the sexy headline, the sales pitch, the eye-grabber, atop the latest SI.com media column posted last Sunday night by columnist Richard Deistch.
Of course, it makes sense to put it out there again. It’s a topic addressed almost annually, by readers, by writers, by those at the networks, by those who believe they can make it happen.
As much as we’ve come to realize that Scully’s answer is “thanks, but no thanks, and he’s unmistakably on the record as saying he’ll pass, the idea gets floated again, so much so that others pick up on it and before you know, the New York Daily News chimes in with: “Hey, Vin Scully: We want you to broadcast the All-Star game … or the World Series” even suggesting the ever elusive Sandy Koufax be asked to facilitate.
Maybe we’re missing something. We read on.
It’s former NBC baseball producer Michael Weisman who is the latest to suggest Scully be asked to make a curtain call, which launches the SI.com piece. We certainly remember Weisman from years and Emmys ago, but …
Fox MLB play-by-play man Joe Buck is asked again if he’d step aside for Scully. As he has said almost annually, he’d be fine with it. This time with Deistch he offers even more detail as to why Scully would be out of his comfort zone if asked to do it now.
Maybe the prevailing thought here is, if we ask again, again, and again — really wear him down on it — he’ll agree and God bless us everyone.
Deitsch follows up in his notes column Wednesday by saying: “As both pieces clearly indicate, Scully has repeatedly turned down such inquiries. Baseball fans can dream, however.”
We’re with you on that.
But maybe, having talked to him about it so often, on and off the record, we have a pretty good feel for how the 88-year-old Hall of Famer appreciates the gesture, but he really isn’t up for it.
The real lure to this year is a) he says it’s his last, b) the SportsNet LA mess makes it impossible for many to hear him call a game past three innings on the radio and c) here’s a chance to be heard nationally. Plus, with an All-Star Game in San Diego, he’s apt to be OK with doing it, especially if Fox can get Dick Enberg lined up for the same kind of sendoff. That could be the real lure for him — pay tribute to his friend and kind of make it a fun experience for the two of them.
There’s still euphoria floating through the city after the magical Kobe Bryant finale, and then more from the tribute Scully got on the Dodgers’ home opener. We get gold, but then find ourselves begging for an encore, just one more moment of their time, and they feel obliged.
No hard feelings for anyone who’s trying to nudge this to happen.
And as much as we’ve been up, down and across this road before — aside from the one going into Dodger Stadium just renamed for him, which took long enough for the city to wear him down on that honor — trust us, Scully would rather not even be on the other end of this conversation any longer. It tires him.
So before the groundswell begins again in July, and then in October, just kind of realize how selfish this all us, and unfair to him.
And at what point are we trying to guilt him into making a call for our own warm-and-fuzzy gratification?
== Such a find for ESPN in digging this up:
For those who missed it on the ESPN broadcast Sunday https://t.co/52jd5PGvPl
— Tom Hoffarth (@tomhoffarth) April 18, 2016
== Which also leads into this headline and rather obvious observation in a Forbes.com post: “Vin Scully Has Become A Social Media Phenomenon In His Final Season”
== The Niagara Gazette is all ready for a Scully visit this fall.
== The Dodgers announced Wednesday that it will extend its Spanish language radio rights for three more years with KTNQ (1020 AM), the Univision Radio station. It confirms that Hall of Fame broadcaster Jaime Jarrin will be able to reach 60 seasons with the team; he’s in Year 58 at the moment, doing games with his son, Jorge.
== In reference to last Saturday’s column about the Tom Wilson documentary “Moneyball Too” — and thanks again for making it free for a 24-hour period to Southern California News Group readers:
There is a clip in the doc that involves Molly Knight and the promotion of her book, “The Best Team Money Can Buy,” which led to our characterization of her as “an unwitting pawn (who) still may not realize what happened.” That led some interesting responses, but none as curious as the back-and-forth Knight had with Wilson in a Twitter exchange that she since deleted from her account.
We have some of it captured:
In further Twitter banter, Knight contends that in the new paperback version of the book current out, she “roasts the Dodgers for the TV debacle,” which she apparently said she couldn’t do in the original 2015 edition because of deadline issues. She had also tweeted out in the past that she thought that the deal would have been done by the time the book came out and would then pretty much be a moot point.
If by roasting she means including about a page and a half about it in a 12-page addendum at the back, it’s actually closer to just an acknowledgement of what has happened. To water it down even more, it’s followed by a sentence: “Perhaps the biggest story surrounding the 2015 Dodgers was that Yasiel Puig was a non-story.”
Or, perhaps, with more retrospect, the biggest story was still that the TV deal still hadn’t been done so that people could see what a non-story Puig had become.
In the Wilson tweet exchange, she also wrote (and then deleted) that her “entire life’s work has been devoted to railing against corporate thievery.”
Someone’s getting paid royalties for sales of this book that does basically put the team ownership in a hugely favorable light.
If thievery is the word to use here …
Our review of the book last summer also pointed out the lack of Guggenheim/TV deal information as a glaring omission, among the book’s many over-marketed issues.
When asked for a more proper response to all this, Wilson said:
“This documentary was about Guggenheim Baseball Partners’ television deal with their chosen cable partner. This documentary was not about Molly Knight or her book. As a result we felt no obligation to interview her and in fact she is in the documentary for less than one minute.
“We included quotes from LA Weekly and an appearance of Ms. Knight on Bloomberg News to demonstrate the pervading point that Guggenheim Baseball Partners was often publicly praised but generally not considered as potentially ‘part of the problem’ regarding the ‘Dodger Blackout.’ …
“We felt no obligation to interview Ms. Knight as her opinions were apparent to anybody observing popular media over the course of two years after the Guggenheim/TWDC deal was made.”
Wilson’s excellent documentary continues to be available at Vimeo.com.
== U.S. House of Rep member Janice Hahn wants all to know she has invited reps from Time Warner Cable and DirecTV to come to her San Pedro office and hash out the SportsNet LA channel distribution issue.
“This blackout has gone on far too long,” she says in a statement issued by her office. “Fans are frustrated and they want to know that both sides are working toward a resolution. I am working hard to bring everyone to the table and get our Dodgers back on Los Angeles televisions.”
Her letter to Time Warner Cable here and AT&T/DirecTV here is included.
It reminds us of when we broached last February a summit meeting of reconciliation, former Fox Sports chief Ed Goren specifically said about what would lead to any success: “Don’t include any politicians.”
Meanwhile, if TWC is really trying to distribute this in a different way, would it consider what’s going on here:
== ESPN announced that starting Wednesday, cloud-based live TV service PlayStation™Vue has launched the Longhorn Network in Texas and Oklahoma. The University of Texas sports channel will be available through PlayStation Vue’s Core multi-channel plan starting at $34.99 in select cities.
“ESPN is committed to Longhorn Network and serving Texas sports fans wherever they consume content,” said Stacie McCollum, ESPN senior director, Longhorn Network Programming & Acquisitions. “The network’s launch on PlayStation Vue further expands LHN’s availability to fans within Texas and Oklahoma. It is a prime example of consistent distribution growth year over year for the network since launching in 2011.”
== “Sports Detectives,” a documentary series we caught wind a year ago when producers were interested in tracking down the ball hit by Kirk Gibson to win Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, is ready for its closeup.
Without having found the Gibson ball, it seems.
Episode one lands Sunday at 9 p.m. on the Smithsonian Channel hosted by Kevin Barrows, a former FBI agent and private investigator, and CBS Sports Net reporter Lauren Gardner. The attempt is to locate the American flag that was draped over goaltender Jim Craig after the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team won the gold medal (two days after the win over the Soviet Union). The GIbson ball episode airs May 15.
Other things the group eventually went looking for: The ball used in Franco Harris’ Immaculate Reception, Jim Brown’s 1964 NFL Championship ring, Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s pink Ford K2 car, the A1 saddlecloth worn by Secretariat after winning the 1973 Kentucky Derby, a game-used Lou Gehrig bat, Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game ball, and Muhammad Ali’s 1960 gold medal. The later is the subject of a full episode on June 5 that ends the six-part original first-season run.
Brian Biegel, the author of the book “Miracle Ball,” about the search for the 1951 Bobby Thomson “Shot Heard Round the World” ball, is one of the exec producers of this series.
== SportsNet L.A. play-by-play man Joe Davis finishes this road trip with the Dodgers and goes to Phoenix on Tuesday for an FS1 broadcast (6:30 p.m.) featuring St. Louis at Arizona, with Eric Karros as his analyst. FS1 also has Justin Kutcher, CJ Nikowski and Ken Rosenthal at Houston for the Astros against Boston (Saturday, 1 p.m.)
== ESPN let Curt Schilling go this week in what appeared as an attempt to actually get himself canned for good.
Among the responses, USA Today columnist Christine Brennan writes: “Schilling broke a very simple if unwritten media rule: A member of the sports media should cover and comment on sports news, not actively try to make news. … This behavior has a name that Schilling probably wouldn’t recognize. It’s called professionalism.”
== After TNT had Marv Albert, Kevin McHale and Chris Webber call Game 2 of the Clippers-Blazers series from Staples Center on Wednesday, sorry, but it’s Mark Jones on play by play with Doris Burke and J.A. Adande who are on the ESPN coverage of Game 3 from Portland on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. You always have the Prime Ticket feed as an option.
The Mike Breen-Mark Jackson-Jeff Van Gundy team is locked into Game 4 of the Warriors-Rockets series at Houston on Sunday (12:30 p.m., Channel 7), while Mike Tirico and Hubie Brown are with the Spurs-Grizzlies Game 4 (10 am., Channel 7) prior to that.
== The Dan Patrick-hosted “Sports Jeopardy!” has only been on the Crackle.com website since its launch last year, but NBCSN, which also carries his DirecTV-produced television feed of his syndicated radio show from 6-9 a.m. weekdays, announced this week it would also take the game show starting Saturday, Aug. 6 at 9 p.m. It will also air nightly for two straight weeks until the conclusion of the Rio Olympics, then return in the fall as a weekly show after NHL games on Wednesdays.
Seasons one and two of the show taped at Sony studios in Culver City where the nightly syndicated “Jeopardy!” show with Alex Trebec is also staged is streaming Crackle. New episodes land every Wednesday. Crackle is a unit of Sony Pictures TV.
== What affect did Robert Lipsyte have during his time as an ESPN ombudsman? He’s going with none, Alex.
== May 17 is the new target date for the launch of ESPN’s TheUndefeated.com, about a year later than anticipated as the site that will be dedicated to long-form stories on sports, race and culture has been shaped by current editor in chief Kevin Merida and is now based in Washington, D.C., instead of L.A.
ESPN did its own Q-and-A with Merida and sent it out in a press release.
Among the points ESPN and Merida want to hammer home:
= “We want to produce work that is cool, smart, innovative, provocative and memorable,” says Merida. “We are going to aggressively experiment, and be brave about that. Form is important. Convention is not. We have set the bar high for ourselves. Our motto is: Not conventional. Never boring. We will work hard to live up to that. Can we blow up how you do commentary? Can we pioneer short-form ambition? Make short-form about brilliant, amazing, mic-drop work. And not about the snackable food on which the Internet gorges. We want to do more with music, spoken word, comedy. We want to let athletes tell their own stories. And we want to reach our audience wherever they are — on the social platforms where they’re living, and live on HBCU campuses with events.”
= ESPN notes that the May 17 is the 62nd anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision.
== ESPN2 has Beth Mowins and Michele Smith calling UCLA softball at Arizona on Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m.
== Jim Watson, Glenn Parker and Drea Avent cover UCLA football’s spring game from Drake Stadium on the UCLA campus for Pac-12 Network (Saturday, 11:30 a.m.)
Other Pac-12 Network live events this weekend:
= JB Long has play-by-play on UCLA’s “Thursday Night Baseball” series against Oregon (Thursday, 7 p.m.) as well as Friday at 7 p.m., with Rich Burk calling Sunday’s 1 p.m. game (on Pac-12 Oregon only, joined in progress on Pac12LA at 1:30 p.m.)
= Paul Sunderland and Justin Gimelstob have the Pac-12 tennis championships from the Ojai, starting with the men’s singles semifinals on Friday (10 a.m. and 1 p.m.) and the final on Saturday (6 p.m.). The women’s singles championship on Sunday (10 a.m.) and doubles final (1 p.m.) is called by Brian Webber and Corina Morariu.
= Greg Mescall and Adam Krikorian call USC’s women’s water polo match against Cal (Friday, 2 p.m., P12 Bay Area only) and UCLA’s women’s water polo match against Stanford (Saturday, 11:30 a.m., P12 Bay Area only)
= Christian Miles and Julianne Viani call USC’s women’s lacrosse at home against Stanford (Friday, 4:30 p.m.)
= Other spring football games on Saturday: Utah, at 11 a.m.; Washington, at 12:30 p.m. (Pac-12 Washington only), Washington State, at 1 p.m.
== More NBC Olympic talent announcements: Michele Tafoya, you’ve won a trip to Rio to as a sideline reporter to pair up with Dan Hicks and Rowdy Gaines on swimming.
“When I think of the Olympics I instantly think of all the great stories swimming has delivered over the years — from Mark Spitz to Janet Evans to Michael Phelps,” Tafoya said in a statement. “And it looks like there will be some great drama in Rio as well. I’m really excited to cover the competition with the fantastic Dan Hicks and Rowdy Gaines. What an assignment!”
Yes, the exclamation point was included in that statement.
== Cringe-worth congrats for ESPN’s “Around The Horn” having the audacity to stage its first all-female panel on Thursday’s show.
Sarah Spain, Kate Fagan, Jemele Hill and Jackie MacMullan need to talk. Maybe package this and pitch it to one of those ESPN channels as a potential series. Because no one else is doing it. Except CBS Sports Net.
ESPN also points out that “ATH” recently had its 3,000th episode, and there have been 33 panelists since 2002, with Fagan and Spain two of the most recent. How many of those panelists have been female?
Perhaps, in the end, they are much smarter about the avoidance of being associated with this career killer.