What’s coming up for Sunday:
Dan Patrick has a decision to make about his career. Not any time soon, but soon enough.
Patrick, who just turned 60, has two years left on a contract to do his “Dan Patrick Show” syndicated radio program that simulcasts as a TV product on DirecTV and NBCSN every weekday morning from 6-to-9 a.m. (heard in Southern California on KLAC 570-AM).
He says he’ll decide in about a year how much longer he wants to do this.
Whatever happens also affects the future of “The Danettes.”
Executive producers Paul Pabst and Todd Fritz, technical wizard Patrick “Seton” O’Connor and social media writer/Sports Illustrated editor Andrew “McLovin” Perloff have as much invested in the show’s success in a way that affects the listener/viewer who thinks he or she could join the club someday.
The chemistry works and the brotherhood is clear.
“I’ve told them this will be the best job they’ll ever have,” Patrick said after a recent show from the DirecTV studios in Marina del Rey as the staff made one of its once-every-three-months trip to L.A. from the Milford, Conn., studios. The trip is so that Patrick can tape more episodes of “Sports Jeopardy!” from the Sony studios in Culver City.
“I put the onus on them (about continuing the show). As long as we’re having fun, I’ll continue. If not, and some of them want to try something else, they’re all talented enough to do other things. But once this is done, it’s done. Kind of like when Keith (Olbermann) left ESPN to do Fox Sports … I had something special for five years, then it was done. It could never happen again.
“I’ve told these guys, let’s keep this in tact as long as you can because you’ll look back and say: I wish we could have done it longer.”
But then again, it got us thinking: What would it take to be considered “Danette” material if a spot ever opened?
What’s the “Danette” etiquette on just broaching this?
We put that question to them in a quasi group interview and got some interesting feedback. The results are the foundation of Sunday’s media column and an extended Q&A post here.
What’s worth putting forward here and now:
== About half-way into a six-episode run of the new Smithsonian Channel series “Sports Detectives,” and the documented search for Kirk GIbson’s 1988 World Series Game 1 home run ball is on the docket.
Half of the hour-long show Sunday at 9 p.m. hosted by Lauren Gardner and Kevin Barrows is dedicated to this pursuit, with the other half trying to verify the authenticity of a Lou Gehrig bat that a woman had kept in her house for some 40 years without knowing its history.
So … was the Gibson ball found?
Put it this way: If it was, wouldn’t we have likely heard about it by now? But then again …
The ball’s search as an element of this series that seeks to link the history to a lost sports artifact began long before last year, when we talked to New York-based documentarian Brian Biegel and author of the astounding real life mystery book of 2009, “Miracle Ball: My Hunt for the Shot Heard ‘Round the World” on the Bobby Thomson 1951 home-run ball against the Dodgers.
The “Miracle Ball” in the Shot Heard ‘Round Chavez Ravine and beyond by Gibson had presented some myth-busting material that some writers had pursued a bit but no one, before Biegel’s crew, had really challenged.
The foundation of this “Sports Detectives” piece starts with writer David Davis and his 2013 piece for SBNation. We’re not going to spoil anything in this storytelling, but let Biegel explain that the “lead suspects” were found and interviewed, even submit to a polygraph test, some video analysis was done and more lab work on a photograph with a time stamp that appears to show the ball later that night.
Davis, and Dodgers team historian Mark Langill, are included in the piece, as is Oakland pitcher Dennis Eckersley. So, too, are Doug and Chad Dreier, who in 2010 spent some $1.9 million at auction to secure Gibson’s helmet, jersey and bat from that game.
They’d love to add the ball. Anyone willing to give it up?
“We eliminated some clues that we knew were dead ends and did a nice job focusing on the more credible information and took it as far as we could,” said Biegel. “I’m pleased, and proud, to have been part of hunting down the ball — however it turns out. It was quite a journey.”
Same with this other piece Sunday about the Gehrig bat, which we won’t attempt to spoil the viewing experience.
This episode repeats later Sunday at midnight and Monday at 10 p.m.
Biegel believes this series on the Smithsonian Channel, owned by CBS and Showtime, has more than a healthy shelf life based on what they’ve been able to produce so far and what could come out of it. Still to air is the pursuit of Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point basketball and Muhammad Ali’s 1960 Olympic boxing gold medal.
“This series could go on for years,” said Biegel. “The history behind sports is what people love and each time we get new objects, the viewer gets a chance to watch history unfold.”
== Having enjoyed Ross Greenburg’s “Road to the NHL Stadium Series” documentaries when he did them recently for Epix, we’d have to recommend checking out his new Showtime series “All Access: Quest for the Stanley Cup” debuts Friday at 9 p.m., focusing on Game 4 of the Pittsburgh-Washington series that just took place. Here’s a sample.
== “There will be some ‘new shooters’ in the race but none that the Nyquist camp would lose any sleep over,” says Jerry Bailey, the two-time Preakness-winning jockey and NBC analyst who’ll be part of the NBC team on the second leg of the Triple Crown on Saturday (2-4:15 p.m., Channel 4, leading into the San Jose-St. Louis Game 4 Stanley Cup Western Conference finals game).
The actual race at Pimlico is scheduled to get off at about 3:45 p.m. The usual cast of NBC horsemen (and horsewomen) are there: Bob Costas and Tom Hamond, Bailey with Randy Moss, handicappers Bob Neumeier and Eddie Olczyk, race caller Larry Collmus and reporters Laffit Pincay III, Kenny Rice, Donna Brothers and Carolyn Manno. NBCSN coverage begins Saturday at 11:30 a.m.
== With the departures of Brad Nessler to CBS, Mike Tirico to NBC and Chris Speilman to Fox, plus the promotion of Sean McDonough to ESPN’s “Monday Night Football,” some changes in the ABC/ESPN 2016 college football roster have come about:
|Joe Tessitore goes to ESPN’s Saturday prime-time play-by-play coverage (working with Todd Blackledge and Holly Rowe), Steve Levy returns to a Saturday play-by-play role on ABC or ESPN with Brian Griese and Todd McShay and — not to bury which many others consider to be the lead — Samantha Ponder joins the ABC Saturday Night Football team as the sideline reporter with Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit, apparently at the expense of Heather Cox. Ponder will also work on the College GameDay early Saturday pregame show.
Cox has been with ESPN since 1994 and replaced Erin Andrews on the Saturday night prime-time network game starting in 2012. Ponder took last season off to spend time with her newborn daughter and husband, former Vikings QB Christian Ponder.
As for Cox’s future assignment, an ESPN spokesperson said the network continues to work on its college football assignments, including a full slate of booth and college football studio announcing roles, and it should be announced in the coming weeks.
== Paul Burmeister, Julie Swail, Wolf Wigo and Tanith White have the call for NBCSN on the U.S. men’s and women’s Olympic water polo team warmup matches against Australia from USC’s Uytengsu Aquatics Center on campus, Sunday at 1 p.m., with streaming on NBC Sports Live Extra.
== Pac 12 Network highlights of live events this weekend:
= Jim Watson and JT Snow call USC baseball hosting Oregon State, Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 1 p.m. and Sunday at noon.
= Daron Sutton and Andy Lopez call USC baseball hosting Arizona State, Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m.
= Jason Knapp and Steve Todd call the conference rowing championships taped earlier in the week at Lake Natoma near Sacramento, Saturday at 11:30 a.m. And Paul Sunderland, Tom Feuer, Jordan Kent and Jill Savage have the conference track and field (taped May 7-8 and 14-15) airing Sunday at 9 a.m. USC football standout Adoree Jackson won the long jump and was second in the 100 meters.
== Meanwhile, as UCLA and USC are two of the final 24 teams in the field for the NCAA women’s golf championship from Eugene Country Club in Oregon, Golf Channel coverage goes live Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. UCLA alum Kay Cockerill is one of the course reporters for the event that includes. Golf Channel has the individual championship on Monday (4-7 p.m.), with teams competing in the match play semifinals Tuesday (3:30-7 pm.) and finals Wednesday (3-7 p.m.)
The NCAA men’s championships are May 30-June 1 on Golf Channel as well.
== Simply talking about dirt this week got Vin Scully a mention in GQ.
And he’s referred to as “the Baryshnikov of baseball announcers” in this piece about retirement by a writer at the Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser.
And he even got some run in the Kenosha (Wisc.) News.
That was all before he did this one-on-one with Angels broadcaster Mark Gubicza before Thursday’s contest at Angel Stadium.
== As part of FS1’s exclusive national baseball coverage coming up, Gubicza comes out of the Angels’ FSW booth to join Kevin Burkhardt for Monday’s 5 p.m. Angels’ game at Texas. The pregame with Chris Myers, Ken Rosenthal and Eric Karros comes from the Fox L.A. studios. And while the Dodgers have a weekend series in San DIego, FS1 has Dodgers play-by-play man Joe Davis doing a Texas-Houston regional game on Saturday at 4 p.m. with Tom Verducci and JP Morosi. The L.A. market will get the Cubs at Giants game that date and time, with Matt Vasgersian, Karros and Rosenthal on the call.
Where is MLB A-team play-by-play man Joe Buck? Relegated to Fox’s coverage of the USGA U.S. Amateur Four-Ball championship from Winged Foot in Mamaroneck, N.Y. on Tuesday and Wednesday (FS1, noon each day), paired with new partner Paul Azinger and Brad Faxon, with Curtis Strange, David Fay, Shane Bacon and, for some reason, Holly Sonders.
== ESPN updated its June schedule for Sunday Night Baseball by adding the Dodgers at San Francisco (June 12, 5:30 p.m.) and Dodgers at Pittsburgh (June 26, 5 p.m.)
== Kevin Negandhi has been given the assignment of hosting the Scripps National Spelling Bee, as ESPN has it for the 23rd straight year. The Thursday, May 26 finals go from 7-11 a.m. on ESPN and 5-8 p.m. on ESPN.
== Phil Liggett, Paul Sherwen and Christian Vande Velde, with reporter Steve Schlanger and guy-on-motorcycle Steve Porino have the final day of the Tour of California cycling race as it ends in Sacramento on Sunday at 1 p.m. on Channel 4.
== Ted Robinson, John McEnroe and Mary Carillo are the main voices on NBC’s French Open coverage that begins with opening rounds on Sunday (Channel 4, 10 a.m.). The NBC network coverage continues with the third and fourth rounds (May 28-29 at 9 a.m.) leading into the women’s final (June 4) and mens’ final (June 5) at 6 a.m. each day.
== NBC/Golf Channel analyst David Feherty will be a profile done by host Bryant Gumbel on the next episode of HBO’s “Real Sports,” episode 230 that debuts Tuesday at 10 p.m. “Real Sports” received a recent Sports Emmy, it’s 17th, for Outstanding Sports Journalism and will be given a George F. Peabody Award next week for a piece it did on Africa’s criminal billion-dollar ivory enterprise with correspondent David Scott.
== FS1’s Mark Rogondino, Cobi Jones and Rachel Bonnetta call the Galaxy’s MLS game against San Jose from StubHub Center (Sunday, 4 p.m.). It comes a few hours after FS1 has the U.S. Men’s National team friendly against Puerto Rico (9 a.m.) with Mark Followill and Herculez Gomez. A half-hour pregame with Rob Stone, Eric Wynalda and Alexi Lalas preceeds it.
Saturday, Fox has an FA Cup match between Crystal Palace and Manchester United with Stone, Wynalda and Warren Barton calling it in L.A. and Brad Friedel on-site at Wembley Stadium in London (9:30 a.m., Channel 11), followed by the MLS match between New York City FC playing host at Yankee Stadium against the New York Red Bulls (John Strong, Lalas, Julie Stewart-Binks, Channel 11, noon).
== Among the winners in the 2016 Sports Business Awards handed out the Sports Business Journal on Wednesday in New York: Turner Sports was named Best in Sports Media, The Players’ Tribune was named Sports Breakthrough of the Year, the NBA was Best in Sports Social Media, and MLB Advanced Media was named Best in Digital Sports Media.
== And finally:
ESPN won’t come out with what it calls its “epic seven hour and forty three minute documentary” called “O.J.: Made in America” until it premieres on ABC on June 11 for part one, then shifts parts two through five on to ESPN for June 14, 15, 17 and 18. But if you need to see it sooner than later, Laemelle’s new Monica Film Center (1332 2nd Street, Santa Monica) is one of two theaters in the country (the other is in New York) has it starting today and going through May 26. It airs all five parts — one and two, followed by a 15-20 minute break, three and four, another break, then the final episode. It’s on two screens starting at noon and 3:30 p.m. Why would it air in any theater — and just two? That’s all it could take to create the needed Oscar doc buzz.