Also covering what we missed from the week of vacation from 07.15.16 with some catching up to do:
== USC announced Thursday afternoon that a funeral Mass for USC broadcaster Tom Kelly will be held on Friday, Aug. 12 at 1:30 p.m. at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles (555 W. Temple St.) with a reception afterward at the adjacent Center at Cathedral Plaza.
Kellyy, the signature voice of USC sports starting in the early 1960s and spanning five decades, died June 27 at his home in Encino after a long battle with cancer. He was 88.
== Vin Scully-related news of note:
= ESPN’s “E:60” has a beautiful 13-minute profile on Scully, via an interview conducted by Jeremy Schaap, airing today at 7 p.m. with an eventual posting on the ESPN.com site.
Bring a Kleenex and note this Tweet we posted on Wednesday for a preview clip:
— Tom Hoffarth (@tomhoffarth) July 20, 2016
For those who weren’t able to set the DVR, the show repeats on ESPN2 tonight at 10:30 p.m., Saturday at 4 a.m. and 9 p.m. and Sunday at 11 a.m.
And here is one more clip to preview at this link.
= If you didn’t get one of the special invites to the Dodgers’ “Blue Diamond Gala” set for July 28 (a Thursday night off day in the schedule coming up), where Scully is receiving “special recognition” in a 7:45 p.m. ceremony in center field, followed by a benefit concert by Fleetwood Mac, don’t get all blue in the face. A single ticket to get in will run $1,500, and it’s with very limited access to anything. Packages packages go all the way up to $100,000 for 20 tickets in the “preferred seating” and a meet and greet with Fleetwood Mac (but there is nothing planned with Scully that gives anyone any greater access). As usual, Scully says this event has nothing to do with him, but more about raising funds for the foundation. More info: dodgers.com/gala
= The very worthwhile Distinguished Speakers Series (www.speakersla.com) has added Scully to its upcoming six-guest roster as he participates in an interview/Q&A on Sunday, March 19, 2017 at 7 p.m. at the Saban Theater in Beverly Hills, followed by the same format at Pasadena’s Ambassador Auditorium (Monday, March 20), the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza (Tuesday, March 21) and the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center (Wednesday, March 22). The other three are at 8 p.m.
But the deal is, tickets aren’t just sold to individual events, but can only be purchased for the series, at the specific venue. The least-expensive way to get in the door is buying a four-event package at $260 (for back of the balcony open seating). Otherwise tickets range from $660 to $340 for the series that starts with General David Petraeus (Oct. 23) and includes Diana Nyad (Nov. 6), Steve Martin (Jan. 8, ’17) and astronaut Scott Kelly (May 7, ’17).
The other key element to this is who is chosen as the moderator. That can make or break an enjoyable evening.
= What might you bid on a blue Dodgers’ blue Majestic jersey with the No. 67 on it and Scully’s signature embroidered on the shirt tail? There’s one on eBay in the $120 range.
= We appreciate the response to the recent column about how the Dodgers’ booth with Scully, stage manager Boyd Robertson, cameraman Rob Menschel, statistician Brian Hagan and audio man Dave Wolcott. Daily Variety (the major competitor to the Hollywood Reporter, owned by Guggenheim president and Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly) put out its own mini version of the story shortly thereafter.
= A piece by Thomas Gase of the Vallejo Times-Herald.
= For those who may have caught wind of the Scully-decorated shoes that Yasiel Puig wore during the Dodgers’ recent series in Arizona, here’s a closer look.
— John Bleednblue (@BleednblueJohn) July 17, 2016
== The MLB Network notes for Sunday’s Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony featuring the enshrinement of Mike Piazza and Ken Griffey Jr.: Greg Amsinger and Brian Kenny host it on-site starting with a 9 a.m. pre-game followed by the 10:30 a.m. induction. Peter Gammons, Harold Reynolds (a former Griffey teammate in Seattle) and Al Leiter (a former Piazza teammate in New York) are also on hand as network analysts. The ceremony also streams on MLB.com and BaseballHall.org.
Saturday’s presentation of the Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy with the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for his writing and honoring the late Graham McNamee with the Ford C. Frick Award for his radio contributions airs at 8 a.m.
== SportsNet LA reported that, as of the All-Star break, the Dodgers were getting an average of 91,381 viewers this season, a jump of 56 percent over last season (when they had an average of 58,564). Wider distribution of the channel over Charter Communications, which now owns Time Warner Cable, has a lot to do with it. More interesting is that at the same time, the Angels on Fox Sports West are drawing an average of 88,862 a game so far.
== Another Dodgers’ national TV telecast of note: Sunday, 5 p.m., ESPN, at St. Louis with Dan Shulman, Aaron Boone and Jessica Mendoza. Next projected national broadcast will be FS1 doing the Dodgers’ home Saturday game against Boston on Aug. 6.
== ESPN also announced this week that Mendoza will be part of the network’s Little League World Series coverage from Williamsport, Pa., a 32-game schedule spread out over ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 starting Thursday, Aug. 18 and ending Sunday, Aug. 28.
For the West and Northwest Regionals at San Bernardo beginning Sunday, Aug. 7, Trey Bender will start off doing play-by-play with former University of Arizona coach Jerry Kindall as the analyst. The championship for those regionals are Aug. 13.
== A signing and discussion with author Michael Fallon about his new book, “Dodgerland: Decadent Los Angeles and the 1977-78 Dodgers,” happens Saturday at Pasadena’s Allendale Branch library at 2 p.m. More info at this link.
== Fox Sports Net is executing a new Angels player profile series debuting each Monday for the next eight weeks, starting with “Kole Calhoun Spotlight,” which came out this week and will be part of the Angels’ pre-game and “Angels Weekly” show on Friday. Have a look at this link.
— FOX Sports West (@FoxSportsWest) July 18, 2016
== Reported here back on June 23, the Rams officially announced it has an agreement with KWKW-AM (1330), the ESPN Deportes affiliate, as their Spanish-language radio flagship home. Not mentioned was that Mario Solis and Troy Santiago are supposed to be the broadcast team. The team’s Spanish radio network will include KOXR (Oxnard/Ventura), KCAL (Riverside/San Bernardino), KWKU (Pomona), KWAC (Bakersfield), KGST (Fresno), KMJE (Sacramento) and KENO (Las Vegas).
The team still has not announced a broadcast team for its English-language games on KSPN-AM (710) and KSWD-FM (100.3 The Sound).
== HBO is going with a “Real Sports” single topic show for the first time in its 22 years — focused on the International Olympic Committee, with host Bryant Gumbel reporting from IOC headquarters in Switzerland. HBO says that “months of interviews and research conducted around the world, spanning nine countries, reveal that some believe the IOC has strayed far from its progressive mission by transforming into an elitist organization whose massive power base and demands appear to be exacting a toll on the host cities, their citizens and the athletes they purport to serve.” Jon Frankel reports from Rio de Janiero about the problems with the Zika crisis and polluted waters, Bernard Goldman is in Sochi, Russia, for a post-2014 Winter Olympics look at what has happened to the once popular beach resort, and David Scott is in Bejing, China to report on the costs of the 2008 Summer Games and how it is preparing for the 2022 Winter Games. The series episode No. 232 debuts Tuesday at 10 p.m. with a special “overtime” session hosted by Gumbel at 11 p.m. Tuesday at HBO.com/realsports and facebook.com/realsportshbo.
== Jim Lampley, Roy Jones Jr., Max Kellerman and Harold Lederman are on the HBO call of a four-card pay-per-view card from MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday starting at 6 p.m. and pointed toward the Terence Crawford-Viktor Postol junior welterweight world title unification bout.
== Jeff Gordon, who spent the first half of this NASCAR season as a Fox booth analyst, including a stop in Fontana in March to call that race, gets back in the car to drive Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s No. 88 with the Sprint Cup event at Indianapolis Motor Speedway starting Sunday at 11:30 a.m. on NBCSN. Practice is Friday at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. with qualifying Saturday at 10:30 a.m. Rick Allen calls it with analysts Steve Letarte and Jeff Burton. Pre- and post-race coverage goes to Krista Voda, Kyle Petty and Dale Jarrett.
When asked about Gordon’s return to the track, his new Fox co-hort Darrell Waltrip said (according to a Fox release): “His willingness to fill in for Dale Jr. shows the loyalty, commitment and friendship he has with Rick Hendrick. If Rick called me and told me he needed me to drive any of his four cars, I’d do it in a heartbeat — and I’ll be 70 in February — not because I want to but because he asked me.
“I told Jeff, ‘I want you to do it because I know you will do a great job and probably can win the race,’ but I also told him I’m jealous because I would have loved the opportunity to get in a car like that the last year of my career or even a year or two after I retired.
“It truly wouldn’t surprise me one bit for him to grab that 94th Sprint Cup victory at Indy that he thought he’d never see just a few short months ago. Back when we had the Prelude to the Dream at Eldora Speedway, Mike Joy, Larry McReynolds and I were calling the race. Jeff came up there and hadn’t been in a dirt car in a number of years. The first time he went out to practice, he was way off the pace. I commented to Mike and Larry that he would be lost that night in the race. Well, he went out for the second practice and went to the top of the board. He might take a few practice laps to get comfortable in the No. 88 car, but it shouldn’t be a problem at all. He should be a contender at Pocono, as well.”
== Meanwhile, the NHRA airs an event live on broadcast/non-cable TV for the first time in its 65-year history when Fox has the Mopar Mile-High Nationals from Denver’s Bandimere Speedway on Sunday (noon, Channel 11), the first of three NHRA races in a row on Fox. Dave Rieff, Tony Pedregon, Jamie Howe and Bruno Massel call and report it.
“We love the bigger ratings we have seen on FS1, but to move up to what I call ‘prime time’ with Fox, where all of America can see NHRA drag racing, is very exciting,” said Funny Car champion John Force. “The positive growth for our sport and sponsors and fans has me ready to get in my hot rod. I would just say we’ve done good.”
== The ACC Network, powered by ESPN, starting in 2019, is what the network revealed in a Thursday morning announcement. The delay? ESPN president John Skipper said that even though the ESPN-driven SEC Network was announced in May 2013 and launched a year later, this ACC delay gives ESPN “some runway to plan the network, to get the distribution deals done and figure out staffing.” Also, the ACC’s syndicated deal with Raycom Sports runs through 2019.
== ESPN officially announced the addition of former star receiver Randy Moss as an analyst for “Sunday NFL Countdown” and “Monday Night Countdown” at the site of the Monday night game.
“ESPN is the No. 1 sports channel in the world! Now I’m a part of a network I grew up running home to watch,” said Moss, who had been an NFL analyst at Fox Sports the last years, in a statement.
== NBC officially announced the hiring of reporter Heather Cox, continuing with her doing work on volleyball during the upcoming Rio Olympics as she has the last three Summer Games, and adding assignments on the NFL and golf. She spent 22 years at ESPN (1994-2016), with the last few as the top sideline reporter on ESPN’s Saturday Night College Football prime-time package. That team with Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit will have Samantha Ponder in that role, as announced last May.
ESPN also revealed this week it has revived its Thursday night prime-time college football crew with play-by-play man Dave Flemming and analyst Jesse Palmer in a two-man booth, with Laura Rutledge on the sidelines. Adam Amin will do Friday night prime-time college games with Mack Brown and sideline reporter Molly McGrath (who returns to ESPN after spending the last few years as the main sideline reporter on Fox’s college football main team with Gus Johnson and Joel Klatt). Flemming used to do Friday games and Amin did Saturday games.
McGrath’s move to ESPN comes after Fox signed former ESPN sideline reporter Shannon Spake to join its top college football broadcast team.
== Why former ESPN sideline maven Erin Andrews wasn’t anywhere near Fox’s coverage of the MLB All-Star game earlier this month? Her new deal with the networks allows her to focus on the NFL, leading into Fox’s coverage of the 51st Super Bowl in Feb., 2017. So, now Fox, within four years of taking her off ESPN’s hands, has decided she isn’t right for either the MLB as a reporter or college football as a studio host … as long as she can keep doing ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars.”
== Kyle Brandt, the executive producer and lead writer of Jim Rome’s syndicated sports radio show based in Irvine since 2007 (which, until recently was heard in L.A. on KFWB-AM 980 until the station was sold) will leave to become a host of a new NFL Network weekday morning show called “Good Morning Football” starting Aug. 1. The three-hour show (4-to-7 a.m. PDT) is the first for the Culver City-based network to originate from New York, at the CBS Broadcast Center. Former NFL player. Nate Burleson, Peter Schrager (Fox Sports reporter and writer at FoxSports.com) and Kay Adams (“Fantasy Football Live” on NBCSN and DirecTV “Fantasy Zone”) will also host.
Said Rome about Brandt: “A great employee, a great talent, a great dude. This is a tremendous opportunity for him. He’ll kill it.” Rome said he is interviewing candidates at the moment for Brandt’s exec producer replacement.
== How again did John Wildhack go from ESPN as a production person, to one who negotiated rights deals, to the athletic director at Syracuse?
== And note this tidbit of info that the NFL Net likes to include in its press releases:
“NFL content has never been more popular across the media landscape. According to the Nielsen Company, 199 million people tuned into the 2015 NFL regular season representing 78 percent of all television homes and 67 percent of potential viewers in the U.S. NFL games accounted for the top 25 and 46 of the 50 most-watched TV shows among all programming in 2015.”
== James Brown, Phil Simms, Boomer Esiason and Brandon Marshall remain the core of the “Inside the NFL” series returning to Showtime for a ninth straight season starting Tuesday, Sept. 6 at 9 p.m., its 39th season on TV. Michael Irvin and Adam Schein will also contribute.
== Showtime has also picked the Florida State football program to feature as its “A Season With ….” companion after doing so with Notre Dame last year. The first installment of the all-access documentary comes out Tuesday, Sept. 6 at 10 p.m., a day after the team’s season opener against the University of Mississippi on Labor Day.
== The 10th year of the CrossFit Games at StubHub Center in Carson get ESPN live exposure starting Friday from 4-6 p.m. as well as Saturday from noon-to-2 p.m. on ESPN2 and 4-6 p.m. on ESPN, then Sunday from noon-to-2 p.m. and 4-to-6 p.m. on ESPN2 for the men’s, women’s and team finals.
Live competition of the teenage and masters competition has been airing on ESPN’s website since Tuesday.
== There is this special-to-the Southern California News Group piece by Doug Kirkorian piece about the late, great L.A. newspaper man Melvin Durslag, who died this week at the age of 95. And more from another colleague, Bob Keisser.
And these as well:
This, from a random 1984 Herald Examiner in my office drawer, gives an idea of Melvin Durslag’s style. pic.twitter.com/uYySymxlUZ
— Kevin Modesti (@KevinModesti) July 18, 2016
— Matthew Kovach (@MattyK31) May 26, 2016
== And finally:
As ESPN2’s “First Take” awaits the arrival of Max Kellerman on Monday, having finally emancipated us of his L.A. based KSPN-AM (710) drive-time radio slot as well as his participation with Marcellus Wiley on SportsNation, the show has been getting along with an array of frivolous fill-ins.
We’ll assume that includes Claudio Trejos, who jumped in Thursday morning and has one more day planned on Friday with Marly Rivera and Anita Marks.
Trejos … Trejos …
Ah, right, the former KTLA-Channel 5 sports anchor who didn’t really translate well to the English-speaking audience back in the summer of 1999 as the replacement for Ed Arnold before she wasn’t renewed in 2001.
The New York Times even picked up on some of our criticism of her.
She joined ESPN in 2007 as a boxing host and has done plenty of work for ESPN Deportes. “A native of Colombia, Trejos is considered one of the most respected Spanish-language sportscasters in sports television,” it says in her ESPN bio.
If you missed the initial appearance today, it reairs at 10 a.m. on ESPN2 until noon and ESPNEWS at 1 p.m. Friday’s first airing is 7-9 a.m. on ESPN2