In addition to the news posted online about the 10-game Dodgers schedule on KTLA-Channel 5 becoming official, and how CBS plans to tweak Sunday’s NCAA men’s tournament bracket show from two hours to a 90-minute format to avoid last year’s problems, here are more things worth getting circulated:
== Less than two months after Brent Musburger retired from his ESPN broadcasting career to help his family start a Las Vegas-based sports gambling media company, ESPN has managed to bring him back as a betting expert as part of what it calls a 24-hour Tournament Challenge Marathon spanning Monday afternoon to Tuesday evening.
Is that really the look ESPN wants to bring to this event coverage?
The progression of shows related to college basketball tournament bracket picking starts with with the NCAA women’s tournament selection show at 4 p.m. (Maria Taylor, ANdy Landers, Kara Lawson, Rebecca Lobo) and it runs until 7 p.m. Tuesday with a variety of shows that rotate from Bristol, Conn., L.A. Live and Las Vegas. Rece Davis hosts, it with Jay Bilas, Seth Greenberg and Jay Williams appearing as often as possible.
“For that two-day span leading up to the First Four, all people want to talk about is who did you take in your bracket, and we will give great insight on how to fill it out,” said Davis in a press release. “It will be a great challenge to keep Jay, Seth and Jay, who are cranky enough when well-rested, on point when they are sleep deprived. But it’s for a good cause – helping people win their group in the Tournament Challenge.”
Jalen Rose and David Jacoby will take the midnight-to-3 a.m. slot from the LA Live studios on Tuesday to keep the chain of shows continuous.
The Vegas element will include a set on the rooftop of the Paris Las Vegas Hotel and include Musburger, who, according to ESPN’s press release, “will offer his Vegas betting insight.” Dick Vitale and Kenny Mayne will also be in Vegas.
Even the 10 a.m. episode of “Outside the Lines” with Bob Ley on Tuesday will be tournament focused with Bilas, Greenberg and Williams incorporated.
== For what it’s worth: ESPN’s Sunday episode of “SC Featured” has Scoop Jackson taking a “full-access look” at Lonzo Ball and family — yes, including his father, LaVar and mother Tina — that airs in the 7 a.m. SportsCenter and repeats throughout the day.
== The next test with virtual realty for Fox Sports will be available to experience through the Big East Tournament with four quarterfinal games on Thursday. Watching it through the Fox Sports VR app, there will be four VR cameras set up at Madison Square Garden and users can view from — two at the basket and two on the foul line, as well as the 360 degree content in the app’s “Virtual Suite.”
New York-based LiveLike is doing all the VR heavy lifting with integration. More info at this link.
== More Pac-12 Network live programming of note:
= USC women’s tennis vs. Stanford, Saturday at noon (Brian Webber, Corina Moriau, P12 LA)
= Long Beach State baseball at Arizona State, Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. (J.B. Long, Eric Byrnes)
= UCLA women’s gymnastics vs. North Carolina, Sunday at noon (Rich Burk, Sam Peszek,)
= UCLA softball vs. Texas, Sunday at 4 p.m., (Leah Secondo, Tammy Blackburn)
FAVORITE TWEET OF THE WEEK
— Adam Brady (@AdamJBrady) March 6, 2017
FOLLOWUP TWEET OF THE WEEK
— Tom Hoffarth (@tomhoffarth) March 5, 2017
== The headline as it reads here: “Suddenly, Lawler last of great L.A. announcers still active”
Translation: “In light of Bob Miller’s retirement, Clippers’ Lawler seems to have outlasted group of longtime L.A. play-by-play men.”
And even then, do you dare to include Jaime Jarrin?
== Matt Vasgersian, John Smoltz and Jon Morosi have the U.S. games of the World Baseball Classic from Miami, starting with the contest against Columbia (Friday, 3 p.m.), vs. the Dominican Republic (Saturday, 3:30 p.m.) and vs. Canada (Sunday, 4 p.m.)
== The Baseball Reliquary will host “An Afternoon with Lisa Nehus Saxon” to talk about her career that included a long run at the Los Angeles Daily News. The event takes place Saturday, March 18 at the Allendale Branch Library in Pasadena.
== Then there is the Fox Sports news this week that Alex Rodriguez will expand his role with the network as a season-long analyst by virtue of a multi-year contract. Fox has the MLB All-Star Game this year in Miami, which is A-Rod’s home town.
== ESPN has more than 570 hours of coverage from the ATP/WTA BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament from Indian Wells with Chris Fowler, Patrick McEnroe, Brad GIlbert, Pam Shriver and Chris Evert. The coverage feeds into the men’s and women’s final on Sunday, March 19.
== ABC launches the IndyCar Series with the race at St. Petersburg, Fla., on Sunday (Channel 7, 9:30 a.m.) with Allen Bestwick, Scott Goodyear, Eddie Cheever, Jon Beekhuis, Rick DeBruhl and Dr. Jerry Punch. The network will also unveil a new predictive analytics system that will supplement the bottom-screen ticker and graphics that viewers are used to seeing as it pertains to laps on tires, fuel windows and optimal laps for pitting and predict positions and lap time falloff. One more new gadget is a Visor Cam mounted to a driver’s helmet. Josef Newgarden will be the first to use it during a video presentation to show what it’s like to drive the course. It will not be used live during the race.
== FS1’s John Strong, Brad Friedel and Katie Witham have the Galaxy-Portland game from StubHub Center, Sunday at 4 p.m. Rob Stone is also there for the pregame with Alexi Lalas.
== Bob Miller, who seems to be doing more TV and radio since announcing this will be his final season with the Kings, is on again with Fox’s “Good Day L.A.” on Friday at 8 a.m.
== During Fox’s coverage of the 2015 World Series, the network made sure viewers knew that when it came to standing up to center, there was one person in their thoughts — director Bill Webb, who wasn’t able to be with the crew.
Webb missed his first World Series after 17 straight championship series as he battled cancer.
Tuesday, Webb’s battle came to an end. He was 70.
Here is more from a Sports Video Group story that landed Wednesday. And Fox Sports posted an appreciation story as well written by Ken Rosenthal.
Those who honored him recently upon his induction in the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame called him the architect of the modern-day baseball telecast with his close-up shots and quick cuts.
“There is not any one person more responsible for the look and feel of Major League Baseball on Fox than Bill Webb,” play-by-play man Joe Buck said in 2015. “He is at the top of the list. He and I have been doing this since Fox Sports got baseball back in 1996.
“He’s a director that has a good feel for baseball strategy so he’s thinking along the lines that I’m thinking. He’s also thinking along the same lines as a manager, so when something starts to pop up, he gets a shot of the bullpen.
“If somebody’s got a full count or a 3-1 count in a tight situation, I know when I’m at home, I want to know who is coming up next, and that’s why I always say it verbally. And I can tell you, more times than not, I go to it verbally and before the words are out of my mouth, the person that is standing in the on-deck circle is on your screen.
“That’s invaluable. He’s our leader in that respect.”
For the last two years, Webb has been involved in directing Mets games for SNY, but it was announced last month that he would not be doing that full time any more for this upcoming season.