More sports media notes version 03.29.17: The VR experience from the NCAA title game is reality, but no team channels this time

South Carolina head coach Frank Martin cuts down the net after beating Florida 77-70 in the East Regional championship game last Sunday in New York. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

In addition to mid-week notes posted on the website concerning NBC’s new Winter Olympic live everywhere change in philosophy and the NCAA men’s Final Four coverage on CBS, we have these notes worthy of posting here and now:

== Unlike last season’s NCAA men’s basketball final, none of the Turner channels will be used as team-specific feeds while CBS is covering the main event.
CBS Sports chair Sean McManus said that it’s “a different business model for CBS than for Turner,” meaning the philosophy is for CBS to get as many people exclusively tuned into their network’s owned-and-operated channels in the major markets and not splintered to even consider including CBSSN.
But there is another first for the Monday title game: NCAA March Madness Live, managed by Turner Sports, continues a virtual reality coverage alternative that started with the Sweet 16 games in San Jose.
An extensive virtual courtside seat experience is first downloaded through the Oculus store for compatible mobile phones and has two options: $2.99 per game or $7.99 for the entire package. Spero Dedes, Steve Smith and Lisa Byington are the exclusive broadcast team. There is also a $1.99 fee per game option with a single VR courtside camera using the CBS broadcast team of Jim Nantz, Grant Hill and Bill Raftery.

== Dave O’Brien, Doris Burke, Kara Lawson and Holly Rowe call the NCAA women’s college basketball Final Four in Dallas on Friday at 4:30 p.m. (Stanford-South Carolina)  and (UConn-Mississippi State) 7 p.m. on ESPN2, leading into Sunday’s championship game at 3 p.m. on ESPN.

BASEBALL

== The Library of Congress has announced it will preserve Vin Scully’s call of a 1957 game between the Dodgers and the New York Giants at the Polo Grounds, the final time the two teams played at the hallowed old stadium. Scully’s reaction in an AP interview:
“It was so meaningful to me. I’m not sure what it really means to baseball fans anymore. The sands of time have washed over the Polo Grounds. But for me, it was one of the more memorable games I was ever involved in.”
During that broadcast, Scully implored the players to take their time before there franchises left town: “Let’s take it easy, we just want to take one last lingering look at both of you.”
The Library of Congress called it “a masterful example of the artistry that great sports announcers bring to their work, as well as their empathy for players and fans.”
More on other recordings the Library of Congress has decided to save.

== Last season, for almost all Dodgers TV road games, Joe Davis and Orel Hershiser were joined by Nomar Garciaparra on the SportsNet LA broadcasts. In the post-Vin Scully setup, Davis and Hershiser will work together as a two-man time for the most part, with Garciaparra occasionally coming in. Davis and Hershiser have the SportsNet LA call of the Dodgers-Angels exhibition series from Angel Stadium (Thursday and Friday, 7:07 p.m.) and Dodger Stadium (Saturday, 6 p.m.) leading into the regular-season opener against San Diego on Monday at Dodger Stadium (1 p.m.).
Note: Some schedules may indicate that ESPN is covering this season opener, which it is, but it will be blacked out in L.A.’s market.
== The Angels’ Victor Rojas and Mark Gubicza start their eighth season together at Fox Sports West, also on the Dodgers-Angels exhibition series, leading into the regular-season opener at Oakland on 7 p.m. ESPN2 is also covering that game with Dave Flemming, Eduardo Perez and Dallas Braden.
The rest of the MLB Opening Day coverage Monday has Atlanta at N.Y. Mets (ESPN, 10 a.m., Jon Schiambi, RIck Sutcliffe, Doug Glanville) and Cleveland at Texas (ESPN, 4 p.m), Dan Schulman, Aaron Boone and Jessica Mendoza).
The Schulman-Boone-Mendoza team begin their second full season today on ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball” with the capper to an ESPN/ESPN2 triple header on Sunday pitting the Chicago Cubs at St. Louis, at 5:30 p.m. The day also includes N.Y. Yankees at Tampa Bay, 10 a.m. on (Sciambi, Sutcliffe, Glanville) and San Francisco at Arizona, 1 p.m., ESPN2 (Flemming, Perez, Braden)

GOLF

== Golf Channel has more than 40 hours of coverage, 20 of it live, scheduled for the LPGA’s first major, the ANA Inspiration from Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, which includes having Mike Tirico and Judy Rankin work together as the main broadcast team for the first time in a decade. Tirico, who left ESPN to join NBC last year, teammed with Rankin from 1997-2006 on the event for ESPN. They are joined by analyst Tom Abbott and course reporters Kay Cockerill, Jerry Foltz and Karen Stupples. Coverage runs Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4-to-6 p.m., then 2-to-6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

COLLEGE

== Pac-12 Network live events of note for the rest of this week:
= UCLA at USC men’s volleyball, Wednesday at 7 p.m., with Kevin Barnett and Dain Blanton
= USC men’s tennis vs. Oregon, Friday at 1:30 p.m., with Brian Webber and Justin Gimelstob
= UCLA women’s tennis at Washington, Friday at 1:30 p.m., with Ted Enberg and Amy Jensen (Pac-12 L.A)
= UCLA softball at Washington, Friday at 6 p.m., Saturday at 4 p.m., and Sunday at 5 p.m., with Ann Schantz and Amanda Freed (Pac-12 LA)
= USC women’s water polo vs. Arizona State, Saturday at 12:30 p.m., with Jason Knapp and Adam Krikorian
= USC women’s lacross vs. Cal, Sunday at 2 p.m., with Jason Knapp and Kara Lentz

ALSO

== Prior to the April 5 debut episode of “Brockmeier” on IFC, as Hank Azaria revives an over-the-top baseball broadcaster trying to rebuild his career as a man out of touch with current times, there is a way to screen in on the network’s website at this link.

== Terry Gannon, Tara Lipinski, Johnny Weir and Andrea Joyce have the call from Helsinki, Finland for the ISU World Figure Skating Championships, starting with the live ladies free skate on Friday at 10 a.m. and the men’s free skate on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. on NBCSN. The tape-delayed coverage go to NBC (KNBC-Channel 4) on Saturday at 8 p.m.

== Adam Amin works with Jay Williams and Cory Alexander on ESPN’s coverage of the McDonald’s All American Boys High School game from the United Center in Chicago on Wednesday at 4 p.m. Prior to that (2 p.m., ESPN2), Amin calls the girls game with analyst Brooke Weisbrod, a regular ESPN women’s analyst and former Coastal Carolina standout Quint Kessenich is a reporter for both games.

== “Disgraced,” an hour-and-a-half long documentary that focuses on the 2003 murder of Baylor basketball star Patrick Dennehey by teammate Carlton Dotson and all that entailed with the university’s handling of it, including hiding evidence by coach Dave Bliss, gets a special airing on Showtime starting Friday at 9 p.m. The doc premiered at the South By Southwest Film Festival earlier this month. Former Baylor assistant basketball coach and whistle blower Abar Rouse was on Doug Gottlieb’s new FS1 show this week to talk about the doc. It is available on demand starting Saturday.

== At a time when the U.S. women’s hockey team continues to threaten to boycott the upcoming world championships based on unequal pay, Ann Meyers-Drysdale, Billie Jean King, Lindsey Vonn and Mo’ne Davis are part of an hour-long provocative documentary called “TOMBOY”, which NBCSN debuts on Thursday at noon on the subject of gender in sports. Here is a link to a trailer.

== Sports talk radio has a diversity elephant in the room with on-air hosts. KSPN-AM (710) has struck a nice balance. KLAC-AM (570) seems to be trying. Jason Barrett of Barrett Sports Media addresses it here.

== Several ESPN personalities weren’t happy that their employers not only had LaVar Ball on a “First Take” guest but then pimped out video clips of him arguing with Stephen A. Smith. So? LaVar Ball and his son, Lonzo, were guests back on “First Take” Monday as it continued its run of shows from L.A. this week.
ESPN even touted that second appearance in a press release emailed out that read in part:
“LaVar Ball will make a return to First Take, after going toe-to-toe with (Stephen A.) Smith last week. Ball will be joined by his son and UCLA point guard, Lonzo.  … The show has been in Los Angeles since Thursday … (In an appearance last Thursday), Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti honored First Take for its contributions to Los Angeles sports, entertainment and business.”

== Mike Adamle, the 67-year-old former NFL running back out of Chicago who made a second career in TV sports with at NBC and ABC, and lately with the WWE, talks about his latest personal struggles with dementia he fears is related from CTE.

== Best headlined story of the week (but because of the subject matter, it didn’t initially cause us to read it right away on an empty stomach):
“Fox Sports 1 Is Amazing! Awful! Fantastic! Execrable! Will a network that serves up every opinion and its opposite reinvent sports television—or destroy it?”

== Our favorite media-related tweets of the week:

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email