Sunday sports media: More on Claire Smith, the Baseball Hall’s Spink award winner, and the admiration of Melissa Ludtke

Claire Smith, center, with Sandy Koufax and Steve Garvey. (

As we wrote in Sunday media column, Claire Smith seized a moment that was much bigger than herself Saturday in Cooperstown, N.Y.

The first woman in the 55-year-history of the Baseball Hall of Fame’s J.G. Taylor Spink Award, having to wait behind the 67 men honored before her, and also the fourth African American ever acknowledged by the Baseball Writers Association of America for “meritorious contributions to baseball writing,” Smith dropped a Yogi Berra line right at the start of her 20-minute speech: “I want to thank you for making this day necessary.”

After rising from a seat at the dais next to Rachel Robinson, Smith used a measured, reverential tone in naming off some of previous winners such as Damond Ruynon and Grantland Rice, and exclaimed that “those were such wordsmiths. Me, I’m just named Smith.”

Others, like Melissa Ludtke, would disagree.

Melissa Ludtke of Sports Illustrated is in the New York Yankees’ 1978 post-season clubhouse celebration as Cliff Johnson pours Champagne. (

In 1978, as a reporter for Sports Illustrated, Ludtke got on the national journalism radar by successfully suing the New York Yankees, Major League Baseball and commissioner Bowie Kuhn for the right to enter the locker room to do her work during the 1977 Dodgers-Yankees World Series.

Reporters like Mary Garber and Elinor Kaine fought those sort of access battles as well. In L.A., women reporters making strides in that area included Tracy Dodds, Diane K. Shaw and Lisa Nehus Saxon (as she explained as much to us recently). They were followed by Jane Gross, Melanie Hauser and Mary Schmidt.

Claire Smith was added to the list of those who have been humiliated in the past by archaic rules involving women reporters, as her 1984 incident during the NLCS finally led to commissioner Peter Ueberroth ordering access be granted to everyone with a credential. But that shouldn’t define her career.

Smith once called all those other women “trailblazers who, like Jackie Robinson, changed perceptions in the workplace and in life in extraordinary fashion just by insisting they be treated in ordinary but fair fashion,” writing in a 1999 piece entitled: “Women Sportswriters Confront New Issues: No longer focused on locker room access, work and family challenges prevail”

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It’s Out of the Question: How did L.A. escape a Derrick Rose pruning?

Drrick Rose arrives at U.S. District Court in downtown L.A. in 2016. (Damian Dovarganes/AP)

Can we all count our blessings – Lakers, Clippers, every other living soul in Los Angeles – that the derelict Derrick Rose just said no to whatever paradise we had to offer and took whatever is left of his uniquely odd talents to Cleveland?

The marginalized one-time NBA MVP, a 28-year-old injury-prone guard with a body of work littered with questionable decision-making at every jerk of his bad knees, apparently met with the Lakers for three hours last week to determine if there was any mutual admiration. Most bizarre is how the Lakers reportedly were trying to sell him on more playing time, more money and a “better environment” than what Rose endured last season in New York.

Oh, and could you mentor our new rookie point guard Lonzo Ball? Sure, but then who would babysit Rose? LaVar?

More at this link …

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Sports media notes version 07.26.16: Prepping for Claire Smith’s milestone Baseball Hall of Fame recognition

Plans for this Sunday’s column are to feature Claire Smith, the first woman to receive the J.G. Taylor Spink Award Winner for writing excellence by the Baseball Hall of Fame. She receives the award on Saturday (MLB Network will have a one-hour taped highlight show on Sunday at 8 a.m., prior to its Hall of Fame induction ceremony live at 10:30 a.m.)
ESPN plans to air a six-minute piece on Smith’s career during SportsCenter segments this weekend (with a preview clip above).
And then there’s this:

But before all that …


== At this morning’s bloviating Pac-12 Football Media Day in Hollywood, conference commissioner Larry Scott will be well aware that there are 44 games televised nationally on ESPN and Fox Sports, and 35 more games on its own Pac-12 Network, going into its sixth season of existence.
The lack of distribution with that last one continues to be a rock in the sole of Scott’s loafers. DirecTV/AT&T continues to not budge on budgeting the channel in for its subscribers. Scott did announce that over-the-top distributors such as Sling and Century Link.
Scott’s otherwise major revelations today is that, when non-conference games are on the Pac-12 Net, they will cut back on commercial spots and halftime length in order to fit them into three-hour windows.


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Sunday media con’t: More Q&A with Jay Jaffe about ‘The Cooperstown Casebook’

If you can get a place to advertise your book-signing appearance in the men’s urinal, it seems like you’re truly No. 1.

Who should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame — in addition to the induction of players Tim Raines, Ivan Rodriguez and Jeff Bagwell this coming Sunday?
Jay Jaffe can make a strong case for Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, for starters.
Bobby Grich, Lou Whittaker, Alan Trammel, Dick Allen, Curt Schilling, Mike Mussina, Trevor Hoffman, Edgar Martinez, Larry Walker, Tony Oliva, Lee Smith, Reggie Smith and — most overlooked — Minnie Minoso also have strong merit.
Who got in and maybe shouldn’t have?
Bill Mazerowski, Phil Rizzuto, Pie Traynor, Lloyd Waner, George Keel, Rabbit Maranville, Catfish Hunter, Lefty Gomez, Rube Marquard and, for good measure, Jesse “Pops” Haines.
But case in point: Jaffe just wants the voting going forward to make use of all materials available to be fair and justified. In addition to the Q&A is posted thus far, we have more to talk about with Jaffe and his book, “The Cooperstown Casebook”

Q: If we take the book title as a statement rather than a headline, are we advocating the Hall of Fame membership that has voted over the last 70-something years needs a do-over? Could we wipe everything clean and pick 325 players in one massive re-election?

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Sports media notes version 07.19.17: The Best of times, the worst … we’ve seen how this ends

What’s worth posting at this point in time leading into the weekend:

There’s a sweet, silly and, in context, rather sad scene in the recent 2017 movie “T2 Trainspotting,” the sequel to the original 20 years later, with Ewan McGregor, Kelly Macdonald and Johnny Lee Miller. They are reliving a well-told urban legend about Manchester Untied soccer star George Best, but it ultimately leads into the question: Where did it all go wrong?
The question continues to be asked, but perhaps it has more clarity.
“George Best: All By Himself” makes its U.S. TV debut on ESPN on Thursday at 5:30  p.m., strategically leading into the network coverage of Manchester United vs. Manchester City friendly held in Houston (7 p.m., ESPN).
A short scan of YouTube will turn up previous BBC documentaries done on the subject, including “George Best: The Belfast Boy,” and “The Best Intentions: The Story of George Best.
But what sets director Daniel Gordon’s effort apart from those is more in-depth footage of Best, especially with interviews where he acknowledges his own shortcomings when it comes to dealing with drinking, depression and stress due to media coverage.
Here’s the trailer:

Gordon, speaking Tuesday from England, said that while he never saw Best play in person, only through videos, he had a chance to work with him at Sky Sports some 20 years ago and “was aware of his legend and his play … and also what brought him down. What I guess attracted me to this is I never felt the story was told properly. There are plenty of TV documentaries that dealt with maybe one or two elements, but never really examined the darker side.
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