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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The O.J. Simpson Parole Trial: Is it worth appointment TV Thursday AM? Why ESPN is all over it

In this May 14, 2013 pool file photo, O.J. Simpson sits during a break on the second day of an evidentiary hearing in Clark County District Court in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Ethan Miller, Pool, File)

Considering most of American TV viewers have never seen a live parole board hearing, perhaps CBS, NBC, ABC and CNN Headline News are providing a public service by airing such an otherwise secretive-sort-of-thing Thursday starting at 10 a.m.
There must be some inherent risk to our society at large that this current prisoner at Locklock Correctional Facility in Nevada may be deemed fit enough to be set free early, with restrictions and probation visits. So it’s a good thing we all have ample warning.
Or, when you’re talking O.J. Simpson, all common sense is suspended.
Add ESPN to this coverage as the 70-year-old former USC football star and ABC and NBC sportscaster appears on a videoconference call to explain to a four-person board in Carson City, Nev., why he should be turned loose nine years into his current sentence for armed robbery and kidnapping.
(More information at the Nevada Board of Parole Commissioners website here.)
ESPN, of course, has a vested interested in the Simpson saga and can use this opportunity to promote the documentary “O.J.: Made in America” which won an Oscar in 2017 and was recently nominated for six Emmys because of its June, 2016 TV run.
Simpson was convicted on 12 charges brought against him in October 2008 for armed robbery and kidnapping as it related to him trying to reclaim some of his memorabilia. He has been at Lovelock on a term that carries a maximum penalty of 33 years.
In 1995, Simpson was acquitted of the murders of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman.
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Sunday media: Lisa Nehus Saxon takes Vin Scully’s advice to heart, and returns the favor with the Shrine of the Eternals induction

Lisa Nehus Saxon talks to a gathering at the Allendale Branch of the Pasadena Public Library in March about her life as a sports writer in an event sponsored by the Baseball Reliquary (Photo by Baseball Reliquary)

Lisa Nehus Saxon has stories to tell on Sunday in Pasadena, including the one about the time Vin Scully gave her some career-affirming advice at a very low point in her run as a sports writer about 30 years ago.
As the L.A. Daily News’ Dodgers beat writer in her mid-20s, she had just been publicly humiliated in the Cincinnati press box by a Reds’ team official screaming at her. This was already after she was ordered out of the team’s pregame locker room and physically picked up and removed, and would then have an intern assigned to follow and watch her every move not just the rest of the day but the entire series.
All because she was a woman. Institutional biases had been chipped away but as with most genuine proper change, it can move at a resistant pace.
On the team bus from the hotel to the ballpark the next day, Scully asked to sit next to Nehus Saxon and then popped the question: If you could be anyone else in the world, who would it be? She just wanted to be accepted, even if it meant being a male sports writer. But Scully stressed the point: Be the best version of yourself. Find your own authentic voice. Imitating others limits yourself, as he tried to tell other broadcasters.
Nehus Saxon will confirm how that life lesson not only resonates today, but also why there’s no question the Dodgers’ Hall of Fame broadcaster is finally more than worthy for inclusion in the Baseball Reliquary’s Shrine of the Eternals. Scully can’t make the 2 p.m. ceremony at the Pasadena Central Library, so Baseball Reliquary executive director Terry Cannon asked Nehus Saxon to say a few words on Scully’s behalf.
She can do that and then some. More at this link …

 

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It’s Out of the Question: So there’s a nine-hole golf course at the Coliseum? Why, of course there is

USC athletic director Lynn Swann and his foursome take their clubs and head down one of the Coliseum tunnels to reach the next hole platform to tee off during their round of golf Thursday at the Trojan football home field.

Lynn Swann pulled a 6-iron out of his golf bag and aimed between the west goal posts on the Coliseum floor.
From where the USC athletic director stood, on a platform high above Tunnel 15, he could easily use the Olympic torch at the peristyle end of the stadium as a sight line.
What in the name of Al Geiberger was Swann, a new member of Augusta National, hoping to achieve at this moment?
“I’m not hitting a full 6,” Swann said, looking down at marked target listed as 152 yards away, or where maybe the 40-yard line might be if the football field had been drawn up. “Just trying to get it out there and roll it toward that blue flag.”
More at this link…

• VIDEO: USC’s Lynn Swann hits a ball at the Coliseum golf course

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Sports media notes version 07.11.17: And the reward to those who want more awards …

Before running out to get a free Slurpee and a 56-cent Wienerschnitzel dog (while supplies last), what’s worth posting mid-week media-worthy leading into Sunday’s weekly column:

== This week in Vin Scully stuff:
= He is to receive something they’re calling the Icon Award at The ESPYs ceremony at The Microsoft Theater in LA Live on Wednesday (airs tape delayed on Channel 7 at 8 p.m., with actor Bryan Cranston making the speech … see Cranston’s recollections of growing up listening to Scully in this Sept., 2016 story). Scully says he will make a brief appearance at the ceremony.
= He will be live at the Hollywood Bowl on Thursday at 8 p.m. to narrate “Lincoln Portrait” by Aaron Coplan as part of the performance by conductor Gustavo Dudamel and the L.A. Philharmonic of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. (He returns to also do it on Tuesday, July 18).
= He will be one of three inducted — with Milwaukee Brewers broadcaster Bob Uecker and Charles Schultz’ creation Charlie Brown — at the Baseball Reliquary’s Shrine of the Eternals ceremony on Sunday at 2 p.m. at the 150-seat Donald R. Wright Auditorium in the Pasadena Central Library. Scully will not be in attendance for this event — he will be inducted in a speech given by former L.A. Daily News Dodgers beat writer Lisa Nehus Saxon.
As Scully told us today:
“I had great respect and admiration for Lisa as we made the baseball rounds together. It was never easy for her to work in such a male-orientated workplace but she did beautifully and I was very proud of her and everything she accomplished. I feel very fortunate to have her as my friend.”
Uecker will be inducted by former Dodgers outfielder Jay Johnstone, and Charlie Brown will be represented by Charles Schultz’s son, Craig. Free admission. More info at this link.

== ESPN says its coverage of the Home Run Derby on Monday was the most-watched in L.A. since records were kept in 1999 — it helped having Cody Bellinger in the semifinal against Aaron Judge. But L.A.’s 6.0 rating was still just 13th overall in the list of markets with the best viewership. New York (10.8) was also an all-time high for that market, but it was second overall to the 13.6 posted by the Kansas City market. San Diego was 20th at 5.5.
Overall, the 8.689 million viewers nationally was up 55 percent from last year (includes ESPN, the ESPN2 Spanish-language simulcast, ESPN Deportes and all streaming). ESPN also said it triple its Hispanic audience from last year.

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