The value of having Ross Porter calling CSUN baseball? Meet the parents

Ross Porter will do 18 games for Cal State Northridge baseball. (Photo by Lee Choo/CSUN Athletics)

Ross Porter will do 18 games for Cal State Northridge baseball. (Photo by Lee Choo/CSUN Athletics)

There is some instant credibility for the Cal State Northridge baseball program in having former Dodgers play-by-play man Ross Porter agree to call 18 home games this season for the CSUN Sports Network, beginning with the season opener Friday, Feb. 19 against Cal State Bakersfield.
Matadors head coach Greg Moore may have found that out by accident recently.
“He told me that when he was at a recruit’s home, it came up in the conversation that I would be doing some of the games, and he said the player’s father just brightened up ‘like I just gave him a $10 bill,’ ” Porter said. “I told Greg that I hope I’m not causing any NCAA violations. I can see how parents might remember me, but wouldn’t the players have had to be pretty young?”

Ross Porter does an interview before throwing out the first pitch before a Dodgers' game in 2013. (

Ross Porter does an interview before throwing out the first pitch before a Dodgers’ game in 2013. (

It’s been 11 years since Porter last called a Dodger game – the end of a 28-year run – but the 77-year-old former KNBC-Channel 4 sports anchor has kept occupied calling games for high school football Internet streaming services as well as developing his own “Real Sports Heroes” radio venture. The last baseball game he called of note was when Fox Sports West hired him to do the 2013 CIF Division II and III baseball championships from Dodger Stadium that streamed on their site.
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Remembering Frank Polak, a KLAC asset during and after their Lakers’ run

Photo from

Photo from, from Fox Sports Radio news anchor Eddie Garcia.

Funeral services are planned for Sunday in Mission Hills to honor Frank Polak, the longtime Lakers radio producer/engineer back during their run on KLAC-AM (570) as its flagship station.
Polak, 61, who had been working at Fox Sports Radio network studios the last six years, was found dead at his home in Lake Balboa on Sunday. The cause of death was not officially given, but speculation ranges from a heart attack or the result of a blood clot from a recent injury to his leg while playing hockey.
Polak had a 30-year-run with the Lakers broadcast, 23 of them with Chick Hearn. The Lakers Hall of Fame play-by-play man who died in 2002 often mentioned Polak’s name in the opening and closing credits.

From the Twitter account of Fox Sports Radio's Eddie Garcia.

From the Twitter account of Fox Sports Radio’s Eddie Garcia.

Polak was also an engineer for the Jim Healy show, as well as working on Kings’ NHL games when the team simulcast them on radio and TV.
Polak was an avid hockey fan and continued to play the game in local leagues.

Spero Dedes, who called Lakers games on KLAC from 2005-11, says he woke up the other day to text messages and calls from game analyst Mychal Thompson, statistician Doug Mann and program director Brian Blackmore, relaying the news.
Polak was one of the first people at KLAC that Dedes met after he landed the Lakers job.
“I still remember that very first day in L.A. — a brief pit stop at the Lakers facility to meet everyone and then driving out to KLAC’s building in Burbank, a whirlwind meeting all those people in the span of a few hours, but Frank was the one I spent the most time with that first day,” said Dedes.
“He had this incredibly friendly smile and disposition. He was the type of guy you’d meet and after five minutes felt like an old friend.”
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Weekly media notes version 02.11.16 — How might a Nae Nae on the UCLA gymnastics floor whip up more TV viewers

Coming up for Sunday:
Sometimes, all it takes is a well-placed Whip. Neatly-inserted Nae Naes.Cap it off with a dastardly Dap.
And people will take notice to what happens in a televised college gymnastics meet.
Even days after the fact.
The social media attention that came cascading over UCLA senior gymnast Sophina DeJesus at the start of this week after a very non-routine floor routine — the first of her college career — during the Bruins’ dual meet win at Pauley Pavilion last Saturday against Utah on the Pac-12 Network seemed to start with a fan-inspired Facebook post.
The attention level rose so quickly that media outlets like NBC and The New York Times and then USWeekly, ESPNw and NPR decided to follow up on all the commotion in the days after it.
Some are calling her “badass” and the routine as “insane.”
Still, it was was only third-best on her team that day by the judges’ tally.
dejesuseA version put up on YouTube (above) by NastiaFan101take12 already has 7.5 million views.
Jim Watson and Amada Borden are on the call.
To show how much this even took the TV crew by surprise, Watson misidentified DeJesus at the beginning of the routine because he was given a different list of competitors from UCLA, but it was changed right before she went on.
In a roundabout way, this brings to light the fact that women’s gymnastics are the third-biggest attraction on the Pac-12 Network, behind college football and not that far back of men’s college basketball. The same trend is apparent on the ESPN-owned SEC Network, as the two conferences have the strongest women’s gymnastics programs in the country. The Big 12’s Oklahoma, which has a meet at UCLA on March 13, currently holds the nation’s No. 1 ranking.
Eleven of the 12 UCLA meets in 2016 have been or will be live on the Pac-12 Network, including a home meet against Oregon State on Saturday at 8 p.m. (with Rich Burk and former UCLA gymnast Samantha Peszek on the call).
The Bruins are ranked No. 7 nationally. USC does not have a women’s’ gymnastics team.
We’ll get more into this and how those providing the TV pictures may react to this going forward.
Also: More on the Ross Porter hiring at Cal State Northridge to do a slate of home baseball games starting next Friday.

What’s worth posting now:

== Posted Wednesday on Jim Fox’s Twitter account:

== KFWB-AM (980) will stay on as “The Beast” and its all-sports format until the end of the month now — initial reports is that it would cease mid-February — and the Clippers have not said yet what their plans will be in regards to staying put or going somewhere else through the end of the season.
11351944_758681104261708_1762795621_nOwners of the city’s 5,000-watt station, Charles Banta’s Mercury Capital Partners, have a track record for buying stations and changing them to foreign-language barter programming. Filing reports show the company purchased KFWB at a rather bargain-basement price of $8 million considering its once-prominent stature in Southern California.
“As of this time, we anticipate that we will close on March 1st, subject to FCC approval,” said Diane Sutter, the KFWB Asset Trust trustee who was part of the sale negotiation announced in early January.
The Clippers, a KFWB flagship tenant since 2009, are in the first of a five-year deal with the station, no matter who owns it, but it has the opt-out clause if ownership/formats change.
Bill Saurer, the president and CEO of Principle Broadcasting Network, a division of Universal Media Access and owner of the station, said via email he was “not at liberty to disclose our plans specifically, but KFWB will not be a sports station.”
Don Martin, the vice president and program director for all-sports KLAC-AM (570), said he has conversations in the past with the Clippers, and iHeartRadio in Los Angeles has three AM and five FM stations that could accommodate them, but “it has to add up financially for both sides to come off.”
IMG_5211== Our phone records show that Google maps is already up to speed (and what is the speed limit?) on the new Vin Scully Avenue (although we thought it still needed some official approval by any citizens who might want to protest it … maybe it’s clear and free to put up the street name on the map, but they’ve yet to change the actual signs)

== The college basketball TV pops worth noting:
= ESPN thankfully has Dave Pasch and Bill Walton on Friday’s UCLA-Arizona game at 6 p.m., one day after the two are in Berkeley for the Oregon-Cal coverage.
= Roxy Bernstein and Steve Lavin call the Pac-12 Network coverage of USC at Arizona State on Friday at 5 p.m.
= Lavin motors to Tucson and comes back with Aaron Goldsmith on FS1 for the call of Sunday’s USC-Arizona game at 5 p.m.
= ESPNU has Bernstein staying in Tempe and teaming with Corey Williams to do UCLA at Arizona State on Sunday at 5:30 p.m.

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Super Bowl 50 media column: What’s next for Manning, Simms and the CBS NFL team?

With CBS' Jim Nantz, left, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning holds the Lombardi Trophy after the NFL Super Bowl 50 win against Carolina on Sunday. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

With CBS’ Jim Nantz, left, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning holds the Lombardi Trophy after the NFL Super Bowl 50 win against Carolina on Sunday. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

There’s a not-so-peculiar rumor peculating in NFL TV business circles that as soon as Peyton Manning says he’s retiring from the game — which could have happened by now —  CBS will have a contract ready to go for him to sign up as its A-team game analyst, the new partner for Jim Nantz.
Which would mean Phil Simms could retire as well.
Imagine that.
That may be the logical circle-of-life conclusion to the network’s otherwise uneven Super Bowl 50 coverage Sunday of Denver’s equally sloggish 24-10 win over Carolina in Santa Clara.
Super-Bowl-50-on-CBS-269x300Those consistently consumed with criticism of Simms had plenty of material to throw against the wall as he plodded through his eighth Super Bowl TV analyst appearance. Typically choppy, twangy, contradictory … a dot-dot-dot string of thoughts and half-thoughts … often ending with that awkward silence where he clearly hopes Nantz picks up the conversion and tries to end the paragraph.
Simms had his moments of OK-ness, his times of pedestrian observations.
If the game-turning moment was of any indicator, here’s what transpired on Cam Newton’s fumble with 4:04 to play and the Broncos hanging onto a six-point lead:
“Here it comes, No. 58 Von Miller (as the wide end zone replay beings, the yellow arrow appears) against (Carolina right tackle) Mike Remmers one more time …
“Cam Newton didn’t feel it, didn’t step up. The football just taken out of his hand.”
Actually, it was batted down. More silence. Simms then noted that Newton did not attempt to go after the loose ball on the ground.
Nantz interjected: “He jumped away from it … instead of (going) into the pile!”
Simms: “Yup. He made the decision it wasn’t worth going in there to get it. Shoulda dove in. Had a chance to recover it.”
There was Simms’ moment to be assertive and relevant, but he was more hesitant, even in watching it as a replay, as if he again didn’t trust his view of the play.
More on this at this link ..

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Play It Forward Feb. 8-14: The NBA’s Valentine’s gift to you is more love for Kobe Bryant

Photo: Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY Sports)

Photo: Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY Sports)

Details/TV: At Toronto, Sunday at 5 p.m., TNT
logoexFor Kobe Bryant’s 18th and final All-Star appearance, we can see a best-case scenario — the players yield as he goes off 20-plus points and wins his fifth game MVP recognition.
The not-so-best scenario: He throws up a few airballs early, turnovers, frustration kicks in, and those in Toronto began to jeer him in English and French.
We asked the TNT studio analysts which one they anticipated.
“There’s no best-case, worst-case, we’re just going to celebrate him and just have some fun,” said Charles Barkley, who retired in 1997, the year before Bryant played in his first All-Star game at Madison Square Garden.
“I would just like to see him big in a big moment,” added Kenny Smith. “If the game is close, I think he can get the basketball and create an opportunity for himself. He doesn’t have to have a big game, just make some big shots.”
Former Lakers teammate Shaquille O’Neal, who played with Bryant on the West All-Star team five times and against him three other times with the East, gave this opinion: “When it comes to All-Star games, you don’t have to play all 48 minutes. Remember when Magic (Johnson) came back (in 1992) and he call out Mike (Jordan) to play (one-on-one) and the crowd went crazy, he called out Isiah (Thomas) … It would be exciting if (Bryant) called out LeBron (James) or D-Wade (Dwayne Wade) … If you get a couple of instances where you hit a couple big shots, the crowd goes crazy ….”

LUCY NICHOLSON/REUTERS Co-winners of the MVP award Phoenix Suns' Shaquille O'Neal and Lakers' Kobe Bryant hold up their trophy after the 2009 NBA All-Star Game in Phoenix.

Co-winners of the MVP award Phoenix Suns’ Shaquille O’Neal and Lakers’ Kobe Bryant hold up their trophy after the 2009 NBA All-Star Game in Phoenix. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

O’Neal, who shared a game MVP award with Bryant in 2009 at Phoenix, added: “If his legs are good, he’s feeling good and his stroke is going, knowing Kobe, he will go for the MVP… It’s all about certain storylines, and the first part of the storyline is the Kobe tour. If he can get MVP that would be the second part of the storyline. The last part of the storyline is we would like to get a championship or make the playoffs, but that’s definitely not going to happen.”
So Shaq is on the record with that prediction now.
So here’s another crazy suggestion: Why doesn’t Bryant use this as a walk-off moment? The rest of the Lakers’ season can’t be anything to really go back for. Hit a game-winning jumper here, take off the jersey, throw it to the crowd, and it’s all done. On Valentine’s Day, let’s just kiss and say goodbye.
Too dramatic?
Also this weekend: “All Star Saturday Night” skills challenge/dunk contest, Saturday at 5 p.m., TNT; NBA D-League All-Star game, Saturday at 11 a.m., NBA TV; Rising Stars Challenge game, Friday at 6 p.m., TNT; All-Star Celebrity Game, Friday at 4 p.m., ESPN.
Also Friday: NBA TV has the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2016 finalists announced (10:30 a.m.). Shaquille O’Neal is among those eligible with Yao Ming and Allen Iverson.

Details/TV: At L.A. Live, Saturday at 10 a.m., Channel 4
Details/TV: Dodger Stadium to Santa Monica pier, Sunday at 6 a.m., Channel 5

Meb Keflezighi wins the 118th Boston Marathonin April, 2014. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Meb Keflezighi wins the 118th Boston Marathonin April, 2014. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

The weekend where the Fitbit gets a real workout. A day before the annual L.A. race, those who aim to be one of the three men and three women who are part of Team USA for the Summer Games in Rio need to step up here. Former UCLA and Boston Marathon winner Meb Keflezighi, 40, is a crowd favorite on the men’s side, and former Agoura High runner Deena Kastor, 42, is looking for a way to get in on the women’s team. The Trials course starts at L.A. Live with a 2.2 mile loop around downtown, heading back to Staples Center and the Convention Center before a trip around the USC campus, Exposition Park and the Coliseum, then heading back north on Figueroa to the finish. Opening ceremonies are at 9:15 a.m.; the men start at 10:06 a.m. and the women at 10:22 a.m.
The next day, the traditional run from downtown to the ocean commences with a pair of Kenyan runners (Daniel Limo and Olga Kimaiyo) trying to defend their men’s and women’s titles. The elite women begin at 6:45 a.m., with the elite men and the rest of the full field at 6:55 a.m. The wheelchair race begins at 6:30 p.m., with handcycles at 6:32 a.m.

The 56th NHRA Winternationals are a go at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona (Thursday-Sunday) … UCLA and USC basketball go to play the Arizona schools on a Friday-Sunday tour … The Clippers are at Philadelphia (Monday) and Boston (Wednesday) while the Lakers are at Indiana (Monday) and Cleveland (Wednesday) before the All-Star break … The Kings, also booted out of Staples Center because of prep work before the Feb. 15 Grammy Awards, spend the week in Boston (Tuesday), Brooklyn (N.Y. Islanders, Thursday), New York City (N.Y. Rangers, Friday) and New Jersey (Sunday) …  More at this link.

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