ESPN “E:60” programming alert: A beauty of a Father’s Day piece on Reds pitcher Michael Lorenzen (Fullerton High, CSF) and how the Dodgers are connected

A 20-minute piece scheduled for Sunday’s “E:60” (ESPN, 7 and 9 a.m.) focuses on the father-son story of Michael Lorenzen,  the Cincinnati Reds middle relief pitcher from Anaheim, Fullerton High and Cal State Fullerton.
Late in the 2016 season, Lorenzen hit a home run against the Dodgers at Great American Ballpark. It went viral because of how he tearfully reacted.
Lorenzen had just rejoined the team following bereavement leave so he could attend his funeral of his father, Cliff, who led a tormented life of alcoholism and drug abuse but still had the time and passion to coach him in Little League.
Another interesting angle here: The reporter is Will Reeve, the 25-year-old son of the late actor Christopher Reeve, and doing his first piece for the show after doing some “SportsCenter” work.
“Michael’s story, while it’s unique to him, is also universal,” Reeve said Thursday morning.  “We all have a father that we try to follow in their footsteps, for better or worse, and there are universal truths in this story that relate to themes of forgiveness and hope after our shared experiences.”
Wrapping up the piece, Reeve and “E:60” host Jeremy Schaap will sit together to discuss the relationships they had with their late, high-profile fathers and how they feel about this Father’s Day in particular.
“We want to explore that emotional space, and give credit to Michael for his raw emotions that he exposes and we were not expecting,” said Reeve. “We are so grateful that he opened up and shared this.”
The Dodgers finish a three-game series at Cincinnati back at Great American Ballpark on Sunday’s Father’s Day (SportsNet LA, 10:10 a.m.),  where it might not be all that strange if Lorenzen came out of the bullpen to throw some innings.

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Sports media notes version 06.13.17: Fox back Open for golf business; Lakers-Celtics doc needs five hours of your time, and more

Sports media mid-week notes worth posting:

== What will be this year’s take-away/extended hang wringing from Fox’s coverage of the 117th U.S. Open from Erin Hills, Wisc.?
It’s just year three of a 12-year deal between the network and USGA, and nothing really has been fairway friendly over that time. This recent GolfDigest.com piece lays that all out, why the contract continues to be scrutinized and what exactly are the Golf Gods trying to do to all of us.
Fox reports to having more than 45 hours of coverage between FS1 and Channel 11 (and Fox Deportes, plus its Fox Sports Go app), with live streaming on USOpen.com and the U.S. Open app. Among those 45 hours, however, Fox is also counting shows that are emanating from the course, like “Undisputed.”
FS1 has a preview show Wednesday (6:30-to-9 a.m.) and live first and second round coverage from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday and Friday, with Channel 11 jumping in from 3-to-6 p.m.
Fox’s weekend coverage starts at 8 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.
The technical enhancements are always more intriguing than trying to see what’ll come out from Joe Buck, Paul Azinger, Brad Faxon, Curtis Strange or any of the other mismatched talent in front of a live camera. (This year, they’ve added Darren Clarke for international flair).
Drone technology is one area of advancement worth watching for, as well as the “augmented reality” aspects with the graphics to show things the eye can’t normally focus on. All 18 holes can use shot-tracking technology; nine of them have “Trakman radar” that shows a ball tracing with data, with the other nine using “Toptracker” that puts the live ball over video in a “Fox FlightTrack” sequence.
DirecTV also has a 4K service showing featured holes.
Audio — a Fox signature move — will include using more than 200 microphones around the course, much of it picking up player-caddie conversations as well as official ruling discussions.

== You can ultimately judge whether another so-labeled ESPN “30 for 30” three-part piece on the Lakers-Celtics “Best of Enemies” rivalry is/was worth investing five hours of your time spread over two nights.
It’s summer, not much else on, the NBA Finals are over …
And it is Lakers and Celtics with 12 NBA Finals meetings in five decades.
Let the rehash begin (which it does Tuesday night with episodes 1 and 2 from 5-to-8 p.m. and continues Wednesday night with episode 3 from 5-to-7 p.m., and it’s also available on demand)
While we wish more was told about the early 1960s run, there is more attention on the 1980s era that still seems to be an endless loop of highlights, as well as most captured video by the networks at the time. Race is a common theme covered for the West Coast-East Coast components, as are social incidents that happened during this time.
We tend so far to lean with Ben Koo of AwfulAnnouncing.com that a five-hour, two-night commitment is “an awfully big ask,” unless you’re a hard-core follower. He does wonder if it also went “too far back” to study history — the answer is no, you gotta go there.
And the A.V. Club’s assessment that director Jim Podhoretz gives more “scope and context” to the rivalry is cool, but we were also weary of this element, which writer Noel Murray points out: “The opening minutes … aren’t especially promising, and almost seem designed to put viewers off. The doc has two narrators—Donnie Wahlberg representing Boston, and Ice Cube for L.A.—and they speak in first-person throughout, describing a personal connection to their respective hometowns while casually trash-talking each other’s teams. But they’re reading from a script, and the stiff, performative aspect of their fandom is grating at times.”
Besides, who cares what they thought? It’s your filter that matters most.
More background from ESPN’s PR department.

Continue reading “Sports media notes version 06.13.17: Fox back Open for golf business; Lakers-Celtics doc needs five hours of your time, and more” »

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Sunday media: 75 years later, why Hollywood’s version of ‘The Pride of the Yankees’ has Gary Cooper etched in history as Lou Gehrig

On one side of La Cienega Blvd., in Beverly Hills sits the classic mission-like structure that houses the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ research facility. Across the street is the baseball diamond at La Cienega Park.

It wasn’t lost on Richard Sandomir as he poured over files in the Margaret Herrick Library room to complete his new book, “The Pride of the Yankees: Lou Gehrig, Gary Cooper and the Making of a Classic.” When the moment struck, he could walk a few hundred feet to the area of what is now a dressed-up Little League field and try to imagine how parts of this movie actually happened.

“It obviously doesn’t look as close to what it once did, but I would go over there and look around for angles that would make me think, ‘Maybe this is where Gary Cooper was standing’,” said the New York Times’ former sports media columnist, referring to where famed film maker Sam Goldwyn tried to recreate the New York Yankees’ St. Petersburg, Fla., spring training site.

It became an important scene in the 1942 classic. More at this link …

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It’s Out of the Question: The Trout Slip-n-Slide routine, as billboard material?

Looking at the big picture, Mike Trout knows the right way to slide.
Billboards don’t lie, and baseball irony doesn’t escape us. Thumbs up to both.
Months ago, the Angels invested in a large signage campaign around town showing their perennial MVP candidate going feet-first into something of substance … a few yards more, and he’d be in the middle of the 405/91 interchange.
No other caption is necessary, nor do we need any disclaimer that no franchise players were harmed in the creation of that outdoor marketing campaign.
The damage was done when the perennial MVP candidate went the other way into second base last week, and he needs at least another month to recover from surgery for a torn ligament in his left thumb.
The team has very little left to promote unless Albert Pujols hits another 600 homers over the next few weeks.
Billionaire billboard baron Arte Moreno, who sold off that company years ago and cashed in on Angels’ ownership, might be the kind of guy to demand a refund (see: Hamilton, Josh) but in this case, he should keep that Trout image up there add the tag line: Drive home safely.
Not to go slide-ways on this, but why is it again they call it a head-first slide? Inevitably, the player isn’t remotely using his head, or what’s inside of it, through the entire process.

More at this link …

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Sports media notes version 06.07.17: Chargers strike twice with surprise radio broadcaster picks, and more

What’s worth posting before the weekend rolls in:

Josh Lewin, left, and Nick Hardwick, working for the Chargers in 2016. (Photo: www.chargers.com)

== Several layers of surprises unfolded with the Chargers’ decision, in concert with new media partner iHeart, to reconfigure the radio broadcast team heading into their first year back in L.A. this fall.
The formal announcement came Monday morning: Matt “Money” Smith had been slotted into the play-by-play role and Nick Hardwick was returning as the analyst.
As a result, Josh Lewin, doing play-by-play for the franchise the last 12 years, and now based in San Diego with his wife so he could near his new football and basketball radio job with UCLA, has been replaced.

Also for the record, Lewin says: “I understand and respect their desire to brand the broadcast with an established L.A. voice, and they made the perfect choice with Money. He’s a quick study and great talent, and he’s also a friend. I will do whatever I can to help him and the team move forward.
“The Chargers will always be part of who I am.  I was honored and thrilled to have served them and their fans for all that time, and I hope I helped create some happy memories for people to enjoy. That’s what this job is all about, capturing excitement and stamping the memorable moments. I wish the team and their supporters nothing but the best always.”
However, Lewin is said to be more frustrated that he was not asked for input on how he might overcome some physical logistics that dictate he wouldn’t be available to do appearances in L.A. this summer — he continues his job on New York Mets radio, every April-to-October since 2012.
An industry source told us: “I think Josh is surprised that the train left the station without him. I know he would have loved the chance to state his case for why he and the team should have all grown old together. Regarding the Chargers, he was loyal to a fault.” Continue reading “Sports media notes version 06.07.17: Chargers strike twice with surprise radio broadcaster picks, and more” »

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