Sunday media: ‘Chuck’ isn’t cheesy, just telling it like Wepner is

Chuck Wepner, a not-so-great white hope in boxing lore, can at least hold out hope that a two-for-one deal in how his life story has been told may be more than just a sidebar from what Sylvester Stallone strategically borrowed to create an Oscar-winning feature film some 40 years ago.
Liev Schreiber appears on the big screen portraying Wepner in the new movie “Chuck,” which launches in two L.A. and two New York theaters this weekend with plans for an expanded distribution nationwide by Memorial Day. It comes a knock-down, drag-out six years after an ESPN’s “30 For 30” documentary called “The Real Rocky” made its TV run (and still available on Amazon Films for $4.99 a watch).
This unique double feature, spearheaded on both ends by well-versed documentarian and film producer Mike Tollin, was supposed to happen on a tighter timeline. But the ultimate purpose of the multi-media approach is to give each audience what it professes to want – a sports doc for ESPN, then a based-on-a-true-story drama for movie-goers who don’t want to feel confined by the trappings of a “boxing film” genre that ironically is what led to the success of Stallone’s “Rocky” franchise.
More at this link.

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More Q&A with AVP commissioner Donald Sun

AVP managing partner Donald Sun. (Photo: Orange County Register/Christine Cotter)

In addition to a Q&A with AVP head man Donald Sun as the Huntington Beach Open starts the 2017 beach volleyball season, we have this:

Q: How does the schedule come about and how can it stay consistent considering conflicts occasionally there with the global FIVB schedule that will attract your top players?

A: It’s always been a jigsaw puzzle. Eventually you have to pick a schedule and this may have been the earliest in the history of the AVP, at least since 200, is getting a schedule posted – last December. You can’t wait until a few weeks before to get the word out. It doesn’t work from a consumer confidence standpoint, marketing standpoint, all those things. The schedule this year will also pretty much be the same in 2018, but we may change a few things, maybe a week ahead or after what they are now in certain cities. But we don’t want to coincide with a big FIVB event. It’s always better for us to move our events after FIVB gets locked in if we need to. So you’ll know the Manhattan Beach Open is the third week of August for the next three years, for example. Chicago, always Labor Day weekend if you want to do a trip. First week of May will be Huntington Beach.

Q: Any cities you want to rotate in? San Diego? Santa Monica?

We’ve talked to them for years but we are limited in some ways with branding issues. Santa Monica has said it doesn’t like to see a whole bunch of brands on its beaches. So it’s hard for us – the sponsors support us. There are also costs and general over sentiment that we get that it might be too challenging for them to host it. Some may say they already get ‘enough’ tourists and don’t want to think about handling more crowds. Other locations we have gone to – some have worked, some haven’t. What we have now are all big cities and interesting markets. We can start creating a following from a local and national footprint standpoint. Already having Huntington, Hermosa and Manhattan, do we add another West Coast California spot? Maybe a spot like Cincinnati is nice, but maybe it also lost some momentum. Continue reading “More Q&A with AVP commissioner Donald Sun” »

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Sports media notes version 05.03.17: Preparing for the “Chuck” release, and the ESPN relief

Prior to Sunday’s media column feature on what’s behind the new movie “Chuck” — and note above, the two Hollywood screenings Friday and Saturday with Liev Schreiber in attendance — here are more things worth tracking heading into the weekend:

== Many thoughtful responses/theories/overreactions to last week’s Sunday column trying to explain why ESPN got itself into a personnel-cutting mode last week.
And then there’s a headline on “Even ‘New York Times’ Notes ESPN’s Leftward Leaning Coverage”
So now they think the NYT isn’t fake news?
In the NYT piece by writer Mark Tracy, it points out that perhaps there is a connecting of dots that is more debatable than not over how the layoffs were determined, but it doesn’t stop the conversation. Nor should it.
Tracy points out: “In The Ringer, the writer Bryan Curtis recently concluded, sympathetically, that sportswriting had become “a liberal profession.” In debates such as whether the Washington Redskins’ name and imagery are offensive, he said, most sportswriters consider there to be only one right-thinking side. …
Bob Ley, one of ESPN’s longest-tenured anchors, perhaps hinted at one byproduct of ESPN’s “diversity and inclusion” when he told the ombudsman, Jim Brady, in reference to gender and racial emphases in personnel: ‘We’ve done a great job of diversity. But the one place we have miles to go is diversity of thought.'”

== Another approach to this subject: Buzzfeed’s “How ESPN became a conservative cause”

== And one more from Deadspin: “No ESPN Isn’t Losing Money Because It’s Liberal You Clueless Morons” Continue reading “Sports media notes version 05.03.17: Preparing for the “Chuck” release, and the ESPN relief” »

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(More than) 30 baseball books for 2017 we wanted to get to but …

By art student Matthis Grunsky in Halifax, NS, Canada.

In addition to the 30 baseball (and more) books we got through this last April, there are a few more titles that we actually did read, hoped to squeeze into the rotation, but for one reason or another – a late review copy, delayed release, there are no more than 30 days to do it, etc. – we regret not being able to include:

== “The Pride of the Yanikees: Lou Gehrig, Gary Cooper and the Making of a Classic,” by Richard Sandomir (Hatchett Books, $27, 304 pages, due out June 13). We have actually read the book but plan for a more extensive review as it comes out to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the movie’s launch in 1942.

==  “Suicide Squeeze: Taylor Hooton, Rob Garibaldi and the Fight against Teenage Steroid Abuse,” by William C. Kashatus (Temple University Press, 256 pages, $35, released in January 23)

==  “Urban Shocker: Silent Hero of Baseball’s Golden Age,” by Steve Steinberg (University of Nebraska Press, 352 pages, $32.95, released April 1)

== “Almost Perfect: The Heartbreaking Pursuit of Pitching’s Holy Grail,” by Joe Cox (Lyons Press, 280 pages, $26.95, released Feb. 1)

== “Dick Allen: The Life and Times of a Baseball Immortal,” by William C. Kashautus (Schiffer, 288 pages, $29.99, to be released June 15)

== “Macho Row: The 1993 Phillies and Baseball’s Unwritten Code,” by William C. Kashatus (University of Nebraska Press, 384 pages, $27.95, released March 1)

== “The Cooperstown Casebook: Who’s In the Baseball Hall of Fame, Who Should Be In, and Who Should Pack their Plaques,” by Jay Jaffe (Thomas Dunne Books, 464 pages, $25.99, to be released July 25)

== “From the Dugouts to the Trenches: Baseball during the Great War,” by Jim Leeke (University of Nebraska Press, 272 pages, $32.95, released May 1)

== “Lou: 50 Years of Kicking Dirt, Playing Hard and Winning Big in the Sweet Spot of Baseball,” by Lou Pinella with Bill Madden (Harper, 352 pages, $27.99, to be released May 16)

Continue reading “(More than) 30 baseball books for 2017 we wanted to get to but …” »

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The complete 30-for-30 2017 list of baseball book reviews

Arranged by the quality of the work that we tried to pass along in each review:


== Day 28: “Fantasy Life: Baseball and the American Dream,” photographs by Tabitha Soren, text by Dave Eggers
== Day 27: “Off Speed: Baseball, Pitching and the Art of Deception,” by Terry McDermott
== Day 23: “Smart Baseball: The Story Behind the Old Stats That Are Ruining the Game, the New Ones that are Running It, and the Right Way to Think About Baseball,” by Keith Law
== Day 20: “Leo Durocher: Baseball’s Prodigal Son,” by Paul Dickson
== Day 18: “The Phenomenon: Pressure, the Yips and the Pitch that Changed My Life,” by Rick Anikiel with Tim Brown
== Day 10: “The Cubs Way: The Zen of Building the Best Team in Baseball and Breaking the Curse,” by Tom Verducci


== Day 30: “Baseball Is Back,” by Michael Turner
== Day 11: “Baseball Life Advice: Loving the Game That Saved Me,” by Stacey May Fowles
== Day 7: “One Nation Under Baseball: How the 1960s Collided with the National Pastime,” by John Florio and Ouisie Shapiro
== Day 2: “The Amazing Baseball Adventure: Ballpark Wonders from the Bushes to the Show,” by Josh Pahigian
== Day 3: “City of Dreams: Dodger Stadium and the Birth of Modern Los Angeles,” by Jerald Podair
== Day 1: “The Boy Who Knew Too Much: An Astounding True Story of a Young Boy’s Past-Life Memories,” by Cathy Byrd


== Day 26: The New Baseball Bible: Notes, Nuggets, Lists and Legends from Our National Pasttime,” by Dan Schlossberg (preface by Alan Schwarz, forward by Jay Johnstone)
== Day 25: “Hank Greenberg in 1938: Hatred and Home Runs in the Shadow of War,” by Ron Kaplan
== Day 24: “Lefty O’Doul: Baseball’s Forgotten Ambassador,” by Dennis Snelling
== Day 22: “Baseball Meat Market: The Stories Behind the Best and Worst Trades in History,” by Shawn Krest
== Day 17: “Lyman Bostock: The Inspiring Life and Tragic Death of a Ballplayer,” by K. Adam Powell
== Day 16: “Do You Want to Work in Baseball?: Advice to Acquire Employment in MLB and Mentorship in Scouting and Player Development,” by Bill Geivett
== Day 15: “Jackie Robinson: A Spiritual Biography: The Faith of a Boundary-Breaking Hero,” by Michael G. Long and Chris Lamb
== Day 13: “Casey Stengel: Baseball’s Greatest Character,” by Marty Appel
== Day 12: “Seinsoth: The Rough and Tumble Life of a Dodger,” by Steven K. Wagner
== Day 9: “Lost Ballparks,” by Dennis Evanosky and Eric J. Kos
== Day 8: “Frick*: Baseball’s Third Commissioner,” by John P. Carvalho
== Day 6: “Making My Pitch: A Woman’s Baseball Odyssey,” by Ila Borders, with Jean Hastings Ardell


== Day 29: “Cincinnati Red and Dodger Blue: Baseball’s Greatest Forgotten Rivalry” by Tom Van Riper
== Day 21: “Piazza: Catcher, Slugger, Icon, Star,” by Greg W. Prince
== Day 19: “Ballplayer,” by Chipper Jones with Carroll Rogers Walton
== Day 14: “The 50 Greatest Players in Dodgers History,” by Robert W. Cohen
== Day 5: “Baseball Beyond Our Borders: An International Pastime,” edited by George Gmelch and Daniel Nathan
== Day 4: “Dynastic, Bombastic, Fantastic: Reggie, Rollie, Catfish and Charlie Finley’s Swingin’ A’s,” by Jason Turbow

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