One of the things that Dodgers broadcasters like to point out whenever the team faces the Cincinnati Reds is a statistical fact that Charley Steiner decided to again mention on tonight’s telecast:
Between 1970 to 2004, the Cincinnati Reds basically used two shortstops — Dave Concepcion and Barry Larkin.
But since 2005, the Reds have used a whopping 31 different shortstops.
To drive that point home on the SportsNet LA coverage, a graphic came up on the screen — but then something new was revealed. Maybe those 31 shortstops were a lot for the Reds, but the Dodgers had plenty more — 39 of ’em, more than anyone else in baseball.
Why not make a bigger deal out of that Dodger oddity as the keys to the position may someday be handed over to Corey Seager as early as 2016?
For the sake of looking over the laundry list of history, here are those 39 different players who have played SS for the Dodgers since 2005 (with the number of new names in parenthesis): Continue reading →
Earl Lloyd, the first black player in the NBA who played 65 years ago and died last February at the age of 86, deserves, if anything, a stamp of approval for a life well lived.
There’s been a campaign supported by Lloyd’s son, Kevin, as well as the family of Wilt Chamberlain to petition the U.S. Post Office and have Lloyd commemorated just as Chamberlain was in 2014. Lloyd’s debut for the Washington Capitals of the NBA in 1950 came just before Sweetwater Clifton and Chuck Cooper also broke down the race barrier in the pro basketball game.
Upon his passing, the National Basketball Retired Players Association said Lloyd “forever changed the game of basketball” on that Halloween night, and they called him “a leader, a pioneer, a soldier” — he missed the 1951-52 season while in the Army.
“Modest and willing to share his story with anyone when asked, Earl offered a vivid window into our nation’s segregated past and personified change in this country,” the NBRPA said. “A truly historic figure in American history has passed.”
Lloyd was on the 1955 NBA champion Syracuse Nationals, joining teammate Jim Tucker as the first black players to play on a championship team. The 6-foot-5 forward averaged 8.4 points and 6.4 rebounds in 560 regular-season games in nine seasons with Washington, Syracuse and Detroit. He was a ninth-round draft pick out of West Virginia State.
Inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003 as a contributor, he also coached the Detroit Pistons to a 22-55 record in 1971-72 and the first nine games in the 1972-73 season.
Information about how Kevin Lloyd has been leading the campaign has been reported by the Philadelphia Tribune.
See the petition below or send letters of recommendation to: Earl Francis Loyd, Postal Stamp Committee, 15 Pineridge Court, Crossville, TN 38558-6532.
Chamberlain’s sister, Barbara Lewis, has also been collecting supportive letters. She can be contacted at:
Barbara O. Lewis, 1312 Sun Copper Dr., Las Vegas, NV 89117-7022
Letters can also be sent to Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee, 475 L’Enfant Plaza SW, Room 3300, Washington, D.C. 20260-3501.
THIS WEEK’S BEST BET: HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: BISHOP AMAT vs. MATER DEI Details/TV: At Santa Ana Stadium, Friday at 7:30 p.m., Prime Ticket NOTRE DAME (SHERMAN OAKS) at OAKS CHRISTIAN Details/TV: Friday at 7 p.m., FSW PrepZone.com:
Where do we start? Right here, at Week 0 on the schedule, with a top-loaded lineup for the CIF Southern Section and City Section to begin measuring themselves. A nice starting point is La Puente’s Bishop Amat, ranked No. 1 in the state by MaxPreps.com, with standout receivers Tyler Vaughns (headed to USC) and Trevon Sidney. On a night when coach Bill Redell has a field named after him at Oaks Christian, here’s a sighting of Lions star senior receiver Michael Pittman, also committed to USC. Oaks Christian’s defense has to go up against Notre Dame, showcasing running back Leo Lambert III, who piled up 1,320 yards and 20 touchdowns last season.
Fox Sports/Prime Ticket has taken the opportunity to highlight the Bishop Amat-Mater Dei contest on the main TV feed. In addition to Notre Dame-Oaks Christian on PrepZone.com, there are Canyon of Canyon Country at Calabasas, Lompoc at Arroyo Grande and Trabuco Hills at Rancho Cucamonga. For Calabasas, it’s a chance to see Keyshawn Johnson Jr. as well as five-star junior Darnay Holmes pull in passes from junior Tristan Gebbia. Canyon has a promising junior QB of its own in Miles Fallin – also an All-State sophomore selection with Gebbia last year.
More key matchups around Southern California in the first Friday include state-ranked teams St. John Bosco (at La Mirada), Centennial of Corona (hosting East of Salt Lake City) and Serra (at Lakewood), along with Crespi at Sylmar, Alemany hosting Garfield, Westlake at Oxnard, Granada Hills at Venice and Taft at Canoga Park.
Via CalPreps.com, here’s a list of all the CIF Southern Section games this weekend and the schedule for CIF City Section games.
ALSO THIS WEEK:
The Dodgers take a five-game road losing streak to Cincinnati (Tuesday-Thursday) before coming home to face the Chicago Cubs (Friday-Sunday) … The 69th Little League World Series champ will be crowned Sunday (at Williamsport, Pa., noon, Channel 7) … American Pharoah takes his next race at the 146th Travers Stakes (Saturday, 1 p.m., Channel 4) … The Sparks are attempting to set a WNBA record with more than 22,000 for its game against San Antonio (Sunday at 4 p.m., TWC SportsNet) … More to find at this link.
Chris Marlowe with Chris McGee before last Sunday’s Manhattan Beach Open.
In addition to the Q-and-A posted today, we have more with Chris Marlowe on his life as an actor, his first job in TV and more…
Chris Marlowe proudly comes from an acting family – his father, Hugh, a longtime dramatic lead; his mother K.T. Stevens, with a shining resume, and his grandfather, Sam Wood, a prolific director nominated for three Academy Awards.
Before Marlowe came to a point in his post-playing days when his career took off in the sportscasting field, his first taste of what TV broadcast work could be like came when ABC hired him to call the 1978 NCAA indoor volleyball championship.
He knew the two teams – UCLA and Pepperdine.
But he wasn’t sure he knew much about the play-by-play man, other than …
“I graduated from San Diego State (1974) and was on the national team that was trying to get to the ’76 Olympics, but we didn’t qualify. I came back to the U.S. and was working at a restaurant, still working out at UCLA, and I knew their coach, Al Scates, who had been doing color on NCAA championship matches when the Bruins weren’t involved. This time, his team mated it, so they asked him if he knew anyone who could do the TV jobt. He recommended me – ‘I know a former national team player with a big mouth and a loud voice,’ he told them. I interviewed for the job and got it.
“I find out the play-by-play man on this assignment is Bruce Jenner. “He just had his success in the Olympics in the decathlon, he’s all over the Wheaties box, and ABC had put him on track and field coverage. But this was the first time they wanted him to branch out as an announcer. This was his first play by play event outside his sport. So that’s always a challenge.
“And I’m doing my first event ever, which was also a challenge. Suffice to say, we were a little nerve-jangled when we prepared to tape our on-camera intro at 6:45 when the match was going to start at 7:30 p.m.
“We had this huge crowd assembled around us – maybe people now don’t remember how big a celebrity Bruce Jenner was at that time, but there had to be about 500 people huddled around us as we’re trying to tape this opening. It started bad and went south quickly. They wanted him to do a 30-second open by himself, talk about these two teams that know each other very well, just 30 minutes apart … but he just had difficulty putting the words together. We’re doing take after take.
“Now it’s 7:20 and the officials are looking at us. And because he kept flubbing the intro, Bruce wasn’t even at the point yet where he got to the line where he was introducing me as the analyst. He finally gets a good take, and I knew I couldn’t screw it up once he threw it to me.
“I’m wearing that yellow Wide World of Sports blazer and I think I did pretty good. So we got through it and then rushed to do the match.”
Q: Did you ever run into Jenner again on any TV assignments?
A: I don’t believe I ever saw him again. Later on, thought, I did date one of his ex-wifes for a short time – Linda Thompson, who also had been married to Elvis Presley. We met at a party, we hit it off talking for hours, I asked her out, I drove up to her gated enclave in my Mustang, we went to dinner. And I realized I was way out of her league. What an interesting experience. Continue reading →
Chris Marlowe watches the action on a monitor while providing commentary of the men’s final of the Manhattan Beach Open for NBC Sports last Sunday. (Photo by Mark Dustin for Los Angeles Daily News)
Chris Marlowe didn’t yield to pier pressure.
A stellar collection of former Manhattan Beach Open beach volleyball champions came together last Sunday for a “legends” game prior to the men’s and women’s final – Singin Smith, Randy Stoklos, Tim Hovland, Mike Dodd, Steve Obradovich and Jim Menges.
But Marlowe, who turns 64 next month, wasn’t the least bit tempted to budge from the umbrella-protected NBC TV booth as he prepared for the upcoming broadcast. Even if he belonged there as much as anyone, having partnered with Obradovich to win the ’76 event, and with Menges to repeat in ’77.
It was no knee-jerk decision.
“I would play in that, but I have a bad knee, and it’s very difficult to run and jump,” Marlowe admitted. “For me, right now, I’m a little past the point of playing and I don’t want to embarrass myself. Maybe if I could be the designated server …”
Back to serving up this weekend’s Long Beach FIVB Grand Slam event for the NBC networks, including Sunday’s finals (Channel 4, 11:30 a.m.) and Saturday’s semifinals (Channel 4, 1:30 p.m.), Marlowe, a Southern California native who captained the 1984 U.S. gold-medal winning indoor team at the L.A. Summer Games, has re-engaged with the sport as he enters his 11th season calling Denver Nuggets games for Altitude TV.
He enjoyed a chance to reflect on where the sport has come since he played and broadcast its formative years:
Q: Part of this Long Beach celebration is marking the 20th year since beach volleyball entered the Olympics stage as a medal sport. You were there at the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta. What do you remember about that moment when the sport went to this next level after all you’d been so close to it as a player and broadcaster the previous two decades? A: When Paul Sunderland and I were there for NBC calling indoor volleyball, I don’t think anyone really realized how big the beach event would become from that particular tournament. It has certainly zoomed up the radar, especially internationally. The U.S. has fluctuated a little bit with the AVP tour, coming back strong lately with the new ownership and Donald Sun. But having beach volleyball in the Olympics has been a God-send to the sport in making it legit — uniforms, rules, officials, medals. NBC continues to make the volleyball an Olympic priority, so that still makes it an exciting time to be in beach volleyball. The advent of sand volleyball for women in the NCAA – now they’re going to start calling it “beach” volleyball – has been a boon to the sport. The only drawback so far is there is no men’s beach volleyball in college at a time when the American men are getting older and could use that pipeline.
Q: How do you gauge the momentum generated by this Long Beach event over the last several years?
A: I remember the first international event held in Los Angeles, putting sand on the UCLA tennis courts in 1997, it was about a half-filled stands and the organizers were somewhat disappointed. Leonard Armato and the organizers have promoted this event year around, making it a volleypalooza. It’s turned into a terrific event.
Q: Prime Ticket still shows a lot of the classic games from the ‘80s and ‘90s, where you and Sunderland called the matches. Do you think of that as a golden era of the men’s game because of the circumstances?
A: It was a fantastic time in the sport of volleyball. Not only was the U.S. up and coming in the indoor game with Karch and Dusty Dvorak, Pat Powers, Steve Timmons and Craig Buck, but the beach had a fantastic array of stars. I think that was one of the greatest groups of players the United States has ever had, indoors or outdoors. Indoor volleyball right now is at that same point it was then with great young players, and they’ll be good the next 10 years. The difference is they won’t be playing on the beach.
The reason why that was a great era of outstanding volleyball and personalities is you wanted to see Hovland and Dodd play Smith and Stoklos. The players didn’t get along. There were good guys and bad guys. It was Santa Monica against South Bay. The fans had people to root for. One of the only downsides of the beach volleyball today is the players travel together, they share sponsors and agents, and they all get along. Those rivalries don’t seem to be there today. Maybe some of the guys coming up will have that attitude – like the Crabbe brothers from Hawaii, or Casey Patterson. It’s just that others are more business-like. We could use a few more entertainers.
Q: How can you as a broadcaster inject some of the entertainment back into the game? You’ve always had your own lingo and terminology, like what Chick Hearn did for the NBA.
A: When I call matches, I try to investigate and find story angles, look for rivalries, maybe one player was dumped by another partner. In the international game, some U.S.-Brazil rivalries are as good as it gets in beach volleyball. Both have been premiere countries for talent going back to 1996. They teams may be cordial but they don’t like each other. When I talked to Kerri Walsh Jennings about Brazil teams, she will say, ‘Yes, they’re very good.’ But then she gets a big smile on her face and says, ‘But they’re beatable.’