Hopefully, familiarity doesn’t breed contempt. Because familiar voices return to call USC and UCLA games this Saturday.
It’s bound to happen when you have ESPN, Fox and the Pac-12 Network on a constant rotating basis to call Pac-12 games … which is something that was reinforced as we gave some brush up information this week in a piece trying to explain why UCLA is going through a run of six games in a row with a kickoff of 5 p.m. or later.
UCLA’s chiller at Washington State (Saturday, 7:30 p.m.) draws the ESPN team of Allen Bestwick, Mike Bellotti and Kris Budden for the second week in a row on a Bruins’ game. But that stretch of nighttime games will end on Oct. 22 when the Bruins play host to Utah in a 1 p.m. Rose Bowl game.
Meanwhile, for or Joe Davis, doing the USC-Arizona game from Tuscon, Ariz., on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. on Channel 11 means he and analyst Brady Quinn will have seen the Trojans play three times in the last four weeks. Perhaps the only saving it from a four-times-in-five-weeks parlay is that the Trojans have a bye week after this.
“They’re so close to being 4-2 against one of the nation’s most difficult schedules,” said Davis, the Dodgers’ Spectrum SportsNet LA broadcaster who also called USC’s games against Utah in Week 4 and Arizona State in Week 5. “Would they have beaten Alabama or Stanford with Sam Darnold as the starter? Probably not, but he sure has been impressive since taking over. Great play maker. They’ve got their guy for the next few years.
“I still think they can win the Pac-12 South. They’re talented enough. Now they just need some help. And if things keep going at this unpredictable rate in the South, they just might get it.”
The rest of the Pac-12:
= Utah, the only Pac-12 ranked school playing this week, at Oregon State, Pac-12 Network, 1 p.m. (Jim Watson, Yogi Roth, Cindy Brunson)
= Arizona State at Colorado, Pac-12 Network, 5 p.m. (Roxy Bernstein, Anthony Herron, Lewis Johnson)
= Stanford at Notre Dame, Channel 4, 4:30 p.m. (Dan Hicks, Doug Flutie) Bye week for Washington, Oregon and Cal
Kenta Maeda, who starts Game 3 of the Dodgers-Nationals NLDS on Monday at Dodger Stadium (1 p.m., MLB Network), would have the most excellent shot at winning the NL’s Rookie of the Year award if not for teammate Corey Seager. Consider that when he signed the rather modest eight-year, $25 million deal last January, he made different incentive marks by making 32 starts, going 175 innings, striking out 179 and winning 16 — all team leading — with a 3.48 ERA., benefiting from a schedule designed to benefit longer layoffs for him. His feats so far, in fact, are on par or better as a rookie than the three former star Japanese starting pitchers that the Dodgers have ever had.
As a 26-year-old in 1995, Hideo Nomo was 13-6 with a 2.54 ERA in 28 starts, leading the league with three shutouts and 236 strikeouts when he was the NL Rookie of the Year and fourth in the Cy Young vote. But in two career postseason starts (’95 and ’96), he lost them both in rough outings. Kaz Ishii, at age 28 in 2002, was 14-10 in 28 starts but never appeared in the playoffs.
In 2008, 33-year-old Hiroki Kuroda may not have had a sparkling record — 9-10 — but with a 3.37 ERA in 31 starts, he was called upon to start in the NLDS against the Cubs, and the NLCS against the Phillies, and registered a win in both those games with solid six-inning performances.
If the Dodgers advance by winning Game 4 (Dodger Stadium, Tuesday at 2 p.m., FS1) or Game 5 (Nationals Park, Thursday at 2 p.m. or 5:30 p.m., FS1), then the NL Championship Series against either Chicago or San Francisco starts Saturday and Sunday at the home park of the team with the higher seeding.
More at this link.
Bob Costas does a post-game interview with Kirk Gibson after the Dodgers won Game 1 of the 1988 World Series on Gibson’s home run against the Oakland A’s. (Getty Photos)
Try to imagine Bob Costas as an 8-year-old in the third grade, a transistor radio stuck next to his ear listening to Vin Scully call a Dodgers game.
Because, it happened.
The Emmy Award-winning 64-year-old sportscaster may have been born and mostly reared in New York, a graduate of Syracuse University, and a longtime St. Louis resident, but while his family lived in an apartment complex for about a year in Redondo Beach during his “Wonder Years,” he got the full-on Scully experience.
“I think I’ve had that appreciation of Vin since I was a child, literally among the legions, remembering how those were all radio games with just the nine games on TV from San Francisco,” Costas said the other day.
“And some of those people forget — sure, they slept with the radio under the pillow — but with some of the road games in the Central or Eastern time zones, live, a game could start at 5 in the afternoon, so even a kid could stay up until the end because a game took only two hours and 15 minutes then.”
And now for Costas and the rest of us, life gets so wonderfully confusing this time of year. More at this link …
From the 1992 American Sportscasters Association awards banquet: Bob Costas, right, poses with Yogi Berra, Vin Scully, Jon Miller and Tommy Lasorda.
The most loaded owner in all of pro team sports?
Ask Chuck, the Clippers’ mascot, why he still exists. There’s your first clue.
Forbes confirmed our greatest unfounded fears this week with its annual ranking of America’s wealthiest individuals. Breaking it off into a subset of those who also gleefully possess their own sporting tax writeoff, your own Steve Ballmer of Hunts Point, Wash., the 15th-richest in the Gates/Bezos/Buffett/Zuckerberg orbit, has what’s believed to be 27.5 billion reasons to make the Clippers great again.
== The timing is poignant and proper for the release of Arnold Palmer’s final keepsake book, “A Life Well Played: My Stories” (St. Martin’s Press, 258 pages, $22.99), due to hit bookstores on Tuesday.
Not to give away a great ending, but Palmer, who died Sept. 25 and had his memorial service air earlier this week on his Golf Channel, has a final chapter entitled “The Final Lesson” that includes this passage: “I want to leave you with this thought, a confession if you will: I never cared for the nickname ‘the King.’ At times, it has made me uncomfortable and even a bit irritated to be referred to that way. I know it was meant to be flattering, but there is no king in golf. There never has been and there never will be. … I suppose, in the final accounting of it all, what I really am, inescapably – and how I prefer to be thought of in terms of my legacy – is a caretaker of the game, just the way my father was before me. … I hope you think I did a good job. I hope Pap things so too.”
== Whit Watson, Lanny Wadkins, John Mahaffey, Dave Marr and Billy Ray Brown on are on the Golf Channel coverage of the PGA Champions Tour event from Newport Beach Country Club this weekend, starting with Friday’s first round. Each day coverage begins at 3 p.m. and goes until 6 p.m. (Friday) and 5:30 p.m. (Saturday and Sunday) live, with replays from 1-to-3:30 a.m. the next morning.
MLB: == Another week of Vin Scully-related stories upon his retirement: Continue reading →