Weekly sports media notes version 04.21.15

What’s worth posting now:

CfufxOHUAAEVGHB== “Why Vin Scully should call the World Series before retiring” is the sexy headline, the sales pitch, the eye-grabber, atop the latest SI.com media column posted last Sunday night by columnist Richard Deistch.
Of course, it makes sense to put it out there again. It’s a topic addressed almost annually, by readers, by writers, by those at the networks, by those who believe they can make it happen.
As much as we’ve come to realize that Scully’s answer is “thanks, but no thanks, and he’s unmistakably on the record as saying he’ll pass, the idea gets floated again, so much so that others pick up on it and before you know, the New York Daily News chimes in with: “Hey, Vin Scully: We want you to broadcast the All-Star game … or the World Series” even  suggesting the ever elusive Sandy Koufax be asked to facilitate.
Maybe we’re missing something. We read on.
It’s former NBC baseball producer Michael Weisman who is the latest to suggest Scully be asked to make a curtain call, which launches the SI.com piece. We certainly remember Weisman from years and Emmys ago, but …
Fox MLB play-by-play man Joe Buck is asked again if he’d step aside for Scully. As he has said almost annually, he’d be fine with it. This time with Deistch he offers even more detail as to why Scully would be out of his comfort zone if asked to do it now.
Maybe the prevailing thought here is, if we ask again, again, and again — really wear him down on it — he’ll agree and God bless us everyone.
vinmagesDeitsch follows up in his notes column Wednesday by saying: “As both pieces clearly indicate, Scully has repeatedly turned down such inquiries. Baseball fans can dream, however.”
We’re with you on that.
But maybe, having talked to him about it so often, on and off the record, we have a pretty good feel for how the 88-year-old Hall of Famer appreciates the gesture, but he really isn’t up for it.
The real lure to this year is a) he says it’s his last, b) the SportsNet LA mess makes it impossible for many to hear him call a game past three innings on the radio and c) here’s a chance to be heard nationally. Plus, with an All-Star Game in San Diego, he’s apt to be OK with doing it, especially if Fox can get Dick Enberg lined up for the same kind of sendoff. That could be the real lure for him — pay tribute to his friend and kind of make it a fun experience for the two of them.
There’s still euphoria floating through the city after the magical Kobe Bryant finale, and then more from the tribute Scully got on the Dodgers’ home opener. We get gold, but then find ourselves begging for an encore, just one more moment of their time, and they feel obliged.
No hard feelings for anyone who’s trying to nudge this to happen.
And as much as we’ve been up, down and across this road before — aside from the one going into Dodger Stadium just renamed for him, which took long enough for the city to wear him down on that honor — trust us, Scully would rather not even be on the other end of this conversation any longer. It tires him.
So before the groundswell begins again in July, and then in October, just kind of realize how selfish this all us, and unfair to him.
And at what point are we trying to guilt him into making a call for our own warm-and-fuzzy gratification?

== Such a find for ESPN in digging this up:

== Which also leads into this headline and rather obvious observation in a Forbes.com post: “Vin Scully Has Become A Social Media Phenomenon In His Final Season”

== The Niagara Gazette is all ready for a Scully visit this fall.

== The Dodgers announced Wednesday that it will extend its Spanish language radio rights for three more years with KTNQ (1020 AM), the Univision Radio station. It confirms that Hall of Fame broadcaster Jaime Jarrin will be able to reach 60 seasons with the team; he’s in Year 58 at the moment, doing games with his son, Jorge.

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30 baseball books for April ’16, Day 21: Fiction isn’t f*$&ing real … it can be better

twain-wallpaperStill wondering how we got sucked into this new feature on ESPN.com that involves make-believe and the ’27 Yankees, we go out the baseline a bit and check out some real, intended baseball fiction:

The book: “Double Switch”
The author: T.T. Monday
The vital statistics: Doubleday, 224 pages, $25.95. Released March 1.
Find it: At Amazon.com, at Powells.com, at Vromans.com
51Zp6zShDPLThe pitch: Back in 2014, Monday (his real name is Nick Taylor) created Johnny Adcock, this bullpen gumshoe who finds there’s plenty of time between appearances to solve mysteries.
The first time it had to do with the death of a teammate. This time, it’s trying to find out what’s behind all the rumors of a new Cuban star who might be way over his head with some bad people. If you’ve followed at all the plight of Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig, or heard of some of the stories involving other players who’ve escaped the island, it’s not a far-fetched tale.
Just maybe you’re not sure Adcock is the right man for the job. But he does it anyway.
“As soon as I emerge from the tunnel, hear the crack of the bat, and feel the grass under my feet, I realize I was right. This is my life. I may not be Clayton Kershaw, but I am immortal.”
More to know: San Jose Mercury News columnist Mark Purdy recommends the read as a Bay Area baseball bucket list requirement …. a review on BloggerNews.net Continue reading

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30 baseball books for April ’16, Day 20: No wonder we get sucked into no-nos

At the Baseball Hall of Fame, you can see the mitt that Jeff Torborg used to catch no hitters from both Sandy Koufax and Nolan Ryan. Torborg caught three no-nos in his 10 year career with the Dodgers and Angels. The others in MLB history to catch three no-hitters? There are 15 of them, including Roy Campanella, Yogi Berra, one-time Dodger Charles Johnson and current Giant Buster Posey.

At the Baseball Hall of Fame, you can see the mitt that Jeff Torborg used to catch three no hitters: One from Sandy Koufax, one from Nolan Ryan and the third from …. There are 15 others in MLB history who have caught three no-nos, and the list includes Roy Campanella, Yogi Berra, one-time Dodger Charles Johnson and current Giant Buster Posey. And the third Torborg no-no reception: Bill Singer.

The book: “Baseball’s No-Hit Wonders: More than a Century of Pitching’s Greatest Feats”
The author: Dirk Lammers
The vital statistics: Unbridled Books, 496 pages, $25.95 (or $18.95 paperback).  Released March 15
Find it: At Amazon.com, at Powells.com, at Vromans.com

nohitThe pitch: We’ve never seen a no hitter in person. Neither has the author, he admits.
Nor have we seen one on TV. Or heard one play out on the radio.
Just the very end of a few, after we heard about it in progress.
We find that some broadcasters have issues when speaking of one that’s in progress. We’ve not been real supportive of that philosophy.
So, in review:
See no no-no.
Hear no no-no.
Speak yes no-no.
We thought our streak was going to end as we watched, listened, spoke about, tweeted out and sized up what was happening when Dodgers rookie Ross Stripling dodged base hits in San Francisco in his major league debut not long ago.
You may have heard how it ended — manager Dave Roberts took him out once he reached 100 pitches with one out in the bottom of the eighth. More vital to the equation: Stripling just walked another batter and the tying run was coming to the plate. An even more important piece to the puzzle: Stripling, and his dad, seemed fine with it, considering the comeback from Tommy John surgery and realizing he’d like to pitch more than just this one game.
Lammers, an Associated Press baseball writer, would have been stressing over deadlines and rewrites had he been there to watch it all — the next batter homered, and the game was eventually lost.
Lammers might have also wanted to rewrite this book had that happened to end in a no-no, but that could have been dealt with in future updates.
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30 baseball books for April ’16, Day 19: Daring Darling to remember Game 7 of the ’86 World Series vs. Game 7 of the ’88 NLCS

Mets pitcher Ron Darling, right, gets some time with first baseman Keith Hernandez during the 1986 World Series Game 7. (Photo: Associated Press)

Mets pitcher Ron Darling, right, gets some time with first baseman Keith Hernandez during the 1986 World Series Game 7. (Photo: Associated Press)

The book: “Game 7, 1986: Failure and Triumph in the Biggest Game of My Life”
The author: Ron Darling, with Daniel Paisner
The vital statistics: St. Martin’s Press, 256 pages, $25.95. Released April 5
Find it: At Amazon.com, at Powells.com, at Vromans.com, at the publishers website.

51JswpiceVLThe pitch: We written before about the various visits we’ve had with the former Mets All-Star and current SNY and TBS analyst about games he’s pitched.
For the longest time, we were led to believe his crushing Game 7 loss in the 1988 NLCS against the Dodgers was the one that he could never shake.
“It was my total and utter disaster,” he once told us. “I’m haunted by that seven game to this day.”
Darling only made it through 10 batters. He left the contest trailing 3-0 in the bottom of the second with the bases loaded and no one out. Doc Gooden came in and couldn’t help. Darling was charged with six runs (four earned) as Orel Hershiser went on to a complete-game five-hit 6-0 triumph that put the Dodgers in the World Series.
Now, Darling admits that isn’t that only thing that keeps him up at night.
In this book, he’s tearing his heart out with a self-examination about all that transpired during the deciding game of the 1986 World Series, two Octobers earlier.
Maybe it wasn’t so painful because, as the readers know going into this book, Darling wasn’t on the losing end. No spoiler alert: The Mets won the series, the Boston Red Sox lost again.
Darling started Game 7 and gave up three earned runs in the top of the second. Just 18 batters faced in 3 2/3 innings. Two homers allowed. No strikeouts. It was up to relievers Sid Fernandez, Roger McDowell and Jesse Orosco try to clean things up long enough for the Mets’ offense to wake up.
“My piss-poor performance,” Darling calls it on page 149.
Since this one delivers a much happier ending, Darling finds it a little more palatable to recount, about how he approached it, what he remembers and doesn’t remember, and lessons learned.
Lessons apparently not applied.
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30 baseball books for April ’16, Day 18: The fascination is mutual, Kurkjian

71chxTMczdL._SL1414_The book: “I’m Fascinated by Sacrifice Flies: Inside the Game We All Love”
The author: Tim Kurkjian
The vital statistics: St. Martin’s Press, 256 pages, $26.99. To be released May 3
Find it: At Amazon.com, at Powells.com, at Vromans.com, at the publishers’ website.

51F1uhOrdQLThe pitch: We were fascinated to find out that if you searched Amazon.com for “Tim Kurkjian,” you’ll come across someone insane enough to sell you an authentic batting practice-used Rawlings baseball signed by the ESPN baseball analyst/columnist for $59.95.
Deal, or no deal?
And if you really looked at the signature and had no idea who it was, you might think: Stan Kasten?

Kurkjian’s valued opinions on “Baseball Tonight” over the years, and now as an occasional game analyst in the booth on top of what he writes for ESPN.com, was in some apparent need of updating.
It’s been a good eight years since  he produced a “for the love of the game” tome – the one he did in 2008 called “Is This a Great Game, or What? From A-Rod’s Heart to Zim’s Head – My 25 Years in Baseball.
The same way that was favorably embraced, this will likely be appreciated as well by those who see the game as a way of life, flaws and all, and because of its flaws, crafted by someone who we’ve thought of endearingly as a compilation of Huell Howser, Bill James and Joe Garagiola. And with the voice of a yet-to-be named character on the Cartoon Network.
As for the title …
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