Weekly media notes version 05.07.15 — How CSUN sees the bigger picture of its sports media future: A do-it-yourself project, calling all alums

CSUN-Sports-Network-RotatorWhat’s coming up for Sunday:
The announcement this week that Cal State Northridge plans to raise the bar with producing more sports-related content in expanding its current MatadorTV program into the launch of what it is calling the CSUN Sports Network should get everyone’s attention in the Southern California academic/sports world.
What four-year universities should be doing in the second-largest media market is ramping up their training the next generation of technicians, editors, graphic designers and on-air talent. Programs in place at USC and UCLA may seem to have more international exposure, but CSUN can shed any “mid-major” connotation with what it is attempting here, not just augmenting the Big West in production of live-streaming video but also improving its brand of a place to go for those who want to learn the business.
Take note, Long Beach State, Dominguez Hills, Pepperdine, LMU …
(Which seems to raise the question: Doesn’t Cal State University Channel Islands have the brand name and natural synergy in getting its own sports channel?)
That, with all the CSUN alums already involved in the media business in the area who want to assist in this project, gives it much more momentum.
We have more with CSUN athletic director Dr. Brandon Martin on how this project will work.

What’s also worth nothing at this point in the week:

directv-ceo-michael-white== DirecTV CEO Mike White, who landed at No.19 on the LANG list of the 50 most powerful sports people in L.A. but could easily disappear in future rankings, reasserted his company’s disdain for the Dodgers’ SportsNet L.A. distribution via Time Warner Cable during a Wednesday earnings conference call with analysts this week, according to Variety.
Amidst all that angst also came the most jarring quote from his assessment of the impact the channel has on his company as it stands today: “The channel’s probably worth less to us than it was a year ago.”
Perhaps full context of his statement in response to a question from James M. Ratcliffe of Buckingham Research, pulled from a transcript provided by TheStreet.com and cited by TVPredictions.com, is really needed here.
Despite another quote that “we haven’t lost any customers” because of the channel issue, White did admit that by his count as many as 3,000 customers have left DirecTV because of the SportsNet L.A. situation. Count us, Daily News columnist Dennis McCarthy and KSPN-AM (710) afternoon co-host Steve Mason among them.
Because we think you do care — despite another White assertion — here is his full quote, which also makes a reference to DirecTV not having the Pac-12 Network:
vast-outlet-of-doom“I think in the case of the Dodgers, frankly at this stage, it’s probably for AT&T to make a decision. But it was a reckless deal at many multiples of what was being paid before, well above what anybody else would have bid and then they tried to force customers to pay for it.
“We had very minimal churn last year. I think something like 2,000 customers, which was — like half that this year, so I think, my view we made a very fair offer last year. It was rejected out of hand by Time Warner Cable.
“Frankly, now that we haven’t lost any customers, the channel is probably worth less to us today than it was a year ago. But you know, I have to say I think it’s … when you abuse customers by overpaying for stuff and then trying to jam them, which there’s a lot of in this industry, whether it is for a college network or whether it is for a regional sports network, you know, I think what we’ve learned out of our Houston experience and our Los Angeles experience is you know what? Customers don’t care that much.”
White said he expects a $48.5 billion acquisition merger with AT&T to be approved in the next few months after it is reviewed by the FCC and Justice Department, and then it would be up to the new AT&T company execs to decide if it wanted the SportsNet L.A. deal for its combined customers.

== In the meantime, may we interest you in a meet-and-greet with Dodgers Hall of Famer Vin Scully?
Willing to drive about 2 1/2 hours north to somewhere in Central California?
The Kern Golden Empire website (run by KGET Channel 17) confirms that the 87-year-old Scully, who isn’t calling Dodgers games this week, will make the trek to the city of Taft — specifically at 515 Cascade Place —  to visit a Wiffle ball named in his honor on Saturday, as well as “visit with local children and celebrate the work being done every day in support of the community.” Ceremonies begin at 11:30 a.m. More information: Westside Parks and Recreation District at (661) 763-4246.

== If you missed the clip of the Dodgers fan who video taped himself catching a home-run hit by Arizona’s Aaron Hill at Dodger Stadium last weekend, it’s at this link. And as Scully said, “It’s the selfie of all selfies.”

== With David Letterman’s late night show coming to and end on May 20, we’ve dug up this Scully appearance on the program from almost exactly 25 years ago — May 11, 1990 when Scully was traveling with the Dodgers in New York.
Move the video to the 25:30 mark to see Scully, then in his 41st season with the Dodgers, drop the word “bitchy” into the conversation.
How Letterman will retire before Scully remains one of TV’s greatest mysteries.

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Play It Forward May 4-10 — Hack-A-Howard vs. Hack-A-DJ, with Reggie Miller back in play

rockets-v-clippersTHIS WEEK’S BEST BET:

Details/TV: Game 1 at Houston: Monday at 6:30 p.m., TNT:

Mayweather Pacquiao BoxingAnother poor choice for Reggie Miller, giving up his TNT courtside seat for Game 7 of the Clippers-Spurs opening round series to Chris Webber so that he could hobnob around the MGM Grand with Charles Barkley and be part of the network posse representing themselves at the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight. So now Reggie Roundball wants back in for the Clippers’ second-round series? By all means. Kevin Harlan will be impatiently awaiting his arrival in Houston, since it was the Rockets, who from what information we can gather, who eliminated the Dallas Mavs with just five games in the first round and haven’t played since last Tuesday. That gives them plenty of time to practice their free throws, since it will somehow come down to a Hack-A-Howard versus a Hack-A-DeAndre chess match, which always makes for compelling TV. Houston led the NBA by averaging 114.2 points in its first-round series, but it made just 67.9 percent of its free throws, 15th out of the 16 postseason teams. In the regular season, Houston was 27th overall at 71.5 percent. Only the Clippers (71.0 percent, 28th) were worse among playoff teams.
The series continues with Game 2 at Houston on Wednesday (6:30 p.m., TNT). Staples Center has Game 3 (Friday, 7:30 p.m., ESPN) and Game 4 (Sunday, 5:30 p.m., TNT).


The Ducks take their Stanley Cup Western Conference semifinal series to Calgary for Game 3 (Tuesday, 6:30 p.m., USA Network) and Game 4 (Friday, 6:30 p.m., NBCSN) before coming back to Honda Center for Game 5 (Sunday, TBA) … All 50 in the world rankings’ top 50 are enrolled for the PGA’s Players Championship, which ends Sunday (11 a.m., Channel 4) … The Dodgers’ road trip takes them to Milwaukee and Colorado … The Angels stay home for Seattle and Houston … More at this link.

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30 baseball books in April 15: What did we miss up on?

The-Simpsons-05x21-Lady-Bouviers-LoverWe didn’t have time to get to everything, and not everything got to us in time. Or, at all.
All you can do is continue to ask for review copies. And keep searching the local book stores. And checking Amazon.com to see when they will be available.
For those who cooperated with review books through the mail, we are grateful.
71TtxzzYmxLAt one point in this annual baseball book review series, we almost threw our own Eephus pitch and was going to suggest the new book by Greg Proops called “The Smartest Book in the World: A Lexicon of Literacy, A Rancorous Reportage, A Concise Curriculum of Cool” (Touchstone/Simon & Shuster), 310 pages, $25).
Seriously, take a look, because of the amount of baseball material that the comedian had managed to jam into this thing is quite remarkable.
But why not? Baseball is smart, literal, rancorous and cool. And he pulled it off.
(If anything, buy it, then find him for a book signing or a performance of Smartest Man in the World podcast).
So, 30 books later, we have a longer list of things we couldn’t capture, or what’s coming up later:

Some of them sight unseen, they would be: Continue reading

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30 baseball books for April ’15: Rinse, repeat, rank

Person reading a book on the beachPerson reading a book on the beachWe appreciate the kind words from those who have read the reviews this month, inquired more about some of them, contributed ideas and helped facilitate some late arrivals.
To rank them from our favorites to the end of the bench:

1165== “The League of Outsider Baseball” by Gary Cieradkowski

== “The Pine Tar Game: The Kansas City Royals, the New York Yankees, and Baseball’s Most Absurd and Entertaining Controversy,” by Filip Bondy

== ““I Don’t Care if We Never Get Back: 30 Games in 30 Days on the Best Worst Baseball Road Trip Ever,” by Ben Blatt and Eric Brewster

== “Seeing Home: The Ed Lucas Story: A Blind Broadcaster’s Story of Overcoming Life’s Greatest Obstacles,” by Ed Lucas, with his son, Christopher Lucas

== “A Scout’s Report: My 70 Years in Baseball,” by George Genovese, with Dan Taylor

== “Marvin Miller, Baseball Revolutionary,” by Robert F. Burk

== “Mashi: The Unfulfilled Baseball Dreams of Masanori Murakami, the First Japanese Major Leaguer,” by Robert K. Fitts

== “A History of Baseball in 100 Objects: A Tour through the Bats, Balls, Uniforms, Awards, Documents and Other Artifacts that Tell the Story of the National Pastime,” by Josh Leventhal

== “Throw Like A Woman,” a novel by Susan Petrone

== “The Matheny Manifesto: A Young Manager’s Old-School Views on Success in Sports and Life” by Mike Matheny, with Jerry B. Jenkins

PLENTY OF UPSIDE: Continue reading

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Weekly media notes version 04.30.15: Our senses are heightened by all that we’re expected to filter this extended weekend

What will be coming up Sunday:

Ed Lucas, as he celebrates his 60th Opening Day covering the New York Yankees this past April.

Ed Lucas, as he celebrates his 60th Opening Day covering the New York Yankees this past April.

The 30 baseball book reviews for the month of April 2015 have been submitted for your approval, but one Q-and-A that we wanted to expand upon was with Ed Lucas, the blind writer/reporter covering the New York Yankees and Mets for YES Network and The Jersey Journal. He and his son, Chris, put together “Seeing Home: The Ed Lucas Story … A Blind Broadcaster’s Story of Overcoming Life’s Greatest Obstacles,” which may spur a movie version of Ed Lucas’ life, and was compelling enough for us to do more than just a review of the book.
In the meantime, the book’s website: www.seeinghomebook.com

What we need to get out there now with the major weekend of sports coming up:

maxresdefault== A frightening thought: Time Warner is coming out “in a stronger position, giving the company greater control over its destiny” after the failed merger with Comcast, writes the New York Times. Time Warner Cable is scheduled to report earnings today, “when industry observers will be looking for clues about whether the company plans to buy, sell or go it alone.” Now, Charter is doing the talking with a TWC merger, which, again, anyone who thinks they know how this will affect the Dodgers’ SportsNet LA distribution is just grabbing at air. But, people will read that and form opinions.
It’s still air.

== From the Associated Press’ Joe Resnick in a story released this morning:

With a background of empty seats, Baltimore Orioles pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez throws against the Chicago White Sox during the fifth inning of Wednesday's game at Camden Yards in Baltimore.  (AP Photo/Gail Burton)

With a background of empty seats, Baltimore Orioles pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez throws against the Chicago White Sox during the fifth inning of Wednesday’s game at Camden Yards in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)

Hall of Fame announcer Vin Scully says he would have been very uncomfortable if he had to announce a baseball game played in front of no fans.
Scully, who witnessed the 1965 Watts Riots and the 1992 L.A. riots during his 65 seasons in the Dodgers’ broadcast booth, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he thought it was a smart decision by Major League Baseball to have kept the public out of Camden Yards for safety and police staffing reasons when the Baltimore Orioles beat the Chicago White Sox 8-2.
Two games had been postponed because of looting and rioting around the ballpark. The turmoil prompted a citywide curfew and began hours after the funeral of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who sustained a fatal spinal cord injury while in police custody.
“I felt it was a very difficult assignment for everybody involved. But they made their decision,” Scully said.
“At least now it’s over, done, gone, and without any problems. That was the big thing. If there had been any demonstrations at all, there would have had to be a heavy police presence, which meant they would take the police presence away from where it should be. So I think it was a wise decision.”
The Orioles-White Sox game was shown live on MLB.com.
“My first thought was that it’s historical, if not hysterical,” Scully said. “But it would be very awkward for me. I rely a great deal on the crowd — because to me, the crowd adds all the necessary atmosphere. So not to have the crowd would be like missing your front tooth.”

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