Prior to the launch of our weekly Sunday media column, we have these notes worth processing heading into the weekend:
== The Kings’ ultimate decision to split up 17 road-game assignments that Bob Miller will pass on this year among four broadcasters seems rather inspired for this 50th anniversary season – if only more games could have been given to original play-by-play man and Hockey Hall of Famer Jiggs McDonald.
McDonald, hired when the expansion Kings started in 1967 and having the late PR man and writer Ed Fitkin and the late great L.A. voice Dan Avey as his partners, left in 1972 to join the expansion Atlanta Flames/Calgary Flames. After McDonald’s departure, the late Roy Storey did a season (1972-73) before Miller was hired in starting in 1973.
McDonald is most known for doing 15 seasons for the New York Islanders when the team won three Stanley Cup titles. He retired after the 2003-04 season after working for the Florida Panthers.
McDonald’s only call for the Kings during this Miller hiatus will be when the Kings travel to him and visit the Panthers on Feb. 9. McDonald will also be present Friday at Staples Center as part of the Kings’ salute to their 1967-68 team, and it will be Miller’s first regular-season broadcast since going in for heart bypass surgery last February that resulted in his missing the final 33 games of the 2015-16 regular season. We reported in mid-September that the Kings were to allow Miller a reduced schedule considering his continued recovery as well as the stress that goes into making East Coast trips.
However, consider, too, that McDonald will turn 78 this November. He is a month younger than Miller, who turned 78 on the day the Kings opened the season Wednesday with the 2-1 loss in San Jose. Continue reading →
Raise your hand if you experienced some issues last Sunday with NFL games on Channel 2 and Channel 11, as your TV screen went black on those stations and there was nothing you could really do to fix it.
Welcome to another Spectrum Cable Company glitch.
(Yes, the company that’s been running ads ad nauseam welcoming you “to a new day.”)
The picture was fine one second, then it didn’t work. They it worked, then … when the Rams-Bills game around at 1:25 p.m., all was fine. Probably.
Enough of us were already invested in the Dodgers-Nationals NLDS Game 2 at 10 a.m. anyway on FS1, but had that game been played as scheduled on Saturday, our NFL Sunday morning would have been … interrupted.
The schedule ahead for Week 6 (with Fox having the doubleheader): Thursday:
= Denver at San Diego, 5:25 p.m., Channel 2, NFL Network (Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, Tracy Wolfson) Sunday:
= Rams at Detroit, 10 a.m., Channel 11 (Justin Kutcher, Charles Davis, Chris Spielman, going to 24 percent of the country, including Las Vegas, Phoenix, Portland, San Diego, Seattle and, yes, St. Louis). This eliminates Fox choices of Philadelphia at Washington (39 percent of the country) and Carolina at New Orleans (15 percent). CBS also can not show Cleveland at Tennessee, Baltimore at N.Y. Giants, Jacksonville at Chicago, Pittsburgh at Miami or Tom Brady’s first home game of the season with New England hosting Cincinnati.
= Kansas City at Oakland, 1 p.m., Channel 2 (Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon) There is no other CBS choice in this window.
= Dallas at Green Bay, 1:25 p.m., Channel 11 (Thom Brennaman, Troy Aikman as Joe Buck goes to the MLB playoffs). Only other choice is Atlanta at Seattle.
= Indianapolis at Houston, 5:25 p.m., Channel 4 (Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya) Monday:
= N.Y. Jets at Arizona, 5:30 p.m., ESPN (Sean McDonough, Jon Gruden)
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.