Play It Forward July 20-26 — The specialness of the Special Olympics World Games

Details/TV: At the Coliseum, Saturday at 5 p.m., ESPN

If you recall the joy of watching Chris Sutter, the son of Kings coach Darryl Sutter, give pep talks on the bench to members of the NHL All-Star team last January, or the exuberance of Champ Pederson, the older brother of the Dodgers’ Joc Pederson, greet the Angels’ Albert Pujols during the Home Run Derby in Cincinnati at the MLB All-Star game, then you’re already dialed into to what kind of all-star moment is about to happen — more than 7,000 special-needs athletes from 177 countries will walk into the Coliseum to officially launch the World Games for what’ll be labeled as the “largest sports and humanitarian event anywhere in the world” this year, and “the single biggest event in L.A. since the 1984 Olympics.”
imagesConsider the contingent from Nepal. Five athletes are attending, four of them competing in track and field. But because of the recent earthquakes that have devastated their country, there was some doubt they could make it. Dr. Jyoti Sherchan, the chairman of the Special Olympics Nepal, recently sent an email to organizers in Manhattan Beach, the host city for the group when it arrives, that explained how thousands of temples, monasteries, school buildings and heritage sites have been destroyed by the quakes of April 25 and May 12, with more tremblers coming all the time. “Special Olympics Nepal is planning to get involved in the reconstruction and social rehabilitation, for the humanity, Special Athletes and their family, which is most challenging,” Dr. Sherchan wrote. “We will request all the friends to join hands in this mission in Nepal.”
Competition in the 25 events actually begins Saturday morning, including the Nepalese competing in track and field on the USC campus, which also has basketball and swimming. UCLA is accommodating soccer and tennis, and the downtown Convention Center puts on bocce. Sunday’s events include the triathlon in Long Beach; handball, table tennis, badminton and roller skating at the Convention Center; bowling at Lucky Strikes at LA Live, softball and gymnastics at UCLA and beach volleyball in Long Beach.
ESPN coverage of the ceremonies begins at 6 p.m.; KABC-Channel 7 re-airs the event from 9 p.m. to midnight. Closing ceremonies are Aug. 2 at the Coliseum. More info:


The wind-delayed 144th British Open has a special Monday conclusion — and beyond, if there’s a tie — starting at 3 a.m. on ESPN … The Dodgers end a 10-day, 10-game post All-Star break with four games in New York against the Mets from Thursday-Sunday on SportsNet LA  … the MLB Network has the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremonies (Sunday, 10:30 a.m.) for Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, Craig Biggio, Joe Torre, Bobby Cox and Tony LaRussa  … The CONCACAF Gold Cup final is set for Philadelphia on Sunday (4:30 p.m., FS1), should the U.S. team make it past Wednesday’s semifinal … The Galaxy faces FC Barcelona (without Messi) in the International Cup match at the Rose Bowl on Tuesday at 8 p.m. …  More to read at this link ...

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How the fertile San Fernando Valley cultivated Dick Enberg’s Hall of Fame baseball roots

The word fits quite naturally into Dick Enberg’s vocabulary list, but he’s quick to credit Stan Charnofsky.
Sagacity — one of those Latin-root expressions that has to do with having foresight, a keen perception and wise discernment, leading to the ability to make sound judgement – isn’t really a baseball term until one figures out a way to squeeze it in there.
It took some hurry-up-and-wait sagacity for those who vote on the Baseball Hall of Fame’s Ford C. Frick Award to finally select Enberg as its newest honoree for his body of work in communicating the game. The 80-year-old former voice of the California Angels will detour from his current San Diego Padres’ TV job to arrive in Cooperstown, N.Y. next weekend to be feted.
Enberg_Dick 1And if one were to prune the tree of Enberg’s baseball knowledge, looking for a hint of how he became such a celebrated and cerebral voice of the game, perhaps there was no time in his life more fertile than when he was lured to a brand-new college campus in Northridge surrounded by orange groves some 50 years ago.
There, at San Fernando Valley State College, a former USC standout second baseman, New York Yankees Triple-A player and eventual recipient of a doctoral degree in counseling psychology was prepared to be Enberg’s primary cultivator.
“The mental errors were inexcusable for Charnofsky,” Enberg recently recalled about the seasons the two of coached baseball together at the school from 1962 to ‘64. “You had to play in a smart manner. You could be an average player, but if you played with sagacity – one of Stan’s words – then you could win games up here (pointing to his head).”
Enberg has admitted more than once he learned more about baseball from Charnofsky in his first year at SFVSC than he did the previous 26 years of watching, playing and broadcasting.
“To work with Stan and watch how he taught baseball to the players – I thought I knew a little bit,” Enberg said when he visited the campus last March to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first Matadors’ conference championship baseball team – managed by Charnofsky.
“I work them in a broadcast today. There’ll be times in a game, an incident, that’ll take me all the way back to the ’60s and Charnofsky, and I’ll use that.
“And I’ll sound a lot brighter than I really am. And I’m thankful for that.”
Charnofsky, whose wavy gray hair is pulled back on a pony tail as he sits in his tiny third-floor office situated in the CSUN Education Building, politely smiles when he’s told about Enberg’s admiration for him.
“Listen, if Dick says he learned from me, I really learned from Rod Dedeaux,” the 84-year-old Charnofsky said this week, referring to the legendary late USC coach. “And Rod, you know, learned from Casey Stengel.”
For the rest of this story, go to this link …

== Also:

== Cox Cable’s Jane Mitchell visits with Enberg recently (above)
== On Monday, CSUN water polo player Kiernan Davis will visit Enberg at Petco Park. She is the recipient of Dick Enberg Post-Graduate Scholarship for Academic Excellence.
== In an Enberg profile from the Baseball Hall of Fame website, he talks about the secret former PCL broadcaster and eventual Angels GM Fred Haney gave him:
“Fred Haney was the man I listened to as a very young boy calling Pacific Coast League games and now (in 1968) he’s the general manager of the Angels. He came into the broadcast booth about a half hour before the first pitch, and I’m very nervous, and he said, ‘Enberg, I heard you during spring training. I know you’re going to do a fine job for us. I just want to give you a little piece of advice: Report the ball. Don’t tell me what you hope the ball is going to do, what you think it’s going to do, why it didn’t do it. Report the ball.’ Then he said, ‘That’s all I have to say to you. I won’t come in your booth the rest of the year.’
“And it was a great gift that Haney gave to me because sometimes, especially on radio, when you are trying to paint the total picture, and when the pitcher backs off and refuses to throw the ball, it always took me back to the ball. And it works on all sports. When in doubt, report the ball.”
== Enberg visited the Angels’ broadcast crew when the Padres played in Anaheim earlier this season.

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Weekly media notes version 07.16.15 — Last big name to leave ESPN, turn out the spotlight

What we have planned for Sunday’s weekly media column:

When Cal State Northridge celebrated the 50th anniversary of its first conference baseball title, Dick Enberg, right, rejoined Stan Charnofsky (holding ball) for the March ceremony (Photo by

Last March, when Cal State Northridge celebrated the 50th anniversary of its first conference baseball title, Dick Enberg, right, rejoined Stan Charnofsky (holding ball) for ceremony (Photo by David Cohen/CSUN)

When Dick Enberg makes his Baseball Hall of Fame acceptance speech at Cooperstown next Saturday, thanking those who helped teach him about the game over the years that led to his Ford C. Frick Award for outstanding broadcasting, Stan Charnofsky may not be physically able to attend, but he’ll be there in more than spirit.
For three years, Enberg assisted the San Fernando Valley State head baseball coach in the early 1960s, and in his 2004 autobiography he wrote: “I learned more baseball from him in my first season than I had in my previous 26 years.”
We dig a little deeper at how the former Angels and current Padres play-by-play man learned baseball during his life in Southern California in general and in the San Fernando Valley more specifically during our Sunday’s column, with interesting observations from the 84-year Charnofsky, who maintains an office on the Cal State Northridge campus in the College of Education psychology and counseling department.

What is worth putting out there now:

== Now that ESPN has put out its annual “Body Issue,” is it appropriate to follow up with its “Disembody Issue?”
Official news today that Colin Cowherd is the latest not to have his contract renewed means that ESPN, in this year alone, has shown the door to Keith Olbermann and Bill Simmons, as well as removing Jason Whitlock as the high profile head of a website that hasn’t even launched yet.
The dismantling has been framed by ESPN as cost-effective decision making. They overpaid for the talent in the first place. The talent didn’t produce the income projected.
It’s kinda like ESPN’s own “Game of Thrones” storyline.
Plus, at ESPN, no one man is bigger than the company. Except if you’re John Skipper.
A statement released by ESPN and quoting company skipper Skipper this morning said simply: “We’ve enjoyed a mutually beneficial run with Colin for over a decade. He came to national prominence on ESPN with his unique perspective on sports and society. Endings also bring new beginnings, for ESPN and Colin, and we thank him and wish him the best.”
Sub in the names Olbermann and Simmons in previous statements, and that’s become the state of ESPN for 2015.

(Photo: ESPN)

(Photo: ESPN)

Those at the Big Lead who had this story first surmise that Cowherd’s next stop could easily be at Fox Sports, again giving FS1 another boost of energy. That would accommodate Cowherd’s latest  desire to move to L.A., where Simmons currently resides and Olbermann used to.
We’re still waiting for Cowherd to start his own “Love Line” call-in show.
No word when Cowherd’s final show on ESPN Radio (via KSPN-AM 710) will be, although author James Andrew Miller tweeted out today that Cowherd is expected to fill out the rest of his contract — that’s four more months.
Olbermann has tweeted out that his final episode of “Olbermann” on ESPN2 is slated for Friday, July 24.
Those at attempt to rate Olbermann’s Top 10 opening monologues. We’ll wait until we’ve seen the last of them come next week.

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Play It Forward July 13-19: A look at golf’s past (St. Andrews) through new eyes (Jordan Spieth)

8287c1_cc11b93870d64bc7a88c874bd3f5de32THIS WEEK’S BEST BET:
Details/TV: At St. Andrews in Fife, Scotland, Thursday-Sunday, ESPN:
In Dan Jenkins’ new book, “Unplayable Lies (The Only Golf Book You’ll Ever Need),” a chapter about the “Greatest Moments” in golf’s history includes this entry: “Nature creates the Old Course at St. Andrews, which, in turn, creates the cashmere sweater and travel agents.” Of the 46 British Opens that Jenkins covered, eight were at this spot where historians agree is the magical place it all began. As for the best Open that Jenkins ever covered, it says it was 45 years ago – Jack Nicklaus’ 1970 victory in a playoff over Doug Sanders, after Sanders blew a 2/12-foot putt on the 72nd green  that would have given him the title. And the funniest thing Jenkins ever heard about St. Andrews came from Sam Sneed, who won the 1946 Open and said: “It looks like there used to be a golf course here.” For this return trip to the birth of golf, “we take stock where the game stands,” says Golf Channel analyst Frank Nobio. “That’s one barometer that we can always use.” Adds Andy North, the ESPN analyst: “I think it’s hands down the coolest venue for the Open Championship.  It may not be the most difficult course, the most memorable. But it’s the coolest.”
53b8a8965ff21.preview-620What isn’t so cool is the defending champ decided to play in a friendly soccer game with friends on July 4th and ruptured a ligament in his left ankle. So pity poor Rory McIlroy. All it means that even more of a spotlight goes upon Jordan Spieth, who has won the first two majors of the season, decided to play last weekend in a PGA event in Illinois instead of in Scotland as a warmup — and he won the darn thing, in two playoff holds — yet he can be the first Texan to win The Open since Ben Hogan.
“I don’t think it puts more pressure on Jordan that Rory is not there,” said ESPN analyst Curtis Strange, whose best finish in the British Open was tied for 13th in 1988 at the Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club in England. “I think Jordan is such a focused, poised young man, and I think he’s going to have his hands full just trying to take care of himself. There’s a couple things that he is aware of that are real, real obstacles. One is jet lag. That’s a real thing. The speed of the greens, to get used to those is a real thing. It’s an enormous, enormous accomplishment he’s trying to achieve here, and I quite frankly have never been in that position. None of us really have. So just kind of do your thing. Paul Azinger, another ESPN analyst who tied for second at the 1987 British Open at Murfield in Scotland, said his favorite thing about Spieth “he’s not an entitlement guy. He works for everything he’s got, and he just seems grateful for it. He’s a breath of fresh air and kind of a throwback with a businesslike approach. I love the guy.”
ESPN has the first two rounds from 1 a.m. to noon on Thursday and Friday, then the third from 4-to-11:30 a.m. Saturday and the final round from 3-to-10:30 a.m. Sunday (both rounds airing tape delayed on Channel 7 from noon-to-3 p.m.).

Indians catcher Ray Fosse lies on the ground after his 12th inning collision with Cincinnati Reds' Pete Rose.  Rushing up to Rose, who scored the winning run for the National League, is San Francisco Giants Dick Dietz, while Leo Durocher, Chicago Cubs' manager, applauds the 5-4 win.  ( Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS)

Indians catcher Ray Fosse lies on the ground after his 12th inning collision with Cincinnati Reds’ Pete Rose. Rushing up to Rose, who scored the winning run for the National League, is San Francisco Giants Dick Dietz, while Leo Durocher, Chicago Cubs’ manager, applauds the 5-4 win. ( Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS)

Details/TV: At Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, Tuesday at 5 p.m., Channel 11:
Talk about things that happened 45 years ago this summer – Pete Rose, barreling into Ray Fosse at Three Rivers Stadium in Cincinnati to give the NL the win in the MLB All-Star Game. If Rose doesn’t steal all of the thunder for just showing up in pre-game ceremonies, it’ll be up to guys like Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw, Adrian Gonzalez, Joc Pederson, Albert Pujols or, again, Mike Trout. It all depends on how the managers – Bruce Bochy from the Giants and Ned Yost from the Royals – manipulate their 34-man rosters and feel obligated to get everyone in. Greinke, who got into last year’s game and pitched one inning – he faced three batters in the fourth, struck out two of ‘em, and left after 12 pitches – has all the goods to be named the NL starter this time with an MLB-best 1.39 ERA and 35 2/3 scoreless innings streak.
Details/TV: At Cincinnati, Monday at 5 p.m., ESPN:
The odds by make the Reds’ Todd Frazier as the 7/2 favorite to win this thing, with Albert Pujols (6/1) and Joc Pederson (7/1) not far behind. First one to hit the ball into the Ohio River should be declared the winner no matter how they’ve rearranged the rules again.


Joc Pederson and Bryce Harper meet up again in Washington D.C. for a three-game series starting Friday … Boston comes into Anaheim for its annual trip, starting Friday … the Del Mar season begins Thursday … the U.S. finishes the CONCACAF Gold Cup group play Monday (vs. Panama) before the knockout round begins on the weekend … More to see at this link.

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Weekly media notes version 07.10.15 — Has Pete Rose’s gamble to let his TV image help his reinstatement cause actually worked?

IMG_3724What we anticipate covering in Sunday’s column:

Pete Rose knows he’ll be on the field at Tuesday’s MLB All-Star Game in Cincinnati at 7:30 p.m. EDT, along with former teammates Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan, and a player he managed, Barry Larkin, to be part of a baseball-sponsored promotion that allowed fans to pick the proverbial “Mt. Rushmore” four all-time players of a franchise’s history.
Rose also knows he’ll be at a Fox Sports 1 studio set somewhere in Great American Ballpark at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, and again on Tuesday, fulfilling an obligation to do pre-game analysis for the network.
IMG_1049In the last few months, Rose has been racing his Bentley down the I-5 from his fiance’s home in Santa Clarita to get onto the FS1 set at the Pico Lot to discuss the game on shows such as “MLB WhipAround.” In the process, he is likely rehabilitating his image.
Even as ESPN “Outside The Lines” report recently implicated him again for betting on baseball while he was a player, Rose has gone about his business. In an “exclusive” interview last week with Chris Myers, Rose would only say that he’ll hold off commenting until he meets soon with MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, who now holds the key to Rose’s reinstatement from a “lifetime” suspension and Baseball Hall of Fame induction eligibility.
As Rose, the consummate switch hitter, talked with reporters Thursday morning in a Fox-orchestrated press call, we’ll process how this media work lately and what’s happening going forward continues to frame his future in the game.

What we decided was worth laundering now:

== As Rose awaits word on possible Hall installment, Keith Olbermann is being uninstalled again at ESPN.
This time, it appears to be ESPN’s call.
We defer to’s Richard Deitsch to look further into the whys and why nots since our interest is waning.
As for Olbermann, he had this slant on the confusing Rose-All Star Game appearance Tuesday in Cincinnati:

== And if you want a jump on the topic for today’s ESPN “Outside The Lines,” here’s a hint:

== Still, if it is a money issue with Olbermann, how much did ESPN lose by having 3.2 million less viewers now than a year ago? The Wall Street Journal started adding it up, and the Big Lead started pushing the numbers.

== Meanwhile, why Olbermann’s good friend and former L.A.-based sports talker Tony Bruno, a Friday “Olbermann” regular, is quitting his WIP show and moving on as well. He says his radio career in Philadelphia is over.

bestlarplogo15yearly1== As we surmised when writing about this in last week’s media notes, Vin Scully came as the No. 1 “Best On-Air LARP of 2015″ on Don Barrett’s soon-to-fade-away
In today’s posting, Barrett listed some of the responses that voters contributed about Scully:
= “With all the expectation for the Dodgers this year and not being able to watch the game on tv, Vin Scully truly brings Dodgers baseball to life!”
= “If anyone in broadcasting needs an explanation why he’s #1, you’re in the wrong profession.”
= “The only person who can make the first three innings more interesting than the last three.”
= “Still the standard for excellence, not just in play-by-play but in broadcasting and life, period.”
= “He is the voice of Los Angeles radio, an icon who gives you goose bumps with five little words: ‘It’s time for Dodger baseball.’ ”
We could go on and on ….
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