There’s the scene from “Back to the Future,” when Doc Brown gets blue in the face, highly doubtful Marty McFly somehow traveled back from 1985 to crash land in present-day 1955.
“Then tell me, future boy, who’s President of the United States?”
“Ronald Reagan? The actor?”
Doc laughs in disbelief.
“Then who’s vice president? Jerry Lewis?”
And now Mark Cuban is willing to provide the punchline 30 years from now?
Before the holiday weekend begins, what’s worth posting now:
== There is more evidence supporting the rumors that the Rams are about to lock down a radio deal to have their games heard both on all-sports KSPN-AM (710) and classic rock station The Sound 100.3 FM.
It’s a rather odd arranged marriage with the AM side supported by ESPN Radio/Disney Corp., and the FM affiliate from Entercom.
The favorite going in had to be the iHeartRadio combo of KLAC-AM (570) paired up with any of its FM affiliates, most notably KLOS (95.5), KIIS (102.7), ALT (98.7) or Power 106.
How did they possibly fumble this one?
Cross promotion is usually thought to be the key, which can be done cleaner with stations owned by the same company.
Sports-talk programmers in L.A. have been handicapped since the mid-’90s in not having a local NFL team to either promote or talk about, and many over the last 20 years insist that a connection with an NFL franchise would do wonders to boost ratings and impact in the genre.
KSPN, which already has the Lakers and USC football and basketball, seems to think it can make the Rams fit in there as well. Why not? KLAC, with the Dodgers, UCLA football and basketball, and the Clippers during the playoffs as a late edition, also has several overflow channels large enough to accommodate scheduling conflicts.
One of the more interesting notions was that KABC-AM (790), which has the Kings, was going to have the Rams, and could have made it almost all-day programming considering what else the station has to offer. Cumulus currently owns KABC, but it also has somewhat of a partnership with KSPN-AM, which likely would send live games to if there was a conflict. Next up: Hiring a broadcast team that might be compared someday to the Dick Enberg-Don Drysdale pairing of old on KMPC-AM (710). Steve Savard, the news anchor at St. Louis’ KMOV, had been calling Rams games with former player D’Marco Farr. There should be a long list of local talent that would be willing to jump into this position, with KSPN talent expected to be included on pre- and post-game coverage.
== The Southern California Sports Broadcasters have announced that The Vin Scully Lifetime Achievement Award will be added to its annual recognition ceremony, starting in January, 2017, and that Vin Scully will be the first recipient. Former Dodgers owner Peter O’Malley has also agreed to introduce Scully for that inaugural award.
“At the SCSB we are delighted to have both men in attendance,” said current group president Chris Roberts, the recently retired voice of UCLA sports. “Who better to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award than the greatest broadcaster of our time?”
== You’ll see stories with provocative headlines pop up these days, such as:
“Did you know Vin Scully almost became John Madden’s partner at CBS?”
Actually, yes, we did. Scully was Madden’s partner, which included the 1982 “The Catch” NFC title game, until Pat Summerall was officially named Madden’s boothmate. But as is the case with Scully now, everything old is new again, repackaged as news. Because looking back to see how events of the past reflect on today are another way to celebrate Scully’s presumed final year in the Dodgers’ broadcast booth.
The story is in reference to a long New York Times’ piece by Rob Weintraub that basically quotes former CBS exec Terry O’Neil’s recollections of that moment in network sports TV in the early 1980s. Scully isn’t quoted.
With each week that is whittled off the 2016 schedule, more stories appear. More of Scully’s time is requested, and more of his recollections come through.
It’s almost as if today’s best sportswriters are writing a book on Scully’s career, chapter by chapter, all to be put into a giant binding sometime at the end of the year.
The latest editions:
= The Wall Street Journal had Jason Gay out to do a “why leave now?” piece. “I’ll miss it,” Scully says. “I know I’ll be very unhappy for a while.”
= The New York Daily News’Bob Raissman wrote an essay recently about how “Today’s baseball would have no room for the brilliance of a young Vin Scully.” “Listening to Scully through the magic of baseball’s satellite of love is to be touched by real irony,” Raissman wrote. “It is to know this man, whose skills go unmatched, would never be hired today.”
= The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick recalls a time Scully was very upset after the way fans in Detroit reacted to the Tigers winning the 1984 World Series, which Scully called for NBC. “Man, was he angry, indisputably and understandably angry, raging against that storm,” wrote Musnick. “That Sunday afternoon, after all, the World Series, as described brilliantly to a national audience by Vin Scully, concluded with a riot — personally described to me by Vin Scully. When our conversation ended and I looked at my note pad. I didn’t have much. “I still am unsure if it was a good thing that I happened to be on the phone with Scully as that riot erupted — whether it was some sort of luck-of-the-draw privilege to have heard Vin Scully blow his top — but I felt almost as if I had been eavesdropping.”
We’ll collect and link to as many Scully stories as they come each week. Just because.
The Danettes got a make-over on Friday.
It forced Dan Patrick to start his show flying solo. A pilot without an air traffic controller.
Awkward. On several levels. Especially after the four finally appeared, and their new stylists admitted to “Googling them” before sizing them up.
They cleaned up well, but the nitty gritty of it all, watching and listening to the show daily and observing the way they interact as a sounding board for Patrick, characters in a reality show, plus having to be functional member for Dan Patrick on his morning sports-talk show (6-to-9 a.m. on KLAC-AM 570, simulcast on DirecTV’s Audience Network and NBCSN), the thoughts do occur: A) It doesn’t look that taxing.
B) How much does it pay?
“They make it look a whole lot easier than what it is,” Patrick warns. “I think that’s sort of the novelty of what we do. You want it to sound great, look great, feel great. It’s a job you want.”
So, why not us as a “Danette” in training?
Set up not so much as an intervention, but an invitation to shed more light on the process, we gathered executive directors Paul Pabst and Todd Fritz, director of operations Patrick “Seton” O’Connor and blogger/Sports Illustrated writer Andrew “McLovin” Perloff after Thursday’s show at the DirecTV studios in Marina del Rey.
They could have easily gone back to their hotel to take a quick nap before submitting themselves to the “Sports Jeopardy!” appearance they had later that day.
Instead, they did a bigger reveal, one they probably hadn’t done much of since they last were asked to do a thing called “The Box Score” post-show breakdown.
For the record, the Danettes have been together since Perloff was the last addition in the fall of 2007. When Patrick left ESPN earlier that year, he recruited Pabst and Fritz, whom he had worked with at the network going back to 2002, and then hired O’Connor.
In their ninth year together, the bond continues to strengthen. There’s no weak links.
Take notes, my friends. Pretend you’re me (asking the questions in boldface italic), and read between the lines (noting a condensed version of this appears in the Sunday print editions and online at dailynews.com)
During their time in L.A. this trip, the Dan Patrick Show made it out to an Adam Sandler movie premiere. From left: Patrick “Seton” O’Connor, Andrew “McLovin'” Perloff, Tod “Fritzy” Fritz, Dan “Dan” Patrick and Paul “Paulie” Pabst. Photo by DJ Spahr/DirecTV
Does age work against me? I probably skew closer to Dan’s age than yours? (For the record, all four are married and with at least one child. Pabst and Fritz are 46, Perloff is 44 and O’Connor is 37). Pabst: I actually think being too young might hurt. You need some knowledge of sports history, and you’ve got to have some skeletons in your closet. Some baggage on your person, your psyche. A 22-year-old, what we might do to him would not be fair … Fritz: To have a strong sense of humor you need a certain amount of live experience and observations to be able to … Pabst (to Fritz): When is yours going to hit? Continue reading →
Dan Patrick, left, and his “Danette” support staff (from right) Paul Pabst, Seton O’Connor, Todd Fritz and Andrew Perloff, convene for Thursday’s show at the DirecTV studios in Marina del Rey.
What’s coming up for Sunday:
Dan Patrick has a decision to make about his career. Not any time soon, but soon enough.
Patrick, who just turned 60, has two years left on a contract to do his “Dan Patrick Show” syndicated radio program that simulcasts as a TV product on DirecTV and NBCSN every weekday morning from 6-to-9 a.m. (heard in Southern California on KLAC 570-AM).
He says he’ll decide in about a year how much longer he wants to do this.
Whatever happens also affects the future of “The Danettes.” Executive producers Paul Pabst and Todd Fritz, technical wizard Patrick “Seton” O’Connor and social media writer/Sports Illustrated editor Andrew “McLovin” Perloff have as much invested in the show’s success in a way that affects the listener/viewer who thinks he or she could join the club someday.
The chemistry works and the brotherhood is clear.
“I’ve told them this will be the best job they’ll ever have,” Patrick said after a recent show from the DirecTV studios in Marina del Rey as the staff made one of its once-every-three-months trip to L.A. from the Milford, Conn., studios. The trip is so that Patrick can tape more episodes of “Sports Jeopardy!” from the Sony studios in Culver City.
“I put the onus on them (about continuing the show). As long as we’re having fun, I’ll continue. If not, and some of them want to try something else, they’re all talented enough to do other things. But once this is done, it’s done. Kind of like when Keith (Olbermann) left ESPN to do Fox Sports … I had something special for five years, then it was done. It could never happen again.
“I’ve told these guys, let’s keep this in tact as long as you can because you’ll look back and say: I wish we could have done it longer.”
But then again, it got us thinking: What would it take to be considered “Danette” material if a spot ever opened?
What’s the “Danette” etiquette on just broaching this?
We put that question to them in a quasi group interview and got some interesting feedback. The results are the foundation of Sunday’s media column and an extended Q&A post here.
What’s worth putting forward here and now:
== About half-way into a six-episode run of the new Smithsonian Channel series “Sports Detectives,” and the documented search for Kirk GIbson’s 1988 World Series Game 1 home run ball is on the docket.
Half of the hour-long show Sunday at 9 p.m. hosted by Lauren Gardner and Kevin Barrows is dedicated to this pursuit, with the other half trying to verify the authenticity of a Lou Gehrig bat that a woman had kept in her house for some 40 years without knowing its history.
So … was the Gibson ball found? Put it this way: If it was, wouldn’t we have likely heard about it by now? But then again …
The ball’s search as an element of this series that seeks to link the history to a lost sports artifact began long before last year, when we talked to New York-based documentarian Brian Biegel and author of the astounding real life mystery book of 2009, “Miracle Ball: My Hunt for the Shot Heard ‘Round the World” on the Bobby Thomson 1951 home-run ball against the Dodgers.
The “Miracle Ball” in the Shot Heard ‘Round Chavez Ravine and beyond by Gibson had presented some myth-busting material that some writers had pursued a bit but no one, before Biegel’s crew, had really challenged.
The foundation of this “Sports Detectives” piece starts with writer David Davis and his 2013 piece for SBNation. We’re not going to spoil anything in this storytelling, but let Biegel explain that the “lead suspects” were found and interviewed, even submit to a polygraph test, some video analysis was done and more lab work on a photograph with a time stamp that appears to show the ball later that night. Davis, and Dodgers team historian Mark Langill, are included in the piece, as is Oakland pitcher Dennis Eckersley. So, too, are Doug and Chad Dreier, who in 2010 spent some $1.9 million at auction to secure Gibson’s helmet, jersey and bat from that game.
They’d love to add the ball. Anyone willing to give it up?
“We eliminated some clues that we knew were dead ends and did a nice job focusing on the more credible information and took it as far as we could,” said Biegel. “I’m pleased, and proud, to have been part of hunting down the ball — however it turns out. It was quite a journey.”
Same with this other piece Sunday about the Gehrig bat, which we won’t attempt to spoil the viewing experience. This episode repeats later Sunday at midnight and Monday at 10 p.m.
Biegel believes this series on the Smithsonian Channel, owned by CBS and Showtime, has more than a healthy shelf life based on what they’ve been able to produce so far and what could come out of it. Still to air is the pursuit of Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point basketball and Muhammad Ali’s 1960 Olympic boxing gold medal.
“This series could go on for years,” said Biegel. “The history behind sports is what people love and each time we get new objects, the viewer gets a chance to watch history unfold.”
At the NFL owners meetings last March, HBO, NFL Films and the Rams got together and decided that, for the upcoming episode of documentary series “Hard Knocks” that would air this fall, the franchise that just got approved of a move from St. Louis back to Los Angeles was the no-brainer story worth telling.
“As soon as the announcement was made that the Rams were returning to Los Angeles, I really think it was a three-way tie between the organizations calling each other and saying, ‘This makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?'” said coordinating producer Ken Rodgers. So while the Rams have held workouts the last few weeks at a makeshift facility at a Marriott Residence Inn in Oxnard, drafting a new overall No. 1 quarterback along the way, HBO’s camera crews have already been there to record things.
Rodgers, along with “Hard Knocks” director Matt Dissinger, estimate they’ve already collected about 100 hours of material, sent via Internet portals to editing bays at the NFL Films’ offices in New Jersey.
But the crazy thing is, a great portion of that may never be used. It all depends on what happens when the Rams open camp in late July in Irvine, and the show begins its tape-to-edit-to-air process in early August for five episodes.
More heck could break loose between then and now. This is Hollywood, after all.
We caught up with the “Hard Knocks” execs after Thursday’s team workouts as they started to feel their way around this storyline — the first time that the series in its 11 incarnations has had to deal with a franchise transfer — and got their thoughts going into this project as the trailer for the show is already viewer-ready and Southern California News Group columnist Mark Whicker has already dived into the pros and cons of what the Rams face based on past “Hard Knocks” history.
And to say these “Hard Knocks” players with HBO and NFL Films aren’t riding something of a euphoric high: The show won two Sports Emmys at this past week’s ceremony in New York in the 37th annual ceremony, based on their work in 2015 chronicling the Houston Texans. It won for Outstanding Serialized Sports Documentary and Outstanding Post-Produced Audio/Sound.
That brings the total Emmys for the series over the years to … is it 14?
UPDATE: The link to the Sunday column is here.
What’s worth posting now:
== A 5,600-word piece on Vin Scully superbly crafted by Tom Verducci in the current issue of Sports Illustrated cuts to the heart of what Los Angeles has known for years — the Dodgers’ Hall of Fame broadcaster is just like your best friend. Verducci conveys that sentiment in what has become the latest in the media-generated celebration of Scully’s career as we get into what is presumed to be Scully’s 67th and final season
Add in the calculation by Verducci that Scully has broadcast nearly half of the Dodgers games ever played. The franchise began in 1890. Scully started in 1950. It boggles the mind.
The two-part video Q-and-A on SINow.com — the first part on his career, and the second part on his legacy — is sugar-free frosting on the cake.
What’s new about this piece: Scully finally made the magazine’s cover, albeit a strange representation of half-photo, half-clay figure that looks like something out of the Tom Hanks in “The Polar Express.”
Still, SI’s own managing editor Chris Stone calls it in a tweet: “Inarguably the most overdue cover in @sinow history.”
We asked Verducci if in the process of putting this long-form piece together, there were some gems he had to leave out.
What’s the writer’s cut from a project that could have gone on for volumes?
Verducci, who continues to write for SI.com, do game work and reporting for the MLB Network and, despite changes in the Fox Sports MLB lead team, is a game analyst, was kind enough to reply:
One of the real treats in talking to Vin is listening to him talk about Jackie Robinson. I did write about the story of Vin being in a training room with Jackie and Pee Wee immediately after the Dodgers lost to the Giants in 1951 on the Bobby Thomson home run. Vin also told the story about how Jackie wanted to challenge him to an ice skating race at Grossinger’s in New York during a Dodgers winter caravan – even though Jackie never had been on skates before. “The competitiveness would just drive him to learn to do something he had never even tried before,” Vin said. They didn’t race, but they did pose for a picture. And then there is something I hadn’t heard before: “I remember a hot day in Philadelphia. Shibe Park. There was one exit, and I came out of the exit. The bus was right there. It was really hot. There was a man with a small table and he was cutting a watermelon, and as I came out he handed me his watermelon. “‘Oh, great. Thanks.'” “I got on the bus. All the players who had been ahead of me, they all had watermelon. Jackie came out the door, and when this man said, ‘Have a piece of watermelon.’
Jackie went ballistic. “Now, I don’t mean to put on a big show or anything, but he was furious. The players hollered from the bus and held up Jackie. And then he realized, this man was actually giving cold slices of watermelon on a brutally hot day in Philadelphia. “So he was right on the edge all the time, as you well imagined. So I guess this long winded answer to your question [about Jackie] is that he was a very complicated man who was able to control all of those burning desires he had right to the very end.” For those fortunate enough to listen to Scully call that April 15 game recently between the Dodgers and Giants at Dodger Stadium for SportsNetLA — the annual Jackie Robinson Day celebration — they may recall that story. For those who didn’t, like Verducci, and for those who don’t mind hearing it again, it’s just another gem.
== Verducci goes on Dan Patrick’s show to talk about the interview (above).
== Joe Davis, who we continue to be impressed with as he does a schedule of Dodgers’ road games thus far, is paired with Verducci and Ken Rosenthal on the Houston-Boston game from Fenway Park on Saturday (10 a.m., FS1), followed by Justin Kutcher and CJ Nitkowski at Minnesota-Cleveland (1 p.m.). Verducci is also on the team with Bob Costas and John Smoltz calling Washington-N.Y. Mets on Thursday at 4 p.m. for MLB Net.