We’ll keep this one short:
“Few men have made an initial splash into the world of baseball as Eddie Gaedel did in August 1951,” wrote Brian McKenna for the Society for American Baseball Research’s historical biography project.
It was something of a tiny splash, of course. Gaedel was just 3-foot-7. He wore the number 1/8. And he drew a walk in his only official MLB plate appearance for the St. Louis Browns on Aug. 19, 1951.
To mark the 64th anniversary of that plate appearance and what it a big deal it has become for people over the years, the L.A. Chapter of the Eddie Gaedel Society and the Baseball Reliquary will observe “Eddie Gaedel Day” on Wednesday from 7:30 to 10 p.m. at Griffins of Kinsale, a traditional Irish pub in South Pasadena.
You may even get to see Gaedel’s athletic supporter. For real. Here’s more info.
Stop by and raise a pint to Gaedel. Or even just a half pint. (Our remote connection to Gaedel? We share the same June 8 birthday. And he died just 10 days after I was born. And I continue to have a phobia of … “little people” … is that the proper term? I’m trying to overcome it).
Kent Steffes, left, and Karch Kiraly acknowledge the U.S. national anthem after winning gold in the first Summer Olympic beach volleyball competition at the 1996 Atlanta Games.
THIS WEEK’S BEST BET: FIVB $800,000 LONG BEACH WORLD SERIES OF BEACH VOLLEYBALL GRAND SLAM FINALS Details/TV: At Los Alamitos Beach across from the Long Beach Arena, Sunday at 1:30 p.m., Channel 4: The celebration off Shoreline Drive has amped up to become one of the most anticipated six-day events of the Southern California summer, after things begin Tuesday, this year’s celebration takes on a distinctive Rio flavor as anticipation mounts for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil. Amidst the competition, Friday has been set aside for a Brazilian-themed barbecue and a party that commemorates 20 years of beach volleyball as an Olympic sport. The four gold medalists from the Atlanta 1996 Summer Games – Team America’s Karch Kiraly and Kent Steffes as well as Jackie Silva and Sandra Pires from Brazil – will be the guests of honor. In last year’s event, Phil Dalhausser and Sean Rosenthal won the men’s division, but this year, Dalhausser has recently teamed up with Nick Lucena – winners of Sunday’s Manhattan Beach Open — as they pursue an Olympic qualifying spot.
Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross celebrate their 2014 Long Beach World Series of Volleyball title.
Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross won on the women’s side last year, and Jennings says she’s rested up from recent a shoulder separation that kept her from defending her title at the Manhattan Beach Open, and she will be shooting for her fourth straight championship in Long Beach. In addition to the top-notch play of the professionals, this also celebrates the men’s and women’s six-person game, the four-person co-ed teams, the college game and youth leagues. The Long Beach event is one of five important FIVB Grand Slam tournaments this year, and Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson are the only U.S. team, men or women, to win one as teams from Brazil have dominated both divisions. Lucena is the only American to gain any traction in 2015 as far as overall points as he and former partner Theo Brunner finished fourth at the FIBA World Championships last July in the Netherlands. The men’s and women’s gold-medal matches take place Sunday, with the quarters and semifinals on Saturday (11:30 a.m., Channel 4).
More info on schedule: www.WSOBV.com
THE REST OF THE WEEK:
The Angels play host to the newest World Series favorite, the Toronto Blue Jays, with three games on Friday, Saturday and Sunday on FSW, while the Dodgers go on the road to face the AL West’s Oakland and Houston … The Galaxy’s Sunday home contest (noon, ESPN2) becomes a star-studded affair against the new New York City FC … The 69th Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa., has Sweetwater Valley near San Diego as the West Region representative, starting Thursday … the 115th U.S. Amateur Open at Olympia Fields in Illinois includes recent British Open challenger Paul Dunne … More information at this link.
Carlos Cecchetto, Gabrielle D’Addario and Chris Marlowe look at mementos set up at the memorial service Saturday morning for Lou Riggs, the former Santa Monica College broadcaster teacher and TV coach who died last month from ALS. (photo by John McCoy Daily News)
In the weeks since the passing of Santa Monica College sportscasting instructor Lou Riggs, we’ve heard and read many of his former students reflect upon things they continue to learn from his teachings. A memorial service today at SMC reflected on how Riggs’ commitment to the craft changed the lives of many who continue in sportscasting today. A column based on that gathering can be found here.
To get a taste of what impact Riggs had, we humbly pass on this reflection we received in an email correspondence withDan Potash, a Beverly Hills High grad who has been an anchor and reporter with Root Sports in Pittsburgh covering the Pirates and Penguins since 2000:
“We first met in 1988, when I was a freshman at Santa Monica College. I was a student in his mass communications class. He quickly learned about my interest in sports and broadcasting and said I should take his Sportscasting class. I did … and was a repeat student for about two years — not because I kept failing the class, but because the class was so helpful. “Where else could you get media credentials to the Dodgers, Lakers, Clippers and Kings, sit in your own booth in the press box and do play-by-play on a tape recorder. It was great! When we would review our play-by-play material later in class and he would always say, ‘What’s the score? Someone who is just tuning in wants to know. You can never say the score enough!’ “That experience, combined with a solid internship at Prime Ticket and the old ‘Press Box’ show, and some time as a sports anchor for ‘West Side News’ on Continental Cablevision in Westchester, led to my first TV job. It was everything Lou said it would be — I just didn’t know it would be for $10,000 a year in West Virginia, at WDTV, the CBS affiliate in Clarksburg, WV. That was the summer of 1995. “Lou had told me that I would be a one man band. I would need to shoot, write, edit, produce, report and anchor all my own material. He was right… .and I love it. “He also told me that moving from L.A. to West Virginia would allow me to grow up as a person. Life in the big city was great, but following my dream far from home in a small town would really open my eyes. The ‘Master Jedi’ hit it on the head. I signed a one year contract in West Virginia, stayed for just over two years and it became a second home, and I am still close with many people who still live there. “I could only survive on Pop Tarts and Top Ramen for so long, so I moved to WCIV, the ABC affiliate in Charleston, SC, in 1997, before arriving at Fox Sports Net Pittsburgh in 2000 — now Root Sports. “Over the last 20 years I have done just about everything a sportscaster could dream of doing, and would still send material back home to Lou for his ‘approval.’ How could I not? He taught me everything, and you can always learn more. “I know I am not the only one he helped, and I am sure other have some great ‘Lou’ stories to tell. He loved watching his students advance their career in the field of sports casting. “I did reach out to him about three months before he passed — we spoke for about 30 minutes, and it was just like 1988 all over again. He was still teaching me, as a professor and a friend.”
This display of mementos was set up for a memorial service for Lou Riggs, the former Santa Monica College broadcaster teacher and TV coach. (photo by John McCoy Daily News)
== The Los Angeles Oakland Raiders’ exhibition opener against the visiting Los Angeles St. Louis Rams (tonight, 7 p.m., Channel 5) comes with the notation that Beth Mowins, most recognizable for her work on college basketball, softball and college football at ESPN, has been given the chance to do play-by-play.
The first, and last, woman to broadcast an NFL game was when NBC had Gayle Sirens did a late-season Seattle-Kansas City game in 1987.
Working with former Raiders Tim Brown and Matt Millen on three of the four exhibition games, Mowins recently told SI.com’s Richard Deitsche that it probably didn’t hurt that she’s a Syracuse graduate — as was former Raiders owner Al Davis, who has been known for giving many females high-profile positions in his organization. Davis’ son, Mark, the current owner, said he did not want to do simply a radio simulcast on the exhibition games. Those games come to the L.A. market on KLAC-AM (570) (along with the Chargers) or KEIB-AM (1150) with Greg Papa and Tom Flores.
“Beth is an accomplished woman and I congratulate her and wish her all the very best,” Amy Trask, a CBS Sports NFL studio analyst and the first female CEO of an NFL team when Davis hired her for the Raiders, told Deitsche. “That said, you asked me how significant I believe her hire to be. The most significant moment will be when we stop referring to the hiring of qualified women (and racial, ethnic and religious minorities) as significant. In other words, when qualified people are hired without regard to race, gender, ethnicity, religious or other differentiating characteristics, that will be the most significant, indeed momentous, event of all. My experience with Raiders fans was that my gender was of no concern to the vast majority of them and I believe and hope that will be Beth’s experience as well.”
Mowins said in an Associated Press story this week that “to be able to do it with the Raiders is pretty cool. I’m friends with Gayle Sirens so it’s pretty cool that it has come back full circle and the opportunity is there for me.”
Mowins also told the San Jose Mercury News that growing up, she wanted to be Pat Summerall. She told the San Francisco Chronicles Ann Killion that “you have to have a hard shell and be able to take it and bounce back.”
Now, we’ll see where this leads. We also second Deistche’s suggestion on MMQB.com that ESPN should go so far as to put Mowins instead of Chris Berman on the network’s Vikings-49ers telecast on Sept. 7, the second of a Monday night opening doubleheader.
The Raiders’ exhibition schedule continues at Minnesota (Saturday, Aug. 22) and ends at Seattle (Thursday, Sept. 3) with a game at Oakland against Arizona on Sunday, Aug. 30, that NBC televises nationally with its’ “Sunday Night’ crew.
The Raiders’ replayed games are often found on NFL Network as well.
== Colin Cowherd showed up at a recent USC football practice this week adorned in a Trojans cap and T-shirt?
So …. welcome to L.A.? Officially. Just keep getting free shirts and you may never have to do laundry again.
Fox Sports detailed his arrival at the company this week in his post-ESPN career, which starts with bringing “The Herd” to Fox Sports Radio — including KLAC-AM (570) –on Tuesday, Sept. 8.
He’ll take the 9 a.m. to noon hole right after Dan Patrick. But according to sources who know that the Dodgers insist there be seven hours of local programming on the station now that the team has made an investment in it, it goes against logic that Jay Mohr will be the odd voice out. His current syndicated noon-to-3 p.m. slot will be commandeered by the two currently fumbling their way through the 9 a.m.-to-noon window — Bill Reiter and Leeann Tweeden — and becoming the Cowherd post-game show won’t help at all as they become buried even further trying to survive against KSPN-AM (710)’s Steve Mason and John Ireland, or even Fred Roggin over on The Beast 980. Mohr, who has more than a year left on his radio deal after replacing Jim Rome way back when, will still be accessible through the IHeartRadio.com stream, but just no where in the L.A. market on the radio dial. That could drive the well-known comic off the rails.
This new version of “The Herd” — it had been known as “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” when it launched on the West Coast in 2004 — will also go simulcast live on Fox Sports 1. That means the simulcast of the Mike Francessa radio show moves to FS2. Is that still a channel?
The other element of the job for Cowherd is becoming part of the Fox NFL Kickoff show team on Sundays on FS1 from 8-to-9 a.m., leading into the “Fox NFL Sunday” show (on Channel 11). The show has yet to announce its full team.
“Colin is the first person I hired for my first daily studio show at ESPN (‘SportsNation’ in July, ’09), so it’s fitting that he’s the first one I’m hiring at FS1,” said recently installed Fox Sports National Networks president Jamie Horowitz. “Colin is a unique voice in sports media with a loyal following of fans, and we’re looking forward to building our daytime programming around him.”
Cowherd said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter that it wasn’t vital that he have “a presence” on the FS1 NFL pregame show, because “I’m not somebody that demands a presence. I would rather be on a thoughtful [program]. I don’t need to be the star. My radio show obviously is built around my personality. To me, radio is about making you uncomfortable. Television is about making you comfortable: Who do you like? Who do you want to be friends with? So I don’t need to tower over people in television. If I can be a part of a really great project, I’m all in.”
THIS WEEK’S BEST BETS: NFL EXHIBITION: HALL OF FAME GAME PITTSBURGH vs. MINNESOTA Details/TV: At Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio, Sunday, 5 p.m., Ch. 4:
Please tell us it’s not already August. As Steve Rushin writes in the Aug. 3 issue of Sports Illustrated – the one with Pete Carroll painfully smiling on the cover – we are “at summer’s warning track, the last 10 feet before the padded wall of fall … (where) the liquor store is already making its cruel transition from Summer Ale to Harvest Pumpkin, in the same way that NFL training camps arrive to steal baseball’s thunder.” Part of that theft – the first televised exhibition NFL game, done in concert with the annual Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony. But it also signals how famously popular the pro football game must be if some people wearing uniforms of the Steelers and Vikings can assemble on what amounts to a high school field in Canton, Ohio and go through the motions before a national TV audience. Pittsburgh running back Jerome Bettis, the hero of Super Bowl XL, will finally get his Hall pass this weekend. Someday, could Steelers star Ben Roethlisberger get his bust next to “The Bus”? “I am a big Roethlisberger fan,” said Hall of Famer and Pennsylvania native Joe Montana in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I really like Ben. He will be in that Hall of Fame someday.” Mick Tinglehoff, a 6-foot-2, 237-pound center on the Minnesota Vikings’ offensive line from 1962-78, blocked for running backs that went to 13 Pro Bowls and played in four Super Bowls. Adrian Peterson could appreciate that. For the first time since his suspension last year, he should be back on the field getting some carries for the Vikings. With just seven full seasons in the NFL, what are his chances of a Hall of Fame induction? The 30-year-old has already surpassed 10,000 career yards (leading the league in 2008 and 2012) and there’s a decent shot he’ll go past 100 career TDs this season. It’s sure to be discussed on the NBC broadcast. Also: The Pro Football Hall of Fame induction Class of 2015, which includes the Chargers’ Junior Seau, the Raiders’ Tim Brown, the Cowboys’ Charles Haley, the Chiefs’ Will Shields and former front office men Ron Wolf and Bill Polian airs at 4 p.m. Saturday on the NFL Network. Watch if only to see how the Seau induction goes.
ALSO THIS WEEK:
Giovani dos Santos gets the Galaxy welcome-wagon treatment on Tuesday after his first training session, and then joins the lads for the contest against Seattle (Sunday, 1 p.m., ESPN at StubHub Center in Carson) before a national audience … The Dodgers trout out Alex Wood for his first start since coming over from Atlanta during the opener of a three-game series in Philadelphia (Tuesday-Thursday), then Clayton Kershaw puts his 37-inning scoreless streak on the line in the first of three at Pittsburgh (Friday-Sunday) … More highlights at this link