Sunday media: Why ‘Brockmire’ isn’t mired in a one-note, old broadcaster scenario

One recent review of the new IFC series “Brockmire” calls it “must-watch.” Another calls it “one of the year’s best new comedies.”
Hank Azaria’s character as the out-of-touch Jim Brockmire has found a voice in a place maybe viewers never expected after seeing it emerge more than 10 years ago as a four-minute fake documentary on “Funny Or Die” about this “Game Changer” which included “testimonials” from Joe Buck, Dan Patrick and Rich Eisen.
It’s funny, and it hasn’t died.
The eight-episode series running Wednesday nights on the cable channel — Buck will make an appearance in Episode 7 — has already been picked up for a 2018 run, with the shows written with filming to start later this fall.
They’ve created a bobblehead of Brockmire, a limited edition Topps baseball card … and isn’t it strange that Hank Azaria’s signature on a  baseball almost looks like it’s from the former Atlanta Braves’ home-run champion (be carefully of how you scribble).
In addition to the Q-and-A we have online with Azaria, who has moved back to New York after living in Southern California for a 25-year-plus period, we have more here:

Q: With the language and adult situations, does any of this have written consent of Major League Baseball?
A: It does not, but that’s not out of the question. They might. Even if Major League Baseball says you can do something, you still need individual teams to sign off. That’s tougher to get. It varies owner to owner. If the show becomes more popular and everyone gets it and enjoys it. Can you imagine describing this to baseball owners? No. “A foul-mouthed alcoholic completely out of his mind …” But in its way, it’s kind of a love letter to baseball, too. You can feel the love of baseball in it. It’s just got a lot of twisted aspects of it. Continue reading “Sunday media: Why ‘Brockmire’ isn’t mired in a one-note, old broadcaster scenario” »

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It’s Out of the Question: Playing for the name on the front at Amino Jackie Robinson High

Did you know: There is a baseball team at Amino Jackie Robinson Charter High School in L.A., located in an industrial area on Hill Street near Jefferson, about a mile East of the USC campus on the other side of the Harbor Freeway.
It’s record? Winless in seven games so far, last the CIF L.A. Section’s Crosstown-Ocean standings, outscored 102-29.
According to records kept on MaxPreps.com, 16 of those runs scored came in one game, against Bright Star, including three in the bottom of the seventh to tie it up and send it into extra innings. Bright Star then scored nine in the next inning and won, 25-16.
Jackie Robinson High Monarchs (the nickname is the same as the Negro League team in Kansas City in which Robinson played for in 1945) has been on the wrong end of 13-0 and 10-0 games against New Designs University Park, and another 13-0 loss to Amino Venice.
Sixteen kids are on the roster at a school that has just fewer than 600 total students, using a baseball field at South Park Rec Center, a rare green space in the area over on San Pedro and 51st Street that’s a bit of a trip from the campus down the South Figueroa Corridor.
But they’re there because they want to be. Embrace the fact they even offer this program for these teenagers. As it says on the school’s website: “The mission of our athletic programs is to provide students with competitive opportunities in interscholastic sports so that they will learn and demonstrate the life-long values of leadership, sportsmanship, teamwork and integrity.”
That’s a win-win situation. Play for the name on the front on the jersey.
More Saturday questions at this link …

 

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30 baseball books for April ’17, Day 15: A faithful examination into the soul of Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson, second from left, the youngest of five children for Mallie and Jerry Robinson. (Photo: JackieRobinson.org)

On the annual Jackie Robinson Day in Major League Baseball, and the unveiling of a statue at Dodger Stadium, we take this moment in the annual baseball book review series to spotlight new titles related to Robinson:

The book: “Jackie Robinson: A Spiritual Biography: The Faith of a Boundary-Breaking Hero”
The author: Michael G. Long and Chris Lamb
The vital statistics: Westminster John Knox Press, 212 pages, $17, released March 10
Find it: At Amazon.com, at Barnes and Noble, at the publishers’ website

The pitch: It was the middle of the night when we stumbled upon another airing of “The Jackie Robinson Story” on Turner Classic Movies channel the other day – with an immediate reminder about how this 1950 depiction of Robinson’s life and times to that point really doesn’t hold up well in today’s world, even with Robinson starring as himself, thus the film project “42” in 2013 with Chadwick Boseman.
The scene where Robinson meets with Branch Rickey is hardly memorable, and rather forced.
But in this movie, after Robinson is asked about what he wanted to do with this opportunity to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers, the scene shows Rickey’s secretary dialing up Robinson’s mother at her home in Pasadena, there with Robinson’s brother, Mack, who answered the phone call.
Jackie would ask his mother Mallie what she thought he should do.
Her response: “Jackie, I don’t know was kind advice to give you, only … only there must be churches in a big town like New York. Why don’t you go find a church and talk to the minister and see what he has to say. Any time you have a real problem, listen to God.” He did just that.
In that vein, Long and Lamb try to reconstruct Robinson’s life journey through the prism of religion, spirituality and the presence of a higher power – all things Robinson would rely on as he went on the faith that what he was doing would help a much larger cause.
Continue reading “30 baseball books for April ’17, Day 15: A faithful examination into the soul of Jackie Robinson” »

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30 baseball books for April ’17, Day 14: Is Kershaw vs. Greinke tonight … No. 5 vs. No. 51 on the Dodgers’ all-time greatest players list?

Whatever happened to this No. 19 greatest player in Dodger franchise history? Oh, he’s on the Atlanta Braves DL at the moment … and the Dodgers are still paying $3.5 million of his salary to stay away. At age 32.

The book: “The 50 Greatest Players in Dodgers History”
The author: Robert W. Cohen
The vital statistics: Blue River Press, 416 pages, $24.95, released March 1
Find it: At Amazon.com, at Barnes and Noble, at Powells.com, at Vromans.com, at the publishers’ website

The pitch: Fine, we’ll take the bait.
Who do you got who where, why and how come?
OK …
Interesting, but …
For real?
Cohen, who already cranked out a book for this publishing company on the 50 greatest Yankees, Cubs, Tigers, Cardinals, Giants, and Red Sox over the last few years has dodged the Brooklyn-Los Angeles roster long enough.
He has somewhat logical criteria for how he has assembled the lists: Career accomplishments, weighted stats, contributions to the team, limited to what they did only while in a Dodgers uniform, and only those after 1900.
Still …
Common sense would seem to be what’s most overlooked.
Off the top of our head, the top five should be not too difficult to pick out, in whatever order you choose. If you were to simply go by the research put into a list by The Sporting News in 1999 listing the Top 100 players to that point, then you’ve got Sandy Koufax (No. 26), Jackie Robinson (No. 44), Roy Campanella (No. 50) and Duke Snider (No. 84). Except Cohen flips Campanella and Snider in the Nos. 3 and 4 spots on his list, without any sort of explanation, even as he credits Campy with “generally considered to be one of the greatest catchers in baseball history.”
No. 5, by the way, is Clayton Kershaw.
Already?
Already.
Continue reading “30 baseball books for April ’17, Day 14: Is Kershaw vs. Greinke tonight … No. 5 vs. No. 51 on the Dodgers’ all-time greatest players list?” »

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30 baseball books for April ’17, Day 13: Another at bat for Casey Stengel

The book: “Casey Stengel: Baseball’s Greatest Character”
The author: Marty Appel
The vital statistics: Doubleday, 432 pages, $27.95, released March 28, 2017
Find it: At Amazon.com, at Barnes and Noble, at Powells.com, at Vromans.com, at the publishers’ website, or the writers’ website

The pitch: On Sept. 15, 1975, Casey Stengel wasn’t feeling well and checked in to the local Glendale Memorial Hospital, a short drive from his longtime home he shared with his wife, Edna, at 1663 Grandview Ave.
He wouldn’t return home. Cancer had spread too much in his abdomen and at 85 he couldn’t handle surgery.
“During his hospital stay,” as Appel writes on page 353, “he did what he always did – he followed baseball.”
That meant watching the NBC Game of the Week, Pittsburgh at St. Louis, with Joe Garagiola and Tony Kubek, Stengel’s former Yankees shortstop, calling it.
“In those days, the playing of the national anthem was part of the telecast – unlike today … Knowing the ritual well, Casey decided to rise from his bed and stand for the anthem. ‘I might as well do this one last time,’ he said, as he stood barefooted in a hospital gown (open in the back), with his hands over his heart.”
That would seem to be in character with Stengel, eh?
Continue reading “30 baseball books for April ’17, Day 13: Another at bat for Casey Stengel” »

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