OFFICIAL TRAILER! https://t.co/FwvRBRfwYJ
— NFL (@NFL) May 12, 2016
What’s coming for Sunday:
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
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).
== In Sports Illustrated’s history, there have been several pieces done on Scully going back to the 1964 gem by Robert Creamer called “The Transistor Kid.”
There was also the David J. Halberstam piece less than a year ago, with Scully looking back on his first season of 1950.
And in 2010, Joe Posnanski did his own and re-purposed some of it in 2011.
And in 2008, Richard Hoffer did “In Vin, Veritas.”
And in 2005, Steve Rushin did “Diamonds in the Sky.”
In 1971, Jerry Kirshenbaum focused a piece primarily on Scully called “And Here, To Bring you the Play by Play …”
At one point, we tried to track them all down from the SIVault.com, but links disappeared. You can do a new search yourself.
== Also this week: The New York Daily News’ Christian Red did this 2,000-word piece on Scully, who declined an invitation by the Yankees to come with the Dodgers when the team travels to New York for a series in September. And New York WOR’s Howie Rose has a 17-minute conversation with Scully as well.
== 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.