Why Dan Patrick’s life is in ‘Jeopardy!’

danmagesDan Patrick spent a week away from his nationally syndicated morning radio show (heard locally on KLAC-AM 570) by taking his daughter to college — and then taping 15 episodes of the new “Sports Jeopardy!” series at the Sony studios in Culver City.

“I thought taking my daughter to school was the challenge,” he said Thursday afternoon during a break of taping five shows over a 10-hour period. “That was easy. This is like landing planes at LAX.”

The concept for a first-of-its-kind, non-video-game sports version of the long-running TV game show “Jeopardy!” came to light when the producers at the Sony-owned Crackle.com, famous these days for the on-demand episodes of “Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee” with Jerry Seinfeld, announced they had signed Patrick up for this project last April.

More than 30,000 potential contestants went online to apply for a test and audition, which have been taking place in various cities since June before the actual taping started this week.

“I really do have a new respect for Alex Trebek,” said Patrick of the “Jeopardy!” host who joined his radio show a couple of weeks ago in New York to give him some pointers. “There’s no fear of me ever taking his job. I’m just trying to consume all this information without taking Adderall or Riddlin. They did offer me a B-12 shot before the shows today and that would have helped if I didn’t have a phobia of needles. Maybe I could take it as a suppository?”

The “Sports Jeopardy!” series launches Sept. 24, and Patrick’s plans in L.A. this week are to tape 10 more episodes over the weekend before heading back to Connecticut, then do 12 more plus a two-day championship in January before seeing where it goes.

One of the people on his staff Howie Schwab, the former ESPN information know-it-all who at one time had his own gameshow “Stump the Schwab” a few years back.

“Even Howie will see a question here and go, ‘Now, that’s hard’,” said Patrick. “I consider myself upper-tier in sports trivia, but this will really humble you. So sometimes it’s good to have cold water splashed in your face to remind you of that. I’m getting my own ice bucket challenge here this week.”

More information at sportsjeopardy.com.

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Play It Forward: Aug. 18-24 on your sports calendar — Who’s playing possum in the AL West?

THIS WEEK’S BEST BET:

MLB: ANGELS AT OAKLAND
Details/TV: Friday-Sunday, FSW and ESPN:
For whatever reason, the Angels continue to believe the magic of their Rally Monkey, going on more than a decade. Lately, the Oakland Athletics may have a stronger tie to their own new Rally Possum. Back on August 4 at the decrepit Oakland Coliseum, a place where sewage often backs up in the dugouts and rats hold conventions, a small possum appeared scurrying around on the warning track by the A’s bullpen. It held up the game, tied at 2-2 in the 10th inning, before vanishing under the stands just as the A’s Sam Fuld was coming to the plate. Fuld got a hit. Two more batters walked. And then with two outs and two strikes on him, Derek Norris pulled off the game-winning hit to beat Tampa Bay. Within minutes, fans were tweeting about the #RallyPossum.
080914_oak_possum_twitter_tiyozfoeFive days later, the possum made another sprint onto the warning track, just the A’s were amidst defeating the Twins, 9-4. Coincidence? “We’ll get behind anything,” said A’s first baseman Brandon Moss. “I love that kind of stuff … but then again, I’m kind of ADD … If the people in Anaheim aren’t sick of that rally monkey, I guess nothing gets old.”
mockup1Jeff Smardzija, obtained by the A’s from Chicago on July 4 to bolster Oakland’s staff, has benefited most from the possum appearances during his outings. “He knows when to show up – at the down times in the game. He must have a little ego on him, which I don’t mind. We’re going to have to give him a name, get him a jersey. We’ve got to keep feeding him.”
The Angels are hardly playing possum in the AL West race, finally catching up last weekend with some 40-odd games to play. The A’s have already won six of the first nine meetings, and there are four more to play in Anaheim at the end of this month, plus three more in Oakland in late September to really make this interesting. For this series, the climax on Sunday should put the A’s latest star pitching acquisition, Jon Lester, up against the Angels’ Jered Weaver. The series goes Friday (7 p.m.) and Saturday (6 p.m.) on FSW and Sunday (5 p.m.) on ESPN.

Before that, the Angels have to take a red-eye to Oakland after playing four in Boston. The Dodgers have a home series against San Diego and the New York Mets this week. The rest of the time we’ll see a Clippers Fan Fest on Monday, the conclusion of the 75th Little League World Series on Sunday, and in between, the Sparks start the WNBA playoffs, the Pacific Classic runs at Del Mar and the movie “When The Game Stands Tall” comes out about the Concord De La Salle football team, starring Jim Caviezel, below right, as coach Bob Ladouceur, left. Here’s a link to everything else.

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Media column version 08.15.14: How Ted Lasso loosens up the lackadaisical U.S. soccer folk

In the hopper for this week posted here:
We’ve not seen the last of Ted Lasso.
The Jason Sudeikis characterization of a former U.S. football coach who tries to revolutionize the English Premiere League has been expanded into a new NBC Sports marketing vehicle as the network’s coverage of the sport ramps up again on Saturday. We’ll look at what’s behind the campaign with some of Lasso’s “punditry” and how it continues to draw attention in this week’s column.

What could have been in there but will be more than happy to just exist here instead:

nbc-epl-topps== Don’t let your mom throw these away: Topps trading card company has partnered with NBC Sports to do a card package of EPL commentators. The “Season Starter Kits” have cards for Ted Lasso, as well as Arlo White, Rebecca Lowe, Robbie Earle, Kyle Martino and Robbie Mustoe.

== Also note that NBC has snatched the “Men in Blazers” show featuring Michael Davies and Roger Bennett, who started popping up during ESPN’s World Cup coverage earlier in the summer. The two will have a weekly Monday night show on NBCSN.

Continue reading

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Play It Forward: Aug. 11-17 on your sports calendar

THIS WEEK’S BEST BET:

Kerri Walsh Jennings and Whitney Pavlik celebrate their 2013 Manhattan Beach Open title.

Kerri Walsh Jenning, right, and Whitney Pavlik celebrate their 2013 Manhattan Beach Open title.

BEACH VOLLEYBALL:
AVP MANHATTAN BEACH OPEN
Details/TV: Men’s and women’s final, Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS Sports Net:
2013 Manhatttan Beach Open - ball and logo
Kerri Walsh Jennings, despite having won three Olympic gold medals and becoming the face (and body) of beach volleyball the last decade-plus, still has some work to do. She may have more career victories than any other female beach player in history. She could become the all-time leader in wins, male or female, and if that happens, it would be right around the time when the 2016 Rio Olympics take place. As for the Manhattan Beach Open – the most prestigious and longest-running tournament in the sport – she has won it four times. Pretty snappy, but that’s only fourth all-time on the list of women champs behind Linda Hanley (eight), Nina Matties and Kathy Gregory (seven each). With partner Whitney Pavlik, Jennings won last year’s MB Open, made all the sweeter because her husband, Casey Jennings, took the men’s title with Matt Fuerbringer in an upset over Sean Rosenthal and Phil Dalhausser. The Jennings family will get their bronze plaques put up on the Manhattan Beach pier in a ceremony Thursday that leads into the weekend competition for this 54th event, all the more special since the family lives in Manhattan Beach. This year, Kerri Walsh Jennings will be with current teammate April Ross and should be the top seeds. As the 39-year-old Matt Fuerbringer has gone back into retirement, Casey Jennings has been partnering with Avrey Drost, and the two had a nice showing at the recent FIVB event in Long Beach. Dalhausser-Rosenthal may not play this weekend because of a Dalhausser injury, but it will be a game-time decision. John Hyden and Tri Bourne will likely be the men’s top seed, with Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson seeded second.

The rest of the week includes the U.S. men’s national basketball team trying to get itself together with an exhibition in Chicago against Brazil (Saturday, 6 p.m., ESPN), the U.S. Amateur Golf Championship in Georgia, the start of the Premiere League and WWE SummerSlam at Staples Center. Read more here.

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Media column version 08.08.14 — Why would KFWB switch to all-sports now? When in Rome …

KFWB1984Southern California proper probably needs another all-sports radio station like the ozone layer needs another hole.
That said, go fetch an umbrella. The unbearable barometric conditions could get weird again. Cloudy with a chance of more meatball opinions pelting down upon us.
Even if KFWB-AM (980) continues to position itself for a morph into what would be the fourth sports-centric station in these parts starting Sept. 1, that shouldn’t translate that into a situation where the sky is falling. The residual effect of this potential hybrid national lineup from the CBS and NBC sports radio networks is that Jim Rome stands to finally have an L.A. radio base again.
Here’s more of Friday’s media column ….

Other notable notes:

== How Dan LeBatard got a four-day weekend from ESPN without giving away another Hall of Fame ballot.

snl_1657_11_Update_JAY== Falling forward: With Stephen A. Smith back from “vacation” on some show that ESPN continues to air called “First Take,” it was anounced Thursday that ESPN and SiriusXM will put “The Stephen A. Smith Show” on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Sports Radio, Channel 85, starting Sept. 2 at 10 a.m., emanating from Bristol, Conn.

stephen-a-smith-faces-cropped_display_image== Please read the conclusions drawn about today’s quick-to-react media and how thoughtful discourse is compromised in this Aug. 3 column by the New York Times’ Bill Rhoden under the headline: “Stumbling Along in the Race to Be Provocative –Stephen A. Smith’s Comments on Ray Rice Illustrate Problematic Trend in Media Commentary”.
Rhoden writes in part: “When will all of this end? When consumers want it to end. For all the focus on the individuals who create the outrage, the reality is that the histrionics are intended not as much to facilitate debate as to draw, and keep, fans. As competition has escalated, news media outlets have become increasingly obsessed with their audience numbers. We want your eyes, your ears, your wallets. And what does the audience want? Debate? Diatribe? Outrageous behavior?
“Heated debates around polarizing figures and polarizing quotations make for good copy and great TV. But do they lead to positive change? The scandal surrounding Donald Sterling, the Los Angeles Clippers’ owner, who was secretly recorded making racist comments, brought up a wide range of captivating issues, including blacks working in a team’s front office and players exercising greater influence in team affairs. But has anything really changed?
“If there is a lesson to be learned from the spate of suspensions, it’s that in our zeal to tap new markets and attract new readers, viewers and listeners, we relinquish a sliver of our conscience and our responsibility to at least try to create order out of chaos.
“As we chase dollars, we make progressively less sense.”

This comes a couple of days after ESPN Ombudsman Bob Lipstye did his regular posting about the perils of “embrace debate.”

== For those who missed Vin Scully imitating an umpire taking a foul ball in the sweet spot from Monday’s Dodgers-Angels game. And for those who think a Change.org petition will get Fox to allow Scully to call the 2015 All-Star game and World Series.

BuCiDauCYAASjOT.jpg large== Don’t recall much on the TBS broadcast of the Angels-Rays game last Sunday following up on the passing the day before of Pete Van Wieren. A TBS spokesman points out that they did a full-screen graphic in the top of the 7th with Pete’s headshot and play-by-play announcer Brian Anderson acknowledged his passing. Following the game, TBS ran a two-minute package chronicling his career with notable highlights and memorable calls.

== While HBO revvs up its newest “Hard Knocks” reality show featuring the Atlanta Falcons , consider your Los Angeles Kiss. They may have finished their inaugural Arena Football League season recently with a 3-15 mark and losing their last six in a row, but as a reality show fodder, we’ll see how they fare any better with a new 10-episode AMC series, “4th and Loud,” that launches Tuesday at 9 p.m. (or 6 p.m. on DirecTV Channel 254) with many repeats. It’s promoted as a place where “rock n’ roll and sports collide as two of entertainment’s biggest showmen try to once again break all the rules.” The production company, Thinkfactory Media, previously did the show “Gene Simmons Family Jewels.”

= If Ted Lasso really was part of the NBC coverage of the Premiere League, we might be more compelled to set the DVR.

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Play it Forward: Aug. 4-10 on your sports calendar

Mike Scioscia has spent more time in an Angels uniform now than a Dodgers' jersey? Hard to believe.

Mike Scioscia has spent more time in an Angels uniform now than a Dodgers’ jersey? Hard to believe.

THIS WEEK’S BEST BET:
MLB: DODGERS vs. ANGELS
Details/TV: At Dodger Stadium, Monday and Tuesday, 7:10 p.m.; At Angel Stadium, Wednesday and Thursday, 7:05 p.m., SportsNet L.A. and FSW:
1901442_708243702530312_1911064010_n
By the time this anticipated four-game, home-and-home, so-called World Series preview is finished, the Dodgers and Angels will have played each other 100 times in the regular season since inter-league play began in 1997 (yes, it’s been that long). And there’s no denying that the Dodgers  need a few more years to catch up as they’re caught in a traffic jam in the Freeway Series standings (yes, it will take that long). Forget that long-standing exhibition thing they still do before each season. Focus on the fact the Angels have won 56 of the 96 when-it-counts meetings, including 26 of the last 40, and it could be a 60-40 split when this series ends. The pitching-stretched Angels won’t have Jered Weaver available, since he threw Sunday in Tampa — he beat the Dodgers 4-3 last year. But to show how to show how much a difference a year makes, the pitchers of record in those four games played in late May 2013 included Joe Blanton, Jason Vargas and Robert Coello for the Angels (with Ernesto Frieri racking up two saves) while it was Ted Lilly, Chris Capuano and Ronald Belisario getting decisions for the Dodgers, and Brandon League netting a save. Former Angels Zack Greinke and Dan Haren will make appearances here for the Dodgers. Clayton Kershaw, who hasn’t lost a game since May 28 and seen his ERA drop to 1.71, sports just a 2-2 record against the Angels lifetime in five starts with a 3.74 ERA. He is set to go Tuesday. At least with FSW handling all four games, a city mostly in the dark on other nights can see these all in one shape or form.

la-me-ln-three-marines-stabbed-dodger-angel-fans-20140331The rest of the week includes Tiger Woods paired up with Phil Mickelsen for the first two rounds of the 96th PGA Tour Championship at Valhalla in Louisville, Ky., the new-look Red Sox visiting Anaheim, while the Dodgers go to Milwaukee, USC and UCLA starting fall training camp, and Michael Phelps making a splash in Irvine for the U.S. National Championships. Here’s a link to the week ahead.

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Play It Forward: July 28-Aug. 3 on your sports calendar

DSC00402THIS WEEK’S BEST BETS:
NFL: HALL OF FAME GAME: BUFFALO vs. N.Y. GIANTS
Details/TV: At Canton, Ohio, Sunday at 5 p.m., Channel 4:
NFL: PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME INDUCTION CEREMONY
Details/TV: At Canton, Ohio, Saturday at 1 p.m., NFL Network:
The Baseball Hall of Fame ceremonies that just took place mark a time to pause and reflect on the specialness of the game at midseason. The Pro Football Hall of Fame ceremonies, and subsequent exhibition game, that will happen a week later remind us that fall isn’t far away. And we notice some even drooling for it. After seeing more stories lately about the possibility of a team coming back to Los Angeles despite a 20-year absence, catching some of the Dallas Cowboys’ visit to Southern California to limber up in front of hundreds of gawkers, and a growing menu of ESPN programming set up just to allow fans to watch their team’s practices, we believe it’s time to yield to the powerful pull of the National Football League at this moment. So it’s back to Canton, Ohio,  where fame isn’t fleeting, and time to give props to guys like punter Ray Guy, the former L.A. Raiders specialist whose job was damage control when the offense couldn’t get things moving. For that, he’s now a certified legend in the game. Let’s see how far he can kick his bronze bust. New morning TV darling Michael Strahan gets honored as well with Derrick Brooks, Claude Humphrey, Walter Jones, Andre Reed and Aeneas Williams on Saturday afternoon. The next day, they’ll play an exhibition game on the local high-school football field, and Al Michaels will make it sound real.

The rest of the week lays out with the Dodgers playing at home against Atlanta and Chicago, the Angels heading on the road to Baltimore and Tampa, the International Surf Festival on the South Bay beaches and some more soccer, WNBA and even women’s indoor football. Go figure. It’s all here at this link.

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Media column version 07.25.14: The art of the UFC, by Art Davie, and how he sold it to a TV audience some 20 years ago

UFC_Creator_Art_DavieThe book is called “Is This Legal? The Inside Story of The First UFC From The Man Who Created It,” and we thank Art Davie for giving us some time to talk more about all that went into the event more than 20 years ago that spawned what is now the MMA explosion of TV programming.
51-WynqNOcLDavie’s adventures with rejection letters from ESPN and Prime Ticket, as well as from HBO and Showtime, are all part of the process that he reveals with plenty of relish. Davie says he’ll be showing on the Spike TV broadcast of the Bellator fight card from Temecula (Friday, 6 p.m.) to talk about the book with his co-author and MMA play-by-play man Sean Wheelock.

While this is the subject of this week’s media column, other notes worth noting here:

== Erin Andrews, not on Fox’s college football anymore? At least there is some residual effect to her knocking Pam Oliver out on the lead NFL sideline gig.
== It’s Tom Verducci, on Roger Angell, thankfully a link provided via Ed Sherman.
== It’s still a bit of a surprise that the Stanley Cup champion Kings will be getting as much NBCSN exposure for the 2014-15 season — 12 appearances — as Philadelphia, Washington and (ahem) San Jose. But still not as much as Chicago (20), Pittsburgh (19), Boston (17), Detroit (15) or the N.Y. Rangers (14).
== Is it true that the L.A. Times’ Bill Dwyer conveniently left out in his remembrance of Jim Healy this week the fact that Healy used to call him “Journalist Bill”?
== How ESPN plans to cover the 2015 Special Olympics from Los Angeles.
== We always had a bad feeling about teams that named themselves after bad things.

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Play It Forward: July 21-27 on your sports calendar

emily-day-edchan-WSOBV_span7THIS WEEK’S BEST BET:
ASICS WORLD SERIES OF BEACH VOLLEYBALL
Details/TV: At Alamitos Beach in Long Beach, final matches on Sunday at 12:30 p.m., Channel 4:
ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball LogoThis is where SPF number indicates the Summer Party Festival level on your keg of Coppertone. This version of the Long Beach Grand Potpourri follows up on last year’s inaugural event with even more juice — a six-day festival starting Tuesday, kicked up a notch as the FIVB-sponsored tournament attracting more than 120 of the top players in the world going after $1 million in prize money. That includes the usual bump-and-thump American headliners like Kerri Walsh Jennings, April Ross, Brittany Hochevar, Sean Rosenthal, Todd Rogers, Phil Dalhausser and Casey Jennings, all of whom are trying to calibrate their games as the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil comes more into focus. Throw in all kinds of live musical acts, junior and college competition, co-ed four- and six-person events and the mandatory bikini contest with a $1,000 grand prize, and it’s proof again that the signature sport of Southern California has arrived for its mid-summer fling thing. Or go with what promoter/organizer Leonard Armato calls “the most extraordinary beach volleyball event in the history of the planet.” If parking hassles around the Pike or Convention Center aren’t appealing, Channel 4 also has either a men’s or women’s semifinal match on Saturday (1:30 p.m.), with NBCSN and Universal Sports carrying matches all weekend. More info: www.wsobv.com.

mlb_g_torre_200Also this week: The Dodgers’ road trip continues to Pittsburgh and San Francisco, the Angels are home against two of the hottest teams in baseball — Baltimore and Detroit — the Baseball Hall of Fame has six inductees and the Galaxy get friendly against Man U. at the Rose Bowl. See the rest of the week at this link.

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Media column version 07.18.14: Enough ‘truthiness’ in SportsNet L.A. negotiations

truthinessdefWe fear that we can handle the truth.
It’s just that, five months into this Dodgers-owned SportsNet L.A., we’re still trying to decode what exactly are the reasons why a company like Time Warner Cable can’t get full distribution, as it has been hired by the team to accomplish, and why another company like DirecTV continues to refuse a product that seemingly everyone in Southern California would want.
At the right price.
The “truthiness” of what’s out there and what we believe to be true is what we’ve decided to attack in today’s media column, linked here.

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