It’s Out of the Question: Joey Chestnut vs. The Gyoza … Got the stomach for this?

The question we’ve always wanted to ask Joey Chestnut: Why have you never won a chestnut eating contest?

“No one has had one yet, but I’m sure all it would take is a sponsor …it could be easy to do,” said the 10-time Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating champion as he started to entertain the idea.

“Even I could do it myself. See how many I eat and donate something to a charity for each one.

“Maybe one of these years, it seems someone can do it around Christmas-time. Hold a winter festival.”

Roasting that thought on an open fire, it’s a nut to be cracked in the future.

Now, it’s gyoza gut-check time.

Joey Chestnut, left, celebrates his 2015 victory in the gyoza eating contest in Little Tokyo.

A little more than a month after he broke his own standards of decency by devouring a new record of 72 hot dogs and buns at the iconic Coney Island 10-minute competition last July 4 – and ESPN televised it, so it did happen — Chestnut will try to go gonzo for something we’re not even sure how to pronounce correctly.

“I’ve always called them ‘GHEE-zah’,” he said of the doughy Japanese pan-fried/steamed dumpling, not to be confused with a pot sticker.

Just say it like you mean it, and don’t talk with your mouth full.

More at this link …

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Sports media notes version 08.24.17: Playing catch up on ESPN’s Robert Lee, the SoCal Sports Broadcasters Hall of Fame selections, Jose Mota’s milestone, and more

Illustration by Jim Thompson/

Last Saturday, the Los Angeles Times’ sports section looked as if it had morphed into the Travel section.
More specifically, the Traveler section.
A nearly full front page story dedicated to the USC equine mascot made it appear there was compelling news to be gleaned. A photo that big with a headline that large couldn’t be there to draw attention unless something important was up.
Instead, it curiously blew up a queer story that started in the university’s Daily Trojan newspaper reporting on a black student group that questioned the origins of Traveler’s name. Specifically, Traveler “comes under scrutiny” for “having a name similar” to the horse once ridden by Confederate general Robert E. Lee.
Pat Saukko DeBarnardi, the widow of former Traveler rider Richard Saukko, is quoted as saying in the Times: “The problem is this: Maybe three weeks ago it was fine. So now the flavor of the day is . . . we all have to be in hysteria. . . . It’s more of a political issue. The horse isn’t political and neither am I.”
Neither is Robert Lee, an ESPN broadcaster who now comes on the national radar not because of his work but also because of a similar name.

When that Times’ Traveler story ran online in all its curious overplay, a friend texted me: “Do you think there will now be a movement on campus to make Asian students with the last name of Lee change it to something else?”
A day after the rare sighting of a solar eclipse, an even stranger story transformed into social media fodder. Another friend texted Tuesday night a link to a piece about how ESPN “pulled” its Asian broadcaster Robert Lee from an assignment that would have had him calling a University of Virginia Sept. 2 football game against William and Mary for the online ESPN3 site and ACC Network. It moved him to an equally uneventful Youngstown State at Pitt game that day.
It’s apparent these days that one must be careful what completely off-the-wall jokes you make. Someone will take them seriously enough to consider the ramifications and then act upon them.
But not even The Onion or Sports Pickle or even SI’s Extra Mustard was in play here (and why is it always food related when sports goes nutty?)
Continue reading “Sports media notes version 08.24.17: Playing catch up on ESPN’s Robert Lee, the SoCal Sports Broadcasters Hall of Fame selections, Jose Mota’s milestone, and more” »

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Sunday sports media: More on Claire Smith, the Baseball Hall’s Spink award winner, and the admiration of Melissa Ludtke

Claire Smith, center, with Sandy Koufax and Steve Garvey. (

As we wrote in Sunday media column, Claire Smith seized a moment that was much bigger than herself Saturday in Cooperstown, N.Y.

The first woman in the 55-year-history of the Baseball Hall of Fame’s J.G. Taylor Spink Award, having to wait behind the 67 men honored before her, and also the fourth African American ever acknowledged by the Baseball Writers Association of America for “meritorious contributions to baseball writing,” Smith dropped a Yogi Berra line right at the start of her 20-minute speech: “I want to thank you for making this day necessary.”

After rising from a seat at the dais next to Rachel Robinson, Smith used a measured, reverential tone in naming off some of previous winners such as Damond Ruynon and Grantland Rice, and exclaimed that “those were such wordsmiths. Me, I’m just named Smith.”

Others, like Melissa Ludtke, would disagree.

Melissa Ludtke of Sports Illustrated is in the New York Yankees’ 1978 post-season clubhouse celebration as Cliff Johnson pours Champagne. (

In 1978, as a reporter for Sports Illustrated, Ludtke got on the national journalism radar by successfully suing the New York Yankees, Major League Baseball and commissioner Bowie Kuhn for the right to enter the locker room to do her work during the 1977 Dodgers-Yankees World Series.

Reporters like Mary Garber and Elinor Kaine fought those sort of access battles as well. In L.A., women reporters making strides in that area included Tracy Dodds, Diane K. Shaw and Lisa Nehus Saxon (as she explained as much to us recently). They were followed by Jane Gross, Melanie Hauser and Mary Schmidt.

Claire Smith was added to the list of those who have been humiliated in the past by archaic rules involving women reporters, as her 1984 incident during the NLCS finally led to commissioner Peter Ueberroth ordering access be granted to everyone with a credential. But that shouldn’t define her career.

Smith once called all those other women “trailblazers who, like Jackie Robinson, changed perceptions in the workplace and in life in extraordinary fashion just by insisting they be treated in ordinary but fair fashion,” writing in a 1999 piece entitled: “Women Sportswriters Confront New Issues: No longer focused on locker room access, work and family challenges prevail”

Continue reading “Sunday sports media: More on Claire Smith, the Baseball Hall’s Spink award winner, and the admiration of Melissa Ludtke” »

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

It’s Out of the Question: How did L.A. escape a Derrick Rose pruning?

Drrick Rose arrives at U.S. District Court in downtown L.A. in 2016. (Damian Dovarganes/AP)

Can we all count our blessings – Lakers, Clippers, every other living soul in Los Angeles – that the derelict Derrick Rose just said no to whatever paradise we had to offer and took whatever is left of his uniquely odd talents to Cleveland?

The marginalized one-time NBA MVP, a 28-year-old injury-prone guard with a body of work littered with questionable decision-making at every jerk of his bad knees, apparently met with the Lakers for three hours last week to determine if there was any mutual admiration. Most bizarre is how the Lakers reportedly were trying to sell him on more playing time, more money and a “better environment” than what Rose endured last season in New York.

Oh, and could you mentor our new rookie point guard Lonzo Ball? Sure, but then who would babysit Rose? LaVar?

More at this link …

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Sports media notes version 07.26.16: Prepping for Claire Smith’s milestone Baseball Hall of Fame recognition

Plans for this Sunday’s column are to feature Claire Smith, the first woman to receive the J.G. Taylor Spink Award Winner for writing excellence by the Baseball Hall of Fame. She receives the award on Saturday (MLB Network will have a one-hour taped highlight show on Sunday at 8 a.m., prior to its Hall of Fame induction ceremony live at 10:30 a.m.)
ESPN plans to air a six-minute piece on Smith’s career during SportsCenter segments this weekend (with a preview clip above).
And then there’s this:

But before all that …


== At this morning’s bloviating Pac-12 Football Media Day in Hollywood, conference commissioner Larry Scott will be well aware that there are 44 games televised nationally on ESPN and Fox Sports, and 35 more games on its own Pac-12 Network, going into its sixth season of existence.
The lack of distribution with that last one continues to be a rock in the sole of Scott’s loafers. DirecTV/AT&T continues to not budge on budgeting the channel in for its subscribers. Scott did announce that over-the-top distributors such as Sling and Century Link.
Scott’s otherwise major revelations today is that, when non-conference games are on the Pac-12 Net, they will cut back on commercial spots and halftime length in order to fit them into three-hour windows.


Continue reading “Sports media notes version 07.26.16: Prepping for Claire Smith’s milestone Baseball Hall of Fame recognition” »

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email