10.22.18: Five things you should plan for the week ahead based on unscientific evidence of guaranteed importance

We’re told there will be a World Series starting Tuesday, with the usual suspects. Boston’s Red Sox put together the regular season to remember, and L.A.’s Dodgers wrangled up enough victories to get them back into the fray.
We have more of that, plus the 8-0 Rams’ expectations against Green Bay, the Lakers’ week that includes two matchups with San Antonio, USC and UCLA plodding along in the Pac-12 South, and a Galaxy need for one more win to make they post-season worthy.
It’s here. Enjoy.

A SIGN OF THE (L.A.) TIMES: CAN YOU GET INTO THE CONVERSATION WITH WOMEN ON NFL GAMES?

By Tom Hoffarth
Andrea Kremer
has a grasp of best practices when it comes to the art of a conversation.
“We all know there’s a language and code of football — Cover 1, RPOs, jet sweep,” she said. “But as Al Michaels said to me, 99% of the people probably don’t know what it all means.
“I’ve always fancied myself as an Xs and Os geek. But during my career, where I’ve done reporting and storytelling, a lot of it is really just conversation. Read more

A SIGN OF THE (L.A.) TIMES: HOW MARCELLUS WILEY WALKED THE TALK FROM ESPN TO FOX

By Tom Hoffarth
Speaking for himself, Marcellus Wiley says there are weird moments talking the talk at Fox Sports’ Century City studios after walking away from a broadcasting career in ESPN’s L.A. Live facility near Staples Center.
913PNQUiUDL“Kind of like having the ex-girlfriend living next door, isn’t it?” Wiley said with a laugh while driving from his Manhattan Beach home to do the Monday episode of the revised “Speak For Yourself” on FS1 with Jason Whitlock, a TV partnership officially formed Sept. 10.
“When I was at the Chargers-Rams game Sunday, I even went over to the ESPN radio guys and sat with a lot of my former bosses. I’m not about burning any bridges. Nothing but love and respect.”
So no evil backstory as to why the light-up-the-room 43-year-old switched allegiances. He said it’s just “pretty standard operations with an expired contract,” something he dealt with regularly over a 10-year NFL career as an All-Pro defensive end that included three seasons with the San Diego Chargers.
Read more at this link about Wiley’s move to Fox as well as how Kings fans will have to get used to a new way of listening to Nick Nickson and Daryl Evans on the audio feeds.

THOMPSON’S TAKE: WHERE THE WIND BLOWS, SERENA WILL BALK

As Jim Thompson writes on ThompsonSportsArt.com: “Serena Williams is the best to ever play women’s tennis. She’s also a diva who, when losing, tends to blame everything and everyone within a tennis ball’s throw. Remember when she threatened to stuff a ball down a linesman’s throat. I hate to break the news but great athletes can be great big jerks. …” Read more

Where do we retire Ralph Lawler among the L.A. sports play-by-play pantheon? Grab a six-pack and we’ll walk up this mountain …

By Tom Hoffarth
So you’re playing that game called “Mt. Rushmore” — commission four stone-carved faces up on the side of a mountain that represent the most important people for your (fill in the blank: team, profession, presidents of your neighborhood watch committee). Who would they be?
If the baseline was Los Angeles sports play-by-play men since the beginning of time – and L.A. really ain’t that old – the obvious first three in lineup are Vin Scully, Chick Hearn and Bob Miller.
All are in their respective sports’ Hall of Fame broadcast wing. They have stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. They introduced their sports to an L.A. market that hadn’t seen it before, and then fell in love with it.
Now, who finishes up this foursome?
Without Dick Enberg, it seems imperfect.
Without Tom Kelly, it seems inadequate.
Without Ralph Lawler, it sorta seems incomplete.
We’re happy to be featured on the Sports Broadcast Journal website today, per the request of broadcast historian David J. Halberstam, to give our perspective of Lawler’s body of work as he’s announced this will be his 40th and final season with the team.
See more at this link …

A SIGN OF THE (L.A.) TIMES: PICTURE A PHOTOGRAPHER IN THE BASKETBALL HALL OF FAME … KOBE CAN

By Tom Hoffarth
We’ll admit it’s kind of cool when Kobe Bryant tweets out a story you’ve done. Even sweeter when the Hall of Famer is quoted liberally and accurately in the piece … and he’s not talking about himself. He’s giving props to Andrew Bernstein, the longtime NBA photographer who was recognized with the Curt Gowdy Award for media impact of his career. We have reaction from Bryant, Jerry West, Doc Rivers and the Basketball Hall of Fame CEO, as well as why this is an important moment for those shooters to get their recognition.
Follow the link here from this Bryant tweet to the L.A. Times story:

THE VODCAST: DAVID DAVIS IS THE O.G. OF DEEP DRILLING IN L.A.

There are few writers who know their way around Los Angeles and its history than David Davis, and fewer yet who have the full admiration of Steve Lowery and Tom Hoffarth for this longtime freelance journalist who has his hands in many things.
It has taken awhile, but we finally coordinated our schedules to have him down the Carson compound to talk about: Read more

A SIGN OF THE (L.A.) TIMES: JIM ROME AND THE LOCAL ACCESS NARRATIVE

By Tom Hoffarth
Jim Rome
takes one of his trademark pronounced pauses, measuring a way to make sure the server at the high-end Costa Mesa restaurant doesn’t take offense to what he is about to say as the seared ahi salad is set in front of him.
“I think the phrase I’m looking for here is … this pisses me off,” the 53-year-old sports-talk show host says.
The server doesn’t flinch. Read more

THOMPSON’S TAKE: MORE GAVEL-TO-UNRAVEL DODGERS COVERAGE

It almost looks like something out of Charlotte’s Web.
There was the forlorn spider, spinning words into her web that trumpeted up her friend in the barn stall. Like “SOME PIG.”
That was also the T-shirt design that surfaced a couple of years ago with the graphic logo “SOME PUIG,” in reference to this rookie hot-shot who was playing right field like a wild horse broke loose from stable. Read more

GO (AWAY) BEACH: WHAT I LEARNED FROM MY DAYS AT CAL STATE LONG BEACH

Editor’s note: This essay, first posted on June 20, is available as an audio read by the author at www.gametakes.com at this link.

By Steve Lowery

This marks the 29th year since I arrived at Cal State Long Beach, the start of five of the most uneventful years of my life.

In that time, nothing much happened except that one time, I got a really good parking space and that other time, an English professor punched me. That was about it.

And I guess, based on that, you’d have to say Cal State Long Beach was not much of a “college experience.” You might say, based on that, Cal State Long Beach was a “complete waste of time.” You might say, based on that, Cal State Long Beach was a “factory school that affords little to no contact with professors or fellow students and provides only the thinnest of cookie-cutter education that, at best . . .

Ooooooh, I think that guy is pulling out of his parking space! Sweeeeeeet!”

I was going to talk about my time at Cal State Long Beach — the memories, the friends —until I remembered I didn’t have many and that when I talked to others about their experiences at the school, what passed for memories was that there was a bar on campus and the snack shack on the lower portion of the campus had really good chili fries and, at one point in their careers, they had gotten a really good parking space.

And yet, it is undeniable that my time at Cal State Long Beach taught me the single most important and essential life-lesson: how to live. Yes, it is because of Cal State Long Beach that I am alive today. While it’s true that the life I lead is mostly bereft of depth and meaning, in large part because of what I did not receive in its classrooms, it was outside the classroom that Cal State Long Beach taught me what I needed to survive: avoiding human contact.

Heaven only knows how many freeway shootings I have not been the victim of because Cal State Long Beach taught me to keep my mouth shut. Heaven only knows how many times I’ve not been selected by a serial killer for ritualistic “changing” because I never, ever, make eye contact with anyone.

I’ll never know, of course, but what I do know is that I’m alive, and I owe it all to Cal State Long Beach, a big school with something like 30,000 students packed into 323 acres when I was there. That’s a good-sized city and, like any city, it has its share of the insane and the criminal, many of them teaching in the English Department. You learned quickly that you got around the school by minding your own business, dipping your head, casting your eyes to the ground. You never looked anyone in the eye. Not only was eye contact dangerous, it also had the potential of bringing you in contact with other Cal State Long Beach students and, really, what good was going to come out of that conversation? “I’ll put in a good word for you at Kinko’s?” Is Kinko’s even still a thing?

Human contact was bad, and nothing in the intervening years has dissuaded me from that lesson. No one had taken the time to tell or show me how to avoid it until I arrived at Cal State Long Beach where paranoia, apathy, and revulsion radiate from the nondescript glass buildings, stainless-steel sculptures and dead shark eyes of the English Department.

GoBeachLetters-webheader

“Human contact is death. Human contact is death. Human cont … Hey, where all the women at?”

A sterling example: one morning, I am walking up from the lower to the upper campus to attend class, probably in a room with stadium seating. I have been walking for 10 or 15 minutes because this is a day that I did not get a good parking space. I still have 10 minutes of walking in front of me to get to a class with a burned-out professor who addresses students by “Uh, yeah, you,” and a big fat guy who sits next to me and immediately begins sucking on the back of his hand.

So, I’m walking up what is known as Hard Fact Hill, a grassy incline that has a tendency to get a little slick in the morning, making it not unusual for people to slip while scurrying up it. This morning, a guy who’d climbed almost to the top of the hill does just that, but he doesn’t just slip, he falls and begins to roll down the hill. Really, just like a cartoon; sliding and rolling head over heels, books and papers flying, it was hilarious in a very real, painful and humiliating way. But that’s beside the point. The point is that as the man rolled, his head slamming time and again against patches of hard-packed dirt, not a single person moved to help him. Not only that, most of them went out of their way to sidestep or step right over him.

The key aspect is that they, we, all did this without ever looking at the man. Without ever acknowledging his humanity, his circumstance, his being.

Talk about applying your education to the everyday world.

Was the man angry? Of course not. He would have not done the same for us.

Looking back on that morning, I realize that Cal State Long Beach not only taught us all how to eschew human contact, but how to sense it and casually dodge it. And because of this, I would hazard a guess that Cal State Long Beach grads are among the least murdered. Thank you, Cal State Long Beach. You may not teach “book smarts,” but you teach something else, something I like to call “not-getting-murdered smarts.”

And isn’t that what it’s all about? I have no idea. I went to school here.

Good luck and Fight On!

A SIGN OF THE (L.A.) TIMES: THE LEBRON VS. KOBE MEDIA COMPETITION

By Tom Hoffarth
The official arrival of LeBron James in Hollywood, versus simply living in Brentwood and commuting to Cleveland, has taken on a new dynamic that we have covered in recent weeks.
Back in early July, we wondered if James would take that awful next step and remake “Space Jam,” with him in the role of Michael Jordan. But it got even a little crazier. Read more

WANTED: INDECISIVE CLIPPERS STAT-CRUNCHER NOT LOOKING FOR A COMMITMENT TO EXCELLENCE

By Tom Hoffarth

80718CP000__44596.1489697301It’s not like we want to keep checking what’s been posted in the want ads.
But when we come across something as highly unclassified as this — the Clippers are looking for an analyst — we first check our resume to see if things line up, then we  immediately over-analyze everything.
The franchise with 48 seasons to its tax credit and a 1,562-2,326 win-loss record seeks a well-respected yet historically-naive numbers person to make it competitive. Read more

THOMPSON’S TAKE: ANOTHER BLACK EYE FOR A BUCKEYE LEADER OF MEN?

According to former ESPN reporter Brett McMurphy, Ohio State head football coach Urban Meyer was not completely honest last week when asked at Big Ten Media Day about his knowledge of a 2015 report of domestic abuse between assistant coach Zach Smith and his now ex-wife. Smith remained employed by Meyer both at Florida and OSU for almost 10 years as allegations dating back to 2008 were revealed. Meyer fired Smith 10 days ago. Read more

BREAKING NEWS: ALL-SPANISH SPECTRUM DEPORTES OUT AUG. 15, ENGLISH ALL-NEWS CHANNEL IN

By Tom Hoffarth

246x0wEl Segundo-based Spectrum Deportes, the nation’s only 24/7 Spanish-language Regional Sports Network that airs Lakers and Galaxy games as a fully-distributed channel in Southern California, will shut down Aug. 15, citing research that shows a lack of viewership, a Charter Cable network spokesperson confirmed Monday.

TheDrillLA.com broke the news of this on Twitter earlier in the day Monday.

Spectrum Deportes was launched as Time Warner Deportes in October, 2012, coinciding with the arrival of Time Warner SportsNet, now known as Spectrum Sportsnet. It has been the main regional TV home for the Lakers after the team left Fox Sports West and KCAL/Channel 9.

The timing of the move may seem strange as the Lakers have made global news with the signing of LeBron James to the roster, and the Sports Business Journal recently reported that 30-second TV ads on Spectrum SportsNet would fetch $14,000 — double the previous season, or even higher if the team’s ratings exceed expectations. Read more

Q&A: Bob Costas flies national on his trip to Cooperstown as an honoree

By Tom Hoffarth

Part of Bob Costas’ experience growing up with a radio to his ear included a few years in Redondo Beach in the early 1960s — and hearing Vin Scully.
Scully received the Ford C. Frick Award from the Baseball Hall of Fame, from a vote of baseball historians and broadcasters, in 1982, with a speech for the ages.
Costas, 66, receives the award this weekend in the Cooperstown, N.Y., ceremony. He talked about it in a Q&A we did with him that appears today online with the Los Angeles Times at this link.
The San Diego Union-Tribune has also published it. Read more

The Business Drill: How MLB Network marks 30 years since Kirk Gibson’s World Series HR and Rob Reiner getting past third base

By Tom Hoffarth
Now it can be told even if we’re not sure we want to know all the details:
When Rob Reiner met Michele Singer, it was as he was making the film “When Harry Met Sally.”
On a fateful Saturday night in mid-October 1988, the Hollywood writer, director and producer invited the photographer to his home in L.A. to watch NBC’s coverage of Game 1 of the World Series, which happened to feature his David-esque Dodgers against the heavily favored Goliath Oakland A’s. Read more

HE LIVES AMONG YOU: A BLOKE SHOWS HOW TO SNEAK INTO DODGER STADIUM

The video has 1.3K likes. It should have more than about a 100 thumbs down.
This UK lad who goes by Simon Wilson seems to be bored enough that instead of buying a ticket into an otherwise non-descript Monday, May 28 Dodgers-Phillies game, he finds it more of a fun challenge to talk his way in by confusing a bunch of green-jacketed ticket-scanners at the top of the park.
Bravo. Read more

THE DODGERS JUST WANT TO ASK A FEW QUESTIONS … YOU GOT SOMETHING TO HIDE?

By Tom Hoffarth
The email dropped in among the other spam, but with this heartwarming preamble:
“The Dodgers have the best fans in sports, which is why we want to hear from you! Please take a moment to fill out this quick survey so the Dodgers and our 2018 partners can better serve you going forward. The Dodgers and our 2018 partners thank you in advance for your time and participation.”
Read more

A SIGN OF THE (L.A.) TIMES: TRYING TO GET IN-N-OUT WITH DROP-IN ADS CAN BE NUTTY

By Tom Hoffarth

Angels fans may have been going nuts listening to an inconsequential late-September game in Oakland, one that would end in a 21-3 loss. Right about the eighth inning, an Angels hitter fouled a pitch off, breaking his bat, and there was a long pause as he walked back to the dugout to find a new stick.
Wonderful.
Actually, it was. Read more

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