Monthly Archives: July 2019

07.15.19: Five things to plan for the week ahead based on unscientific evidence of guaranteed importance

The 148th version of The Open golf tournament, from Northern Ireland for the first time since 1951 in the seaside town of Portrush, puts the magnificent scenery in the sunlight more than anything else. All other 146 versions of this event have been in England or Scotland, so it’s far overdue. Defending champ Francesco Molinari won at Carnoustie in Scotland a year ago, but Northern Ireland native Rory McIlroy will be the real looker, having set the record at the Portrush Royal Golf Club with a round of 61 in 2005, when he was 16. The course has been rerouted a bit since then. Graeme McDowell is another countryman proud to be here, getting an entry because he won the RBC Canadian Open recently. Tiger Woods has three Open championships among his 15 majors.
This things actually starts Wednesday night at 10:30 p.m. on Golf Channel, then the final two rounds are on at 4 a.m. on Channel 4. It’s worth waking up for.
The rest of this week also involves El Trafico-Galaxy/LAFC meeting up in Carson on Friday, the Dodgers finishing four in Philly before coming home, the reset of racing at Del Mar for the rest of the summer, and Fox asking for $74.95 to see Manny Pacquaio, age 40, fight.
It’s at this link … 

 

A sign of the (L.A.) Times: An appreciation of Jim Bouton, smokin’ ’em inside decade after decade

By Tom Hoffarth
The passing of Jim Bouton last week at age 80 was pause to reflect on his career not so much as a major-league pitcher, but for what he delivered to journalism in the form of “Ball Four: My Life and Hard Times Throwing the Knuckleball in the Big Leagues.”
IMG_6791We are thankful we have a place to express our own reflections and cherished personal encounters in this week’s Los Angeles Times media piece.
We’ve done pieces on Bouton in the past, and enjoyed every moment, from paragraph to end quote.
A 2003 piece on his book, “Foul Ball,” gave us a chance to even challenge our own bosses at the time. We are thankful he posted it on his own official website.
In 2010, we caught up with Bouton in Burbank, for another treat, also with old friend Greg Goossen, Bouton’s former Seattle Pilots teammate who became a memorable character in “Ball Four.”
In 2017, we wrote about how the notes and recordings Bouton did for “Ball Four” were up for public auction. The collection never met the required minimum, and never sold. Which is fine, since it found its way to the Library of Congress, although money from that sale could have helped with Bouton’s medical expenses.

We even kind of remember, for all the lines that “Ball Four” provided, a rather appropo line given to Bouton when he decided to give Hollywood a try and was given the role off Terry Lennox in the 1973 Robert Altman film “The Long Goodbye,” which starring Elliott Gould as Philip Marlowe in the definitive portrayal of shallow L.A. evil based on the Raymond Chandler novel.
At one point, Bouton’s character as asked by Marlowe if he could recall the three DiMaggio brothers.
“Vince, Dom and, uh … Joe?” Lennox says.
With Bouton knowing full well that he had just smoked Joe DiMaggio inside with that act of reverence to the Yankee Clipper.

Upon Bouton’s passing, author Jane Leavy tweeted out:

Mark Armour, author and new president of Society of American Baseball Researchers (SABR), who engineered a biographic piece on Bouton for the group, added this:

Armour’s SABR.org bio on Bouton is linked here.
A complete Retrosheet.org list of Bouton’s game by game career is at this link.
Reflections on Bouton’s life and times are also available by John Feinstein for the Washington Post, Tyler Kempner for the New York Times and Jay Jaffe for FanGraphs.com.
Sunday AM came a sweet remembrance collection as well from Wendy Parker at SportsBiblio.
If you feel like re-reading “Ball Four” for a fourth or fifth or 20th time this summer, it would be fitting. Do it while pounding a Budweiser, for shitfuck’s sake.

A sign of the (L.A.) Times: When a Women’s World Cup starts the wave for Copa America and Gold Cup pitch-perfect-palooza

By Tom Hoffarth
Kick this idea around: Find a 15-hour time frame on a scorching summer Sunday when we can connect the final plot lines of three major soccer tournaments, on three different continents, and create a pitch-perfect-palooza viewing party.
It also happens to fall on America’s Fourth of July extended weekend.
Where do the TV networks sign up?

wwc liberty

From Jim Thompson/@jimmysporttoons

Fox led the charge, partnering with the FIFA Women’s World Cup from France that launched in the morning for U.S. viewers. Then it circled back for an evening affair with the CONCACAF Gold Cup. If as much by wishful thinking as by design, it had both the U.S. women’s and men’s national teams on center stage in each of those merriments.
Wedged between, a Copa America title bout that boasts the best of South America, something ESPN+ could frame as pay wall-worthy if one wasn’t inclined to listen to Andres Cantor call it aloud for Telemundo’s Spanish-language viewers.
Not everyone, of course, shared the amicable spirit of this cable-ready mash-up.
But it worked. The U.S. women won. The U.S. men didn’t, but a 1-0 loss to Mexico wasn’t unwatchable.
We write more about that triple combo situation and the viewership that came with it in this week’s Los Angeles Times media piece linked here posted Sunday.
Bonus coverage: As far as how many watched, and how the Gold Cup added to the mix, here’s more from another Los Angeles Times media piece posted Monday.

A sign of the (L.A.) Times: Bob Ley retires … what now, ESPN?

Bob Ley was the one guy we envisioned during his 40-year run at ESPN who didn’t “have all the fun,” like the book title said.

While self-inflicted, self-centered chaos broke out around him, he was the one who had to ask those around his cubical to please hold it down because he couldn’t hear his phone conversation with Arthur Ashe.

Oral histories of the self-proclaimed Worldwide Leader in Sports have documented a cacophonous collection of egos and attention seekers, crossing lines of decorum. In more recent times, ESPN has devolved into SportsCenter personalities unable to get out of their own way in Twitter feuds with the sitting U.S. president.

Ley was known as the General for the leeway he had in navigating through the corporate business relationship landmines, reinforcing that his way was most often the right way.

Here is our Los Angeles Times part essay/part exit interview with the 64-year-old who retired from ESPN last week, from an “Outside The Lines” show that included his name in the title, and what’s in the future for it all.