By Tom Hoffarth
If only this was a simple Hollywood relationship that occasionally had its dramatic ups-and-downs based on insecurities, jealousy and side-ways assumptions.
But when you’ve got the Clippers involved as a partner and you can’t moonwalk quick enough when they drag you onto the dance floor, you aren’t realistically prepared for what can come next.
Fox Sports West/Prime Ticket still has not responded to reports that surfaced Monday in that its NBA broadcast partner, so unhappy with Bruce Bowen as the team’s game analyst after just one season, “withheld approval” of a contract extension based on critical things he said in a late-June Siriux XM radio interview about former San Antonio teammate Kawhi Leonard. The Clippers contended that Bowen’s comments could compromise the team’s possible signing of him as a free agent next summer.
The quoted words appeared in a story first reported by the ever-reliable ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. But that story quickly morphed into a narrative that became: The Clippers had fired Bowen.
But could they?
Bowen has since confirmed the report … read more about it here at FartherOffTheWall.com.
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.
A media notebook posted last week took note of all the new media ventures that James has launched with Showtime, HBO, CBS, Netflix, etc., making him a true Tinseltown titan.
We discussed it further on an Aug. 8 episode of TheDrillLA Morning Briefing, where Steve Lowery deftly pointed out that James’ out-reaching projects contrast interestingly to Kobe Bryant’s inner-facing pursuits as far as what he wants to put out there in his media empire.
After talking this through with Dr. Dan Durbin, the director of the USC Annenberg Institute of Sports, Media and Society, we felt we had enough to get a piece in about this in Tuesday’s Los Angeles Times. We even went onto the Petros And Money Show on KLAC-AM (570) on Tuesday afternoon to discuss it more.
Here you go …
You probably know the story by now: Four Dodgers losses in a row, all four a result of a bullpen member imploding upon entering a game with the final score in the balance. And four different men have gone on this mission, only to fail. It has come about because All-Star closer Kenley Jansen is having a relapse of a heart irregular beat issue, brought on by the thin air in Denver last weekend. He’s on the DL with a four-to-six week waiting period before returning.
So what do the Dodgers do in the meantime? Implode?
Jim Thompson drew this one up Tuesday AM as a reflection of what could come for Dodgers starters who can’t make it past the fourth inning. Monday night, Clayton Kershaw went eight full innings, giving up four hits with one run and nine Ks. Could he have saved himself in a 2-1 game? Perhaps, but the pitchcount said otherwise, and he came out, replaced by Scott Alexander … and the rest is an historical meltdown.
“From the Baez to Alexander to whomever, the relief pen is a case of dynamite. It’s not a matter of it, but when…” Thompson writes on www.thompsonsportsart.com as he describes what brought on this illustration:
The small irony to Monday’s loss, perhaps, is that Pedro Baez was brought in to get the final out of the top of the ninth inning against the Giants.
And he succeeded. Usually, it ends up like this previous Thompson illustration of what a Baez bobblehead promotion could someday look like:
“I (try to) stay clear of the online outrage mob – too depressing,” Jim Thompson writes on his website www.thompsonsportsart.com as he posts this piece. “But when the Insulter in Chief tweets out a midnight insult missive at a sports mega-star who just bankrolled a school for disadvantaged kids, the timing could not be more rotten.
“I won’t punch my monitor or scream at the sky when he tweets garbage. I do wonder when this president will stop acting like a potty-mouthed 4th grader, and cease stepping on rakes at midnight and, maybe, maybe act like LeBron James?”
On our Morning Briefing podcast of TheDrillLA.com, Tom and Steve also talk about the best way to react to this — as LeBron James is now an L.A. guy, right? Do we defend him? Do we follow his lead?
Some of those who responded on Twitter:
* Golden State star Stephen Curry: “Keep doing you @KingJames!”
* Basketball Hall of Famer Bill Russell: “Helping kids & their families work towards a better life. All done with his own $$, for anyone to criticize that is shameful & lacks compassion.”
* Tennis Hall of Famer Billie Jean King: “Athlete activism can affect positive change and should be celebrated, not derided. Thank you, @KingJames.”
We said the best way is probably follow what some are doing: Make a $23 donation to the LeBron James Family Foundation in honor of the work it is doing.
Or make it $45.
Here’s Thompson’s posterized response:
By Tom Hoffarth
It’s not like we want to check out the wants 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.
Not an analyst, in the Bruce Bowen/TV sense. But an analytics person. A number cruncher who can dig through data and find golden nuggets that the Denver Nuggets aren’t using.
Yet even those of us digitally challenged can see how this endeavor could go underwater quickly.
Originally, this was posted on EntertainmentCareers.net last week with a deceiving job title. It has sense been removed. We decided to drag it back onshore.
The Spanish word is known as “duende.”
“It’s the moment a piece of art connects to your soul, with emotion or a response,” says S. Preston. “There’s no English word for it. But it’s fun to see it happen.”
His baseball minimalist artwork, available at his Anaheim studio as well as his website — www.sprestondesigns.com — is where things happen.
We have a profile of S. Preston at the Los Angeles Times, and in it, some loyal customers talk about what his art has meant to them.
Kari Steele, a USC graduate in Phoenix working as local ABC digital sports reporter, said the art “evokes a nostalgic response for baseball fans like myself. … I love his work so much I want to decorate my future kids’ rooms with it.”
Julie Alexandria, a former Fox Sports regional network reporter for the Mets, Nationals and Padres — see the video below — said buying the Angels’ Big A halo piece as a gift for her brother seemed to give him an edge in the girlfriend vetting process.
“He put it up on the wall in his apartment and he said he knew if a girl came over and pointed it out – realizing it was the Big A and not just some red mountain peak – then she was a true fan,” Alexandria said.
In Southern California, pieces focused on Dodger Stadium and Angel Stadium are complimented by ones on the L.A. Coliseum and Rose Bowl, which are included in NFL and college football stadium series. He also has an Ebbets Field drawing from his 30 “heritage” ballparks collection.
While S. Preston rarely draws characters, he did so for nearby Fullerton resident Tommy Lasorda, recreating the incident some 30 years ago where the former Dodgers’ manager walloped the Phillie Phanatic mascot in Philadelphia. Lasorda was so impressed to get the original as a gift, he signed 20 copies of it that continue to sell at the gallery.
“I think he appreciated the fact that I drew him pretty thin,” said S. Preston.
A tribute to retired Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully with an old-style microphone on field of blue is also a popular 14×20 print.
His most popular piece lately? He capitalized on the Washington Capitals’ championship, showing a Stanley Cup reflecting in the water off the Washington Monument.
The Drill 07.09.18: There is never enough LeBron James’ business to sift through on the day he officially signs his Lakers contract.
Steve Lowery, Tom Hoffarth, Jon McKelvy and interns Elizabeth and Nicole — where is Smeads again? — start with:
* The LeBron mural vandalized in Venice
* A breakdown on how we heard about the LeBron decision
* If LeBron should remake “Space Jam” in his own image
We then divert to some obscure sports that somehow make their way to TV this time of year, based on Jon’s sighting of a SpikeBall event on ESPN2 (not “SlamBall” as Tom decided to slam it):
We’ve also got a heads up on:
* Where are the U.S. soccer trolls?
* A new MLB Network documentary coming up Sunday (July 15) called “Only in Hollywood” about the 1988 Dodgers season
* How Fox’s John Smoltz has decided to take up the cause for how baseball needs to move forward and become more entertaining again
* An explanation of what it means in L.A. to be “Steinered,”
* In our first “Two Minute Drill” finale, Steve has his essay about the problems we have in sports when it comes to listing someone’s height.
Long story short, it’s longer than two minutes, but worthy of your listen (adapted from this piece posted on the website).
Here we go:
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