Tag Archives: Featured

A sign of the (L.A.) Times: Fore more years of Trump? Rick Reilly would be lying if he said he wanted that, for golf’s sake

By Tom Hoffarth

Rick Reilly’s course of action isn’t to cheat the audience.
The former L.A. Times, Sports Illustrated and ESPN writer sized up the room of about 30 bunched into the center of an independent book store in Manhattan Beach the other night and declared: As a golfer, your president is all about unplayable lies.
“If he’s making America great, he’s made golf gross,” Reilly exclaimed.
It’s all there on the cover of the book Reilly is promoting — “Commander In Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump” (Hachette Books, $28, 244 pages), hacking its way up all sorts of bestseller lists.
Drawing upon his journalistic DNA, Reilly dedicated this book to “the truth … it’s still a thing.” In his acknowledgements, he thanks “every reporter out there who keeps pursuing the truth head-first into the worst hurricane of lies, insults and Constitution-trampling I’ve ever seen in my 40 years in the business. You inspire me.”
More at the L.A. Times website linked here.

Also: 
= Excerpts from the book in Esquire magazine.
= Reilly’s piece about the book for The Atlantic
= Reilly on CNN via RealClearPolitics.com

Up in smoke: The dos, don’ts and more doobie etiquette on #420Day (pay attention kids)

By Steve Lowery

You do your best as your parent. You try to keep your kids safe and smart… and then they grow up and pay you back by laughing at your laughable attempts at smoking a joint when all you were trying to do is get into their world. Oh, the kids and their weeds.

Fortunately, I had access to the wonderful Mskindness Ramirez, a cannabis advocate and educator, who’s made a name and reputation by talking about the subject and substance without “demonizing or glamorizing.”

I sat down with her, and my daughter Madison, and she showed us how to roll, safely light and efficiently smoke a joint. We also found out that she thinks Nickelback is just horrible, so you know she’s all right.

Watch the exclusive video at LBPost.com.

Need a sports angle to this fine Saturday? Mike Tyson is lit:

Read into this: 30 baseball book reviews in the 30 days of April, ’19 comes with some revisionist history

By Tom Hoffarth
First off, behold a shelf of baseball books above from the magnificent Austin Public Library, on Cesar Chavez Blvd., right along the Colorado River in Austin, Tex.
1280px-Austin_public_library_opened_October_28_2017We were there on business recently and did the tour of this famed book depository to see what it had stocked. Aside from the architectural beauty of it, there was a beauty of a baseball book collection on the sixth floor (learn your Dewey Decimal system, folks … or at least Google it).
Seriously, as cool as Austin is, the library is one of its best secrets.
So …
What’s old is often new in baseball’s annual rite of literary passage each spring. It’s never shy of more rewrites.
To get a clear read on why book publishers put on their straw hat and usher back Major League Baseball with dozens of new titles, note that all sorts of revisionist history, personality-driven essays or bios that exhume new previously untold info resonate best with those who’ve endured a long, cold winter. Same with anything that takes good-natured digs to keep America’s Pastime part of the pop culture conversation.

NEW.Thompson.books

Our weekly L.A. Times sports media column starts off April 1 without trying to fool anyone: We’ve got some quick-hit reviews on more than a half-dozen new baseball books out this spring (and coming up).

During the entire month of April on FartherOffTheWall.com, we revive our annual baseball book review, one a day, and will update this post with the growing list.

Check out our entrance velocity:
* April 1: “Great American Baseball Stories,” edited by Jeff Silverman; “The Great American Sports Page: A Century of Classic Columns from Ring Lardner to Sally Jenkins,” edited by John Schulian, and “No Place I Would Rather Be: Roger Angell and a Life in Baseball Writing,” by Joe Bonomo
81H2vsGIA+L* April 2: “Game Faces: Early Baseball Cards from Library of Congress” by Peter Devereaux and “Baseball Card Vandals: Over 200 Decent Jokes on Worthless Cards!” by brothers Beau and Bryan Abbott of
* April 3: “Now Taking The Field: Baseball’s All Time Dream Teams for All 30 Franchises,” by Tom Stone.
* April 4: “Shohei Ohtani: The Amazing Story of Baseball’s Two-Way Japanese Superstar, by Jay Paris
* April 5: “Here’s the Pitch: The Amazing, True, New, and Improved Story of Baseball and Advertising,” by Roberta J. Newman
* April 6: “Mrs. Morhard and The Boys: One Mother’s Vision … The First Boys’ Baseball League … A Nation Inspired,” by Ruth Hansford Morhard
* April 7:  “Scouting And Scoring: How We Know What We Know About Baseball,” by Christopher J. Phillips
71iNKCsPGeL* April 8: “They Bled Blue: Fernandomania, Strike-Season Mayhem, and the Weirdest Championship Baseball Had Ever Seen: The 1981 Los Angeles Dodgers,” by Jason Turnbow (you’ll have to wait until June)
* April 9: “108 Stitches: Loose Threads, Ripping Yarns, and the Darndest Characters from My Time in the Game,” by Ron Darling, with Daniel Paisner
* April 10: “K: A History of Baseball in Ten Pitches,” by Tyler Kepner
* April 11: “Pastime Lost: The Humble, Original and Now Completely Forgotten Game of English Baseball,” by David Block
* April 12: “Strike Four: The Evolution of Baseball” by Richard Hershberger
* April 13: “Unwritten: Bat Flips, the Fun Police and Baseball’s New Future,” by Danny Knobler
* April 14: “Let’s Play Two: The Legend of Mr. Cub, the Life of Ernie Banks” by Ron Rapoport  and “Let’s Play Two: The Life and Times of Ernie Banks” by Doug Wilson
* April 15: “Reclaiming 42: Public Memory and the Reframing of Jackie Robinson’s Radical Legacy” by David Naze

A break to do some TV work:

* April 16: “The Untold Story: Fidel Castro and Baseball” by Peter C. Bjarkman and “Last Seasons in Havana: The Castro Revolution and the End of Professional Baseball in Cuba” by Cesar Brioso
91N0IF5NGPL* April 17: “The Game of Eating Smart: Nourishing Recipes for Peak Performance Inspired by MLB Superstars” by Julia Loria and Allen Campbell
* April 18: “Edgar: An Autobiography” by Edgar Martinez, with Larry Stone
* April 19: “Baseball Epic: Famous and Forgotten Lives of the Dead Ball Era” with words and pictures by Jason Novak
* April 20: “They Played The Game: Memories from 47 Major Leaguers” by Norman L. Macht
* April 21: “Inside the Empire: The True Power Behind the New York Yankees” by Bob Klapish and Paul Solotaroff (along with “Chumps to Champs: How the Worst Teams in Yankees History Led to the ‘90s Dynasty,” by Bill Pennington; “Almost Yankees: The Summer of ’81 and the Greatest Baseball Team You’ve Never Heard Of,” by J. David Herman; “Mantle: The Best There Ever Was,” by Tony Castro; “My Dad, Yogi: A Memoir of Family and Baseball by Dale Berra; and “Doc, Donnie, the Kid, and Billy Brawl: How the 1985 Mets and Yankees Fought for New York’s Baseball Soul” by Chris Donnelly
91TCtdnavnL* April 22: “Ten Innings at Wrigley: The Wildest Ballgame Ever, with Baseball on the Brink” by Kevin Cook

The 2019 Best and Worst of the L.A. Sports Media: It’s ugly head has been reared

best.worst.thompson

Illustration by Jim Thompson/@jimmysporttunes

By Tom Hoffarth
There was a good 20-year run when we presented the “Best and Worst of the L.A. Sports Media” rankings, at several Southern California media publications, during the 1990s and 2000s. It likely reached it shark-jump moment/let’s give it a breather decision at least five years ago. I could look it all up, but there’s no need to be specific.
Specifically, there has been enough changes – additions and subtractions, with teams and broadcasters and media outlets – to revive it.
Who do you believe the top play-by-play person is in Los Angeles? The worst game analyst? The most effective studio host/sideline reporter? Does anyone watch local TV sports updates any more to have an opinion? And, what often draws the most attention because it leads to immediate debate, what’s left to listen to on local sports talk radio, aside from some national shows that seem to make up half the programming wheels?
We’ve collected input from readers, insiders, and the voices themselves, and come up with this — a lists that continues to a work in progress. The lists were posted last week, one each day, but here is the album of the greatest hits, along with new artwork from Jim Thompson:
* The Sports Talk Radio Hosts: No. 1 – Petros Papadakis
* The Local TV Anchors/Reporters: No. 1 — Curt Sandoval
* The Team-Related Cable TV Anchors/Reporters: No. 1 — Patrick O’Neal
* The Play-by-Play Voices: No. 1 — Brian Sieman
* The Game Analysts:  No. 1 — Jim Fox
Go ahead and post your comments … paying particular attention to those who bottomed out and the reasons why. Thanks to those who have made comments already.

Angels, Moreno bring Long Beach in play again … and this time, it has merit

By Steve Lowery

The Long Beach Post has an exclusive piece posted about the possibility of the Angels pulling out of Anaheim and relocating to the Long Beach downtown waterfront, possibly as soon as 2021.
“We are in the early stages of our due diligence and are exploring a variety of options for this property,” Mayor Robert Garcia confirmed in a statement Monday evening. “We have approached the Angels to express our interest and discuss the possibilities of this opportunity.”
The Angels declined to respond.
There are certainly a lot of reasons to believe an Angels move will never happen.  Long Beach has often been used not only by teams but all manner of other entities—Disney, Tesla—in attempts to get better deals elsewhere.
But there is one big reason to believe this time will be different. The decision as to whether the team relocates will be made by one person: Arte Moreno. And what we know of the Angels owner—though not nearly as much as we know about owners who are more comfortable chasing the spotlight—suggests some good things for Long Beach.
Read more at this LBPost.com link …

 

HBO “REAL SPORTS” AT 25: A SIGN OF THE (L.A.) TIMES THAT HOPEFULLY STAYS REAL FOR ANOTHER 25

By Tom Hoffarth
Bryant Gumbel
has banked enough professional equity and personal knowledge about the TV business to acknowledge that, even with the smallest trace of humor, he hesitates drawing any attention to the fact HBO’s “Real Sports” has already started its 25th season.
“The reality is HBO is considered a cutting-edge network,” said the “Real Sports” host and lead reporter as he drove to the premium channel’s New York studios Saturday morning to do voice-over work on a piece about two extreme athletes racing across Antarctica that will be part of Tuesday’s Episode No. 263.
“But there is a part of me that, I might want us to slip under the radar because someone might turn around and say, ‘Wait a minute, you’re not what we do now.’”
If HBO ever pulled the plug on this, there would be some investigative reporting done by someone to find out why. Let’s not even go there.
The weekly L.A. Times sports media piece has posted.
Here is a video clip of Tuesday’s episode Gumbel did with two extreme athletes who raced across Antarctica recently. Because they wanted to?

“It’s heartening, though worrisome, to see the some of the things people will do in the name of sports or competition,” Gumbel said. “These two guys, what they went through I wouldn’t put my worst enemy through. Truly. The idea trying to cross a continent on foot dragging everything you need for two months in 60- below weather, in howling winds, is just something that I can’t even imagine it. Yet these two independently decided to do it at the same time. What they went through is incredible.”

We also have some outtake Q&A responses worthy passing on:

Gumbel.Interview

Q: Are there typical timelines for stories you have done in the past? How did this one with the Antarctica racers compare to some others?
Gumbel:
“I’ve had some things we worked on a year in advance, and others we basically did it the week of. It varies not only in terms of when the event happens and when they are available but when the story is ready and when it fits with our total lineup for that month.
“For this story, the one thing I didn’t realize — Antarctica has a summer that lasts only from November 3 to January 10, in that range. The rest of the time it is pitch black. So for their brief summer, it’s around-the-clock daylight, and the only opportunity to attempt something like this. They independently decided to do it this time, this year. One was trying to get into a record book, the other was trying to memorialize a friend who died attempting the same feat.
“I can’t imagine the isolation one feels in an environment like that. Not only the conditions are inclement but there’s nothing in sight. No perspective. You can’t see the tree on the horizon that you can get to tomorrow, or get to that mountain next week. It’s endless nothing. Not a branch or bush or insect or a plant. Nothing.”

HBO.Gumbel.OBrady

Q: Do you feel any sort of brotherhood with ESPN doing an “E:60” or “Outside The Lines” doing what they do? And can you appreciate more and more the fact you aren’t under the restrictions of a CBS, NBC or CBS as far as having more autonomy with your resources?
Gumbel: “I never look to the others. I just worry about our shop and our product. I’m happy our product is unique. We don’t, for example, use any music in our storytelling. We’re not trying to influence the viewer unnecessarily. We’re just telling the story with a serious bent and look at the sociological issues that are to often a forgotten part of sports. The job we do is different and unique.
“I give a lot credit to the folks at HBO. They have been kind and generous to me from the start when we conceptualized this and what we wanted to do. They never said: Don’t do this or don’t say this. There are probably some things that have cause them some consternation. Nobody has ever once said to back off something.”
Q: Such as the commentaries you have at the end of each show. Some you did years ago still resonate.
Gumbel: “In this climate they’re increasing difficult. As a monthly show, you have to be able to say something that won’t be dated by the time it airs and won’t make you look like a fool five days down the road. For example, as we sit here today, the two main stories in sports involve Robert Kraft and Zion Willamson. I can’t really say anything about them because I can’t see the future. Three days form now, Bob may say ‘I’ll fight this in court,’ or he could say, ‘I’m guilty and apologize.’ I have no idea and I’m not judging it. I’m saying unless you can see the future you can’t do a subject like that because it’ll be dated. So you wind up looking for things aren’t being said or need to be said. In such a crowded field it becomes increasingly difficult.”
Q: You don’t have the 24 hour news cycle as you record the show a day before it airs, and then it is repeated.
Gumbel: “The others have the platform or immediacy. If you say something Tuesday and it’s wrong you come back Wednesday and say something else. Or correct it. I don’t have that liberty.”

Q: You have done plenty of L.A.-centric stories over the years. The one last year with Rams head coach Sean McVay had you amazed about his photographic memory.
Gumbel: “He was such an unusual guy  — he would say is was so singularity focused. I feel bad he didn’t have his best day three weeks ago (in the Rams’ Super Bowl loss to New England). Still, I will forever blame him —  I had to sit in a hotel room in London to watch that (Super Bowl) at 3:40 in the morning and I had a plane to catch at 7 a.m. It wasn’t my favorite moment. He’s a good man and I liked him very much and willing to be different and try things.”

Also: A story the L.A. Times’ Steven Battaligo did with Gumbel on the topic of “Real Sports” in 2017.

 

The vodcast: Pearlman, Dufresne, Vanderpool, the USFL … preposterous fun, ready on two …

What if we told you there was a pro football league that existed more than 30 years ago, contrived as a complimentary spring exercise to the NFL’s fall season, but then one owner in particular based in New York couldn’t help himself, drove it off the cliff at the expense of his supposed business partners, and later would be doing the same things in the White House.
Egads.
We could also tell you this particular story was already an ESPN original “30 For 30” doc  called “Small Potatoes: Who Killed the USFL.”
51cgUKUBGuLNevertheless, we booked Jeff Pearlman on  TheDrillLA.com vodcast based on his book: “Football For A Buck: The Crazy Rise and Crazier Demise of the USFL.”
Crazy, sure. It’s been
 discussed on shows as diverse as NPR to ESPN’s “Outside The Lines”.  From NESN to the Peter King podcast ...
From FS1’s Colin Cowherd to DirecTV Audience Network show host Rick Eisen. Plus, it has been featured in Forbes and The Christian Science Monitor, and The Associated Press Sports podcast.
We have a different spin.
A true spiral.
One inspired by a left-handed Mormon who made the Los Angeles Express something we still look fondly back on.
The Southern California-based Pearlman, the former Sports Illustrated writer now working for The Athletic who did the incredible Lakers’ book “Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s in 2014, carves out some time here to spend with us.
More context: Chris Dufresne of TMG Media Sports.com, which focuses on college football coverage, was the Los Angeles Times beat writer for the L.A. Express starting with their 1982 birth up until the final courtroom drama that ended with a jury agreeing that the NFL did in fact monopolize pro football, but the USFL was owed just one dollar in damages.
Add to this: Tom Hoffarth covered the Express for several years as well for the South Bay Daily Breeze.
And … Steve Lowery and Steve Vanderpool were part of the Express public relations team and knew all the ins and outs of what went on in the offices.
They got the band back together.
Here is an hour of discussion that Pearlman said in a parting Twitter DM that “was preposterously fun” to do … hope he has the same feeling after watching it here (and where in the world is Bob Rose these days?):

In 2013, Pearlman prepped us by writing this for Sports Illustrated.
And here’s more on Pearlman’s website linked here.
And an excerpt here on Bleacher Report.

« Older Entries