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

1oneThere are 576 international teams included in the FiveThirtyEight.com Global Club Soccer Rankings, positions determined by all sorts of data shoved into a software program that comes to measure something called the Soccer Power Index. It might be a bit underwhelming, then, to trumpet the fact that the LAFC has nudged itself up six spots to No. 304, while the Galaxy has dropped from 297 to 340. A far cry from Man U, Barcelona, or Bayern Munich. None of that info should factor into a discussion of the third and final version of El Trafico for this 2018 MLS season – at Carson’s StubHub Center, Friday, 7:30 p.m., ESPN. Based on the first two meetings, bizarreness seems to win out over rational computations.
The 2-2 draw back at Banc of California Stadium on July 26 was basically an LAFC loss, after it had built a 2-0 lead and saw things fall apart on the last 15 minutes of regulation. Then there’s that actual 4-3 Galaxy win back during the first meeting at StubHub Center on March 31, highlighted by Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s MLS debut and subsequent magical comeback from a 3-0 deficit. Without Ibrahimovic as well as Jonathan dos Santos, Giovani dos Santos and Romain Alessandrini – all kept back because of the pain they would endure on the artificial turf of CenturyLink Field — the Galaxy was demoralized in a 5-0 loss.  Ibrahimovic has still scored 15 goals in 16 starts for the Galaxy, who sat fifth in the Western Conference, two points behind third-place LAFC.

Continue reading “08.20.18: Five things you should plan for the week ahead based on unscientific evidence of guaranteed importance”


Play it forward: How the Saint Sebastian Sports Program has helped level the playing field for Catholic programs

SSSP marcmayeSSSP

In 2007, the group creating the mission statement for what they would call the Saint Sebastian Sports Project had some very basic questions to deal with: How can we help level the playing field for all inner-city Catholic elementary schools in LA’s archdiocese? Who needs uniforms and equipment? Playing facilities? Improved coaching?
Four schools were identified to start the process. A few thousand dollars were raised and distributed.
A decade later, many of the same organizers for the Manhattan Beach-based nonprofit have seen nearly 50 schools benefit from nearly a half-million dollars donated for ongoing sports tournaments, outreach programs and coaching clinics.
And they continue to ask: If there are 100 schools out there who could use help, what is needed next to keep playing this forward?
Here is our story as published in mid-August by Angelus News.
Logo_chart_edit2Here are some other quotes we had about SSSP from the original story that was edited for space:
From Clare Gurbach: “We’re a very ambitious group and we have done this collectively with various skill sets from each board member. And as a result, we’ve been able to grow this very quickly with a great group of volunteers.”
From Marc Maye: “This is teaching me as much as it’s teaching the kids. They’ve helped me become the best version of myself, shaping and defining my true purpose. I’m extremely grateful for them.”
From Jamal Adams: “At the Catholic Youth Organization level, we talk about developing the mind, body and soul. The mind is the academics, and the soul is the church, but the body is connected to sports, which also makes us great citizens of the world. Saint Sebastian’s has gone from humble beginnings of trying to get uniforms for kids and stipends for coaches, to all they’ve done to this point. It’s a great story.”

Media notes version 08.16.18: Clippers’ insecurities expose who drives the power-play possibilities with local media deals, so Fox Sports West/Prime Ticket has to replace Bowen

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.

bowenFox 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.

The media jumped on it with responses and analysis that seemed to sidestep one thing: Fox Sports West/Prime Ticket, which vetted and hired Bowen last summer after his run at ESPN, and paid his 2017-18 contract, ultimately are the ones to fire him, if that’s what was needed. Continue reading “Media notes version 08.16.18: Clippers’ insecurities expose who drives the power-play possibilities with local media deals, so Fox Sports West/Prime Ticket has to replace Bowen”

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

1oneThere’s a reason why the Manhattan Beach Open is referred to as the Wimbledon of Beach Volleyball. Ironically, it all has to do with the fact the event is played on grass. And there’s a concoction of strawberries and cream served at the local pizza place.
No. That’s not true at all.
The nets and the courts might be somewhat visually similar, but royalty reigns in this sports’ world at this annual iconic event, the 59th edition, starting Thursday and going until the men’s and women’s final on Sunday (one of them carried by NBC at 1:30 p.m. with former champion Chris Marlowe, Kevin Wong and Tanith White) at the south side of the MB pier.
It’s just a week after these same courts hosted the ultimate six-man event as part of the International Surf Festival, and just a short time after the drama that unfolded at the Hermosa Beach Open.
This is the sixth stop on the eight-event AVP Tour this summer. Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena are the reigning men’s champs, but that tandem came apart in Hermosa. Dalhausser, who won the AVP Austin and New York titles with Lucena earlier this season, had to team up with his coach, Jason Lochhead, at Hermosa as Lucena was injured. Will he be healthy enough to come back, at least to see his plaque put up on the Manhattan Beach pier? One more noteworthy pairing: Tri Bourne, battling an autoimmune disease that has kept him almost two years off the tour, will enter this with Trevor Crabb.
Emily Day and Brittany Hochevar outlasted 15th seed Nicole Branah and Brandie Wilkerson for the title last year on the women’s side. Again, five-time Olympian and three-time gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings isn’t playing here as her dispute/lawsuit against the AVP continues, and she marches on with a different tour that runs Sept. 28 to mid-December.
More info on the MB Open (which the website refers to it as the Super Bowl of beach volleyball even though there are the AVP championships to come after it): avp.com Continue reading “08.13.18: Five things you should plan for the week ahead based on unscientific evidence of guaranteed importance”

Media notes version 08.08.18: The LeBron James Media Empire is just ramping up before his Lakers’ courtside seat is warm


A few years before LeBron James’ decision last month to take his talents to Los Angeles and effectively gain one of those coveted courtside seats to Laker games, his not-so-subtle decision to take his family to Brentwood and immerse himself in the La La Land mystique as a burgeoning media mogul took shape.

As we discussed in today’s episode of The Drill Morning Briefing 08.08.18, the recent  acceptance of Showtime, HBO and CBS to partner up with an assist from James’ Burbank-based SpringHill Entertainment company could be the ultimate buzz of the TV Critics Association gathering in Pasadena this week. And that’s without James even showing up to do one of the mass interview sessions that tries to generate paragraphs and sound bites that start to trend on Twitter and make people curious.

The latest: Something they’ve cleverly called “Shut Up and Dribble” will debut on Showtime in October. The three-part documentary series that James will serve as one of three executive producers will look at the evolution of NBA players and “the changing role of athletes in our fraught cultural and political environment,” according to the network press release.


Hence, the title, which came from conservative-slanted talking head Laura Ingraham was dismissive of James last February as he and players from the Golden State Warriors were talking about passing on any ceremonial trip to the White House after last summer’s NBA Finals. Ingraham should be screaming for a royalties check based on this outcome, but that would only be more self serving.

Too bad she didn’t come up with “Stay In Yo’ Lane” before LaVar Ball made it into a slogan/T-shirt/media moment. Continue reading “Media notes version 08.08.18: The LeBron James Media Empire is just ramping up before his Lakers’ courtside seat is warm”

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

1oneMike Trout’s number comes up Tuesday – No. 27 turns 27. If they’re thinking of retiring those two digits for him as a birthday wish … poppycock. They’ve still got to consider that another former halo No. 27, Vlad Guerrero, was inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame last week. Plus, Trout has missed the last four games with this wrist thing, they can’t be sure what his availability will be on this day-to-day basis.
Still, let’s crunch some more numbers:
*In this, his age 26 season, Trout is on a pace to hit .309 with 43 homers, 87 RBIs, 30 doubles, 30 steals and 143 walks (vs. 140 strike outs). Mickey Mantle’s age 26 season was 60 years ago, in 1958: .304 with 42 homers, 97 RBIs, 21 doubles, 18 steals and a league-high 129 walks (vs. a league-high 120 strike outs). Mantle was coming off back-to-back AL MVP awards and was fifth in the voting in ’58.
*So to date – eight seasons-plus — Trout’s career WAR is already 61.9, which is 111th best all time in the game’s history. By the time Mantle’s eighth season was over, he had a career WAR Of 61.6. Mantle finished his 18-season career with a 110.3 career WAR, 15th all time. Trout hasn’t played enough seasons to even be considered for Baseball Hall of Fame induction.
*By the way, you know a team gets 27 outs in a baseball game, right?
Surely that’ll be all up for discussion as the Angels have a T-shirt giveaway in Trout’s honor during the middle game of a three-game set at Angel Stadium against Detroit.
The Angels this week:
Home vs. Detroit: Monday and Tuesday at 7:07 p.m., Wednesday at 1:07 p.m., Fox Sports West
Home vs. Oakland, Friday at 7:07 p.m. (a Guerrero HOF bobblehead giveaway), Saturday at 6:07 p.m., Sunday at 1:07 p.m. (Trout youth jersey giveaway). All on Fox Sports West


1twoThe Dodgers’ 9-8 record in the 17 games post-All Star Game might be something that looks slightly above average. But considering the quality of opponent, it’s better than falling below .500, and they’ve held onto a tie for first with Arizona in NL West to this point at 62-51. Two more nasty-type opponents make up the upcoming week. A two-game trip to Oakland against the 67-46 Athletics, who are in as the AL second wild-card at this point, and then four more against the 59-52 Rockies in Denver, who could come out of this series trading places in the standings, get the Dodgers attention again. Rich Hill has two scheduled starts this week – the first game in Oakland and the last game in Colorado, where his spinball may not be up to the altitude challenge. He has yet to get on the hill this year at Coors Field, but the 38-year-old Hill has a career 0-2 record in three starts there with an 8.80 ERA – 15 earned runs, 18 hits, three homer and 11 walks in 15 1/3 innings.
As for the A’s … who spend their week ahead against the Dodgers and Angels, here’s a graphic from ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball” that tells their recent story:

The Dodgers this week:
At Oakland, Tuesday and Wednesday at 7:05 p.m., SportsNet LA
At Colorado: Thursday and Friday at 5:40 p.m., Saturday at 5:10 p.m., Sunday at 12:10 p.m., SportsNet LA


1threeWhat happens to L.A. traffic when LAFC and the Galaxy go head-to-head at home on the same night at the same time? We’ll find out. At the same the when the Galaxy is at StubHub Center in Carson facing Minnesota United FC, the LAFC has its Banc of California Stadium filled for an appearance by Sporting K.C. – both on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. The Galaxy just had their 10-game unbeaten streak end with a 2-1 loss against Colorado, but perhaps Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s work on the phones to get season seat sales will manifest itself in some other way. The LAFC comes off a 2-1 loss at New York Red Bull. Before Saturday, LAFC also has a U.S. Open Cup semifinal contest in Houston against the Dynamo (Wednesday, 6 p.m.)


1fourCan you name the guys who’ve won the previous three majors in golf this season? Patrick Reed took the Masters, Brooks Koepka captured the U.S. Open and Francesco Molinari somehow was victorious at the recent British Open. Justin Thomas is the defending PGA Championship’s Wanamaker Trophy winner, and he’s given 16-to-1 odds of a repeat here – the same 16-1 that Tiger Woods has to pass up favorite Dustin Johnson (19/2), Rory McIlroy or Jordan Spieth (both 12-1). McIlroy is looking for his third career PGA Championship title while Spieth continues to seek a career grand slam. Woods, McIlroy and Thomas are paired up for the first two rounds of this 100th PGA Championship, which happens at Bellervice Country Club in Town and Country, Missouri, just west of St. Louis. Yes, back at the PGA’s Genesis Open at Riviera, it was a threesome of Woods, McIlroy and Thomas together, and McIlroy was amazed at how Woods plays with all that attention. “I swear, playing in front of all that, he gives up half a shot a day on the field,” McIlroy said at the time. “Like it’s two shots a tournament he has to give to the field because of all that that goes on around him.”  Bellerive last hosted a PGA in 1992, when Nick Price won his first major. More info: www.pga.com/events/pgachampionship
TV: TNT has the first two rounds Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. CBS (Channel 2) has the final two rounds Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.


1fiveWhen NBC covered the Baltimore-Chicago participation in the Pro Football Hall of Fame game last Thursday in Canton, Ohio, the ratings average of 4.1 and 6.77 million estimated viewers was actually more than what Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final did (3.9 rating, 6.59 million viewers). Therefore, we predict the NFL exhibition openers for the Rams (at Baltimore, Thursday at 4:30 p.m., Channel 2), Raiders (home vs. Detroit, Friday at 7:30 p.m., Channel 5) and Chargers (at Arizona, Saturday at 7 p.m., Channel 7) have a heck of a good chance to be the most-watched things in L.A. TV on those nights.


static1.squarespace.com*The return of the Premiere League Soccer season happens Friday with Manchester United-Leicester City (noon), continues Saturday at 4:30  a.m. on NBCSN with Newcastle United vs. Tottenham Hotspur, followed by Chelsea taking on Huddersfield Town at 7 a.m., and bleed over to Sunday on NBCSN with Liverpool vs. West Ham United (5:30  a.m.) and Arsenal vs. Manchester City (8 a.m.). More info: www.premierleague.com
*The West Regional final of the Little League World Series tournament – the winner advances to Williamsport, Pa. – happens in San Bernardino (Saturday, 6 p.m., ESPN). More info: www.littleleague.org/world-series/2018

Media notes version 08.02.18: On Spectrum Deportes’ departure, Alex Faust perhaps jeopardizing his career, Steve Levy at 25, and the ESPN Ocho revival

246x0wA story posted on an ESPN platform back in 2016 attempted to round up information that accurately portrayed the importance of a Spanish-language broadcast as it related to Lakers’ fans in Southern California.
Julio Manteiga, an associate director of media monitoring and Latin America communications for the NBA, said at the time the Hispanic fan attendance for Lakers games was 42 percent; the 2015 U.S. Census showed that the Hispanic population of Los Angeles County was 48.4 percent.
Today, Los Angeles has listed 4.6 million Hispanics and Latinos, or nine percent of the entire U.S. population, and47 percent of the city’s population.
However you want to slice it, the launch of an all-Spanish language sports regional network in 2012 seemed worthy of having. Hispanic outreach has always been important to the team.
Then thing change. Perhaps demographics, habits, desires on where to watch …
You open a restaurant, serve authentic fare, and hope it resonates.
The decision to drop Spectrum Deportes as of Aug. 15, per our story here,  is disappointing on many levels. Some who work there express remorse in not having the channel sufficiently publicized. Viewers had complaints about how difficult it could be to find on the TV menu. As for live events, other than the Lakers and MLS Galaxy, there wasn’t much to look forward to on a nightly basis.
That, and the fact Spectrum is trying to launch a 24/7 English-language all-news service, much like Spectrum News NY1 in New York City, makes Deportes expendable, if you go with the research.
The Lakers have had no comment yet. Team chief operating officer Tim Harris is out of the office and would be best to address it.
Also more on this from our new GameTakes app podcast.

Item 2:

If Alex Faust could become the successor to Bob Miller, would it really jeopardize his career if he pondered some flattering news that Alex Trebek endorses him as possibly the next host of “Jeopardy!” should a retirement decision come into play soon?
To our credit, we did ask that in the form of a question. But we really don’t question it.
To the credit of the 29-year-old Faust, who became the Kings’ TV play-by-play man on Fox Sports West starting with the 2017-18 season after Miller’s retirement, responded on Twitter after a TMZ interview with Trebek became public that he has been impressed with Faust’s work:

And then the Kings responded:

Faust does have a degree from Northeastern University in political science and economics, and was a data analyst at PricewaterhouseCoopers,  if that helps on the resume. Continue reading “Media notes version 08.02.18: On Spectrum Deportes’ departure, Alex Faust perhaps jeopardizing his career, Steve Levy at 25, and the ESPN Ocho revival”