Oldenburg Academy defeated Lawrenceburg 5-0.OA vs LB TennisOA beat South Dearborn 5-0.OA vs SD TennisSubmitted by OA Coach Mark Wilder.
By Bob ConeyJEFFERSON, S.D. (May 28) – David Miller was the $1,000 winner of Raceway Park’s Jim Johnson Memorial for IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stocks Sunday night.The battle for the top spot raged through the first half of the feature until Miller took control. Behind Miller, Andy Hoffman had been charging through the field from his starting spot near the back, only to come up six feet short at the finish line.Behind Miller and Hoffman, Brandon Nielson took the third spot, followed by Tony Fetterman.Arie Schouten took his second win of the year in the KCAU9 IMCA Northern SportMods, followed by Colby Langenberg, Rusty Montagne and Nelson Vollbrecht.In the Casey’s General Store IMCA Stock Car division, Jason Ward broke into victory lane for the first time this year. Greg Taylor picked up two positions during the final green, white, checkered finish to take second followed by Bo Lundquist and Tom McKenzie. read more
Press Association As a result, he will iron out any potential problems before he makes an appointment, and have a series of contingencies in place. Reports from Italy have suggested Poyet has all but got the job, but Press Association Sport understands that while the Uruguayan is currently the preferred option – bookmakers were quoting him as a 1/6 favourite on Wednesday – no concrete decision has yet been taken. As a result, development coach Kevin Ball, who threw his own hat into the ring after Tuesday night’s 2-0 Capital One Cup third-round victory over Peterborough, will continue at the helm as the Black Cats prepare for Sunday’s Barclays Premier League visit of Liverpool to the Stadium of Light. Asked how long he expected to remain in his interim role after the game, Ball said: “At this moment in time, until Sunday. “They asked me to take tonight and Sunday. If anything changes between now and Sunday for whatever reason, so be it, but at the moment, I believe it is until Sunday, and then obviously we will take things from there. “I would like to think we will talk sometime tomorrow to have a chat about how things are going. “I know it sounds a cliche, but you talk about one game at a time and I don’t think I can do anything more than that. We will just wait and see what happens.” However long his time in the limelight lasts, Ball will at least be able to reflect upon a successful start. The Texan businessman has drawn up a list of potential replacements for the 45-year-old Italian with former Brighton manager Gus Poyet having emerged as the leading candidate. However, Short, having been forced to relieve Di Canio of his duties after just 175 days and only 13 games, is determined to get it right this time around. Sunderland owner Ellis Short will do his homework before appointing Paolo Di Canio’s successor. Having been asked to wade into the mess left behind by Di Canio, the former Black Cats midfielder managed to mobilise a dressing room left shell-shocked by the excesses of the Italian’s brief reign to produce the most convincing performance of the season to date, albeit against opposition they were expected to beat comfortably. Ball handed former captain Lee Cattermole, who had been discarded by the former Swindon boss in pre-season, a central role and asked summer signing Emanuele Giaccherini to play in the hole behind lone striker Jozy Altidore. The pair combined to good effect with 32 minutes gone to give their side the lead, the Italy international firing home from the midfielder’s cross, and victory was secured 17 minutes from time when substitute Valentin Roberge headed home a second goal. Ball was particularly pleased with Cattermole’s contribution after working with the 25-year-old in pre-season following his exile to train with the under-21s. He said: “What I enjoyed most about him was seeing his professionalism and how he went about things, how he did things and how he demanded from the under-21s. “Sometimes, I have to say, it put a little smile on my face because it reminded me of when I played. “You could see some of the under-21s probably thinking, ‘He’s having a go’. But I said, ‘Listen boys, that’s what you have got to accept. He’s not having at go at you to have a go at you, he’s pushing, he’s demanding from you’. “When you saw Lee on the pitch, bearing in mind he hasn’t played 90 minutes for a long period of time, he put in a very accomplished performance, along with a fabulous ball for the goal, and he drove people on. “But that was one of many good performances.” Indeed, it was the collective effort rather than those of individuals that pleased Ball after a traumatic 48 hours on Wearside. He said: “They displayed a lot of confidence yesterday in training, they worked very hard, they were very professional and you have to give them credit.” read more
Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino is hopeful Ryan Mason will be fit. The 23-year-old midfielder has established himself in Pochettino’s side in recent weeks but was forced off during Saturday’s 2-1 win over Burnley with a twisted ankle. But Pochettino revealed the issue is not as bad as first feared and is now in contention for the game at the King Power Stadium, as is striker Emmanuel Adebayor, who has not featured since early November. After a shaky start to the campaign, Pochettino now has his side playing some good football and, with a Capital One Cup semi-final against Sheffield United and a Europa League tie against Fiorentina on the horizon, Spurs sit just four points outside the Barclays Premier League’s top four. United States international DeAndre Yedlin will link up with the squad in the new year after a deal was originally struck with his current club Seattle Sounders in August. But the 21-year-old is likely to be one for the future and, although Pochettino has been linked with a string of central defenders, he insists he would be happy if he is left with his current crop come February 1. “We have a lot of chats and have I told him all my thoughts,” Pochettino said of transfer window discussions with chairman Daniel Levy. “We have common sense, when the window opens in January we will start to decide but so far we are very happy with our squad. “I am happy, it’s not about if you sign or not. I’m happy here and I’m happy with our squad. I never put pressure (on the chairman). “We need to understand in football, when you are a head coach you need to try to explain to the chairman, sporting director, my thoughts and advice and then decide the best for the team.” Nigel Pearson knows how to pull off a great escape but the Leicester boss insists there are no quick fixes to save the Foxes. And Pearson was Bryan Robson’s assistant when the Baggies became the first team in Premier League history to survive the traditional relegation. They stayed up on the final day of the 2004-05 season with the lowest ever points total to beat the drop, 34. Now, Leicester are winless in 12 games and five points from safety and Pearson insisted they must match the Baggies’ ethic and strength to survive. He said: “You’re looking at strength of character and we made additions and key players came in then: Kieran Richardson and Kevin Campbell added to what was a really good group of people who had a common goal and worked exceptionally hard. “That’s always going to be the base line. “To win things you need those qualities, to avoid relegation you need those qualities. Ability gets you so far, strength of character too, but it’s trying to get a balance of the two. “There is a desire and a willingness to look for the answers. There are no quick fixes in life, well there might be but they don’t have enough longevity. It’s about winning the next game, as it always has been for us.” Chris Wood is a doubt, Matt Upson is expected to make his return from a foot injury in the new year while Kasper Schmeichel remains out with a broken metatarsal he suffered in training. They are bottom of the Barclays Premier League at Christmas ahead of the Boxing Day visit of Tottenham. Only two sides have ever survived being bottom on December 25 – Sunderland last season and West Brom in 2005. Press Association read more
Don Cossack faces just three opponents as he has his prep for the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup in the Ladbrokes Ireland Kinloch Brae Chase at Thurles. Elliott said: “I didn’t want to go to the Irish Hennessy, I thought it might be a bit too close (to Cheltenham) and have too a hard race, we’ll let him take his chance at Thurles, hopefully he’ll have a clear round and run a good race and that will be it for the Gold Cup. “Looking at the re-run of the King George, I don’t think he got the best run through the race, he never got into a rhythm, he was in, he was out, he was up, he was down – he never got into a rhythm. “At the time he fell I thought Ruby (Walsh) looked to be going very well (on Vautour), what happened after happened, I can’t say whether we would have won or not, but I don’t think we would have been far away as the one thing I know my horse does is he gallops to the line. “But thankfully he is OK and there’ll be plenty more days, please God.” Don Cossack has met with defeat on both his visits to Cheltenham – but Elliott does not buy into the theory Prestbury Park does not suit him. He told Racing UK: “To be fair he went to Cheltenham the first year (in the RSA) and he was jumping and travelling, he just took off too long at one of the fences and fell. “He was travelling very smoothly at the time. What would have happened that day I don’t know, but I know in the Ryanair everything went brilliantly until the last open ditch and he made a mistake, and he got sandwiched I think between the third-last and second-last fence. “I wouldn’t say he didn’t handle the track, he ran a very good race in the Ryanair to finish where he finished from what happened. Press Association “I think he’ll handle the track if we just get a bit of luck and a clear passage, the same as anywhere.” Don Cossack is currently second-favourite for the blue riband, behind last year’s runner-up Djakadam, and Elliott slightly rues the fact his charge is around in such a top-class era. “I’d loved to have been training him three or four years ago, the Gold Cup looks as hot this year as it has in a long time. But we’ve got the highest-rated horse in England and Ireland last year and I think he is a better horse come that time of the year – I don’t think he is a real mud-lover, so I hope it dries up come Cheltenham time,” said Elliott. “He doesn’t need quick ground, but the better the ground the better chance we have.” Taking him on at Thurles is Noel Meade’s Wounded Warrior, third in the RSA last March and second to Valseur Lido at Punchestown. “We have just had a few muscle problems with Wounded Warrior that have held him up,” said Meade. “He is in the Gold Cup and we will see how things go. He is a huge horse that I have always liked a lot and I am hoping he will improve. Hopefully, we can keep him right and have a good end to the season.” Robbie Hennessy’s veteran Rubi Light and Jerry Cosgrave’s Mount Colah complete the field. Gordon Elliott used the Grade Two event as his stepping stone to the Festival last year and he was just getting the better of an argument with Champagne Fever when that one came down. Don Cossack has won three Grade Ones since finishing third in the Ryanair last March but tipped up in the King George when coming to challenge and the trainer is keen to give him a confidence boost before at crack at the biggest prize in racing. read more
FIFTEEN-year-old Ralph Seenarine of the Flying Ace Cycling Club (FACC) was the lucky recipient of a spanking racing bike, compliments of former National cyclist Franco Crawford who now resides in England.The simple presentation was made on Tuesday at the New Amsterdam Town Hall. Present at the handing-over were former Mayor of New Amsterdam and Patron of FACC, Errol Alphonso, Manager of COURTS NA Branch Stanley McKenzie, FACC coach Randolph Roberts and former National female cyclist Marica Dick.Crawford’s kind gesture comes after noticing the young FACC cyclist and realising he has talent. The former National cyclist contacted Seenarine’s coach Randolph Roberts and offered to make the donation.Seenarine resides in the Corriverton area and has been riding for a two-year period representing the FACC. His pedalling expertise has so far propelled him to a position of third-best Juvenile cyclist in the country and the number one Juvenile cyclist in Berbice.In addition, Seenarine will have the opportunity to further prove his worth as he suits up to represent the Corentyne District in the 57th National Schools Championship in the cycling events which will be staged at the National Park. read more
Senior goaltender Alex Horwath will try to help the Wisconsin men\’s soccer team win three games in a row in order to reach the NCAA Tournament.[/media-credit]The Wisconsin men’s soccer team needs only three wins to qualify for a bid to the NCAA Tournament. Keeping that in mind, a win against UW-Milwaukee Thursday is essential for the Badgers even though it is a nonconference game.Although conference play is done for the Badgers, their season still rides on the outcome of their game today, since they still have a long way to go before being considered for an at large bid to the NCAA Tournament.“For the season it’s huge,” senior goalkeeper Alex Horwath said. “I mean we need to win three straight right now to have a chance for the NCAA. And then, even more important than that, we need to get some momentum going for the Big Ten Tournament because we have played everybody and, you know, nobody really scares us, but we definitely want to go in with a positive attitude.”Feeling the team is down but not out also held true for senior forward/midfielder Brandon Miller as he reiterated a sense of momentum necessary to carry the team to the NCAA Tournament.“We have been playing pretty well lately,” Miller said. “We’ve been on the down side of a couple results unfortunately, but going into the Big Ten Tournament and looking ahead a week or so, we really could use some momentum. Obviously, the game against Milwaukee is very important both for momentum and giving us help getting into the NCAA Tournament.”The team is currently tied for third in the Big Ten and has a 6-8-2 record heading into Wednesday’s game, but must have to a record of .500 or above to be eligible to receive a NCAA Tournament bid.For Horwath, one of eight seniors on the team, the Badgers don’t need any reminders about what is at stake.“I mean, I don’t really have any advice, I don’t think we need any advice,” Horwath said. “We’ve been through ups and downs, that’s what seasons are all about. There is no more motivation than ‘we need to win three games to continue our season.’ That’s the only thing that needs to be said in the locker room by the coaches or the players; that we have to win three straight games to have an opportunity to continue our season into postseason play.”The Badgers’ players emphasized not overlooking Milwaukee’s 3-11-2 record, since the Panthers are a team that will come out ready to play regardless of the scenario.The Panthers seek to capture their 200th win overall at Engelmann Field in Milwaukee.“We know it is going to be an intense environment; they always have quite a crowd there,” Miller said. “So that will be pretty interesting. That’s always pretty fun though — it gets you hyped up. I think we just need to work on imposing our game on them, and not allowing them to play and making it difficult for them to play. You know, put a couple in the net, that is the biggest thing.”Tonight’s 7 p.m. game serves as a chance for the team to prove its ability before heading into postseason play in the Big Ten Tournament.“We really don’t need to focus on them at all, we need to focus on what we do. If we come out and perform the way we can perform and to our full potential, then we should come out with a positive result,” Horwath said.In terms of tonight’s game, Horwath acknowledged he is optimistic about the team’s chances for winning the game after defeating the Panthers 4-0 last season but reiterated the need to remain focused throughout the entire game as well.“I mean we definitely have some confidence,” Horwath said. “You know we have had success against Milwaukee as a team, but they are a tough team to play against. Last year the bounces just went our way and we finished our opportunities. But they fight for 90 minutes; they are definitely going to make it tough on us and it is going to be a battle.”The Panthers boast a young group of talented defenders featuring junior Greg Rosenthal, sophomore Tony Maxey and sophomore DJ Alexander.The Badgers lagged offensively during their game Saturday, and after that disappointing 2-1 loss against Penn State, the team is now on a two-game losing streak.“Penn State is a good team,” Horwath said. “I mean I think they are one of better teams we’ve faced in the Big Ten. I think we really needed to get a goal in the first half and we had a strong advantage with the wind at our back, but you know, it didn’t work out. We had the advantage in the first half, but we couldn’t take advantage of it.”After scoring just 14 goals in 16 games, the Badgers have struggled with finishing offensively, which could be a factor against a strong defensive team in UW-Milwaukee. However, creating these scoring opportunities begins with a defensive stop, and team defense is one key coach Todd Yeagley has drawn attention to the entire season.“You know, we have to be disciplined defensively, we have to work hard, and we have to take advantage of our opportunities and put the ball in the back of net,” Horwath said.Miller pointed out the same aspect of the team’s play as the major factor it will need to hone in on to be successful for the rest of the season.“The biggest thing is defending better as a team and transitioning them into opportunities going the other way,” Miller said.This game will serve as a final measure of what level the team is playing at heading into the intense Big Ten Tournament next Wednesday. In terms of adjusting the team’s game plan at this point in the season, Horwath dismissed the possibility of shifting focus with so little time remaining in the season.“You know, coach always talks about, we improve every week,” Horwath said. “We’re improving today, we improve everyday in practice. We just have to stick with what we have been doing all year and just get a little sharper in some certain areas, but I don’t think we are really going to change the focus of our team going into the last two games.” read more
FOLLOW US WE RECOMMEND LIVE TV SUBSCRIBE TO US Last Updated: 31st October, 2019 23:57 IST Pooja Gehlot In 53kg Final Of Under-23 World Wrestling Championship Pooja Gehlot (53kg) stormed into the final to continue India’s quest for the first gold medal from the Under-23 World Wrestling Championships 2019 in Budapest COMMENT First Published: 31st October, 2019 23:57 IST WATCH US LIVE 10 months ago Shravan leads India’s campaign at U-23 World Wrestling C’ship 11 months ago Wrestling Rankings: Deepak Punia becomes World No.1 in 86 kg category 10 months ago 30-member squad for U-23 World Wrestling Championships in Hungary Pooja Gehlot (53kg) stormed into the final to continue India’s quest for the first gold medal from the Under-23 World Wrestling Championships 2019 in Budapest, Hungary on Thursday. It was a fantastic display from the youngster who got the better of 2018 Junior European Wrestling Championships gold medallist Zeynep Yetgil of Turkey 8-4 to advance to Friday’s summit showdown with Japan’s 2017 world champion Haruna Okuno. READ | Practice With Mask Worst Advt For Delhi, DDCA & BCCI: Gautam GambhirDemolishing the opponentsGehlot earlier started from the qualifying stages, where she demolished Ekaterina Verbina of Russia 8-3. In the quarter-finals, Gehlot blazed through her bout, notching up a commanding 8-0 win. Gehlot is the second Indian to make it to the final of this edition of the championships following men’s freestyle expert, Ravinder (61kg), who won silver on Wednesday. In 50kg, Jyoti’s hopes of getting a bronze were dashed when she was blanked 0-10 by Russia’s Nadezhda Sokolova. In 57kg, Pinki Rani advanced to the quarters from the qualifiers by sheer dint of a one-sided 5-0 victory over Arian Geralin Carpio of the USA. Her run came to an end in the last-eight at the hands of Hannah Fay Taylor, who edged her 2-1 in a gritty contest. READ | I Profusely Apologise To Anushka, Criticised Only Selectors: FarokhNone of the other Indians in action could win a round. While Ukraine’s Ilona Prokopevniuk was declared a 2-0 winner by fall over Reshma Mane in 62kg, Nisha exited with a 3-11 loss to Maya Gabriella Nelson of the USA in 65kg. In 72kg, Naina suffered the same fate when she was shown the door by Cuba’s Milaimys de la Caridad Marin Potrille in a 13-3 victory.READ | Rohit Sharma On BCCI Chief Sourav Ganguly: Known Dada For YearsREAD | Explosive: Anushka Sharma Smashes ‘selectors Served Tea’ Allegation Written By 11 months ago WFI writes to UWW following Bajrang Punia’s defeat, asks for review 10 months ago U-23 World C’ship: Ravinder stuns Euro champ to make the 61kg finals Suman Ray read more
Captain Brian Fox says the Premier is a better team when they focus on the task immediately in front of them.Tipp are looking to make it two wins out of two when they take on the Connacht county at Semple Stadium on Sunday afternoon.Tipp FM will bring you live coverage of Tipperary V Sligo from 1.50pm on Sunday. Our coverage is in association with Cleary Motors, Loughtagalla, Thurles and O’Donovan Marquees, Birdhill.
Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Take Dean Benson, the 47-year-old stage manager who sits in a folding chair near the Lakers’ bench, with often his main job to snag Bryant as he comes off the floor after a win for the post-game live TV interview.In his third season with the production, Benson was there at the Long Beach Pyramid when Bryant, after a workout for general manager Jerry West, sat down for one of his first local TV spots on Prime Ticket.“They’re telling me in my headset: ‘Take his hat off’,” said Benson. “I reach over, take it off, Kobe just looks up and smiles and rubs his head.”Shah, the Lakers’ lead game producer since 2003, was helping put together a preseasons special when Bryant arrived to join up with Shaquille O’Neal. For a show called “Showtime is Baq,” compiled during training camp in Hawaii, Shah said Lakers public relations VP John Black brought Bryant over, Bryant introduced himself, referred to him as “Mr. Shah,” shook his hand, said “Nice to meet you” and did an interview.“He was the kind of kid you’d want your daughter to go to the prom with,” said Shah, who grew up a Lakers fan in West L.A. and went to Cal State Northridge. “He already had a certain professionalism and knew how to deal with the media, which is something that’s very rare.”From there, Shah says he has been fascinated to watch Bryant work the media to his benefit.“The young guys today who are into social media to get their stuff out, that’s one thing. But Kobe knew how to talk to the media. He probably felt he had an ally with the home team broadcasters, which we are. He knew he could trust us. Over the years he’s been great to have on the telecasts because of the drama and excitement, but also for his access, his quotes, just everything about him.”Rusty Breslow, who crouches on the floor with a 20-pound camera on his right shoulder, has perhaps the unique perspective game in and out of Bryant’s career.Until recently, Breslow was at midcourt, opposite the scorer’s table. Lately he’s been moved to the baseline corner opposite the visiting bench. Making sure Bryant never tripped over him in the course of a game was always on Breslow’s mind.“I never wanted to be ‘that guy,’ and thank God it never happened,” he said, “but there would be times when Kobe would take a jump shot from so far out (near center court) and he’d fall back, and then make this wide turn as he ran the other way and I’d have to lift my legs and curl up and yell, ‘Kobe! No!’ to get his attention and let him know I’m there.”Doug Freeman, who directed Lakers games for years at FSW and continues do Angels and Clippers for the company, once told Breslow that he had the best camera spot for a basketball broadcast. Breslow’s job is to capture what’s called the “hero shot” – a reaction after a play, often used in a slo-mo replay.There are subtle things Breslow can capture, like Bryant winking at a fan in a courtside seat, or patting an opponent on the backside after torching him with a long shot.“Those things have been magical,” said Breslow. “He’s the kind of guy you have to watch all the time. Sometimes, I look away from the viewfinder and the lens and I catch myself just watching him. Then something happens and I go, ‘What am I doing?’”To a man, everyone on the crew remembers trying to maintain their role while also getting engulfed in the Sunday night game 10 years ago when Bryant went off for 81 points at Staples Center against Toronto.“I called someone on my cell, a normal regular seat-holder who wasn’t there, and said, ‘I think he’s going to get 60 tonight’,” said Breslow.Benson said he was talking back to Freeman in the production truck in the second half. Freeman would watch Bryant release a shot and shout, “No way!” Benson, who could see the trajectory from his seat, said he would reply: “Way!”Jerry Weinstein, who produced home games on FSW for four seasons and has directed games for TWCSN since its launch, never tires of talking about that career highlight.“As the producer, I had to be careful about doing replays because I was afraid we’d miss a crowd reaction or anything else live,” said Weinstein. “We had to let it play out, and figure out a graphic that would show his points – 65, 67, 69 – drop down out of the Fox box at the top of the screen.“It was electric in the truck, but not really crazy. We were all in the flow and trying to stay out of the way, let the action speak for itself.”The actions of Breslow, Benson and all the others who have been on this ride speak to the quality of work that viewers have seen of Bryant’s performances over the years.“I’ve been fortunate to shoot Magic (Johnson), and (Wayne) Gretzky, they’d come out of the locker room and you could see they were in the zone right away,” said Breslow, who traveled for many years with the team. “Kobe always had that.”As part of Bryant’s pregame ritual, he often fist-bumps those sitting at the scorer’s table. Benson has been part of that going back to the Lakers’ games at the Forum before the move to Staples Center in 1999.“I get my headset on and get in there for the bump,” said Benson, a graduate of Taft High in Woodland Hills. “I’m superstitious.”Now, there’s another layer added it.“We saw him for so many years in this ‘Mamba’ mode, wanting to tear the heart out of an opponent,” said Shah. “You’d even see him in the hallway and you’d step aside. But this year, he’s smiling, hugging guys .. I almost wish we got to see that kind of person earlier. But I’m not sure he would have been the same player.”Benson says it’s been interesting to see Bryant enter an arena with security guys in front of him, and a documentary camera crew behind him.“And he’s always wearing the best suit,” said Benson. “He looks like James Bond – and to me, he has been James Bond, always wanting to take the last shot.“I’m getting very melancholy these days, as we get down to four, then three more games left. I think about how fortunate I’ve been to see him play, the passage of time, back when we were both still kids and we both had more hair.“I’m spoiled. So many great interviews. There’s that lull of 10 to 20 seconds I’ll stand next to him, waiting for the live shot after a game. Just great memories.”Benson then touched his head, and his heart.“It’s all here, and here,” he said.More media notes, as well as the start of the annual review of 30 baseball books during the 30 days of April, are at www.insidesocal.com/tomhoffarthMEASURING MEDIA MOMENTUMWHAT SMOKES• TWC SportsNet has scheduled nearly some kind of Kobe Bryant special programing from now until the end of the season, involving updated interviews, greatest games, Top 10 lists and features with team photographer Andrew Bernstein. “Kobe has always been cooperative and working with us with so many demands on his time,” said Larry Meyers, the TWC Sports executive producer. “The personal experience has been nothing but positive.” Jared Stacy, the coordinating producer who has worked on the Lakers’ package since 2004, admits TWC SportsNet can do far more Bryant-related wrap-around shows as the stand-alone net for the Lakers. “We can’t take any of this time with him for granted,” said Stacy. “Sometimes you can get jaded and when you’re around it every day, but now is the time to celebrate all the good times and the championships and buzzer beaters. At the core we are all die-hard Lakers fans and these are dream jobs for us. The fans always come first.”WHAT CHOKES• You really didn’t expect the Dodgers’ SportsNet L.A. thing to be resolved by Opening Day 2016, did you? Then you aren’t disappointed. No matter what is leaked out as the “sweetest” deal TWC is trying use to lure AT&T/DirecTV into ending this stalemate that started long before the 2014 season — and you may hear reports trickling out still– it continues to feel as if it will take a monumental shift in philosophy (and ego) from competing dish and cable companies to snuggle up to any SNLA agreement that doesn’t involve them having to explain a jump in their customer’s monthly bills. The Dodgers’ opener Monday at 4 p.m. in San Diego has both ESPN (Dan Shulman, Aaron Boone, Jessica Mendoza and Buster Olney) and SNLA (Vin Scully says he’ll be there).Meanwhile, both ESPN2 (Karl Ravech, Dallas Braden, Tim Kurkjian and uster Olney) and FSW (Victor Rojas, Mark Gubicza) have the Angels’ opener against the visiting Chicago Cubs on Monday at 7 p.m. And, yes, Olney at both the games is the plan. Mark Shah and Antony Hurd are on the record claiming to have defeated the future Basketball Hall of Famer.“He was so competitive, but you could tell maybe it was the first time he had really played,” said Shah, the Time Warner Cable SportsNet producer on Lakers’ games. “He’d play again and again, trying to figure out how to get better. He wanted to master this thing. We knew he was always competitive, but he was also motivating everyone else. It was a side of him we didn’t always get to see.”“I have a picture of me playing against him,” said Hurd, the TWCSN audio booth veteran. “And I did beat him. Maybe you can’t print that.”Whether it’s a fortunate moment spent with Bryant in an elevator or restaurant on the road, or working during historic games played out in front of them, those who have found their careers behind the scenes on the Lakers’ TV crew parallel Bryant’s 20-year run start are sharing their memories more these days before it winds down to the April 13 regular-season finale. Several did, in fact, prior to Wednesday’s Lakers-Miami Heat game.The TWC SportsNet partnership with the Lakers started in 2012, but well before that, there has been a core of producers, directors, cameramen and other production associates, going back to the original Prime Ticket, all the incarnations of Fox Sports West and KCAL-Channel 9. Some can recall vividly Bryant’s arrival in 1996 as a 17-year-old in his first training camp. There was that time a few years ago, at the Townsend Hotel near Detroit, when Kobe Bryant rallied everyone together for a Thanksgiving Day meal.All the TV guys included.The Lakers’ star wasn’t happy that the team decided against organizing a holiday party in the middle of a long road trip. This was an annual ritual, a time to be together, have a meal, hang out, and watch NFL games.This time, Bryant even kicked it up a notch by bringing some ping-pong tables into the ballroom. Then he started a tournament. read more