ESPN SERIES GOES DEEP INTO THE PAST; REVIVES HOME RUN DERBY.
Byline: Tom Hoffarth The Media
It's the middle of February in Las Vegas Las Vegas (läs vā`gəs), city (1990 pop. 258,295), seat of Clark co., S Nev.; inc. 1911. It is the largest city in Nevada and the center of one of the fastest-growing urban areas in the United States. , so the brisk wind whipping out and the smell of rain in the air might mean snow isn't far away. Even so, more than 8,500 folks who paid $15 a ticket are packed into Triple-A ballpark Cashman Field Cashman Field is a stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada owned and operated by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. Its primary use is for baseball, and is the home field of the Las Vegas 51s minor league (AAA affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers) baseball team. just to see a bunch of guys A Bunch of Guys (BOGs), or Group of Guys (GOGs) are terms used by counter-terrorism officials to refer to small, self-organizing terrorist cells. BOGs typically have little to no contact with global terrorist groups like al Qaeda, so they independently plan and smack the bejesus be·je·sus
Used as an intensive: The bear scared the bejesus out of us.
[Alteration of by Jesus.] out of batting-practice baseballs in a made-for-TV event.
Now that would just be sacrilegious sac·ri·le·gious
1. Grossly irreverent toward what is or is held to be sacred.
2. Having committed sacrilege.
In many ways, ESPN's production of the ``Big League Challenge'' (starting Monday at 2:30 p.m. on ESPN2) can't duplicate the simple hokeyness of ``Home Run Derby'' from 1959. To watch that series now, it's like an eerie episode of ``The Twilight Zone'' but a priceless piece of baseball history as well.
Filmed in black and white at a barren Wrigley Field For the former ballpark in Los Angeles, see .
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But the way he brought out these young versions of Mickey Mantle Noun 1. Mickey Mantle - United States baseball player (1931-1997)
Mickey Charles Mantle, Mantle , Willie Mays Noun 1. Willie Mays - United States baseball player (born in 1931)
Mays, Say Hey Kid, Willie Howard Mays Jr. and Hank Aaron, new L.A. Dodgers Duke Snider
ESPN's intent for this updated version of powerball is to maintain the spirit of that show but inject modern technology to make the competition seem more alive - which includes adding the ``studio audience'' of fans whose oohs and aahs are as significant as the computerized graphics that measure the distance of these rocket shots.
``We want to show that in 2000, this is how far that series has come,'' said Scanlan, who oversees ESPN's baseball coverage. ``That was our mandate. It was a competition and people wanted to see Mays vs. Aaron. But they didn't have things like aerial coverage. We brought all of the ESPN toys to this production and you'll see all of them.''
That means instead of a couple of stagnant cameras, there will be 17, including one in front of the pitching mound and in the opposite batters' box. There's also ESPN standards such as MaskCam, Bat Track and wireless mikes for each participant.
Over Valentine's Day weekend last month, it was McGwire, Barry Bonds, Shawn Green, Mike Piazza, Jose Canseco, Rafael Palmeiro, Nomar Garciaparra, Manny Manny may refer to:
Sammy Sosa also came but couldn't compete because of an illness that put him in the hospital on the morning of the event. Ken Griffey Jr. was scheduled, too, but his trade from Seattle to Cincinnati went down two days before the taping and he backed out.
Back in 1959, the winner of each nine-inning match was given a $2,000 prize and advanced to the next show. The loser got $1,000, and if anyone hit three homers in a row, there was a $500 bonus. Aaron ended up making the most appearances, six, on the 26-episode series and had $13,500 to show for it. The Milwaukee Braves star used it to buy his dad a grocery store back home in Mobile, Ala.
In this go-around, there's no individual financial reward for winning, but it is a tournament. All preliminary matches were five innings so that they didn't have to be edited down too much. The nine-inning finale on March 31 is an hour show.
The players were seeded based on last season's home-run production. The top four - McGwire, Sosa (replaced by Andruw Jones), Chipper Jones and Palmeiro - had first-round byes.
The original series ended after one year because Scott, who was also the executive producer, died of a heart attack at age 45. The shows sat in an MGM/UA vault in Culver City until someone offered them to ESPN, and they were aired at midnight in November of 1988 to fill in programming holes. The public reaction, in part, helped push the series to be replayed and sparked the creation of the Classic Sports Network, which was eventually bought by ESPN's parent company, Cap Cities, in 1996 and renamed ESPN Classic.
Aside from the now popular All-Star game exhibitions, there have been several attempts since the late '80s to bring back a home run derby This is about the Major League Baseball contest. For the 1959 television show of the same name, see Home Run Derby (TV series).
The Home Run Derby is an event played prior to the Major League Baseball All-Star Game. TV show. ABC ABC
in full American Broadcasting Co.
Major U.S. television network. It began when the expanding national radio network NBC split into the separate Red and Blue networks in 1928. once put McGwire and Canseco, then teammates in Oakland, in an empty Dodger Stadium to tape a competition. McGwire and Bonds also did one for a regional cable TV show in Arizona years ago.
But because of the red tape of possible appearance fees and player availability, this is the first time a series this large has been regenerated. It's due mostly to the efforts of the MLBPA MLBPA Major League Baseball Player's Association and its relationship with ESPN over the last few years of covering the ``Players Choice Awards'' show in November.
For ``Big League Challenge'' host Gary Thorne, the challenge was to recreate the relaxed atmosphere of the original series without looking so stiff on camera.
``You want to see the players relate to each other, like a pickup basketball game with that `aw shucks' feeling,'' said Thorne. ``The guys really enjoyed themselves. It amazed me that it came through. They were having a great time just seeing how far they could hit one after watching the other guy do it. I don't think you saw that in the original show.''
So since it's all been taped and people actually saw it, how does the 2000 version of ``Home Run Derby'' turn out? For those who don't know Don't know (DK, DKed)
"Don't know the trade." A Street expression used whenever one party lacks knowledge of a trade or receives conflicting instructions from the other party. , we won't tell too much.
Canseco provides most of the highlights, including a reunion against McGwire that goes extra innings (airing March 24) and hitting a memorable shot in the final that goes well beyond the 474-foot scoreboard, over a building and bounces onto a highway 650 feet away, where it hits a van that's moving and causes the driver to stop.
Then there's the first sighting of Green, the new Dodger who brought along childhood friend Ben Strack to be his personal pitcher. Green smacks one over a video screen and off an 185-foot light tower in right field.
``If you get in a groove, it's OK,'' Green said on how difficult it is to produce home runs on demand for a TV show. ``And there's always pressure when there's people watching.''
That kind of pressure wasn't there for Ernie Banks, who had just come off back-to-back MVP (Multimedia Video Processor) A high-speed DSP chip from Texas Instruments, introduced in 1994. Officially introduced as the TMS320C80, it combines RISC technology with the functionality of four DSPs on one chip. seasons with the Chicago Cubs, when he competed in the original show.
``There was no one in the stands and I liked that. It was so quiet,'' said Banks, who ESPN brought back to be an analyst for Monday's first show (with subsequent shows using Piazza as the analyst).
``You may not believe it, but it's true - I didn't even realize they were filming the show. You didn't notice cameras like you do today. But we did get the feeling at that time that somehow, TV was going to play a part of baseball's future.''
BIG LEAGUE CHALLENGE
The lineup for the 12-player ``Big League Challenge,'' a head-to-head home-run hitting tournament that begins Monday on ESPN2 (each episode at 2:30 p.m.):
Monday: Jose Canseco vs. Mike Piazza
Tuesday: Nomar Garciaparra vs. Manny Ramirez
Wednesday: Barry Bonds vs. Shawn Green
Thursday: Jason Giambi vs. Alex Rodriguez
March 24: Jose Canseco vs. Mark McGwire
March 27: Nomar Garciaparra vs. Chipper Jones
March 28: Andruw Jones vs. Shawn Green
March 29: Alex Rodriguez vs. Rafael Palmeiro
March 30: Andruw Jones vs. Rafael Palmeiro
March 31: Jose Canseco vs. Chipper Jones
March 31: Jose Canseco vs. Rafael Palmeiro (3 p.m. final)
HOME RUN DERBY
ESPN Classic will run 15 episodes in a row from the 1959 ``Home Run Derby'' series Saturday starting at 7 a.m. The matchups:
7 a.m.: Mickey Mantle vs. Willie Mays
7:30 a.m.: Ernie Banks vs. Mickey Mantle
8 a.m.: Harmon Killebrew vs. Mickey Mantle
8:30 a.m.: Rocky Colavito vs. Harmon Killebrew
9 a.m.: Ken Boyer vs. Harmon Killebrew
9:30 a.m.: Hank Aaron vs. Ken Boyer
10 a.m.: Duke Snider vs. Hank Aaron
10:30 a.m.: Wally Post vs. Hank Aaron
11 a.m.: Dick Stuart vs. Wally Post
11:30 a.m.: Frank Robinson vs. Dick Stuart
Noon: Bob Cerv vs. Frank Robinson
12:30 p.m.: Willie Mays vs. Bob Allison
1 p.m.: Gil Hodges vs. Willie Mays
1:30 p.m.: Ernie Banks vs. Gil Hodges
2 p.m.: Jackie Jensen vs. Ernie Banks
(Note: Other participants in the series were Al Kaline, Gus Triandos, Eddie Mathews and Jim Lemon.)
3 photos, box
(1 -- color) Dodger Shawn Green and former Dodger Mike Piazza participated in the new ``Big League Challenge,'' a home-run contest that ESPN will begin televising next week.
(2) no caption (Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco, and sportscaster)
(3) no caption (Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays)
Box: BIG LEAGUE CHALLENGE/HOME RUN DERBY (see text)