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To Fox, Mota, Beisbol Is Baseball

July 20, 2001|LARRY STEWART

Baseball has so many Latino players, yet so few Latino announcers. At least in English-speaking booths.

Fox is doing something about that. It is teaming Jose Mota with play-by-play announcer Kenny Albert on Saturday's Dodger-Colorado telecast.

Mota, the son of Dodger coach Manny Mota and the second baseman on Cal State Fullerton's 1984 national championship team, has been doing Fox baseball in Spanish for five years.

Now he's crossing over, becoming the first announcer from Spanish-language broadcasting to work an English-language baseball telecast on a major network.

Gracias, Fox. Muy bien hecho.

Mota, 36, who lives in Glendora with his wife and two children, grew up in the Dominican Republic, although he spent summers in the United States watching his father play baseball. Manny Mota holds the record for most major league pinch-hits.

Jose came to Southern California for college. He was a communications major at Fullerton.

"My English was pretty choppy," he said.

Now, it's nearly flawless.

Before he finished college, he was drafted by the Chicago White Sox and spent 12 years in baseball. He made two brief major league stops--in 1991 with the San Diego Padres and 1995 with the Kansas City Royals.

He also went back to school and he got his degree from Fullerton in 1993.

Besides doing Fox's game-of-the-week Spanish-language telecasts with Ruben Valentin, he also does Spanish-language baseball for DirecTV and Spanish features and commentaries for radio.

Of Saturday's assignment, Mota said: "I feel fortunate to have this opportunity to represent the international flavor that is on the field in the booth."

New Climate

Sports television is changing. Rights fees are continuing to climb, along with salaries, while sports ratings continue to decline. So sports networks are creating their own programming.

ESPN will spend more than $25 million developing original programming, including made-for-TV movies and several reality-based series that will make their debuts next year. One show, "Beg, Borrow and B.S.," will features contestants racing across the country on foot with little more than the clothes on their backs.

Fox Sports Net, meanwhile, has a show making its debut Monday, although the network for the time being is downplaying it and putting it on at midnight, at least in Los Angeles.

The show is called "The Best Damn Sports Show Period." Steve Lyons will be the host Monday through Wednesday, and Chris Myers Thursday and Friday. Other cast members will be Deacon Jones, John Kruk, actor Tom Arnold, Reggie Theus and Lisa Guerrero.

Charity Event

The third Michael Douglas and Friends celebrity golf tournament, taped July 7 at Ocean Trails in Rancho Palos Verdes, will be televised as a two-hour show on ABC Saturday at 12:30 p.m.

Besides Douglas, the field includes Kenny G, Andy Garcia, James Garner, Thomas Gibson, Greg Kinnear, Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Adam Sandler, Martin Sheen, Kyle MacLachlan, and child star Haley Joel Osment, who hits it pretty well.

Highlights include Kirk Douglas hitting the ceremonial first tee shot and Michael Douglas' wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones, giving him a kiss.

The show, produced by Terry Jastrow, benefits the Motion Picture and Television Fund, which provides relief for those in the film industry who have fallen on hard times. The event already has raised $500,000.

Boxing Beat

Does afternoon boxing work? It didn't on HBO, which tried "KO Nation" in the afternoons. Showtime will give it a go with "ShoBox: the New Generation," which makes its debut Saturday at 2 p.m.

"You create new boxing fans by giving them great fights with great new fighters and not necessarily special effects and sound and light shows," said Jay Larkin, Showtime senior vice president.

The announcers on the series will be Nick Charles, formerly of CNN, and Steve Farhood, former editor of Ring magazine.

Showtime also will offer one of its regular 10 p.m. delayed boxing shows Saturday on Showtime Too, which is available to all cable subscribers this weekend during a free preview promotion.

But HBO has the big fight of the weekend--Shane Mosley versus Adrian Stone at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Also on the live 6 p.m. card is Michael Grant versus Jameel McCline. Jim Lampley, who had hip-replacement surgery June 26, will call the fight with Larry Merchant and George Foreman.

The fight also is being televised nationally, with David Arroyos of Whittier and Dave Bontempo calling the action.

One other boxing note: A&E's "Biography" series features boxers all next week. The profiles in order, beginning Monday, will be Oscar De La Hoya, Foreman, Sonny Liston, Muhammad Ali and Joe Louis. The show's host, Harry Smith, will be on Rich Marotta's "Neutral Corner" show tonight on KXTA (1150) after Dodger baseball.

Tour de Confusion

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