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DIANE PUCIN ON SPORTS MEDIA

Steve Lyons doesn't let the past get in the way of his mouth

He still says what he thinks despite being fired once for saying something on a baseball broadcast that he probably shouldn't have.

August 07, 2009|DIANE PUCIN | ON SPORTS MEDIA

Steve Lyons survived being fired for saying something on a baseball broadcast that he probably shouldn't have.

But that didn't shut him up.

He still works the pregame and postgame shows for the Dodgers at home on Prime Ticket and handles the analyst chores with play-by-play partner Eric Collins for those road games Vin Scully does not work.

And Lyons still says what he thinks.

When Manny Ramirez returned from his 50-game drug suspension, Lyons suggested the outfielder should have spent more time with his teammates.

But Lyons' speak-from-the-lip inclinations are what led to him losing his job as a national analyst for Fox. It came during Game 3 of the 2006 American League Championship Series when he made a bad joke about his colleague in the booth, Lou Piniella, stealing wallets and speaking in fractured Spanish.

Lyons' muddled attempt at humor cost him but didn't turn him into an opinion-less automaton.

Like his style or not, his work for the Dodgers shows independence. And he is not afraid to revisit his sins or to consider himself a worthy candidate for another national baseball analyst job.

"I am still outspoken, I don't think I can change that," Lyons said. "The comment I made about Lou, it was totally a joke and had nothing to do about race. I was fired from a national organization and I've never been able to recover from that. I'd like to think I'm a decent analyst and I've received no interest from Fox or Turner or the MLB Network. I would have thought I'd have had those options by now."

This isn't to say Lyons isn't thrilled to be working on Dodgers broadcasts. "I love it," he said.

And Lyons has a knack for seeing little things. When the Dodgers played at the Mets last month, he correctly predicted a Manny Ramirez home run. Using the telestrator, Lyons explained the pitch patterns, explained the dimensions of the ballpark and then Ramirez homered right where Lyons said he would.

That's good analysis. No humor needed.

Not on ESPN

While ESPN is advertising its "comprehensive studio news and information coverage" of the U.S versus Mexico World Cup qualifying match from Azteca Stadium on Wednesday, the U.S. cable giant won't actually carry the game. Television rights belong to the Spanish-language network Telemundo.

An ESPN spokesman said the network explored buying U.S. television rights from Telemundo but Telemundo wasn't interested in selling.

Jorge Hidalgo, Telemundo's senior executive vice president for news and sports, said there wasn't much consideration given to allowing ESPN to carry the game. "We made our decision long ago and at the end of the day, I think everyone will agree it was a good decision, a sound decision, a quality decision."

Telemundo will air the Spanish-language broadcast on its main channel and English-language one on sister station mun2. Telemundo is offering mun2 for the day to cable and satellite networks that don't carry it. Hidalgo said mun2 will be available on DirecTV and the Dish Network but everyone else will need to check their local cable listings.

This will be the first time Telemundo and mun2 have broadcast a live sporting event simultaneously. Coverage begins at 12:55 p.m. Announcers for mun2 will be veteran Phil Schoen and former U.S. national team defenseman Marcelo Balboa.

Good today

Men's and women's tennis quarterfinals -- men are in Washington (Andy Roddick is making his summer debut after his dramatic Wimbledon final loss to Roger Federer) and women are in Carson -- and men's quarterfinals matches are at 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. on ESPN2 and 11:30 a.m. on the Tennis Channel; women's quarterfinals are 2 p.m. on the Tennis Channel and 8 p.m. on ESPN2.

Good on Saturday

The WGC Bridgestone Invitational (with Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson) is on the Golf Channel at 9 a.m. and Channel 2 at 11 a.m. The AVP beach volleyball tournament in Hermosa Beach is on Universal Sports at 11 a.m. and Channel 4 at 1:30 p.m.

Good on Sunday

It's never too early for some football. John Madden's successor, Cris Collinsworth, makes his "Sunday Night Football" debut when Channel 4 does the Hall of Fame game between Buffalo and Tennessee at 5 p.m. The NFL goes against Yankees-Red Sox on ESPN. And the men's tennis final is at noon on ESPN2 with the women's final at 2 p.m.

--

diane.pucin@latimes.com

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