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DIANE PUCIN / ON SPORTS MEDIA

Time Warner whiffs on Manny Ramirez's grand slam

Customers on L.A.'s Westside and in the western San Fernando Valley missed the moment at Dodger Stadium because their screens froze.

July 24, 2009|DIANE PUCIN | ON SPORTS MEDIA

It was only 54 seconds.

That's how much of the Dodgers game some Time Warner cable customers missed Wednesday night. Hardly worth complaining about, except here's what happened in those 54 seconds:

Manny Ramirez, on Manny Ramirez Bobblehead Night, hit a pinch-hit grand slam, a game-winner actually, into the part of Dodger Stadium called Mannywood.

Reconstructing from reports from dozens of angry e-mailers, more than a few Time Warner customers experienced a frozen screen followed by back-to-back commercials followed by re-entrance to the game when Ramirez was waving from the dugout, the crowd was still going berserk and the Dodgers were ahead.

Time Warner spokesman Darryl Ryan said that what occurred was "an inadvertent glitch." He said it affected a "small number" of customers on L.A.'s Westside and the western San Fernando Valley. And, as if this will matter to that "small number" of customers, "it only took them away from the game for 54 seconds," Ryan said.

And people, what's up with this? Ryan said he and his customer service reps hadn't gotten many calls from angry viewers, only from nosy reporters. Is it possible you all were calling reporters and not Time Warner? Anyway, Ryan said, "It is unfortunate that it happened. We all love Manny."

News, ESPN style

Last Saturday, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger became aware that a civil lawsuit accusing him of sexual assault had been filed by a woman in Nevada. By Monday the story was being widely reported almost everywhere except ESPN.

By Tuesday the story was becoming more about ESPN's refusal to mention the lawsuit and whether the cable giant was ignoring news because Roethlisberger is set to appear on a new reality show hosted by Shaquille O'Neal that will appear on ABC, which is owned, like ESPN, by the Walt Disney Co.

On Wednesday, ESPN began reporting the story.

On Thursday, Roethlisberger held a news conference denying the charges.

And Vince Doria, vice president and director of news at ESPN, said he thought ESPN had covered the story correctly.

"We've had a track record with stories involving civil lawsuits and allegations of sexual assault, abuse or rape, because those are some of the most damaging accusations that can be made, to be cautious with our reporting when there have been no criminal charges filed," Doria said.

ESPN did report on a similar situation involving Lakers guard Shannon Brown. During the NBA playoffs ESPN did on-air and ESPN.com stories about a sexual assault civil suit filed against Brown.

"We watch the story, see how it falls, how big it becomes, whether there is a potential impact on the field," Doria said. Because Brown was competing in the playoffs, Doria said, "It was reasonable to assume the charges might have impact on the court."

Dan Patrick on TV

Beginning Aug. 3, former ESPN "SportsCenter" anchor Dan Patrick, who has a syndicated radio show and a column in Sports Illustrated, will begin a TV simulcast on DirecTV of his radio show. He will do the show from a Connecticut studio that has four robotic cameras controlled from DirecTV's L.A. broadcast center.

Good today

At 4 p.m. Universal Sports is offering comprehensive coverage of the FINA World Swimming Championships, in which Michael Phelps will certainly star. Keeping with the international theme, at 5 p.m. ESPN offers AC Milan against Chelsea in the World Challenge.

Good on Saturday

The final stage of the Tour de France that will really matter for yellow jersey hopefuls begins at 4:30 a.m. on Versus. The WNBA All-Star game is on Channel 7 at 12:30 p.m. Sparks center Lisa Leslie, who had been voted the West's starting center in this, her final professional season, is sitting out because of a sprained knee.

Good on Sunday

The world swimming championships move to Channel 4, live at 9 a.m. from Rome. At 11 a.m. on ESPN is the NASCAR Sprint Cup Allstate 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It is the first of 17 NASCAR events on ESPN to close out this season.

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diane.pucin@latimes.com

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