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Global Icon Sylvester Stallone Signs Deal with Sports Placement Service

Sylvester StalloneLos Angeles – In an effort to prevent fraudulent autographs and movie merchandise from entering the collectables arena, Sylvester Stallone has signed a historic deal with Harlan J. Werner’s Sports Placement Service. “The fans want and deserve the genuine article,” said Stallone. ” “I have granted SPS the exclusive rights to create product for the memorabilia industry that I will personally sign.”

“I, along with my partner in the venture, Nick Cordasco of Authentic Signings, Inc. are honored to enter into this agreement with Mr. Stallone. This certainly becomes the most significant deal within the entertainment memorabilia industry and we look forward to offering a complete line of limited and licensed product over the coming months,” Werner said

NFL Hall of Famer John Riggins joins Sportsman Channel at DC Community Center/Soup Kitchen

riggins-sportsmanWashington, DC - Growing up in the nation’s capitol, I spent most of my Sunday’s watching John Riggins plow through NFC East opponents on the hallowed fields of RFK Stadium. It’s been almost thirty years since the man known as The Diesel last carried the ball for the ‘skins. This Sunday he was back in action. A few things had changed. (more…)

Sportsman Channel’s Hall of Famer John Riggins & Chef Scott Leysath Host Network’s Hunt.Fish.Feed. Event in D.C for The Cable Show 2013

JR_ProfessionalSportsman Channel, the leader in outdoor TV for the American sportsman, announced today Sportsman Channel TV hosts John Riggins and Scott Leysath will help host and cook at the network’s unique Hunt,Fish,Feed, event in Washington D.C. for The Cable Show 2013 at two locations on Sunday, June 9.  Sportsman Channel’s Hunt.Fish.Feed. is a unique outreach program that taps an underutilized food source—game meat and fish donated by sportsmen—to feed those struggling with hunger across America.  Sportsman is partnering locally with The Cable Show 2013 to help organize, staff and transport volunteers to serve a lunch at So Others May Eat and dinner at Central Union Mission. Between both shelters, volunteers will have served more than 700 people with venison donated by local hunters thanks to the Mule Deer Foundation.   Hunt.Fish.Feed. has served more than 14,000 meals since its inception.

Both Riggins and Leysath have their own shows on the network. Riggins, an NFL Hall of Famer and former New York Jets and Washington Redskins running back, hosts the celebrity-loaded series “Riggo on the Range” and Leysath, an Executive Chef of more than 25 years, hosts “Dead Meat” and “Hunt.Fish.Cook.”

The Central Union Mission is where Hunt.Fish.Feed got its start in 2007.

“We’re especially honored to bring our Hunt.Fish.Feed. back to where it began to D.C. and work with the shelter where we started, Central Union Mission. We look forward to working with our partners at The Cable Show and the shelters to make this a successful and impactful event,” said Gavin Harvey, CEO of Sportsman Channel. “Programs like Hunt.Fish.Feed provide unique avenues to help the needy, especially during an economic time that finds more and more people in need every day.”

“As an avid sportsman and chef, I’ve always placed a high priority on harvesting game,” said Riggins. “Sportsman Channel’s Hunt.Fish.Feed. is an extraordinary program that helps deliver nutritious and hearty meals to thousands at a time when food and money donations are down at shelters and facilities all across this nation. I’m proud to be part of this network and its unique program, and I look forward to helping serve those in need this Sunday in my hometown.”

Event Details:

So Others May Eat (SOME)
71 ‘O’ Street, NW
Washington, DC
Serving at 11 am

Media is encouraged to attend this event

Central Union Mission
1350 R Street, NW
Washington, DC
Serving at 5 pm

During FY ’12, Central Union Mission provided more than 150,000 meals to individuals and families struggling with hunger and food insecurity. “This event is a wonderful opportunity for the people we serve to experience food they may have never tried before,” said David Treadwell, Executive Director of Central Union Mission. “It also allows us reach a seldom tap market of hunters and fisherman to not only raise their awareness about poverty and homelessness, but also gives them a tangible way to make a difference in the lives of others.”

Dodgers great relieves Magic for ceremonial first pitch

LOS ANGELES – As they unveiled all their new and expensive improvements — $100 million in ballpark enhancements and the best team money can buy – the Los Angeles Dodgers paid homage to the glory of their past.

Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax, who rejoined the Dodger family this spring after years of estrangement, threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the season opener following a classic bit of Hollywood scene-setting.

After the introduction of former team luminaries like Tom Lasorda, Maury Wills, Tommy Davis and Orel Hershiser, part-owner Magic Johnson went to the mound and pretended to be about to throw out the first pitch.

Manager Don Mattingly then came out of the dugout and “pulled him,” calling for a lefty instead.

In walked none other than Koufax, wearing his familiar No. 32 and drawing a huge ovation.

 

From rookies to legends, Koufax leaves mark on camp

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Sandy has left the building.

In Elvis fashion, Sandy Koufax finished his initial 10-day Spring Training assignment as special advisor to the Dodgers chairman Thursday having left an unforgettable impression, even on fellow legends.

“The owners have done so many things correctly that have lifted the spirits of fans and everybody in the organization and by bringing Sandy back have added to the optimism,” said another iconic Hall of Famer, Vin Scully.

“They’ve been able to bring back someone whose name has always been linked to the Dodgers, and I’m sure the fans think the owners have done another smart thing. That’s the way I look at it. It’s just great.”

Zack Greinke might win 20 games this year, but the early leader for best acquisition is the 77-year-old Koufax, who won’t throw a pitch. Koufax said he will attend an Old Timers Game at Dodger Stadium on June 8 commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1963 World Series team and perhaps drop in on the club at a series or two on the East Coast.

“Beyond that, I really don’t know,” he said.

The hiring of Koufax has been universally praised as a coup by the new Guggenheim Partners ownership. In the past, Koufax has been a Spring Training visitor to see staff friends, but always as a private citizen. He hasn’t worked for a club since a stint as a Dodgers Minor League instructor from 1979-89.

In addition to the obvious public relations bonanza of the hiring, management wanted to tap into Koufax’s teaching strengths, as well as fortify an ongoing mission of reconnecting with players from the Dodgers’ glory years.

“I grew up like that with the Yankees,” said manager Don Mattingly. “[Mickey] Mantle, Catfish [Hunter], Whitey [Ford]. The Yankees would bring all of them back. Mickey just kind of hung around being Mickey. He was great. Catfish, he and I would go to a back field and he would pitch seven innings to me. He could still throw all right, and he’d try to get me out.

“If you have resources like that, it’s just foolish not to use them. And having them around helps your players understand the history of the game. I want guys like that and Tommy Lasorda around, I want them asking why I did this and why I did that. I want the best information. I want Sandy challenging our way of doing things if he thinks there’s a better way.”

The Dodgers quickly slid Koufax into their daily program, and he worked one on one with many pitchers in camp, especially three of the starters he has counseled in the past — Clayton Kershaw, Josh Beckett and Chris Capuano.

But Koufax also worked with relievers like Kenley Jansen and Javy Guerra, and young Major Leaguers like Josh Wall. Midway through his stay, the role expanded to one-on-one morning sessions with the top pitching prospects in Minor League camp — Zack Lee, Chris Reed, Angel Sanchez, Jose Dominguez and converted third baseman Pedro Baez, who Koufax said shocked him by displaying “four Major League pitches” even though he’s thrown only one inning in his life, in instructional league.

“When I came back to the organization in 2001, one of the major goals was to get the Dodgers back to the way they taught pitching for so many years,” said pitching coach Rick Honeycutt. “They had gotten away from it, from the way it was taught by the great pitching coaches like Red Adams, Ron Perranoski, Dave Wallace and Sandy.

“The great thing about having Sandy around is to listen to the stories of success, not just his great talent pitching, but his ability to say in simple terms what we’re trying to accomplish. I’ve always felt that I’m an extension of him in that way. And it was especially great for him to work with our Minor League coaches so we’re all on the same page. Who better to learn from than the best?”

Koufax’s presence lured autograph seekers in such numbers that management had to deploy metal crowd barriers after he was nearly overwhelmed the second day walking from one field to another.

If shy in public, Koufax was anything but when in his baseball element.

“All the great moments in my life that I cherish came back to the surface, being able to relive them with Sandy,” said former teammate Maury Wills, still a bunting instructor at age 80. “Since he’s been here, it’s like reliving all those great moments.

“Surprisingly, he seems to be enjoying participating. He’s so quiet and humble. But just to see him get involved is such a pleasure. I feel that two days from now, he’ll realize how much he enjoyed it. It might get to the point where he’s missing being here.”

Koufax had a different but undeniable impact on players like catcher A.J. Ellis.

“What his presence says from the standpoint of the players and the people in the organization is that, through the ownership change, they are bringing back a Dodger legend and royalty that has earned and deserves to be part of the organization,” said Ellis.

“The time between innings and bullpens, I’ll never forget the insight he’s given me to the mental side of pitching and game-calling, and it’s something I’ll carry into the season.”

Source: http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130228&content_id=42093874&vkey=news_mlb&c_id=mlb

VIDEO: Vin Scully sits down with Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax

Dodgers play-by-play legend Vin Scully sits down with Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax to discuss lefties, pitching and the Dodgers/

Sandy Koufax revels in his roots as he comes to help Dodgers bloom

s-koufax-1The greatest living Dodger sets spring training camp abuzz as he returns to work. ‘I’d like to see this organization be a winner again…. I thought, if I can help, it would be fun,’ Koufax says.

Shortly after noon Sunday, a black SUV pulled up at the front door of Camelback Ranch amid the breathless aura of a royal homecoming.

Two Dodgers employees were waiting on the curb. Several others were staring out from inside the main building.

Out of the car stepped a wiry, deeply tanned white-haired man wearing black sweat pants and a long-sleeve white shirt. He took off his sunglasses to reveal bright eyes over a huge smile, and here came the whispers.

”He’s really 77? He’s really coming to work here again? He really looks like he could still pitch!”

Sandy Koufax, the greatest living Dodger, was officially returning to work for the only baseball home he’s ever known.

“I’d like to see this organization be a winner again,” Koufax said. ”I don’t know if I can do that much, but I’m going to try and help.”

The intensely private former pitcher arrived at spring training to begin a two-week stint as a pitching instructor as part of a one-year contract that will put him back in a Dodgers uniform for the first time in more than 20 years.

On a clear and sunny day in the desert, chills were everywhere.

When Koufax walked from the main building to a practice field in his sweats, the camp buzz became a dull roar as a couple of hundred fans rushed the ropes to welcome him. When he stepped onto the grass toward the pitching mound, Clayton Kershaw hugged him. When he began supervising pickoff plays with several pitchers, most of the folks in camp had turned to watch.

Nearby, Dodgers marketing boss Lon Rosen was speaking on the phone to Dodgers partner Magic Johnson.

“Earvin, I’ve got to go,” he said. “Somebody more famous than you just showed up.”

After a short session in which Koufax actually mimicked a pitching motion — fans murmuring at the sight — he signed a couple of dozen autographs and briefly stopped to answer some questions.

Such as, why? And why now?

“I have no idea,” Koufax said with a laugh. “It just sounded like it could be fun . The people who own this team look like they’re trying to make it better. I thought, if I can help, it would be fun.”

Koufax was offered the spot last summer by Rosen and team President Stan Kasten in an impromptu meeting in a suite during a game at Dodger Stadium. The new Dodgers ownership is eager to reconnect with former Dodgers legends, and was hoping that Koufax would be willing to sacrifice some of his beloved privacy to bring his baseball life full circle.

Said Rosen: “We want to honor and celebrate the Dodger legacy, and Sandy has always been a key part of that.”

Said Koufax: “The hard part is, my life is good, and am I taking a chance of ruining it with you guys [media]? Do I want to kind of open it up to all of this again? I thought, well, I’ll take a chance.”

In typical careful Koufax fashion, he agreed only after much thought, and kept the agreement short.

“If I’m not enjoying it, it’s one year,” he said. “I thought, OK, I come out here every year for a week to see people anyway, I’ll take my chances.’ ”

Since his stunning retirement in 1966 at the height of his career — he was only 30 — Koufax has taken other chances with his home team, but they have always ended uncomfortably.

He was a minor league pitching instructor from 1979 to 1990, but he quit over unhappiness with the direction of the organization. For the next decade, he rarely represented the Dodgers in public, finally officially disassociating himself from the Fox-owned team in 2003 when he was unhappy with how he was portrayed in a New York Post story about rumors of his personal life. Fox and the Post had the same owners.

Frank McCourt brought him back a year later, but he remained on the fringes, and actually showed up more frequently in other team’s training camps until the new Dodgers owners made their pitch.

His words Sunday sounded like those of a man who, in his later years, believes it’s finally time to put aside past disappointments and revel in his roots.

“They’ve done a lot with the team, I understand they’ve done a lot with the stadium, and it’s the only organization I’ve ever played in or been in,” Koufax said. “‘I came here with Jackie and Gil and Duke … and played with great people like Don and Tommy and Willie and Maury.… It feels good.”

The number of times a Dodgers story contains one quote about playing with Jackie Robinson and Gil Hodges and Duke Snider and Don Drysdale and Tommy Davis and Willie Davis and Maury Wills? How about never? Much of Koufax’s value lies in his unmatched ability in bridging the gap between past and future Dodgers greatness.

“I wouldn’t do this anyplace else,” he said, noting that, in all these years of visiting other teams’ training camps, he has never worn another uniform. “‘Anyplace else they said I was working with pitchers, I went to see friends, I wasn’t working with pitchers. People would ask, could you do this [wear another jersey] … I said, I can’t.”

Not that the greatest pitcher ever over a six-year period — from 1961-66 — can’t still teach pitching. “Let me put it this way,” he said, “throwing hasn’t changed, not since the caveman. Pitching might have changed a little bit, but it’s still throwing. It’s precision throwing.”

Just ask Chris Capuano, who worked with Koufax on Sunday and has relied on his wisdom in the past.

“As a left-hander, he actually told me some things that could help me right away when I was in New York,” Capuano said. “One of them was where my foot was on the rubber.… It helped me with my direction to the plate.”

For now, the Dodgers will celebrate the direction that Koufax’s presence takes them. He is their glorious past become their promising future. Of all the remodeling done by the new ownership in the last year, this could be its finest addition.

Sandy Koufax was asked whether he felt as if he finally was coming home.

Dodgers get it right: Sandy Koufax joins club as special advisor

The Dodgers’ new owners have made some nice moves, some intriguing moves and some absolutely blockbuster moves since they took over last May.

On Tuesday they upped their game to a completely brilliant move. There’s being fan-friendly, and then there is this:

The return of Sandy Koufax.

Koufax will officially join the organization this season as a special advisor to team chairman Mark Walter. He is scheduled to attend a portion of spring training to work with pitchers and consult with the team throughout the year.

The team announced the news in a release Tuesday that quoted the notoriously private Koufax:

“I’m delighted to be back with the Dodgers. I’m looking forward to spending time with the team during spring training and to contributing in any way I can to help make the team a success for the fans of Los Angeles. Some of my most cherished memories came at Dodger Stadium.”

There is no more historic and beloved Los Angeles Dodger than Koufax, the greatest pitcher in team history, if not baseball history. He was their first true Los Angeles superstar after the team relocated to L.A. from Brooklyn in 1958.

The soft-spoken Koufax is a legendary baseball figure, but his presence goes beyond the advice he can administer to young pitchers. He adds not only a significant link to the team past but also an aura of class and respect and a championship edge.

He was a World Series champion four times and a three-time unanimous Cy Young winner. He threw four no-hitters, struck out more than 300 batters in a season three times (including a team-record 382 in 1965) and had a 0.95 postseason ERA.

Koufax, 77, has worked with the team in spring training sporadically through the years. Living in Vero Beach, Fla., he served as a spring training advisor for 11 seasons through 1989.

He separated himself from the organization while it was owned by Fox, which also owned publishing companies that wrote about his private life. He has made spring training appearances in recent years, but this is the first time he’s been welcomed back in an official capacity.

“The Dodgers are thrilled to have Sandy back with the organization,” said team president and CEO Stan Kasten in a release. “Sandy’s experience and perspective will be invaluable as we endeavor to do everything in our power to bring the city of Los Angeles a World Series champion.”

Koufax is the youngest player ever elected to the Hall of Fame. He retired at age 31 because of elbow arthritis, after what most consider the most dominant six-year run in history (2.19 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 9.4 strikeouts per nine innings, 129-47 record with 115 complete games).

HALL OF FAMER SANDY KOUFAX TO RETURN TO DODGERS IN 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - January 22, 2013
 
Contact: Public Relations
 (323) 224-1301

LOS ANGELES – Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax will return to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2013, it was announced.

Koufax will serve as Special Advisor to Dodgers’ Chairman Mark Walter. Koufax will attend a portion of Spring Training to work with Dodgers’ pitchers and consult with the team throughout the year.

“The Dodgers are thrilled to have Sandy back with the organization,” Dodgers’ President and CEO Stan Kasten said. “Sandy’s experience and perspective will be invaluable as we endeavor to do everything in our power to bring the city of Los Angeles a World Series champion.”

“For our young players and our veterans to be able to tap Sandy’s expertise and counsel during Spring Training and throughout the season will provide yet another tremendous resource in our efforts to strengthen our club,” said General Manager Ned Colletti.

“I’m delighted to be back with the Dodgers,” Koufax said. “I’m looking forward to spending time with the team during Spring Training and to contributing in any way I can  to help make the team a success for the fans of Los Angeles. Some of my most cherished memories came at Dodger Stadium.”

Koufax, the first major leaguer to pitch four no-hitters, including a perfect game, was the youngest player (age 36) and the first pitcher inducted into the Hall of Fame (1972) who had more strikeouts than innings pitched. In 12 major league seasons, he had a career record of 165-87, a 2.76 ERA, 2,396 strikeouts, 137 complete games and 40 shutouts.

From 1962-66, Koufax led the National League in earned run average and shutouts. He was the first pitcher to average fewer than seven hits allowed per nine innings pitched in his career (6.79) and to strike out more than nine batters (9.28) per nine innings. In his last 10 seasons, batters hit .203 against him with a .271 on-base percentage and a .315 slugging average.

Koufax was the MVP and Cy Young Award winner in 1963 and also won Cy Young awards in 1965 and ’66. He was a member of Dodgers’ world championship teams in 1955, ’59, ’63 and ’65, earning MVP honors in 1963 and ‘65. His postseason record was 4-3 with a 0.95 ERA. He was selected to seven consecutive All-Star games from 1961-66.

The Los Angeles Dodgers, pioneers in sport and world culture, have won more games, more pennants, and more World Series than any other club in the National League since moving to Los Angeles.  Since the start of the modern era in baseball, the Dodgers of Brooklyn and Los Angeles, combined, have a cumulative attendance of more than 190 million, the highest total in the history of baseball or any other sport.

Visit the Dodgers on the Internet at www.dodgers.com.

For media information, visit www.dodgerspressbox.com

More on the NFL Network’s John Riggins Documentary

Longtime NFL Films producer Dave Douglas was set to begin work on a Barry Sanders project last spring. The Lions running back, of course, is an iconic player, a sublime runner who walked away from the game still healthy, with the NFL rushing record in his sights. A compelling subject, in other words.

Then Douglas heard that his company was on the verge of producing a John Riggins documentary.

“Please,” he said. “I’ll do anything.”

Douglas got the assignment. The result – “John Riggins: A Football Life” – will premier on the NFL Network Wednesday night at 8. And Douglas, who has worked at NFL Films for more than three decades, said he’s never encountered a subject like this one.

“In my 35 seasons here, this has been by far the most enjoyable show I’ve ever worked on,” Douglas told me this week. “It’s not even close. Not even close. It’s not just John’s material and stories. Once you talk to him, and meet him, and have a couple beers with him, you realize how wonderful and real he is.”

(See amazing screenshots here, and a lengthy preview here.)

The best subjects, Douglas said, require an “incredibly rare” trifecta: spectacular athletic talents, mixed with gripping life stories and the ability to artfully tell them. And Riggins, he said, is “a dream come true.”

In fact, producers were so overflowing with material that dozens of gems didn’t make the 45-minute finished product. Like the story of the judge who described Riggins as “a scamp” in court. Or the tale of Riggins convincing a college pal to blow off studying for finals, helped by a bottle of Jack Daniels. Or former teammate Ron Saul recalling when Riggins went bowling wearing nothing but underwear and socks.

“He’s like Dennis the Menace; he can get away with a lot of stuff that other folks can’t, because they know John’s heart,” said Douglas, an Eagles fan. “They know he’s real. It’s not pre-fabricated, it’s not done for attention. John’s just a scamp, and he admits it. And he’s a wonderful scamp.”

Douglas and his crew talked to a wide array of Riggins observers, from Joe Gibbs and Joe Theismann to Jeff Bostic and John Kent Cooke. They conducted hours of interviews with Riggins over two days in the D.C. area, getting footage of him driving a bulldozer, moving giant rocks, chopping wood, and planting trees. They went with Riggins to his childhood home in Centralia, Kansas, and accompanied him and his brothers on a skeet shooting trip.

They received a trove of home movies and priceless stills from Riggins’s wife Lisa Marie; Douglas called “the MVP of the story” and said “I want to thank her from the bottom of my heart.”

They also dug up memorable clips of Riggins in his heyday: walking away from the Redskins, proclaiming “I’m bored, I’m broke and I’m back” upon his return, asking his teammates to bow down to him at practice, and introducing himself as “Riggins, John, knucklehead” at a formal banquet. They got footage of Riggins at the infamous “loosen up” dinner involving Sandra Day O’Connor, talked to former Virginia Governor Charles Robb (a guest at that dinner), and nearly landed an interview with O’Connor herself.

And the entire experience left Douglas convinced that the NFL was better off for the Riggins experience.

“He’s a renaissance man, he’s an absolute renaissance man,” Douglas told me. “The league could sure use some John Riggins about now. He’s a character with character, and for all his foibles and scars and imperfections, he was a phenomenal player. There are plenty of players today with his ability, but none with his just marvelous irreverence and humility.”

Those things come through very clearly in the film, which covers Riggins’s flaws, his quirks, and above all, his essential charm.

“One minute you’re laughing out loud, almost peeing your pants, and the next moment you almost have a tear in your eye,” Douglas said. “Only John has that evocative ability.”

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