still approach him in a shopping mall or airport and ask him to sign a , which he'll reply, "You sure you want me to mess this ball up?"

ESPN didn't think this would drag out so far when it gave him the assignment, either.

"No one anticipated that it would become a three-year forced march," said Vince Doria, ESPN's senior vice president and director of news. "Through it all, Pedro, along with his producer, Charlie Moynihan, gave us enterprising, aggressive coverage, and with a sometimes trying relationship with Bonds, Pedro managed to maintain his objectivity and sense of humor."

Gomez didn't really have time to crack open a bottle of champagne to celebrate Bonds' achievement. He slept only about 90 minutes after Tuesday's game, catching an 8:30 a.m. flight home Wednesday. His wife said seeing him on TV reporting from San Francisco, he sure looked relieved and energized.

"Maybe because subconsciously I knew I was getting away from this for awhile," Gomez said of his body language. "I didn't quite celebrate, but I came pretty darn close. A bottle is chilling in my refrigerator, waiting for my wife to come back and enjoy it with me."

Gomez's reporting on Bonds isn't over. But as a general assignment reporter, he's open to whatever ESPN needs him to do.

"What's next for Pedro?" Doria asked. "Is it to soon to start an Watch?"


The Angels and FSN West will give radio play-by-play man Rory Markas a shot at doing some TV work, having him call the Tuesday-through- Thursday games in Toronto while paired up with . On KSPN-AM (710) radio, where Markas has been doing games since 2001, Terry Smith will likely team with Jose Mota. "I love baseball on the radio," said Markas, the Cal State Northridge grad who just moved to Sylmar, "but this is going to be exciting. I am looking forward to it." The Angels would like to see Mota succeed as a TV play-by-play man on FSN West and KCOP Channel 13 games, where he and Gubicza were hired to do 50 games this season. However, sources say that it was FSN, not necessarily the Angels, who pushed more for Mota and Gubicza as replacements on a third of the 150 local TV games that would have gone to Steve Physioc and . And a key reason was that Mota and Gubicza cost the network a combined $2,000 less per game (they each receive $2,500 per broadcast vs. $3,500 for Physioc and Hudler), meaning the company saved $100,000. Physioc and Hudler have said publicly they enjoy the extra time off during the grind of the season, but the fact is, it cost them each about $175,000 in salary. Physioc's TV contract expires after this season with the Angels, and the team and network could be looking at all options next season.

ESPN2's Cliff Drysdale, Mary Jo Fernandez and Pam Shriver call the last three days of the East West Bank Classic from Home Depot Center in Carson, with tonight's quarterfinals (8:30 to 10:30 p.m.) followed by Saturday's semifinals (7:30 to 9:30p.m.) and Sunday's final (2 to 4p.m.).


"It's sad listening to an old man talking to himself, telling stories about the old days," Las Vegas Sun staffer Mike Trask wrote the other day. Who was Trask trashing? Vin Scully. The Tuesday story headlined "Time for Scully To Sign Off?" and brought up on Joe McDonnell's KLAC-AM (570) show started off: "A couple of stories have been written recently about the greatness of Vin Scully, the legendary Dodgers announcer famous for his smooth voice and literary references. Scully is 80. The guys who wrote those gushing stories aren't much younger ... The literary references are great. But if I wanted to ponder Socrates or the iambic pentameter of a John Donne sonnet, I'd switch off FSN Prime Ticket. Thankfully, Scully is signed only through 2008. He'll get $3 million again next year to tug on the heartstrings of Baby Boomers. Meanwhile, men in suits will wonder why young people are tuning out." McDonnell, while saying the writer was just trying to get publicity, "which, unfortunately, we gave him," brought the issue up because "Vin has earned the right to stay or go on his timetable. That idiot had every right to his opinion, but I didn't like the fact he was ridiculing Scully. There's no reason to make fun of someone like him."

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