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Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
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Emmy-winning producer decodes Hollywood, bleeds Dodger blue

October 15, 2009 |  1:13 pm

In recent years, no one has emerged as a more biting satirist of Hollywood buffoonery and excess than Ken Levine, the Emmy-winning writer-producer who keeps us all entertained at his blog with posts like today's Decoding Hollywoodspeak, which offers all-too-accurate translations of various happy-talk industry dodges. It being Hollywood, there are an extraordinary assortment of euphemisms (from "creative differences" to "I want to explore other exciting opportunities") for being fired. My favorites include:

"Hiatus."-- Canceled.

"They're still good friends." -- The ugly divorce settlement is still pending.

"They're just good friends." -- They're humping nine times a day.

"They have a lot of respect for each other." -- They despise each other.

"No comment." -- He did it.

"Hospitalized because the actor was simply feeling dizzy due to a medication he was taking because of an ear infection." -- Drunk. 

Dodgers_Logo1 Levine is the only TV writer I know who's enjoyed a successful second career as a baseball announcer, having been a broadcaster for a number of major league teams. He is currently the host of Dodger Talk, which airs before and after every Dodgers playoff game on 790 KABC. With the National League championship series starting later today, I asked Levine to combine his writerly talents with his baseball prognostication abilities and make some predictions, both serious and comic, about the Dodgers-Phillies series, which promises to be a great showcase for both team's impressive array of sluggers and pitchers.

Here's what Levine had to say, As you can see, he managed to come up with a few surprises. Keep reading:

Who wins?

The Dodgers in seven so Vin Scully can call as many games as possible.

Who'll be the series MVP?

Jonathan Broxton because he gets Matt Stairs to ground out to third.

Who'll be the goat?

The Phillie Phanatic. He's halfway there already.

Both teams have a lot of speed. Who will end up with the most stolen bases?

Jimmy Rollins. I don't see Randy Wolf running like he did in the regular season.

No one gives players great nicknames anymore. Do you see any worthy possibilities among the players on these teams?

Since he's Jewish, I'm going with Brad Ausmus -- the new Rabbi of Swat.

Martin How many plugs will the TBS broadcast team give to their network's shows?

The 2-0 pitch will be sponsored by "The Bill Engvall Show."

Which Dodger player is most deserving of a cameo on "Entourage"?

Russell Martin because he's a dead ringer for Turtle.

What is the broadcaster cliche we will hear the most during the playoffs?

The new favorite cliche is "rake." Anytime a batter really hits the ball well, he's "raking it."

Will Steve Lopez ever forgive Manny Ramirez if the Dodgers make it to the World Series?

Manny can live with it if he doesn't.

The team's two managers, Charlie Manuel and Joe Torre, seem to have tremendous potential as TV character actors once they hang up their cleats. What characters could they play?

Joe Torre could play any Joe Pesci role. Charlie Manuel would be perfect for Uncle Joe if they ever remake ''Petticoat Junction."

Every year, the playoffs feature a host of interminable meetings on the mound during some crucial situation in the game. What are they saying?

I'm sure more than one catcher has gone out to the mound during TBS coverage and said to his battery mate, "Hey, I got nothing to say. They told me I had to come out here so they could show a 'Frank TV'  ad."

Photo of Russell Martin by Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times.