The Special Olympics’ World Games in Los Angeles

West Covina Host City for Team NipponAfter much anticipation and more than a year’s worth of preparation, the 14th Special Olympics World Games opened this weekend in Los Angeles. The Opening Ceremonies were yesterday at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, and the full slate of competition has been ongoing since.

Our city of West Covina, CA is proud to be the Host City for Team Nippon, and the past week saw a wide array of activities, from the Torch Run passing through the city, to luncheons, dinners, speeches, dances, and more.

In total, over 6,500 athletes and 2,000 coaches representing 165 countries from around the world are here competing in sports that include gymnastics, basketball, track and field, soccer, softball, sailing, tennis, and many more. Los Angeles is the first United States host Continue reading

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Brandon Beachy Will Try to Write Tommy John History

Stuff”>Dodgers’ brain trust went out with their silver platter overflowing with cash and handed out millions upon millions upon millions of dollars to every historically injured pitcher they could uncover, the guy with the least chance of ever earning his new Dodgers’ bounty but with the biggest possible upside

should he actually be healthy enough to pitch for an extended period - like several full seasons, maybe - was Brandon Beachy.

Through his short tenure of toiling with the Atlanta Braves, Beachy showed that he had the savvy and control, if not the overpowering stuff (low-90s fastball topping out at 94, slow curve and change and occasional slider) to be a consistent winner in the bigs, and for a short time
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Clippers Sizzle While Lakers Snore

The NBA off-season dance has been fascinating to watch as Cleveland and San Antonio stand out for their quick and aggressive actions and as the forest of tall tress of big men fall fast and furious, one after another. As far as Los Angeles NBA fans are concerned, the Clippers have been outstanding and innovative, while the Lakers have let incompetency and seeming narcolepsy take over as they have failed miserably to improve. While the

Clippers refused to take no for an answer and astounded the basketball world, the current Lakers’ management has been an embarrassment to the storied franchise and the legacy of Robert Short, Jerry Buss and Jerry West, who had a then magic name to sell that sold itself to star players.

The Lakers went into the draft believing that they needed to take a potential star guard with their first round number two pick, thinking that their bigger needs up front would be fixed with the signing of any one, or two, of the many established
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All-Star Ballot Stuffing Not New and Cannot Be Tolerated

Kansas City Royals’ fans have made a mockery of this year’s major league baseball All-Star team voting, and Commissioner of Baseball Rob Manfred needs to look to the past and act for now and for the future. Fans may think this is something unusual, but it is not a unique occurrence, and when it happened in the past, swift action by then Commissioner Ford Frick helped protect not just the integrity of the game, but also served to provide deserving players their spots in the All-Star game.

Traditionally, the fans voted for All-Star team rosters, and the system in place back then worked well, until 1957, when fans of the Cincinnati Reds (actually, then the Cincinnati Redlegs, but that is a whole other story*), through a scheme engineered by the Cincinnati Enquirer, cast over one-half of the total ballots, and managed to elect seven of their
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Last Night’s Dodgers’ Game Raises Lots of Questions

Last night was game four of the 2015 major league season for those of us who now have been granted divine access to SportsNet LA and Los Angeles Dodgers’ games, through the magnanimous gesture of Charter Cable’s public relations and legal departments, who realized that by doing do would provided ten-fold benefits in reducing public opposition to yet another merger of media giants, further concentrating power and wealth in an

ever-decreasing select few.

As to the game itself, it was more evidence, as I have described for months beginning last fall when the structure of the 2015 Dodgers began to take shape, that major mistakes were being made, mistakes that have been masked by the fact that the Dodgers are in a weak division where the only other
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LeBron, the Warriors, and Media Prejudice in Los Angeles

Years ago I wrote a lot of critical stuff about LeBron James. He has proven me wrong and today he clearly is basketball’s best player, and among the all time elite, perhaps on the way to ending his career as the best of all time. His numbers in this year’s NBA finals are astounding, averaging over 40 points and a triple-double per game, but the numbers do

not even do him justice - his play has been even better than that.

His Cavaliers are up two games to one against the deep and powerful Warriors, despite the current injury-riddled squad having not a single additional established, front-line player. If James can lead Cleveland to the NBA title, it will be an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime result.

The closest comparison I can think of would be
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It’s Actually Happened – Charter Cable and SportsNet LA

After almost a full season and a half, those of us in the outskirts of incorporated Los Angeles, out in the boonies where Time Warner Cable has been unable to buy inroads akin to their LA City cable monopoly, where our TV choices have been DirectTV, Dish, Verizon FIOS and Charter Cable, and nothing else (except for services like Amazon Prime, Netflix,

etc., that gives you film on demand but nothing live), the Dodgers are now no longer a mere memory, no more an amorphous cloud barely visible in the dark, deep recesses of brain matter once devoted to watching, analyzing, rooting and remembering great plays, exciting moments and historic achievements. The Dodgers and Time Warner Cable stole all that from us for $8 Billion in riches, but the vagaries of big business and billion-dollar mergers has now returned it to us.
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An Anthem of War at US Sporting Events

The playing of the national anthem before US sporting events can be traced back to the 1918 World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Boston Red Sox, and an unplanned occurrence that led to the tradition, and now basically de facto law, that REQUIRES its playing. A combination of the anticipated ending of World War I and a series of deadly domestic bombings in major US cities led to an abundance of patriotism, and nationalism, around September, when the 1918 World Series was to be played weeks earlier than usual due to the government telling major league baseball that due to the war, their season had to end early.

Chicago fans, who stayed away from game one in droves (the game was played in the White Sox' home park, Comiskey Park, in front of 19,000 fans and 11,000 empty seats) were less than enthusiastic as far as the game was concerned, watching the Red Sox star pitcher, Babe Ruth, shut out the Cubbies, 1-0.
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Baseball Note 6/7/15: The Elusive Stolen Base

The 2015 Dodgers, occupiers of first place in the National League’s West Division, and the darlings of local LA media, have not only the fewest stolen bases of any major league team, but they are the only team to have more runners caught stealing than they have stolen bases. They have stolen 13 bases in 28 attempts over 56 games this season, compared with last season, when they were second in the majors with 138 steals. This year, at the current rate, they project to less than 40 steals for the full season. Of course last year the since discarded Dee Gordon, Hanley Ramirez and Matt Kemp accounted for 86 of those 138

steals. Their replacements have stolen a grand total of ten bases in slightly more than one-third of this season. As of today, only six Dodgers have stolen even a single base and only Jimmie Rollins on the entire team has stolen more than two. Gordon alone has stolen 20 bases so far this season, and a total of seven players currently have more steals than the Dodgers as a team.

As the commentators on tonight's ESPN
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broadcast of the Dodgers-Cardinals game discussed, while the Dodger’s lack of base running ability and stolen base prowess may not adversely effect the regular season, it could be a significant problem in a potential post season where the team would face quality pitching every game and where a single stolen base and manufactured run could make the difference in winning or losing a series, and advancing or not advancing towards the World Series.

The Dodgers, second in the majors in home runs, have been winning with power, but there will be key games where a stolen base, or lack of a steal, could make all the difference.

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It Is Now and Always The Bullpen, and Schebler Called Up

The Dodgers’ bullpen continues to disintegrate. The internet geniuses who saw the early season success provided by a groups of untalented pretenders pitching way over their collective heads and who raved about this supposed new strength of the team may or may not now be coming back to reality, but the facts are clear once again: The team has no

effective set-up guys and with Kenley Jansen among the missing, the bullpen is just plain awful.

Jansen made a sensational return to action once he recovered from his off-season foot surgery, but this week's possible recurrence of his heart problems, thought to be fully behind him after 2012 surgery, is not now just troubling for the team but scary for his well being. No one really knows if it was a minor incident, likely
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Baseball Note 6/1/15: Angels’ Pitching

In looking at the Angels pitching today with two months of the season completed, two things stand out to me: Though the overall performance of their bullpen has been a bit disappointing, it is the pen that the Dodgers wish they had, and second, the consistency between the Angels starting pitchers through the end of May is startling. Here are the won-lost records of their five starters:

  • 4-4: Jered Weaver
  • 4-3: Garrett Richards
  • 4-3: Hector Santiago
  • 3-3: C.J. Wilson
  • 3-4: Matt Shoemaker
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Overall, the Angels' start has been disappointing with the team a distant second to the remarkable Houston Astros, but their four-game sweep of the Tigers has put them at three-over .500 for the first time and given them their best record of the young season at 27-24. They also set some weird records in Saturday's game, hitting five home runs in the first two innings, with Detroit's Shane Greene becoming the first pitcher in the "live ball" era to allow that many homers in less than two full innings.

Yesterday I mentioned Fernando Rodney’s 2015 plight. At the opposite end of the closer spectrum is the Angels’ Huston Street who collected his 17th save of the season in yesterday’s finale of the Tigers’ series. On the year, Street has a 0.86 WHIP, having allowed only 14 hits in 22 innings over 22 appearances. In two/thirds of an inning more, Street has allowed less hits than Rodney has allowed runs.

A comment from a friend of mine who is a big Mariners’ fan regarding what I said about Rodney reminded me of a similar closer from years ago, Don Stackhouse, who was called “Full-Pack” because he gave up so many hits and walks and high pitch counts, driving fans and his manager crazy before finally nailing most saves, that his manager (in days long ago) would smoke a full pack of cigarettes in the course of a typical Stanhouse ninth inning.

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Baseball Notes 5/31/15: The Bullpens

Despite a number of internet geniuses who think Christ Hatcher is a major league caliber reliever who is a plus in the Dodgers’ bullpen, again today he was plain awful, coming into the game in the bottom of the eighth after the Dodgers had cut the Cardinals lead in half, to 2-1. Hatcher managed one out, on a popped up bunt, in between walking the two other batters he faced. Then the Dodgers’ resident genius, empty uniform non-manager don mattingly brought in Yimi Garcia, who also, after a solid start to the season, has been beyond awful of late, and he immediately gave up a run-scoring single to return the club’s deficit to two runs. Garcia did manage a strikeout before then allowing another hit, but the inning ended with Matt Carpenter being thrown out at the plate.

Garcia, whose ERA is still a solid 2.91, though up from his low of 0.63 just three weeks ago on May 10, has allowed 14 of the last 36 batters he's faced to reach base, giving up six runs of his own in that time plus several others charged to the like of Chris Hatcher. Hatcher has been scored on in each of his last three games, allowing four runs, all earned, four hits and three walks in a grand total of one and
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one-third innings over those three games. That, folks, is an unheard of 5.26 WHIP.

Hatcher’s ERA, however, is still, amazingly, slightly under 7.00, at 6.89. In Seattle, they continue to depend on a guy who is over 7.00, but who still gets the closer innings and who has actually been able to convert the save in 14 of 16 chances by usually allowing just few enough inherited and/or his own runners to score. In his last outing, Fernando Rodney entered the Mariners’ game to start the ninth with the Mariners up 2-0 over Cleveland. He gave up a single and a triple, but managed the third out with the tying run on third. In his prior game against Tampa Bay, he entered the game in the eight with a three-run lead. He blew that save, as the Rays batters delivered as follows: single, single, hit-by-pitch, double, foul out, walk, run-scoring fielder’s choice, tying the game. When Seattle came back to score a run in the ninth, Rodney was credited with the win, despite the blown save. Now that is a scoring rule that screams out for change. For the year, Rodney’s ERA is 7.08 and his WHIP is 1.72. Before the start of the season, I wrote that Rodney would never have another season as good as 2014, and that, so far, has been the case.

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