Baseball’s Pace-of-Game Tweaks Miss the Obvious

In 1974, the average major league baseball game took two hours and 29 minutes. They still play nine innings and there are still three outs per inning, but in 2014 the average game time had increased to three hours and two minutes.

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Major league baseball has rolled out some tweaks to pace-of-game rules in a effort to stop the ever-increasing length of games. While they are right with a couple of these changes, they've missed some areas that would make an actual difference. And of course, there is absolute, total reluctance to establish any meaningful restrictions on the number of or length of tv commercials.

Among what baseball HAS done,
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is the following: Continue reading

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Friedman Taking Over – Is mattingly on Borrowed Time?

The bright ray of hope that the empty uniform non-manager don mattingly might have been sent packing upon the hiring of Andrew Friedman as the Dodgers new head of baseball operations quickly vanished when Friedman endorsed the left-over turkey to continue mis-managing the team. Now, however, Friedman has announced how he will

take part in a few team decisions that in the long history of major league baseball have always been the sole province of the manager. Can this POSSIBLY be a ploy to force the hand of mattingly, and get him to resign? Or, in a move even more nefarious, might Friedman even consider making not quite the correct decision, all the time, perhaps sabotaging the end result?

While real, major-league quality managers both understand and accept the range of duties that job includes, and will take no interference from
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their superiors in the organization, Continue reading

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Lakers (Nash, young, Scott, Price) Never Fail To Make News

As the Los Angeles fka Minneapolis Lakers sprint towards their worst season and worst record in franchise history, they remain newsworthy, but for all the wrong reasons.

The Lakers are always the subject of local talk radio and sports reporter jabber concerning whether or not they should, or in fact are engaged in, tanking, in order to help secure the best possible draft position.

The disappearance of Steve Nash is frequently a subject of interest, as he has deemed it just and proper to sit home and collect his $10 Million salary without attending Lakers' games or lending his experience and knowledge to the
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development of the team’s young players, rookie Jordan Clarkson in particular. He’s made a bit of news, however, the past few days, tweeting about soccer and with a tweet-war over some blow-up or another. Reports have censored Nash’s comments, but Continue reading

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ANOTHER Wounded Pitcher Signed by the Dodgers?

Brett Anderson, Brandon McCarthy, Brandon Beachy, Erik Bedard, and today Dustin McGowan – What are the Dodgers and the Freidman-Zaidi brain trust thinking?

Last season, and in many of the past several years, the Dodgers suffered through long stretches where they did not know who would be starting their next game, due to injuries to one starter after another. Last season, each of the big three of Clayton Kershaw, Zach Greinke, and Hyun-Jin Ryu missed time, and with no real occupant of the fifth spot in the rotation, for large segments of the season the Dodgers were struggling with the likes of Paul Maholm, Roberto Hernandez and Kevin Correia in the
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rotation. Since last season, they have traded away Dan Haren and Josh Beckett has retired, and they have filled the empty rotation spots with a group of pitchers who have missed more time due to serious injuries over the past few years than they have had active playing time. Continue reading

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Dodgers Continue to Make Questionable Pitching Choices

Granted, the Dodgers easily won their division last season, despite monumental deficiencies with both the starting pitching staff and the set-up guys in the bullpen. Relying in far to many games through August and September on starters with names like Roberto Hernandez and Kevin Correia, and with late innings entrusted to the young, the elderly, and the infirm. The brand new Dodgers’ brain trust, led by head of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and his general manager Farhan Zaidi, had the off season task of assembling a complete staff that featured more than three great starters and a solid closer.

At the start of spring training 2015, however, the pitching staff has new names but not a single new, reliable, established major league veteran or one who does not have a history of serious injury to bolster either of those two pitching departments. Yesterday's signing of Brandon Beachy adds yet another talented pitcher who has been missing in action week after week, month after month, throughout his very abbreviated major league career. Through his career with Atlanta, Beachy has at times been brilliant, but those times have been separated by long stretches of inactivity.
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Continue reading

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Clippers’ Thin Roster Undercuts DeAndre Jordan’s Great Play

In their last three games, all after the injury to Blake Griffin, the Clippers have defeated Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio, all teams virtually assured of playoff spots, and in the three wins they have been led by the phenomenal play of center DeAndre Jordan. In the three games, Jordan has averaged 22 points per game, on 71% field goal shooting, and 21.7 rebounds per game, along with two blocks and 2.3 steals per game. Jordan led the the NBA in rebounds per game last season pulling down an average of 13.6, and is leading the league again this season with an average of 13.9.

Attempts by both Houston and the Spurs to play "Hack-A-Jordan" failed in their losses to LA, as Jordan became the first NBA player since Wilt Chamberlain in the 1961-2 season to have 25 or more free throw attempts in consecutive games. Jordan's development continues to be exceptional, and as his importance to the team grows, especially during Griffin's absence, he has clearly established himself as one of the league's premier centers, his ridiculous All-Star game snub aside.
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In Griffins’ absence, Doc Rivers has chosen to start Spencer Hawes in his place, and Hawes still has not regained his early season consistency since returning from his left knee injury, but Glen “big Baby” Davis has played really well in an expanded sub role behind him. But, even bigger problems lurk in the back court, now that Austin Rivers has suffered an injured ankle. Clippers’ fans should be thankful that rumors of trading Jamal Crawford were just that, rumors, and that the star sixth man is still the Clippers’ go-to guy in the fourth quarter. Against San Antonio, Doc Rivers played only Crawford along with starters Chris Paul and J.J. Redick in the woefully thin back court. Crawford hit five of seven three-pointers on the way to tying Jordan with a Clippers’ game-high 26 points.

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Dahntay Jones and rookie C.J. Wilcox are the only other guards on the active roster, and their roles have been sitting on the bench and last-minute mop-up in already decided games. It will be difficult enough to survive the short-run without Griffin, but for the long haul, back court help is seriously needed. Yesterday produced an amazing flurry of trades in which somewhere in the neighborhood of two dozen guards changed teams,
but not one of them moved to SoCal and the Clippers’ end of Staples Center.

The Clippers are currently in a pack of five teams whose records are separated by no more than two games. The team with the best record from that group will have no worse than the third best record in the Western Conference, and at lest some degree of home court advantage in the playoffs. The Clippers have the third best record in that group, which puts them only one-half game behind Portland and Houston, who are currently tied. Every game is vital to the Clippers, who could end the regular season with the third best, or even the second best, spot in the conference. But, do they have the depth to make that happen?

Note: Jordan Farmar is still out there.

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One Guy Missing as Dodgers Report to Camp

A few days ago I wrote about how Josh Hamilton, following his recent shoulder surgery, would be missing in action as the Angels reported to spring training. Well, the Dodgers have a similar but worse situation as they filter in for the start of the spring endeavor, as indispensable closer Kenley Jansen has now had surgery to remove a growth from his foot, and will be out of action for up to three months. The Angles have several outfield replacements for Hamilton, and could even be better off without him, given his recent production, but the Dodgers have no viable replacement for Jansen, and have yet to make a move four days after learning of his prognosis. Local media reports have been contradictory, some saying that new head of baseball operations Andrew Friedman has been in no hurry to make any deal and that no new discussions have begun, while others have said that discussions have been focused solely on obtaining a suitable replacement. This at a time where the roster is barren of any acceptable closer and at a time where the free agent market includes exactly two possibilities, Continue reading

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More Empty Promises From the NFL

As Ed Roski’s LA Stadium in Industry fades into a distant memory, as artist conceptions of AEG’s Farmers’ Field in downtown Los Angeles gather cobwebs, and as the Ram’s Stan Kroenke uses his wife’s inherited Walton family billions to leverage shopping center and apartment complex land in Inglewood against the public good in St. Louis, more ghosts from LA’s football past have reared their very ugly heads. Now, two bitter rivals who for years have failed to extort individual billion-dollar windfalls from the citizens of Oakland and San Diego have joined together in a mass conspiracy to force the hands of their hometown officials. Yes, playing on the emotions of the football fans of Los Angeles as Yo-Yo Ma would caress the strings of his cello, Chargers’ and Raiders’ owners have unveiled their “plans” to resurrect the long ago dead and buried, and grossly absurd idea of bringing football to the suburb of Carson, Continue reading

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Four Big Spring Training Question Marks For the Angels

As the off-season sprints to a close, spring training will begin next week. The Angels first arrivals will be in camp by Feb. 20, but Josh Hamilton, who planned to join pitchers and catchers for the early date, will be recovering from last week’s shoulder surgery. The surgery, apparently never considered in October, November, December, or January, promises to put a dent into his early 2015 season, just as a calf injury kept him from much of 2014′s spring training and as did an April thumb injury knock him out of seven weeks of regular season games.

The winter acquisition of Matt Joyce gives the team a competent veteran replacement for Hamilton, and along with Collin Cowgill and another new guy, Daniel Robertson, left field will be in better hands than it was last year when Hamilton produced a depressing 10 home runs, 44 RBI and a .263 average over the 89 games he managed to play in exchange for $17 million. Take your time recovering, Josh, no reason to hurry back! Continue reading

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No TV Again the Likely Scenario for Dodgers’ Fans in 2015

As the Dodgers’ pocketed the first payments in their 25-year, $8 Billion deal that gave Time-Warner Cable a virtual broadcast monopoly for Dodgers’ game telecasts, fans were almost totally shut out from seeing last season’s games. For the 70% of us who live in Los Angeles County and environs, but who do not have access to Time-Warner and thus their monstrous, evil creation SportsNet LA, but rather rely on other cable, satellite and fibre optic providers for our TV faire, we saw a handful of games broadcast by ESPN and fox, and then the last few games of the season when the Dodgers and their Time-Warner partners in crime and deceit waived a free bone in front of salivating, deprived fans. Continue reading

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Clippers, Griffin Get Devastating News

As the Clippers, marred in their worst slump of the season and first-ever three-game losing streak under coach Doc Rivers, prepare to take on the Oklahoma City Thunder, it has been announced that irreplaceable power forward Blake Griffin will miss the next four to six weeks, as he is scheduled for surgery on Monday. Griffin has had a history of elbow problems, and has regularly had fluid drained from his right elbow, and it seems that as so often is the case, the cure is worse than the underlying problem, and has resulted in a staph infection that the Clippers’ medical crew now says requires surgical excision. Continue reading

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Time for the Clippers to Step Up in Toronto

On December 27, 2014, I posted “Clippers to Face Over-Achieving Raptors This Afternoon” in which I gave my opinion about the Toronto Raptors. I described how it was my opinion that, despite their outstanding 23-7 record, they were an extremely over-rated team, with scant real talent, and a record built up through wins against the rest of the awful NBA Eastern Conference. While the significantly more talented and better coached Clippers lost that day’s game to Toronto, I did then and continue to stand by my opinions, despite being totally flamed and insulted, here and in an espn.com conversation, by a slew of Toronto fans who could not accept the truth.

After that game, Toronto had a record of 23-7. Since then, however, they have gone 10-10, and only two of their wins have been against teams with winning records, Continue reading

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