Lakers Looking Good Despite The Sad State of the NBA

As the brief NBA exhibition season is set to begin, and as fans in Los Angeles are clamoring for the start of a new era in Lakers’ basketball led by Lonzo Ball, politics and finances are the issues that today dominate throughout the media. Unfortunately, it looks like the office of the NBA Commissioner is begging for a fight with players, and I’d have to believe that they will get just that.

In a memo distributed to teams throughout the league late today and then obtained by ESPN, the NBA has prepared itself to abide by the earlier statements of Commissioner Adam Silver, though exactly how it will deal with dissidents is yet to be determined. Commissioner Silver seems to have with this stance totally abrogated his lofty position as

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not just the most progressive commissioner in US professional sports, but also as the most popular commissioner among players in any pro sport. Silver had stated that he “expected” all players to stand for the playing of the national anthem before league games, and the memo elaborates on that position by stating that:

“‘…the league office will determine how to deal with any possible instance in which a player, coach, or trainer does not stand for the anthem.’ The memo states that individual teams ‘do not have the discretion to waive’ the rule that players, coaches and staff must stand for the anthem. The league has the discretion to discipline players who violate the rule.”

I guess that Silver, as bright and talented as he is, has never heard of the First Amendment, Continue reading

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When to Defend and When Not to Defend the NFL

On general principles, it’s awfully hard to defend the NFL on most issues. The “Take-A-Knee” controversy is very easy to defend: NFL players have a first amendment right to free speech and kneeling or taking other postures during the playing of the national anthem is an exercise of that free speech, as defined by the United States Supreme Court, through its most conservative justice, EVER. Furthermore, it is UTTER GARBAGE to say or think that by taking these actions that players are aiming their protest or in ANY DAMN WAY evoking disrespect to the anthem or to the flag of the United States*. As a popular meme on social media has noted, Rosa Parks was not protesting public transportation!.

The current controversy regarding this has been fueled on a daily basis in order to keep it alive and expand on it by the current occupier of the Oval Office in order to divert

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attention from his total incompetence and continued unimaginable failures on so many current issues. This is misdirection, and little more – fodder for his base and for people caught up in an issue that they do not understand and about which they believe the deceit and misinformation thrust upon them

But, at the same time, other things continue throughout the NFL that makes one wonder how long can it survive in its present lofty place in society. The bottom line is that to play big-time football is to risk your life on every snap of the ball. Anyone who watched Thursday Night Football’s game between Green Bay and Chicago saw that first hand last night: Continue reading

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Dodgers Can’t Solve Philadelphia

So the resurgent LA Dodgers, fresh off taking two of three from Washington and only a game removed from a four-game winning streak, jetted into Philadelphia, with their number one starter, Clayton Kershaw, and their supposed number two, the Whirling Darvish, set to start the first two games. Easy-peasy, right? Not so fast.

Two days later as the Dodgers prepare for game three in the City of Brotherly Love, they have now lost three in a row, and they failed to beat the team with the second-worst record in the National League, with either Kershaw or the Whirtling.

How can this be?

Well, in the first game, it was budding young Phillies’ star Aaron Altherr who, fighting

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injuries and for playing time over his first three seasons up and down from the minors, but whonow has a regular outfield sspot. All he did was hit the FIRST EVER grand slam off of Kershaw. Continue reading

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Downtrodden Philadelphia Teams Stockpiling Talent

For years the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers were the laughingstock of the league, with its record-breaking losing records, culminating with an amazing 10-72 for the 2015-20156 season. But they put that mediocrity to good use with the NBA’s system of rewarding the worst run, most pathetic franchises, and now the 76ers have a group of super-talented young stars to be that could take the team to challenging for a league title very soon. The NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles in recent times have been a good but not great team, with some years better than others and with a recent low point coming just the season before last, when they had a down turn in performance at several skill positions. They quickly remedied all of that with the drafting of last year’s number one quarterback prospect and in bringing

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in established talent at both the running back and wide receiver positions. And then there are the Phillies.

After winning the National League East five consecutive years, the combination of aging stars and little in the way of minor league talent that could be transitioned to, lead to five consecutive losing records, including a 99-loss season in 2015. But the Phillies have rejuvenated their farm system, and combined with a couple of excellent trades, now appear to be on the verge of emerging as a new power in the league. Continue reading

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Have the Dodgers Regained the “Spark”?

Bringing in questionable players from losing teams, treating September as Spring Training 2.0 for the post season, and a lethargy prompted by just too big a lead over all those other inferior teams lead the Dodgers to a previously unthinkable losing streak where pitching was sub-par and the offense non-existent, but now just maybe the tide has turned back, and maybe the spark has returned. A four game winning streak, the last two against the National League’s second best team, can be extended by another game later today, and if the Dodgers can do that defeating a solid starter in Stephen Strasburg after wins against

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the likes of the slumping Johnny Cueto, followed by Matt Moore, Edwin Jackson and A.J. Cole, it will actually mean something.

But is the lineup scheduled for tonight’s game the right way to approach a game against Strasburg? What in the world has Curtis Granderson done in the last month to earn a spot in the Dodgers’ lineup, and similar questions have to be asked about yasmani grandal who CLEARLY is the inferior catcher, both defensively and offensively, to Austin Barnes, who seems to have earned the first starting spot over the past couple of months. Continue reading

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Washington to Throw Dodgers a Bone Tonight

After the Whirling Darvish did well Wednesday night (see how long that lasts – remember who he pitched against in that game), the Dodgers go into Washington tonight with a two-game winning streak. Yea, both wins against the Giants. The Dodgers will start the slumping lefty Alex Wood, who is desperately trying to hold on to not just a starting job, but a place on the post season roster. Wood will have his hands full tonight, facing the National’s powerful virtually all right-hand-hitting lineup.

The Dodgers’ starting staff, top-heavy with lefties, will quite possibly face this issue in the post season, certainly if the Nationals’ two disabled lefty-hitting stars Bryce Harper and

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Adam Eaton are still unable to play. As of now, the Whirling Darvish figures to be the only righty starter that the Dodgers will use in the post season, though there is always hope that Kenta Maeda will be part of the rotation.

Despite the odds being against Wood doing well tonight, the Dodgers do get a real break as far as Nationals’ starters go. Continue reading

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Darvish Gets to End Dodgers’ Winning Streak at One

After last night’s resounding thrashing of the San Francisco Giants that ended the team’s 11-game losing streak, the Dodgers take a solid one-game winning streak into tonight’s game, which will feature Giants’ lefty Matt Moore (5-13, 5.31 ERA) facing off against the totally overmatched Whirling Darvish and his own personal three-game losing streak, and who has lost eight of his last ten decisions, and whose National League record since coming to the Dodgers stands at 2-3 with a 5.34 ERA. Since his 2-0 start and 1.50 ERA in early August, Darvish has since allowed 16 earned runs in his last 18-1/3 innings for an impressive 7.85 ERA and unheard of, record-shattering 2.35 WHIP.

Just how big was last night’s win? After losing that 11 in a row and knowing that the Whirling Darvish would be on the mound tonight, stopping the losing streak with Clayton

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Kershaw on the mound was vital, ending the fear of the streak reaching 13 by midnight tonight, baring yet another rainstorm and rain delay. Instead, that elusive magic number has been cut, sliced all the way down to eight, given Arizona’s loss last night to Colorado, their fourth loss in their last five games. Also, the Dodgers’ win and the D’Back’s loss clinched a post season spot for the Dodgers, whether they want it or not. Continue reading

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Dodgers’ Skid Worst Since 1992

And in 1992, the Dodgers lost 99 games.

Offensively, defensively and strategically, the LA Dodgers made every mistake in the baseball book last night as they lost their ninth straight game, the team’s longest losing streak since 1992, and the first such streak including only home games in more than 30 years. Yesterday morning I wrote about “The Whirling Darvish and the Sinking Dodgers” and seemingly everything I wrote, and more, came about later in the day during the game.

While the article focused primarily on the Whirling Darvish, other items I mentioned that were specifically relevant in the game included the following:

I mentioned starter Alex Wood having gone 3-2 with an ERA of 5.12 since July 15. After last night’s outing in which he allowed five earned runs on eight hits and three walks in

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five innings pitched, his post-July 15 record now stands at 3-3 with an ERA of 5.44. All of the runs charged to Wood were earned, but the fourth run should have been unearned. And that brings us to Yasmani Grandal. Continue reading

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The Whirling Darvish and the Sinking Dodgers

Can I say “I told you so?” Leading the Dodgers’ EPIC COLLAPSE is the staggeringly overrated savior that the Dodgers’ acquired virtually seconds before the trade deadline, a trade that will go down in Dodgers’ history as one of the epic mistakes the team has ever made, not quite Pedro Martinez for Delino DeShields or Mike Piazza for a pile of crap, but given the significance and the hype and the track record and expertise of the guy now pulling the strings, a monumental error.

I previously wrote about the trade and won’t go into those specifics again, but the fact of the matter is, having given up real talent for Yu Darvish, hereinafter “the Whirling Darvish”, a pitcher epically overrated, and to attach such monumental reliance on his

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stepping into the number two (or even number one depending on the health of Clayton Kershaw) starting slot, was pure folly.

For the record, the Whirling Darvish has now compiled a three-year record of 25-24 with an ERA of 3.63 – marks of a true superstar, number one starter, right? But as a member of the Dodgers’ rotation his ERA is 5.34, but since his fine beginning going seven shutout innings on August 4 against the hapless New York Mets (62-79, 11th in the league in batting, 11th in the league in hits, 11th in the league in batters struck out) his Dodgers’ record reads as follows: 1 Win, 3 Losses, 6.94 ERA and 1.84 WHIP, Continue reading

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