Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Fodder for 'Feed' Bag

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell could have used a face to go along with his proposals last week to curb the domestic violence that seems all to prevalent among some players this season. A suggestion would be to hire former Secretary of State Condeleeza Rice to head a department of compliance.
Goodell's press conference in which he offered contrition but not too many specifics on how the league was going to deal with such cases, received poor reviews from a number of groups including the media, players and anti-domestic violence organizations.


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add NFL: When Rice ran the State Department under President George W. Bush, it was reported that she had an interest in one day working at 400 Park Avenue, the league's office address in New York City. Hiring her would smooth over the growing doubt on how Goodell is going to bring the violence and crime under control.


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last add NFL: So far, the college football season has produced few good match-ups among the Top 25 teams. A couple of exceptions were USC's thrilling win over Stanford three weeks ago and last week's close Auburn win over Kansas State. But the pros have produced some exciting games including Seattle's overtime win on Sunday against the Denver Broncos, the Arizona Cardinal's victory against the San Francisco 49ers and the San Diego Chargers defeat of the Seahawks.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Downtown Pool

Wednesday  marked a rarity in sports scheduling for Los Angeles'  professional teams. The Dodgers, Angels, Lakers, Clippers, Kings and Ducks all began their games approximately at the same time--between 7 and 7:30 p.m.
And, to add to the mix, the soccer match between the United States and Mexico kicked off at 8:15 p.m.
So, the copy desk at the L.A. Times sports department decided to have some fun on what was going to be a busy night on deadline. A pool was drawn up and for $1 entry fee a participant had to pick the winner of each team's game. The tiebreaker was to predict the final score of the soccer match.
The Dodgers were in San Diego against the Padres; the Angels were home against Seattle; the Lakers and Clippers were both on the road, against Sacramento and Phoenix, respectively; the King's were scheduled against Phoenix at Staples Center and the Ducks were on home ice against Edmonton. And the exhibition soccer match against the border rivals was at Glendale, Ariz.


*****


add Sports Dept. pool: When the edition was off the floor at 11:15 p.m., Steve Horn announced the results of the  picks. And the winner was Jim Coleman, who had  every winner right. The final outcome of the soccer game was a 2-2 tie, and Coleman took home $10.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

On the Town

Up and down the Boulevard: The Sepulveda golf courses complex has  a new digital marquee that has replaced the old one, which had a hole in the center for what seemed like years. Word from inside Encino Glen, the facility's  restaurant and bar, is that the sign is hard to read, especially  if one is driving on nearby Burbank Blvd. ...


add golf: Our Lady of Grace School will host its annual scholarship golf tournament on May 19 at Woodland Hills Country Club. The format will be a scramble and early-bird sign-ups are worth a $25 discount.

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Shoppers delight: Upgrades at the Smart & Final grocery store at Balboa and Ventura include remodeled check-out stands that feature the names of some Encino streets. Ventura Boulevard, White Oak Avenue and Lindley Avenue are all mounted on signposts.

add Smart & Final: The store, which was once a Thrifty Mart, has expanded its  produce (vegetables and fruits)  and frozen food sections, offering a wider variety  of products.


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Batter up: Encino Little League's  season is underway and two promotions highlight the start of the baseball year. First, Rosti's, the Tuscan Kitchen restaurant near Hayvenhurst Avenue, will award a free pizza each time a home run is hit. And, El Mariachi Mexican Grill is a sponsoring a Texas Hold 'Em poker tournament this Thursday. The festivities include dinner and cocktails at 6:30 p.m. followed by the tournament at 8, which is limited to 120 players.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Spring Is in the Desert

PHOENIX--The Dodgers have always been a team of "firsts." The club was the first National League team to play a night game, the first team to broadcast a game on television, the first  to sign an African American and the first to make a trans-continental move to a new home.
On Wednesday, the Dodgers were the first team to play a spring training game in 2014 and they will be the first team to play a set of games in Australia later next month against Arizona.
In their exhibition game against the Diamondbacks, Clayton Kershaw, the Cy Young Award Winner and richest pitcher in baseball, got the start and threw 40 pitches in three innings. He gave up a pair of triples that led the D'Backs to a 4-1 Cactus League victory.


*****

add Kershaw: The 25-year-old southpaw was effective, though, with his curve ball, especially his big, breaking rainbow pitch, as announcer Vin Scully likes to describe it. It remains to be seen whether Kershaw will make the long trip to Australia. It is being speculated that the Dodgers would prefer to leave him home to rest up for the opening-game of a series in San Diego. The 17-hour flight from Sydney to Los Angeles coupled with jet lag is bound to make most of the players tired.


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add spring training: Even though the Dodgers and Diamondbacks are National League teams, both clubs used the designated hitter in Wednesday's opener. The general feeling before the game was that an extra bat in the lineup would benefit  everybody. Last season, the Dodgers played 36 exhibition games but this year only 19 are on the schedule. The reduced number is because of the Australia trip.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Skating Into the 'Feed' Bag

There have been rock concerts, recreational vehicle shows, a Pope's Mass, motorcycle races and boxing matches, but I never thought I would ever see an ice hockey game at Dodger Stadium. But that is what is going to take place Saturday night at Chavez Ravine when the Los Angeles Kings and the Anaheim Ducks play before an expected sell-out crowd. The game is part of the NHL's Stadium Series, which kicked off the New Year with a crowd of 105,000 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor. Yankee Stadium in the New York will also host an outdoor game later this season.


*****


1st add Dodger Stadium: The team's late owner Walter O'Malley vowed after he built the ballpark in 1962 that there would be very little activity other than baseball at the venue. O'Malley allowed a boxing card to take place the following year where the ring was set up near second base. On that night in March of 1963, Davey Moore fought Sugar Ramos, and later died from his injuries suffered in the fight. O'Malley declared afterward that there would be no more boxing at Dodger Stadium.


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2nd add Dodger Stadium: While the temperature for the outdoor game at the Big House on the campus of the University of Michigan was well-below freezing, it is expected to be a balmy 70 degrees when the Kings and Ducks face off under the palm trees in the early evening on Saturday night. According to the NHL's outdoor rink experts, the warm temperatures will have no effect on the hardness of the ice.
This wasn't always case, however, for L.A. hockey  There were times when players on  visiting teams from the East and Midwest would note that the ice at the Forum in Inglewood was soft, compared to the surface at arenas in such cities as Montreal, Boston and Toronto. Hall of Famer Guy LaFleur once said that he knew he and his Montreal Canadien teammates were in Los Angeles because the warm temperatures made the indoor ice nearly mushy.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Kershaw's Big Raise From Dodgers

The Dodgers offering All-Star pitcher Clayton Kershaw a contract extension that totaled $215 million for seven years illustrates how generous the current team owners are compared to FOX News Corp., which purchased the club from the O'Malley family in the 1990s.
The deal that Kershaw struck with the Dodgers will make him the highest paid player in baseball history, banking checks at over $30 million a season. It is quite a contrast with the story of Mike Piazza, the team's former All-Star catcher, who attempted to negotiate a multi-year extension in 1997 but was instead traded to the Florida Marlins at the start of the 1998 season.


*****


add Piazza: The Dodgers and Piazza agreed to a two-year, $15-million extension in 1996, which paid $7 million the first season and $8 million for the second. It was widely reported that Piazza wanted a long-term contract that would be worth somewhere between $60 million and $75 million.
Piazza, unlike Kershaw who plays every five days, was an everyday player, batted .362 with 40 home runs and knocked in 124 RBIs in 1997. He finished second two seasons in a row in the National League's MVP voting.
Unfortunately for Pizza, the FOX counted the financial beans instead of the catcher's baseball statistics and he was traded away for a journeyman catcher named Charles Johnson. Even some longtime members of the Dodgers front office quietly took Piazza aside and told him he was asking for too much money.


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last add Dodgers: After Piazza left, the team took the lock off its wallet and signed several players including pitchers Darren Dreifort and Kevin Brown to multi-million dollar deals, Dreifort's coming in at over $50 million and Brown's nearly double that.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Holiday football notes

The 100th Rose Bowl game, played yesterday between Michigan State and Stanford, was a scene resembling a stadium-sized Christmas card. The fans on the west side of the field wore green, the east side was decked in red. The only thing that separated both teams was about 2,500 miles, the distance between the Palo Alto, Calif., and East Lansing, Mich.....

Vin Scully was the Grand Marshall of the Rose Parade and the 86-year-old Hall of Famer participated in the coin toss before kickoff. As he threw the celebratory coin in the air he wished the captains of both teams a happy New Year...


Scully, of course, once broadcast  NFL games for CBS, the most famous being the NFC championship game in 1982 between the Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park. His call of Joe Montana's pass to Dwight Clark for the winning touchdown is one of the most famous in all football...


One has to wonder if the dominance of the Southeastern Conference is going to be affected by the emergence of Michigan State as a national power. Along with Ohio State, two Big Ten teams competing for a national championship may force schedule makers to set up future home and home games between teams from the Midwest and Southeast....


With over 95,000 in attendance, the Rose Bowl game easily outdrew all the bowl games played before it. In fact, through last Saturday, the Texas high school 5-A championship game outdrew every bowl game played to that date except for one. The 5-A game had a crowd of over 54,000...


For the last three or four season, Stanford's offense has been the exception to those run by other teams in the Pac-12. While programs such as UCLA, Oregon, Washington and Arizona State execute a hurry-up style of attack, Stanford has stuck with the old-school establish-the-run offense introduced by its ex-coach Jim Harbaugh and continued by Coach David Shaw. Actually, Stanford at times looked more like an old Big Ten team than Michigan State...

It is just a guess, but Michigan State could be the preseason No. 1 teams for the 2014 season.