Thursday, May 21, 2009

Laker flags, Dodger victories

        It was recently mentioned in an East Coast newspaper article that the Lakers own  Los Angeles. That's true  in May and June when the team is regularly in the playoffs. But this season the needle on the popularity machine is inching toward the team in Chavez Ravine.
        Yes, more cars have yellow and purple flags flapping along the freeway than ones with royal blue pennants. The Lakers are in the conference finals against the Denver Nuggets and the teams play Game 2 tonight at Staples Center.
        But the Dodgers just finished a sweep of the New York Mets. There were over 50,000 fans at the game Wednesday night and the Dodgers beat the NL East contender in all parts of the game: pitching, power, timely hitting, base stealing and defense. L.A. has the best record in baseball, is 8 1/2 games ahead of the Giants in the NL West and has  equaled the best home record start set by the 1998 N.Y. Yankees of 17-3. Joe Torre was the manager of that team too.
        In Monday night's 3-2 extra-inning win, the Dodgers got a break when the Mets' Ryan Church missed third base on his way home. Instead of scoring the go-ahead run, Church was called out after third baseman Mark Loretta asked for the ball and stepped on the bag. It was a heads-up play by the veteran Loretta who has contributed nearly every time he has played.
        Baseball has changed that rule. It used to be if a team believed a runner didn't touch a base, the pitcher had to put his foot on the rubber, then take it off and throw to the base in question. An infielder would step on the bag and the umpire either called him safe or out.
        Later in the game, the Mets made three errors in one inning which allowed the Dodgers to score the winning run.
        L.A. doesn't have a pro football team but its baseball and basketball teams are the best around.

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