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Monthly Archives: October 2008

Average margin of victory: 29 points

OK, so the Lakers aren’t playing great teams yet. Still, what they did in their first two regular-season games surely sent a message to the rest of the NBA.

This is one hell of a good team.

One night after beating Portland by 20, the Lakers routed the Clippers by 38.

One twisted knee or ankle could send it all burning to the ground. But barring any major injuries, this Laker team is gonna be fun to watch.

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Congrats to the Phillies for winning the World Series on Wednesday night. I said all year long that they were a very good team, despite the fact that they almost missed the playoffs.

I didn’t think they would win the World Series, but in this crazy postseason setup MLB has, any team can win. I’ve gone over that in great detail in this blog. The Phils played the best baseball since Sept. 1, and they won it all.

Back in the good, old days — before the playoffs began in 1969 — the Cubs and Angels would have slugged it out in the World Series. The pre-1969 Series champions were certainly more bona fide champions, but fans didn’t have nearly the excitement that today’s fans enjoy.

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Posted by on October 30, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

Some sun sounds good about now

Bud Selig already had plenty of good reasons to be rooting for a Dodgers/Red Sox World Series.

Add the Philadelphia weather to that list. If you didn’t notice, there was no baseball played today, either, because of the lousy Pennsylvania weather. Tomorrow night’s forecast? Clear, BUT C-C-C-C-C-C-COLD.

The commish has to be wishing Games 3, 4 and 5 were in Los Angeles. The weather in the Southland the last few days has been sunny and in the low 80s.

But then, we don’t determine the World Series qualifiers based on their cities’ climate, so I digress.

Bottom line: Baseball has to find a way to shorten the season. Next year, a World Series Game 7 would come on Nov. 7. Ouch.

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Watching the Lakers on TNT tonight. I’m really excited about them. If they can avoid major injuries, it’s gonna be a fun team to watch. So much talent, size and experience.

Kenny Smith of TNT said of the Lakers: “They are LOADED. They have every position covered — twice!”

Unfortunately, Jill can’t stand the NBA, so I watch the Lake Show by myself in another room. Oh, well, at least she likes watching baseball.

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Jill and I have been watching quite a few IFC movies lately. There are some good movies on that channel. Sometimes I like not knowing who the actors are.

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It’s winter, which is “book-reading” season for me. I started a novel tonight called “The Prince of Beverly Hills.” Thirty pages into it, and it seems like it’s gonna be a good one. I’ll keep you posted.

Last winter, I read several biographies, including Frank Sinatra, Jackie Robinson, Christopher Kennedy Lawford and James Dean. Kennedy Lawford’s book was the best read.

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

Off-season questions

The Dodgers’ biggest needs going into 2009? The same as many teams’ — a power bat and a quality starting pitcher or two.

What I wonder, though, is this: Can the Dodgers fill those needs from within the organization? Or will they need to sign Manny Ramirez (power bat) or CC Sabathia (quality starter)?

Signing either of those guys would require at least a four-year deal for Manny and probably a six- or seven-year deal for CC. Very risky, to say the least.

Maybe a starting rotation of Billingsley-Kuroda-Kershaw-McDonald-Schmidt/Wade can get the job done for Los Angeles. Maybe James Loney, Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp will hit for more power. If each of those guys hit 25 homers next year, we really wouldn’t need to sign a guy who can hit 50.

On the other hand, the Dodgers will have plenty of money to spend. Because they have a young team, their team payroll is relatively low. Especially after the contracts of Lowe, Blake, Penny, Kent and Nomar come off the books in a few days. I read somewhere that the Dodgers will have more $$$ to spend on free agents than any other team this off-season.

I hope they spend wisely.

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Game 3 of the World Series was exciting to the end. The Phillies are in good shape now, having won Jamie Moyer’s start. How he got through 5 2/3 innings remains a mystery to me.

If the Rays lose tonight, they’re in big trouble with Philly’s Cole Hamels scheduled to pitch Game 5.

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Posted by on October 26, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

My man crush

I have a man crush on Phillies second baseman Chase Utley.

There, I said it.

Utley is probably my favorite current baseball player. He does everything well.

  • He hits for power (33 homers, and a big two-run blast in Game 1 of the World Series last night).
  • He has a short, powerful swing that would enable him to win the batting title if he chose to try.
  • He’s a slick fielder.
  • He’s an extremely smart player. Last night against the Rays, he angled his body toward second base on a pickoff play at third. Had that throw been where it should have been, it would have hit him in the legs and the ball would have gone into left field and Utley would have scored. Very few players can make that move instinctively like that.
  • Oh yeah, he’s not a bad-looking guy, either. Hahaha.

For Dodger fans, Utley is “the one that got away.” Born in Pasadena, Utley attended high school in Long Beach and later starred at UCLA. The hometown Dodgers drafted him out of high school, but Utley chose to go to UCLA. The Phils drafted him out of college and the rest is history.

His two-run homer Wednesday night sunk the Rays in Game 1 of the Series.

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Grandpa and Grandma Brinker are staying with us the next few nights. Jill has a long list of jobs for Clarence to do while he’s here. If she doesn’t do that, he gets bored. 🙂

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Posted by on October 23, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

Dodger connections in the Fall Classic

Much has been made of Phillies centerfielder Shane Victorino being a former Dodger. Los Angeles basically gave him away a few years ago, and now he’s starting for the NL champions.

When it comes to former Dodgers in the World Series, I’m more intrigued with Tampa Bay’s Willy Aybar. This guy showed in the ALCS that he is a terrific hitter, and I was sad to see the Bums trade him away a couple years ago. The Dodgers have successfully kept most of their good young players, but Aybar is one they let get away. He’s going to be an offensive force for the next 10 years, and could have solved our third-base vacancy permanently.

Also, Rays catcher Dioner Navarro is a former Dodger. He’s an All-Star, a solid switch-hitter and he even steals some bases. I wouldn’t trade Russell Martin for him, but Navarro is a good, good player.

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That little Maisa continues to put smiles on her mom and dad’s faces all day long. Everything she does is so pure and cute, you just wish they could stay that size forever. 🙂 But I know every day, month and year will bring new things to appreciate, and we look forward to it all.

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I’m looking for a cheap snow blower. Anyone know where I can find such a thing?

 
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Posted by on October 21, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

Way to go, Rays

Tampa Bay surprised me by beating Boston in Game 7 Sunday night. The Rays will play Philly in the World Series.

I’m glad to see two teams in the Series who haven’t been there in a long time. In the Rays’ case, they’ve never been to the Big Dance.

Rays will win in six games.

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I voted at the Ankeny Public Library last week. I love that the state of Iowa has expanded its early-voting program. It’s so nice to get it done before Election Day, avoid standing in line, etc. I was in and out in less than 10 minutes.

Anything that gets more voters to the polls is a good thing. Our country’s voter turnout has been embarrassingly low in recent decades.

 
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Posted by on October 19, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

Basketball, anyone?

I’m starting to look forward to the NBA season. This is the first year since Shaq left the Lakers that they will be the preseason favorite to win the West. Some experts undoubtedly will tab the Lakers as the favorite to win the NBA Finals.

We’ll see how it goes. I just enjoy watching/listening to the Lakers when they’re really good and winning all the time — the second half of last season was a good example.

But while the Dodgers are an obsession for me, the Lakers are more like a hobby. Something to get me through the long winter. I don’t live-and-die over each Laker win and loss.

I don’t get the DirecTV NBA package like I do for baseball. But since the Lakers are the NBA’s most popular team, they’re on regular channels (TNT, ESPN, ABC) at least once a week. I also subscribe to NBA.com’s free radio package. I can listen to all the games for no charge. I started doing that last season and found myself tuning in for quite a few games, especially later in the season.

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Rays are one loss from spending the offseason thinking about that Game 5 meltdown.

 
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Posted by on October 19, 2008 in Uncategorized