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Monthly Archives: March 2009

A little nostalgia

Twenty years ago in July, I attended my first Dodgers game. The Cubs beat Los Angeles 6-4 at Wrigley Field.

It was Mom, Dad, Dan and James sitting in the lower level, first-base side. Eddie Murray hit a home run for the Dodgers in a losing cause.

I want to thank Dad again, 20 years later, for taking me to that ball game. I still have vivid memories of that day. ūüôā

I found the box score from that game on the Internet. Thought you might enjoy looking at it. Here’s the link…

http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CHN/CHN198907070.shtml

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Posted by on March 12, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

I’m so sad for A-Rod

So sad that I’m laughing my brains out.

I hope that jackass misses the whole season with his hip injury.

I hope his Yankees finish third or worse in the AL East.

I wish for two things every baseball season — for the Dodgers to make the playoffs and for the Yankees to miss the playoffs.

May the Yankees endure every freak injury known to man this year.

———-

The Lakers played only two games last week. How strange.

They do play tonight, though, which is odd because they normally have Mondays off.

L.A. is about one more win from clinching the Pacific Division, for what’s it’s worth.

————

We watched the season premiere of “Breaking Bad” last night. After that, AMC showed episode 1 of the second season of “Mad Men.”

Both shows are outstanding — tightly written, artistic and unique. It’s a shame no one watches them.

It’s not too late to get in on the fun of “Breaking Bad.” There have been just eight episodes. Catch up on the old ones by reading Friday’s USA Today life section. Here’s the link to that story…

http://www.usatoday.com/life/television/news/2009-03-05-bryan-cranston-breaking-bad_N.htm

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

OK, now we can start the season

It’s official — Manny Ramirez is still a Dodger.

The future Hall of Famer has agreed to a two-year deal worth $45 million, the Los Angeles Times reported just minutes ago. He can opt out of the contract after 2009.

I would have been excited about the upcoming season regardless of who was playing left field and batting third for the Dodgers. But having Manny in those spots makes 2009 much more intriguing.

If Manny plays 140-plus games this season, and if the Dodgers don’t sustain any other major injuries, I have to believe that Los Angeles will win the NL West. Ninety or more wins should be attainable with Manny around.

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Now that Manny’s in tow, let’s take a look at the biggest issues facing the Bums this year.

  • Who’s the closer? Dodger fans have been spoiled for most of the last 20 years when it comes to ninth-inning relievers. Jay Howell and Jesse Orosco were good enough to help the 1988 team win a world title. Todd Worrell was very effective in the mid- to late-1990s. Jeff Shaw wasn’t flashy, but extremely reliable nonetheless. Eric Gagne had the greatest 3-year stretch of any closer in history; he was as close to untouchable as any pitcher’s ever been, frankly. Takashi Saito was not as overpowering as Gagne, but his numbers were eerily comparable. Now it’s Jon Broxton taking over the closer’s role. I think Brox is an arm injury waiting to happen,¬†considering he¬†throws so damn hard and he’s overweight.¬†But when his command is good, he’s very, very difficult to hit. If he stays healthy and develops a¬†better off-speed pitch, he’ll have an outstanding career. He¬†needs to perform at a high level this year. If he fails,¬†the Dodgers might turn to Guillermo Mota, Cory Wade or Hong-Chih Kuo.
  • ¬†Can Bills be The Man? Chad Billingsley is the Dodgers’ ace now that Derek Lowe is in Atlanta. Bills should be up to the task, but it’s hard to say how he’ll perform after breaking his leg during the offseason. If he pitches 200 innings, we should be in good shape. Hiroki Kuroda is a decent No. 2, and 21-year-old Clayton Kershaw is expected to get the job done as a No. 3. Randy Wolf, another lefty, is a high-risk, high-reward No. 4. The fifth spot could be Jason Schmidt, but most Dodger fans are hoping it’s James McDonald, who was very impressive during his last season’s NLCS. This starting rotation has some significant question marks, but the Dodgers always seem to figure out the pitching end of things. I’m not overly concerned — yet.
  • A quick start is essential:¬†The Dodgers¬†have just seven home games in April. It’s critical that they keep their heads above water early. … A¬†.500 record going into May would be just fine.
  • Middle infielders’ health: Shortstop Rafael Furcal missed most of last season after back surgery. Second baseman Orlando Hudson missed most of last season with a wrist injury. If healthy, those two guys are among the best in MLB at their respective positions. If they’re not healthy, we’re looking at a double-play combo of¬† Chin-Lung Hu and Blake DeWitt — and a likely second-place finish in the West.
  • Is this the year? Dodger fans widely believe that Matt Kemp and James Loney eventually will be among the best¬†players in the National League. The question is, when will that happen? They’re already .300 hitters, give or take, and solid defensively. Hopefully this is the year they take that next step with their power numbers. Kemp is capable of hitting 40 homers; Loney could hit 25 to 30. But, again, when will that happen?
 
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Posted by on March 4, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

Aren’t you on holiday?

Have I ever mentioned how annoying it is¬†that British people say “holiday” instead of “vacation?”

Holidays are holidays. Vacations are vacations. Apparently that message never made it across the Atlantic.

British people bug me sometimes.

Keeping all this in mind, here are my favorite all-time vacations…

Trips made before I met my wife

  1. New York, 1988: My parents took my brother and me to New York to visit another brother. We spent several days in the city before going to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. I’ll never forget the fun we had on that trip.
  2. Los Angeles, 2001: I met my brother out there¬†for a week’s vacation. Made my first trip to Dodger Stadium that week. Also went to Staples Center, Venice Beach, the Hollywood tourist traps, Knott’s Berry Farm and more.
  3. South Dakota, 1998: A rare post-childhood trip with my family. I usually stayed home, but decided to tag along on this trip for some reason. I was not disappointed. The Badlands, Black Hills and Mount Rushmore were breathtaking sights to see.
  4. Spring break, 1998: Me and a couple guys went to Florida to visit our high school buddy. Drank a lot of beer in Daytona and St. Augustine.
  5. Los Angeles, 2004: I actually had met my wife a few months before this trip, but¬†she did not go. That’s why it’s in this¬†category. My buddy Al and I¬†had a great, great time.¬†Dodger Stadium, Petco Park (in San Diego), Mulholland Drive, clubbing on Sunset, Craig Kilborn show and¬†a strange¬†night at a Studio City restaurant were among many memorable moments.

¬†Trips made after I met my wife…

  1. Cabo San Lucas, 2005: Our honeymoon. Great food, great margaritas, lots of time in the pool. A beautiful trip.
  2. Phoenix, 2004: Jill and I visited my brother and his wife, and attended an Iowa football game in Tempe. An added bonus: My brother from Altoona also attended.
  3. Playa del Carmen (I think that’s what it’s called), 2005: My buddy Al’s destination wedding, attended by all his family and close friends. We had a blast in the ocean (Gulf?) every day. My drink of choice that week? Jack Daniels on the rocks. Mercy!!!
  4. Vero Beach, 2008: The Dodgers’ last spring training in Florida. So much Dodger history in that gorgeous little town. And¬†I got autographs from¬†Tommy¬†Lasorda, Charley Steiner and Larry King! Yes, that Larry King! An added bonus: Hanging out with my buddy Luke and his wife, as well as Luke’s parents.
  5. ¬†Milwaukee, 2007: Saw games two and three of the Dodgers’ season, and we stayed in their hotel. Made a fool of myself when I met Vin Scully (still a major regret of my life), but had fantastic conversations with radio announcer Pepe Yniguez, batting coach Eddie Murray, team photographer Jon Soo Hoo and more! It was really cool to see the players and coaches close up practically¬†every time we left our hotel room.
 
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Posted by on March 3, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

Conan and Co.

Anyone watch the zany “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” during its 16-year run? I always thought it was hilarious. Now he’s headed to Burbank, Calif., to take over “The Tonight Show.”

I wonder how much Conan will have to adjust his schtick to draw ratings like Jay Leno does.

Leno possesses more “every man” humor. That’s way he’s always drawn more viewers than the more eccentric David Letterman.

It’ll be interesting to watch Conan in his new role. I hope he does well against Letterman. I don’t find the Ball State alum to be that entertaining.

I can assure you, however, that I will NOT be watching¬†Conan’s replacement on “Late Night.” I think Jimmy Fallon is the opposite of funny. The same can be said about pretty much every “Saturday Night Live” cast member since 1995.

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

NBA playoffs — looking ahead

Teams I would¬†hate to face in the NBA playoffs, which start next month…

  • Boston: They’re great, and now they have Marbury.
  • Phoenix: Shaq is playing like he used to. And their running game is back.
  • Denver: Playing¬†very well after getting rid of cancer Iverson.
  • Detroit: Always give the Lakers fits. But I guess I’ll take my chances against them in the Finals.

Teams I wouldn’t mind facing in the playoffs…

  • Cleveland: The Lake Show can handle this team.
  • Orlando: Gotta prove to me that they’re an elite team.
  • San Antonio: Always dangerous, but the Lakers seem to have figured out how to beat them.
  • Portland: I’m not impressed.

————

The Lakers had a bad weekend, losing at Denver and Phoenix. Now they’ll try to avoid their first 3-game losing streak of the season.

Next game: at home vs. Memphis on Tuesday.

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2009 in Uncategorized