2016: Going, Going, Gone
December 26, 2016

It's difficult to think 'year in review' thoughts when it's the night after Christmas, but this is the final Monday of the year, and thus, the final column in this space for 2016. I've looked at previous year-end columns on this website, and noticed that I have classified most of the years as 'strange'. If those years were strange, this one was crazy-go-nuts (as the Billy Crystal character 'Fernando' might say)...(continued)

Marysville to Operate TWO Baseball Teams in 2017
December 19, 2016

In the infinite enigma that is the Great West League, the fledgling collegiate wood-bat summer outlet has added a sixth franchise for its upcoming season. While that in itself would be a good thing, the new team is in a market that already has one—Marysville...(continued)

Red, White, and Gold Sox Impacted By Winter Meetings
December 12, 2016

Major league baseball held its annual Winter Meetings in suburban Washington, DC last week, and while several teams made upgrades by either gathering promising young talent, trading for an elite starting pitcher, or trying to acquire that marquee free agent, one seemingly insignificant deal reverberated as far away as Marysville, California...(continued)

Huskies Deserve Berth, Committee Did Its Job
December 5, 2016

Five teams for four spots. That was the big dilemma this year when it came to selecting the teams that would play for college football's national championship. ESPN, which televises the playoff games, went on for four hours ad nauseum Sunday morning on what the selection committee should do, and which team deserved it more. In the end, the deserving teams got in...(continued)

Being Thankful for Thanksgiving
November 28, 2016

Thanksgiving is a great tradition in this country. You stop your daily grind, gather with loved ones, and whether out loud or not, reflect on the good things that have happened to you during the year, or just the good things about life itself. This year, though, the actual Thanksgiving happening in and of itself, was amazing, but also something that hopefully won't ever happen again...(continued)

Great West League Downsizing for 2017
November 21, 2016

One step forward, two steps back. The Great West League, which likes to call itself 'one of the premiere college wood-bat leagues in the country', will operate with five teams instead of six next year. Not exactly progress for the fledgling league that's preparing for its second season...(continued)

We Are All to Blame For This
November 14, 2016

America? What. Did. You. Do!? Bad America! This isn't the family dog getting into the garbage again or trying to sneak a nibble of the cat's food. America, you have just put a megalomaniacal demagogue into the White House. You have just put in a person who may either get us into a war, escalate terrorism, and create fear in every minority household. Or maybe he won't. We don't know, but we know what he could be capable of. This isn't the dog getting into the garbage, this is the dog getting into the garbage, eating two one-pound chocolate bars, and having to be rushed to the vet because chocolate is poisonous to dogs, and it could die...(continued)

While We Wait For a President, How 'Bout Those Cubs?
November 7, 2016

Just how much history can one country stand, anyway? The Chicago Cubs win the World Series for the first time in over a century, with millions of people celebrating, and less than a week later, we choose the 45th President of the United States, and no matter who wins, hundreds of millions of Americans will be pissed off. Talk about mood swings...(continued)

Gold Sox' Bass Reels In Ring In Japan
October 31, 2016

While the World Series between the Cubs and Indians sails into November, on the other side of the planet, the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters have won the Japan Series, and a man who spent a season in Marysville, played an integral part...(continued)

Do We Really Want the Cubs to Win It All?
October 24, 2016

The 2016 Chicago Cubs are more than just a really good team. Some might call them a team of destiny, a team that would lift a so-called curse of over a century without a championship. But, with all that nonsense aside, they are really really good. So good, they could be good for a long time, and that's the scary part...(continued)

Dodgers-Cubs: A Walk Down Memory Lane
October 17, 2016

The Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs play in separate divisions, and have since this reporter was in kindergarten. That means they only play each other a handful of times during the regular season, but despite not being bitter rivals, these two teams that wear blue provided more than their share of memories for someone who grew up with baseball in the seventies and beyond...(continued)

Giants Stave Off Elimination; Dodgers on the Brink
October 10, 2016

It's late. We'll keep it short, and ponder for another week how Bruce Bochy and his San Francisco Giants do it. The Giants just beat the Cubs 6-5 in 13 innings to stay alive in the post-season, but still trail the Chicago Cubs two games to one...(continued)

No Monday Baseball (Again); Giants Win for Vin
October 3, 2016

It's getting late on Saturday night. Baseball's regular season has about 18 hours to go and the Seattle Mariners are trailing the Oakland A's 7-4 in the seventh inning. They score three runs to tie, keeping their playoff hopes alive, and also a mathematical possibility of a four-way tie for the two American League wild card spots. The M's would lose, and even with six meaningful games on Sunday, no tiebreakers would be needed, and baseball would take Monday off...(continued)

Dodgers 'Win for Vin', Clinch Division
September 26, 2016

There are still three more games remaining in Vin Scully's 67 year broadcasting career, but the retirement party was a week early. This weekend marked the final games at Dodger Stadium for the soon to be 89 year-old. Not only were there plenty of scripted moments with ceremony and celebration, but how about a few surprises like a division title and a walkoff homer?...(continued)

'O.J.' Cleans Up at Emmy Awards
September 19, 2016

Somehow, 2016 will go down in television history as the comeback year of O.J. Simpson. No, the ex-football player turned (technically still alleged) double murderer turned thief of his own memorabilia has not been released from his Nevada prison cell, but 22 years after the Bronco chase, his story has been plastered all over the tube again. That number, 22, by the way, is also the number of Emmy nominations a mini-series about his Hollywood trial received...(continued)

Relocated Rams Look Lost In Cali Return
September 12, 2016

If you are a professional football fan in southern California, you're probably thinking, “I've waited over two decades for this?”. If you are in St. Louis, you are either laughing your head off, or just shaking your head in disgust. The once-again 'Los Angeles' Rams are back, but lost at the rival San Francisco Forty Niners tonight 28-0...(continued)

Gearing Up For Goodbyes
September 5, 2016

“Hi everybody, and a very pleasant good evening to you, wherever you may be.” That signature greeting will only be uttered on television by the legend himself Vin Scully just a dozen more times. After 67 years and something like ten thousand games, that will be it. As he puts it, he'll be riding off into the sunset...(continued)

Wait. The Dodgers are in First? What?
August 29, 2016

It's a conversation about the Los Angeles Dodgers that might go something like this...(continued)

Olympics 2016: A Rio to Remember
August 22, 2016

Weren't these supposed to be the Zikalympics? There were supposed to be unfinished venues, political upheaval, gunk in the water, and who knows what else, making it into some sort of athletic apocalypse or something. Turns out the only embarrassing thing about the games in Rio was swimming buddies Ryan Lochte and others getting drunk, turning into thugs, and then into liars. And you wonder why the rest of the world hates us...(continued)

The GWL Has Some Growing Up To Do
August 15, 2016

The inaugural season of the Great West League wrapped up with a thrilling title game Sunday. In a third and deciding game of a best-of-three series, the second place Chico Heat defeated the top seed Medford Rogues 1-0. The only run of the game came after an error in the third inning, and the winning pitcher went the distance and led his team to celebration. Now, the GWL really has to get to work...(continued)

Rio's Moment Arrives, and NBC Has It Three Hours Later
August 8, 2016

It doesn't seem like it's been four years since the last Olympics. That's because it's been only two since the winter games in Sochi, Russia, and now the five intertwined rings are back, complete with NBC's tape-delayed coverage. The network has dusted off Bob Costas, propped him up in the anchor chair like it was Weekend at Bernie's, and here's hoping he doesn't get pinkeye like last time, or worse yet, Zika. Let the games begin!...(continued)

Dodgers and Giants Add Pieces, A's Sell Off As Usual
August 1, 2016

What is this fascination the Los Angeles Dodgers have with broken down Oakland A's pitchers? Brett Anderson. Brandon McCarthy. Scott Kazmir (at least healthy this season so far, knock on something). Joe Blanton. How about a couple more?...(continued)

Gold Sox Showing Signs of Wear and Tear
July 25, 2016

They looked like a runaway train. A semi barreling down the interstate with no regard for who was in the left lane. They won 15 of their first 17 games. They had the experience. They had a history. They looked like champions. Now they've derailed. Pulled off to the side of the road because only 17 wheels had air in them. Waiting for the auto club to show up...(continued)

And the Most Depressing Awards Show on TV Is?...
July 18, 2016

If you look at this space from time to time (and thank you if you do), you'll find this column is almost always about sports. When it's not, it probably has something to do with an awards show. So what should be better than a sports awards show, right? Well if you want a three-hour downer, then the ESPYs are for you...(continued)

Best in Baseball at the Break: The Giants???
July 11, 2016

How could this happen? The Chicago Cubs were dominating. You take both eyes off the big league ball for a short time to pay attention to a summer collegiate league, and this happens. The big leaguers go to their All-Star Break, and somehow the San Francisco Giants have the best record...(continued)

The Fourth on TV: Making Fireworks Interesting
July 4, 2016

Thirty minutes is a long fireworks show. Not unspectacular mind you, but long. Especially when you aren't there, and watching on TV. Of course the “feel” might not be right, but you don't have to deal with thousands of people and the crowds and traffic that comes with it,either...(continued)

Past Experience Seems to be Paying Off in New League
June 27, 2016

This final score just in on a Monday night. Portland Pickles (yes, the Pickles) 7, Marysville Gold Sox 4. It's been a very rare thing that the Gold Sox play on a Monday night, but that's the reality of their new league. It's also been a rare thing that they lose...(continued)

What Happened to the Warriors? Cavs Win in Seven
June 20, 2016

It may be Believeland in Cleveland, but in northern California, it's Dismay by the Bay. The Golden State Warriors, up three games to one in a best-of-seven series with no team ever coming back from that deficit in the finals, lost...(continued)

Sharks Fall Short, Warriors on the Verge
June 13, 2016

Even forgetting for a moment that the San Francisco Giants just took two of three from the Los Angeles Dodgers, and now have a six game lead in their division after play tonight, Bay Area sports fans have a lot going for them. The San Jose Sharks got to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in their 25-year history, and the Golden State Warriors are on the precipice of their second straight NBA title...(continued)

Gold Sox Open New Era With Series Win
June 6, 2016

Years down the road will determine whether or not it was a dubious occasion, but it was a festive one in Marysville Friday when the local baseball team began its new season in a new era. The Marysville Gold Sox now do what just about every other baseball team in America does—play in a league, meaning half of their games are on the road...(continued)

Fox Gets It Wrong; Thor Had To Go
May 30, 2016

You knew it was coming. You didn't know exactly how or when, but while the Los Angeles Dodgers were in New York, Chase Utley was going to get thrown at. But even though everyone knew it, players, coaches, broadcasters, and other know-it-alls were shocked and dismayed that when it did happen, the pitcher responsible was thrown out of the game...(continued)

Dodgers Minus Kershaw Equals Disaster
May 23, 2016

News flash. The Los Angeles Dodgers won a game that Clayton Kershaw didn't pitch. It took 17 innings to do it, but yesterday, in San Diego, the Dodgers prevailed. Dodger fans likely remember the first three games of the season. In San Diego. LA won all three games, and all by shutout. The Dodgers and Padres have the same record in all games since...(continued)

New League Stumbles Toward Starting Gate
May 16, 2016

On every press release put out by the new Great West League, with the Marysville Gold Sox being one of its inaugural franchises, at the bottom of the page, the league describes itself as “one of the premier summer collegiate wood bat leagues in North America.” That's pretty presumptuous considering an out hasn't been recorded yet, but while things aren't all according to Hoyle, they are preparing for the first pitch in just two and a half weeks...(continued)

Can Mediocrity Win the West?
May 9, 2016

This final score just in. Mets 4, Dodgers 2. Up north, the Giants fell to the Toronto Blue Jays 3-1. For Dodger fans, good news and bad news. The bad news is, the team has won the same number of games it has lost. The good news? They are tied for first place...(continued)

Pot and PEDs Hit Football and Baseball
May 2, 2016

This was a bad week in sports. Forgetting for a moment that the Dodgers lost six in a row and the only way they could win a game was if Clayton Kershaw struck out 14 and drove in the game's only run, it was the stuff off the field that was the most upsetting...(continued)

Kings Fall in Five; Prince Remembered on SNL
April 25, 2016

It didn't quite have the same vibe going in as this time two years ago, but in sports, you just never know. In fact, you might say this time around, the roles are reversed. In 2014, the Los Angeles Kings, underdogs in their first round playoff series against the San Jose Sharks, beat them in seven games. Not so this time...(continued)

Kobe Drops 60 in Farewell; Warriors Reach Win Record
April 18, 2016

If you are a sports fan but have perhaps taken a couple of years off from watching the NBA, Wednesday night was a great night to return. If you are a die hard basketball fan, you wouldn't have missed Wednesday, but you might have doubted if it would live up to the hype. It did, and more...(continued)

Dodger Manager Removes Rookie With No-Hit Bid
April 11, 2016

My how times have changed. We know that a complete game is a rare thing now, and everything is about pitch counts, but the exception to that rule recently has been if a pitcher was chasing something even rarer—a no-hitter. Not anymore...(continued)

Family, Friends Jumpstart Mom's 90th Birthday
April 4, 2016

It may be one of the biggest sports weekends of the year, but sometimes you have to take time out for family. Sure, Villanova hit a buzzer beater to defeat North Carolina and the Dodgers clobbered the Padres on Opening Day, but it's not every day your mom turns 90. You can read about that other stuff anywhere...(continued)

Dodgers Ready To Limp Home to Start Season
March 28, 2016

They say nothing counts in Spring Training, right? Dodger fans certainly hope so because things are not going well at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Arizona. They won a bunch of games early, but at the cost of injuries. Many many injuries. And the worst part is, the Dodgers either lied about or misrepresented the severity of them...(continued)

NCAA Weekend: Pac-12 Inept, State Schools Swept
March 21, 2016

You heard it all during the college basketball season. How deep the Pacific 12 Conference is. Some said that top to bottom, it was the best. Now let's not get carried away. In fact, seven of the dozen schools made it to the NCAA Tournament. One even got a number one seed. Sadly out here on the left coast, five of the other six were bounced in the first round...(continued)

Madness Off to Slow Start With Long Selection Show
March 14, 2016

Two hours to reveal a 68-team bracket? Really? That's almost how long it takes to play a college basketball game, and this year, it was the duration of the CBS College Basketball Tournament Selection Show, which was hijacked by the Turner Sports crew. Yeah, it was a long two hours...(continued)

Remembering the Cheaters: Baseball's All-PED Team
March 7, 2016

With baseball in full swing at training camps in Arizona and Florida, and the news today that tennis star Maria Sharapova failed a drug test at this year's Australian Open, we figured this would be a good time to unveil our first-ever baseball All-Drug Team...(continued)

Rock Adds More Than Color to 'All-White' Oscars
February 29, 2016

It was all the talk on the Red Carpet show. What was Academy Awards host Chris Rock going to say about the controversial diversity issue? There were no black actors nominated for Oscars this year. If you've ever seen Rock perform, you knew he wouldn't sidestep the issue. Not only did he confront it head-on, but that's all his opening monologue was about...(continued)

Ahhh Those Seven Great Words This Time of Year
February 22, 2016

George Carlin had his seven dirty words you can't say on radio or television. It was a very hilarious bit where he even said the words. In some ways, it was even funnier when the words were bleeped, using a separate sound for each word. But these seven words aren't dirty. They are refreshing. They even can be a sign of hope. The seven words? Pitchers and catchers report for spring training...(continued)

He's Not MVP, but All-Star Game was Kobe's Show
February 15, 2016

I haven't watched professional basketball for a year and half. I've also been inexplicably and unjustifiably proud of that streak. I wasn't planning on ending it anytime soon, either, until I realized, and just in time for this weekend, that there's a game coming up I have to see. Kobe Bryant will be ending his 20-year career in April, and a prelude to that occasion played out last night. His final All-Star game...(continued)

Denver D Stifles Carolina; Manning Can Leave on Top
February 8, 2016

The full quote, attributed to the late coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, is “Offense sells tickets. Defense wins championships.” That last part has been debated over the years, but it certainly held true in this year's Super Bowl. Denver's defense shut down Carolina's offense in a 24-10 win...(continued)

Cruz Wins, Clinton-Sanders Dead Heat in Iowa
February 1, 2016

The world's longest pregame show is over, and it's not even Super Bowl Sunday yet. Three out of every four years, that title belongs to the prelude to the big football game, but in years divisible by four with no remainder, we're talking about the Presidential Election of the United States of America...(continued)

New Age vs. Old School in Super Bowl 50
January 25, 2016

Forget about your proximity to Denver or Charlotte, or whether your favorite team is in the NFC or AFC, if you throw all of that out the window, chances are the team you root for in this year's Super Bowl will depend on how old you are...(continued)

Rams Moving Back to LA, but Why Now?
January 18, 2016

After over two decades without a professional football team, and with the clamoring of almost no fans whatsoever to bring one back, the National Football League is returning to Los Angeles. The NFL voted 30-2 on Tuesday to allow the St. Louis Rams to relocate, gave the San Diego Chargers one year to decide if they wanted to share a new stadium with the Rams in Inglewood, and gave the Oakland Raiders the option of taking that deal if the Chargers declined...(continued)

Gervais, Gibson Generate Gasps at Golden Globes
January 11, 2016

Just minutes ago, Alabama won college football's national championship for the fourth time in seven years. Over the weekend, the visiting team won all four playoff games for the first time in NFL history. But still one has to wonder. Who let Mel Gibson on the Golden Globe Awards and what did Ricky Gervais say to him that was bleeped on national TV?...(continued)

'New Year's Six' a Bunch of Snoozers
January 4, 2016

Ahh. New Year's Day. The Rose Parade, and then a day of nothing but college football. The best teams in the nation paired up at various bowl games around the country for no real obvious reason. That was the old tradition. The new one created a four-team playoff and kept some of the bigger bowls and their prime matchups. The 'New Year's Six' as ESPN (which has the television rights to all of them) calls them, were all duds. Who knew that the best games of the weekend would be played on January 2?...(continued)

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