How Do We Describe 2018? Decide For Yourself
December 31, 2018

One more trip around the sun completed. By the time this column gets posted, it will be 2019 in California, and it's already next year now in most of the world. I've used various adjectives to describe previous years. I've decided I'm not going to do that this time...(continued)

Dodgers Trade with Cincy. Clearing Room for Harper?
December 24, 2018

Poor Turner Ward. He's been the hitting coach of the Los Angeles Dodgers for the past three years. Early in this off-season (which was only about six weeks ago), he left the organization to become the hitting coach of the Cincinnati Reds. Perhaps they offered him more money. It was reported at the time that Ward lives in Alabama, so the new job would keep him closer to home. But maybe he took the Cincy gig to get away from Yasiel Puig. If that's the case, he should have stayed where he was...(continued)

Do We Really Need 39 Bowl Games? Of Course Not
December 17, 2018

New Year's Day is just two weeks away. Of course, New Year's Day in the sports world means college football. The Rose Bowl, the Sugar Bowl, the Fiesta Bowl, and before things got mucked up with a four-team national championship playoff, the Orange Bowl, Cotton Bowl, and a bunch of other games on early in the morning because they can't conflict with ESPN''s exclusivity of those contests. Operating on the theory, though, of there's never too much of a good thing, we get 39 games in 18 days, and that doesn't include the national championship...(continued)

Gold Sox May Fold After 17 Seasons
December 10, 2018

If you live in the Marysville-Yuba City area (I do) and follow sports, you are no doubt familiar with a baseball team called the Gold Sox. If you follow the team and read the paper (I don't), you know that the future of that franchise is in doubt. This news is more than a month old (but news to me). The team is up for sale, and the league that they played in has gone out of business...(continued)

Playoff Committee Goes With Oklahoma over Georgia
December 3, 2018

Every Saturday for the last three months, and pretty much every day in between, when ESPN promoted college football and the road to the four-team playoff, they'd end with the question, “Who's In?”. We finally got the answer Saturday, and although no one is really saying the selection committee got it wrong, the fourth and final choice garnered substantial debate...(continued)

Irish Win Means Trojans (and Bruins) Are Done
November 26, 2018

Ahh the annual USC-Notre Dame football game. It could be considered the best non-regional rivalry in college football. If you are a UCLA fan, you hate USC, but what if you're not exactly all in on the Fighting Irish, either?...(continued)

The Most Meaningless USC-UCLA Game Ever?
November 19, 2018

It used to be appointment viewing. Part of the cornucopia of the Thanksgiving weekend college football menu. Yeah, there were games like Auburn-Alabama, Texas-Texas A&M, and Oklahoma-Nebraska (if you remember back that far), but the can't miss doubleheader was Ohio State-Michigan followed by USC-UCLA. In some cases, the winners of those two games would play in the Rose Bowl...(continued)

Paradise Gone: Fire Levels Entire Town of 26-Thousand
November 12, 2018

It was a pretty little town east of Chico. Not only did the name give you an idea of what residents thought of their community, but even to get there, the road you took was called the Skyway. I mean how cool is that? About an eight mile trip where you climb about two thousand feet along the side of Butte Creek Canyon, which is pretty impressive, especially when you see it for the first time...(continued)

My Vote Makes Me Feel Like a 'Frog Out of Water'
November 5, 2018

In getting ready to vote in tomorrow's election, I am reminded of a scene from the 1977 movie Smokey and the Bandit. This probably doesn't apply to most of you, but I am stuck in a little bit of a conundrum. In the scene, Bandit (Burt Reynolds) explains to Sally Field's character that how dumb you are depends on what part of the country you are standing in...(continued)

The Best Team Won—Red Sox Dump Dodgers in Five
October 29, 2018

They were the best team in baseball all year. The 2018 Boston Red Sox won 108 games. They took care of their hated New York Yankees rival three games to one in the Division Series. They de-throned the defending champion Houston Astros four games to one in the League Championship Series, and they unceremoniously dispatched the Los Angeles Dodgers four games to one in the World Series. Crank up Dirty Water by the Standells, and Tessie by the Dropkick Murphys. The Boston Red Sox are the champs...(continued)

Dodgers Return to the Series—This Time vs. Boston
October 22, 2018

There will not be a World Series rematch for the first time in four decades, but for the first time in that same period, the Los Angeles Dodgers have made it to the fall classic for the second consecutive year. Instead of the Houston Astros, the Dodgers will take on the fabled Boston Red Sox, who had the best record in the American League...(continued)

Now the Playoffs Have Some Drama
October 15, 2018

The Dodgers did need four games to dispatch of the Braves and so did the Red Sox to take care of the Yankees. Neither, though, was much of a series. Milwaukee swept Colorado and Houston blanked Cleveland before we could say Nolan Arenado and Corey Kluber. Now, though, going into today, each best-of-seven League Championship Series was tied 1-1, and it looks like we're in it for the long haul...(continued)

Dodgers Beat Braves in Four, Face Brewers Next
October 8, 2018

This season doesn't have the same feel to it as last year did, but all of a sudden for Dodger fans, World Series fever might be setting in a little bit. There's still a little ways to go, but after two impressive pitching performances at home, this team seems poised to enter the Fall Classic for the second consecutive year. And if they get there, who knows what will happen...(continued)

Two #163s! Dodgers Win Sixth Straight Division Title
October 1, 2018

The Los Angeles Dodgers are no strangers to the playoffs. That means they are no stranger to clinching divisions. Last year, they won 104 games and wrapped things up early. In 2016, they clinched with a week to go, but on the day of the final home game (Vin Scully's sendoff). This year, it came down to the final day, and then a day beyond...(continued)

A's Clinch, Browns Win, Rams-Chargers Play
September 24, 2018

Ten notes and observations from the last week in sports...(continued)

#MeToo: What Are the Good Guys Supposed to Do?
September 17, 2018

I like to think I'm a good guy. I try to be. In the workplace, I have often been described as 'professional'. I take pride in that. I believe that I work hard, and am nice to people. I'm certainly no Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K., Al Franken, Les Moonves, or anything like how those people are now perceived after allegations of sexual misconduct have destroyed their careers. Here's where I'm going with this...(continued)

Osaka Surprise. Serena Melts Down (Again) at Open
September 10, 2018

What is it about Serena Williams and the US Open Tennis Championships? Every few years we get to see the diva side of the tennis queen, and while some think berating a linesperson or a chair umpire is entertaining, it also reveals a competitor's true character, Interestingly, we saw some maturity (in part) in Williams, as she once again carried on like a spoiled brat...(continued)

Kemp, Dodgers In First on Labor Day
September 3, 2018

When a Major League Baseball season gets underway in April (now late March), it is said that it's too early to tell how good teams are until Memorial Day. As the summer winds down,you know who the contenders are, but the stretch run doesn't begin until Labor Day. If that's true, the Los Angeles Dodgers picked the right time to climb back on top of the National League West. It's Labor Day...(continued)

A Quick Breather Before the Sports World Heats Up
August 27, 2018

It's the weekend before Labor Day. There were some good baseball matchups, but television sports was mostly dominated by preseason football. The college headlines are still about what coaches know about spousal abuse but didn't tell anyone, and a major tennis tournament is about to begin, but not yet. The weekend before Labor Day is kind of ho-hum, but that doesn't mean things aren't about to happen...(continued)

A's Are For Real, Tied For First in AL West
August 20, 2018

It was June 16. Still a month shy of the All-Star Break, not even the halfway point of the Major League Baseball season yet, and it looked like the playoff teams had already been determined in the American League. The Houston Astros and Cleveland Indians had substantial leads in their divisions, the Boston Red Sox had the best record, even though the New York Yankees were right behind them, and the Seattle Mariners supposedly had their wild card ticket already punched. The Oakland Athletics, having lost two more games...(continued)

For Heaven's Sake, Let Starters Throw More Pitches!
August 13, 2018

You hear this all the time in sports, and you hear it because it's true. Athletes are so much better today than they were years ago. No matter what the sport, they focus on it year-round. They come into camp in shape. They eat right, they exercise. They are bigger, stronger, and faster. So if that's the case, why can't a starting pitcher go more than five or six innings?...(continued)

Dodgers Deal for Dozier on Dizzying Deadline Day
August 6, 2018

The whirlwind of Major League Basesball trades in the month of July really began with the Dodgers, but acquiring superstar Manny Machado from Baltimore during the All-Star break was just the beginning. They would make moves at the end, too, and so would everybody else...(continued)

Everybody's Dealin'. Harper, McCutchen Next?
July 30, 2018

The Red Sox got second baseman Ian Kinsler from the Angels. The Braves picked up outfielder Adam Duvall from the Reds. The Astros acquired closer Roberto Osuna from Toronto. The Yankees added Minnesota starter Lance Lynn. The Mariners got two relievers—one from the Twins, and one from the Yankees. And all of that is just tonight!...(continued)

LA Lands Machado; NL Loses All-Star Game Again
July 23, 2018

While the greatest players in baseball were on the field in Washington, DC Tuesday night, and the National League was gearing up to lose the mid-summer classic for the 24th time in the last 31 years, something else was abuzz. Baltimore's Manny Machado was taking selfies with the Dodgers' Matt Kemp. You might think now, little did they know they were about to become teammates. They knew...(continued)

Why Do Us American Chaps Have to Anglicize Soccer?
July 16, 2018

If you are one of the tens of Americans who watched soccer's World Cup on Fox and FS1, you know that France won the title on Sunday, defeating tiny Croatia 4-2. If you are a novice or non-regular to the game, you listened intently, and consciously or not, constantly heard soccer terms that are accepted as sport-wide, even though it's really just how things are said and done in England, where, of course, soccer (or football) is king...(continued)

Matt Kemp: From All Done to All-Star
July 9, 2018

It was a salary dump. All the reporters told you that. You didn't even need for them to tell you that. It just made sense. The Dodgers acquired one-time phenom Matt Kemp from Atlanta in December, and you figured he would be in LA again for about 20 minutes. Now he's an All-Star...(continued)

LeBron Taking His Talents to Southland
July 2, 2018

The first time basketball superstar LeBron James ditched his home town Cleveland Cavaliers for free agency, we had to find out about it in a made for TV special, and the basketball world eagerly watched. That was eight years ago. This time, before the television talkers could even get their summer NBA specials together, he made the announcement, and he's off to LA to play for the Lakers...(continued)

Seven Solo Shots Sink Mets; Dodgers Climbing Back
June 25, 2018

It's been awhile since we used this space to check in on the boys in blue. On May 14, six weeks ago tonight, the Los Angeles Dodgers had just been swept in four games by the Cincinnati Reds at home. A prominent southern California newspaper headline read 'worse than the worst.' The Dodgers were 16-24, and two nights later they would be 16-26. A lot has changed since then...(continued)

Mexico Stuns With World Cup Win; USA Watches
June 18, 2018

Imagine being the prettiest and most popular girl in school (I can't) and not getting invited to the prom. Imagine being a stud athlete (again, I can't), the biggest man on campus, and having that girl turn you down for that date to the prom. Now imagine the most powerful nation on Earth, and one of the wealthiest, good at everything, resources abound, and not even qualifying for the biggest athletic tournament on the planet. Chants of U-S-A, U-S-A, are not being heard this time...(continued)

Cup, Crown, and Title Mark True Championship Week
June 11, 2018

It sounds like a cool little slogan. Like something ESPN uses when Duke plays North Carolina and Villanova meets Georgetown. Or maybe when it has five of those ridiculous and numerous bowl games in 24 hours. “I know”, they'll say, “let's call it Championship Week.” It's a hook. It's a gimmick. It seems like you always have to have one to hype an event amd make it more than it is. None of that compares to what has happened in the last seven days in the sports world...(continued)

Little County Tries Big New Way to Vote
June 4, 2018

If you are in the news reporting business like I am, it seemed like this day would never come. Not because it's such a momentous occasion, but because we've been talking about it for-ever. Of course, we'll be talking about it afterward, and then will be talking forever about the next one coming up in November. That's just the thing, though. We're always talking. Of course, that's what we do is talk, but at least now we get some results. Tomorrow, voters go to the polls for the June primary election...(continued)

Can (Should) Expansion Knights Win Stanley Cup?
May 28, 2018

They started as such a cute little story. A major league sports franchise in the middle of gambling country. A hockey team in the middle of the desert. A small city's first foray into bigdom in the sports scene. Funny thing happened. They started winning and didn't stop...(continued)

A Royal Wedding With Soul
May 21, 2018

As sometimes ridiculous as the stuffy hoity-toityness of the British royal family and all of its pomp, circumstance, ceremony, and tradition can be at times, a wedding is a festive occasion, right? It doesn't matter that the guy getting married is sixth in line to the throne. Brits didn't even care that the woman he was marrying was (gasp) an American. The best part, is that no one seems to care that the American woman is bi-racial. It made for a great wedding...(continued)

Dodgers Swept in Four By Worst Team in League
May 14, 2018

After losing game one of a four game series at home to the Cincinnati Reds Thursday night, the Friday morning headline in the Los Angeles Times read “Worse than the Worst”. And that was before one of the worst pitchers in baseball one-hit the Dodgers over four innings Friday night, and the Los Angeles lackluster offense and bullpen made its presence known the rest of the way. The 16-24 Dodgers are now playing .400 ball this year, yet it seems they are the worst of the worst...(continued)

Four Dodgers No-Hit Padres; Pujols Reaches 3000
May 7, 2018

The word “history” is thrown around a lot in the world of sports. If something amazing happens, they say it will go down in history. Certainly if something happens that never happened before, it's historical. If something happens that has happened before but not very often, that's up for debate. You can say, though, that the two Major League Baseball teams that represent Los Angeles, made it into the sports history books Friday night...(continued)

Dodgers Lose Seager; Skipper May Have Lost Bellinger
April 30, 2018

Oh boy. Well, there are just a couple more hours remaining in the month of April, and the end of the month couldn't come quickly enough for the Los Angeles Dodgers. The National League champs have struggled out of the gate to begin with, then they lose three out of four in San Francisco in a span of 48 hours. Just 24 hours after that, they've found out that their shortstop is out for the year, and we find out that the reigning Rookie of the Year was benched for allegedly not hustling. But like they used to say in those Ginsu knife commercialS...(continued)

Oh My Manaea! A's Pitcher Throws No-Hitter
April 23, 2018

It just goes to show. No matter how much you know about baseball, you know nothing about baseball. On Saturday night, the 9-11 Oakland A's hosted the 17-2 Boston Red Sox. Boston has one of the best lineups in the game, and had their ace lefty Chris Sale on the mound. The A's, who saw a modest four-game winning streak ended by the Red Sox the night before, had a kid with some pretty good stuff as their starting pitcher. The kid wouldn't allow a hit...(continued)

'Play Ball'? More Like 'Game Called!'
April 16, 2018

Mother Nature has not been kind to the Upper Midwest so far this year, and now she's battling with the baseball gods. I'm sure if you go to Major League Baseball's website, and enter the promo code 'postponement', there should be some sort of deal for you. And the kicker to this weekend of rainouts, snowouts, and other inclement weather? The Toronto Blue Jays home game was called off today. And they have a roof!...(continued)

Ohtani, Kershaw, and Masters Give DVR a Workout
April 9, 2018

It's a boast of the DVR companies and a luxury to have, but who really thought they really needed a machine to record up to four different channels at once. Okay, the definition of 'need' might be loose here, but it was certainly nice to have on Sunday. Especially with a Giants-Dodgers rivalry and Clayton Kershaw on the hill, Japanese sensation Shohei Ohtani making his home pitching debut for the Angels, and the “tradition unlike any other—the Masters” all going on at the same time...(continued)

Memorable Tournament Has Lackluster Conclusion
April 2, 2018

This was the men's college basketball tournament that would top some of the greatest. This was the year a 16 seed beat a one, that a small school not named Gonzaga or Butler would go to the Final Four. This was the year one of the regions would have its top four teams knocked out early. But with all the upsets, all the bracket busting, and all the Cinderella stories, this turned out to be a year like many others, when a number one seed won the tournament anyway...(continued)

Cinderella Loyola Dances Into Final Four
March 26, 2018

With all of the bracket busting going on, there will still be a number seed in the NCAA men's basketball championship game next week. That said, the opponent could be a team that no one really ever heard of outside of the state of Illinois. If you are a small school from a small conference and win a couple of post-season games to make it to the 'Sweet Sixteen', you are a quite a story. Winning two more to get to the championship weekend is unheard of...(continued)

Tourney: 16 Seed Makes History; Finally Beats a One
March 19, 2018

You knew this was going to happen. Well, maybe you didn't see it happening this year, but it was bound to happen eventually. If you take some basketball team from a Podunk university, and match them up with the big boys, the little guys are bound to win one. You've seen Hoosiers, right? Yes, that was high school in Indiana, and this is the big dance, but give them 136 chances and they'll win one...(continued)

NCAA Tourney: USC Barely Out, UCLA Barely In
March 12, 2018

So it turns out Joe Lunardi isn't such an idiot after all. ESPN's so called 'bracketologist', for weeks now, had UCLA and USC on the bubble when it came to qualifying for college basketball's big dance. Fans of the Los Angeles schools knew both teams were well qualified. Television analyst Bill Walton even got on Lunardi's case on the air several times, and they work for the same network. Please (Walton reference). It's also possible that Lunardi got it wrong, and so did the NCAA selection committee. There's lots of griping going on...(continued)

Wait. Kobe Won an Oscar? What?
March 5, 2018

So we're one hour and 35 minutes into a three hour, 48 minute marathon. Host Jimmy Kimmel has offered a jet ski to the Oscar winner with the shortest speech, there's been several montages, cameo appearances by 93 year-old Eva Marie Saint and 86 year-old Rita Moreno. We're waiting for Coco to win Best Animated Feature, and they give an award to Kobe Bryant. Yes, that Kobe Bryant. The basketball player...(continued)

Top 12 Moments From Pyeongchang Winter Games
February 26, 2018

The Olympics are over in South Korea, and while writers and critics mostly thought the first week was boring, the second half really picked up. Russian figure skaters dazzled, the Olympic athtletes from that country that were not allowed to fly their own flag took gold in Hockey, and the American women's hockey and men's curling teams did their part to liven things up...(continued)

Korean Olympics: Nobody's Watching, Nobody's Going
February 19, 2018

How about those Winter Olympics, huh? Did you enjoy it when Norway took gold and silver in the Men's Downhill? How about the unknown Czech snowboarder-turned-skiier who won the Women's Super G? France, Canada, and Kazakhstan collecting the medals in Women's Moguls? Certainly you saw Mikaela Shiffrin take gold in the Women's Giant Slalom and Shaun White and Chloe Kim shred up the halfpipe. If you didn't watch, there are millions of people out there who didn't watch with you... (continued)

A Unified Korea; If Only For One Night
February 12, 2018

The Olympics are known for drama. The luge can be decided by thousands of a second. A one-point deduction in figure skating might mean whether you get to stand atop the podium at the end. The Olympics teach young athletes to “go for it”. The host governments are doing the same, at least for now... (continued)

Eagles Super in Big Game Win Over Brady
February 5, 2018

He threw for 505 yards and three touchdowns. He didn't have any interceptions after putting the ball in the air four dozen times. If you do that in the Super Bowl, you have to figure that you are going to win. This, however, was not Tom Brady's day... (continued)

Ageless Federer Wins 20th Major
January 29, 2018

If you are a professional baseball player and you are 26 years old, you are about ready to test the free agent market. You're hitting the prime of your career. If you are 26 and a tennis player, the best is supposedly behind you. If you are 36 and still playing tennis, it's probably a charity event. Unless, that is, if you are Roger Federer... (continued)

Brady's Bunch Back In Big One
January 22, 2018

Oh no. Not again. Do we really need this? Of course we weren't expecting anything less, and goodness knows the Jacksonville Jaguars gave it their all. The Pittsburgh Steelers couldn't win a home game, so yes, we get this. Tom Brady and the New England Patriots are back in the Super Bowl...(continued)

This Just In: 'Cutch to 'Frisco
January 15, 2018

It's January. A month for football, college basketball, and even tennis. But with the NFL down to its final four teams, and a play that will go down as the Minnesota Miracle, baseball finally steps up and makes some headlines. Pittsburgh's franchise player is headed west...(continued)

'Bama, Oprah Raise the Roof This Weekend
January 8, 2018

The first sentence by Seth Myers at the 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards was not only the funniest, but set the tone for the entire evening. “Good evening ladies and remaining gentlemen.” While women were celebrated at the first awards show of the year, at least the guys got to see a pretty good college national championship football game tonight, with Alabama beating Georgia 26-23 in overtime, in Atlanta...(continued)

Let's Face It. 2017 Sucked
January 1, 2018

Somehow, this little weakly (weekly) column has just completed its seventh year. In going back and looking at recaps of the first six, for some reason the words 'strange' or 'weird' were used to describe them. I'm not sure what made, say, 2015 stranger or weirder than 2012 or 2011, but those always seemed to be the words I would use. 2017, compared to those others, was no comparison. It's gone. We're glad it's gone, and hopeful we can get back to weird or strange again. Frankly, 2017 sucked...(continued)

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