It started with Marvell Wynne.
It was the 1986 Pennant Chase, and it’s right around this point that my first baseball memories were developing. I remember the likes of Alejandro Pena, Alex Trevino, Bill Madlock accompanying the Dodgers’ ‘stars’ like Steve Sax and Pedro Guerrero.
The Dodgers were involved in the Pennant Chase and I keenly recall Marvell Freakin’ Wynne hitting a bases clearing triple to win a late season game for the Padres, inching them closer to the division title that would eventually be the Dodgers’. Regardless, those fake pinstripes and ugly colors bothered me even then - I mean, you’re NOT the Yankees, lose the pinstripes. Even though my family had a fondess for and cousin residing in the city, it irked me that they wanted to be included under the SoCal umbrella. True, they were SoCal geographically but SoCal is Los Angeles. NOT Orange County, NOT Riverside, and certainly NOT the sleepy beach town that had somehow grown into a moribund metropolis.
Regardless, I ended up meeting Dale Murphy on a family vacation in San Diego the following year, and then in 1988 – as fate would have it – my first ‘real’ little league team, in Mission Hills Major Division, happened to be those ugly-pinstriped Friars. For three stinkin’ years I was a Padre, and for three years we’d come up short. The Braves, the Astros, the Cardinals - these were real teams, real organizations! - would edge us out one way or the other. Realistically, it was because they had more talent and better coaching. I knew better, though – it was because we were the Padres, the franchise that would torment Los Angeles so subtly but so consistently that I grew to out-hate by innate Bay Area rival Giants. This was a true antipathy for the Pads.
From 1990 – 1995, the Pads were a non-factor, never finishing higher than 3rd. They still pestered my beloved Dodgers, however, and Gary Sheffield’s angry bat waving and blistering bat speed might have single-handedly banished the Dodgers to 99 losses in 1993. At least in my own mind. I mean Steve Finley, Brad Ausmus – guys who would become Dodgers – were at the time some of my least favorite players. They just annoyed me, and that’s my whole point here: everything about San Diego is annoying. At least to true Angelenos. And as my adolescence progressed, I became more loyal - fiercely loyal – to mi ciudad. San Diego was a Ken Caminiti throw across the diamond from Tijuana, but the franchise seemed so antiseptic, this quasi-Disney world of self-imposed, sun-enamored isolation. I mean Tony Gwynn was a GREAT ballplayer, a really dynamic player on all levels, but he was a singles hitter. And that’s perfect Padre baseball. Even their all-time greatest legend’s best skill was getting to first base.
The 1998 World Series was particularly annoying, but being that I was in college – the rivalry to the southerly neighbors was an afterthought, and they were swept by the Yankees anyway. Take that, you fake pinstripers. No matter anyway, as the Padres reclaimed their rightful place in the N.L. West gutter for three of the subsequent five seasons.
The arrival of Bruce Bochy and his massive cabeza spawned a renaissance of Padre hatred for me in my early adult years. A pragmatic manager with mediocrity seemingly ingrained in his demeanor, he guided the club through those comfortable years at the bottom of the division. Then all of a sudden the emergence of Jake Peavy somehow thrusts this barely-over-.500 team to the Division Title. With an offense featuring Brian Giles & Ryan Klesko, they were rightfully swept in the playoffs and on their merry way. But with the Dodgers in perennial turmoil (read: Fox, McCourt), the Padres were somehow a better franchise. The Pads, especially after their Adrian Gonzalez-led division repeat in 2006, were literally a superior organization than my beloved Dodgers. Even with the most overrated closer in the game’s history in Trevor Hoffman - hey guys, try to hit my 83mph changeup, because I know you can smoke my 89mph fastball - the Padres were piling up wins faster than my team. And this annoyance was waxing again. It became evident that the Padres would be the perennial thorn in my side, at least vis-a-vis my Dodgers feelings.
Which brings us to last night. And Carlos Quentin. Carlos Quentin, who by the way, attended Stanford University, the “Ivy League of the West Coast.” Carlos Quentin, who has been hit 98 times by pitch since 2008, by far the major league leader, decided that Zack Greinke, he of the anxiety disorders, the social awkwardness, the i’d-rather-be-anywhere-than-in-the-spotlight, would intentionally throw at him in a one-run ballgame, with a full count. Based on the reactions of Greinke (kicked the dirt, turned his head), A.J. Ellis (casually pulled off his mask) and everybody in the stadium aside from Carlos Quentin, one could reasonably assess that Zack Greinke did NOT hit Quentin intentionally. Quentin thought otherwise and the ensuing brouhaha left everybody so aghast that Matt Kemp, the centerfielder, was ejected six minutes after the brawl stopped. Jerry Hairston was also ejected, and he wasn’t even playing. Hanley Ramirez made his first on-field cameo in 2013, and Josh Beckett was the peacemaker.
I was flipping back-and-forth between Vin Scully’s poetic blow-by-blow and MLB Network’s live look-in with Greg Amsinger, Mitch Williams & Dan Plesac, and the former ballplayers were downright angry. “Matt Kemp is so angry because he knows Carlos Quentin doesn’t know baseball!” Williams exclaimed. “You don’t hit a guy intentionally in that situation.” Plesac also defended Greinke, “You can tell by everybody’s reaction this wasn’t intentional. When a catcher and pitcher know that you’re throwing at a guy, the catcher will immediately place himself between the batter and pitcher after the pitch.”
Which brings us back to Carlos Quentin, and back to San Diego. It’s a city that is so engulfed in itself that it doesn’t perceive the obvious. You’re nice, you’re relaxing, but nobody really likes you. That applies to real SoCal natives and it certainly is germane to the National League West. I need to just stop concerning myself with this psuedo-rival and worry about the team that’s up north and has earned the moniker of rival through a century of playing on a level ballfield. I mean, Marvell Wynne? Really?
well, hopefully this video doesn’t get taken down:
Watched Bo’s 30 For 30 last night (again) and was totally incredulous with what an athlete he was and person he is. Finally checked his stats: Absolutely amazing about Bo’s stats in BOTH sports if you look at them in their totality.
Generations of fans will look back at numbers and say, “eh.”
BASEBALL .250, 141 HR, 82 steals. Four “full” years (career high 135 games!), parts of eight.
I was shocked – though not surprised – about the Mike Brown firing. I anticipated they’d give him a quarter season (call it 20 games), and frankly by that point I think he’d have them at .500. Ready to play as a team, figure out this Princeton-disciple offense and subsequently have a great second half. Either way, they’d be ‘just fine’ for the Playoffs. Though seemingly minute, I guess the Kobe ‘Death Stare’ issue last night was the final straw:
It’s a shame Brown was shown the door this soon, but they have ONE year to win this thing, and I don’t think Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak make this decision without having a commitment from a Coach. I certainly don’t think Bernie Bickerstaff or Chuck Person is the guy this team needs as its outright leader; Bickerstaff is a has-been and Person is too green, despite his Rifleman reputation as a player.
Could it be Phil Jackson? Again, if you pay a man $15 million for six months, it’s pretty hard for that man to say “no thanks.” Plus, this might be the only person that can properly channel Dwight Howard’s playfulness and propensity to choose his motivations into a championship basketball player. We know he’d let Kobe do what he needs to do, but can you install the Triangle at this point? Is Jackson married to that offense?
Perhaps it’s Jerry Sloan or Mike D’Antoni, but there is somebody that the Lakers have ready to step in and Lead. Now.
damn, George Karl can coach. . .he gets his guys to reflect his style more than anybody working a sideline today. . .and if Aaron Afflalo isn’t the consummate Karl guy, I don’t know who is; energy, intelligence, grittiness & a gamer. . .Go Bruins. . .and kudos to my man Lance, he’s been hollering Kenneth Faried since that tourney run at Morehead State. . .and obviously the man of the night, Ty Lawson was O My, Awesome, if you’re into rhyming or otherwise. . .
speaking of rhymes, he was really messin’ with Sessions, as Ramon looked Run-on, or better yet Run Over, reminiscent of a dead fish. . .more like RIP to D-Fish and good luck in the Western Conference Finals & beyond. . .there simply was no upgrade at PG, and as a result our defense has been rated R, as in Run for your Lives. . .but not trying to be a downer, we know Pau Gasol sure wasn’t getting anything down last night. . 1-for-10 shooting? sounds like Dick Cheney at a firing range. . .I’m sure Kobe was ready to fire EVERYBODY last night, especially Mike Brown. . .my goodness that man can not coach, at least not in the head coaching sense. . .it’s been said time & time again, but to consistently have no answer for the same basketriddles time and time again, WAKE UP or get another job. . .
which is exactly what Andrew Bynum needs to do, because he is currently doing a disservice to his current vocation. . .embarrassment isn’t quite the right term, but let’s just say that MDE, the Big Aristotle, the Man You All Love to Hate, Shaquille O’Neal, would have the Lakers at home resting comfortably getting ready to thrash the Thunder. . .instead, Bynum is still looking for that Staples guys – that was easy - to help him close-out this series. . .seriously, man – show some intensity. . .heart. . .effort. . .desire. . .motivation. . .caring? I’m really sick of watching AB play like a ‘C’ player when it counts most. . .at least Matt Barnes showed up last night, though. . .just needed a metal folding chair to really have an impact, though. . .
at least Metta World Artest is back, right, Laker fans? there’s some spin that they lost intentionally to get him back and fresh for the OKC series. . .that’s horsebleep, frankly. . also i’m hearing that last night’s game was just an absolute aberration, even as it appears the Nuggets are playing with more confidence each minute. . .
with all this said, the Lakers take Game 7. . . it’s in their post-Magic blood, they never make it easy. . .Kobe is Kobe. . .their championship days are over, but they’re not going out like this. . .Kobe leads the way, Bynum has his one-in-every-three good game and Laker fans put their car flags back up at full mast. . .until D-Fish gets his revenge, folks. FISHYRIM!
The Count took me to the cavernous, charm-free Staples Center for a Clippers game last night (more on that later, great 4th quarter effort sparked a comeback win vs. the Thunder), where we had floor level seats across from the Clipper bench. Great perspective, good crowd (Clippers have sold out every home game since February of last year) for a premier matchup of two youthful, energetic teams.
The highlight of the game, however – aside from the kid (Lefty’s friend?) celebrating his 21st birthday who hit a half court shot to win a jeep – was the running commentary of the fan(atic) who sat behind me. Most of the time, this behavior is not only annoying, but intrusive & detrimental to the enjoyment of a game (or anything, for that matter). This time, however, was different. The man, early 40′s and with a vast knowledge of basketball and a voice/delivery that sounded like Jay Pharoah’s Denzel, was so astute in his observations and had such panache & flair. . .
It started with references to the ground-based James Harden, who was deemed “Old Man Game,” perfect for his Wooden Center approach to the sport – an array of crafty dribbling, deft passing, and a set shot lifted from the 60′s. Continuing on to Blake Griffin and his, umm, quirky free throw method, Denzel/Pharaoh launched into a “snap your wrist at the top of your release,” clearly audible in the Staples doldrums. This of course, was followed by a howling “watch this uglyyyy freeee throowwwwww” on another clanger.
What really clinched it for me was the silly crowd-involvement games the Clippers do during timeouts, such as “fan shoots to win prizes.” In this particular case, a nattily attired Angeleno stepped to the court to attempt the usual array of shots: side bank, free throw, three pointer, half court shot for some Chumash Casino Bucks. The man, wearing pristine fat tongue Air Force Ones, was lauded by Denzel Pharoah: “my mans got his sneakers on, he’s got his game kicks.” Sure enough, the dude hit the first three shots and stepped the the three point line for his final attempt, which bricked. The 5% of the crowd that was paying attention to the shenanigans groaned softly, while my man yelled “shouldn’t have had your skinny jeans on,” inciting a small eruption of laughter.
As the Clippers drearily played like a team that had seven consecutive games – sloppy, turnover prone, disorganized, shot clock violations, forced shots – for the first three quarters, Denzel barked out:
“the good thing about these seats is the Clippers go the other way in the second half!” This was followed up by an errant alley-oop attempt, inciting a “Lob City?!?!? More like Lob Nada!!!”
For his final barb of note, during one particularly hideous outfit change by the Clipper Spirit, featuring pants like these:
the ladies ran of the court to the thundering applause of nobody, and perfectly timed, Denzel shouted: “those pants look like blake griffins free throws – UGLY!”
A fun evening for all, specifically the balanced Clippers, who shook the cobwebs in the 4th quarter, outscoring the ice cold Thunder 26-11 (Westbrook only two points post-first quarter, Durant 6 in second half) to take him a win. . .and more importantly, the sixth Playoff Berth in franchise history.
why trade fish
why oh why
jim buss a buffoon
and kupchak a coward
fish was heart
fish was soul
fish was a laker
Thanks to my man Parker for prompting the thought on this. . .the Lakers haven’t drafted well in 15 years+.
Aside from the still inconclusive Bynum pick (until he shows heart for 82 + playoffs). . .Jordan Farmar was the last player of ‘note,’ and he’s in obscurity (Jersey) now. This CENTURY, in fact, they’ve produced only Luke Walton and Ronny Turiaf, neither of whom is considered even near-impact. . .prior to that you have to go back to 1996 to find DFish, who probably would be coaching by now if he didn’t have Kobe to sidekick with. . .Thus, the back-to-back ’93-’94 selections of Nick Van Exel & Eddie Jones were the last times they literally drafted good players. Wow. How DOES this franchise work it’s MAGIC?
|1993||2||37||Nick Van Exel||United States||PG||Cincinnati|
|1994||1||10||Eddie Jones||United States||SG||Temple|
|United States||PG||Western Carolina|
|United States||PG||Arkansas–Little Rock|
|1997||2||51||DeJuan Wheat||United States||PG||Louisville|
|1997||2||54||Paul Rogers (from New York)[n]||Australia||C||Gonzaga|
|1998||2||45||Toby Bailey (traded to Phoenix)[p]||United States||SG||UCLA|
|1999||1||23||Devean George||United States||SF||Augsburg|
|2002||1||27||Chris Jefferies (traded to Toronto)[q]||United States||SF||Fresno State|
|2003||1||24||Brian Cook||United States||PF||Illinois|
|Slovenia||G||Pallalcesto Amatori Udine (Italy)|
|2004||2||56||Marcus Douthit||United States||PF/C||Providence|
|2005||1||10||Andrew Bynum||United States||C||St. Joseph HS (New Jersey)|
|United States||G||Florida State|
|2006||1||26||Jordan Farmar (from Miami)[s]||United States||PG||UCLA|
|2006||2||51||Cheikh Samb (traded to Detroit)[t]||Senegal||C||WTC Cornellà (Spain, 2nd division)|
|United States||PG||Georgia Tech|
|China||PG||Beijing Olympians (ABA)|
|2008||2||58||Joe Crawford||United States||SG||Kentucky|
|2009||1||29||Toney Douglas (traded to New York)[v]||United States||G||Florida State|
|United States||PF/C||Texas A&M|
|2010||2||43||Devin Ebanks (from Memphis)[x]||United States||F||West Virginia|
|2010||2||58||Derrick Caracter||United States||PF/C||UTEP|
|United States||PG||Michigan (So.)|
|United States||SG||College of Charleston (Sr.)|
|2011||2||56||Chukwudiebere Maduabum (traded to Denver Nuggets)[z]||Nigeria||SF||Bakersfield Jam (D-League)|
|2011||2||58||Ater Majok (from Miami Heat)[w]||Australia||C||Gold Coast Blaze (Australia)|
I generally aim to leave my house in Sherman Oaks (East) earlier than 6:40am. Ideally, I’ll hit the road at 6:30am. When I leave on time (absolutely no later than 6:40am), my 24.9 hour commute lasts a comfortable 47 minutes (average 34mph, not horrible by L.A. standards). Take a look at each leg of the route, parenthesized with time elapsed on each leg:
Coldwater Canyon –> Kester Ave., 2.38 miles (4 minutes)
Kester –> Ventura Blvd., 4.98 *total distance of commute (4 minutes)
Ventura –> Sepulveda Blvd., 5.49 (4 minutes)
Sepulveda –> 405 onramp, 5.994 (4 minutes)
405 onramp –> Mulholland Way, 7.54 (9)
Mulholland –> Sunset Blvd., 11.56 (5)
Sunset –> Wilshire Blvd., 12.99 (2)
Wilshire –> 10 fwy, 14.97 (3)
10 fwy –> 90 fwy, 18.59 (4)
90 fwy –> 105 fwy, 23.35 (4)
105 fwy –> Nash St. 24.44 (2)
Nash –> 855 Douglas St. 24.9 (2)
As stated, 6:40am is the breaking point for my commute, specifically. If I leave at 6:45, my commute increases to an average of 55 minutes (an understandable 8 minute increase in drive time for a 5-minute delay in leaving). If I leave at 6:50am, the commute makes an exponential increase – the 10-minute lapse costs me an astounding 32 minutes of drive time.
Here is the breakdown of the delayed-egress commute:
Coldwater Canyon –> Kester Ave., 2.38 miles (new comute time for stretch: 6 minutes) +2 (reason: two additional stoplight cycles)
Kester –> Ventura Blvd., 4.98 *total distance of commute (6 minutes) +2 (reason: general traffic)
Ventura –> Sepulveda Blvd., 5.49 (9 minutes) +5 (reason: 3 additional stoplight cycles)
Sepulveda –> 405 onramp, 5.994 (10 minutes) +6 (reason: Sepulveda only two lanes heading south, too many cars for space alotted)
405 onramp –> Mulholland Way, 7.54 (12) +3 (reason: absolute congestion)
Mulholland –> Sunset Blvd., 11.56 (14) +9 (reason: absolute congestion)
Sunset –> Wilshire Blvd., 12.99 (4) +2 (reason: general traffic)
Wilshire –> 10 fwy, 14.97 (4) +1 (reason: general traffic)
10 fwy –> 90 fwy, 18.59 (4) –
90 fwy –> 105 fwy, 23.35 (4) –
105 fwy –> Nash St. 24.44 (4) — +2 (reason: general traffic)
Nash –> 855 Douglas St. 24.9 (2) –
Ahh, L.A.. . where new math is explained both on and offthefreeway.
After an inspirational 4-for-5 last night (3 doubles, one mammoth HR and a damn inspirational, “next year, we’re definitely going to make the playoffs” quote, Matt Kemp is putting together one of the greatest seasons in L.A. Dodgers history:
. . .and within THREE points and ONE homerun of the Triple Crown with six games to play. Outlandish? Of course, but the man is simply a force, and in an ironic, paradoxical finish to an otherwise toxic season in Chavez Ravine, he might join Clayton Kershaw as dual Dodger award winners come November.
Check out the leaderboard (thank you ESPN):
|NL BATTING AVERAGE||AVG|
|1. Ryan Braun, MIL||.330|
|2. Jose Reyes, NYM||.329|
3. Matt Kemp, LAD
|4. Joey Votto, CIN||.313|
|5. Hunter Pence, HOU/PHI||.313|
|NL HOME RUNS||HR|
|1. Albert Pujols, STL||37|
2. Matt Kemp, LAD
|3. Dan Uggla, ATL||35|
|4. Prince Fielder, MIL||34|
|5. Mike Stanton, FLA||34|
|NL RUNS BATTED IN||RBI|
1. Matt Kemp, LAD
|2. Ryan Howard, PHI||113|
|3. Prince Fielder, MIL||112|
|4. Troy Tulowitzki, COL||105|
|5. Ryan Braun, MIL||104|