Monday, December 29, 2008

"Bring BD Back" Campaign Has Begun In The Bay Area

If you are looking for some pretty entertaining reading, check out my boy Marcus Thompson's article in today's Contra Costa Times.

Evidently, while the Warriors were hanging out in LA before their matchup with the Lakers, Golden State's
Stephen Jackson got the chance to hang out with his former teammate and best friend Baron Davis.

And guess what topic dominated their conversations: Davis going back to the Warriors!

"That's all we talked about," Jackson said. "I went to his house, spent some time with his mom and his grandmother. He wants to come back. And if he wants to come back, I want him back."

Seriously, how funny would that be?

After all the posturing and back-and-forth this past summer between the Clippers and the Warriors (don't forget, LA also signed Kelenna Azubuike to an offer sheet that GS eventually matched), the two teams would then turn around and orchestrate basically a "do over". It would be the ultimate ironies of ironies.

But don't start counting your contract swaps just yet. The reasons why this move is so unlikely to happen are numerous, if not infinite. They are, at the very least, too numerous to list here. Plus, most of them are so obvious, it would actually be a waste of time, but the story still makes for a great read!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Chargers/Broncos Postgame Notes

The Chargers scored 52 points tonight, their most points since scoring 51 against Detroit on Dec. 16, 2007…it’s the most points the Chargers have scored in a game against Denver since 1968 in a 55-24 win…in their last three wins over Denver, the Chargers have outscored the Broncos 116-27.

The last time the Chargers scored more than 52 points in a game was Dec. 8, 1985 when the Chargers, coached then by Don Coryell, scored 54 points in a 54-44 win over Pittsburgh.

The Chargers rushed for a team-record 289 yards tonight, bettering the previous team mark of 287, set against the New York Jets on Oct. 13, 1963.

Darren Sproles led the team with 115 yards, his second-career 100-yard game.

LaDainian Tomlinson scored three rushing touchdowns tonight, the 124th, 125th and 126th of his career…in doing so, he broke a tie with Marcus Allen to take over sole possession of second place on the NFL’s all-time rushing touchdowns list…he now trails only Emmitt Smith, the NFL’s all-time rushing scorer with 164 TDs.

The TDs were also the 139th, 140th and 141st of his career, allowing him to move past Terrell Owens and into fourth place on the NFL’s all-time touchdowns list…Marcus Allen (145) is currently third on that list.

The three TDs were Tomlinson’s most in a game since he scored four against Oakland on Oct. 14, 2007…it was his 11th career game with three or more rushing touchdowns.

Tomlinson finished the season with 10 rushing touchdowns…he’s rushed for at least 10 touchdowns in all eight of his NFL seasons and is the only player in NFL history to begin his career with four-or- more 10-touchdown seasons.

Tomlinson’s outing against the Broncos included a season-long 45-yard run.

Philip Rivers threw two touchdown passes tonight giving him 34 for the season, a new team record…it breaks Dan Fouts’ total of 33 set in 1981.

Rivers passed for 207 yards tonight to finish the season with 4,009, becoming just the second 4,000-yard passer in team history, other than Fouts…Fouts also last did it in 1981, throwing for a team-record 4,802 yards.

Rivers finished the season with a passer rating of 105.5, a new team record (min. 100 att.) and the top passer rating mark in the NFL this season…the previous team record (104.8) was set by Drew Brees in 2004.

Punter Mike Scifres finished the season with a 40.9-yard net punting average, a new team record for single-season net punting average.

The Chargers reported the following injuries: tight end Antonio Gates (ankle), running back LaDainian Tomlinson (possible abdominal strain), linebacker Shaun Phillips (knee) and defensive end Luis Castillo (groin).

The Chargers won their third straight AFC West title and will host Indianapolis in an AFC Wild Card Playoff Game on Saturday, Jan. 3 at 5:00 pm on NBC…the Chargers are 23-7 in AFC West games since 2004.

The Chargers capped off the month of December 4-0 and ran their win streak in the month of December to 14 games.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Furcal Agrees To Three More Years With Dodgers

I think this is a great move by the Dodgers, providing of course, Rafael Furcal stays healthy. As great as Manny Ramirez down the stretch last season, it was obvious how much Furcal meant to the top of Joe Torre's lineup as well.

LOS ANGELES -- Rafael Furcal is staying with the Los Angeles Dodgers, reaching a preliminary agreement Wednesday on a $33 million, three-year contract.

Furcal finalized his decision late in the afternoon, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deal was still not yet official.

A day earlier, Furcal had been close to accepting a $30 million, three-year offer from the Atlanta Braves, his original major league team.

Furcal gets $7.5 million next season, $9.5 million in 2010 and $13 million in 2011. The deal includes a $13 million team option for 2012 with a $3 million buyout, and the option could become guaranteed depending on his performance.

The 31-year-old Furcal, coming off a $39 million, three-year deal with the Dodgers, played for the Braves from 2000-05.

He hit .357 with five homers and 16 RBIs last season but was limited to 36 games and 143 at-bats by back problems. He had back surgery July 3 and was sidelined until the season's final week, but started each of the Dodgers' eight postseason games, hitting .258 with one homer, three RBIs and nine runs scored.

Furcal was hitting .366 through May 5 before injuring his back. He reached base in his first 30 games of the season, becoming the first Dodger to accomplish that feat since Duke Snider in his first 34 games of the 1955 season.

Earlier Wednesday, agent Paul Kinzer said Furcal had never accepted the Braves' offer.

"They know we didn't have a signed contract, that we didn't have even a verbal agreement. We had, 'Things look very good and Raffy's going to sleep on it,'" Kinzer said after a news conference for another client, Francisco Rodriguez.

Furcal still owns a home in the Atlanta area, but owns another in nearby La Canada Flintridge as well.

Los Angeles hesitated to make an offer of more than two years because of Furcal's medical history, but general manager Ned Colletti has been saying for weeks that signing the shortstop was his immediate top priority.

Colletti can turn his attention to pitching and free-agent outfielder Manny Ramirez. A pair of Los Angeles starters, Derek Lowe and Brad Penny, became free agents.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Hidden Perils Of Facebook

Like most of you, I'm sure, I have become a regular on Facebook. I resisted joining for quite some time, thinking I was too old for something I associated with college students.

But after so many requests from friends and colleagues, I took the plunge. I mean, if nothing else, it would drive more traffic to my blog, right?

And while I am not the fanatic that some of my "friends" seem to be, I do enjoy going on it daily and catching up with old friends. I have had more "blasts from the past" than 20-year high school reunion. In fact, if it were not for Facebook, I would have forgotten about so many of my old Kentucky peeps.

(Editor's note: MySpace has contributed greatly in that respect as well.)

However, Facebook is not the end all, be all. It definitely has its drawbacks as well.

I mentioned those "blasts from the past." Well, let's just say I wasn't exactly thrilled to hear from ALL of them. Let's be real. You know there are some things and people you would just soon forget.

And then there's the case of finding out information you probably didn't need to hear, or as I like to call it, "When TMI goes bad!"

Take the case of one of my very good friends who joined Facebook just this week, only to delete her account in matter of only three hours.

Her quick retreat from the cozy social networking site caused me to shoot her an e-mail asking why she had come and gone faster than Joe The Plumber.

This was her response: "in a matter of a few hours I found out that my best friend is pregnant and never told me... a guy I have been dating off and on for years has the same pet names with another girl...I got an e-mail from a guy that used to stalk me and my friend's husband asked me if I wanted to "hook up" without his wife... I can't take it man!!! too much for me."

Holy overload, Batman!

So just because Facebook is the best thing to happen to you since the DVR, don't think it's all fun and games for everyone.

As you can see, Facebook can be dangerous!

NFL Announces Pro Bowl Rosters


The New York Jets will lead the American Football Conference’s 2009 Pro Bowl squad with an NFL-high seven players when the AFC takes on the National Football Conference All-Stars, the NFL announced today. Right behind the Jets with the most conference players are the Tennessee Titans with six and the Baltimore Ravens with five.

The Pro Bowl will be played on Sunday, February 8, in Honolulu, Hawaii (NBC, 4:30 PM ET).

The Jets’ seven All-Star selections – ALAN FANECA, BRETT FAVRE, KRIS JENKINS, THOMAS JONES, NICK MANGOLD, DARRELLE REVIS and LEON WASHINGTON -- are the most in team history and surpass a club-high of five following the 1982, 1985 and 1998 seasons. All seven Jets will make their first Pro Bowl appearances as representatives of New York in Hawaii. The AFC roster includes 17 first-time All-Stars, including Denver Broncos quarterback JAY CUTLER, who leads the AFC with 3,851 yards passing.

Nine-time All-Star PEYTON MANNING of the Indianapolis Colts will be the starting quarterback in his seventh consecutive Pro Bowl. New York Jets quarterback BRETT FAVRE was selected to his 10th All-Star game, but his first representing the AFC. Favre ties JOHNNY UNITAS for most All-Star selections by a quarterback with 10 and he is the first Jets QB to appear in a Pro Bowl since VINNY TESTAVERDE (1998 season). In his third season, Cutler will join veterans Manning and Favre to complete the AFC’s passing attack.

The AFC’s backfield will consist of four first-timers in the Aloha State. New York’s THOMAS JONES earned the starting role at running back. Jones has set the Jets’ season record with 15 touchdowns and leads the AFC with 1,222 rushing yards. At 260 pounds, LE’ RON MC CLAIN has utilized his size by pounding his way to a career-high seven rushing touchdowns this season. The first-time All-Star will be the AFC’s representative at fullback.

Rounding out the threesome at running back will be rookie CHRIS JOHNSON of Tennessee and RONNIE BROWN of Miami. Johnson ranks second in the AFC with 1,159 rushing yards and joins EARL CAMPBELL (1978 season) as the only Oilers/Titans rookie running back to reach the Pro Bowl. A former first-round pick in 2005, Brown is the first Dolphins running back to be named to the Pro Bowl since RICKY WILLIAMS in the 2002 season.

Four receivers are named to each All-Star squad. Chosen for the AFC’s 2009 team are Houston’s ANDRE JOHNSON, who leads the NFL in receptions (103) and receiving yards (1,408). The sixth-year receiver will make his third Pro Bowl appearance. Lined up opposite from Johnson as a starter will be first-time selection BRANDON MARSHALL of Denver. Two veteran receivers will round out the AFC All-Star receiving foursome -- Indianapolis wide receiver REGGIE WAYNE and first-timer WES WELKER of New England, who ranks second in the NFL behind Johnson with 102 receptions.

Representing the AFC at tight end will be 10-time All-Star TONY GONZALEZ of the Kansas City Chiefs, who has been selected to the most Pro Bowls at the position in NFL history. In his 12th season, Gonzalez leads NFL tight ends in receptions (84), receiving yards (941) and touchdowns (8). In his sixth season, San Diego’s ANTONIO GATES has been selected to his fifth consecutive Pro Bowl.

In his first year with the Jets, 11-year veteran guard ALAN FANECA will make his eighth consecutive Pro Bowl trip and will be joined at the other starting guard position by KRIS DIELMAN of San Diego, who will make his second All-Star game in back-to-back seasons. Kansas City’s BRIAN WATERS, who plays a pivotal role on a young Chiefs offensive line, has been selected to his fourth consecutive Pro Bowl.

In his 15th season, Tennessee’s KEVIN MAWAE will start at center for the AFC in his first Pro Bowl with the Titans and seventh overall. AFC All-Star NICK MANGOLD of the Jets will be making his first Pro Bowl voyage.

Assigned to keep the pocket clean against a talented group of NFC edge rushers are a group of AFC All-Star tackles – two-timers JASON PETERS of Buffalo and JOE THOMAS of Cleveland. Budding talent MICHAEL ROOS of Tennessee will play in his first Pro Bowl.

Plugging the middle for the AFC defensive front are starting interior linemen ALBERT HAYNESWORTH of Tennessee and New York’s KRIS JENKINS. Haynesworth will record his second consecutive start and Jenkins his fourth Pro Bowl berth and first as an AFCer. Accompanying Haynesworth and Jenkins will be Cleveland’s SHAUN ROGERS, who completes a mammoth interior group for the AFC.

A trio of AFC South rushers will be on display at defensive end. MARIO WILLIAMS of Houston will make his Pro Bowl debut as a starter and will be joined by Indianapolis defensive end DWIGHT FREENEY in his fourth Pro Bowl in seven seasons with the Colts. Freeney’s teammate ROBERT MATHIS will cap off this trio with the first All-Star appearance of his six-year career.

Sacks are plentiful for the AFC’s starting outside linebackers – Miami’s JOEY PORTER ranks first in the AFC with 17.5 and JAMES HARRISON of Pittsburgh is second in the conference with 15.0. Porter will make his fourth All-Star appearance and first as a Dolphin, while Harrison settles in with his second consecutive Pro Bowl start. Joining Porter and Harrison at outside linebacker is TERRELL SUGGS, who has 7.5 sacks and two interception-touchdown returns for Baltimore.

Roaming the middle of the AFC defense will be two AFC North linebackers from the NFL’s top-two-ranked defenses -- RAY LEWIS of Baltimore and JAMES FARRIOR of Pittsburgh. In his 13th season from Miami, Lewis will start as he makes his ninth appearance in Hawaii. Farrior, the captain of the league’s No. 1 defense will appear in his second All-Star game.

Locking up coverage on the outside will be three first-time All-Stars for the AFC at cornerback. NNAMDI ASOMUGHA of Oakland and CORTLAND FINNEGAN of Tennessee will pair as the starters. Asomugha is the first Raiders cornerback since CHARLES WOODSON in 2001 to earn All-Star status. In his second NFL season, New York cornerback DARRELLE REVIS will make his Pro Bowl debut. Revis is tied for second in the NFL with five interceptions.

Two of the NFL’s elite will start at safety for the AFC. Pittsburgh’s strong safety TROY POLAMALU earns his fifth consecutive AFC All-Star berth and Ravens ball-hawking free safety ED REED is a five-time Pro Bowl choice in seven seasons. First-time Pro Bowl selection CHRIS HOPE of Tennessee will join starting safeties Polamalu and Reed.

The AFC special teams unit is comprised of four players, including two first-time Pro Bowl honorees. New York Jets kick returner LEON WASHINGTON makes his first trip to Hawaii and New England kicker STEPHEN GOSTKOWSKI, who leads the AFC with 124 points, will make his All-Star debut. Gostkowski is tied for first in the conference with 30 field goals. Baltimore linebacker BRENDON AYANBADEJO, who leads the Ravens with 26 special teams tackles, will serve as the AFC’s special teamer. Ayanbadejo makes his third consecutive Pro Bowl and his first with the Ravens. Concluding the special teams group will be Oakland’s veteran punter SHANE LECHLER. The four-time All-Star leads the AFC with a 48.8 average and has placed 28 punts inside the opponents’ 20-yard line.

The 42-man AFC squad is comprised of 21 offensive and 17 defensive players plus four specialists. A 43rd “need” player will be chosen by the AFC head coach and must be a cornerback, defensive end, linebacker or long snapper. The 2009 AFC coaching staff will be from the AFC Championship Game runner-up team.

The NFL is the only professional sports league that combines voting by fans, coaches and players in determining its All-Star teams. The consensus vote of each group counts one-third towards the total. Each team submits two ballots – those of the coach and the players with no one permitted to vote for a player on his own team. This year, nearly 85 million fan votes were cast on

The National Conference defeated the American Conference 42-30 last season in the Pro Bowl. The all-time series is tied 19-19.

Under terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, each player on the winning Pro Bowl team receives $45,000, while each player on the losing squad earns $22,500.

Monday, December 15, 2008


The only issue I have with this news is that it is way overdue. Congrats, Vin!

LOS ANGELES – Dodger Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully will be among the distinguished list of broadcasting professionals inducted into the 2008 class of the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame in New York City tomorrow night. The ceremony, hosted by CBS’ Jim Nantz, will be held tomorrow night in Manhattan at the New York Hilton and is the culmination of a selection process by more than 80 industry leaders from national broadcast networks, cable sports networks, leagues, teams, and related organizations.

Going into the HOF alongside Scully will be Marvin Bader (ABC Olympics), Chet Forte (ABC Sports), Curt Gowdy (ABC, CBS, and NBC), Teddy Nathanson (director, NBC Sports), Don Ohlmeyer (ABC and NBC), Val Pinchbeck (NFL), Bob Seiderman (CBS and Fox Sports), and Charlie Steinberg (Ampex and Sony). The Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame, formed in 2007 to honor sports TV industry innovators and leaders, announced its inaugural class last year, which included broadcasting legends such as Roone Arledge, Howard Cosell, Jim McKay, and Ed Sabol.

Scully is expected to accept the award via videotape due to the lengthy travel required to be in attendance.

Next season will be Scully’s 60th with the Dodgers, which is the longest tenure of any sports broadcaster with one team in all of sports. Last month, Scully was honored by Pacific Pioneers Broadcasters with the Art Gilmore Career Achievement Award and he has been named California Sportscaster of the Year a record 28 times, while also receiving awards from the Southern California Sports Broadcasters Association (SCSB) and the Radio and Television News Association of Southern California (RTNA). Scully took home the Best Radio Play-by-Play and Best Television Play-by-Play awards from the SCSB and won the prestigious lifetime achievement award from the RTNA.

The New York native was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982. In July 2000, Scully was named the “Sportscaster of the 20th Century” by more than 500 national members of the American Sportscasters Association. He has been named the country’s Outstanding Sportscaster four times, and California Sportscaster of the Year 24 times by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. In 2001, the press box at Dodger Stadium was named in his honor. Throughout his career, Scully has called 25 World Series and 12 All-Star Games.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Are you kidding me? Auburn hires a coach with a 5-19 record in his only two years as a head coach? Seriously??

Meanwhile, Charlie Strong (Florida Defensive Coordinator) and Turner Gill (Head Coach of MAC Champion Buffalo) couldn't even get a sniff of an interview??

It's bad enough that qualified black coaching candidates have to be better than the good white coaches, but now you are telling me that even if they are better than the bad white coaches, they still might not get a shot? WOW!! Iowa State coach Gene Chizik has been hired as the next football coach of Auburn, sources close to the situation told

The former Auburn defensive coordinator will succeed Tommy Tuberville, who resigned following 10 seasons. The hiring was reported by several media outlets, including, the Birmingham News and the Mobile Press-Register.

An Auburn spokesman said no announcement was scheduled for Saturday; an Iowa State spokesman said he couldn't confirm the reports.

Chizik is 5-19 in two seasons at Iowa State after stints running the defenses at Auburn and Texas. He coached the nation's top scoring defense in 2004 in his third and final season with the Tigers. That defense allowed just 11 points a game and Auburn went undefeated.

Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard had acknowledged on Friday in a statement that he was aware Chizik had met with Auburn officials and was a serious candidate for the job.

Chizik then spent two seasons as Mack Brown's assistant head coach and defensive coordinator at Texas, helping the Longhorns win the 2005 national championship.

Chizik took over at Iowa State for Dan McCarney following the 2006 season and was regarded as one of the nation's best young coaches when he took the job.

But he's gone just 5-19 in two seasons at Iowa State -- including a 2-10 mark in 2008.

The Cyclones went winless in Big 12 play this season, and their win total has dipped in each of the past three seasons.

Last week, Chizik stripped offensive coordinator Robert McFarland and defensive coordinator Wayne Bolt of their duties and reassigned them within the staff. He also fired quarterbacks coach Tony Petersen and secondary coach Shawn Raney.

Information from's Chris Low and Mark Schlabach and The Associated Press was used in this report.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Jury Duty Musings

Welcome to the LA Superior Courthouse Jury Assembly Room in Torrance. That is where I sit as I type this post. I was called Tuesday to serve after postponing a previous requirement. With my schedule, it's really hard to predict when a week in the future will be better or worse than another. So, thus, here I sit.

We are at lunch right now as jury selection continues. If I am not called to serve on this particular trial, my service will be completed. Wish me luck!

I'm trying to use this time to prepare for tonight's Lakers/Suns game. Regardless of what happens here at LA Superior Court, I will be working courtside tonight at Staples Center.

As I do my normal research, I stumbled across a few tidbits I thought I would share with you.

I know several Lakers fans will be disappointed not to see Shaq in the house tonight. After last night's 35-point performance against the Bucks, he left Phoenix bound for New Jersey to attend the funeral services of his 92-year old great-grandmother. My condolences go out to Shaq and his family.

Speaking of Phoenix, check out this excerpt from an article by Diane Pucin of the Los Angeles Times: "The NBA is going to announce today that it will present its All-Star Saturday night program of the slam dunk contest, three-point shooting contest and skill challenge in a three-dimensional format at 80 movie theaters around the country Feb. 14. 'This is about embracing new technology and being innovative,' said David Levy, president of Turner Broadcasting Sales Inc. and Turner Sports. Levy said he is not concerned that the theater showing would negatively affect television ratings on TNT. 'We're aiming at the Saturday night moviegoer,' Levy said. 'And we'll be able to do things with the 3-D cameras that we wouldn't normally be able to do with a live game.'"

Is it just me or do you think we are getting closer and closer to having technologically-manipulated sports games and leagues? Guys sitting at home on their couches calling plays and substitutions through their Xbox3600 or PS30? Ok, well, that might be a stretch, but you feel me, right?

We often view owners of sports teams as money-grubbing old men who don't give a damn about the fans. They only want their money, and are unwilling to go the extra mile to earn the fans trust and respect. At times, that feeling is spot on.

However, that's not always the case as Mark McLane of Black Jesus Disciples explains: "Years ago, I worked for The Home Depot. A coworker of mine was an older gentleman whose retirement hadn't quite stuck the way he hoped. Bored out of his mind sitting around the house, he decided to don a hideous orange apron and make some extra dough while keeping himself busy. Every once in a while, we'd talk Suns basketball (this was during Nash's first MVP season) and while knowledgeable, he admittedly didn't follow the team all that closely any more, and didn't plan to despite my pleas and the Suns incredibly entertaining brand of basketball. The reasons cited were your standard, run of the mill cultural differences, getting too old, that kind of thing. Except the last one he gave. Jerry Colangelo no longer ran the show. It turns out my friend was once a Suns season ticket holder and had been for a number of years. 1988 rolled around and due to a rough economic spot in his life, he and his wife were forced to cancel their season tickets. They made the necessary calls and were soon no longer Suns season ticket holders. Finishing up dinner one night not long after canceling their season tickets, there was a knock at the door. My friend answered to find Jerry Colangelo, donning a three piece suit, hoping to discuss what brought on the cancellation of their season tickets and how he could bring them back into the fold. Colangelo had a cup of coffee, made his pitch, thanked them for their time and continued support of the Phoenix Suns, and went on his way, leaving behind a couple of renewed season ticket holders."

Could anyone imagine Donald Sterling making such a trip? Probably not, but I could totally see Arte Moreno doing it.

And last but not least, you HAVE to read this NY Times article about the oldest college basketball player in the country. I'll give you a little hint, he's old enough to be your grandfather. So much for using the "old" excuse as a reason for no longer balling!

Sources: Mets, K-Rod agree to 3-year, $37M deal

He turned down a generous offer from the Angels during the season because he wanted Mariano Rivera-type money. And just when it looked like Frankie Rodriguez would regret not accepting LA's last offer, the Mets offer enough money to bring K-Rod to NYC. The New York Mets have reached an agreement in principle with All-Star closer Francisco Rodriguez on a three-year, $37 million contract, according to major-league sources. The deal includes a $14 million vesting option for a fourth year that would raise the total value of the contract to $51 million.

The deal is contingent upon Rodriguez passing a physical, and the language of the contract still needs to be finalized.

That vesting option is within reach as long as Rodriguez pitches his normal number of innings as a closer, either in the third year of the deal or in a combination of years two and three. "Basically, he's just got to be healthy," one source said.

The deal also includes performance bonuses that are considered within reasonable reach.

News of an imminent deal was first reported by the New York Post. Contract figures were first reported by

K-Rod recorded a record 62 saves for the Los Angeles Angels this year, five more than the previous big league mark set by Bobby Thigpen of the Chicago White Sox in 1990, and then filed for free agency.

A three-time All-Star who turns 27 next month, Rodriguez was regarded as the top closer on the market.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Dodgers Sign Casey Blake To 3-Year Deal

I have to admit that I am a bit surprised by this news. Talking to Blake towards the end of the season, I was under the impression he wanted to go back East and play out the remainder of his career. But considering the weather back East right about now, I'm sure another three years in LA sounded too good to turn down.

LOS ANGELES – The National League West Division Champion Los Angeles Dodgers today agreed to terms with third baseman Casey Blake on a three-year contract with a club option for the 2012 season. General Manager Ned Colletti made the announcement.

“We are excited to bring back a player whose performance on the field and leadership off the field contributed so much to our division championship this year,” Colletti said. “Our club changed when Casey arrived, and we are thrilled that he wants to continue his career with the Dodgers.”

The Dodgers went 34-26 after Colletti acquired Blake July 26 from the Cleveland Indians for two minor leaguers, catcher Carlos Santana and right-handed pitcher Jon Meloan. The deal also included cash considerations.

Starting July 26, Blake’s 10 home runs ranked second on the club to Manny Ramirez’s 18.

Blake, 35, matched his career high with 36 doubles in 2008, and batted .274 with 21 homers, 81 RBI, and 71 runs scored in a combined 152 games with the Dodgers and Indians.

With the Dodgers, he hit .251 with 12 doubles, 10 homers, and 23 RBI in 58 regular-season games.

Blake’s .985 fielding percentage at third base starting July 26 was the best in the National League over that span and was second among major league third basemen behind Jack Hannahan’s .991 percentage with Oakland. Blake started at third base in 56 of the Dodgers’ 60 regular-season games beginning July 26.

The Iowa native is a career .264 hitter with 201 doubles, 128 home runs, and 447 RBI in 917 games over 10 major league seasons with Toronto (1999), Minnesota (2000-01, 2002), Baltimore (2001), Cleveland (2003-08), and the Dodgers (2008). He has logged at least 30 doubles in each of his five full big league campaigns.

Blake hit .267 (8-for-30) with a homer and four RBI in eight post-season games in 2008, his second straight playoff appearance. He was with Cleveland in 2007, which advanced to the American League Championship Series.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

More Of The Same For The Clippers

The Clippers swallowed yet another tough loss last night. The opponent was new, but not the cause.

The 4th quarter was once again LA's downfall.

After a buzzer-beating 3-point heave by Baron Davis gave the Clippers a 9-point at the end of the 3rd frame, Orlando preceded to open the final period with a 10-0 run to regain the lead, and then held Mike Dunleavy's squad to just 13 points over the final 12 minutes.

We haven't seen such a quick and definitive turnaround since Joe Lieberman.

Figuring out the problem is not the issue, it's the solution that is being so evasive. But if an answer is not discovered real soon, the Clippers could be headed for an even faster downward spiral.

"The Clippers have had a lot of these games where they've been right there and been ahead in the fourth, then had some trouble down the stretch," Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy said. "I've had teams that went through that, and it sort of gets in your mind a little bit, too."

It's already in the minds of the fans, who were heard outside our Clippers Live studio last night chanting "Fire Dunleavy!"

Clipper Nation has also been blowing up my mailboxes asking why Dunleavy continues to retain his job even though four other coaches with similar or better records have already been let go.

The Clippers head coach is fully aware of the fans' diminishing patience, but the man, who also serves as the team's general manager, doesn't believe his job is in any immediate jeopardy.

"I don't think that's the case," Dunleavy said. "I think we're headed in the right direction. I think we've got a good group. We haven't had our whole group together all season, or in the preseason."

I can already hear all of your sarcastic rumblings after reading that explanation. True, every team deals with injuries, however, I don't think that defense is necessarily a cop out on Dunleavy's part.

Four players from his 8-man rotation have been injured and unable to practice and/or play at some point either during training camp or the regular season. And that's not even counting Tim Thomas, who was traded to the Knicks in the Zach Randolph deal.

In fact, at no point this season, has Dunleavy had his entire allotment of players healthy for a stretch of 5-games or more. Tough to build chemistry that way on a team featuring nine new players.

"Here's what I think this franchise needs the most," said the GM/coach. "We need to win a lot of games in a stretch, let fans recognize a group of players they can count on, and show everyone just how good we can be when everyone is on the court."

That responsibility, ultimately, falls squarely on the shoulders of the head coach, and no matter how good and truthful the excuses, even those run out eventually.

Chargers Ticket Prices Unchanged For 2009

The good news for Chargers fans is that their tickets aren't going up. The bad news is that the team is already looking ahead to next season!

The San Diego Chargers announced today that there will be no increase in season ticket prices for the 2009 Chargers season. Regular season ticket prices start at $48 per game and Club seat ticket prices start at $140 per game--unchanged from 2008.

The Chargers also announced that the team is lowering the price on approximately 1,300 tickets in 2009. These seats will be set aside in expanded "Family Sections." The season ticket price in the Family Sections will be just $48 per game, and the consumption of alcohol in these special seating sections is strictly prohibited.

"We have listened to the many fans who are interested in bringing their family and sitting in the Family Section," said Chargers Executive Vice President A.G. Spanos. "With these changes for 2009, the Chargers will now have one of the largest designated family areas in the NFL."
A list of formidable opponents next season is sure to attract the fans' interest. The Chargers' 2009 home schedule includes games against Washington, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Cincinnati and the corresponding finisher in the AFC East, along with AFC West rivals Denver, Kansas City and Oakland.

For information on season tickets for the 2009 season, call 877-CHARGERS, go to or stop by the Chargers' ticket office at Gate C at Qualcomm Stadium, open Monday through Friday from 8-5 pm.

Dwight Lewis Named PAC-10 Player Of The Week

LOS ANGELES – USC junior Dwight Lewis was named the Pac-10 Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for the week of Dec. 1-7 it was announced today (Dec. 8) by Commisioner Tom Hansen.

Lewis was USC’s go-to-guy in a pair of close contests, scoring a career-high 26 points in a comeback win vs. San Francisco and then pouring in 25 points in a 73-72 setback at No. 6 Oklahoma. The Metarie, La. native hit nearly 55 percent of his shots for the week, including 50 percent of his three-point shots.

Lewis made 6 of 8 shots after the break against San Francisco to score 17 second-half points and help USC hold off the hot-shooting Dons on Dec. 1. Against Oklahoma on Dec. 4, he scored 17 points in the fi rst half, including making 3 of 4 three-pointers to keep USC in the game and set up the second-half comeback. The two games represented his two highest career scoring outputs.

Lewis currently leads the team with a 17.6 scoring average and has reached double figures in points in all eight games this season. He ranks fifth in the Pac-10 in scoring and is tied for sixth in steals at 1.6 per game.

It is Lewis’ first Pac-10 Player of the Week honor and the 29th all-time for USC.

Reports: Dodgers To Sign Loretta

How do you think this signing will affect the return of Rafael Furcal? The Los Angeles Dodgers have reached an agreement with infielder Mark Loretta, pending a physical, according to multiple media outlets.

Loretta hit .280 in 261 at-bats for the Houston Astros last season with four homers and 38 RBIs. He appeared at four infield positions and hit .330 against left-handers.

A 13-year veteran and two-time All-Star, Loretta will be paid about $1.4 million in 2009, according to

Loretta was not offered arbitration by the Astros, so the Dodgers won't have to surrender any draft picks to sign him.

Monday, December 8, 2008


WALNUT CREEK, Calif.--Tailback Jacquizz Rodgers of Oregon State has been selected both Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year, middle linebacker Rey Maualuga of USC the Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year and Mike Riley of Oregon State the Pac-10 Coach of the
Year. The award winners are selected by the Pac-10 head football coaches.

Offensive Player of the Year & Freshman of the Year Jacquizz Rodgers, TB, Oregon State: Rodgers becomes the first freshman in Conference history to be named offensive player of the year. The frosh from Richmond, Texas, burst upon the Pac-10 scene this year becoming just the third freshman to rush for 1,000 yards in Conference history. Rodgers took over as the starter in the second game of the season and caught the nation's attention in game four when he rushed for 186 yards and two touchdowns in Oregon State's 27-21 upset win against No. 1-ranked USC and its topflight defense. With a bowl game still to go, Rodgers has rushed 259 times for a Pac-10 freshman record 1,253 yards (4.8) and 11 touchdowns. He has added 29 receptions for 247 yards and one touchdown to give him an even 1,500 all-purpose yards for the season. Rodgers led the Beavers in rushing in nine of 11 games and surpassed the 100-yard mark seven times. He was named Pac-10 offensive player of the week three times and national player of the week following his performance against USC. Rodgers becomes the first Oregon State player to be named Pac-10 offensive player of the year since the award was inaugurated in 1975 and just the second player of the year overall from OSU, joining defensive end Bill Swancutt, who earned defensive player of the year honors in 2004.

Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year Rey Maualuga, MLB, USC: Maualuga, a senior from Eureka, Calif., anchors the USC defense that leads the Pac-10 in every major statistical category and leads the nation in scoring defense (7.8 points per game) and total defense (206.1 yards per game). The Trojan defense posted three shutouts this season and has allowed only 11 touchdowns in 12 games. Maualuga is a first-team All-Pac-10 selection for the third straight year and is a first-team All-America pick this season. The defensive player of the game in the Rose Bowl last season, Maualuga is a finalist for the Butkus Award, Lombardi Award and Bednarik Award. He leads the Trojans in tackles with 73 stops and has posted 267 career tackles. He led the Trojans in tackles in eight games this year. Maualuga is the second straight Trojan to earn Pac-10 defensive player of the year honors, following tackle Sedrick Ellis, who won the award last season.

Coach of the Year Mike Riley, Oregon State: Oregon State had the fewest returning starters in the Pac-10 entering this season and was picked to finish seventh in the Conference. The Beavers promptly lost their first two games of the season to make that prediction look accurate. But a stunning upset of then top-ranked USC, still the only blemish on the Trojans' record this year, and an October-November win streak of six straight games before losing to rival Oregon in the Civil War in the season finale catapulted the Beavers to an 8-4 mark. Included was a record of 7-2 and a tie for second in Conference play, good for a berth in the Brut Sun Bowl. Riley has upped his eight-year record as head coach at Oregon State to 55-42, the third-most victories in OSU history behind Lon Stiner and Tommy Prothro. Riley becomes just the third Oregon State coach to be voted Pac-10 coach of the year, following Dave Kragthorpe in 1989 and current Arizona State coach Dennis Erickson in 2000.

Friday, December 5, 2008

World Baseball Classic Tickets For Dodger Stadium Set To Go On Sale

Tickets to the second round through the final of the World Baseball Classic will go on sale Monday.

The tournament's second round is set for March 14-19 and will feature the top two teams from each pool of the first round in a double-elimination format.

Ticket strips for the second round, the semifinals and the final of the 2009 Classic will be made available to the public online at, powered by, the official site of Major League Baseball, as well as online and by phone in the local markets. Tickets for each venue will go on sale at 10 a.m. local time, meaning Miami tickets will go on sale at 10 ET, and Los Angeles and San Diego tickets at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT.

The strips for the individual pools of the second round will consist of six tickets, one to each of the six games played in one of the two second-round venues. Ticket strips for the semifinals and final games will consist of three tickets, one to each of the games played in Dodger Stadium.

Single-game ticket sales for the entire tournament will be announced at a later date.

The 16-team international field in the World Baseball Classic is the same as 2006. An expansion to 24 teams is under consideration for 2013.

First-round play, contested entirely outside the U.S., will be broken into four pools of four teams each. The double-elimination format is a departure from round robin, which was in play in the 2006 Classic.

China, Chinese Taipei, Japan and Korea -- Pool A -- begin play March 5 in the Tokyo Dome. In Pool B, it will be Australia, Cuba, Mexico and South Africa, playing from March 8-12 in Mexico City at Foro Sol Stadium.

Canada, Italy, the U. S. and Venezuela will play March 8-12 at Rogers Centre in Toronto in Pool C. Pool D will feature the Dominican Republic, the Netherlands, Panama and Puerto Rico from March 7-11 in Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The top two finishers from Pool A and Pool B will play at PETCO Park in San Diego, and the teams advancing out of Pool C and Pool D will compete at Dolphin Stadium in Miami.

PETCO Park was the site of the 2006 Classic final, when Japan edged Cuba, 10-6, to capture the inaugural title as Daisuke Matsuzaka was named the tournament's most valuable player. Dolphin Stadium will be hosting World Baseball Classic games for the first time.

The semifinals and final will be played from March 21-23 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.

Competition will shift to single elimination for both the semifinals and final with teams from the two second-round pools crossing over. The winner of each pool will play the runner-up in the opposite pool in the semifinal.

Tickets to the first round went on sale Nov. 17. Those strips for the individual pools consist of six tickets, one to each of the six games played in one of the four international first-round venues.
First-round ticket strips are available for purchase online at, as well as online and by phone in three of the four local markets.

More than 740,000 fans from 48 of the 50 states and 15 countries attended the first Classic.

There were also 486 players that participated, with 235 of those from Major League organizations.

Mike Scarr is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Elton Brand Hurt In Loss To Lakers

The move to Philly just hasn't been what Elton Brand had hoped it would be over the summer.

Not only are the 76ers struggling to find that team chemistry that would make them a force in the East, but EB's numbers haven't been exactly on par with his past several years.

The reasons for the drop could be numerous--new team, new system, new achilles. Whatever the reason, I would tend to think Brand has thought to himself a few times how things would be different if he was still in LA with the Clippers.

So, as if all the above wasn't bad enough, comes this bit of news from The Philadelpia Inquirer:

While (Kobe) Bryant provided the superstar tension last night, the Sixers' main man - Brand - strained his hamstring midway through the fourth quarter, according to the team.

Brand quietly disappeared to the end of the bench with a towel around his neck. Although the team said he was hurt in the fourth period, he sat from the 4-minute, 49-second mark of the third quarter until the end of the game.

Brand will be evaluated today, the team said. He finished with three points on 1-for-7 shooting.

Here's hoping EB has another speedy and successful recovery.

Lott Trophy Finalists Announced

NEWPORT BEACH, CA. – The Lott Trophy, the only collegiate football award where character counts, has announced its four finalists for 2008.

Linebacker Aaron Curry of Wake Forest, Linebacker James Laurinaitis of Ohio State, Defensive End Brian Orakpo of Texas and Defensive Back Myron Rolle of Florida State are this season’s finalists, chosen from an initial Watch List of 42 outstanding student-athletes throughout the country, who have all performed at a high level on the football field and exhibited selfless character off the field.

The winner will be announced at a black-tie banquet at The Pacific Club in Newport Beach, Ca. Dec. 14.

Named after Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott, The Lott Trophy is awarded to college football’s Defensive IMPACT Player of the Year. Now in its fifth year, The Lott Trophy is the first and only college football award to equally recognize athletic performance and the personal character attributes of the player.

Sponsored by The Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation, the Lott award is given to a player who exhibits the same characteristics Lott embodied during his distinguished career: Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity.

The four finalists:
*Curry (6-3, 240, Sr., Fayetteville, NC): Has 101 tackles on the season and 16 tackles for loss. Curry has successfully combined his academics and football during his career at Wake Forest.

*Laurinaitis (6-3, 244, Sr., Hamel, Mn.): A Lott finalist last year, he has won the Butkus and Nagurski awards in previous seasons. Laurinaitis is a two-time Big 10 Defensive Player of the Year and a two-time Ohio State captain. He led the Buckeyes in tackles again this season with 121.

*Orakpo (6-4, 260, Sr., Houston): Twice named the Lott Player of the Week this season. Orakpo has 10 sacks and 16 tackles for losses. He’s been on the Texas honor roll.

*Rolle (6-2, 218, Jr., Galloway, NJ): Named winner of a Rhodes Scholarship on Nov. 22. A grad student in public administration, he has a 3.71 GPA. He is second on the Seminole team with 46 tackles, has 5 passes defended and 5 passes broken up.

David Pollack of Georgia, DeMeco Ryans of Alabama, Dante Hughes of Cal and Glenn Dorsey of LSU were the winners of the first four Lott Trophies. Georgia, Alabama, Cal and LSU each received $25,000 for their general scholarship funds. In four years, the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation has donated $450,000 to various charities, including the universities. Each finalist receives $5,000 for his school’s general scholarship fund.

Voters for the award include selected members of the national media, previous finalists, the Board of Directors of the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation and Legends Coaches, a distinguished group of former head college coaches.

For more information on the Lott Trophy, go to:

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Here's a good chance to score some Lakers tickets and an autograph, and it will all benefit some much-deserving kids.

LOS ANGELES -- L.A. Lakers forward Vladi Radmanovic and his Vladi Radmanovic Children's Foundation will host the organization's annual "Giving Tree" at the Westside Pavilion benefiting Five Acres. The event will begin at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 13 at Westside Pavilion (on the first floor just outside Nordstrom's) located at 10800 W. Pico Blvd. in Los Angeles.

With the purchase of a holiday gift from the event's Giving Tree, each fan will receive an autographed photo of Vladi as well as Lakers game tickets (while supplies last). The Westside Pavilion will staff a table for individuals seeking to purchase gift cards for the charities. Radmanovic has set a goal of collecting 200 holiday gifts and raising more than $1,500 worth of Westside Pavilion gift cards during this year's event.

"This will be our third year of hosting the Giving Tree," said Radmanovic, whose foundation, established in 2005, collected more than 1,000 toys over the past two years. "I remember when my family was homeless during the war. My mom and dad made sure my sister and I had a little something for Christmas. I can relate to these kids from Five Acres and want to make sure that they at least have something for the holidays."

Five Acres is a child and family services agency that strengthens families and prevents child abuse through treatment and education in community-based and residential programs.
Originally founded as an orphanage in 1888, Five Acres today offers an array of services including residential care and education, mental health services in homes and schools, foster care and adoptions, and domestic violence prevention.

For more information on this year's Giving Tree event, log on to or contact Matthew Wade, executive director of the Vladimir Radmanovic Children's Foundation at or (206) 227-9387.

Vladimir Radmanovic Children's Foundation Mission Statement:
The mission of the Vladimir Radmanovic Children's Foundation is to assist organizations that aid children who have been abandoned by their families or removed from their homes for their own protection.


One-Hour Telecast Airs Live on Sunday, December 14th; College Football's Defensive IMPACT Player of the Year Will Be Awarded

Los Angeles -- On Sunday, December 14, Fox Sports WEST will telecast a one-hour live telecast of The Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation 2008 Lott Trophy Award presentation. Event coverage from the Pacific Club in Newport Beach, Calif., begins at approximately 9:30 PM immediately after the Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Los Angeles Lakers post-game "Lakers Live" show. Reporters Bill Macdonald and Michael Eaves will host the Fox Sports WEST coverage of the event.

Hall of fame sports commentator Keith Jackson is the keynote speaker for the event. Best known for broadcasting college football, Jackson has received many awards throughout his 50-plus years of contribution to the sport. He was inducted into the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame in 1995.

Since 2004, the Lott Trophy has been awarded annually to college football's most deserving Defensive IMPACT Player of the Year. The athlete who is bestowed with this honor signifies the epitome of the IMPACT acronym - Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity - through his mastery of the sport and reputation as a role model. The award is named after the former USC All-American, College Football and Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Ronnie Lott. David Pollack of Georgia (2004), DeMeco Ryans of Alabama (2005), Dante Hughes of Cal (2006) and Glenn Dorsey of LSU (2007) were the winners of the first four Lott Trophies.

The Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation will make a $25,000 contribution to the general scholarship fund of the winner's university and a $5,000 donation to the schools of the other finalists.

Voting for the 2008 Lott Trophy consist of ballots distributed to The Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation Board of Directors, a Board of Advisors made up of former NFL players and coaches, 17 members of the Master Coaches, offensive and defensive college coordinators, and sports journalists.