Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Why Can't Ron Artest Get The Benefit Of The Doubt

I have always found it amusing when friends and fans come running to me after something questionable has occurred regarding a prominent sports figure and not because I know they expect me to have some inside information.  I find it amusing because people always think the worst, or at the very least, they think something shady has been going on.

The latest example of this dynamic is the Ron Artest fall-induced concussion.  When the news first came out that the Lakers forward had fallen down a flight of stairs at this home, it didn't seem that many people were too concerned about his well-being.  Instead, they were all about hearing "what really happened," as if falling down the stairs can never be a legitimate excuse for suffering a concussion and a gash in your elbow.

Behind The Mic: Artest's Christmas Accident

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Ron Artest Suffers Concussion In Fall At Home

UPDATE: Ron Artest was examined today in Los Angeles by a neurologist.  Diagnosis from his examination showed that Artest did suffer a concussion in last night’s fall.  Artest’s condition has improved since last night; however, he will continue to see a neurologist on a daily basis until he is cleared to return.  He is definitely out for tonight’s game against the Kings at Sacramento and his status beyond that will be considered day-to-day.  

EL SEGUNDO-   Lakers Forward Ron Artest was injured last night at his home when he tripped over a box and fell down a flight of stairs, suffering an injury to his head and left elbow.

Artest received treatment at the emergency room at UCLA Medical Center, where he was released after undergoing a series of tests, including a CT scan.  He received stitches to the back of his head and to his elbow.

Artest did not accompany the team to Sacramento this morning and is not expected to play in tonight’s game against the Kings.  Artest will be examined today in Los Angeles by a neurologist and after that examination, an update will be given with an estimate as to when Artest will be able to rejoin the team.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Watch Cavs vs. Lakers, But the Real Ticket is LA vs. Boston

In an earlier post on entitled, "Just How Good Are The Lakers," I wrote that we won't really know how good the Lakers are until they go on the road and play some challenging games.  Evidenced by their play on this most recent 5-game trip, I believe we have our answer.  They are pretty damn good, even when they don't play their best.

A further examination of the schedule, however, reveals that the Lakers biggest test of the season will come towards the end of the season's longest road trip--an 8-gamer between January 21 and February 1. Watch Cavs vs. Lakers, But The Real Ticket is LA vs. Boston

Clippers Need to Look Out for No. 1, not wait for No. 1

Wait until Blake gets back!  Wait until Blake gets back!!  That seems to be the Clippers team motto through the first two months of the season.  From fans to players, everyone seems to be waiting with bated breath until the day Blake Griffin rejoins his teammates on the court.

"We'd be scary if we keep playing the way we are and get the No. 1 pick back and get him into the flow of things," Al Thornton said when the team was sitting at 8-10 on the season. "It could be on the up and up."

Well, he's right. The Clippers could be on the up and up with Griffin back in the mix.  Of course, the operable word there is "could." Clippers Need to Look Out for No. 1, not wait for No. 1

The Power of Sports Reaffirmed in "Invictus"

Having the schedule that I have doesn't allow me to get out to the movies very often.  I have always viewed going to the movies as a social outing.  It's something you do on nights and weekends.  The problem for me, of course, is that I work most nights and weekends.  And when I do have that occasional night off, I feel more compelled to catch up on the other things people do on nights and weekends.  Going to dinner.  Hanging out with friends.  Spending a quiet night at home with the family.

It's a minor inconvenience actually, because I really enjoy going to the movies.  They can be such an escape from our everyday lives while also being quite educational.  Two things I have a fond appreciation for.

While on a recent trip through the South to visit family, my wife and I got the chance to go see Invictus starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon.  It revisits the story of how Nelson Mandela had the foresight to see how South Africa winning the 1995 Rugby World Cup would be a unifying moment for his fractured and fragmented country.  I don't want to give away too much of the movie in case you haven't seen it, but President Mandela was right.

This movie further strengthened a belief I have long held:  Sports are the most unifying aspect of human society. 

Some of you may counter by saying religion should hold that title, and in terms of pure numbers, you could present a strong case since there are way more Christians and Muslims in this world than football and soccer fans.

However, when I say sports are the most unifying aspect of human society, I am not talking purely about numbers.  I am talking about getting the largest cross-section of the world's population to come together to root for one common team.  Sports are oftentimes the single best rallying point for a country, a state, a city or even a neighborhood.  Sports invoke both passion and pride, while still transcending age, gender and religion.

As unifying as religion has been through the years and can still yet be, how often do you see segregated congregations?  Go into any church in America, and tell me how representative it is of America.  Do you see black, white, brown and yellow parishioners sitting in the pews?  Are there young and old, rich and poor, straight and gay members in the choir?  Sometimes yes, but most oftentimes no.

But go to a Dodgers, Clippers or UCLA game and tell me what you see.  One game you could be sitting next to an old Jewish man and his wife of 50 years.  While the next game, you could be sitting next to a young Latin girl and her domestic partner.  And even though your differences may be numerous, your one commonality of having a favorite sports team can cause you to hug and slap high fives with someone you've never met nor would have otherwise if not for that game.  Does that type of interaction happen in church without being requested or forced by a pastor or priest?

Also, how many wars have been started due to organized religion?  I don't remember too many countries going to battle over the outcome of a basketball game.  I mean, if Team USA getting robbed by the Soviets in the 1972 Olympics couldn't start a war, then no game can.  In fact, sports have often halted fighting between two warring factions as well as played a major role in reconciliation between opposing parties.

I am not trying to say that sports are better than religion, and thus deserve more of your time and passion.  If you are person of strong faith, please continue to be.  Plus, it's great practice for keeping the faith in your favorite team despite it being nowhere close to the playoff hunt.

I just ask you to see in sports today what Nelson Mandela saw in them nearly 15 years ago.  We far too often allow our differences to easily divide us, while forgetting how easily we can be unified through sports. 

If we can all cheer for the Lakers, Angels and USC alongside complete strangers as if we were the best of friends, why can't we just act like the best of friends anyway?  It would certainly make the game of life much more fun and enjoyable.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

NBA Teams Salivating Over John Wall

Over the weekend, I worked the Kansas vs. UCLA game at Pauley Pavilion as part of the Big-12/Pac-10 hardwood series.  In case you missed it, the game wasn’t overly exciting.  The top-ranked Jayhawks played like the best team in the country in stretches and survived a valiant effort from a rebuilding Bruins team, 73-61.

So the story of the day was not the game itself, but rather who came to watch the game and what some of them told me.  With the likes of Xavier Henry, Cole Aldrich, Sherron Collins, Malcolm Lee and Tyler Honeycutt on the court all at the same time, NBA front office personnel were out in full force.  I was told there were about 30 execs, scouts and agents there for the game--the most notable being Pat Riley, Mitch Kupchak (gave him a good ribbing about my Cats taking down his Tarheels earlier in the day)and Mike Dunleavy.  Hell, even Lakers owner Jerry Buss was there, although he may have been scouting the cheerleading talent more than the basketball talent.

I had a chance to speak to several NBA team representatives before and after the game, and guess what name kept coming up the most?  Kentucky’s John Wall.  That’s right.  Despite there being 3 or 4 legit lottery picks in action, the one guy everybody wanted to talk about was UK’s freshman point guard.

Granted it was just a few hours after Kentucky had knocked off North Carolina, but I still found it surprising how many team execs were asking me if I saw Wall’s performance.  Not that I didn’t already realize it before UK beat UNC, but it definitely solidified the guarantee that Wall will be the number one pick in next summer’s NBA Draft.

The NBA is salivating over this ability to handle the ball (especially in traffic), get into the lane seemingly whenever he wants to, and finish at the rim with conviction.  John Calipari isn’t the only one who believes Wall is further advanced that Derrick Rose at the same stage in their development.

“I think John Wall is a man among boys,” said one well-known agent. “His presence on the Kentucky roster is keeping that team undefeated. He makes his teammates better and he's not afraid to take the big shot. Once he gets a consistent jumper, he'll be unstoppable at the next level.”

So enjoy him while you can, UK fans.  This one-and-done show could be one for the ages.


EL SEGUNDO Due to a death in the family, Lakers radio color commentator Mychal Thompson will not be calling the Lakers’ contests December 11 versus Minnesota and December 12 at Utah, it was announced today.  Additionally, Lakers television color commentator Stu Lantz will also miss six games from December 11-20 due to a surgical procedure his wife will be recovering from.  In Lantz’s place, the Lakers will welcome back Naismith Hall of Fame broadcaster “Hot” Rod Hundley, a former Lakers color commentator alongside Chick Hearn and a member of the Lakers inaugural Los Angeles team.  Filling in for Thompson on radio will be injured Lakers forward Luke Walton.

Hundley, selected first overall by the Cincinnati Royals in the 1957 NBA College Draft, originally joined the Lakers in a post-draft trade that brought the three-time West Virginia All-American to Minneapolis prior to the 1957-58 NBA season.

Playing six seasons for the Minneapolis and Los Angeles Lakers, Hundley averaged 8.4 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 431 games before retiring following the 1962-63 season.  A two-time NBA All-Star (1960 and 1961), he played alongside the likes of Vern Mikkelsen, Elgin Baylor and Jerry West and helped the Lakers to three Western Division Championships in his six seasons with the team.

Following his playing career, Hundley joined the legendary Chick Hearn in the Lakers broadcast booth as a radio/television color commentator for the 1967-68 and 1968-69 seasons.  Moving to the Phoenix Suns broadcast position for five more seasons, he found his home behind the mic in 1974 as the voice of the New Orleans Jazz, a position he would hold for the next 35 seasons.

After 31 seasons as the play-by-play voice of Jazz radio/television simulcasts, four seasons as the radio voice of the Jazz and 42 total seasons encompassing more than 3,000 NBA games, Hundley retired from full-time broadcasting following Game 5 of the 2009 Western Conference First Round series between the Lakers and Jazz. 

Hundley will return to STAPLES Center Friday, December 11 and join the Lakers for the next five road games, teaming with Lakers television play-by-play announcer Joel Meyers for the call on FS West Friday and KCAL-9 for the remaining games.   

Walton, whose father Bill was a long-time broadcaster and studio analyst with the Los Angeles Clippers, NBC and ESPN, will join Spero Dedes for the call on 710 AM ESPN Radio.  Prior to his back injury, he appeared in nine games, averaging 3.7 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 10.6 minutes. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Dodgers today announced that Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully will return to the broadcast booth for an unprecedented 61st season in 2010.

“For six decades, Dodger fans have been truly blessed to have Vin Scully on the air and we are honored that he will be back in the booth again next season,” said Dodger Owner Frank McCourt. “He has been the one constant over the years and I know that our fans will cherish every game he calls.”

Scully, who recently completed his record-setting 60th campaign with the Dodgers, will be honored prior to a game next season at Dodger Stadium. His 60 years of service constitute the longest tenure of any broadcaster in sports history.

“We have had two exciting seasons consecutively -- getting into the second round of the playoffs -- and when you get that close, you look to the next year as perhaps the one that you go all the way,” said Scully, who celebrated his 82nd birthday on Sunday. “I’m very excited and optimistic about 2010 and the direction we’re heading and we’ll take it year-to-year after that.”

Earlier this year, Scully was named as the top sportscaster of all time by the American Sportscasters Association, an honor that has been bestowed upon him by several other associations and polls. With accolades far too numerous to detail, Scully’s crowning achievement came nearly 30 years ago when he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982.

Scully began his baseball broadcasting career in 1950, and since then has gone on to call three perfect games, 19 no-hitters, 25 World Series and 12 All-Star Games.  He was also at the microphone for Kirk Gibson’s miraculous Game 1 homer in the 1988 World Series, Hank Aaron’s record-setting 715th home run, Barry Bonds’ record-breaking 71st, 72nd and 73rd home runs and the scoreless-inning streaks’ of Dodger greats Don Drysdale and Orel Hershiser.

When Scully first began broadcasting, the Dodgers had yet to win a single World Series. Gasoline cost 27 cents a gallon, a postage stamp was just three cents and the minimum wage was only 75 cents per hour. Three years later, at the age of 25, he became the youngest person to ever broadcast a World Series game and in 1955, he had his most memorable moment behind the microphone, as he called the Dodgers' first and only championship in Brooklyn.

The following season, Scully once again found himself in the enviable position of calling what he would later say was the greatest individual performance he had seen -- Don Larsen's perfect game in the World Series, a broadcast which made national news again earlier this year when the MLB Network launched on January 1 with the rare footage of that game.

In 2010, Scully will continue to call all Dodger home games and the club's road games against NL West and AL West opponents. While Scully handles all nine innings of the team's television broadcasts, the first three innings of each of his games is simulcast on radio. 

Saturday, November 28, 2009


Newport Beach, Ca. – The Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation has announced the four finalists for the 2009 Lott Trophy.

They are Safety Eric Berry of Tennessee, Defensive End Jerry Hughes of TCU, Linebacker Rolando McClain of Alabama and Defensive Tackle Ndaumkong Suh of Nebraska.

The sixth annual Lott Trophy Banquet will be held Dec. 13 at The Pacific Club in Newport Beach, Ca. where the winner will be announced.  All four finalists will be invited to the banquet where the keynote speaker will be Peter Ueberroth.  Fox Sports will televise the event live. 

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 sixth year, the Lott Trophy is the first college football award to equally recognize athletic performance and the personal character attributes of the player.

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

The four finalists have been highly recommended for their off-field endeavors as well as their accomplishments on the field. 

Berry is a junior from Fairburn, Georgia who was the SEC Defensive Player of the Year as a sophomore and is widely considered the best defensive back in the country.  He was twice selected the Lott Player of the Week this season.  “Players gravitate to him,” says Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin.

Hughes is a senior from Sugar Land, Texas who was converted from a high school running back to defense as a freshman.  He was the Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year last season when he led the country in sacks with 15.  This year, in addition to his continued stellar play on the field, he has been honored as a local hero for his community involvement in the Fort Worth area. 

McClain is a junior from Decatur, Georgia who is the driving force on an Alabama defense that has been superb in leading the Crimson Tide to an undefeated (12-0) season.  He has matured into a team captain and academic standout. 

Suh is a 300-pound senior from Portland, Oregon who has been the dominant defensive player in the country, credited with 22 quarterback hurries and 16 tackles for losses.  He’s been named the Lott Player of the Week a record three times this season.

It is the first time Tennessee, TCU and Nebraska have had a finalist for the Lott Trophy. Alabama’s DeMeco Ryans won the award in 2005. 

            Past winners of The Lott Trophy:

            2004 – David Pollack, Georgia

            2005 – DeMeco Ryans, Alabama

            2006 – Dante Hughes, California

            2007 – Glenn Dorsey, LSU

            2008 – James Laurinaitis, Ohio State

In five years, the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation has donated more than $650,000 to various charities, including $25,000 to each of the winners’ universities.

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

Friday, November 27, 2009

Selfish Idiot Forces Police To Shoot Defenseless Bear

Before I even get started on this story, let me preface my comments by saying that I am a huge animal lover.  Dogs, horses, etc, I love them all--well except for maybe some cats, but that's a topic for another time.

However, as much as I love animals, I don't value their lives over the lives of human beings.  I am not an over-the-top animal rights enthusiast.  I can't stand animal cruelty, but I also realize raising animals for food is a huge part of our culture.  So in the grand pecking order of the world, it's humans first, animals second.

Now, there are exceptions to just about everything, and while I don't value the lives of animals over the ones of humans, I can honestly say that's not always the case.  For example, if someone were to brutally harm or even kill my dog, I can't say for certain that my reaction would not be severe violence towards that person.  I believe people who are intentionally cruel and violent towards innocent animals are some of the most disgusting people in the world.  I put them in the same category as child molesters and rapists.  Those who prey on the defenseless are the biggest cowards in the world, and I believe the death penalty is sometimes a justifiable punishment even if their victim(s) doesn't die.

From the picture posted above, you can probably guess what led me to share these thoughts with you.  If you don't know the story, some dumbass in Switzerland jumped into a bear's den at a local zoo with the intent of "having a picnic" with the bear.  You heard me.  This clown wanted to eat food with a wild animal.  As you might imagine, things didn't exactly go so well--for the idiot or for the bear either, unfortunately.  And it's what happened to the bear that really pains me about this story.

After the bear reacted as most wild animals would--by mauling this fool--police were forced to shoot the bear in order to save the man's life.  So while the idiot, who thought jumping into a bear's den was a good idea, will likely live despite some pretty severe injuries, the bear is fighting for his life. Where is the justice here?  What did the bear do wrong?

This is an example where I have no sympathy whatsoever for this human being.  If anyone deserved to die in this scenario, it was the man, not the bear.  As cold as that may sound, that's how I truly feel.  This man made a conscious decision to put his life on the line.  The bear didn't, but yet, it's the bear's life that may end as a result.

What the hell is wrong with people?  Does anyone ever think about the ramifications of their actions, and not just what may happen to them as a result, but to others as well?  When you really think about it, could this guy had been more selfish?  He wanted to be cool.  Be funny.  Be noticed.  Instead, he damn near got killed, and possibly caused another life to end.

I will say this though.  Now that the guy is safe and still alive, I hope he fully recovers from his injuries just so he can be healthy enough to serve several years in jail.  But I guess it would be too much to ask if his cellmate would be a behemoth of a man named, "Bear," huh?  Oh well, one can only hope!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Shannon Brown: NBA Dunk Contest or Bust!

The campaign to get Shannon Brown an invite to the NBA All-Star Weekend Dunk Contest is officially underway.  From the fans to the media, just about anyone who has seen the Lakers play this season are in agreement.  Brown is one of the most dynamic leapers in the game today.  Leaving him out of the annual dunk fest would be a crime.

The one question regarding Brown's potential invite to the NBA dunk contest is whether he can be unique with his dunks. It's a valid question when you consider that Brown's best aerobatics this season have been more explosive than creative. But check out this clip from the year he played in the McDonald's All-American game, when he competed in the dunk contest against the likes of LeBron James and other future NBA ballers.

So obviously, Brown has shown the ability to get a little funky with his dunks. And just think how more special his jams could be once he gets some tutoring from his biggest supporter, Kobe Bryant, who won the 1997 NBA Dunk Contest as a rookie.

By the way, we've heard some good nickname suggestions for Brown this season as well.  What's your favorite?  Which one fits him the best?  Be sure to vote on the poll posted at the top of the page, and look for my interview with Brown on Tuesday night's edition of Lakers Live on FS West HD beginning at 6:45pm.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Clippers Fan Turning The Music Game & Hollywood Into His Own Personal Playgrounds

For the past 7 years, Harvey Mason, Jr. has sat just off the court, directly across from the Clippers bench supporting his lifelong favorite team.

“I used to go to San Diego to watch the Clipper games. My dad and I would drive down and watch the games down there,” said Mason. “I loved the Lakers and Magic Johnson as a kid growing up as well, but something about the Clippers just stuck to me. They were underdogs, and I like the way they play. I like that they have a lot of heart.”

Mason’s obsession with basketball emerged at an early age, but it didn’t blossom until his high school years at Crescenta Valley, where he led the state in scoring as an all-CIF selection before eventually ending up at Arizona to play for Lute Olson. A torn ACL ended his dreams of playing professional basketball.

But while basketball may have been his obsession, music was always his first love thanks to growing up as the son of Jazz drummer and producer extraordinaire, Harvey Mason, Sr.

"I always wanted to be around my dad. I love being in the studio. So I didn't really rebel like a lot of kids did. I just had a genuine love and interest in music," said Mason.

I didn't really know what I was going to do. Was I going to play drums like my dad? Was I going to write songs? Was I going to be an artist? But I knew I wanted to to be in the studio, so I ended up developing as a song writer and as a producer. All these years later, here I am."

And where he is is the top of the modern day music game. Having worked with artists from Beyonce and Aretha Franklin to Justin Timberlake and Elton John, Mason has not only been nominated for three Grammy awards, but he’s also the first producer to be nominated for three Academy awards in the same year for his work on the soundtrack to "Dreamgirls."

“For me, I use that competitive spirit and nature that I had in basketball to try and beat the next guy--trying to work harder than the next guy, trying to spend more time perfecting my craft than the guy next to me,” Mason said. “I’ve used my athletic background to hopefully further my music career.”

And that athletic background has also led to another venture: film-making. Mason recently produced the highly-acclaimed documentary, “More Than A Game,” centering around LeBron James and his childhood friends. It was a project that many studio execs either passed on or wanted to turn into a tv show, but when director Kris Belman brought some of the early clips to Mason, his vision went far beyond a Lebron highlight tape.

“I saw the story of these five guys and a dad who knew nothing about basketball,
trying to work together with these kids and grow these guys up as young men.
And to me that was the most compelling most interesting part of the footage,”
said Mason. “There was so much heart there. I just thought it was a story that
needed to be told. It was about basketball, it was about LeBron, but it was much
more than all of that and that’s the title, ‘More Than A Game’.”

The film has received much critical acclaim since it premiered at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival. Some industry insiders and moviegoers are even comparing it to one of the best sports documentaries of all-time: “Hoop Dreams.” However, such praise was not the original goal of making this film.

“This was a movie that I felt we had a chance to really kind of make a difference.

It sounds like really corny, but people watch this movie and they feel good,”

Mason said. “You know the feel energized and motivated, inspired, and you don’t
get a chance to do that that often. I try to do it in music, and I tried to do it in this


“And I want everybody to see this movie. I want kids to see this movie. I want
parents to see it. I want athletes, non-athletes, and moms because the message in
this story and this film are important and impactful. And like I said, it makes you
feel good.”

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Newport Beach, Ca. – The Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation has announced the eight semi-finalists for the 2009 Lott Trophy.

The list includes two safeties, two defensive tackles, one linebacker and three defensive ends.

The eight semi-finalists are: Safety Eric Berry of Tennessee (a semi-finalist last year), Safety Taylor Mays of USC, Defensive Tackle Ndaumkong Suh of Nebraska, Defensive Tackle Gerald McCoy of Oklahoma, Linebacker Rolando McClain of Alabama, Defensive End Sam Acho of Texas, Defensive End Jerry Hughes of TCU and Defensive End Eric Norwood of South Carolina.

Ballots will be sent to over 300 members of the Lott Trophy National Voter Panel, a list that includes Hall of Fame coaches and players, select members of the media and distinguished business leaders throughout the country.

The four finalists will be announced Nov. 24 and they will travel to the sixth annual Lott Trophy Banquet Dec. 13 where the winner will be announced.

A look at the eight semi-finalists:

Eric Berry (Safety, Jr., Tennessee, 5-11, 195, Fairburn, Ga.): Has 14 career interceptions and 494 return yards, second most in NCAA history. Consensus All-American and SEC Defensive Player of the Year last season. Lott Player of the Week twice. “That guy is one of the most dominant players in the country. There is no better safety in college football today.” - Former UCLA Coach Terry Donahue, a member of the Board of Directors of the IMPACT Foundation.

Taylor Mays (Safety, Sr., USC, 6-4, 225, Seattle): All-American his last two seasons at Southern California. Team captain. Lott Player of the Week against Cal. “Taylor Mays is a man of character and integrity. His leadership skills are demonstrated on and off the field.” - Mimi Butler, USC Student Athlete Academic Services.

Gerald McCoy (DT, Jr., Oklahoma, 6-4, 300, Oklahoma City): All-American and team captain. Has 12 tackles for losses this season. “One of the most outstanding young men I have been honored to coach. He is a young man focused on goodness in his own life and in finding ways to spread it to others.” - Bob Stoops, Head Football Coach, Oklahoma.

Ndamukong Suh (DT, Sr., Nebraska, 6-4, 300, Portland, Oregon): Has blocked three kicks this year. Lott Player of the Week twice. Eleven tackles for losses. ” I have had the good fortune to work with a number of outstanding players, great leaders and men of excellent character. I can assure you that Ndamukong Suh ranks right near the top of that list when you evaluate his total impact on our football program.” - Bo Pelini, Head Coach, Nebraska.

Rolando McClain (LB, Jr., Alabama, 6-4, 249, Decatur, Ga.): Leads undefeated Tide in tackles with 66. “He is the best defensive player I have seen this year. No, make that the best defensive player I’ve seen in many years.” – Former Auburn Head Coach Pat Dye.

Sam Acho (DE, Jr., Texas, 6-3, 260, Dallas): Leads nation with four fumbles recovered*26 tackles, 5 sacks, 8 tackles for losses*Texas Athletic Director’s Honor Roll four straight times*Academic All-District in ‘09*Went on medical mission to Nigeria with his father and brother this past summer* “Sam stands out to me as an especially accomplished and earnest student-athlete. Quite simply, he is a great young man—and a tremendous football player.” - William Powers, Jr., President, University of Texas

Jerry Hughes (DE, Sr., TCU, 6-3, 267, Sugar Land, Texas): Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year last season when he led the country in sacks with 15. Has nine sacks this year for undefeated TCU. “Jerry Hughes is among the very few… Few who have the integrity to always, without fail, select the right path. Instead, he is an encourager who motivates and uplifts others.—Le Ann Roberts, Communications Studies, TCU.

Eric Norwood (DE, Sr., South Carolina, 6-0, 249, Acworth, Ga.): “Has 62 tackles, seven sacks (28 in his career with 51.5 tackles for losses). Team captain. “He’s the way we want our student-athletes to be, I think he epitomizes it. I can talk forever about him, that’s how strongly I feel about him and his character.” - Raymond M. Harrison, Jr., Director of Academics and Life Skills, University of South Carolina.

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 sixth year, the Lott Trophy is the first college football award to equally recognize athletic performance and the personal character attributes of the player.

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

Past winners of The Lott Trophy:

2004 – David Pollack, Georgia

2005 – DeMeco Ryans, Alabama

2006 – Dante Hughes, California

2007 – Glenn Dorsey, LSU

2008 – James Laurinaitis, Ohio State

In five years, the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation has donated more than $650,000 to various charities, including $25,000 to each of the winners’ universities.

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

Named after Pro Football Hall of Fame member, Ronnie Lott, The Lott Trophy is awarded to college football’s Defensive IMPACT Player of the Year. Founded in 2004 by The Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation, The Lott Trophy is the first and only college football award to equally recognize athletic performance and the personal character attributes of the player. The Lott Trophy is given to the player who exhibits the same characteristics Lott embodied during his distinguished career: Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity. Voters for the award include selected members of the national media, previous finalists, the Board of Directors of the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation and the Legends Coaches which is a distinguished group of former college football head coaches. The sixth annual Lott Trophy dinner will be held December 13th at The Pacific Club in Newport Beach, California. For more information on The Lott Trophy visit:


--Kemp wins his first while Hudson takes home his fourth Rawlings Gold Glove Award--

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Dodgers and Rawlings today announced that center fielder Matt Kemp and second baseman Orlando Hudson were awarded the National League Rawlings Gold Glove for their respective positions. Kemp becomes a Rawlings Gold Glove winner for the first time in his career while Hudson captures his fourth award. Hudson has now won the Rawlings Gold Glove Award in four of the last five seasons, after winning one in three consecutive seasons from 2005-07.

Kemp led all Major League center fielders and ranked third among all big league outfielders with 14 outfield assists. His .995 fielding percentage was third among NL center fielders, behind Gold Glove winner Shane Victorino and Nate McLouth. The Oklahoma native made just two errors on the season.

Prior to Kemp, the last Dodger outfielder to win the Rawlings Gold Glove was center fielder Steve Finley in 2004, which was also the last time more than one Dodger won the award in the same season. The only other everyday Dodger centerfielder to win the Rawlings Gold Glove award was Willie Davis, who took home the honor three straight years from 1971-73.

Kemp logged 1,355.1 innings in center field, which is more frames than any other Dodger center fielder in a Gold Glove season. Over the last two years, his 30 outfield assists are tied for second in the Major Leagues with Baltimore’s Nick Markakis, trailing only Houston’s Hunter Pence (32).

In 145 games at second base, Hudson made just eight errors and posted a .988 fielding percentage (T-4th, NL), which ranked fifth on the franchise’s single-season list by a second baseman, behind Jody Reed (.993, in 1993), Jackie Robinson (.992 in 1951), Charlie Neal (.989 in 1959), and Mark Grudzielanek (.989 in 2002). In September, the 2009 All-Star was named by Baseball America as the best defensive second baseman in the publication’s annual tools issue.

Hudson becomes the third Dodger second baseman to win a Gold Glove and the first since Davey Lopes in 1978. Neal was the franchise’s first second baseman to win a Rawlings Gold Glove, taking home the honor in 1959, the club’s first championship season in Los Angeles.

In 2008, pitcher Greg Maddux was the lone Dodger to take home the Rawlings Gold Glove Award and 2009 marks just the eighth time since the inception of the award in 1957 that two Dodgers have won Gold Gloves in the same season. The Dodgers have never had more than two Gold Glove winners in a season and have now won 38 Gold Glove Awards in their history, led by Wes Parker’s six consecutive awards at first base from 1967-72.

Rawlings established the Rawlings Gold Glove Award in 1957 as the greatest measure of fielding excellence. The award is presented annually to 18 players – one for each position – in both the American and National Leagues. Winners are selected by Major League coaches and managers prior to the conclusion of the regular season. Managers and coaches may not vote for players from their own club and only vote for players in their own league.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Coach Cal Looking For That Big Blue Swagger

Even though I moved away from Kentucky more than 10 years ago, I have never left my commonwealth roots. Whether I was living in Memphis or here in LA, I have always been a Kentucky boy at heart, and it's a heritage I display quite proudly, as my framed Kentucky Colonel certificate will attest.

From MLB players to NBA coaches, if people know one thing about Michael Eaves, it's that he was born and raised in Kentucky and is a proud UK grad.

With that background comes a bit of a responsibility however, especially on the West Coast. There just aren't that many Kentucky natives running around Southern California, so thus I become a spokesman for all things Kentucky, particularly UK sports, which can be both good and bad.

For example, when the Cats were dying a slow, agonizing death during the ill-fated Billy Gillispie era, I was fielding constant questions and jokes about how Billy G was killing the program. I often agreed with all the criticisms, but it was harder for me to laugh. My Big Blue blood wouldn't allow it. I found the situation more sad than funny.

Thank God, that mess is over. But I digress.

The flip side to this dynamic is that when things are going well at UK, life is grand. When the Cats are winning games and climbing up the rankings, I'm the one who gets to crack on other people's programs. I relish those moments.

And right now, there's no better time to be a UK grad, because the Cats are the talk of the college basketball world. Even in the land of UCLA, people are talking about UK Basketball, and not KU, even though the top-ranked Jayhawks are the favorites to cut down the nets.

I can't tell you how many times I've had a PAC-10 coach or NBA GM ask me about what John Calipari is doing at Kentucky. They want to know if the Cats are really going to be as good as everyone is saying. My go-to answer of late has been, "I hope they are even better!"

Call me greedy, but I am fully hoping for the program's 14th berth to the Final Four, which would be its first trip to the NCAA Tournament's final weekend since 1998. But you notice I used the word "hope" and not "expect." Hope is safe. Expectations will get your feelings hurt.

It's a reality that Coach Cal obviously realizes, but he also understands that things are just different at Kentucky.

"(Players) are held to a higher standard than other players across the country, and so am I as a coach," Calipari said. "You are held to a different standard. That is the privilege of being here."

Now, as I said around the time Kentucky hired Calipari, I'm not sure if he's the long-term answer at UK because I don't know what his ultimate coaching goals are. But there is one thing I am absolutely certain of: John Calipari is the right man for the job right now because he knows exactly what the program needs as this very moment.

"This Kentucky program always had a swagger," Calipari said. "People saw it. The players knew it. It had a swagger about itself. The other team knew it, the officials knew it, everybody knew it. You walked in and there it was. We've just got to get that swagger back."

And in a very short amount of time, that's exactly what Calipari has done. He's given UK it's swagger back, and thus mine too--West Coast Style!

Go Cats!!

Chris Kaman Left Off NBA All-Star Ballot

The NBA unveiled its official ballot for this year's NBA All-Star game Tuesday, and I know exactly what some Clippers fans are thinking: Where's Chris Kaman?

I mean, you've seen him play and you've seen his stats, both of which, are definitely All-Star caliber this season. How could he be left off the ballot?

I can just hear Clipper Nation asking all the obvious questions.

The reigning Western Conference Player of the Week is not listed on the official All-Star ballot, but Spencer Hawes is?

A player ranked in the top 15 in scoring, the top 20 in minutes played and the top 25 in rebounds, is not worthy of being listed among the leading candidates for the All-Star game, but Andrew Bogut is?

Trust me, all your questions are valid. However, you need to understand the process before getting yourself all worked up.

The NBA All-Star ballot lists 120 players – 60 each from the Eastern and Western conferences – with 24 guards, 24 forwards, and 12 centers from each conference comprising the list. Voters select two guards, two forwards and one center from each conference. The 120 players on the ballot were selected by a panel of media who regularly cover the NBA: Mike Breen (ABC/ESPN), Eddie Sefko (Dallas Morning News), Doug Smith (The Toronto Star and President, Pro Basketball Writers Association) Marc Spears (Yahoo! Sports), Marc Stein ( and Ian Thomsen (Sports Illustrated).

After I first saw the ballot this morning, I called my good friend Marc Spears and asked him how Kaman could be left off the list of viable candidates. Marc informed me of two very interesting aspects of the process: 1) Every team must have at least three players represented on the official ballot. 2) The media panel must submit its selections during the first week of the preseason.

So based on that criteria, you can see why players such as Hawes and Lopez are listed as All-Star candidates and Kaman is not. And with the Clippers having four players on the official ballot (Baron Davis, Al Thornton, Marcus Camby, and Blake Griffin--the only rookie listed), it would be hard to include a fifth considering the season not only the Clippers had last season, but also, Kaman himself.

Spears readily admitted that if the ballots would have not been due until a few weeks into the regular season, then Kaman would undoubtedly be listed on the official ballot.

So if you want to point any of your displeasure with Kaman being left off the ballot, don't direct it at those responsible for selecting the candidates, but rather the NBA, itself, for demanding that the ballots come out so soon.

But even though Kaman (and Eric Gordon, for that matter) isn't listed on the official ballot, Clippers fans can still vote him into the All-Star game. Write-in votes are always accepted and tabulated.

There are several ways fans can cast their votes, including: at each NBA arena; in 20 languages on; and through mobile phones by texting the player’s last name to 6-9-6-2-2 (“MYNBA”), via Web2Go® on T-Mobile phones or for any wireless carrier. A T-Mobile-branded All-Star Balloting widget will also be available on so that fans can “grab” the widget and place it on their blogs, social network pages, or personal Web sites allowing others to vote directly from the widget. Paper balloting will continue through Jan. 10, while wireless balloting and voting on will conclude Jan. 18. Starters will be announced live on TNT on Thursday, January 21, 2010.

The 2010 NBA All-Star Game will be played at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, before an expected crowd of more than 80,000 – the largest group ever to witness a live basketball game, on Sunday, Feb. 14, 2010.

Torii Hunter Wins 9th Straight Gold Glove

ANAHEIM, CA – Angels’ centerfielder Torii Hunter has been selected to the 2009 Rawlings Gold Glove Award® team, in an announcement made Tuesday by the Rawlings Sporting Goods Company. This marks the ninth consecutive Gold Glove honor for the three-time All-Star.

Hunter’s nine Gold Gloves as an American League outfielder rank tied (with Ichiro) for third all-time behind Ken Griffey Jr. (10) and Al Kaline (10).

Hunter, 34, is the fourth Angel outfielder to win consecutive Gold Gloves, joining Gary Pettis (1985-86), Devon White (1988-89) and Jim Edmonds (1997-98).

Hunter committed just one error in 115 games in centerfield (311 total chances). The miscue committed on Sept. 18th at Texas snapped a streak of 265 consecutive errorless games to end the longest active streak among MLB outfielders. The 11-year veteran has committed one error in 675 total chances over two seasons with the Halos.

The Angels have had a Rawlings Gold Glove Award® recipient in 20 of the last 24 seasons.

The Rawlings Gold Glove Award® acknowledges outstanding fielding achievement and is presented annually to 18 players, one from each position in both the American and National Leagues.

The award was introduced in 1957 and the winners are chosen by major league managers and coaches.

Friday, November 6, 2009


ANAHEIM, CA – The 2009 A.L. West Division champion Angels announced Friday that General Manager Tony Reagins has received a long-term contract extension.

Reagins became the 10th General Manager in Club history when he signed an initial three-year contract on October 16, 2007. Per club policy, no terms of the agreement will be released.

“I would like to thank the Moreno Family for their support and confidence as we continue our goal of winning World Championships," said Reagins. "It is an honor to work with a tremendous group of professionals, both on the baseball and business side of our organization. The vision of this organization, and the dedication of our employees for improvement on a daily basis, makes my role extremely gratifying.”

Since taking over the General Manager position, Reagins has been active in making key personnel transactions including the acquisitions of pitcher Jon Garland (trade with Chicago White Sox), outfielder Torii Hunter (free-agent signing), first baseman Mark Teixeira (trade prior to the non-waiver trade deadline in July), outfielder Bobby Abreu (free-agent signing) and lefthander Scott Kazmir (trade). Along with West Division titles, the Angels have posted a 197-127 record (.608 winning percentage) during his first two campaigns as General Manager, including a club-record 100 wins in 2008.

As the result of the Angels' successful 2008 season, Reagins was recognized earlier this year as the recipient of the Andrew "Rube" Foster Award as the American League "Executive of the Year" at the 2008 Legacy Awards (sponsored by the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City).

Reagins, 42, has spent 18 seasons in the Angels organization. Prior to his promotion to General Manager, he served six seasons as the Angels’ Director of Player Development. In that role, he was responsible for overseeing the club’s minor league system comprised of seven affiliates, including a club and developmental academy in San Pedro De Macoris, Dominican Republic.

With Reagins’ guidance (2002-07), the Angels' affiliates reached the playoffs 18 times while capturing 15 division titles and three league titles. The Angels’ farm system posted winning records in four of the six seasons (2003-05-06-07) and was named “Minor League Organization of the Year” in 2003 by The Sporting News.

Under Reagins’ direction, the Angels’ farm system has advanced several players to the Major League roster including, Howie Kendrick, Reggie Willits, Robb Quinlan, Kendry Morales, Erick Aybar, Jeff Mathis, Mike Napoli, Jered Weaver, Joe Saunders, and Kevin Jepsen. In addition, Minor League News named the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim as the “2007 Farm System of the Year.”

In his first season as Director of Player Development, six rookies were on the 2002 World Championship team after not having one rookie on the roster coming out of Spring Training. Those rookies included Brendan Donnelly, Chone Figgins, Francisco Rodriguez, John Lackey, Scot Shields and Jose Molina.

Before serving as Director of Player Development, Reagins spent four years as Manager of Baseball Operations where he worked closely with GM Bill Bavasi, Farm Director Jeff Parker and Scouting Director Bob Fontaine. He also served as a Sponsorship Services Representative from 1996 until returning to Baseball Operations in April of 1998. Additionally, he held an internship in marketing/advertising sales in 1993 before being named Marketing Assistant in 1994.

A native of Indio, CA, Reagins began his career with the Angels as an intern in baseball operations in 1992. He graduated from California State University Fullerton in 1991 with a degree in marketing and earned an AA degree in business administration from the College of the Desert in 1988.

Reagins resides in Fullerton with wife Colleen, daughter Kennedy, and son Luke.

Reagins is a member of the Buck O’Neil Scout Association and an active supporter of Major League Baseball’s Urban Youth Academy and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

Visit the Angels on the Internet at:

Charles Barkley and Chris Webber Test Very Unique Putter

Here's another example of why Charles Barkley is must-see TV and Inside the NBA on TNT is one of the best shows on television.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Iverson Experiment On The Verge Of Blowing Up In Memphis

Well, that didn't take long. Less than a week into his Memphis Grizzlies career, Allen Iverson is not exactly happy with his current role of bench player. And who could blame him?

He's one of the 50 greatest players in the history of the NBA. Heck, you could even argue that pound-for-pound, inch-for-inch, he is THE greatest.

After playing only 18 minutes in his season debut--a loss in Sacramento--AI dropped the following quote on reporters after someone asked about his apparent sixth man role.

“No. I’m not a bench player. I’m not a sixth man,” Iverson said. “Look at my resume and that’ll show I’m not a sixth man. I don’t think it has anything to do with me being selfish. It’s just who I am. I don’t want to change what gave me all the success that I’ve had since I’ve been in this league. I’m not a sixth man. And that’s that.”

You know what? He's absolutely right. He's not a sixth man. He's a bonafide starter in this league, even after 13 bruise-filled seasons. I know that. You know that. He knows that. And the Grizzlies should have known that.

However, if for some reason, Memphis management actually thought AI couldn't deliver like the AI of old, they certainly didn't tell him that during the recruitment process, as Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace recently revealed on WHBQ-AM in Memphis.

“We had some discussions with him, but basically it’s like it is with all players," said Wallace. "You come in, lets see what you can do, let’s see how it fits in, maybe its starting, maybe its coming off the bench, let the coach determine how he feels like he can best exploit your talents and we’ll go from there."

You had discussions? Let's see how it fits in? Maybe it's starting, maybe it's coming off the bench? Uh, you kind of left that whole thing a little open-ended, didn't you Chris?

If what Wallace says is true and I'm the player in question, what he just said tells me that if I can prove to the coach that I am good enough to start, then I will start. Seems pretty plain and simple, and I am fairly certain that's exactly how Iverson read it as well.

However, it doesn't seem that Lionel Hollins quite sees it that way, or he's been told to see it another way. OJ Mayo and Rudy Gay have been penciled in as the foundation for this franchise going forward--that is, if the Grizzlies can sign Gay to a long-term deal.

These two young phenoms could be some of the best players of their generation, but their time is not now. It's in the future. In other words, the Grizzlies are smack-dab in the middle of a rebuilding process--something that AI never heard from Memphis, but something he wasn't trying to hear either.

"Nobody ever said anything about rebuilding. You know I wouldn't have come to a team, at 34 years old, that was in a rebuilding process," Iverson said. "I'm trying to win a championship. I thought I would have won a championship by now. I didn't come here for no money. I didn't come here for another scoring title or an All-Star game. I've done all that stuff. I want to win. If we are not trying to win, I have a problem. I'm assuming we are trying to win."

Evidently, Iverson and the Grizzlies don't share that assumption, or much else for that matter.

(Iverson and the Grizzlies play the Lakers Friday night on FS West HD and the Clippers Saturday night on Prime Ticket HD.)

Brut Sun Bowl Aligns With Pac-10, ACC Through 2013

EL PASO, Texas (November 5, 2009) – The Brut Sun Bowl officially announced today it has extended its partnership with the Pac-10 Conference through 2013 and aligned with the Atlantic Coast Conference from 2010-2013.

The new alignment will feature the third selection after the Bowl Championship Series from the Pac-10 against either the runner-up of the Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship Game or the third selection after the BCS from the ACC.

“We are extremely excited to forge this new partnership,” said Frank Bates, president of the Sun Bowl Association. “We have had such a strong and long-standing relationship with the Pac-10. Having the opportunity to pair the Pac-10 with the Atlantic Coast Conference could really prove to be some exciting matchups.”

The Brut Sun Bowl has the second longest current relationship with the Pac-10, hosting a league school for 14 consecutive years. Nine of the league’s 10 schools have participated in the Brut Sun Bowl 25 times, with California as the lone school to have never played in the Sun Bowl.

“The Pac-10 is very happy to extend its longtime relationship with the Brut Sun Bowl,” said Commissioner Larry Scott. “The Sun Bowl has been a good and loyal partner over the years and through its New Year's Eve positioning on CBS provides an excellent showcase for the Pac-10 teams. We look forward to many more years of partnership.”

The Atlantic Coast Conference is also no stranger to the Brut Sun Bowl, but has not sent a team to El Paso since 1994. In all, ACC schools have made 10 appearances, with North Carolina appearing four times – 1972, 1974, 1982 and 1994.

The 1994 Sun Bowl between Texas and North Carolina was named the greatest Sun Bowl ever played at last year’s 75th Brut Sun Bowl.

“As someone who has been to the Sun Bowl, I can tell you that it was one of the best bowl trips that I have ever experienced,” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford. “We are looking forward to having a compelling match-up with the Pac-10, while also being part of the storied bowl history and tradition. This partnership will provide special and memorable experiences for our student-athletes and fans.”

The Pac-10 Conference consists of Arizona, Arizona State, California, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, UCLA, USC, Washington and Washington State. The Atlantic Coast Conference includes Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Miami, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest.

The 76th Brut Sun Bowl is slated for Thursday, Dec. 31 at Noon (MT) at Sun Bowl Stadium. This year’s game features the Pac-10 Conference against the Big 12 Conference. Tickets are available by calling 915-533-4416 or online at

Check Out "Behind The Mic" on

Starting today, in addition to this blog, I will also have a blog on It will feature even more of my behind-the-scenes info and insight into your favorite So Cal teams.

The first edition goes inside the beginning of the NBA season. Check it out!

As with any new NBA season, there are always more questions than answers when the real games tip off, and such is definitely the case with the Lakers and the Clippers.


ANAHEIM, CA – The Angels Thursday agreed to a two-year deal with a club option for 2012 with veteran outfielder Bobby Abreu. Per club policy, no financial terms will be announced. Today’s announcement was made by General Manager Tony Reagins.

“We are excited to have Bobby and the presence he brings to our organization,” said Reagins. “He was an integral part of what we accomplished in 2009 and we look forward to his contributions both on and off the field.”

Abreu, 35, joined the Angels on a one-year deal just before the start of Spring Training last season and enjoyed yet another productive campaign. He batted .293 (165/563) with 96 runs, 29 doubles, three triples, 15 home runs, 103 RBI and 30 stolen bases in 152 games.

"I am very happy to sign this contract," said Abreu. "I really enjoyed my first season with the club. The Angels are a solid organization, with an outstanding team and great fans. With the talent we have, I look forward to the opportunity of post-season competition once again."

The Venezuelan native reached 100 RBI for the seventh consecutive season, matching Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez for the longest active streak in MLB. With 30 stolen bases, Abreu has totaled at least 20 SBs in 11 consecutive seasons, the longest current streak in baseball.

In a year filled with milestone achievements, Abreu reached 150 games played for the 12th straight season, a feat only five players in Major League history can claim (Willie Mays, Billy Williams, Pete Rose and Cal Ripken). Adding his name to another selective list, he became the sixth player in Major League history with at least 250 home runs, 2,000 hits, 1,000 runs, 1,000 RBI, 1,000 walks and 300 stolen bases.

A two-time All-Star, Abreu played a significant role in the Angels’ Division Series sweep of the Boston Red Sox. In three division series games, he batted .556 (5/13) with two doubles, four walks and four runs scored. 2009 marked his first career appearance in the League Championship Series.


The Angels Groundskeepers will be holding their 9th annual Thanksgiving Holiday Canned Food Drive on Friday, November 20th thru Sunday, November 22nd at Angel Stadium of Anaheim.

Hours for the food drive will be 8 AM - 4 PM. Participants can enter Angel Stadium through Gate #1.

Fans will have the opportunity to step up to the plate at Angel Stadium and take a swing for the fences. Donations of two cans of food will be good for one swing against a pitching machine with a maximum of 20 pitches per participant.

Fans may also donate $1 per pitch as well. Speed pitch machines will also be set up in the bullpens giving fans the opportunity to test their pitching skills for a donation of one canned food item or $1 per pitch.

Additionally, fans will have the opportunity to shag fly balls in the outfield for a donation of $25 for 15 minutes. The Angels will provide bats, balls and helmets.

All proceeds will benefit the Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County in the fight against hunger during the holiday season. Those who are unable to attend, but would still like to make a monetary donation, may send checks to: Second Harvest Food Bank, 8014 Marine Way, Irvine, CA 92618 or visit their website at

Visit the Angels on the Internet at

Friday, October 30, 2009

MLB 2010 Summer Internships

Want an exciting summer covering Major League Baseball? offers 30 reporting internships to aspiring sportswriters. These internships are designed to give associates the full range of experiences that comes with covering a professional team. Each associate will work closely with a site reporter to give visitors to a team’s Web site all the information they need to follow the team from Opening Day to season’s end. Each Major League team will have one associate.

We will be looking for talented college juniors and seniors, as well as graduate students, for our 2010 Summer Internship Program. If you are graduating in May or June of 2010, you are still eligible. The application deadline is Dec. 11, 2009. We will make our selections by the end of January.

We expect each intern to spend a minimum of 10 weeks in the program, dates determined by a person’s college schedule. The more flexible an applicant is in terms of which Major League city he or she can work in, the better the person’s chances of being selected. Interns will be paid $500 per week.

Applicants should submit a resume, 5 to 10 published articles, a list of references and a 750-word essay on why should select you? Your clips ideally will show a variety of work, including game stories, previews and features. also will be offering a limited number of internships for copy editors/producers.

Associates are responsible for arranging their own housing and transportation.

Please mail all internship applications to:

Bill Hill

Assistant Managing Editor/

Attn: Internship Application

14825 N. 97th Place

Scottsdale, AZ 85260

If you have any questions, contact Bill Hill at bill.hill@MLB. com and put the words “Internship Info” in the subject line. No phone calls, please.


--Outfielder led the Majors with six walk-off hits and four walk-off homers--

LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles Dodgers’ outfielder Andre Ethier has been named the recipient of the “2009 MLB Clutch Performer of the Year Award Presented by Pepsi”, it was announced today. Ethier is the winner of the officially-sanctioned Major League Baseball award, as voted by the fans, which recognizes the player who performed his best when the game was on the line.

The winner was revealed during a one-hour special, produced by Major League Baseball Productions, that aired on ESPN. Hosted by “Mr. October” Reggie Jackson, who is no stranger to clutch hits, The 2009 MLB Clutch Performer of the Year Award Show Presented by Pepsi celebrated the six nominees who consistently delivered clutch performances over the course of the entire 2009 Major League Baseball season. This year’s MLB Pepsi Clutch Performer of the Year nominees were: Andre Ethier, Los Angeles Dodgers; Prince Fielder, Milwaukee Brewers; Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants; Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins; Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals; and Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees.

Ethier set career-highs in 2009 with 160 games played, 162 hits, 31 home runs, 106 RBI, 92 runs scored, 42 doubles, and 72 walks while hitting .272 with a .508 slugging percentage and a .361 on-base percentage. The 27-year old outfielder finished fifth in the N.L. with 76 extra-base hits, tied for fifth in doubles, and was tied for sixth in RBI.

Ethier led the Majors with six walk-off hits, including a Major League record four walk-off home runs (tied with Jimmie Foxx in 1940 and Roy Sievers in 1957): June 6th against the Phillies in the 12th inning; June 29th against Colorado in the 13th inning; August 6th vs. Atlanta in the 9th; and September 15th against the Pirates in the 13th. Ethier has a Major League-leading nine walk-off hits since the beginning of the 2008 season, and his six in 2009 are the most in a single-season by any player since at least 1974.

The left-handed slugger collected six multi-home run games on the year, tied for second with Philadelphia’s Ryan Howard behind Albert Pujols (10) of the Cardinals. The Arizona State product became just the fourth Dodger in franchise history to amass at least 40 doubles and 30 home runs in the same season, joining Babe Herman (1930), Raul Mondesi (1997) and Eric Karros (1999). On June 26th against Seattle, Andre drove in a career-high six runs and compiled his first career three-homer game, becoming the ninth Dodger in franchise history to accomplish the feat.

A second round selection in the 2003 First-Year Player Draft by the Athletics, Ethier recorded two nine-game hitting streaks during the season from June 1st-10th (.400, 14-for-35), and from July 19th-28th (.500, 17-for-24). Since August 2008, Ethier leads the Dodgers with 40 home runs.

During the month of October, Major League Baseball fans voted for the award on, a site powered by, the official website of Major League Baseball, and created specifically for the MLB Clutch Performer Platform.

To further engage fans in the selection process each month, Pepsi introduced an online sweepstakes in conjunction with the award. As part of the program, fans were entered into a season long sweepstakes for a trip for two to the 2009 & 2010 Major League Baseball All-Star Games.

Monthly winners of the 2009 MLB Pepsi Clutch Performer of the Month awards include: Zack Greinke, Kansas City Royals (April); Melky Cabrera, New York Yankees (May); Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants (June); Mark Buehrle, Chicago White Sox (July); Hideki Matsui, New York Yankees (August); and Michael Cuddyer, Minnesota Twins (September). Last season, CC Sabathia was named the recipient of the “2008 MLB Clutch Performer of the Year Award Presented by Pepsi.”