Thursday, March 31, 2011

Isaiah Thomas To Enter His Name Into NBA Draft

SEATTLE – Washington junior guard Isaiah Thomas has decided to enter his name into the upcoming NBA Draft. The two-time first team All-Pac-10 member issued the following statement:
Although it was a tough decision, I have decided to forego my senior season and enter my name into this year’s NBA draft.  At this time I will not hire an agent.  Over the past 3 years I've enjoyed every single minute of my Washington Husky career.  I am very thankful to have played for a great coach like Coach Romar and our entire coaching staff. I have just over two quarter left to earn my degree, and I fully plan on finishing school. Also, I would like to take the time to thank all of my teammates and Husky fans for their support and the unforgettable memories.  Go Dawgs!”
Coach Lorenzo Romar, who is in Houston for the NCAA Final Four, issued the following statement:
“Isaiah Thomas has had an unbelievable impact on our program during his time with us. We will definitely miss him, but we are behind him in his quest to fulfill a lifelong dream to play in the NBA.”
Thomas (Tacoma, Wash./Curtis HS/South Kent Prep [Conn.]), an honorable mention Associated Press All-American after averaging 16.8 points and 6.1 assists per game for the Huskies during their 2010-11 campaign, led the Pac-10 in assists, ranked fourth in scoring, 8th in steals (1.3 spg) and 8th in three-point makes per game (1.7). His 213 assists are the second most in UW single-season history.
Thomas helped the Huskies to their second-consecutive Pac-10 tournament championship and a 24-11 overall record. He was named the Most Outstanding Player of the conference tournament for a second time, joining Arizona's Sean Elliott as the only two-time winner.
Thomas also led Washington with 15.5 points and 7.5 assists in the Huskies two NCAA tournament games.
Thomas ended his junior season ranked among the Huskies all-time leader in points (1,721/6th), assists (415/3rd), 3-point makes (164/3rd) and steals (122/8th). 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Clayton Kershaw To Donate $100 Per Strikeout To Arise Africa

“Kershaw’s Challenge” created to help build orphanage in Zambia
LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Dodgers’ Opening Day starter, Clayton Kershaw, announced today that he and his wife, Ellen, will donate $100 for each of his strikeouts during the 2011 season to Arise Africa, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping end poverty on the continent through health care, education, business and discipleship.
The Dodgers Dream Foundation will also make a financial commitment to Arise Africa on behalf of Kershaw. As part of “Kershaw’s Challenge,” the 23-year-old left-hander is encouraging fans to join the cause by visiting  
A native of Dallas, TX, Kershaw took his first trip to Zambia during the offseason, where he and Ellen helped to build a school and spent time with numerous orphans. Their goal is to raise $70,000 to start an orphanage in Lusaka, Zambia that will be called Hope’s Home, named for an 11-year-old orphan who is HIV positive and whom Clayton and Ellen befriended on their recent trip.
“It’s one thing traveling around the United States playing in different cities, even going to different parts of the world,” Kershaw told Dodgers Magazine in an April cover story. “But when you go to a third-world country and see how other cultures live, it’s very different. You think it’s something that happened way back in the day, but plenty of people are living in houses that would be considered shacks here without running water or electricity. It makes you thankful for what you have.”
Kershaw ranked fifth in the National League with 212 strikeouts last season and has fanned 497 batters in 483 big league innings. He struck out 276 batters in 220.1 minor league innings from 2006-08.
The trip to Zambia was Ellen Kershaw’s fifth.
I always say the first time you’ve hugged a Zam­bian orphan it’ll change your life,” she told Dodgers Magazine. “It’s because that whole blanket of poverty becomes very personal, and you see the one life that you can impact and what a difference you can make… Going to Zambia really broadened both of our perspectives. I think we’re just trying to leave a legacy, leave a mark.”

Dodgers To Celebrate Life of Hall of Famer Duke Snider

--Team to wear a memorial patch in 2011 and host a celebration on Aug. 9,which will include a bobblehead of the late Dodger outfielder--
LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Dodgers announced today that the team will wear a patch in memory of Hall of Fame outfielder Duke Snider throughout the 2011 season and will host a celebration of his life on Aug. 9 at Dodger Stadium.
The memorial patch, will feature Snider’s uniform No. 4 and will be worn on the Dodgers’ home, road and alternate Brooklyn uniforms at every 2011 game beginning tomorrow night when the team opens the season against the San Francisco Giants. Snider’s uniform number was retired on July 6, 1980 and is one of just 10 retired numbers in franchise history.
The club also announced it would celebrate the life of the legendary Dodger outfielder at the Aug. 9 game against the Philadelphia Phillies. The first 50,000 fans in attendance will receive a bobblehead featuring the likeness of Snider, whose family will participate in a special pregame ceremony honoring the franchise’s all-time leading home run hitter. The sixth bobblehead of the season is presented by Kaiser Permanente.
Snider passed away on Feb. 27 at the age of 84. He was born Edwin Donald Snider in Los Angeles, CA on Sept. 19, 1926 and became one of the game’s most feared hitters during his 16 seasons with the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers (1947-1962), playing on a pair of World Championship teams (1955 and 1959) and in six World Series overall.
The eight-time All-Star center fielder ranks as the franchise’s all-time leader in home runs (389) and runs batted in (1,271) and during the 1950s, he topped all Major Leaguers with 326 homers and 1,031 RBI. He slugged four home runs in both the 1952 and 1955 World Series.
The last time the Dodgers wore a memorial patch on the team’s uniforms was in 2000 in memory of Snider’s teammate and fellow Hall of Famer Pee Wee Reese. Other memorial patches worn by the Dodgers were done so in tribute to Jim Gilliam (1978), coach Don McMahon (1987), Tim Crews (1993) and a combination patch for Hall of Famers Don Drysdale and Roy Campanella, who passed away within a week of one another in 1993.
Snider is survived by his wife, Bev, children Kevin, Kurt, Pam and Dawna and 10 grandchildren.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Lakers are turning it on, but is it the right time?

By Billy Witz

LOS ANGELES — It's hard to erase the embarrassment in Cleveland, whitewash the Christmas Day debacle, or forget the days when the Lakers would rarely beat anybody that harbored any real ambitions.

But maybe it's time to slap a new label on everybody's favorite slackers.

How about Overachievers?

Don't look now, but the Lakers – at 53-20 after winning 15 times in 16 games since the All-Star break – are likely to surpass last year's win total of 57, and have a shot at finishing with the second-best record in basketball. Lakers Are Turning It On, But Is It Right Time?

Tyler Honeycutt Declares For NBA draft

By Victoria Sun

The UCLA men's basketball team lost one of its key contributors on Monday when Tyler Honeycutt announced he would be turning pro.

The Los Angeles native said he made up his mind Sunday after talking with his family, advisors and coaches.

"We finished out on a good year, for the most part I finished strong and I'm pretty hot right now and I feel this year being considered a weak draft is a good reason to leave," Honeycutt said via a teleconference Monday afternoon. "The biggest factor that would keep me from going is the team next year and how good we could be.

"We could be a great team, but I feel like what's best for me is to leave this year."

Honeycutt averaged 12.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game as a sophomore this season for the Bruins. The 6-foot-8 forward led or tied for the team lead in rebounding in 10 games and shot 36.2 percent from 3-point range. Tyler Honeycutt Declares For NBA Draft

Ryan Gomes Raises Awareness of Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Clippers forward Ryan Gomes was honored on March 26 during the Clippers vs. Toronto Raptors game at STAPLES Center during a very special presentation. Through his non-profit organization, Hoops For Heart Health, Gomes works to raise awareness and educate people on the growing problem of sudden cardiac arrest in children and adolescents.

Gomes has donated automated external defibullators (AEDs) to schools and recreation centers in all 30 NBA cities.
On March 26, Gomes donated a Cardiac Science Power Heart G3 AED to San Dimas High School and made the presentation to a representative from the school in a pre-game ceremony on the court.


--All-Star right-hander will remain in Los Angeles through 2014--
LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Dodgers signed right-handed pitcher Chad Billingsley to a three-year contract extension with a club option for a fourth year, keeping him in a Dodger uniform through at least the 2014 season. General Manager Ned Colletti made the announcement.
“Through his professional career Chad has shown that he is very capable of winning games and taking the ball,” said Colletti. “His won-loss record speaks to that as well as his innings pitched totals.” 
Billingsley, 26, has posted a winning record in each of his five Major League seasons and all eight of his professional campaigns. As a Los Angeles Dodger, the right-hander is 59-41 (.590) with a 3.55 ERA in 160 career games (131 starts). His winning percentage since his 2006 debut ranks 12th in the NL over that time and his 52 victories since 2007 are tied for eighth among current NL hurlers. Since his first full season as a starter in 2008, Billingsley has averaged 196.0 innings per season and his 588.2 frames over that time ranks 13th in the NL. 
His 59 career victories are more than any other big league pitcher from the 2003 draft class by a wide margin. Billingsley led the Dodgers in wins in 2008 and 2009 while ranking second in 2010 and tied for second in 2007. His 52 wins over the last four years are more than any Dodger.    
During the last three seasons, Billingsley’s 551 strikeouts rank sixth in the National League. In 2008, he became the first Dodger to fan 200 batters (career-high 201) in a season since Chan Ho Park in 2001. He has struck out a career-high 13 batters in a game on two different occasions (July 13, 2008 at Florida and Sept. 26, 2010 at Arizona).
In 2009, Billingsley was selected by the players and coaches to his first All-Star team after going 9-4 with a 3.38 ERA in the first half.  He went on to record a career-high 16 wins and a career-best 3.14 ERA in that season.
Last year, Billingsley posted the longest scoreless innings streak of his career, blanking the opposition over 24.2 innings from July 21-Aug. 5. He also did not allow a home run in 2010 from May 31-Aug. 28, a span of 92.0 innings, which was the longest in the Majors last season.
After tossing 2.0 scoreless innings of relief in the 2006 Division Series, Billingsley went on to win his very first postseason start, allowing just one run over 6.2 innings at Wrigley Field in Game 2 of the 2008 NLDS. In all, the Ohio native has appeared in six postseason contests. 
Billingsley has remained involved in the Dodgers’ charitable efforts through the Dodgers Dream Foundation and the team’s official charity, ThinkCure! In 2008, Billingsley began the “Chad’s Champs” community program in which he hosts 10 youngsters from Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA at a Dodger game during every homestand. As part of the program, the kids receive tickets, food and a meet-and-greet with Billingsley before the game. In 2010, Billingsley was nominated by his teammates for the Dodgers’ Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award, which is won by those whose on-field performance and contributions to his community inspire others to higher levels of achievement.   
Billingsley was originally drafted by the Dodgers in the first round (24th overall) of the 2003 First-Year Player Draft and went on to win the Dodgers’ Branch Rickey Minor League Pitcher of the Year Award in both 2004 and 2005. According to Baseball America, he was the club’s top minor league prospect entering the 2006 season and made his Major League debut that season on June 15 against the Padres at PETCO Park. 
A native of Defiance, OH, where he is a member of the Defiance High School Athletic Hall of Fame, Billingsley and his wife, Tiffany, make their offseason home in Robesonia, PA.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Angels Will Host FanFest March 27th

-Interactive Fan Experience will kick off 2011 Season at Angel Stadium-

ANAHEIM, CA -- The Angels will host FanFest on Sunday, March 27th at Angel Stadium. This marks the return of the interactive fan experience that was last held in February 2007. FanFest will run from 8am – 4pm and
follows the Angels 5K & Fun Run. Tickets for FanFest are $5 and include a FREE game ticket (while quantities last) to the 2 pm Angels vs. Padres exhibition game.

The club has planned a wide range of activities during FanFest that are perfect for families and passionate Angel fans alike. Activities include appearances & autographs by members of the Angels 40-man roster, Rally Monkey photo booth, sponsor village, Angels merchandise sale, silent auction, main stage activities with live music and take me out to the ball game contest, a family zone featuring arts & crafts, carnival rides and much more. All activities are free with the price of admission.

Tickets for FanFest go on-sale at 10 am on Monday, February 28th and can be purchased at the Angel Stadium Ticket Window, or any Ticketmaster locations.

For more details surrounding the Angels 50th Anniversary visit:

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Too Slick, Too Loud, Too Successful Why John Calipari Can't Catch A Break

The NCAA hasn't held him accountable for any major violation, and dark rumors about his recruiting methods have never stuck. Still, no matter what good the Kentucky coach does—visiting the sick, helping at-risk kids—he's assumed to have an ulterior motive. 


Honorary Alumni first pitches set for opening homestand April 8-13

– As part of the 50th Anniversary celebration, the Angels announced six alumni ceremonial pitches for each game of the opening homestand at Angel Stadium (April 8-13). Over the course of the regular season, all 81 home games will feature a first pitch from a former Angel player. This program will give fans a chance to embrace and celebrate Angels’ alumni and commemorate the club’s history.

For the home opener on Friday, April 8th vs. Toronto (7:05 p.m.), Eli Grba will toss out the ceremonial pitch. The right-handed pitcher was the first Angel taken in the expansion draft prior to the inaugural 1961 campaign. The following day, April 9th, the 1958 A.L. Rookie of the Year Albie Pearson will throw out the honorary pitch before the 6:05 p.m. game against the Blue Jays. Wrapping up the Toronto series will be Bob Lee – Angels’ 1965 American League All-Star, with the alumni first pitch for the 12:35 p.m. Kaiser Permanente Family Sunday day game.

When the Cleveland Indians come to town on Monday, April 11th at 7:05 p.m., four-time Angel All-Star Mark Langston will throw out the first pitch. Jim Fregosi, who played and managed the Halos, will throw the honorary pitch prior to the Tuesday, April 12th contest with Cleveland (7:05 p.m.). To wrap up the opening homestand, Roger Repoz tosses the ceremonial pitch on Wednesday, April 13th at 4:05 p.m.

For more details surrounding the Angels 50th Anniversary visit:

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Charger Girl Auditions Begin April 3

The San Diego Charger Girls are holding open auditions on Sunday, April 3 at the University of San Diego’s Jenny Craig Pavilion.  Registration and check-in begins promptly at 9 a.m., followed by a preliminary dance audition at 10 a.m.
The day-long dance audition welcomes more than 400 hopefuls annually from across the nation and overseas, each of which seek 28 coveted positions. The Charger Girls are known as one of professional sports’ most talented and respected cheer and dance teams.
Applications are only available online at and applicants must be at least 18 years old. The application along with a $20 registration fee should be submitted via mail or hand-delivered no later than March 30 for pre-registration status. Women are encouraged to send a 5x7 (or larger) headshot and/or full body shot with their application. Walk-ups will be accepted at the door with a $25 registration fee. Please make check or money order payable to e2k Sports.  
            Applicants are required to wear a two-piece leotard and flesh colored tights/hosiery as well as jazz, dance or athletic shoes. Applicants should arrive early and bring plenty of fluids and a light snack.
Judges will be looking for the brightest young talent with dance ability, crowd appeal and showmanship. Finalists can expect an interview and final dance audition during the week following the audition.
Team members must have flexible schedules for twice-weekly rehearsals, games and public appearances prior to and during the season. 
                For more information, visit

Friday, March 18, 2011


TEMPE, AZ – Scot Shields, selected by Sports Illustrated as the “setup man of the decade” for 2000-2009, Friday announced his retirement following a distinguished Major League career with the Angels.  In doing so, Shields is only the third player in club history to have played in 10-or-more seasons with the Angels (appearing in at least one game a season) and not play for any other team in his career.  Shields released the following statement:

“I am very thankful to have had the privilege and opportunity to play this great game at the Major League level.  I retire with memories and experiences I will carry with me the rest of my life and for that I am extremely grateful.  I would like to thank my wife Jaimie, my daughters Kayla and Ella, and my family and friends for their love and support.  I would also like to extend my thanks and appreciation to the Angels organization for giving me a chance when they drafted me in 1997.  Also, my thanks belong to Mr. & Mrs. Moreno, Tony Reagins, and Bill Stoneman.   My  respect and thanks as well to all those who helped me along the way, especially Mike Scioscia, Mike Butcher, Buddy Black and the entire front office.”

“I do not think it’s possible to express my respect and admiration for so many teammates I had the privilege to play with through the years.  The lifetime friendships created are one of the great rewards of my career.”

”The Angels are a first-class organization and I am proud to have been an Angel for my entire career.  At the same time, I remain humbled and thankful to all of the Angel fans who supported me through the years.  That relationship will long remain one of my fondest memories as a Major League player.”

“Scot was a huge part of our success over the course of his career here,” said Angels Manager Mike Scioscia.  “He definitely understood the challenge of pitching late in games and in doing so, became the best set-up man in baseball.  He will always be part of our family.”

“Scot’s contributions to our organization are self-explanatory,” said Angels General Manager Tony Reagins.  “He was durable, dependable and dedicated.  I know he wore the Angels uniform with a great sense of pride each and every day throughout the course of his career.  I know Scot is looking forward to spending time with Jaimie, Kayla and Ella.  We wish he and his family the very best.

Born July 22, 1975 in Fort Lauderdale, FL, Shields attended Fort Lauderdale High School and later spent his collegiate career at Lincoln Memorial University where he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Kinesiology.  Shields would go on to play his entire career with the Angels after being drafted in the 38thth player overall) in the 1997 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft.   round (1,137

                In all or parts of 10 seasons, Shields finished with a 46-44 record and 3.18 ERA (697 IP – 246 ER) in 491 career games.  He also recorded 631 lifetime strikeouts, or an average of 8.1 strikeouts per nine innings.  Since the “hold” stat was created in 1999, Shields holds the American League career record in that category with 155.  Mike Remlinger (Atlanta, Chicago Cubs) holds the National League mark with 140, while Arthur Rhodes owns the major league mark with 215.  From 2006-2008, he led the A.L. in holds with 31 per season.   
                Shields began his professional career as a reliever with Boise (short Single-A) in 1997, posting a 7-2 record with 61 strikeouts in 52 innings pitched while leading the circuit with 30 games.  He remained in the bullpen the following season at Cedar Rapids (Single-A) prior to splitting his time a year later with Lake Elsinore (Single-A) and Erie (Double-A).   Selected as the Angels Minor League “Pitcher of the Year” in 1999, the Northville, MI resident registered 182 innings pitched along with three complete games and a pair of shutouts.  In addition, he fanned a combined 194 in those innings.

                His standout campaign in 1999 earned him a promotion to Edmonton (Triple-A) in 2000 where he struggled with a 7-13 record in 27 starts, despite fanning 156 in 163 innings.  A year later he began the season again at the Triple-A level with Salt Lake City, prior to his first recall to the Major Leagues on May 25, 2001.  The following day he made his major league debut against Tampa Bay (1+ IP, 1 H, 1 BB). 

                Though he began 2002 with Salt Lake City, Shields was recalled to the major leagues for good on June 14.  In his final 38 relief appearances, he allowed seven earned runs, while allowing opponents just a .176 average, best in the circuit.   The final member of the 2002 World Championship team to play in an Angels uniform, Shields made one appearance during the Angels memorable October run, pitching in Game Five of the World Series.

                In 2003 he appeared in 44 games, 13 of those starts.  Out of the bullpen, Shields posted a 1.68 ERA, working at least three innings 12 times. Though he was 4-6 wi6th a 3.89 ERA as a starter, pitching at least seven innings in six of his 13 starts, he finished the season with an overall record of 5-6 and a 2.85 ERA.

                The decision was made for him to return to the bullpen on a full-time basis in 2004.  During a five-year stretch from 2004-2008, Shields would average 69 appearances, 85 innings pitched and 86 strikeouts.  From May 9 to June 11, 2004, he recorded 22 consecutive shutout innings, and worked three scoreless innings five times during the season.  That same campaign saw he and closer Francisco Rodriguez become the first pair of relievers to post 100-or-more strikeouts in the same season since 1997.   

                Shields retires as the Angels’ all-time leader in relief victories (46) and ranks second in appearances (491) behind former teammate Troy Percival (579). He also holds the record for most appearances in a single-season, pitching in 78 games in 2005.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

UCLA Pauley Pavilion Original Center Court Jump Circle Up For Auction

Laguna Niguel, Calif. (March 16, 2011) -- One of the most important pieces of basketball history ever offered at public auction, the original (1965-82) UCLA Pauley Pavilion center court section (jump circle), will be part of an internet auction presented by SCP Auctions, it was announced.  Bidding will be open to registered bidders on on Friday, April 15 and conclude on Saturday, April 30. 

Measuring 12 feet in diameter, this original round section of the Pauley Pavilion court was ground zero for one of the greatest dynasties in all of sports for 17 seasons. Home to UCLA athletic teams since 1965, the original court was the home of eight NCAA men’s national championship teams and the Bruins’ first women’s NCAA national championship team in 1978.

Since its replacement in 1982, the original Pauley Pavilion jump circle has been carefully preserved in storage. In 1998, it was displayed as the centerpiece for an event held in Pauley Pavilion, attended by the legendary coach John Wooden and dozens of former UCLA greats, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Walton, Sidney Wicks and Walt Hazzard. Wooden and each of the players in attendance signed the original jump circle, knowing it would later be sold at auction by a UCLA alum that chooses to remain anonymous. A large portion of the proceeds from the sale will be dedicated to funding medical research.

The first basketball game played at Pauley Pavilion was Nov. 27, 1965. In the scrimmage, the Bruins’ varsity team, led by guard Mike Warren, lost to an amazing freshman squad featuring Lew Alcindor (later Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), who came to UCLA in large part due to the construction of a new arena.

In the decades that followed, some of the top names in the history of college basketball, including Walton, Wicks, Marques Johnson, Ann Meyers, Denise Curry and Pete Maravich, and coaches such as Wooden, Dean Smith and Denny Crum, graced the court at Pauley.

Nothing enhanced Pauley's reputation as arguably the nation's most famous collegiate sporting venue more than the tenure of Wooden. “The Wizard of Westwood” as Wooden was known, built an incomparable basketball dynasty at UCLA against which all others are compared, and usually pale. His UCLA teams won 10 national championships in a 12-season stretch from 1964 to 1975. This court was home to 8 of those 10 UCLA titles under Coach Wooden including 7 consecutive (1966-73).

From 1971-74, UCLA won 88 consecutive games, still the NCAA men’s record. Four of Wooden’s teams finished with 30-0 records, including his first championship team, which featured no starters taller than 6-feet-5. Three of his other championship teams were anchored by Alcindor, the 7-foot-2 center. Two others were led by Walton, a three-time national player of the year.

The original jump circle offered by SCP Auctions remained in Pauley from its opening in 1965 until its replacement in May 1982. During those 17 seasons, the most memorable events in UCLA basketball history, and some of the greatest records in NCAA sports were set. These include:
  • - Eight of ten of UCLA's NCAA championship seasons under Coach John Wooden including seven consecutive (1966-73)
  • - A combined record of 148-2 under Wooden
  • - A stretch of 98 consecutives home victories for UCLA men's basketball
  • - Wooden's last coaching appearance at home on March 1, 1975
  • - UCLA's first women's national basketball championship in 1978

SCP Auctions, Inc., has been a leader in auctions and private sales of important sports memorabilia and cards since 1979. The Southern California-based firm has handled some of the most significant individual items and prominent collections in their field, such as the record-setting sale of the T206 Honus Wagner card graded PSA 8 (sold for $2.8 million), Babe Ruth's bat used to hit the first home run in Yankee Stadium (sold for $1.265 million), The original 1919 Contract of Sale of Babe Ruth from the Red Sox to the Yankees (sold for $996,000), and the private collections of Hall of Famers such as Honus Wagner, Tony Lazzeri, Wilt Chamberlain, Bob Cousy, Casey Stengel, Pee Wee Reese, and Ernie Banks. For more information, visit or call (800) 350-2273.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011


The Los Angeles Clippers Foundation presents the Charity Basketbowl Challenge on Sunday, March 27 at Keystone Lanes in Norwalk, CA. The Clippers Foundation invites all fans to join the entire Clippers team for a fun-filled afternoon of bowling that serves to help children in the community. Proceeds from the Charity Basketbowl Challenge will benefit the Los Angeles Clippers Foundation and local children’s charities.
To register and for additional information, please contact (310) 862-6031 or click here for more information:
To view photos from last year’s Basketbowl Challenge, click here:
The Los Angeles Clippers Foundation exists to foster and support community outreach programs and activities with positive educational, civic, environmental and humanitarian values that benefit and enhance the quality of life primarily for children in greater Los Angeles.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Garret Anderson Is Mr. Angel

After 17 Major League seasons, former Angels outfielder Garret Anderson quietly walked away from the game Tuesday.  There was no live news conference or breaking news alert on television or the web—just a press release and a conference call.

It was simple. It was understated. It was classic Garret Anderson.

Over the course of his career, Anderson was one of the most consistent, yet misunderstood athletes of his generation.  His cool, never-rattled demeanor allowed him to consistently produce in the game’s most intense situations, but at times, it led fans to believe he was disinterested.  Hit a walk-off homerun or strikeout with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 9th; the reaction was usually the same.

"I don't think I was misunderstood -- I know I was misunderstood," Anderson said. "I'm sorry for that. I was who I was, going out and playing hard every day. I know I'm a quiet person."

Anderson says quiet, while some media members might use adjectives such as unapproachable or ornery—neither of which I ever experienced by the way.

GA—as most affectionately call him—wasn’t much for small talk, especially while he was working, but he never avoided fielding questions from the media.  However, if you asked what he might consider a silly or stupid question, Anderson usually responded with biting sarcasm, looks of disgust or both.

In a time when perception equals reality, Anderson is likely not remembered as the All-American male, but rather the modern day unappreciative professional athlete. When what he actually should be remembered as is a Southern California kid who became Mr. Angel.

Sure, franchise home run king Tim Salmon generally holds that title within the Angels fan base, but Anderson’s numbers would suggest otherwise.

Anderson—who spent the last two seasons with the Braves (2010) and the Dodgers (2009)—retires as the Angels’ the all-time leader in games (2,013), at-bats (7,989), runs (1,024), hits (2,368), total bases (3,743), extra-base hits (796), doubles (489) and RBI (1,292). 

He is also tied for third in average with Johnny Ray at .296, third in triples (35) and second in home runs (272).

In addition to being a three-time All-Star (2002-2003, 2005), All-Star Game MVP and Home Run Derby Champion (2003), The Sporting News “Rookie of the Year” (1995), and a two-time Silver Slugger Award winner (2002-2003), Anderson also set the Angels franchise record for most grand slams (8), most RBI in a game (10), and most consecutive games with a RBI (12).
Anderson just didn’t make a few marks in the Angels record book, he practically rewrote it.

"Garret's role in where the Angels organization is today cannot be overstated,” said Angels manager Mike Scioscia.  “He had a tremendous passion to play this game and a deep understanding of how to play to win and that was very important to this organization.”

And the Angels organization—as well as its fans—remains just as important to Anderson.

“To the Autry family, thank you for taking a chance and letting me play at the raw age of 22,” Anderson said in a statement.  “To Disney and Mr. & Mrs. Moreno, thank you for allowing me to play most of my career in an Angel uniform. 

“To all the managers and coaches, both in the minor and big leagues, and players that had a hand in my success, thank you.  To the Angel fans, I want to apologize for being somewhat difficult to read at times and thank you for your support even still.  I’ve appreciated your encouragement over the years.”

So move over King Fish, there’s a new Mr. Angel in town, and his name is Garret Anderson.