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Dodgers on Pace for Club-Record 110 Victories

July 18th, 2017 · No Comments · Baseball, Dodgers

It all has seemed strange and magical.

Twenty-two games into the 2017 season, the Los Angeles Dodgers were 10-12. They already had injury issues and it looked as if they would have their work cut out for them in a division where the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies looked formidable, even if they were the preseason choice to win the NL West.

On June 1, they were in third place, and on June 7 they were 35-25 after losing three in succession and five out of seven.

Since then?

Excellence. Dominance. Craziness.

The Dodgers have won 30 of their past 34 games to climb to 65-29.

Tonight they won their 10th straight, 1-0 in south Chicago, to give them two 10-win runs already this season. They hold a 10.5-game lead in the NL West with 68 to play.

How did this happen?

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And Stay Off My Lawn!

July 17th, 2017 · No Comments · NFL

I love it when onetime brash young athletes emerge as critics of “kids these days”.

Whether it is Charles Barkley going on and on how he and other players back in the day (the 1990s, I suppose) would handle LeBron James … to Jeff Kent being driven to distraction by the antics of a young Matt Kemp when both played for the Dodgers …

In this case?

It is retired quarterback Michael Vick, now 37, suggesting that unemployed quarterback Colin Kaepernick needs to cut his hair if he wants to get with the program. Anyone’s program.

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All Hail Roger Federer

July 16th, 2017 · No Comments · Tennis

Complimenting Roger Federer is as easy as rolling out of bed and hitting the floor.

So skilled! So classy! So durable!

So clever! So reliable! So eternally youthful — in that he does not seem to have gained or lost a pound since he took over the men’s game in 2003 and still has (nearly all of) his hair a few weeks short of his 36th birthday.

That is a record eight Wimbledon titles for Federer, a record 19 major titles across the four big tournaments, and isn’t he something?

Since those who came to praise him have been rolling out of bed all day today, I thought it might be interesting to take a contrarian stand.

To wit: This was the easiest Wimbledon competition Federer will ever see, and probably the easiest gentlemen’s singles competition in a half century.

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Recapping: How Big Would Venus Have Been without Serena?

July 15th, 2017 · No Comments · Tennis

Venus Williams. Hell of a career. Seven major tennis championships. Five Wimbledon championships.

Former world No. 1. Playing professionally since age 14, in 1994.

And Wimbledon finalist today at the age of 37, with a chance to become the oldest women’s singles champion at the All England Club.

She had an opportunity to pull a switch and polish her resume while throwing a little bit of shade on sister Serena’s; it was the younger sister who set the “oldest champ” record just last year.

But as she had happened so many other times, Venus fell just short when compared to Serena — who almost single-handedly has kept the older sister from one of the greatest careers in the women’s game, as outlined at the link.

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The ‘Olympic Express’ and the Sarajevo 1984 Travel Nightmare

July 14th, 2017 · No Comments · Olympics, Road trip

I survived some ridiculous road trips as a professional journalist but nearly all of them were my own damn fault.

The Saturday night/Sunday morning back-to-back football road games. (Tempe to Minneapolis by way of Dallas; Tuscaloosa to Houston by way of Atlanta.) Doable. Just.

The 730-mile early January drive from San Bernardino to Grand Junction, which was to continue with 240 more miles over the Rockies to Denver for an NFL playoff game the next morning; the red-eye to San Jose, Costa Rica, from LAX via Houston for a U.S. soccer World Cup qualifier. (Not doable. Those two ended in failure, one stop short of my plan.)

My own fault. How it usually worked.

An exception? The most prominent in my memory was the trip from southern California to Sarajevo ahead of the 1984 Winter Olympics. I was told to sign up for the Associated Press Sports Editors charter, and it was at least as screwy as anything I ever invented.

It strikes me that even now, 33 years later, that many of the work-related nightmares I still have include scenes that I would have encountered on a  two-day journey to the Balkans and what is now the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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Hurrah! A Yank in a Slam Semifinal!

July 13th, 2017 · No Comments · Baseball, Tennis

OK, maybe it has been about homerism.

I have a fairly strong recollection of a time when I was more interested in men’s tennis than I am now. A decade-plus ago.

Which would coincide with what turned out to be the end of American significance among the world’s elite male tennis players.

U.S. men’s tennis fell to such a lowly state, for the first time in the history of the game, that the march of Sam Querrey to the semifinals of Wimbledon this week … is the first time a Yank has been in the last four of a slam event since Andy Roddick at Wimbledon 2009.

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The Local Winery’s Open House

July 12th, 2017 · No Comments · France, Travel

This is the sort of thing that boggles the minds of Californians. Well, actually, just about anyone from America, the land of mediocre $30 bottles of wine, as well as tasting sessions that offer five tiny pours for $15-to-$25.

Imagine a local winery that lets visitors taste as many as seven wines.

Less than a mile from where you live.

At no charge.

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Summer in the French Countryside: A Real Buzz

July 11th, 2017 · No Comments · France

Cicadas are not just a Midwest U.S. thing. They are common around the world, and we can vouch for their presence, in large numbers, in the south of France.

How do we know they are here?

Because these particular insects make a heck of a racket, and we have been hearing it day after day for a month.

Check the audio.


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Summer Olympics? L.A.’s Got This … Again

July 10th, 2017 · No Comments · Los Angeles, Olympics, Paris

I covered the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

(I was a teeny bit too young to see the 1932 L.A. Games, back when the Memorial Coliseum was “only” 11 years old.)

And I can vouch that things went off quite well, in 1984. From Opening Ceremonies and the 84 grand pianos and right on down to the traffic, which was lighter, during the Olympics, than it had been for decades before or since. True story.

Ahead of those 1984 Games, which the International Olympic Committee gave to Los Angeles because they were the last bidder standing after the Shah of Iran was driven out of Iran, and those 1984 Tehran Olympics went down the drain and on over to L.A. — and organizers went on to make $250 million in profit.


Here we are in 2017, and Los Angeles is about to be awarded with the Summer Games for the third time. London is the only current three-time host.

The weird thing, about the next L.A. Games?

We do not know if they will be the 2024 Olympics … or the 2028 Olympics. One or the other. But not till the IOC decides on what it wants to do, in Lausanne, tomorrow or Wednesday.

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Lakers: All About Lonzo Now

July 9th, 2017 · No Comments · Basketball, Lakers, NBA

Lonzo Ball’s first game with the Lakers, in an NBA Summer League game in Las Vegas last night, was a disaster. The stuff of nightmares. The No. 2 pick in the 2017 draft, the “next Magic Johnson”, stunk it up.

Two-for-15 shooting from the field. One-for-11 from three.

Welcome to the league, Lonzo. Or the summer league, anyway. From what we hear, the actual NBA is tougher.

Ball’s team of young/semi-marginal Lakers lost 96-93 to the Clippers scrubs, in overtime.

Ball contributed five assists, four rebounds, two steals and a block but also had three turnovers and, with the brick-laying shooting performance added in it made for the sort of performance that left Lakers fans everywhere think: “Oh, my goodness, he’s not great, he’s not even good!”

Well, the panic can be dialed back a little.

In Game 2 of the summer league, Ball managed a triple double — 11 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists — as the Lakers lost another close one.

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