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Six More Dodgers Games on Free TV!

August 20th, 2017 · No Comments · Baseball, Dodgers

You may have heard the 2017 Los Angeles Dodgers have a chance to have one of the best seasons in Major League Baseball history. They are 87-35, on pace to win 116 games — which would tie them for the most victories in a season.

Here is the list of teams with “most victories”.

1906 Chicago Cubs, 116-36

2001 Seattle Mariners, 116-46

1998 New York Yankees, 114-48

1954 Cleveland Indians, 111-43

1909 Pittsburgh Pirates, 110-42

1927 New York Yankees, 110-44

The 2017 Dodgers can play .500 ball the rest of the way (winning 107 games) and still rate as one of the best teams in the history of the game — regardless of how the three rounds of the playoffs turn out.

Perhaps the most annoying aspect of this season?

The continued inability of most Dodgers fans to watch their team on TV (this is Year 4), which we have written about several times. And here is a more-recent L.A. Times story addressing it. In short, it’s about money and feuding TV operators and ignored fans.

But there is a tiny bit of good news out there:

Beginning Tuesday night, the club and its TV rights holder will give the final six Tuesday games of the season to KTLA for free, over-the-air viewing. For fans who might be interested in seeing what the hell this special team is about.

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Tasting? There’s More!

August 19th, 2017 · No Comments · France

A few weeks ago we wrote about an open house at a local winery. It was a fine affair, with friendly workers and a food truck and cart rides through the vineyards.

There was another one today, even more local to us than the other — just at the end of our road, a five-minute walk.

This domaine is family owned, with several generations of winemakers living and working (or retiring) in the village. Each August they host an open house, where we can taste their wares and get a bit of a deal on wine — buy one carton (of six), get a bottle free.

We got an invitation in our mailbox and decided to check it out. It advertised lunch and entertainment, as well as tasting, and it didn’t disappoint.

About 120 people enjoyed a free multi-course meal (melon, pork chops, lentils, cheese, grapes, coffee) with ice cubes and water available (on a warm afternoon) to supplement purchased wine.

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Ara Parseghian and the Tie of the Century

August 18th, 2017 · No Comments · College football

In 24 seasons leading four college football programs, Ara Parseghian‘s teams won 170 games, lost 58 and tied six.

Improbably, he is best-remembered for one of the six ties.

In what was widely described as The Game of the Century, Parseghian’s top-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish made a point of running out the final 90 seconds of a 10-10 game with second-ranked Michigan State in 1966.

Parseghian died earlier this month at the age of 95 — 43 years after he coached his final game, 51 years after the game for which he is most remembered. The game he was content to tie.

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Head Trauma? Rugby, Motor Racing Step on Up!

August 17th, 2017 · No Comments · Abu Dhabi, Baseball, Cricket, Football, Motor racing, Rugby, The National

A couple of posts on this blog suggest the National Football League will not exist as we know it — if it exists at all — 20-30 years from now.

By then, all the horrors of football-related brain trauma will have been clearly laid out and, barring some unexpected breakthrough in protective equipment, the lawsuits and the public outcry and the unwillingness of parents to let their children play the game … will eventually bring it down.

However, American football is by no means the worldwide leader in brain injuries. It has to share that distinction (and perhaps even concede primacy to) a couple of other sports with more than their share of violence.

To wit: Rugby and motor racing.

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Anthem and U.S. Sports: Stop It Already

August 16th, 2017 · No Comments · Baseball, Basketball, Football

What I said a year ago.

Nothing has changed.

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Pedal Faster! Lighting the House with Our Workouts?

August 15th, 2017 · No Comments · UAE

I remain on the mailing list of numerous public-relations companies in the United Arab Emirates. Generally, their missives call for about a five-second look-see at whatever person or product is being flogged, followed by punching the “delete” key.

Today, I got a release that actually got me past the first 15 words.

To wit:

RUNNING UP THE METER: LEISURE SHOW DUBAI SET TO EXPLORE GREENER FIT-TECH – STARTING WITH TREADMILLS THAT POWER THE HOME

Wait. We are going to power our own homes with our sad, half-hearted workouts?

Well, yes, apparently.

And I have one question.

Who else saw themselves replacing the hamster inside that little cage?

But this is serious. I think.

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Referees Need Steady Support, Even Against Cristiano Ronaldo

August 14th, 2017 · No Comments · Barcelona, Football, soccer

Cristiano Ronaldo is not above the law of soccer. Neither is his club, Real Madrid. Any player who shoves a referee deserves whatever ban he is given — in this case, five matches.

The game has a serious problem with players, coaches and fans heaping verbal abuse on officials, especially the referee. And sometimes the words are exceeded by contact — such as Ronaldo’s shove to the back of referee Ricardo de Burgos.

De Burgos had just shown the Real Madrid star a second warning, for diving, and two yellows in one match means red — and expulsion from the match.

Ronaldo did not handle it well, and as the referee walked away the player reached out and shoved him in the back, which can be seen here.

The sport cannot allow a referee to be handled like that.

But that doesn’t keep Madrid from whining about the punishment, which Ronaldo could easily have avoided.

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MLS: ’28th Strongest’ Soccer League in World

August 13th, 2017 · No Comments · English Premier League, Fifa, Football, soccer, Spain

Not exactly a rousing endorsement of Major League Soccer.

The data guys at the FiveThirtyEight website have come up with a batch of calculations they believe indicate the “relative strength” of soccer leagues in Europe, North America and South America.

(See the rankings, about a third of the way down the page.)

In simplest terms, it attaches numbers to each league based on a perceived value of its constituent clubs, as well as how well they collectively perform against clubs from other leagues.

It is no surprise that Spain’s La Liga, led by Real Madrid and Barcelona, ranks No. 1. Followed by Germany’s Bundesliga.

Third is England’s Premier League money machine, which ranks first in “market value” but behind Spain and Germany in “overall value” because English clubs have struggled in European competition in recent years.

Italy is fourth, of course, but fifth is a bit of a surprise. Instead of France, Brazil’s domestic league sneaks in there.

Mexico’s Liga MX is the class of North America, at No. 11 in the world.

And where is Major League Soccer?

No. 28. Just behind Denmark’s top league and ahead of Croatia’s.

Which is not at all flattering to MLS.

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The Dodgers and the 40-Plus-Man Roster

August 12th, 2017 · No Comments · Baseball, Dodgers

Baseball players used to talk about how it “takes 25 guys” to win a World Series. Referring to the size of a Major League roster.

Twenty-five guys?

That idea is so 20th century.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are 82-34 and on pace for 115 victories — 10 more than any Dodgers team has won. And they are where they are not because of contributions from 25 guys — but thanks to contributions from closer to 45.

Injuries have been part of the churn of the 2017 roster, but to watch the Dodgers is to get a sense they want to move players up and down, between Los Angeles and Triple-A Oklahoma City, for temporary match-up advantages or perhaps even to give some guys, especially pitchers, some time off.

If this team goes on to win a World Series, among the several books likely to be written should be at least one focusing on the club’s perhaps unprecedented approach to handling its roster.

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The Agony and Ecstasy of the Arsenal Fan

August 11th, 2017 · No Comments · Arsenal, English Premier League, Football, soccer

Being an Arsenal fan is the worst idea in sports.

Being an Arsenal fan is the greatest idea in sports.

No team in the world can look so elegant, so beautiful. And no team of Arsenal’s pedigree can look as shiftless and feckless.

Which is by way of introduction to the first Premier League match of the 2017-18 season, tonight at the Emirates:

Arsenal 4, Leicester City 3.

Had it all the way. Yeah. Sure. That’s our story and we’re sticking with it.

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