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Triples in Triplicate, Strikeouts in Quadruplicate

July 25th, 2014 · No Comments · Baseball, Dodgers

As noted a few days ago, when Mike Trout tripled in his first at-bat at the All-Star game, I support the concept that the triple is the most exciting play in baseball.

A guy running full speed from the batter’s box to third base while an outfielder or two chases down a ball in the gap, or one off the wall, and then almost always two throws to get the ball to third, and usually the runner sliding. All sorts of people running around, basically — the batter, a couple of fielders, a relay man, the pitcher backing up the play at third.

Thus, the Dodgers’ 8-1 victory over the Giants in San Francisco must have been great fun tonight.

Not only did the Dodgers have five (!) triples, Yasiel Puig had three (!) of them, as you can see via the second link.

Three triples in one game! By one person. Some guys don’t have three triples in their careers.

This calls for some of those baseball stats fans love.

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Valdivia, the One Who Got Away

July 24th, 2014 · No Comments · Arabian Gulf League, Football, The National, soccer

A week ago, I did a post about the unlikely pairing of the Chilean international playmaker Jorge Valdivia with the little Arabian Gulf League club Fujairah FC. Which was a sensation, in the small world of UAE soccer.

At that moment in history, we were led to believe the deal was done. When it was not.

After a few days of, “uh-oh, maybe this won’t happen”, the club last night tweeted out that the deal had fallen through, which we duly reported in The National.

He had not signed with the club, though he had visited and had his photo taken shaking hands, and wearing a Fujairah scarf. But then he returned to Brazil, where he had been playing for four years … and never quite came back.

And then today …

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Explaining … Manchester 7, Galaxy 0

July 23rd, 2014 · 2 Comments · English Premier League, Football, Galaxy, Landon Donovan, Sports Journalism, The National, soccer

Not even Brazil lost this badly.

Manchester United 7, LA Galaxy 0 — as reported in The National by our correspondent in Pasadena, Gregg Patton.


The Galaxy probably is the marquee franchise of Major League Soccer, with the four MLS Cup championships, and all … but all that was left of them after their meeting with ManU were a few shreds of blue-and-white uniforms here and there on the Rose Bowl grass. United tore them to pieces.

That score is an embarrassment. No question. No serious club should lose 7-0 to anyone, especially when the “anyone” was playing eight time zones away from their base, a few days after a trans-Atlantic flight and one week after their new coach took over the team.

But, we can explain some of this. Not forgive it. But explain it. Some of it.

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The Tennis Silly Season

July 22nd, 2014 · No Comments · Tennis

This is my favorite time of the tennis season. July and the first half of August.

When the tournament are numerous, not particularly important, often located in exotic lands and liable to produce random winners.

Jonathan Raymond of The National’s sports staff addressed that topic today.

People named Leonardo Mayer and Mona Barthel won tournament titles over the weekend. And I like that.

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Better Players Apart

July 21st, 2014 · No Comments · Uncategorized

Rory McIlroy and Caroline Wozniacki were the sports love couple of the 21st century. With Lleyton Hewitt and Kim Clijsters a distant second.

“Wozilroy”, as they were sometimes known, went where Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf and Jimmy Connors and Chris Evert went before them. Where everything they did was seen through the prism of their very public relationship.

Odd thing though.

McIlroy and Wozniacki were better players before they got together than while they were together … and appear to be better players again, now that they have broken up.

Exhibit A: Each won a tournament yesterday.

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An Empty Crib

July 20th, 2014 · No Comments · Abu Dhabi, Football, Landon Donovan, NFL, soccer

I was in the gym of our apartment building in Abu Dhabi, doing puny exercise, and the TV up in the corner of the room was stuck on MTV. Not my first choice but my only choice — someone had stripped the batteries out of the remote.

And then came a blast from the past. Old episodes of the series MTV Cribs … including the one Landon Donovan did back in early 2006. That appeared on February 1 of that year, to be specific.

It was a melancholy moment — for me. I had been in that large but tasteful Manhattan Beach house for an interview when Landon shared it with Bianca Kajlich and three dogs and a cat.

I recognized many of the rooms, as Landon led the MTV tour of the place. The couch where I sat during the interview, while Bianca ducked in and out. The counter where Landon had left the L.A. Times crossword puzzle. The cabinet with mementos in it, including the ball from his first Major League Soccer match, signed by his teammates, something he said (to MTV) was particularly special to him. The street where her SUV and his Jaguar were parked.

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Adding Another Entry to the Unwritten Rules of Baseball

July 19th, 2014 · 1 Comment · Baseball

This could be the silliest item I’ve come across in weeks. Months. This year.

Colby Lewis, the Texas Rangers pitcher, said he “didn’t appreciate” the way Colby Rasmus, the Toronto Blue Jays outfielder, played the game and said he told him so.

What offense did Rasmus commit on Lewis? What felony did he perpetrate on the game?

Bunt with two outs in the ninth inning of a no-hitter? Attempt a steal when his team led 8-0?

Not even.

What Rasmus did apparently is a new crime in the voluminous book of baseball’s “unwritten” laws. One that should be struck down by the court of public opinion.

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From the World Cup to … Fujairah?

July 18th, 2014 · No Comments · Abu Dhabi, Arabian Gulf League, Brazil 2014, Football, The National, UAE, World Cup, soccer

One of the surest ways to move your soccer career forward is to do a little something with a successful team at the World Cup. Like the one that ended on Sunday.

Luis Suarez scored two goals against England, bit a guy, and got a huge deal to more from Liverpool to Barcelona.

Toni Kroos scored two goals in Germany’s rout of Brazil, and he went from Bayern Munich to the Olympus of soccer, Real Madrid.

Arturo Vidal didn’t score a goal for Chile, but he looked good enough, when he was healthy, that Manchester United has been trying to pry him away from Juventus, which doesn’t pay as well.

Keylor Navas, Costa Rica’s goalkeeper, made perhaps the biggest move, going from mid-table Spanish side Levante to Real Madrid, after shining in the Ticos’ quarter-final run in Brazil.

And then we have Jorge Valdivia, a man who scored for Chile against Australia, in Brazil, started one match, came on as a substitute in two more, as an impressive Chile side reached the final 16 … and as of this week he now plays for Fujairah SC — the most obscure club in the UAE’s top division, located in the most isolated part of the country.

Wha … what?

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My First Pick Among Football Films

July 17th, 2014 · 1 Comment · Abu Dhabi, College football, Football, NFL, UAE

I pretty much hate sports movies, and football movies are a big part of the problem. (Just behind boxing movies, I’d say.) I have never seen a football film that correctly conveys game action, and that lack of verisimilitude kills football movies in the cradle. That, and casting teeny Al Pacino as an NFL coach or Warren Beatty as a Rams quarterback.

So, perhaps the competition, inside my head, isn’t very tough for the title of “best football film I’ve seen” … but that honor now goes to Draft Day, the Kevin Costner movie that finally made its way over to the UAE.

And it isn’t hard for me figure out what I like about the movie.

It has almost no game action in it.

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Mike Trout, the Millville Meteor?

July 16th, 2014 · No Comments · Angels, Baseball

Came across this yesterday, while looking at the Mike Trout wiki page.

” … nicknamed The Millville Meteor”.


The Millville Meteor? Mike Trout?

Has anyone ever actually called him that? Has any sports writer used it in a game story?  “And then the Millville Meteor laced a three-bagger …”

If this were a century ago, maybe.

So, where did this nickname-come-lately come from?

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