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What are the Dodgers waiting for ? Maddon NOW !

UPDATED: 10-24-14 11:03am

If the Dodgers don’t make a hard play for Joe Maddon then I believe the Guggenheim organization, Stan Kasten and the front office are not serious about winning.

There is no other way to put it. New General Manager Andrew Friedman and Kasten said last week that the only thing that matters is winning. Friedman said there is nothing else. If that is the truth then the Dodgers will thank Don Mattingly for his years of service, give him a nice severance package and then hand a contract to Joe Maddon and let him put the dollar figure in the heading, a la Andre Dawson in 1987 with the Cubs.

This is a no-brainer for the Dodgers. It shouldn’t even be deliberated, coalesced, analyzed or disputed. Joe Maddon should be the 2015 Los Angeles Dodgers manager. Maddon has done more with less in the last nine years than most managers do in a lifetime. His baseball smarts and abilities as a game manager are Bochy-esque. What are the Dodgers waiting for ? Maddon only resigned a 90 minutes ago. I want to hear about the Maddon hiring in the next few hours. Chop chop, get on it.

Maddon resigned this morning as manager of the Tampa Rays after nine years at the helm. Reports indicate the Tampa brass and Maddon had a significant gulf in financial terms being discussed. With one year left on his deal, Maddon decided not to be a lame duck. He decided to explore his options.

Several baseball writers are reporting  that un-named Dodgers front office officials are saying that the Dodgers WILL NOT bring in Maddon. They are reporting that the Dodgers are committed to Don Mattingly. Why ? Who are these officials ? I want names ?

In the spirit of openness, I have not been a Don Mattingly antagonist. In fact I have been the guy in my large circle of Dodger friends that seems to always come to the defense of Donnie. Trust me, this is a tough task. This has nothing to do with his service to the Dodgers and his efforts. This is simply a business decision. When you find someone more capable of doing a job, in whatever business you are in, one has to at least consider making a change. When that “someone” is possibly one of the best at his craft then you have to take it under “deep advisement.”

Last week during Friedman’s introductory press conference he said Don Mattingly would “definitely” be back as Dodgers manager in 2015.  Andrew, no one will hold it against you if you suddenly have a change of heart. Trust me on this one. Dodger fans will give you a pass in the “your word is bond” department. This is Joe “freaking” Maddon.

The Dodgers may not want to do this considering last Friday’s full-throated support of Mattingly, but this is something they HAVE to do. Nationally the Dodgers will be seen as cut-throat and mean-spirited, but, next year, with Maddon they may be seen as World Series Champions.

Pull the trigger Guggenheim. Pull the trigger Mark Walter. Pull the trigger Andrew Friedman. Hey Earvin “Magic” Johnson, remember that time you unceremoniously un-seated Paul Westhead from behind, you gutted him like a fish, and orchestrated Pat Riley taking over the Lakers ? Make that happen Magic !!

Hey Donnie, thanks for your service. And, remember, “it’s business, not personal.”

UPDATE: We now have a name. President of Baseball Ops Andrew Friedman says Don Mattingly will be back as Dodgers manager in 2015. So, Friedman fails his first baseball exam.

 

WSOP 2014: Decorum at the Poker Table

 

Being a new father I am not able to watch the World Series of Poker in the timeliest of fashions. I am catching up on this year’s action thanks to Comcast On-Demand. And after watching Season 13 Episode 11 Part 3 I was appalled at the behavior at the Main Table that was broadcast on ESPN.

I primarily tuned in to watch poker pro Maria Ho and her excellence on the felt during her 2014 Main Event run. But, the show quickly turned into a lesson on how NOT TO ACT when playing poker.

Poker pro Kyle Keranen was at the Main Table and had the biggest chip stack. An amateur by the name of Curtis Rystadt was also at the table. As you can see from the footage above, it got personal, quickly. As a poker player I do not blame Keranen for calling out Rystadt. What the footage doesn’t show was the incessant banter of Rystadt during the action. He would try to engage others in conversation as hands were being played. What made it worse is he was doing this while those involved in the hand were sitting right next to him. THIS is a huge no-no in poker.

As much as I wanted Keranen to shut up Rystadt, part of me wanted him to get tunnel-vision and block him out, but being realistic, how can you do that after four long hours of listening to his rambling? Rystadt reasoned that he was “just trying to have fun.”

Well, I believe playing poker should involve a modicum of decorum and class. And, it was classless and of poor taste for Rystadt to constantly harangue during the play. I feel it was unfortunate that Keranen had to stand up to Rystadt by himself. I was hoping someone else would have voiced displeasure to Rystadt over his never-ending banter. I can only imagine the other players at the table didn’t want to make waves especially knowing this was going to be the table broadcast for this edition of ESPN’s coverage. Keranen just couldn’t take it anymore and called out Rystadt.

I believe he did it with aplomb and stayed as composed as one could. It was a frustrating episode. The poker was good, but the Rystadt antics surely took away from the high level of poker that was being played. Hopefully viewers came away with more admiration for Keranen and his compatriots, then Rystadt and his attention seeking maneuvers.

Near the end of the episode Keranen and Rystadt finally get entangled in a hand. For Keranen fans it was bittersweet as Rystadt’s desire to go heads-up with Keranen was rewarded with a “lucky” flop turn and river, busting Keranen’s ACES. What follows was all you needed to know about Rystadt. A verbal barrage, dressing down the pro in the most haughty of fashions. As I get ready to watch Episode 4 On-Demand, I don’t wish for much, but I do wish Rystadt dies a slow painful poker death, while the poker world is standing behind him, cheering his demise. And, also cracking stupid jokes and talking incessantly in his ear.

 

ALMOND BOWL WEEK ! H.S. Football Preview 10-24

ALMOND BOWL 2014

Chico Almond Bowl

CHICO VS PLEASANT VALLEY

Almond Bowl PV

PHOTOS COURTESY JASON HALLEY-CHICOER

TJ HOLMES-Redding Record Searchlight @tjholmes_RS

JOSEPH SHUFELBERGER- ChicoER @JShufelberger

LEE CARRELL- Action News 12 & 24 @CarrellLee

MIKE BACA- KPAY Sports Director @BitOBaca @KPAYBacaSports

Dodger lineup

Dodgers Watch Giants Win ANOTHER Pennant and it wasn’t Luck

 

I blame News Corp. I blame Kevin Malone. I blame Rupert Murdoch. I blame Frank McCourt. I blame Jamie McCourt. I blame Jamie’s hair-dresser. I blame her limo driver. Hell, I blame anyone and everyone.

For the third time in five years the San Francisco Giants have won the National League pennant. And, for the third time in five years I find it easy to blame the Dodgers for not being good enough to stop them. All I have wanted for the last few years is for the Dodgers to re-establish order with their rival. Winning the division for the second straight year was a nice first step, but in the grand scheme it doesn’t really mean anything. You need to perform in October, something the Dodgers can’t do right now. The Giants perform in October. They have done it with a core group of hard-nosed stars and sprinkling of role players that relish being part of an organization that wins and has fun doing it.

Many people pointed to Giants luck or fortuitous bounces as the reason for the Giants success again in October. Stop it.  That would be short-changing a team that truly is a team. The Giants are winning because of a disciplined front office approach to building their organization.  They haven’t deviated from that approach. Brian Sabean runs it, and Bruce Bochy runs with it. Bochy is the master technician. His gruff presentation belies a baseball genius who takes advantage of situations with match-ups and pushes the right buttons because he knows what his guys can and can not do. Bochy should be the envy of every major league team. This may sound like a knock on the Giants, but it’s not. Bochy and his staff gets more out of that ball-club than any other manager in the game today and he has been doing it for a long time.

If this doesn’t hurt the Dodgers organization and their fans then they aren’t worth being called, Dodgers. When you see your less talented rival continually win pennants, while you languish on the sidelines and come up short in the biggest October moments then you aren’t doing things right. I heard many people say the Dodgers were probably the only team that could have beaten the Giants this October. Stop it AGAIN. There is no way THIS Dodgers team with THIS Dodgers bullpen was going to beat the Giants. Bochy would have made sure of that. The Giants have toughness coursing through their veins, “Champions Blood” as Hunter Pence likes to say,  while the Dodgers melt when they are faced with the biggest moments. This isn’t opinion, it is fact. Until the Dodgers, as a group,  rise to the occasion in October, they will be considered “soft.”

Despite the malfeasance of the Frank McCourt ownership, the Dodgers did manage to advance to National League Championship Series in 2008 and 2009 losing both times to the Philadelphia Phillies in five games. They lost primarily because their best players lacked the stones to come up big when it counted and of course a deficient bullpen headlined by Jonathan Broxton. Fast forward to 2013 where once again the Dodgers pushed on to the NLCS where they were once again beaten by a “tougher” Cardinals team that rose to the occasion when it counted. This year was a complete debacle. The Cardinals knocked off the Dodgers in the division series in four games. The Dodgers won 94 regular season games but were thin on the mound, had no bullpen and had a sub-par defensive team. The Giants would have beaten the Dodgers in 5 or 6 games in this NLCS. Not because they are more talented than the Dodgers, they win because they are tougher.

What does tougher mean in baseball terms ? Tougher means refusing to lose. Refusing to strike out with a runner at third and less than two outs. Being mentally aware of all situations, including getting good secondary leads, so you can take an extra base on a ball in the dirt. Knowing what base to throw to when the ball is hit to you. Knowing you need to hit the cut-off man. Toughness is hitting a ball to second base to move a runner to third with less than two outs because even when it hurts your batting average it will still help the team get a run. Toughness is putting team over self. Toughness is forsaking personal glory for the good of the group. The Giants organization and their insanely annoying fans preach this all the time. “The Dodgers don’t win because they have too many “I” guys.” Reluctantly I have to agree. The self-centeredness on the Dodgers is evident and does not lead to winning. Late in the season Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig almost came to blows over Puig’s selfishness in the dugout.  Kemp was tired of watching Puig pout and take his hitting woes to the field. After the game Kemp posted a picture of celebrating Dodgers minus Puig. There was a quote from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar extolling the virtues of self-sacrifice for team. The point was clear. “Puig, this isn’t about you. It’s about us.”

The taste is bitter and sour for us Dodgers fans. If the taste isn’t bitter then I have to seriously question your Dodger allegiance.  Seeing the Dodgers rival continue to win pennants stings. It is a pain that the Dodger fan base must live with during what will be a cold cold winter. Grasping a division title holds little solace when your rival is winning pennants and playing in World Series. That is now FOUR pennants for the Giants since 2002. The Dodgers haven’t won a pennant since the magical run in 1988. The Giants could win their 3rd World Series title in the last five years. Embarrassing I say, embarrassing.

I am happy the Guggenheim Group has high aspirations and World Championship goals. That is what you should try to do when you have resources at your disposal and a competitive fire burning in your belly. I also understand that it doesn’t happen overnight. When you are as low and down-trodden as the Dodgers were under McCourt, the culture and mode of operation will not change quickly, regardless of how much money you pump into the organization.

With that said, until the Dodgers get as tough or tougher than their rivals to the north, they will always be second fiddle. The Dodgers should learn from San Francisco, they should try an emulate the culture surrounding an organization that relies on the gathering of a few stars and spare parts that all pull in the same direction and compete and play for one common goal…..each other. Until the Dodgers do that, we will be forced to watch our hated rivals celebrate pennants and championships while we talk about what went wrong in another October year after year after year.

From Mark Walter to Stan Kasten to Andrew Friedman to Don Mattingly to Clayton Kershaw; If you aren’t disgusted, then you aren’t paying attention.  Now, Lets Go Royals !

High School Football Preview Show 10-17

 

 

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We preview the RIVER BOWL between Shasta and Enterprise and look at this week’s big match-ups  !

TJ HOLMES-Redding Record Searchlight @tjholmes_RS

JEFF LARSON-Paradise Post @jtlarson

LEE CARRELL-Action News 12 & 24 @CarrellLee

MIKE BACA-KPAY Sports Director @BitOBaca @KpayBacaSports

 

Dodger lineup

Dodgers tab Friedman; Colletti’s time was due

 

The Los Angeles Dodgers will try to spin the Andrew Friedman acquisition as simply adding to the sum of its parts and that Ned Colletti still holds a significant role within the Dodgers hierarchy. Don’t believe it. Despite the platitudes and the pats-on-the-back for ole’ Ned this is a demotion. The Dodgers are shifting gears and moving on. As so many of their Hollywood brethren the Dodgers are chasing a younger and more buxom asset. He is 37 year-old Andrew Friedman and they hope he takes them to the Promised Land.

I don’t think Ned Colletti did a terrible job in running the Dodgers. Yeah, I said it. Ned had to work under one of the most horrific owners in Los Angeles sports history in Frank McCourt. With help from the amazing Dan Evans the Dodgers were able to draft and develop some young talent that had them riding into the NLCS in 2008 and 2009. I thought Ned did an admirable job navigating the Dodgers through these treacherous waters under McCourt. With a 90-to-95 million dollar payroll he made the Dodgers competitive. Detractors will say he didn’t develop the farm system but remember his hands were tied since Frank and his old lady, Jamie were too busy buying mansions and getting their hair done. The farm system was decimated under McCourt; and Colletti was left to just watch the burning carcass.  He couldn’t spend money on domestic scouts, on international scouts and the Dodgers were a hollow organization. Bright, glitzy and colorful on the outside and lacking depth and soul on the inside.

Enter Guggenheim…….

That all changed when Mark Walter and his Guggenheim partners bought the Dodgers in 2012. The Dodgers brought in Stan Kasten and immediately gave Ned Colletti the reigns to pull off one of the most significant trades in Dodgers history. The Dodgers added nearly 250 million dollars in salary with four players and signaled to the baseball world they would be significant.

When the Dodgers added Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto, along with trading for Hanley Ramirez, many felt the Dodgers were primed and ready for a deep post-season run. But, what many of these prognosticators and analysts failed to see is that the Dodgers were still and empty shell. You can’t just throw dollars at a problem and expect it to change. Changing the way you do business, changing the culture takes time, and that is what the Dodgers are going through right now.

The Dodgers had a great run last year and Colletti felt he was just a piece or two away from getting the Dodgers back to the Fall Classic. This is why Colletti is losing his job. While it appears from the surface that the Dodgers are close, they still have a lot of work to do from both a baseball and organizational sense. The Dodgers ARE NOT a few pieces away. I believe they need a major re-structuring. It’s a task that Colletti can not oversee. He had been there too long, had become too entrenched. It’s not an upheaval, it’s not just a simple tweak. The Dodgers need a revitalizing cleansing that takes them back to the days of the doing things the Dodgers way.

You remember the Dodgers way don’t you ?  Deep starting and relief pitching, stellar defense, smart base-running, and the ability to steal bases and hit and run. There is no rule that says big market teams can’t play like scrappy also-rans. Sure, I dig the long ball just as much as the next guy. But the Dodgers will not win anything until they get deeper in their starting rotation, have a lock-down bullpen and stop kicking the ball away every few games. The Dodgers defense was dreadful. Their base-running was less-than-average. I am not talking about stolen bases here. This is about taking a good aggressive secondary lead, taking the extra base with the ball in the dirt. Knowing when its a good time to take an extra base, and when it’s not such a good idea.

Under Colletti the Dodgers were deficient in the vital yesteryear keys to winning. The Dodgers had three pitchers in their rotation they could depend on. It might be a good idea to have 4-or-5.  He spent 30 million dollars on a bullpen that only had two reliable arms. The parent club has players that continually make the same mistakes over and over, especially defensively and on the base-paths. Despite SOME of the constraints, this was the team that Colletti  built. An incomplete assemblage of the players that had flash and glitz. The Dodgers were that shiny new car with all the bells and whistles, but then you turn on the engine, there is a Pinto under the hood. All  style, no substance.

For the Dodgers to regain baseball prominence as an annual contender for not just division titles but pennants and World Series Championships, they must do some work under the hood, and that means continuing their investment in the minor league system. Over the last two years the Dodgers have done an amazing job making their system relevant. But, they need to take that next step where they become the best organization at drafting and developing in baseball.  Once you strengthen your minor league system with prospects galore, then you can make trade dead-line deals that will help your parent club. The Dodgers have prime prospects,  but were not operating from a position of power at this years’ deadline and couldn’t make a significant trade for bullpen or rotation help. To be fair to Colletti, every time he inquired about an Andrew Miller or other coveted arms, other organizations would ask for the only prospects the Dodgers had in their system. Colletti was stuck, while trying to improve the club for this year, Colletti did not want to dis-mantle what the Dodgers system for the quick-fix. For that I do applaud him. I wouldn’t have traded Joc Pederson, Corey Seager or Julio Urias for David Price. When the Dodgers farm gets deeper, they will be  able to make deals with players in the system by mixing and matching, while not depleting their reserves on the farm. For Colletti, he was gun shy to make a deal, and I have to believe it was a directive from Stan Kasten,  “don’t trade prospects under any circumstance.”

In closing, Ned Colletti  was not a bad General Manager. But, his time has come and it was time for the Dodgers to move on. They hand the keys to the car to Andrew Friedman. A kid/man who made the Tampa Rays relevant on 20 cents on the dollar. Well kid, you now have the whole dollar. Lets see what you can do.

Warriors have to PAY KLAY…

I am a bit confused why the Golden State Warriors are haggling over a few million dollars a year in negotiations with shooting guard Klay Thompson.

The Warriors were in hot pursuit of Kevin Love and were close to a deal but when the Minnesota Timberwolves requested Klay Thompson to be part of the trade the Warriors balked.  There appeared to be a split among the Warriors brass with ownership wanting to make the trade. New head coach Steve Kerr and the venerable LOGO himself Jerry West were against the trade. For six weeks there were rumblings, but with Minnesota refusing to budge from their Klay desires the deal fell through.

Fast forward to the present and the Warriors and Thompson’s representatives are haggling over contract terms. Broadcast reports indicate both sides are roughly 2-to-3 million dollars a year apart. Thompson’s representatives are asking for 15 million dollars a year in multi-year deal, while the Warriors are in the 12-to-13 million a year neighborhood.

Both sides are saying the right things and I don’t think its going to be a distraction for the sharp-shooting guard. Klay says he wants to stay. The Warriors say Klay is part of their future and his teammates say he is vital to their success.

From my seat the Warriors have no leverage. They had a chance at Kevin Love but deemed the deal too costly and now will have to pay Thompson. So, why are they spinning their wheels and dragging this out when eventually they will meet his asking price, or close to it and get the deal done.

Warriors fans should  be thankful we have an owner who cares as much as Joe Lacob, but he does have that meddle-some Jerry Jones quality that can be un-nerving. This has Lacob written all over it.

Hey Joe, you have shown your cards. You are not going to let Klay walk. Listen to the LOGO and your new head coach. Pay Klay and let’s move on.

 

 

Dodger lineup

A Dodgers Post-Mortem: The Real Reason St. Louis Beat the Dodgers

 

The Cardinals can deny they were doing it, and the Dodgers can deny it was being done. But when you look deep inside the Dodgers four game loss to the St. Louis, the Boys in Blue were beaten by their stubbornness.

The Cardinals were the worst home run hitting team in the majors this season. They hit a total of 99 round-trippers on the year. So, how would you explain the Cardinals hitting 7 home runs in four games against one of the elite pitching staffs in baseball ?

Left-handed Red Birds batters hit five home runs. All five of those home runs were hit off of left-handed pitchers, not an easy task, four of those home runs came with a runner at second base, including Matt Adams’ crowning three-run blast against Clayton Kershaw on Tuesday afternoon.

After the series both the Cardinals and Dodgers refused to say sign-stealing was taking place. Cardinals hitters sheepishly said they were “lucky” to get some good pitches to hit and put “good swings” on some pitches that were in bad spots. All true. For their part the Dodgers denied their signs were being picked, but there are rumblings that the Dodgers were not mixing up their signs ENOUGH while Cardinal base-runners danced off of second base.  I don’t care what both sides say, the evidence is over-whelming.

THE DODGERS WERE HAVING THEIR SIGNS STOLEN AND DIDN’T DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT.

The numbers and the circumstances don’t make any sense. And, let me be clear. I have no problem with what I am alleging the Cardinals did. Sign-stealing is part of the game. If you aren’t trying to get that edge on your opponent then you aren’t doing enough to try and win. I love teams that do it. The college team I have covered for nearly two decades have becomes experts at the art. The pilfering of signs has been part of baseball since this grand ole game became America’s past-time. In Joshua Prager’s book “The Echoing Green” he details how the 1951 New York Giants used a sophisticated set of signals to read signs from opposing managers and catchers and relay what was coming to the hitters while they stood in the batter’s box. Many of those 51′ Giants say they don’t make up 13.5 games on the Dodgers in six weeks if not for the binoculars and signals they employed in August and September of 51′.

Clayton Kershaw was virtually automatic against left-handed hitters this season. Not to denigrate the Cardinals hitters, but they aren’t exactly the Tony Gwynn’s and Stan Musial’s of the world. But, with runners on base and while Kershaw was in the stretch the Cardinals became Ted Williams re-incarnated. Watch their at-bats. They are on everything. They not only didn’t get fooled on his assortment of pitches, they were ON every pitch. So, you have a pitcher who is having one of the greatest seasons in the history of the game, but suddenly when runners get on base he can’t get anyone out and the hitters are completely dialed in ? With someone as good as Kershaw that isn’t possible.

The Cardinals were 7-for-13 against Kershaw when he was pitching out of the stretch. And, they were an amazing 5-fo-8 with runners at second base including a home run and a triple. I don’t care what the Cardinals and Dodgers are trying to sell. My eyes didn’t lie to me. Kershaw got beat with his fast-ball, slider and curve. The Cardinals had his pitches. Why the Dodgers couldn’t figure this out for the second year in a row, is beyond me………

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High School Football Preview Show 10-10

 

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PREVIEW SHOW

10-10-14

BobcatFootball

 

LEE CARRELL- Action News 12 & 24 @CarrellLee

JOSEPH SHUFELBERGER- ChicoER @JShufelberger

TJ HOLMES- Redding Record Searchlight @tjholmes_RS

RICK SILVA- Paradise Post @Post_RickSilva

MIKE BACA- KPAY Radio Sports Director @BitOBaca @KpayBacaSports