Your IBL champion Los Angeles Lightning

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Lakers, NBA.
Lightning, IBL.
Champs, both.
Now, play each other.
Lamond Murray scored 22 points and Fred Vinson added 20 tonight as the Lightning won the International Basketball League championship, 111-94, over Oregon at the Cal Lutheran campus gym.
Trayvon Lathan had 18 points and eight rebounds, Toby Bailey had 14 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists and Darrick Martin contributed 10 points, six rebounds and eight assists for the Lightning (18-5), who won the first and last of the best-of-three series, all on their home court.
“This was the final game, we wanted to win so bad,” said Vinson, who shot 5-13 on 3-pointers. “We made some adjustments defensively and everybody came with a focus. We played a smart game.”
Murray scored eight points in the first eight minutes as L.A. built a 22-7 lead. The Lightning led 54-40 at the half and 82-64 after three quarters.
David Lucas, the son of former NBA great Maurice Lucas, led the Waves (16-9) with 30 points and nine rebounds. Robert Day, who scored a game-high 33 points in Oregon’s 108-107 Game 2 win, manage just four points and went 0-11 on 3-pointers.

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L.A. golf numbers, for those who like 9 holes better than 18 off the cliffs

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We’re checking out the latest pictures of the newly opened Links at Terranea public-access 9-holer (linked here) adjacent to the new resort and spa on the Palos Verdes Peninsula that used to be on the site of Marineland, for those with some South Bay historical knowledge. We are also wondering aloud how soon this will become a destination course that sees more rounds of golf than nearby Los Verdes or Trump National.

It may be like comparing “real” golf to glorified miniature golf, since Terranea only offers up 9 holes, all par 3, adding up to 1,239 yards … and none longer than 173 (or, perhaps 180 if you go back a few steps). The other two, of course, are in the 6,500-plus yardage range.

Consider it your short-game tuneup to a much bigger gameplan.

And, considering that the Terranea rates are very reasonable — weekdays, its $30 for the first nine, $20 for the next nine and even $15 for a third nine — it should be at least competition for patrons who can’t get on Los Verdes, which only charges about $23 weekday (less if it’s after 2 p.m.) for its regulation run. A more feasible comparison for Terranea might be the Lakes at El Segundo (linked here), another 9-holer that goes for $11 weekdays but has only the view of the Chevron oilfield across the street as its point of interest.

Trump (linked here) isn’t even in the picture. The fees are more obscene than the Donald’s hairpiece — $275 for most times, or reduced to $215 at some other times — and the course has become so frustrating that even the picturesque holes aren’t enough of a distraction to the real problem — it’s just not that fun.

If exclusivity is what you want to pay for, Terranea provides the resort-like nectar. Even if the shortest hole is just 104, the vistas are said to be as incredible, if not better, than what you see either at Los Verdes or Trump.

Besides, according to the latest Los Angeles Business Journal information, Los Verdes in Rancho Palos Verdes has jumped past Rancho Park, Long Beach Rec and La Mirada to claim the title of busiest L.A. County-owned golf course during 2008 (fiscal year ending last June).

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Our Daily Dread: What a waste of a recruiting effort

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This should have been one of those sports stories reported on years ago, but it wasn’t until Sports Illustrated senior writer George Dohrmann figured out the simple method of doing so that it finally came to light.

In this week’s SI, Dohrmann examines how wasteful it is for a college basketball program to recruit a player. Wasteful, in that — how many trees give up their lives for an antiquated process of sending letter after letter after letter to a recruit’s residence. And then, would a program feel all that time and money invested in a player is justified if he signs and maybe sticks around for a year or two, then leaves?

Roberto Nelson, a prospect (in both football and basketball) from Santa Barbara High, was askd by SI to save every piece of mail he received from recruiters. The total: 2,161 letters, from 56 programs. He only bothered to open 387 of them.

Gerard Gleason, an associate director for the San Francisco-based nonprofit Conservatree, then helped calculate the environmental impact of the paper being sent to all Division I hoops recruits in a given year, based on Nelson’s information.

Writes Dohrmann: “(Gleason’s) computation began with the average weight of paper each college sent to Nelson, which was 2.4 pounds. Most schools send mail to at least 100 players in each class (according to three recruiters who spoke to SI) and are targeting two classes (juniors and seniors) simultaneously.

“If each of the 347 Division I basketball programs sends 2.4 pounds of mail annually to 200 kids, the environmental impact each year of the production of that paper, according to Gleason’s analysis, would be:

== The consumption of 220 tons of wood, the equivalent of about 1,526 trees;

== Greenhouse gas emissions equal to what 39 cars produce in a year, and the use of enough energy to power 32 homes for a year;

== 167,034 pounds of solid waste, which would fill six garbage trucks,

== 1,423,939 gallons of wastewater, the equivalent of two swimming pools’ full.”

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We shall nail these to thy doors of Cooperstown, my good sir … and then say a little prayer

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Howard Cole, the director of the new Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA), for which I am a member, posted this note on his site, Baseball Savvy, this afternoon (linked here):

On the morning of July 14, 2009, the Base Ball Writers Association of America (BBWAA ), in its infinite wisdom, voted against forming a committee to establish guidelines for Hall of Fame voting regarding players of the steroid era.

By 3:00 p.m. PST the same day, the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA), of which I am the acting queso grande of, had formed a committee to develop guidelines on the matter for the association’s members. Results are as follows:

1. IBWAA steroid era Hall of Fame guidelines have been established for IBWAA voting purposes only. It is neither our intention to tell the BBWAA how to run its business, nor to criticize the Hall in any way, shape or form. We do, however, think the BBWAA’s decision not to form a committee was silly.

2. Our performance-enhancing drug ( PED ) guidelines are subject to addendum. It is the expressed intention of the IBWAA to change on the fly, to be inclusive, and to incorporate new members’ thoughts into existing policies and procedures.

3. Hall of Fame voting is to be, first and foremost, a democratic process. One person, one vote, with voting by secret ballot, and every vote counting equally.

4. Individual members are free to share his or her votes publicly, and in any form of media available, but are under no obligation to do so. Members choosing to discuss his or her votes publicly do not speak for the IBWAA as a group in so doing.

5. Voters may consider a player’s performance-enhancing drug use as part of the selection process. While there is to be no suggestion by the IBWAA to its members that a player’s name appearing in the Mitchell Report be considered with any particular degree of severity in the selection process, a member may consider such an appearance as part of his or her thinking.

6. Similarly, voters may consider a player’s suspension by Major League Baseball for having tested positive for a banned substance during his career, but are not required to do so.

7. The IBWAA strongly suggests that while qualities of sportsmanship and character be considered as part of the equation, members should endeavor not to be influenced by rumors, hearsay, unsubstantiated items found to be in publication, a player’s ethnic background or physical appearance as voting criteria.

How complicated was that?

The IBBWAA is 17 strong, with newest member Peter Golenbock, author of “George: The Poor Little Rich Boy who Built the Yankee Empire.”

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Greg Goossen, post script

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Thanks for all the groovy response to the Greg Goossen story in Saturday’s paper (linked here), as well as all the blog sidebars posted with it.

Maybe it was coincidence that also on Saturday, it was West Ranch’s Cody Howard — Goossen’s grandson — who went 3-for-3 with three homers, five RBI and two walks during a 14-13 victory over St. Francis in the Valley Invitational Baseball League tournament (linked here).

West Ranch faces El Camino Real in today’s quarterfinals. The finals are at Birmingham High on Friday at 6:30 p.m.

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Our Daily Dread: The trade winds vs. a bunch of hot air

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As of this morning, Roy Halladay, in the top one of those paid to deliver baseballs on the Major League level, was was still a member of the Toronto Blue Jays, employed under contract through 2010.

Lucky us.

It means, without further delay, the Dodgers, and Angels, have time. If only to catch their breath and knock their GMs over the head with a hammer.

If the Blue Jays really want Clayton Kershaw off the Dodgers’ roster, plus a couple of other prospects, for the playing rights to Halladay for the rest of this season, plus all of next season, the deal should have been agreed upon a week ago. Perhaps, after pausing for two seconds to make sure you heard all the names correctly.

If the Blue Jays really want Jered Weaver off the Angels’ roster, plus Brandon Wood and some other prospects, for the playing rights to Halladay for the rest of this season, plus all of the next, the deal should have been agreed upon a couple of days ago. Perhaps, after pausing two seconds to see if Halladay wanted some family passes to Disneyland thrown in there.

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Our Daily Dread: Jump, Rennert, jump

Remember last summer, with that kid tried to jump off the Santa Monica pier with his motorcycle. Kinda?
Ronnie Renner established the Guinness world record for the highest jump on a motorcycle on a quarter pipe — 59 feet, 2 inches.
Tonight, he’s raising the bar.
At Butler Field in Chicago’s Grant Park, the 32-old Renner gives it another leap.
“I really wanted to head east, get off the West Coast for a special event,” Renner told the Associated Press. “I’ve only been to Chicago a few times but I love the city and thought it would be a great place to have it. I love to do something like this in front of people that never get to see freestyle, so it works perfect.”
How it’ll work: Renner launches himself up a 22-foot quarter pipe, through a 180-degree arch, go upside down and land on a steel ramp that’s 31 feet, 9 inches tall and 64-feet wide.
“I’m just taking everything I learned last year and just plan on raising the stakes,” Renner said. “It’s real technical. There’s no room for mistakes when you’re doing a 180 like that.
“I don’t want to be beat it by inches. I definitely want to beat it by feet. A significant amount would be nice. Now I have a bar set that I have to beat or else it’s a failure. That’s intimidating, but at the same time that’s why I do this stuff. It’s definitely a good challenge.”

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More Goossen VI: How much did he fit into the Dodgers’ and Mets’ plans back in the mid ’60s?

The Dodgers were the ones who drafted Greg Goossen out of their own backyard — Notre Dame High in Sherman Oaks — after the Houston Colt .45s had their eye on him. That was, until Goossen blew out his knee getting in a fight.

This is from a Sports Illustrated story by William Leggett published on March 29, 1965 (linked here) — the cover is all about UCLA’s victory in the NCAA basketball tournament, with Gail Goodrich on the cover:

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Now, this year, as the chastened Dodgers of 1965 work their way through their spring-training exhibition schedule, they are the most drastically changed team in the major leagues, baseball’s “mystery a go-go.” True, the 11 players remaining of the baker’s dozen who knocked off the Yankees in the World Series are still the Dodgers’ big names: Koufax, Drysdale, Maury Wills, the Davises–that crowd. But big Frank Howard is gone, traded to Washington, and Jim Gilliam has retired to the coaching lines, maybe. The perfect relief pitcher, Ron Perranoski, lost his magic last year, and Johnny Podres was ailing so badly that he pitched only three innings all season. Tommy Davis’ batting average dropped 51 points. The old baker’s dozen needs help badly, and the Dodgers expect it to come from people you have seldom, if ever, heard of–Wes Parker, Jim Lefebvre, Bart Shirley, John Purdin, Willie Crawford, Tommy Dean, John Werhas, Al Ferrara, Derrell Griffith, Hector Valle, Greg Goossen, Howie Reed, Bill Singer. The Dodger roster is loaded with youthful nonentities. Seventeen of them are 23 or younger, five are 19, two are 18. Twice in recent weeks this infusion of youth has totally confused even the Dodgers themselves.

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More Goossen V: His Jewish roots makes the Catholic-raised player book worthy

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One of our favorite books last spring was “The Baseball Talmud: The Definitive Position-By-Position Ranking of Baseball’s Chosen Players,” by Howard Megdal, a Kosher-tongue-in-cheek celebration of the Jewish influence of baseball over the years.

Megdal concludes that Hank Greenberg, not Sanford Koufax, was the greatest of all Jewish players in major-league history. That’s enough to start an argument, but one he can defend.

Defining a Jewish player can be a bit tricky. To Megdal, “any player who self-identified as Jewish qualified. … I am a baseball expert, not a Judaism expert. … I leave that to religious scholars.”

It is, then, kind of quirky that Greg Goossen, who played at the Catholic boys’ school Notre Dame High in Sherman Oaks, is considered a Jewish candidate for mention in this book. Goossen’s dad, Al, was born Jewish (and later converted to Catholicism); his mom was Catholic. When it came to education, she was the decision maker.

In the book’s rankings, Goossen is No. 7 all-time under first basemen. but Megdal seems most impressed by Goossen’s post-career linked to Gene Hackman, who hired him as sort of a bodyguard and stand-in for about 25 years of his film career.

“While it is hard to fashion an argument that Goossen made a huge difference for his oft-losing major league teams, is it possible that his presence was the difference in Hackman’s finest films?” asks Megdal.

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More Goossen IV: A Q-and-A with Bouton

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Tracked down at his Springfield, Mass., home, Jim Bouton had this to say in light of the Seattle Pilots’ 40th anniversary, and coming up on the 40th anniversary of his classic “Ball Four”:

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Q: What images do you conjure up of Greg Goossen and those Seattle Pilots?

JB: People ask me all the time about the characters in “Ball Four” and if I can elaborate. I don’t have any other memories beside what’s in the book. Once the document was done, I erased everything. I know Greg was a really fun guy to be around and a great teammate, a smart guy.

Q: Forty years later, do you have any special memories of the Pilots that resonate stronger than any other?

JB: More people send me letters and remind me of things haven’t read in the book for years, so that always refreshes my memory. It strikes me how lucky I was to be with that particular group of guys. It was just a very special collection, mostly because the Pilots’ thinking going in was to win the pennant by drafting older players. So these were real guys with stories and histories, and many had some great years at one time — Gary Bell and Tommy Davis, for example — they had real careers, so as they playing together for the first time and were getting to know each other, they’d tell stories. It was a great bunch of old storytellers who also knew how to play ball. I was so lucky to have them and the nice thing about it, some of them were all past their prime and not so full of themselves. They were real people and had great respectives about who they were and how they were dealing with that.
I still get so much mail, people stopping me, constantly bringing back the memories. They’re in my life every day. Not a day goes by when someone doesn’t ask me about one of my teammates. I never get tired of it. It’s a different memory. People tell me, ‘My grandfather says I need to read your book.’ I’m OK with that.

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