Following up on Horton’s Catalina Classic Paddleboard Race/Fundraiser


Tom Horton, the Hermosa Beach paddleboard competitor who was raising money for the Agoura Hills-based Greater L.A. Chapter of the ALS Association (see this link), finished Sunday’s race in 6 hours 47 minutes — 63rd overall out of more than 100 competitors and 11 minutes later than last year.

“It was another grueling year,” he said. “The water was very calm and glassy most of the way. There was a small Northwest swell coming through which added a bit of push against us and most people I spoke to finished later than last year.”

From his goal to raise $50,000, Horton has so far received nearly $10,000 in pledges from more than 80 folks, but they’re still coming in. If you’re able to contribute, go to his link (linked here).

More info:

== The Daily Breeze story on Sunday’s finish (linked here)

== Official results (linked here)

== More photos from the event (linked here)

== The ALS Association (linked here)

== A KNBC-Channel 4 story on Horton:

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Our Daily Dread: The start of some things … and seeing the finish line in others


Please, summer, don’t end so fast. Again.

The kids start school today — 13th grade and 17th grade respectively — at locations as exquisite (and expensive) as Portland and as exotic (and extricating) as San Diego.

The vacation period, for now, has ended. The circle of sports life — football, the U.S. Open tennis rumble — begins its fall cycle.

A time to feel a little old. Maybe even some random thoughts of investing in one of these things Kevin Modesti wrote about last week …. the Dodger blue caskets and urns, on display at Rose Hills in Whitter for those who are price-point shopping (linked here).

Or, it’s what fans bury the 2009 Dodgers in if they give away this six-game lead with one month to play in the championship season. We’ll head out to the ballyard to see what’s up tonight. It’s the opening of the final four week stretch to see who gets to keep playing deeper into October.

Do the math when you look at the standings. If everything holds, the Dodgers open against the Philadelphia Phillies in the first round of the playoffs, because the wild-card will likely be either Colorado or San Francisco out of the NL West, facing the division winner with the next-best record, St. Louis.

And in the AL, the Angels and Red Sox are lined up again for another meeting, since the Yankees have a lead in the East that they don’t seem to be able to give away, and they’d face Detroit in the first round.

What else is on the radar:

==The opening of the college football season — Saturday, unless you count Thursday’s games on TV. Does USC and UCLA have contingency plans in case the air quality continues to be so poor that the Coliseum and/or Rose Bowl aren’t viable options for the teams’ home openers back-to-back on Saturday afternoon? Is there a domed facility everyone can converge on for a So Cal doubleheader? Maybe Home Depot Center?

Add to the opening of college football: Preseason No. 1 Florida opens at home against Div. I-AA Charleston Southern. The Gators gave their opponents $450,000 to make the trip as a sacrificial lamb. The point spread? Danny Sheridan had it at 73 points. USA Today dropped it to 63 points. That’s nine touchdowns, you math majors. Some researchers say that’s the largest spread ever given in college football history (usually they don’t even post odds when a Div I-A school schedules a Div. I-AA). In 2007, Hawaii hosted Northern Colorado and was made a 59 1/2-point favorite. The Hawaiians failed to cover in a 63-6 victory.

==The opening of the U.S. Open — on two channels, some even showing the same match, with about as many tennis broadcasters as one nation can assemble. It’s tennis nirvana for those who can’t get enough. Especially with DirecTV’s mix channel of six screens. Just let us know when Sam Querrey and the Bryan Brothers pop up.

==The opening of networks starting to promote all they have in NFL coverage. We’ll spare you the details, except that NBC has a new plan to break up their massive Sunday pregame show, and others have … much of the same ol’ stuff.

==The opening of seasonal allergies. Or maybe that’s just too much smoke in the air. Golf must be played with caution.

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If only Costas could recreate this moment in baseball history


The MLB Network plans to air a segment today called “MLB Network Remembers: The Eddie Gaedel Story,” narrated by Bob Costas.

A short subject on many levels.

Yes, it was the 3-foot-7, 65-pound Eddie Gaedel who went to bat for the St. Louis Browns against the Detroit Tigers in 1951, conceived by Browns owner Bill Veeck and executed by manager Zach Taylor.

Pinch hitting for Frank Saucier, Gaedel was told to crouch low and not swing his toy bat. Remarkably, he drew a walk from Tigers pitcher Bill Cain.

And no midget has been allowed in the game since. And no discrimination lawsuit has been filed yet claiming …. whatever crack this falls into.

This story (more info linked here) has interviews with former St. Louis Browns outfielder Roy Sievers, former St. Louis Browns batboy Fred Buchholz, Gaedel’s nephew Bob Gaedel and St. Louis Browns historian Bill Borst.

It airs between 3 and 4 p.m. and re-airs throughout the night on “MLB Tonight.”

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Another (cranky N.Y.) prespective on the treasure that is Vin Scully

The Dodgers-Rockies game on Prime Ticket was picked up by MLB Network on Thursday — allowing the rest of the country to enjoy Vin Scully’s nine-inning call of the Dodgers’ 3-2 victory.

Phil Mushnick of the New York Post — about as cranky a sports TV critic as there is out there in the newspaper biz — posted this column today (linked here) about his unexpected pleasure in getting the MLB feed of Scully:


I KNOW I should have been watching the rest of the Rangers-Yankees, but . . . The MLB Network, yesterday, carried, live, the Dodgers-Rockies game, the Dodgers’ feed. With Vin Scully. What a treat. Scully has understood the difference between radio and TV since Jack Benny made the switch. On TV, his greatest gift is brevity. He knows exactly when it’s time to say nothing. And he rarely sees anything worth shouting about. He figures that we can see or we wouldn’t be watching. In fact, in the first inning, yesterday, he noted that Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal is a switch hitter, adding, “batting right.” Then he added, as if to credit us and scold himself, “as you can see.”

Sixty years later, Scully never sounds bored or distracted. Or forced. No self-promotional nicknames, no pre-fab signature calls; he says nothing to place himself above the game or anything in it. And, because he works alone, he provides analysis, but no over-analysis. Still, his attention to detail, biographical info and what happened last night is complete.

Yesterday, when LA’s Matt Kemp hit a long homer, Scully correctly characterized it “a monster,” yet barely raised his voice. He doesn’t shout; he italicizes. Besides, he has no home run call beyond what comes naturally. Imagine that: Scully doesn’t rehearse what isn’t scripted. If he were 21, today, fresh out of Fordham, looking for his first gig, a team or radio GM would quickly, easily remove him from consideration for everything that since, good gosh, 1950, so many have cherished.


Yesterday was another one of those days, one of those broadcasts. He was the stranger you were seated beside at the game who, by the sixth inning, you’d awkwardly tell, “I just wanna let you know that I feel lucky to be seated next to you.” Colorado is as far East that Scully, 81, travels, these days, to call games. There was a rumor in LA, in May, that Scully will retire after this season, his 60th in the Dodgers’ booths, the longest run any broadcaster has had with any team. Scully might have started that rumor when he said he wouldn’t rule out packing it in after this season. Since, though, he seems to have backed off. Perhaps he’ll make 2010, with an even more limited schedule, his last. He says he’ll let us know, but if he’s back there likely will be even less of him. So yesterday’s telecast wasn’t one to take for granted. It was one to soak up every word he said and how he said it. As for those moments when he chose to say nothing, hey, we’re baseball fans — why else would we be watching? — were as good as anything he did say. What a treat.

At 4:30, he broke a short silence with this: “One out, fourth inning, 2-2 tie.” Not great, but perfect. Twenty minutes later, two on for the Dodgers: “In the dirt, and going to third is Matt Kemp on the wild pitch.” There was nothing shout-worthy and the team announcer wasn’t selling it as anything more than what we could see it was. In the sixth, the Dodgers took a 3-2 lead and Scully merely emphasized what too many others would have pulverized: “Ground ball . . . up the middle . . . base hit. And the Dodgers finally get a clutch single.” Scully called the entire game, 3 hours. He missed nothing, never wilted; he kept our heads in it, our eyes on it and never treated us as if we were too stupid to know better. And he’s 81 years old. What a treat.

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Our Daily Dread: A great cause, a great idea … but are the Dodgers setting the bar too low on ThinkCure?


The Dodgers announced the other day that the recent “ThinkCure” telethon on radio, TV and the Internet raised $240,776. That “shatters” (according to the press release) the first-year mark of $166,485 in its efforts to raise money for cancer research at City of Hope and Childrens Hospital L.A.

Team execs had set the goal of raising $200,000 for this year’s event — a modest 20 percent increase by any matrix used in these difficult money times. That said, it was promoted heavily on their flagship radio station, another FM radio station, two TV stations and a couple of websites that involved auction items up for grabs.

Yet, included in the money raised last weekend was a $25,000 donation by Dodger pitcher Hiroki Kuroda, $25,000 from commissioner Bud Selig on behalf of Major League Baseball, and $1,000 each from former Dodgers Don Newcombe and Eric Karros.

Which suggests that, from everything coming in from the fans’ side, the number was closer to $188,000.

Again, a nobel effort. But in the grand cause of things, does that really sound like something that could be easily generated from a team that attracts more than 3 1/2 million fans to the stadium each season? If you do the math there, what does that average out to — less than a couple of dimes each person in the bucket?


What if the Dodgers had asked everyone who showed up to last Wednesday night’s home game, when they gave out Matt Kemp bobbleheads, to simply donate $5 a pop.

That would have raised more than $250,000 right there.

Manny Ramirez could shake $200,000 out of his sliding shorts.

According to the team, ThinkCure has generated $2.5 million since 2007. But most of that came from $1 million raised (from the sale of more than 115,000 tickets) when the Dodgers played the Red Sox in an exhibition game at the Coliseum in March, 2008; the McCourt family then matched that to make it to $2 million. The other $500,000 has come mostly from the first two fundraisers.

Granted, $240,000 in donations for any cause these days is nothing to return in these economic times. It’s a 44 percent increase from last year — which looks great after having lower expectations.

Maybe these Dodger fans aren’t plugged into the concept yet. Maybe they don’t think auctions are things they are things they’re used to participating in — people who’ve never tried one can find it intimidating, even if folks are more eBay savvy now. Those are the folks who are used to raising money through car washes and bake sales.

Maybe the problem is there isn’t enough real publicity reaching the fans on this to make it a “must-participate” event yet?

But considering all the publicity it had, what can it be compared to?

Since the McCourt family wants ThinkCure to be for the Dodgers what The Jimmy Fund (linked here) has been for the Boston Red Sox, let’s examine that.

Launched in 1948, The Jimmy Fund has raised more than $500 million over the last 60 years for new cancer treatment. The Red Sox came on board in 1953, with the help of Ted Williams acting as the focal point of raising money.

There is a radio/TV fundraiser component that the Red Sox have use with The Jimmy Fund since 2002. From that, it has raised more than $15 million (linked here)/ The 36-hour event that began Thursday and ends today will likely match the $4.8 million that it brought in from 2008.

This year’s goal: $5 million.

Not $200,000, but $5 million.

Yes, it has about a six-decade head start. Everyone on the East Coast and beyond knows about the Jimmy Fund. There’s a statue outside Fenway Park honoring it. But you don’t raise $5 million without some muscle and star power behind the cause, either.

The Jimmy Fund also has gone far beyond the radio/TV telethon aspect. It has a fund-raising walk, a bike race, an ice cream eating event, a golf tournament, and, maybe the coolest thing, a John Hancock-sponsored event where fans get a chance to hit a ball over the Green Monster at Fenway Park.

The Dodgers haven’t done any of those things yet. In two years, they’ve done only the fund raisers through media saturation. There is plenty of time ahead to implement more to the efforts. A slow launch is probably what the team’s goal is to this point. Still, having been involved in fund raisers on a local level over the last few years, a $200,000 goal really isn’t that difficult to achieve if you put your resources (and Hollywood) behind it.

So, again, to try to put things into perspective, $240,000 is it’s a nice chunk of funding that will help in many ways with the two charities involved. But with some context, there seems to be a lot of chest thumping over an amount that is hardly all that groundbreaking.

Everyone who benefits from the grants written from this amount are thankful. But don’t you think there should have been more to this — not just from donations, but from former big-name Dodgers stepping forward, like Karros and Newcomb.

We wish the ThinkCure luck in its future endeavors for a very worthy cause. We will continue to donate as well. It’s just that it seems they’re selling themselves short.

Friday, the L.A. Kings announced that their Kings Care Foundation will make a donation of $500,000 to the Blood Donor Center at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles.

LA Kings BloodMobilewill serve as a blood drive supply truck to increase the much needed collection of life-saving blood for the most seriously ill and injured children at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles.

The Kings support of Childrens Hospital Los Angeles dates back nearly a decade. Every season, the team makes a holiday visit to the hospital and last year the Kings also participated in the MyFM Radiothon at CHLA, answering phone calls and taking donations during the radiothon while also contributing $10,000 to the cause.

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