Play it forward: Oct. 25-31 on your sports calendar


Highlights of the week ahead in sports, both here and afar:



NHL: Kings at Minnesota, Versus, 5 p.m.:

Oh, how wild it will be at Staples Center tonight when Justin Bieber takes the stage. Not quite as Minnesota wild it will be for the Kings, who know better and are out of town.

NFL: N.Y. Giants at Dallas, 5:30 p.m, ESPN:

About those 1-4 Cowboys: Going to 1-5 would be giant stupid. Not even the Rangers in the World Series can make the Cowboys stay under the radar. Tony Romo, by the way, is listed in the top three as one of the “most overrated players in the NFL” from a Sports Illustrated poll taken among the players.



NBA: Lakers vs. Houston, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., TNT:

How about, this year, instead of giving out championship rings, Lakers owner Jerry Buss starts handing out some of his trophy girlfriends? Kobe, can’t touch that. D-Fish, sorry. Lamar, no thanks. Sasha, not now. But thanks for asking.


Documentary, “Fernando Nation,” ESPN, 5 p.m.:

The latest “30 For 30” film focuses on how the city of L.A., especially those from the Latino population that may have boycotted Chavez Ravine for the way their ancestors were unceremoniously displaced from their homes on that land in the 1950s, rallied around this kid from Etchohuaquila for a magic moment in time. “He still matters to a generation of Mexican Americans,” says Estella Lopez, a former producer with ABC News who helps tell the story. ” He’s our first hero.”

NHL: Ducks at Dallas, 6 p.m., Prime:

Put a sheet of ice out at Cowboys Stadium, and we’d be compelled to consider watching.



MLB: World Series Game 1: Texas at San Francisco, 4:30 p.m., Channel 11:

We have every reason to believe Josh Hamilton stayed sober after that ALCS celebration party last Friday, meaning the Rangers should be in decent shape to start their first World Series. With Cliff Lee on the mound again, ready to pitch three times if necessary, Texas isn’t to be messed with at this stage of the game. Now, get thee to the Wharf on time. Last weekend, Texas pitcher C.J. Wilson, the Newport Beach native out of Loyola Marymount, quickly tweeted a challenge to the Giants’ wild-eyed closer Brian Wilson: “See your beard soon mr wilson.” Wilson answered: “Sounds delicious. We’ll be coming.”


NBA: Clippers vs. Portland, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., Prime:

Blake Griffin starts his NBA Rookie of the Year campaign. Again.


NHL: Kings at Chicago, 5:30 p.m., FSW:

Congrats to Jeremy Roenick, the former Blackhawks and Kings star who retired as a member of the Sharks last year, inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame last week. With 513 goals and 703 assists for 1,216 points in 1,363 games, he ranks third in career goals and points among U.S.-born players. Meanwhile, the defending Stanley Cup champ Chicagoland team is still raising Kane.

Series: “Friday Night Lights,” DirecTV 101, 9 p.m.:

The final season arrives early again on the satellite-dish system, before it lands on NBC after the first of the year.


MLB: World Series Game 2: Texas at San Francisco, 4:30 p.m., Channel 11:

Name the inning, players involved and manager ejected in this game where fans get upset the most and can’t believe there isn’t a replay system in place.

NHL: Kings at Dallas, 5:30 p.m., FSW:

How many fans of the Stars will bail out to go watch the Rangers on a big-screen somewhere?



NBA: Lakers at Phoenix, 7:30 p.m., Channel 9:

Jim Halpert made a reference to Steve Nash in last week’s episode of “The Office.” Dwight Schrute didn’t get it. What a surprise. It has nothing really to with the video clip above, but it’s what we found after a Google video search of “Steve Nash” and “office.”

NBA: Clippers at Golden State, 7:30 p.m., Prime:

Not an exhibition. But as close to one as you can get.

NHL: Ducks vs. New Jersey, Honda Center, 7 p.m, FSW:

The Devils start their only So Cal tour with a trip to Disneyland.


i-626ac0af6bd8eb1e32d96c8bdf3ace06-NEWoregon_ducks_1.jpgCollege football: USC vs. Oregon, Coliseum, 5 p.m., Channel 7:

Everybody’s No. 1 team — except by the BCS computers (linked here) — these Ducks from Oregon dive-bomb into the Coliseum against a Trojan squad feeling much better about their disposition, taking a week off after squashing Cal. And this tweet just in from ESPN’s Joe Schad: “Oregon has beaten one team ranked in Top 25 at time of meeting; Boise St. has beaten two such opponents.” With USC back in the AP Top 25, this can actually do a lot for Duck diplomacy. Get that chip off your shoulder, Chip Kelly.

College football: UCLA vs. Arizona, Rose Bowl, 12:30 p.m., FSW:

The Bruins, now without QB Kevin Price, can only hope that Wildcats QB Nick Foles, the Pac-10’s passing leader, really is out for the two-to-three weeks that the team says because of a sprained knee. At the very leads, UCLA won’t be expecting a 47-point beatdown.

NHL: Kings vs. New Jersey, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., FSW:

This is the first of five in a row at home for the Kings, who aren’t on the road again until the middle of November. Get healthy.

NHL: Ducks at San Jose, 7:30 p.m., Prime:

Only one Ducks team allowed to play in Southern California per day. And did you know:
The Sharks’ HP Pavilion still refuses to take recycled HP printers.

MLB: World Series Game 3: San Francisco at Texas, 3:30 p.m., Channel 11:

Y’all know they don’t play baseball games in Texas in late October, right? This is supposed to be the early-bird special-adapted time for the earlier World Series game. Not a day game. Not really a night game. A game of shadows. The Rangers may even start Nolan Ryan in this one.



NFL: Minnesota at New England, 1 p.m., Channel 11:

On Halloween, Randy Moss returns with the Vikings and could be the Patriots’ worst nightmare.


NBA: Clippers vs. Dallas, Staples Center, 12:30 p.m., Prime; Lakers vs. Golden State, Staples Center, 6:30 p.m., FSW:

It’s that always scary scenario where four teams try to squeeze two games into the downtown office supply store on one day, a few hours apart. The Warriors could always show up for the matinee and claim they didn’t know.

NFL: Tennessee at San Diego, 1 p.m., Channel 2:

You’d rather watch this than the Vikings-Pats over on Channel 11? It may not be possible, if KCBS makes you watch San Francisco vs. Denver from Wembley Stadium in the 10 a.m. hole.

NFL: Green Bay at N.Y. Jets, 10 a.m., Channel 11:

Sorry, still distracted from that Raider beatdown over the Broncos last Sunday.

NFL: Pittsburgh at New Orleans, 5:20 p.m., Channel 4:

Troy Polamalu’s costume plans include wearing a James Harrison disguise.

MLB: World Series Game 4: San Francisco at Texas, 5 p.m., Channel 11:

The wild hogs of the MLB aren’t frightened about going up against the NFL? Their bacon will be achin’ when the ratings come up. The Cowboys have a home game (against Jacksonville, in the early window), so at least there’s no local conflicts.

MLS playoffs: Galaxy at Seattle, 5 p.m., ESPN2:

Now that the Supporters’ Shield has been secured — and someone will explain that to us someday — the playoffs start with your local kickball team traveling to play the Sounders FC. A second game is Nov. 7. Then, like “The “Price Is Right,” they add up all the numbers and determine who goes to the showcase showdown.

Horse racing: Oak Tree at Hollywood Park, 1 p.m.:

The final day of racing for the meeting, with a sweatshirt giveaway and the Las Palmas Handicap. Starting next week, we move everything to … nowhere. The Hollywood Park Fall Meeting starts Thursday night, Nov. 4.

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Where to get your Wrangler ‘open fly’ jeans … the NBC store?

Brett Favre says he’s letting the NFL handle this — and now admits that while he did leave some voice messages, he didn’t include lewd pictures of his junk (linked here).

Deanna Favre says she’s handling this “through faith.”

“Saturday Night Live,” whose’s network, NBC, carries tonight’s Minnesota-Green Bay game, is handling this through parody (although be sure to note: Jason Sudeikis is throwing lefthanded):

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Why we’re all still part of ‘Fernando Nation’

As a followup to today’s column (linked here):

The working title that Cruz Angeles had for his quickly-recruited ESPN “30 for 30” project was “The Bull and the Sleeping Giant.”

Fernando Valenzuela was the former. Fernando, “El Toro.” The other was the Mexican-American population of L.A.


But that hardly conveyed what he wanted to do: Tell the story of Valenzuela, but also revisit and rejoice in “Fernandomania” one more time, in the way he brought a somewhat fragmented city under one magical umbrella.

Angeles, a Brooklyn-based movie maker who grew up in South Central L.A. continues to stress a bit even today that his documentary, “Fernando National,” which debuts Tuesday at 5 p.m. on ESPN (it repeats at 8 pm. on ESPN2 and at 9 p.m. on ESPN Classic), could have had more about how Valenzuela was taught the screwball (from teammate Bobby Castillo, after it was originally suggested by scout Mike Brito that he learn the split-finger fastball). Or why Fernando looked to the sky before delivering his pitch (“he said it was because he was in kind of a trance for a second, visualizing his target,” said Angeles).

Those can be seen as major exclusions. So is the fact that, after a 50-day player strike, baseball needed so much to get in the fans’ good graces that when it started the second half of the season with the postponed All-Star game, Fernando, still just a rookie, was named the National League’s starting pitcher. Think of how Stephen Strasburg might have fit into that scenario.


But in the grand scheme of things — trying to document how Valenzuela made an impact on a culture and a city upon his arrival with a flury in 1981 — Angeles need not worry that Los Angeles will forget that part of it. We get enough screwball comedies on TV enough every season.

Starting and ending with Valenzuela’s connection to the controversial Mexican-American family displacements around Chavez Ravine between 1952 and ’58, the stuff in between will make your goosebumps rise again. Angeles was able to achieve both his goals.

Fernando’s story isn’t that tough to mess up, actually. The key is getting him to cooperate, which he did. And to speak on camera. In both Spanish and, for the first time many may hear it, in English.

“We only had five months,” said Angeles, who estimates they shot about 30 hours of material, and had another 60 hours of archived material to go through to cut down to about 50 minutes. Thank goodness most of the ESPN “30 for 30” projects end up for sale on DVD with the director’s additional cuts.

Angeles was approached by ESPN for any ideas he might have for this documentary project, and he had already done some initial legwork in getting Valenzuela to agree to do something about his life. So he pitched it. And they’re weren’t initially sold.

“In a way, Fernando’s story has already been told through baseball history — it’s what Joe DiMaggio did for the Italians, or Sandy Koufax for the Jewish community … aside from what Jackie Robinson did,” said Angeles. “But there was much more context to put Fernando’s story into.

i-7d5e1dc7be5011919e68441049bbfbe6-0518_large.jpgSandy Koufax” to bring back the local Mexican-American fans to the stadium, even though many boycotted the Dodgers, blaming them for what happened.

A key clip in the documentary is from then-general manager Al Campanis — infamously fired in 1987 when he made racial-heavy comments about African-Americans lacking “the necessities” of becoming a big-league manager.

“Mr. O’Malley, he would say, ‘Al, do you think it’s possible that we might get a good Mexican player? there are a lot of Hispanic-speaking people here and it would be a help to have somebody of their own playing on our ballclub.”

Yes, “Hispanic-speaking” was the term he used. It reminds us of how then-Dodgers broadcaster Jerry Doggett would refer to the “Latin-speaking” fans who jammed Dodger Stadium during the 1981 season to see Fernando pitch.

Angeles taps into people like United Farm Workers of America co-founder Dolores Huerta, author and poet Luis Rodriguez, former boxing champ Oscar de la Hoya, former L.A. Opinion managing editor J. Gerardo Lopez , former ABC producer Estella Lopez and actor Ray Lara to provide the Chicano context. Interestingly, Dodgers Hall of Fame broadcaster Jaime Jarrin, who was Fernando’s main translator at the time, wasn’t interviewed.

Several people identified only as “Dodger fans” are also on camera — it turns out that Paul Haddad was used because of his vast collection of Vin Scully audio tape — and a lot from Dodgers team historian Mark Langill also move the story along. Accounts from discovering scout and former reliever Castillo are among the most humorous, as well as from Valenzuela’s agent, Dick Moss, who came up the need for a $1 million contract when Valenzuela (who made $32,500 his first year and $350,000 his second) reached arbitration because it was a nice round number.


The numbers we are reminded of with Fernando’s arrival in ’81 are still mind-blowing, starting with that 8-0 start (“and who’s to say when it will end!” says Vin Scully after he records that eighth win). Then over his career — seasons where he had 20 complete games and 21 wins, a no-hitter, the consecutive strike-out record in the ’86 All Star game. Why the Dodgers released him in such a undignified manner in spring of ’91 is still a mystery.

“But you can’t put into words what he meant — no one else will wear No. 34 as a Dodger,” says Langill.

Think of that as you see Steve Garvey’s No. 6 (even if it was to Joe Torre) or Mike Piazza’s No. 31 recently reissued.

“We need long-term heroes for our culture,” said Angeles. “This is a city founded by 44 Mexicans, and still today, we are treated like illegal immigrants. It’s a long history that we need to take ownership of.

“Fernando is the most American story you can find. We love the underdog. And with him, he represents how hard work and a Protestant ethic can achieve the American dream. He was very modest. He didn’t want to be in the limelight. But everyone has an emotional attachment to his story, and it still brings an emotional reaction. The people living in L.A. need that context.”

== More:
== What it means just for Fernando to smile at you (linked here)
== An review (linked here)
== Valenzuela’s stats on (linked here)

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‘El Toro’ and beyond: The history of Latino baseball in L.A. that laid some groundwork for ‘Fernandomania’


From the Latino Baseball History Project
The nine Pena brothers, with their father, back row in the Orioles jersey, who played for the East L.A. Carmelita Chorizero. Latino History Baseball Project spokesman Terry Cannon says he believes six of the Penas are still living. This was the photo that appeared of them in “Ripley’s Believe it or Not.”


“No, never. They never mentioned or talked about what happened.”

== Fernando Valenzuela

A few minutes into a delicately delivered documentary that examines the impact that Fernando Valenzuela had on the pueblo of Los Angeles during the 1980s, that quote from the former Dodgers star left-hander hangs out over the plate like one of his deceptive screwballs.

For as much history as he made on the mound at Chavez Ravine, he seems to be saying that he really couldn’t speak to what happened more than a half-century ago when a generation of Mexican-American citizens before him, living in that rugged 170-acre terrain north of downtown where Dodger Stadium still stands, were displaced, some in very disturbing ways.

In Spanish, Fernando answers the question. In English, there are the subtitles. But there’s probably something lost in translation.


“That really took me by surprise,” admitted Cruz Angeles, pictured left with Valenzuela, the independent filmmaker who directs “Fernando Nation,” which debuts Tuesday as part of ESPN’s “30 for 30” series.

Angeles asks Valenzuela if he knew the story about how some of those 300 families, once promised in the early 1950s first shot at returning to a new housing project on that land, not only didn’t get it, but some were forcibly evicted so the stadium could be built after the land was then promised to Walter O’Malley.

“I don’t think he knew any real details about it,” Angeles said of Valenzuela, who seems to imply that no one from the Dodgers organization ever told him. “I tried to tell him a little more about it, but really didn’t have much time to explain it all.”

Instead, Angeles shows it. He invests about five minutes of the 50-minute documentary using the stock black-and-white footage of the sheriffs coming in, dragging some off their porches as their children watched. It’s a horribly regrettable moment, with blame to go around.

But it’s an incredibly poignant teaching moment for the documentary – Angeles deftly circles back to it at the end, to marvel at how remarkable a feat it was that Valenzuela’s Cinderella story united all cultures of the city on the same spot where historians still may misrepresent how those Mexican-American families were sacrificed for the good of a baseball team.

There’s some truth in all those stories you hear. And if you put your ear to the ground, there’s an even deeper, richer Hispanic cultural in Southern California, with baseball as a contextual starting point.

i-feaf7f58c6b34ff65cc98e39c40f3f7e-SSMToledo_Saul 10.jpg

Carmelita Chorizeros manager Manual “Shorty” Perez, left, about to receive a championship trophy from Saul Toledo, center. At right is Carmelita founder/owner Mario Lopez, Sr., who also played shortstop at one time. The Chorizeros are said to have won 19 city championships.


Today, the Latino Baseball History Project has a display of rare photos and materials integrated as part of the Los Angeles Archives Bazaar celebration at the Doheny Library on the USC campus, a substantial annual gathering of important historical collections from the city.

Sunday in Alhambra, Richard Santillan, co-author of the upcoming book, “Mexican American Baseball in Los Angeles,” is hosting a party to thank many of the former amateur and semi-pro players for their help. Two or three of the famous Pena brothers may attend – at one point, there were nine Pena brothers playing for the East L.A. Carmelita Chorizeros, drawing the attention of “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.”

i-eaef20fdd98e0e93db8db90bce595d2d-Al Padilla.jpg

Al Padilla, who played baseball at Roosevelt High and later for Ornelas Market, could be at Santillian’s gathering. He donated his glove to the Latino Baseball History Project. He went on to be a football coach of some renown — the first Latino football coach at a junior college in the state of California, at East L.A. College.

Starting Nov. 1 at the Cal State San Bernardino Library, the Project will host a “Legends of Mexican American Baseball” display. The focus is on Jim “Chayo” Rodriguez, founder and coach of a famed Inland Empire fast-pitch softball team called the Chicanos from 1973-’90.

The group recently got city approval for a plaque at East L.A.’s Belvedere Park, honoring Manuel “Shorty” Perez, who managed the Chorizeros, the so-called “New York Yankees of barrio baseball,” from 1947 until his death in 1981.

Also this past week, the organization mourned the passing of Saul Toledo, an important figure both as a player and a writer of the history of Mexican-American baseball in the city.

“I guess the timeliness of all this, in connection with the Fernando documentary, is that a lot of people in Los Angeles think that Mexican baseball in the City of the Angels began with Fernando,” says Terry Cannon, the executive director of the Baseball Reliquary and a committee member of the Latino Baseball History Project.

“In fact, there was an incredibly rich Mexican American baseball culture throughout Southern California. They drew crowds in the hundreds and even thousands to ball fields on Sunday afternoons from the post-World War II era through the 1970s.

“We are trying to reclaim and reinvigorate that history.”


Cannon says that, in recording the oral history for the Latino Baseball Project with the last families that were evicted just before construction of Dodger Stadium, it was revealed to him that those who moved out when the first notices were sent “were paid a pittance for their property in return for the promise that they would get the first crack at the new public housing development — which ever happened).

“A few of the families fought the evictions and stayed put for many years. One of those is the family you see being dragged out of their home in the famous television footage.”

Cannon adds, however, that the Nava family, which the Project interviewed, “were eventually paid around $100,000 for their property — not by the city, but by O’Malley. O’Malley did not like the ongoing television coverage of the families being dragged out and staying outside their property in tents. He knew this would be very upsetting to Mexican Americans throughout Los Angeles, and as a smart businessman, he knew this would eventually be a core part of his patronage.

“So he did what was right, which was to give the remaining families a decent payoff on their property. Of course, I’m sure this didn’t make all those families who left back in the early ’50s very happy, considering they were paid almost nothing for their property at the time.”


From the Ry Cooder song, “3rd Base, Dodger Stadium”:

Mister, you’re a baseball man, as anyone can plainly see.
The straightest game in this great land. Take a little tip from me.
I work here nights, parking cars, underneath the moon and stars.
The same ones that we all knew back in 1952.
And if you want to know where a local boy like me is coming from:
3rd base, Dodger Stadium.

2nd base, right over there. I see grandma in her rocking chair.
Watching linens flapping in the breeze, and all the fellows choosing up their teams.
Hand over hand on that Louisville. Crowning the top, king of the hill.
Mound to home, sixty feet. Baseball been very good to me.
And if you want to know where a local boy like me is coming from:
3rd base, Dodger Stadium.

Back around the 76 ball, Johnny Greeneyes had his shoeshine stall.
In the middle of the 1st base line, got my first kiss, Florencia was kind.
Now, if the dozer hadn’t taken my yard, you’d see the tree with our initials carved.
So many moments in my memory. Sure was fun, ’cause the game was free.
It was free.


Valenzuela’s transcending place in L.A. history will never be denied. You could argue that he’s Baseball Hall of Fame worthy for that legacy, both on and off the field.

This documentary definitely brings that out, pointing out that it wasn’t until Valenzuela’s arrival that many disillusioned Mexican-American citizens felt compelled to return to Dodger Stadium.


“We were a sleeping giant until Fernando came along,” says Angeles, born in Mexico City and raised in the South Central L.A. but hardly looking old enough to have any first-hand remembrances of Valenzuela’s 1981 rookie season that ended with a Cy Young Award – much of it facilitated by teammate and East L.A. native Bobby Castillo, once part of the Chicano protest movement in his teens.

Sleeping, maybe. But now’s as good a time as any to reawaken the Hispanic baseball narrative that also laid the groundwork for Fernando’s arrival.


There’s plenty more where thaty came from:


== The Latino Baseball History Project (linked here)

== Ben Sakoguchi’s “Orange Crate Label Series: The Unauthorized History of Baseball,” all of which focus on the theme of Latinos in baseball and was inspired by the Latino Baseball History Project (linked here).

== The L.A. Times obituary on Saul Toledo (linked here)

== How the Carmelita Chorizeros helped make chorizo part of the L.A. food fair (linked here)

== A 2006 L.A. Times story by David Wharton on the Chorizeros (linked here)

== The background of “Fernando Nation” (linked here)

== A “Fernando Nation” documentary premier story from Jim Smiley at Los Angeles (linked here) and from Roberto Baly at (linked here), who also has info about Fernando appearing at a grocery store in Huntington Park today, and Fernando’s pending induction into the Latino Baseball Hall of Fame.

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Coming Sunday: A dangerous hit-list for new L.A. NFL team nicknames


In Sunday’s Daily News, we’ll explore the latest in how the NFL will or won’t return to Los Angeles.

There are the usual suspects — the Vikings, Chargers, Jaguars — who are using L.A. as leverage for getting a new stadium built for them in their hometowns. That’s just part of the process. And we have a couple of potential stadiums in Southern California waiting to start construction.

And just because an existing team moves to L.A. to set up a new home office doesn’t mean it has to keep its old name.

Although, the Los Angeles Jaguars really wouldn’t be so bad. There’s a built-in automotive sponsorship waiting to happen.

Considering that the Cleveland Browns moved to Baltimore and became the Ravens, nevermore are we stuck with the nickname attached to the thatch basket on our porch.
With that, we humbly suggest a rebranding of the next team that relocates here from this Top 10 list:


== Los Angeles Cannabis: With the smoke from Prop 19 hanging over us, vote for this one. Don’t wait to climb on the bandwagon – get on the “Canna-bus.” All games start at 4:20 p.m. Go, Green Machine.

== Los Angeles Recyclers: Another shade of green. It would fit the situation, since we’re inheriting a used team and making it new again. Unlike the old Saints’ fans, you’d bring your own shopping bags to wear over your head when they go bad. Maybe there’s a hybrid name even better?

== Los Angeles Key Grips: An homage to the movie industry. We could also get behind the Best Boys, Stunt Riggers or CGI. In that vein, a spin off some identifiable TV show name would be considered: Los Angeles NCIS or Los Angeles Law & Order. And then there’s the Nip/Tuckers. Or the Los Angeles Baywatchers, because it’s never too old to see David Hasselhoff flipping a coin, and Pamela Anderson bending over to pick it up.

== Los Angeles Aftershocks: The scoreboard will have the down, distance and Richter-scale reading of the seismic tackle.

== Los Angeles Aristocrats: Please, keep the joke alive.

== Los Angeles Luchadors: The perfect alliteration for a connection to the Hispanic fan base, and perhaps the most unique mascot in the league.

== Los Angeles Shredders: Kid-friendly, without stooping to resurrect some dinosaur.

== Los Angeles Chicken ‘N’ Waffles: The only thing better than In ‘N’ Out.

== Los Angeles Karma: Bad karma if you don’t consider it.

== Los Angeles Road Ragers: Back in 1998, fresh after the Rams and Raiders departure, the NFL told L.A. it wouldn’t get another team again unless it built a new stadium. Downtown L.A., Carson and Ontario volunteered right away. We were disappointed that the San Fernando Valley couldn’t step up. Especially after we came up with a nickname at the time — The Los Angeles Road Rage. We float this again, adding the “rs” to the end, since everyone seems to love a rager.

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