Sunday Q-and-A: Why Van Nuys’ Jason Seymour could use a little break in his golf career, via the Big Break

Jason Seymour, in action during the Golf Channel's "Big Break Mexico" reality show which begins Monday. (Photo: Golf Channel)

Jason Seymour, in action during the Golf Channel’s “Big Break Mexico” reality show which begins Monday. (Photo: Golf Channel)

Considering all that’s been broken in his life, Jason Seymour could use a break go his way.
A small one would be fine. A Big Break would be something else.
The 36-year-old mini-tour pro living these days in a condo across the street from the Van Nuys Golf Course with his wife, 8-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter has been downsizing his possessions since making a concerted commitment to get onto the PGA Tour. That’s been a dream that seems to elude him in many ways since he started playing the game as a 3-year-old through his father’s tutelage.
While Tiger Woods was winning CIF Southern Section golf titles at Western High in the early ‘90s, Seymour, a year younger, collected L.A. City Section titles at Venice High during his freshman and sophomore years. All those hours taking the bus over to Westchester Golf Course near LAX and playing under lights until it closed was paying off.
But neighborhood influences started to derail his golf quest, resulting in him changing schools, moving back to Ohio to live with grandparents, and trying to start a career at LSU and Southern University.
While having success on the course in mini-tour events, any thoughts of pushing forward came to a sudden stop after a  motorcycle accident in 2002 nearly ended his life.
Settling down with a new wife and working in construction, Seymour says he finally had a fresh look at what golf had to offer again as he worked teaching kids.
His son encouraged him to drive nine hours overnight to an audition in Phoenix for the Golf Channel’s latest reality show, “Big Break Mexico,” and he made the field. The show, which starts Monday, has the payoff of an exemption to play in a PGA event in mid-November as well as more than $100,000 in prizes.
Just prior to the taping of the show in January, Seymour’s father passed away, giving him more incentive to follow through on his goal of making a comeback. Seymour, who lives across the street from Van Nuys Golf Course, can’t disclose how he finished in the event, but based on a recent conversation, his story will resonate with viewers one way or another:

Q: How has golf been treating you lately?
A:
I’ll be honest, it’s a struggle. Finding sponsors. Having someone take a chance on you after all I’ve been through. Am I 100 percent. I just have to let my game speak for myself. There’s a huge financial struggle as well. I was trying to juggle my construction work with my golf, but that was impossible. You just can’t play two or three days a week. So, I’ve decided to sell off things, liquidate, go on eBay and Craigslist. Having Viking appliances in my kitchen won’t get me to pro golf. I’ve moved out of my West Hills home and just keep downsizing. Continue reading

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It’s Out of the Question: Beach blanket baseball bingo, at low tide

alg-don-mattingly-interviewed-jpgRemind us again when Southern California was the center of the baseball universe.
Like, six months ago?
All it took way back in late ‘12 was the Dodgers and Angels committing to a combined $360 million in roster spending for ’13 personnel. The assumption was that there were performance clauses in all those contracts, as well as lower Medicare deductibles, but that’s not our area of legal expertise.
la_u_mikests_576Still hankering for a Freeway Series? With a combined 24-42 mark going into Friday’s games, the Dodgers and Angels are liable to get a ticket, steep fine and a suspension of their operator’s license for attempting to drive an empty bandwagon in the FasTrak lane.
Six weeks in, BaseballProspectus.com gives the Dodgers an optimistic 33.2 percent chance of making the playoffs (based on a projected 82-80 mark in the NL West), and the Angels have a 19 percent shot (with an 80-82 AL West record).
The prospects of Don Mattingly and Mike Scioscia sitting in as managers by the time that happens isn’t accounted for. The two must feel as if they’re sitting on the San Andreas Fault, because all this early mess is their fault, of course.
A lesson to relearn: Before one plants a pre-paid championship flag on a particular beachhead, could someone please check the compounded penalties for failure to cash in on fans’ rewards points now that the local NBA interest levels have subsided?
Or will a weekly Friday Fireworks Night make everyone forget the implosion that’s about to occur?
Continue reading

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Millers crossing the 50 year mark

bottle2otoA happy 50th anniversary to Kings’ Hall of Fame play-by-play man Bob Miller and his wife Judy, who celebrate the date on Saturday — an off-day for the Kings, but one that could be a travel day from L.A. to St. Louis for a Monday Game 7 in their series. The Millers were recently presented with a unique commemorative hand-etched 6-liter bottle of wine customed designed by The Valedictorian Company and FSW/Prime Ticket statman Doug Mann.
bottleoThe bottle was a gift from a group of Miller’s friends presented after the final regular-season game against San Jose in the Chick Hearn Press Room at Staples Center. The back of the bottle shows the Millers with the Stanley Cup, while the front is a black-and-white picture from their wedding day. Check out thevaledictoriancompany.com.
“I was hoping I wouldn’t have to be on the road with the Kings on this 50th anniversary and it appears that even if there is a game 7 in St. Louis, we won’t be leaving until Sunday,” Miller said Thursday. “Both Judy and I were really surprised by the nice reception after a Kings game at
Staples Center last week. Doug also arranged for each of us to receive a University of Wisconsin hockey jersey since I started doing hockey for the Badgers and two football jerseys from the University of Iowa where I went to college.
“The bottle was beautiful. When I looked at that wedding day photo, I looked so young I said, ‘I have no idea who this guy is.’”

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Weekly sports media column version 05.10.13 — The puzzle that is split-screening

A fan to letsgokings.com suggested this could be an alternative for FSW/Prime Ticket the next there's a need to use a Kings' playoff game in a multi-screen presentation.

A fan to letsgokings.com suggested this could be an alternative for FSW/Prime Ticket the next there’s a need to use a Kings’ playoff game in a multi-screen presentation.

What passed as content in this week’s column: As a followup to the blog post we had last week, we tried to get more answers as to why and how Fox Sports West/Prime Ticket decide on how to put the Kings, Ducks, Clippers, Dodgers and Angels into their programming slots this time of year. Really, it’s kinda complicated.
“My 11 daughter loves jigsaw puzzles; she got that from my mom,” FSW/Prime exec Steve Simpson says. “But (the one they have a the networks this spring) is solvable. It’s not something we can laminate and frame, thought. We gotta take it apart and figure it out all over again each week.”

What didn’t quite make it in:

Continue reading

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What goes into juggling the FSW/Prime schedule with the Kings, Ducks, Dodgers, Angels and Clippers (but no more of the Lakers)? They can’t say

Jigsaw-Pic-1It’s kinda complicated.

There’s a daily routine that plays out in what we’ll call “The Situation Room” each spring at the Fox Sports West offices in downtown L.A., not far from Staples Center. And it can be very puzzling to the executives who essentially have to resolve fitting essential pieces like the Kings, Ducks, Dodgers, Angels and Clippers into the programming slots provided on FSW and Prime Ticket, with options available — sometimes — on Channels 9 and 13, KDOC and a Regional Sports Network spill channel.

hr_its_complicated_movie_poster-689x1024Split-screen scenarios aside, it’s rare that every viewer of any team is completely satisfied. That leads to a rogue-rage of threatening Twitter responses, expletive-filled emails and promises of pulling plugs from confused viewers.

Who gets priority? Why is one team shuttled from one home to the other? What if the Lakers were still part of this equation?

“We have no ‘favorites’ – the goal is always trying to achieve a balance that’s fair and impartial,” Steve Simpson, the FSW/Prime Ticket executive vice president and general manager, tried to explain diplomatically this afternoon. Continue reading

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An electronic billboard fix would help Arte’s Angels tell the truth

anaheim angels billboardBy the numbers, those Angels’ billboard that still hang around town outnumber anything the Dodgers have posted along the side of our city’s freeways.

The big red boards supported by team owner and billboard baron Arte Moreno aren’t so easy to figure out — what does it four World Series champions, 11 World Series appearances, 11 Silver Sluggers, 25 All-Star Selections, 4 MVPs, 2 batting titles, 6 Gold Gloves, 2 Rookies of the Year, and 2 Manager of the Year awards mean?

Any way to update those digits? How about:

11-22: Third-worst mark in baseball, matching the worst start in team history after 33 games.

16.9: Percentage of chances the team is given to make the playoffs from BaseballProspectus.com, based on an 79-83 projected finish.

8.6: Percentage of chances the team is given to make the playoffs from ESPN.com (still better than the Dodgers’ 6.0 percent).

127: Payroll, in millions, for this team, ranking fifth in all of baseball this season.

61: Payroll, in millions, for the 2002 team that won the World Series, ranking 15th in all of baseball that season.

3: Home runs hit by Josh Hamilton, tied for fifth on the team with catcher Chris Iannetta, who has 50 fewer at bats.

1.3: Mike Trout’s WAR this season.

Minus 0.5: Hamilton’s WAR this season.

18: Pitchers used in April

13: The channel the team gets bumped to if there’s a hockey game on FSW

1: Manager who might want to make sure his contract calls for a nice padded landing.

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Thanks to Brandon McCarthy for trying to get it through our Happ-lessly thick skull: We got nothing

Toronto pitcher J.A. Happ lies on the field after he was hit in the face by a line drive during the second inning of the Blue Jays' 6-4 victory over Tampa Bay. (James Borchuck / Tampa Bay Times / MCT / May 7, 2013)

Toronto pitcher J.A. Happ lies on the field after he was hit in the face by a line drive during the second inning of the Blue Jays’ 6-4 victory over Tampa Bay. (James Borchuck / Tampa Bay Times / MCT / May 7, 2013)

In light of J.A. Happ taking a line drive to the skull and heading to the hospital, we’ve turned to Arizona pitcher Brandon McCarthy.

As a member of the Athletics last Sept. 5, McCarthy suffered a similar fate during a game against the Angels. He decided to chime in via Twitter about all the media discussion calling for more stringent safety measures for MLB pitchers in danger of someday suffering a worse fate than just a headache.

Brandon McCarthyTweeted McCarthy, who had a no-decision Tuesday night against the Dodgers in the D’backs’ 5-3 victory:

= Anybody taking the hard line stance today that pitchers should be wearing helmets, need to get out their tool kits and make a good one
= Otherwise, you’re accomplishing less than nothing. This goes for news organizations especially.
= There is nothing acceptable out there so the discussion at this point is worthless.

Someone asked: @BMcCarthy32 But how will anyone “address the problem” unless the discussion continues? Have to start somewhere, no?

McCarthy’s retort:
= There is no discussion to be had. It’s simple. Want money? Invent something that protects pitchers heads at all levels, make a ton of it.
= lots of anger over me saying a discussion is worthless. Sounds about right #stopKONY
= WAIT! it’s so simple! how have I missed this? we need to change our social networking avatars for awareness then problem solves itself. Duh

We sense some sarcasm … Put a cold towel on your neck and relax. We’re just concerned and trying to help by over-talk it outloud.

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Concentrate here: Manny Mota top vote-getter for ’13 Shrine of the Eternals

Was there a surge of support for Manny Mota to be recognized by the Baseball Reliquary’s Shrine of the Eternals based on his rather quiet reassignment by the Dodgers’ organization as their long-time special hitting coach this season?

The Pasadena-based nonprofit dedicated to “fostering an appreciation of American art and culture through the context of baseball history” announced Mota as its top vote-getter to be entered as the 15th class into the Shrine of Eternals on July 21.

Mota, one of the great pinch hitters of all time, topped the list by being named on 37 percent of the ballots. Former San Francisco legend and bar keep Lefty O’Doul was on 35 percent, and softball showman Eddie Feigner was on 33.3 percent.

Just missing election: Bo Jackson and Don Zimmer (both with 32.6 percent) and Dizzy Dean (31 percent). Continue reading

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Play It Forward: May 6-12 on your sports calendar

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

THIS WEEK’S BEST BET:

NHL PLAYOFFS: WESTERN CONFERENCE QUARTERFINALS:
KINGS vs. ST. LOUIS
Game 4: Today at 7 p.m., Staples Center, FSW:
No one’s ready to kiss off these Kings. Yet. If their best Stanley Cup defense comes from a bunch of defensemen finally scoring goals — or sparked by one of their celebrity followers tongue wrestling with the team’s mascot – so be it. This summer’s playoff path has already started with a much different script from a season ago, but that’s sometimes how sequels go in Hollywood. Close calls will continue to define this opening series, and both teams now it heading into the home-and-home-and-home-and-home stretch. “We knew what we were in for,” said Blues coach Ken Hitchcock after Game 3’s 1-0 Kings win. “This at where it is at, probably accurate where it is right now. It is a hell of a battle and it won’t be any different (tonight). There is not much difference between the two teams. Both goalies are on top of their game.” Home, at least tonight, plays into the Kings’ favor: They’ve won eight in a row at Staples Center, including the last seven regular season games while compiling a 19-4-1 mark at home.  Still, they’ve only rallied from a 0-2 series deficit once in franchise history, beating Detroit in 2001.
The rest of the series:
Game 5: 6 p.m. Wednesday at St. Louis, FSW
Game 6: 7 p.m. Friday at Staples Center, Prime
(Note: Game 7 is Monday, May 13 at St. Louis if necessary)

NHL PLAYOFFS: WESTERN CONFERENCE QUARTERFINALS:
DUCKS vs. DETROIT
Game 4: 5 p.m. Today at Detroit, KDOC:
As long as the Red Wings continue to pull stupid moves on the ice to wake up the sleeping Ducks, there’s a chance this will end mid-week in Anaheim. No word if the Ducks’ Toni Lydman will be in any shape to play tonight after the hit he took from Detroit’s Justin Abdelkader in Game 2.
The rest of the series:
Game 5: 7 p.m. Wednesday at Honda Center, Prime
Game 6: TBA Friday at Detroit, KDOC
Game 7: TBA Sunday at Honda Center, FSW

BEST OF THE REST: Continue reading

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