20 years after Little League fame, Sean Burroughs knows “it’s not how far you fall, it’s how you get back up”

Sean Burroughs will turn 33 in September, 20 years removed from his Long Beach Little League championship season (Photo by Chattanooga Times Free Press)

Sean Burroughs will turn 33 in September, 20 years removed from his Long Beach Little League championship season (Photo by Chattanooga Times Free Press)

Sean Burroughs shouldn’t be defined as simply the answer to a Little League trivia question.
It just so happened his name came up during the annual Williamsport, Pa., tournament last week, after 13-year-old Grant Holman of Chula Vista threw a no-hitter in his team’s opening game of the Little League World Series against Grosse Point, Mich.
ESPN’s research department was quick to tweet out: The last California pitcher to record such a feat happened to be “future major leaguer” Burroughs.
“No, I missed that,” Burroughs admitted with a chuckle the other day, sitting in the clubhouse of the Dodgers’ Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts, waiting out a rain delay that eventually postponed his team’s game against the visiting Jacksonville Suns.
This is one of those moments in time when memories mesh, actions are reassessed, deep breaths are taken, and smiles hopefully emerge.
Now is supposed to be a time to celebrate – it’s been 20 years since Burroughs and his pals from Stearns Park made history at the Little League World Series, clinching their second straight championship as the U.S. West Regional representatives from Long Beach.
This was the only time they really got to jump around on the field and bask in the spotlight after a 3-2 triumph over Panama, which came after Jeremy Hess’ bases-loaded, game-winning blast. The previous title in 1992 was unceremoniously handed over to Long Beach after it was determined that their opponent from the Philippines used over-aged players and were thus stripped of the crown. Continue reading

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It’s Out of the Question: A win-Vin situation, version 65.0

Vin Scully discusses his decision to stay for the 2014 season (LADodgers Twitter account)

Vin Scully discusses his decision to stay for the 2014 season (LADodgers Twitter account)

You didn’t think Vin Scully was going to just pull the chair out from under everyone once next season started, did you?

Veni, vidi, Vinnie.

He came, he saw, and we’ve got him back.

“I’ve always felt that I’m an ordinary man that was given an extraordinary opportunity,” he explained today during his official announcement at Dodger Stadium.

So now that all that’s settled, and he’s been given his wife’s blessings to make 2014 his 65th season with the team, we humbly suggest we try to sweeten things up before that.

If these Dodgers process all the way to the World Series in the coming weeks, shouldn’t those who beat the drum for the Vin Scully Marching and Chowder Society finally be able to hear him calling national broadcasts again during Fox’s coverage?

We’ve been down this pot-holed road before, with petitions, columns, hemming and hawing, worried that egos don’t get stepped on.

In the grand scheme of things, if he joined the Dodgers along for the ride into October 25 years after he captioned Gibson’s World Series homer and punctuated their last championship during Hershiser’s final strikeout, who would it really be hurting?

Joe Buck has already said in the past he’d be more than willing to step aside.

“Personally, I’d love it,” he told us two years ago. “There’s no one like Vin, or close to Vin. I’d happy step aside to hear his voice. I would not fight that at all.”

This year, make it happen. Continue reading

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Weekly media column version 08.23.13 — Scully says he wants to come back, with announcement expected Friday

4438f520f39611e1a98b22000a1e879e_7As reports start to surface that Vin Scully will announce Friday his plans of wanting to return for the 2014 season with the Dodgers — not unexpected, but now more official –, what made it into this week’s sports media column:
First impressions may not be lasting ones for those who’ve forced themselves to watch as much as Fox Sports 1 as humanly (and humanely) possible. But we tried it anyway.

What didn’t make it: Continue reading

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How NFL Films, like the NCAA, faces a potentially costly image problem

roman-gabriel_130808_blogFrom the Associated Press:

MACKTen former NFL players — including the L.A. Rams’ Roman Gabriel and Tom Mack, one-time L.A. Raiders tight end Dave Casper and ex-USC star lineman Ron Yary — have filed a lawsuit to reclaim money they feel they are owed by NFL Films for use of their images without their consent.

The suit filed a lawsuit in New Jersey seeks payment for the use of their names, images and likenesses from film footage they say was used on NFL Network and to promote the league without their.

John Riggins, the former Washington Redskins Hall of Famer, is also part of the suit, with Curley Culp, Mike Bass, Willie Buchanon, Joe Kapp and Phil Villapiano are also part of the lawsuit. This suit, in addition to the 10 named, also asks that former players who have opted out of the Fred Dryer v. NFL lawsuit, their heirs and assigns be included in this case.

Jon King, an attorney for the players, compared the lawsuit filed on Tuesday to the one from former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon against the NCAA because they deal with “individuals’ rights to control the use of their image.”

The NCAA, and video game company Electronic Arts, are facing similar suits that may determine if EA Sports could use First Amendment protections to defend its actions.

“In the EA case, it had to do with computer graphics depictions of players,” King said. “As technology increases, it becomes more lifelike and realistic. In the NFL Films case, it’s the players’ images, but committed to film for DVD and really, more these days, for distribution on the NFL Network.”

“NFL Films has never obtained authorization from retired players to use their images to be, as NFL Films puts it, the ‘backbone’ of the NFL Network,” according to the 81-page filing obtained by The Associated Press. “NFL Films’ conduct goes far beyond simply use of images without consent. It continues to this day to strike licensing business deals, in New Jersey, affirmatively, and falsely, misrepresenting that it has obtained all former players’ consent to appear in its promotional materials. The NFL does likewise.”

There was a $50 million settlement in April between the NFL and a group of retired players seeking publicity rights. The NFL said Wednesday that settlement was “fair and reasonable” and should be enough to placate this group of players. Continue reading

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Why Bill Lee, at age 66, still has the right stuff for baseball

lee_H2S0489A year ago, Bill Lee made some history by pitching a complete game for the independent minor league San Rafael Pacifics at age 65.

He’s about to top it this year.

Not only will the left-hander more famously known as “Spaceman” during his 14-year big-league career with the Boston Red Sox and Montreal Expos pitch again for the Pacific on Wednesday — his goal is to play all nine positions, finishing up on the mound.

Tonight, the San Rafael resident is the designated hitter for the Pacifics in their game against the Maui Na Koa Ikaika — swinging wooden bats that he made himself.

leeexLee told The Marin Independent Journal that the all-nine-positions feat is a tribute to former major leaguers Bert Campaneris and Cesar Tovar, who did the same thing with their teams in the 1960s.

“They’re two of my great friends and idols,” Lee said. “I thought someone from California ought to do it.

“That’s what I do, I’m just a traveling ballplayer. If I wake up every morning and there’s a ballgame and they invite me to play I’m going to show up.”

Thursday, the Pacifics, who already clinched the first-half championship and enter the playoffs this weekend, are giving out a Bill Lee Bobblehead.

The Pacifics are part of the Pacific Association, which has former Dodgers outfielder Mike Marshall as its commissioner. Marshall’s wife, Mary, is the Pacifics’ vice president and assistant general manager.

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