One of the games you won’t be seeing this week, but should be on the schedule: The Bacon Bowl.
THIS WEEK’S BEST BET:
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: 100th ROSE BOWL: STANFORD vs. MICHIGAN STATE, Wednesday at 2 p.m., ESPN: Pull up a chair, wave at Vin Scully as he’s escorted up Colorado Blvd., serving as the Grand Marshall of the 125th Tournament of Roses Parade, then tune in later in the day to see him flip the coin that will determine who’ll defer the kickoff until the second half in the latest edition of this iconic game. Stanford actually helped kick the whole thing off in 1902 – on the wrong end of a 49-0 score against Michigan in Tournament Park (on the campus of Cal Tech) that was so ugly, the game was called with eight minutes left and organizers decided to put football on hold for more than a decade. They replaced it with chariot and ostrich races. Which, according to all accounts, may not be such a bad idea to bring back of the Cardinal and Spartans decide to play a brand of defense-first football that will come far from lighting up the scoreboard. Michigan State’s run defense is ranked No. 1 in the nation, surrendering just 80.8 rushing yards a game. It doesn’t explain how Ohio State had 273 against them on the ground in the Big Ten championship game, but the Spartans still prevailed. “They’re a big, physical, strong defense, and they believe in playing team defense more than I’ve ever seen,” said Stanford senior running back Tyler Gaffney, who rushed for 1,618 yards and 20 touchdowns this season behind his equally huge offensive line. “But we pride ourselves on being the exact same thing, being strong and moving guys against their will. It’s going to be a test of will.” Stanford should have a fewer butterflies about this whole BCS bowl business – the Cardinal was here a year ago and outlasted Wisconsin, 20-14. “It’s very much a business trip,” said Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan, whose last trip to L.A. was watching USC pull off an upset against his team at the Coliseum. “We came down here for one reason, and that’s for the game.” We’ll be there to see Scully, trying to talk him into at least join the guys in the booth and call a few plays.
Vin Scully, right, waves to the crowd with former Dodger great Don Newcomb during their appearance on the Dodgers’ float in the 2007 Tournament of Roses parade. (Getty Images)
Note: This Q-and-A originally appeared online in late November, when Vin Scully turned 86 years old. It appeared in the Rose magazine printed by the Los Angeles News Group, included in today’s newspapers. For those who missed it the first time and can’t find it on the website, here is a replay:
The one and only time Vin Scully floated down Colorado Boulevard was six years ago, atop a Dodgers-themed work of art that marked the 50th anniversary of the team arriving in Southern California. All the rich blue colors came from ribbon irises and scissored statice, accented with white mums, red carnations and 1,500 bird of paradise stems to boot.
“Really, it felt as if I was a little kid back in New York, and my father had the 20 cents on a Sunday to take the Fifth Avenue ride on the bus — the one that had no top,” said Scully, who was joined on the float by players, former manager Tommy Lasorda, and even Dodger Stadium organist Nancy Bee Hefley.
“We made that turn onto Colorado, and to me it was like going down the middle of the Grand Canyon with all the people in the bleachers on either side. The impact was overwhelming. It took my breath away.”
When the Dodgers’ Baseball Hall of Fame broadcaster is escorted back down the main route of the 125th Rose Parade on Wednesday, it’ll be of much grander proportions. Scully, the 2014 parade’s grand marshal, will also be celebrating his 65th season as the voice of the Dodgers, who made it to the National League Championship Series last October.
Yasiel Puig, with Lakers exec Jeanie Buss, has already aligned himself as a Lakers fan during his first year in L.A. (Photo by Andy Bernstein/NBA, via the Dodgers)
“Since I have gotten to know him, I have seen him interact with kids, fans, everyone, and he is sincere in his enthusiasm and is warm and friendly,” Lakers executive Jeanie Buss says about the Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig in our story about the 23-year-old outfielder being named our 2013 Los Angeles Sports Person of the Year.
“He knows how to make people smile — even with a language barrier. Sometime I feel like Lucy Ricardo trying to understand Ricky when he’s speaking Spanish, but we have a lot of fun trying to make each other understand what we are trying to say. …
“I hope he keeps that joy and passion for life because it’s contagious for anyone around him. In my life I have only known one other athlete that could light up a crowd with just his smile — Magic Johnson.”
Yasiel Puig enjoys himself after trying on one of Shaquille O’Neal’s size 23 shoes while in the Dodgers’ offices during the 2013 season. (photo by Lon Rosen/Dodgers)
At his online store called Barry’s World, Barry Goldberg sells what he calls “wacky, surreal and wholly unique gifts.” One T-shirt logo he dreamed up was inspired from the children’s book, “Charlotte’s Web.”
As the story goes, Charlotte the spider was trying to raise attention for her barnyard friend, Wilbur the pig. She spun a message in her web that said “Some Pig.”
Goldberg recreated that as a graphic to sell on shirts and whatever else it could be attached to — mousepads, coasters, Christmas ornaments … thongs.
Meanwhile, Yasiel Puig mania erupted in Los Angeles, and beyond.
Goldberg’s “Some Pig” graphic eventually was recirculated as “Some Puig.” Yet Goldberg didn’t really take notice of it until it was recently pointed out to him.
“It looks like somebody took original and altered it to add an extra letter,” the New Jersey businessman said. “To be honest, I’ve never even hear of Mr. Puig.”
Could he be the only one who doesn’t know why we’re about to name the Dodgers outfielder as the 2013 Los Angeles Sports Person of the Year? Stay tuned.
Previous winners of the Los Angeles Sports Person of the Year award:
2012: Dodgers ownership team of Mark Walter, Stan Kasten and Magic Johnson 2011: AEG president and CEO Tim Leiweke 2010: New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush 2009: Thousand Oaks teenage sailors Zac and Abby Sunderland 2008: Dodgers outfielder Manny Ramirez 2007: Galaxy midfielder David Beckham 2006: Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti 2005: USC running back Reggie Bush and USC Heisman winning quarterback Matt Leinart
ALL GAMES SUNDAY: 10 a.m., Channel 2: Baltimore (8-7) at Cincinnati (10-5) (Jim Nantz, Phil Simms) The other CBS games in this window:
= Houston (2-13) at Tennessee (6-9) (Andrew Catalon, Adam Archuleta)
= Jacksonville (4-11) at Indianapolis (10-5) (Bill Macatee, Steve Tasker)
= N.Y. Jets (7-8) at Miami (8-7) (Greg Gumbel, Dan Dierdorf)
= Cleveland (4-11) at Pittsburgh (7-8) (Spero Dedes, Steve Beuerlein)
10 a.m., Channel 11: Carolina (11-4) at Atlanta (4-11) (Kevin Burkhardt, John Lynch) The other Fox games in this window:
= Detroit (7-8) at Minnesota (4-10-1) for the final game at the Metrodome (Gus Johnson, Charles Davis)
= Washington (3-12) at N.Y. Giants (6-9) (Dick Stockton, Ronde Barber)
1:25 p.m., Channel 2: Kansas City (11-4) at San Diego (8-7) (Marv Albert, Rich Gannon) The other CBS games in this window:
= Buffalo (6-9) at New England (11-4) (Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts)
= Denver (12-3) at Oakland (4-11) (Kevin Harlan, Solomon Wilcots)
1:25 p.m., Channel 11: Green Bay (7-7-1) at Chicago (8-7) (Joe Buck, Troy Aikman) The other Fox games in this window: = Tampa Bay (4-11) at New Orleans (10-5) (Thom Brennaman, Brian Billick) = San Francisco (11-4) at Arizona (10-5) (Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, Tony Siragusa) = St. Louis (7-8) at Seattle (12-3) (Chris Myers, Tim Ryan)
5:30 p.m., Channel 4: Philadelphia (9-6) at Dallas (8-7) (Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya)