How ‘The League of Outsider Baseball’ continues to expand

sammy_t_hughes_big_zpserbavlpq If you’ve not got around to locating “The League of Outsider Baseball” by Gary Joseph Cieradkowski, which we still consider the pick of the bunch from last April’s annual baseball book reviews, please do that.
red_solomon_2_zpso2t9clblThen remind yourself to go to his Infinite Baseball Card website where he continues to post new biographies, the latest on Jake Atz, Red Solomon and Sammy T. Hughes (above).
Last month, Ciederadkowski was awarded the Tony Salin Award from the Pasadena-based Baseball Reliquary and wrote: “As far as I know there’s no higher recognition a baseball historian, writer or artist can receive than the Salin Award, and I am extremely humbled and proud of this achievement. I’ll post a picture of the award and a bit more about the 2015 ceremony in the near future, so stay tuned.”

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Yup, Jessica Mendoza was that female voice in the ESPN booth Sunday, for those still wondering

FullSizeRenderFor those who watched Sunday’s Dodgers-Cubs game on ESPN from Dodger Stadium and may not have been aware: Yes, that was Jessica Mendoza in the booth, the former U.S. Olympic gold medal softball player out of Stanford and Camarillo High, current mother of two living in Moorpark, and making some history.

Let’s backtrack for those who are a bit late to the party: ESPN has never put a female analyst in the “Sunday Night Baseball” booth before. They’ve been covering the MLB for 35 years.

The spot became open to sit next to play-by-play man Dan Schulman and former Major League Baseball All-Star John Kruk when Curt Schilling, another ex-MLB star pitcher, was suspended for the week by the network for posting a tweet that they deemed inappropriate. Continue reading

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Play It Forward: Aug. 31-Sept. 6 — How much labor is involved in UCLA, USC college football openers?


Josh Rosen (

Josh Rosen (

Details/TV: At the Rose Bowl, Saturday at 12:30 p.m., Channel 11

Cody Kessler.

Cody Kessler. (Winslow Townson/Getty Images North America)

Details/TV: At the Coliseum, Saturday at 8 p.m., Pac-12 Network:

college-football-mapFor starters, this L.A.-based opening doubleheader may not set the rest of the college football nation into a frenzy as much as Jim Harbaugh’s khaki-optional debut with Michigan at the home of Pac-12 contender Utah (Thursday, 4 p.m., FS1), Texas’ visit to Notre Dame (Saturday, 4:30 p.m., Channel 4) or Wisconsin getting cheesy with Alabama in Arlington, Tex., for the only matchup of ranked teams (Saturday, 5 p.m., Channel 7).
SOSTMFFTPKCYWTR.20130818224619Both USC and UCLA have debuted into the Top 15 of most pre-season polls by having, on paper, formidable branding, a nice color scheme and a roster built to entertain. Yet, do Trojans fans even know the nickname for this Arkansas State team from the Sun Belt Conference that presumably will arrive via swamp buggy in time for the kickoff on a channel that still not everyone has? Do they care? The Red Wolves — there you go — are a 31-point underdog according to early Vegas calculations, and the game has an over/under of 69.5 points. Meaning a 50-19 USC decision is how it should play out. It’s just a matter of how much QB Cody Kessler is given an opportunity to tie his single-game school record with 7 TD passes and take some heat off coach Steve Sarkisian.
cavHorseback1024Earlier in the day, we get to compare the heat index in Pasadena to what kind of warmth Josh Rosen will generate as Jim Mora’s new quarterback. Brady Quinn, the former Notre Dame QB who’ll call this TV game, said he expects Virginia defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta to “pressure the crap” out of Rosen “because that’s been his blueprint – he likes to see how a new quarterback takes a hit and stays in the pocket.”  The visiting ‘Hoos (as they are called), 5-7 a year ago, nearly upset the then-No. 7 Bruins in the 2014 opener. UCLA squeezed out a 28-20 win thanks to its defense. UCLA, ranked No. 7 to start 2014, squeezed out a 28-20 win at Virginia in last year’s opener thanks to the defense.
But, hey, it’s early. That’s about the best thing we can saw at this point about Week 1.


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How Vin Scully told everyone he’s coming back for 2016

Vin Scully responds to the Dodger Stadium crowd after it was announced he will return to broadcast for the team next season, which will be his 67th with the franchise. (Photo: Time Warner Cable SportsNet L.A.)

Vin Scully responds to the Dodger Stadium crowd after it was announced he will return to broadcast for the team next season, which will be his 67th with the franchise. (Photo: Time Warner Cable SportsNet L.A.)

After the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw struck out the Cubs’ Miguel Montero to end the top of the second inning Friday night, the SportsNet L.A. telecast did not break to commercial as usual.

It went to the Dodger Stadium message board in left field where Magic Johnson announced to the crowd that “we have big breaking news to share with you.”

KimmelRenderComedian/correspondent Jimmy Kimmel then appeared with a set of large white cue cards that he showed and dropped to the ground. The gist of it:
“Vin will be back!
(For one more year)
(at least)
God bless us everyone.”

The booth camera then showed Vin Scully in his familiar position as he stood and clapped to the loud speaker playing “Dancing in the Street.” Scully waved to the crowd ovation. The last camera shot was of Johnson sitting in the owners box next to the Dodgers dugout.

“Our thanks to Dodgers management for breaking the news, if you want to call it news, that, God willing, we’ll all be back here next year,” Scully said once he was back on the air. “God willing. Anyway bottom of the second inning and the Dodgers ….”

As we wrote last week, rumors of Scully announcing his retirement had circulated only because it had taken longer than in the recent past for him to announce his intention.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon went to the press box before Friday’s game to meet with Scully and get a photo taken with him, then tweeted it out with the caption: “Because who ISN’T a Vin Scully fan.”

Maddon told reporters before the game about the Scully visit – “I ascended to another level of humanity,” he said – and then divulged that Scully had told him about the decision.

“He’ll announce it tonight,” Maddon said. “I was happy about what he said.”

Somehow, that got lost in translation.

According to one tweet, the Boston Red Sox radio team of Joe Castiglione and Dave O’Brien reportedly said that “Joe Madden in L.A. says Vin Scully is set to announce his retirement tonight after 65 years with the Dodgers.”

Dodgers officials, who denied knowing that a Scully announcement was coming, issued a press release during the game that quoted Scully: “I talked it over with my wife, Sandi, and my family and we’ve decided to do it again in 2016. There’s no place like home and Dodger Stadium and we look forward to being a part of it with all of our friends.”

Dodgers President and CEO Stan Kasten added:  “Vin is a national treasure and the Dodgers couldn’t be happier to have him back at the microphone in 2016. Vin makes every broadcast special and generation after generation of Dodger fans have been blessed to be able to listen to him create his poetic magic since 1950. We look forward to adding many new chapters to that legacy in 2016.”


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It’s Out of the Question: Mixing messages a tougher thing to wash down for USC, Sark

Illustration by Jim Thompson/

Illustration by Jim Thompson/

Is Steve Sarkisian the “Next Pete Carroll or the Next Lane Kiffin”?
That was the headline on a piece — way, way, way back on Aug. 17.
Before all the fog started rolling in.
The current USC football coach, who could either commandeer this ship on a course that Carroll once navigated at its highest tide or end up looking like Gilligan Kiffin on a three-hour tour, apparently has reached a critical juncture in just his second year at the helm.
It’s somewhat a tipping point that has nothing to do with using Cutty Sark to wash down some physician-prescribed performance enhancing drug.
Sarkisian has said “the moral to the story” concerning a recent public appearance where he did not come off too well is “when you mix meds with alcohol, sometimes you say or do things you regret.”
When you mix messages with your under-aged players – do as I say, not as I do – we remember a line from Hemingway: “About morals, I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after.”
Only Sarkisian really knows how bad things are internally. Externally, in public view, this an imperfect storm converging.

More of this column at this link ...

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