Semi-breaking news: Aram OUT …

I accepted a position with today and will leave the San Gabriel Valley Newspaper Group at the end of this week. In this new position, I will be working behind-the-scenes and learning how a major sports media Web site operates. I’m very excited about this new opportunity, but a large part of me is sad to be leaving the SGV Tribune. I can’t begin to tell you how much fun I’ve had over the past few years. Covering SGV sports has allowed me to come in contact with some truly great and special people. I will miss the long conversations with coaches. I will miss the interaction with the athletes. I will miss all the guys in the office. I will miss the anticipation of the big game. Above all, I will miss the fans/readers. Fred Robledo will take over for me effective immediately … with a Hawaiian vacation mixed in (don’t ask). I’ve already warned him about how nutty this side of town can be, and the passion the readers/fans have for their schools. Freddie knows most of this anyway … he lives locally and went to Edgewood. You guys will be in great hands. He’s got a ton of experience and will be paired with Steve Ramirez to make sure nothing skips a beat. Plus, I will be reading as much as I can to keep up with the latest happenings, so I’ll definitely give them some heat along the way. Lastly, I want to thank all of you who made this blog and our prep sports sites what they currently are. The hit counts have been tremendous and a surefire way for management to gauge just how key preps are to the community. Because of you, the higher-ups are aware of this, and believe me, they are committed to making the coverage even better for years to come. In the meantime, please start hitting Robledo’s blog for all your needs. I’ve been giving him some background on the area and he just might be more excited for Week 0 than, say, Covina or Bonita or San Dimas or Gladstone or La Puente … so long.

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Bill Walsh, 1931-2007

This is truly a sad day. The Genius passed away. In my opinion, Bill Walsh was the greatest football coach ever. He truly changed the game. So much of what we see now has direct ties to Coach Walsh. His breakdown of every detail was something never seen before, and probably won’t be again. What a pleasure it was to watch those NFL Films productions of him breaking down Joe Montana’s footwork and delivery. The precision offense (West Coast) he perfected is and always will be a thing of beauty. None of you have any idea how bummed I am that this man is gone, taking with him the knowledge and comprehension to fill all of heaven. The highlight of Walsh’s career, to me, has nothing to do with Montana or any Super Bowl. It’s his second stint at Stanford, specifically the 1992 season (his first back in the college game). The Cardinal went 10-3 and waxed Penn State in the Blockbuster Bowl. THE GENIUS!

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Outback is coming to Diamond Ranch …

Here’s what I’ve got for you today. I’ve spoken to a few more coaches, but Coach Pasquarella Watch has entered into Day 4. That means still no call back. Hurts! Speaking of getting stiffed, I spoke to Diamond Bar coach John Martin, who offered very little info about the Brahmas and justifiably so. Martin said he won’t really know what he’s got until the pads go on in August. Fair enough. He’s new and wants to see what the boys can do in pads. But not even receiver Kyle Warren is guaranteed a starting spot, according to Martin, who will not name any starters and said all positions are considered open until he sees what happens in pads. One small issue for Martin, who likes to run a double tight end set, is finding two tight ends to fill those roles. Stay tuned … I also spoke to Arroyo coach Jim Singiser, who said he wouldn’t go so far as to compare this year’s team to the 2004 team, which went 12-1. I don’t blame Singiser for tempering expectations because his team has been the darlings of summer, impressing many observers in t-shirts and shorts. Singiser did say he was pleased with how things went throughout passing league. One of the people impressed by Arroyo was West Covina coach Mike Maggiore, who also said South El Monte caught his eye. I’ve heard different things about West Covina, but Maggiore said he’s still pleasantly surprised and really likes his both of his lines. Maggiore did say the Bulldogs aren’t as fast as last year, but there will be athletes in the right places. Just don’t expect the offense to do much more than push opponents around, eat clock and grind for yards. Sounds like a good formula. Maggiore also said the program’s overall numbers are excellent. That’s good news for WestCo as it remains one of the area’s best talent bases. Outback Steakhouse is going to sponsor/cater Diamond Ranch’s annual “Black and Blue Game” on August 25. For $5, people will get chicken or ribs and some sides. That’s a pretty good deal. Then the question will be how how many D-Ranch fans yack it all back up when they see this nonleague schedule:

8/31 at Edison

9/7 at Chino Hills

9/15 Christian of El Cajon (9-3-1 last year)

9/28 at Ayala

10/4 Oaks Christian

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Daily dose …

Hey Eddie, bet they don’t have this in NY.

Get ready for this item to be a daily staple. Among other things, I will post a once-a-day thread with some tidbits of info for you … AND … it will likely include a photo of my lunch. It won’t start until I get back to work in early August. The idea came to me while sitting in the Dodger dugout with Juan Pierre, just thinking about life, two hours before yesterday’s game. Not a word was spoken, or rappped, but it was very stirring. I must tell you that I set foot back in the office today for the first time in a long while. I immediately got the “Got a minute?” invitation into Steve “The Legend” Hunt’s office. Not sure if he was kidding when he fired me for wearing shorts, but technically I’m still alive because I wasn’t actually working. For those who don’t know, Steve is the greatest living prep sports writer. He also calls the shots now for the entire SGVN. For me, and those before me, it’s kinda like following Wooden at UCLA. I’m not trying to score points, but those of you with a little gray in your hair know what I’m talking about. By the way, I’ll play the Steve Lavin role if his wife is in the package. Following the impromptu discussion, me, Fred Robledo and Eddie Barrrera, of Mets fan degeneracy fame, went to lunch. Go to Eddie’s blog if you want to discuss local news. Eddie got his first dose of Mongolian BBQ today, so be gentle. Between meetings I made some calls to football coaches and this is what I got. Nick Lenhart, with a good recent performance at a passing tourney, has a slight edge on two others for Amat’s QB vacancy going into Hell Week. Yeah, I capitalized Hell Week. And I got this from Amat coach Mark Verti, so trust it. Verti also said that Marcus Wagner still wears the golden “A” on his helmet. Then I spoke to Damien coach Scott Morrison, who gave me an eery feeling that Sparty will be just fine this year. That was nothing like the feeling I got from Charter Oak coach Lou Farrar, though. More on that later. Anyway, Coach Morrison said he was pleased with how summer went. He also told me QB Danny Pertusati won’t play in the secondary if he can help it. I don’t agree, but then again, there’s a reason why Coach Morrison wears the headset and I hop over the cables. Back to Big Lou. You know that feeling you got sometimes when watching The Sopranos? The one where you knew something was going to happen, like somebody getting whacked a few scenes later. That’s the vibe I got today from the SGV’s boss of bosses. It’s been dangerously quiet in Charter Oak recently. Farrar did reveal that O-Line coach Moose Evans likes his group this year. As you know, CO has a lot to replace on its O-Line. But so far, so good. Arroyo coach Jim Singiser called me back after I left a message, but I couldn’t pick up at the time because I had left the office and preoccupied. I will call you soon, coach (if you’re reading).

UPDATE: I forgot, Freddie dubbed The Crazy Horse in West Covina as our spot for Monday Night Football. You should’ve seen Robledo’s eyes when he saw it’s going to open soon. See you there?

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At Dodger Stadium (still/again) …

It’s autograph day here, so I’m pretty busy signing away with Nomar, Penny and Lowe. OK, not really. Anyway, no live blogging today. But tomorrow I’ll begin making calls to local football coaches (fair warning) to hear how their summers went. We will also have more position rankings this week (so quit jonesing). Be ready. Football begins in August!

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Live blogging from Dodger Stadium …

I’ve never seen a painting that can capture the beauty of this.

4:31 p.m. – Dodgers win, 8-6. Just got back from the postgame interviews. Now it’s time to do magic with the alphabet.

3:37 p.m. – Dodger fans might want to consider that Saito may not be available. Jonathan Broxton for a save opp against the Mets’ bottom half?

3:34 p.m. – Eddie’s Mets just got a little closer thanks to Carlos Beltran’s bomb. It was enough to make the NY media look up from their soft serve. Do they not have soft serve in NY? Geez. We’ve got a game here. Stop thinking about food!

2:40 p.m. – Kiss Cam just came on. Ahh, the middle of the sixth inning tradition. First we kiss, then we sing. I’ll bet there are some days they don’t have Kiss Cam down at Petco.

2:18 p.m. – Dong! Matt Kemp just put the Dodgers ahead with a three-run shot. Still not quite an everyday player yet, though.

1:47 p.m.Y’all wanna hear JP flow? Juan Pierre just extended his hitting streak to 14 games by driving in Brad Penny.

1:39 p.m. – Speaking of pizza, I was wondering how I look in the press box? I’m sitting front row in the L.A. Daily News seat, and maybe somebody looking for Vinny will see the big daddy banging away on his lap top. Well, I got my answer earlier this month when former SGVN columnist Keven Chavez went to a game I was covering and from the cheap seats sent the following text message: FAT. He always had a way with words. Guess he saw me.

1:37 p.m. – David Wright just blasted his 18th dong of the season. Lotta Mets fans here. I don’t get it, if the pizza is better in NY, then why ya here? I have to keep reminding myself that life isn’t all about pizza … there’s burgers, too.

1:22 p.m. – Hey, Lastings Milledge just drove in the Mets second run. Ya dig?

1:11 p.m. – Remember Paul LoDuca? You say Rusell Martin, I say DePodesta. Somewhere in this huge ballpark there’s a guy saying “They shoulda never got rid of LoDuca.” You still here, sir?

1:08 p.m. – Have you ever been at a Dodger game and asked what your walk-to-the-plate music would be?

12:58 p.m. – Turn on Fox, the game has started. Did I tell you yet that last night I’m watching the game and I get a text message from our news editor after Carlos Beltran’s bomb in the eighth inning? It said “Who’s your daddy?” His name is Eddie Barrera and he’s a degenerate Mets fan … an NY transplant who does the usual song and dance about how “NY has the best pizza and hot dogs.”

12:51 p.m.Alyssa Milano has taken her seat. Nice! She sits a few rows behind the Dodger dugout.

12:47 p.m. – I just crushed a ham and cheese omelette and had a great conversation in the dining room with Times Dodger beat writer Dylan Hernandez and LANG beat writer Tony Jackson. Baseball writers are hilarious. Take my word for it.

11:52 a.m. – Back from the clubhouse. The players were watching the USA vs. Japan softball game. BUSTOS! Anyway, everyone seems half asleep since last nite’s game started at 7:40 p.m. and today is a day game. Good to see Mike the Clone posting in response to this thread. But I’m curious, if we’re the same person, how come I’m here and you’re there? Or are you here? I might make a run to the kitchen now. They have a breakfast spread – $7 – and an omelette bar. When you’re not eating carbs, things like omelettes are golden. I could hold out until the free dogs are put out … do you know what it does to a man to eat a hot dog without a bun? Think about it.

10:15 a.m. – I don’t expect this thread to have much success, and the usual “This is supposed to be about prep sports” should be forthcoming from a few of you. Nonetheless, it is what I’m doing today (and tomorrow). I can’t sit up here and not see Tyler Garkow on the mound or CO running out onto the field in celebration. There, that’s your prep element. Headed to the clubhouse for some juicy quotes.

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