The Big Blue
Almost without notice, this year’s edition of the Dodgers has become one for the ages. It is certainly ironic that this team may be the one to establish the best won-loss record in the history of baseball. Their current won-loss record is 79-32.
Prior to this season, their best-known player was Clayton Kershaw. He is a great pitcher and he learned early on that in order to get a win, he had better pitch a shutout. He was on a team that did not score many runs. This year’s team started out with that same mentality, but along the way, some miracles happened.
Without any warning, this team began hitting home runs at an awesome clip. Most of us were not familiar with Cody Bellingham until we watched him compete in the Home Run contest. He came in second to the Yankees Aaron Judge, but the purity of his spring was a joy to behold. As great as he is, he also has outstanding support from Seager, Turner, Taylor and Puig.
Their manager, Dave Roberts has guided his team with a calm and steady hand. They no longer have any prima donnas, whose antics would disrupt the chemistry of the team. This is a low-key, smooth sailing operation, and with the addition of Yu Darvich, I predict that they will win the World Series this year.
It is ironic that while they were stumbling around and losing nearly every game, all of their games were available to nearly everyone in Los Angeles. This was true, even when many people are not interested. Now that they have a team that everyone wants to watch, they are not available to most television viewers. The situation is not only weird, it is unbelievable!
It is no secret that I am a long time fan Boston Celtics and have been since they went to an NBA Championship victory over LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Celtics were trailing in the series 1-3, but Doc drove them to an upset victory. The Celtics were an aging team, so they decided to trade all of the veteran players for promising young ones.
Not wanting to go through the next four or ﬁ ve years with a losing team, Doc elected to leave, and he was hired to be the head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers. This was a team that had been universally recognized as perpetual Losers, but they had, to everyone’s surprise, picked up some talented players.
So, while they did have some talent, they did not have enough to really compete at the championship level. However, they did play much better than they had before, and since the Lakers had gone into the tank, they became the new darlings of Los Angeles. They had Chris Paul and Blake Grifﬁn, and a center who was not much of an offensive threat, and who was also unable to make free throws. Like it or not, this team overachieved, in spite of their lack of talent and depth.
Rivers became both the president and head coach of the team, and at that time, I wrote that a single person could not do justice to both jobs. However, Doc accepted the challenge, and he has been doing both jobs for about four years. The Clippers did not seem to have much of a scouting department, or a minor league team. So, they were at a disadvantage trying to compete with teams like the Golden State Warriors or San Antonio Spurs, who already have strong supporting people and facilities.
Since I am one of his biggest fans, I was also concerned about his health. It seemed to me that he was suffering from the same type of laryngitis that former Lakers. Coach Bill Sharman had.
Sharman was a shouter and a screamer, and he ultimately lost his voice, and ﬁnally he could not talk at all. He was a great coach, and he led the Lakers to their ﬁrst Championship in Los Angeles.
I had hoped that Doc would hire someone to be his head coach, so that he would have time to do the many other essential things that have to be done. While he was the head coach in Boston, Danny Ainge was the team president, this left Doc free to focus on the head coaching activities.
The sad reality is that some of his key players did not want to remain with the Clippers. I am sure that this was a big disappointment for Doc. Steve Ballmer, the Clippers owner, interviewed the ones who were leaving, in order to understand their concerns and motivation. After the interviews, he decided that Doc should just coach the team, and I think that this is the best decision for all of them.
Colin Kaepernick is one of my heroes. He knelt on the sidelines while the Star Spangled Banner was being played prior to the beginning of some NFL football games. He was reminding the entire world that young African-Americans are being routinely and unnecessarily killed by various police organizations. For the most part, these ofﬁcers were not held accountable for the crimes that they were committing. Kaepernick is not the start that he once was, but so far, no NFL team has offered him a contract. I encourage fans from all over the world to notify the NFL of their support for him. It is way past the time, when the United States Of America should be living up to the words of that song.