Congratulations to Steve Ballmer on making the worst individual purchase in the history of sports. Perhaps he thought the price tag included the arena and the Lakers. Honestly, I think he made the purchase to do what many of us think he will ultimately do — move the franchise to Seattle. I don't buy this used-car-salesmanlike spew coming from Ballmer's mouth. The Seattle Clippers are coming soon. Don't fool yourself, the Clippers fan base would be dwarfed by that in the Seattle/Tacoma area. You want a fresh start, move out of L.A., where the Lakers will always be the team of choice. I would bet a new arena and a new TV deal will be all he needs to pack the bags.
Congratulations to Donald Sterling's lawyers for hanging in there when any lesser motivated lawyers would have folded in the face of recent court decisions. One can only hope that Shelly's lawyers will have settled her financial and marital status before Donald's lawyers drain his bank accounts. After all, these are top-of-the-line people.
I for one would like to see Donald Sterling continue his legal battles with the NBA and everyone else that he feels did him wrong. I think it's kind of fun reading The Times and watching him lose.
Death on the track
If the tragic sprint-car death had involved a Jeff Gordon, or almost any other driver aside from Tony Stewart, the court of public opinion verdict would have simply been "Tragic accident. Period. End of story".
Because it was "Smoke," everybody's looking for JFK's grassy knoll, or Nixon's smoking gun.
Don't tell me that 25-plus-year professional race car driver Tony Stewart, the only person to win an IndyCar and a NASCAR championship, is not able to see and avoid a person standing on the track.
Let's all lighten up on Tony Stewart and let the local officials finish their investigation. Having driven a winged dirt sprint car on a similar poorly lit track, I can tell you from personal experience that once you put on a helmet (along with the shoulder belts and neck safety device), you have maybe 20% of the visibility and movement that you have in passenger car on a dark street. Surrounded by a low overhead wing and roll bars all around you, add the engine noise and vibration and a large amount of dirt being flung from the cars ahead and to the side of you, and you are nearly flying blind. And in a sprint car on dirt you use the gas pedal to steer as much as you use the steering wheel.
When the fact finding is completed, we will see that Tony did no wrong.
On the air
Here's a solution to this greed-driven stalemate. The Dodgers use Vin Scully for all radio broadcasts for the games he does on SportsNet LA for the duration of his career. Result: KLAC ratings skyrocket, TWC value plummets, and the Dodgers' owners prove they truly care about the fans.
My wife and I are Angels fans, and we totally disagree with last week's letter about the Angels' announcers. We like all the Angels announcers, who are knowledgeable, insightful, and bring their own experience into the booth from former player and pitching experience.
Vin Scully, of course, is a classic. We would enjoy him more if he had a sidekick.
I cannot agree more with last week's complaint about the Angels broadcasters in the TV booth. Of course, it's not fair to anybody (except, maybe, Jon Miller) to be compared with Vin Scully.
My feeling for the last couple of years is that the best trade the Angels can make is to send Mark Gubicza and Victor Rojas to the Royals for Steve Physioc and Rex Hudler.
A pitch for MVP
I just wanted to say that I agree with Bill Shaikin [Aug. 10] that pitchers deserve to be considered in the MVP race. I have firsthand experience that this is true. Back in 1962, when Sandy Koufax was injured in August, the Dodgers were in first place by a considerable margin. After Koufax's injury, the Dodgers started slipping and ended up in the playoffs with the San Francisco Giants, which the Giants won. So no one is going to tell me that a pitcher does not or cannot make a difference, especially if he's dominant.
You can pass this on to Albert Pujols.
In the end, Bud Selig has (finally) got it right. With the election of Rob Manfred as commissioner-elect, Major League Baseball has set greed aside for the moment and, hopefully, assured labor peace for the foreseeable future. Selig oversaw the growth of revenues by almost tenfold at the cost of a World Series (1994), Tony Gwynn's attempt at becoming the first to hit .400 since Ted Williams, and most important, by turning a blind eye to PED use until he was forced to act by Jose Canseco's revelations in his book and the prodding of Congress.
In his last act, Selig has done more for the game, and not just its owners, than all else combined. Thank goodness that we, the fans, will not have to experience seeing MLB turned into a sitcom. Thank you, Mr. Selig.
Silver and back?
The NFL may finally be giving serious consideration to Los Angeles and Bill Plaschke [Aug. 15] wants to get picky. The Raiders have a rather unruly fan base, which Plaschke thinks should rule them out. No mention of some of the near riots in downtown Los Angeles after a few Lakers championships.
Los Angeles is a city universally hated around the country. What other city's teams provoke a chant of "Beat their home city?" The Dodgers', Lakers' and now the Clippers' star-laden rosters pack sports palaces around the country and our teams invariably leave with the chant "Beat L.A.!" ringing in their ears.
So, why not the renegade team for the "renegade city?
Magic Johnson's sports analysis versus Bill Plaschke's? No contest; I'm going with Magic. Bring the Raiders back to L.A.
Why would Magic Johnson want to see the Raiders, last in attendance and team valuation in the NFL, return to Los Angeles? Oh, I just remembered, Magic is an owner of the Sparks.
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