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Sports

The Sports Report: Farhan Zaidi has a Giant task ahead of him

Farhan Zaidi
Farhan Zaidi in 2014.
(Damian Dovarganes / Associated Press)

Howdy everyone, and welcome to the Sunday edition of the Los Angeles Times daily sports newsletter. My name is Houston Mitchell and I’m your host for the festivities. Subscribe to this newsletter by clicking here.

Let’s get to it.

Baseball

Most experts pick the San Francisco Giants to finish last in the NL West this season. They weren’t very good last season and have made only modest additions so far this offseason. But perhaps the biggest acquisition they made is a name very familiar to Dodgers fans: Farhan Zaidi, who was the GM for the Dodgers and is now president of baseball operations for the Giants.

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Zaidi has added a lot of players not many have heard of this offseason, leaving some fans to wonder what is going on. But Zaidi knows what he’s doing.

“I think a lot is made of some of the success stories we had in Los Angeles, like Max Muncy and Chris Taylor,” Zaidi told Andy McCullough. “Nobody was writing about those guys when we traded for them. And really, a lot of the organizational success with those guys was not even necessarily their acquisition, but giving them opportunity.”

Dodgers

Corey Seager missed almost all of last season after having Tommy John surgery and hip surgery. Will he be ready for opening day? Well, he hasn’t taken live batting practice or thrown across the field from shortstop yet, so it’s going to be tough to be ready. But he is confident he can do it.

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Lakers

We asked you to vote in our poll asking if the Lakers should fire coach Luke Walton. After 18,146 votes, here are the results:

Yes they should fire him, 29.7%

No they shouldn’t, 70.3%

Horse racing

Bill Plaschke takes a look at Santa Anita bugler Jay Cohen, whose joyful notes have been silence by Bell’s Palsy. An excerpt:

Jay Cohen picks up the trumpet, pulls it to his lips, and prepares to play the most famous 34 notes in sports.

“I don’t want to do this, but I will,’’ he says softly.

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He slowly begins playing “Call to the Post,’’ the tune he has blasted before nearly every race at Santa Anita Park for the last 31 years….

Only this time, on this chilly February night in a tiny cluttered room in the back of his Glendora home, the song stumbles out of the starting gate. He can’t finish it. He gets halfway through and his lips weaken and the notes fade and the trumpet is pulled from his mouth amid a burst of spittle and frustration.

“Damn it,’’ barks the happiest man in horse racing. ‘’C’mon!’’

Odds and Ends

Tiger Woods went from an afterthought tied for 52nd at one under to a leaderboard riser tied for 14th at minus-6 in the third round of the Genesis Open…. Anthony Davis said the Boston Celtics are on his list of teams he would sign a long-term extension with…. Bennie Boatwright set the USC record for three-pointers in an 89-66 victory over California…. Kyla Ross danced her way to a career-high all-around score as UCLA defeated Arizona to remain undefeated in women’s gymnastics…. New Laker Reggie Bullock spends part of his All-Star break visiting with LGBTQ youth…. Today is the Daytona 500. Here’s all you need to know…. Former USC player Kevin Ellison’s death was ruled an accident…. UCLA’s men’s basketball team was routed by Stanford.

Best sports movie

We move on to our final first-round matchup, the best of the rest of sports movies. Vote for your top five of these sports movies by clicking here or by emailing me here. After this, we move on to the semifinal.

The nominees are:

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Battle of the Sexes (2017), starring Emma Stone

Bend It Like Beckham (2003), starring Keira Knightley

The Big Lebowski (1998), starring Jeff Bridges

Blue Crush (2002), starring Kate Bosworth

Breaking Away (1979), starring Dennis Quaid

Caddyshack (1980, starring Bill Murray

Chariots of Fire (1981), starring Ian Holm

Cool Runnings (1993), starring John Candy

The Cutting Edge (1992), starring D.B. Sweeney and Moira Kelly

DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story (2004), starring Ben Stiller

Dogtown and Z-Boys (2001), starring Stacy Peralta

Downhill Racer (1969), starring Robert Redford

Eddie the Eagle (2016), starring Taron Egerton

The Endless Summer (1966), documentary

Foxcatcher (2014), starring Channing Tatum

The Greatest Game Ever Played (2005), starring Shia LeBeouf

Happy Gilmore (1996), starring Adam Sandler

The Hustler (1961), starring Paul Newman

I, Tonya (2017), starring Margot Robbie

Invictus (2009), starring Matt Damon

The Karate Kid (1984), starring Ralph Macchio

The Karate Kid (2010), starring Jaden Smith

Kingpin (1996), starring Woody Harrelson

The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000), starring Will Smith

Lords of Dogtown (2005), starring Heath Ledger

McFarland, USA (2015), starring Kevin Costner

Murderball (2005), documentary

National Velvet (1944), starring Elizabeth Taylor

Personal Best (1982), starring Mariel Hemingway

Phar Lap (1984), starring Tom Burlinson

Point Break (1991), starring Patrick Swayze

Race (2016), starring Stephan James

Rollerball (1975), starring James Caan

Running Brave (1983), starring Robby Benson

Rush (2013), starring Chris Hemsworth

Seabiscuit (2003), starring Tobey Maguire

Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993), starring Max Pomeranc

Secretariat (2010), starring Diane Lane

Senna (2010), documentary

Seven Days in Utopia (2011), starring Robert Duvall

Soul Surfer (2011), starring AnnaSophia Robb

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2005), starring Will Ferrell

Tin Cup (1996), starring Kevin Costner

Victory (1981), starring Sylvester Stallone

Whip It (2009), starring Ellen Page

Wimbledon (2004), starring Kirsten Dunst

The Wrestler (2008), starring Mickey Rourke

Again, you can vote by clicking here or by emailing me here. Vote for five.

Born on this date

1908: Dodgers announcer Red Barber

1934: NFL coach Buddy Ryan

1936: NFL player Jim Brown

1952: Tennis player Guillermo Vilas

1959: Swimmer Rowdy Gaines

1959: NBA player Danny Ainge

1963: NBA player Michael Jordan

1966: NHL player Luc Robitaille

And finally

That concludes the newsletter for today. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, please email me here. If you want to subscribe, click here.


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