Howdy, my name is Houston Mitchell and let’s get right to the news.
Sports is an important part of trying to escape the troubles of every day life. But sometimes the two need to intersect. Philadelphia Union player Alejandro Bedoya intersected the two beautifully this week.
After scoring against D.C. United on Sunday, Bedoya walked over to a sideline microphone and said “Hey Congress, do something now! End gun violence! Let’s go!”
Before the game was over, Bedoya’s plea had gone viral and fans were raising money to pay whatever fine the league might levy.
Instead he was voted Major League Soccer’s player of the week.
“The support has been unreal. All over the world,” Bedoya said. “It’s crazy how just one little voice impacted something.”
As Kevin Baxter writes in his story, “Earlier that day a crazed gunman had gone on an early morning rampage in an entertainment district in Dayton, Ohio, killing nine and wounding more than two dozen. The day before a gunman armed with an assault rifle shot 48 people in an El Paso Walmart, killing 22.
“A week earlier, a shooter at a food festival in Gilroy, Calif., killed three and injured more than a dozen .
“That made 253 mass shooting in the U.S. this year, according to the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive. Where was the outrage in the capital? Where was the action?
“Hey Congress, do something now! End gun violence! Let’s go!”
“‘Let’s go’ for me is Congress. All sides,” Bedoya said. “Whether you’re Republican, Democrat, Independent, whatever you are, I don’t care. It doesn’t matter. Come together and work on solutions.
“You don’t agree with trying to end gun violence? C’mon, man.”
Our college football reporter, J. Brady McCollough, has been looking at the top 25 story lines heading into this season. Here’s the newest one:
Given the youthfulness of the quarterbacks who have won the last two national championships, it is pretty humorous to still hear prominent folks around college football — such as outgoing Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany — clamoring for the good old days when freshmen had to sit.
In 2017, Alabama freshman Tua Tagovailoa came off the bench in relief of a struggling Jalen Hurts to rally the Crimson Tide to a dramatic 26-23 overtime victory over Georgia. A year later, Clemson freshman Trevor Lawrence beat out incumbent Kelly Bryant early in the season and led the Tigers to an undefeated record that was capped by a romp over Tagovailoa and the Tide.
There’s never been a better time to be a freshman quarterback, that’s for sure. If you’ve got game, a smart coach will give you the chance to show it from Day 1.
So who’s next? With Tagovailoa, Lawrence, Georgia’s Jake Fromm and Hurts, who is now at Oklahoma, there doesn’t look to be an opportunity among the projected top four teams, but it should be noted that the nation’s top quarterback recruit, Oklahoma’s Spencer Rattler, will be waiting behind Hurts if he falters or is injured during his graduate transfer year with the Sooners.
Auburn’s Bo Nix, Wisconsin’s Graham Mertz, North Carolina’s Sam Howell and Arizona State’s Jayden Daniels are currently competing for starting jobs during their first fall camp.
The most likely freshman stars this season play running back on top-10 teams. LSU’s John Emery Jr., Alabama’s Trey Sanders and Michigan’s Zach Charbonnet, who starred at Westlake Village Oaks Christian High, should be in line immediately for carries.
Or maybe it will be a defensive player this year? Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux, another graduate of Oaks Christian and one of the top-rated prospects in the 2019 class, has already stated that his goal is to compile at least 10 sacks this season for the Ducks.
With Michigan and Oregon fans expecting breakthrough seasons, count those programs among the majority that see the benefit in freshman eligibility.
A lot of fans talk about how Clayton Kershaw is done and should be moved to the bullpen. Those fans may need to get their eyes checked.
In Tuesday’s 3-1 win over St. Louis, Kershaw gave up one run and four hits in seven innings to improve to 11-2 and had his 20th straight start of at least six innings to begin the season. He had nine strikeouts and one walk.
“This guy is the best pitcher of our generation,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “So to count him out, or think he can’t do something, you’re not going to hear from me.”
With the Dodgers clinging to an 18-game lead in the NL West, let’s look at the race for the best record in baseball, which will determine who gets home-field advantage in the World Series:
New York Yankees, 74-39, 0.5 GB
Houston Astros, 74-40, 1 GB
Minnesota Twins, 70-43, 4.5 GB
Cleveland Indians, 66-46, 8 GB
Atlanta Braves, 67-48, 8.5 GB
Tampa Bay Rays, 66-49, 9.5 GB
Oakland A’s, 65-49, 10 GB
Alex Verdugo is latest Dodger placed on crowded injured list
Dodgers rookie Tony Gonsolin’s reward for a stellar outing is a ticket back to minors
Last week we asked (and my apologies to those of you who got a broken link) if you would have traded Gavin Lux for Felipe Vazquez. After 13,651 votes, here are the results:
This week: Which team has the best 1-2-3 rotation in baseball? Is it Houston, with Justin Verlander, Zack Greinke and Gerrit Cole; Washington with Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin; the Dodgers with Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Walker Buehler or some other team? Vote by clicking here.
Your favorite sports moment
What is your favorite all-time L.A. sports moment? Click here to tell me what it is and why, and I’ll start running them in future newsletters. And yes, if your favorite moment is about the Angels or Ducks or a team just outside of L.A., I’ll count that too. And the moment doesn’t have to have happened in L.A., just needs to involve an area team.
Today’s moment comes from Bruce Richland of Los Angeles:
“It was a long journey from Brooklyn where I had been born and raised. I was 17 years of age when I first started looking into colleges, eventually leaving home for UC San Diego. As I had always done, growing up a rabid sports fan, I read the sports page every morning. It was there, in the (then) San Diego Union, that I saw an article about, “Major League Baseball’s 1980 All-Star Game” being held at Dodger Stadium. The ad said to “Send in a postcard and have a chance to win two tickets to the All-Star game.”
“Immediately, I went to the general store on campus and bought a postcard with a lovely picture of a sunset at La Jolla Shores on it. I addressed the postcard, sent it off and, basically, forgot about it.
“Almost three months later I went to my freshman dorm’s P.O. Box and to my surprise, shock and amazement there were two tickets to 1980 All-Star Game being played at Dodger Stadium! Talk about good luck! It was the first time that the game was being held in Chavez Ravine. Before I knew it there was L.A.’s famed infield of Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes and Bill Russell. Jerry Reuss struck out the side for the NL in the sixth. I saw future hall of famers Reggie Jackson and Dave Winfield standing right in front of me. I got to see Pete Rose, Carlton Fisk, Rod Carew, Tommy John, George Brett, Robin Yount, Rickey Henderson, Johnny Bench, Steve Carlton, Mike Schmidt and Ken Griffey Sr., who earned the game’s MVP, just to name a few. I was like a kid in a candy store. The National League won 4-2.
“That time was far and away my favorite all-time L.A. sports moment. Next year the game is coming back to Dodger Stadium. Living in Los Angeles since I graduated college, I can’t wait for that historic game to arrive at Dodger Stadium once again. I only hope there’s another chance for a kid from Brooklyn to win two tickets, because I’m still feeling lucky!”
Odds and ends
Cory Littleton needs to be on the money at linebacker for Rams…. Pitcher Jose Suarez continues to struggle as the Angels fall to the Reds…. Angels to continue use of opener despite Taylor Cole’s recent struggles…. American Airlines secures naming rights for plaza at NFL stadium in Inglewood…. USC quarterback JT Daniels looks ‘more relaxed’ in new system…. USC cornerback Chris Steele’s waiver to play this season has been approved by NCAA…. UCLA linebacker Tyree Thompson undergoes surgery for undisclosed injury…. Galaxy send midfielder Ema Boateng to D.C. United in hopes to acquire Cristian Pavón…. NBA guard Allen Crabbe holds youth camp at his alma mater…. Trent Scott, Forrest Lamp will have a lot on line in Chargers’ preseason opener.
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Our Dodgers newsletter, written by me. Subscribe here.
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Horse racing newsletter, written by John Cherwa. Subscribe here.
Soccer newsletter, written by Kevin Baxter. Subscribe here.
Today’s local major sports schedule
St. Louis at Dodgers, noon, YouTube, AM 570
Born on this date
1929: Baseball player Don Larsen
1932: Distance runner Abebe Bikila
1942: Boxer Carlos Monzon
1945: NFL player Alan Page
1950: Runner Dave Wottle
1951: Swimmer Gary Hall
1958: Distance runner Alberto Salazar
1958: Jockey Russell Baze
1976: NFL player Shane Lechler
1987: NHL player Sidney Crosby
Died on this date
2018: NHL player Stan Mikita, 78
Dave Wottle wins the gold in the 800 meters at the 1972 Olympics. Watch it here.