One prediction Bill Plaschke failed to mention for 2020 is that when the L.A. Wildcats win the championship of the rebooted XFL, the game will be played before a larger crowd than attended any Chargers home game in 2019.
San Luis Obispo
The Chargers’ 2018 chemistry has vanished. If Anthony Lynn doesn’t want another losing season, the consecutive game starts by the quarterback must end. A new era in Inglewood can begin without banana-ball prayer passes and lead-foot sacks.
So let me get this right. The Chargers are going to do better and have a better record next year because they will be moving 10 miles from Carson to play in Inglewood because they won’t feel like a visiting team at home? With Inglewood being a bigger stadium than Dignity Health/Home Depot/StubHub Center, won’t there be room for more visiting team fans to attend? Also, if they have felt that playing at home is like playing a road game, shouldn’t they have done better in actual road games?
What the Chargers need to do is move 101 miles south back to San Diego where the team and their name go together. Los Angeles Chargers is like Los Angeles Angels, it doesn’t work.
The bad news: The Rams missed the playoffs. The good news: They’re not as bad as their record indicates. Three of their seven losses were caused by one play in each game — missed field goal at end, Goff fumble returned for touchdown right before the half, Goff pick-six right before the half. Without these goofs, they would be 11-4.
Three things they need to do: 1) Get a new kicker (Zuerlein’s too unreliable), 2) Fix the offensive line by any means necessary, 3) Figure out how to stop the run. Donald & Co. are great pass rushers, but they and the linebackers have cleat marks all over their faces.
Stove heats up
The question is, by not re-signing Hyun-Jin Ryu, does it put a bigger dent in the Dodgers’ pitching staff equal to or greater than the dent in their wallet had they signed him?
The Dodgers are a baseball organization with the No. 1 overall objective each season to make maximum money for their investors. Everything Dylan Hernandez says about the Dodgers’ lack of spending money at key times is tied to this overall objective.
Contrast the Dodgers’ approach with the Yankees, Red Sox and Astros, where the No. 1overall objective each season is to win the World Series.
Dodgers fans should not be holding their breath waiting for a World Series title.
After a complete failure this winter, Mark Walter and Andrew Friedman need to hear from us. If they want to wait until the July 31 trade deadline to make a move, so should we. Fans should not go to games or subscribe to Spectrum until then either. Radio is a great way to support the players.
Someone once said, “Your actions speak so loudly I can’t hear a word you say.” While it was great to see the Angels sign Anthony Rendon, to the best of my knowledge he can’t pitch. Not signing a top-tier pitcher means the Angels will settle for two or three second- or third-tier pitchers and pray. So much for improving the team.
My grandson, the Angels fan, said, “It’s great, they’ll score five or six runs a game and give up eight or nine runs.”
Not a winning formula. It’s going to be another long season.
Today and throughout history, nothing beats a day at the ballpark. The problem for sports marketers should be how to keep prices affordable. Probably haven’t gotten there yet, but there are limits to what fans are willing to spend.
Bill Shaikin’s article on families being priced out of games, eventually causing a lack of interest, presents a view that makes sense, even if attendance is much higher than when I was growing up. I still remember my late father taking me to my first game, July 31, 1954, at Ebbets Field. Would I remember the game were it not for the fact that a major league record for total bases was set by Milwaukee’s Joe Adcock, who hit four homers and a double? Maybe not, but my love affair with baseball eventually led to my becoming a minority owner of the Orioles. How likely is that to happen these days (except to the son of a hedge fund manager)?
Andrew E. Rubin
I read with fascination your expose on the high cost of attending major sporting events and how it will affect the future of sports fandom. The story brought back memories for me of when I was a young sports fan. I love telling everyone I know about my attending the first World Series game ever played in California in 1959. I hadn’t arrived yet at my 10th birthday when my dad had scored seats at the very top of the Coliseum behind the famed left field screen. I distinctly remember the price of that ticket was 7 dollars. Just over three years later when Dodger Stadium opened, the left field pavilion tickets cost only $1.50, but children could get in for 75 cents. While I know that those are uninflated prices even then a kid could easily scrape together six bits.
Oh, and the Dodgers won that game and the World Series and I’ve been a big fan ever since.
It’s just so unfair that Rich Hill and the missus should be subjected to the same rules that us common folk are. We’re talking a $12-million (albeit unemployed) per year coddled, pampered and idolized one-percenter. They were probably bringing in their own lunch (were they supposed to wait in line with truck drivers, accountants and the like?), and perhaps a few hundred thousand in the fanny pack to get a new Mercedes on the way home.
So unless this was a publicity stunt to drum up interest in the free-agent market, it’s time to drop all charges, free the Hills, and put them back on the pedestal that athletes assume they are so deserving of.
Too bad Dave Roberts wasn’t at the Patriots’ game on Saturday. He could have kept Rich Hill out of trouble by giving him the hook before the police took him deep.
Ryan Kartje writes, I assume with a straight face, of the possibility of Kedon Slovis winning next year’s Heisman Trophy. Unless they start giving that trophy to the glee club, I don’t think he should hold his breath.
The concept of team basketball took a backseat to superstar ego at Staples Center on Christmas. Even though Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had the hot hands and LeBron James was a dismal two for 11 beyond the arc, LeBron determined that he was the one best suited to take the final shot that would send the game into overtime. As the offense ground to a halt while his teammates stood and watched James dribble out the last few seconds, I could have sworn I glimpsed the ghost of Kobe on the court.
There is a clear reason as to why NBA national TV ratings are more than 20% below last season: Viewer Load Management.
Let’s be positive
Sports is unscripted drama. Sure, fans are fans, desperate for their teams to win. But how to explain your sportswriters? So negative, so sure they know more than the coaches and general managers and athletic directors.
Rams are in the Super Bowl last year, win their first three games of the year, and ... fail to make this year’s playoffs. Dodgers have won umpteen straight division titles, but ... no World Series since 1988. Pete Carroll had great years at USC while cheating his way to the top, and ... it’s taking time to right the ship. UCLA trying to regain football greatness in a USC town, hires a proven winner in Chip Kelly, but ... he isn’t winning. Isn’t that what makes sports so dramatic?
All I want for Christmas is a Lakers team that has a bench that can score more than four points a game. A Dodgers team that has some right-handed bats and an ace on the staff. A Chargers team lest Rivers. The Rams with a QB who can withstand a hit and withstand a rush without panic in his eyes.
So, the bottom line is, another dismal 2020.
After reading the piece on UCLA’s basketball coaching staff all sporting bald heads, I realized I’d go bald too watching my team turn the ball over 20-plus times a game and shoot 50% from the free-throw line.
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