Letters to Sports: Trouble keeps brewing in college football
Entering this season, it’s interesting to note that four of the top-five ranked teams in the country — Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Georgia — will have a starting quarterback from Southern California while the other, Oklahoma, has received a commitment from Orange County’s top QB for the 2023 recruiting cycle. This is especially noteworthy because all played their high school football within a 30-mile radius and it’s not insignificant that each spurned UCLA and USC (including JT Daniels, who transferred).
Question for UCLA schedule makers: What was the purpose of a Week 0 game against Hawaii? Certainly not the gate money. An “announced” crowd of 32,000? I don’t think so. I have seen more people at the Rose Bowl for a high school game. How does beating up a cupcake from the Mountain West prepare you for an SEC team?
Where exactly were those 32,892 fans when the stadium was seen from above? In the restroom or buying a beer … they certainly weren’t in the stands.
While my friends and I welcomed our return to the Rose Bowl for a resounding win against Hawaii, what happened to enforcement of the Los Angeles County mask mandate for outdoor gatherings of over 10,000 people? I estimate more than 80% of the fans did not wear masks at all when seated during the game. While we had some distance due to the small crowd, it was still disconcerting. The three of us perennial fans will not go to the LSU game because of the unvaccinated ratio of Louisiana residents and the lack of even one usher to enforce the mask mandate.
Craig A. Horowitz
As a lifelong Trojan fan and alumnus let me say this: I don’t blame [Steve] Sarkisian, I blame those in Heritage Hall for hiring him. They never did their due diligence about his problems. I had forgotten that Salute to Troy episode, but to be literally yanked off the stage should’ve sent up sky rockets that there was a problem. He was hired based on a mediocre record, a bad head coach and I’ll say it now like I did back then: They should’ve hired Coach O.
Texas coach Steve Sarkisian rebuilt his life after getting fired from USC because of alcohol issues, but he did so without those who helped launch his career.
Bill Shaikin’s comparison of the MLB and NBA playoff seedings overlooks the fact that the MLB schedule is heavily weighted toward divisional rivalries. Every team plays each team in its division 19 times. That is why so much emphasis is put on winning one’s division. If teams are to be seeded solely on win-loss record, then the divisions should be eliminated and the schedule balanced throughout each league.
If the Dodgers are a one-and-done wild-card playoff team, they shouldn’t blame Major League Baseball as suggested by Bill Shaikin. Instead, perhaps fault should lie with manager Dave Roberts. With a chance to gain ground on the Giants with a victory against a team with the worst road record in baseball, Roberts elects to give three of his best hitters (Mookie Betts, Justin Turner and Will Smith) and one of his best pitchers (Julio Urías) “extra rest.” After the loss he laments that “we got outpitched, outplayed or whatever you want to call it.” I would call it reaping what you sow. Hopefully the “extra rest” Roberts seeks won’t include the entire month of October. Go Dodgers!
Rancho Palos Verdes
MLB’s playoff format means the Dodgers could face the very real prospect of being relegated to a wild-card playoff contest even if they win 100 games.
If the Dodgers can’t win their division of five teams after 162 games, they probably shouldn’t even make the playoffs.
I agree with Bill Shaikin that MLB needs to fix the way playoff seedings are set to assure that season records count. On the other hand, MLB also needs to fix the payroll controls so a team can’t spend $64 million more than any other team and $137 million more than the league average.
Not so impartial
ESPN’s U.S. Open tennis coverage has sunk to a new low. Apparently, the broadcasters and former tennis players know better than the keenly knowledgeable New York fans about the history of Novak Djokovic’s calendar Grand Slam bid. Because it hasn’t been done since Rod Laver in 1969, the fans should root for Joker. Really? That’s like asking the entire country (outside of Florida) to root for Tom Brady.
Djokovic is not Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal. He is simply not beloved the way they are. Perhaps with good reason, given his tantrum and poor sportsmanship on vivid display during the recent Summer Olympics.
Novak Djokovic was once a fun-loving player who performed some funny imitations of other players. Sadly, while having leaped over the aging Federer and Nadal, he’s lost his likability. I actually hope he loses in New York so he’s not grouped with Rod Laver as a winner of the Grand Slam. Laver was, and is, always a gentleman. Djokovic has become a boor.
Playa del Rey
Naomi Osaka lost to Leylah Fernandez in the third round of the U.S. Open, then said she needs another break from tennis to deal with mental health issues.
Not so heavenly
Let’s face reality. Not surprisingly, the Angels once again invested bucketloads of money in a player that will yield increasingly little in result.
The biggest attribute that has made Mike Trout a once-in-a-lifetime player — his phenomenal muscle structure — has, and will increasingly, come to destroy his ability to play even 120 games a year.
The comparisons to Mickey Mantle have always been many. Sadly, once powerful, muscular legs become an “issue,” they remain an issue.
The Angels could have signed more than one top-of-the-rotation pitcher for the money — instead of the daily crapshoot they employ.
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