Letters to Sports: Dodgers’ pennant run comes with concern
After suffering through Cody Bellinger’s absolute flop of a season and Chris Taylor continuing to whiff on bad pitches, I have to say that whoever the hitting coach is … he is either underqualified, unfazed or just lazy. Unacceptable for this organization.
Cody Bellinger has been my favorite Dodger since his rookie year. That said, what the heck is he doing in the lineup against the Giants during a pennant race? He seems to go for the fences with every swing; he shows no nuance or batting discipline. His defense is excellent, but his batting average is below .180, not worth a full-time slot in the lineup. We have other great outfielders who are hitting.
It’s time for Dave Roberts to send our Cody to Oklahoma City to work on his batting so that he can actually contribute in the postseason. We need the real Cody Bellinger back on the Dodgers.
So which is it with Cody Bellinger? Is it his approach or his health that’s making him one of the worst hitters in the majors? We even hear it intimated now from television and radio commentators, “same approach, same result.” Bellinger apparently believes he can defy the laws of physics and make contact on balls up in the zone with his golf swing. But this isn’t all on him. If it’s beyond his ability or desire to alter his approach at the plate, and if it is recovery from a shoulder injury that is the issue, then why is management allowing him to rehab in the major leagues where his confidence further erodes with every wild swing? And with regards as to how this affects the team; hitting is contagious. So is not hitting.
Trevor Bauer won’t pitch again this season, and certainly not again for the Dodgers, who must face the consequences for signing him for years to come.
The emergence of Tío Albert as a stabilizing force in the midst of a sometimes tumultuous Dodgers season has been a pleasant surprise. But it also raises an important question: When is the team brass going to say “Uncle” on Cody Bellinger?
Simply put, Tío Albert is a jewel and his exuberance with his teammates has been a tremendous shot in the arm to a team that has struggled to stick with the surprising Giants.
Just watch him in the dugout during telecasts and you can see the glow of enthusiasm and the adoration of the other players.
His induction into the Hall of Fame in a few years will be so well deserved.
Albert Pujols hasn’t started a lot in the Dodgers’ lineup since signing, but his presence has had an impact on the team that’s impossible to overstate.
Dave Roberts’ propensity for resting players may well lead to the entire Dodger team resting in October.
Max Scherzer was truly dominant in his last start. Eight innings, six hits, 13 K’s, one unearned run. Too bad it came on Monday against the Cardinals and not on Sunday against the Giants when it could’ve meant being in first by a game. Dave Roberts treats these pitchers like glassware, deciding it’s better to give Julio Urías, who looks fine, an extra day of rest rather than line up their three best pitchers to hopefully pitch us past the pesky Giants. If the Dodgers lose the division by a tiebreaker (another reason Sunday was so important) or by one game back, Roberts can look back to this last weekend and his coddling of the rotation as a good reason why.
Danny Balber Jr.
Turns out, Chip Kelly knows more about coaching football than Ben Bolch and Bill Plaschke, who have heaped mountains of scorn on UCLA’s football coach the last three years. Turns out, athletic director Martin Jarmond did not need to “stick his nose in there and see what’s up” with the “former genius,” as Plaschke wrote in May 2020. Bolch has made too many snide remarks to count, constantly dividing Kelly’s salary by his number of wins while not giving the coach a chance to rebuild the program, which was precisely what he was hired to do. Coach Kelly’s first recruiting class are seniors in the 2021 season, and suddenly his Bruins look like a completely different team because everyone on the roster is buying into the program, a reminder that all football coaches should be allowed four years before impatient fans rush to show them the door.
When Coach Ed entered the Rose Bowl last Saturday, he didn’t realize that the Sons of Westwood, in their sissy blue jerseys, turned out to be the real Purple People Eaters.
For the first time in the Chip Kelly era, the UCLA Bruins are 2-0 and garnering plenty of positive media attention. Kelly is confident his veteran team can handle the hype.
Unmasking the truth
UCLA’s administration just completed the most egregious bait-and-switch scheme I have witnessed. Their website indicated that attendees at all football games must wear a mask. At the LSU game, they made no effort to enforce their requirement. Instead of taking money under false pretenses, they were gambling with people’s health and lives.
Either the administration is so naive they thought people would voluntarily wear a mask or so unethical that they would have done anything to have a full stadium. Based on them giving away free tickets, it appears they have a complete lack of ethics. My wife and I traveled from North Carolina to attend the game based on the university’s statement. We were shocked at the lack of enforcement.
UCLA’s governing board and the state of California should hold the administration accountable for risking the health and lives of fans at the game.
New Rams plan
Since the Rams are having trouble finding a punt returner … Sean McVay should forget about punt returns, especially when the offense is kicking from inside the 35. Develop and implement a punt-block scheme. It will eliminate possible fumbles, unending 15-yard penalties (holding/block in the back) and give a chance for a short field or even a touchdown. I mean, how often to you get a decent runback anyway?
Gone too soon
The loss of Sam Cunningham way too soon is much more than the loss of a fine running back. Sam Cunningham and his Trojans changed college football forever that one night in Alabama as they clobbered the Crimson Tide.
That evening Bear Bryant saw the future as he realized he must recruit African Americans to win, and the rest as they say is history.
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