“Cleaning out a Busy notebook”
While I was gone this week…the world spun out of control in Southern California sports.
Here’s what happened..here’s what I think.
USD Basketball…Lamont Smith is gone as head coach after turning around a struggling program, but self-destructing personally. You never know about a person’s private life, tut the domestic abuse, the probe, the dropped charges, doesn’t change what he got himself involved in with a woman, who was not his wife. And at a faith-based school like USD, there was probably no other decision to be made. Re-sign or get fired. He will resurface as a coach somewhere. Whether he resurfaces as a father-husband remains to be seen.
AZTECS basketball….They are suddenly a very dangerous college basketball team….SDSU plays Nevada on Friday in the semi finals of the Mountain West tourney a team Brian Dutcher’s squad beat last week….This late season 7-game win streak come-on the return of injured G-Trey Kell….a fierce re-commit to play defense, and sudden production from the bench….With Boise losing and the Fresno defeat by SDSU…suddenly winning the MWC and getting tourney berth seems in real…SDSU has lots more depth and pretty good athletes…though the Wolfpack have Jordan Caroline, their tough inside player….Friday night fireworks for sure.
CHARGERS…They’re not ours, and they are LA’s problem, though really, they are a problem for the Spanos family. They have unveiled their Seat Licensing Plan for the new stadium they will start with the Rams. Do you think LA will shell out 75,000 for the seat licenses on the best seats in the house? Their VIP seats will carry a 50,000-fee…and the club seats a 15,000-price tag. Good luck with that. And the response from LA fans? The legendary Lakers and Dodgers don’t tax the fans, and we will have to pay seat license tax to the Spanos family?
PADRES PITCHING…So far so good. Tyson Ross has had 3-good outings…Robbie Erlin and Chris Young two solid outings each, as they try to pitch their way into the rotation coming off all types of surgeries. Tough setback for Colin Rea, shutdown now with shoulder issues after forearm surgery last summer.
PADRES BLACK CLOUD…Alex Dickerson now has 3-major injuries in less that 3-seasons. Now possible elbow surgery coming. This after last year’s back surgery, and his rookie season woes with a heel injury.
PADRES KID….He keeps hitting, and yes it is just spring training, but if Franchy Cordero keeps this up, I don’t see how they can keep him off the roster at least at the start of the season. Now when they start throwing real bullets come opening day, we will see if the strikeouts return, bug so far so good.
PADRES RUMORS….They always seem interested in this guy, that guy, but aside from Eric Hosmer, it never gets done. They did not sign Tim Lincecum, who wound up with 1M base and 5M bonus incentives to try this comeback in Texas. Now reports they have expressed interest in Jake Arrieta, the still unsigned Cubs free agent, but that seems far-fetched, especially since he his seeking a 5-year deal worth 110 million. The only way this could be happening would be if this was a carriage deal that allowed the Scott Boras client, Heismer, to come, with Arrieta as a return favor lower price signing. But I doubt this.
PADRES NO DOE…..The next wave of Cuban signings has begun, but the Padres are no longer a player on th island. They overspent their International budget a year ago with the Adrian Morejon class, and now can not offer more than 300,000 to any international free agent, a far cry from what the top Cuban, Jose Martinez got, 2.8M from Texas.,
DODGERS DISGRACE….Yes you can love all things Clayton Kershaw, Dave Roberts and team chemistry, but you cannot respect ownership across the board. The Stan Kasten regime with a steep ticket price increase. The Kasten group, for the fourth year in a row, refuses to solve,, or cannot solve the blackout of Dodgers games to over 66% of Los Angeles.
HALO HERO….He can pitch, as witnessed by a 100mph-8-striekout outing in his last spring training start, but Shohei Ohtani is a bit overwhelmed as a DH. Hitting just (.091) in the Cactus League. Going to be a fun start to the season.
MOUNTAIN WEST MAYHEM…What are they going to do, this Mountain West malaise? Trying to make themselves relevant on the national stage, it is almost a mandate they get both Gonzaga basketball and bogy BYU football and basketball into the league. You add more team for the RPI rankings in hoops, and BYU football is an upgrade from some of the schools still in the bottom haft of the league. Do it.
CLASSY COREY…He may not be ours anymore, but how about Chargers De-Corey Luiget going to Florida to meet with families of victims in the terrible high school shootings two weeks ago. Hats off to him.
LAKERS FOR REAL….The misery seems over with the growth of all these young draft picks. LA is playing really good team ball, (18-7) since mid January and trying to pull themselves up to the .500-mark. That doesn’t sound sexy, but when you consider the three year record they compiled, this is exceptional growth. And they do have cap space to get at least one big time veteran to come join the kids this summer.
CLIPPERS OVERHAUL….Two of the three starts are gone, and no one knows what DeAndre Jordan with his big money option decision coming this summer. They have some young talent, not enough quality veteran help, and if the center leaves, then it is a complete rebuild. They never got to the finals with the group they had, and no one sees them coming back to elite form shortly. It’s not the Donald Sterline era, but it’s not a championship Steve Ballmer era either.
BAD DUDE….Esteban Loaiza is now facing federal charges for being involved in the dealing of 44-pounds cf cocaine, including delivery across the Mexican border. Popular guy, long career, now facing a long prison term. Shocking fall from grade for a longtime major league pitcher.
SDSU-ON OFF RADAR….Division 1-program, no spring football game at a school that seems to struggle how to build momentum on the idea ‘1 City-1 Team” No spring game, this about that? Don’t care about conflicts, rearrange your schedule to hold it a week later than normal. This is the same group of decision makers, who did next to nothing to promote Heisman Trophy candidate Rashaad Penny, but spent money to buy ads for a sub-500 women’s basketball program in the paper, and a team that moved its radio signal off a 50,000-watt radio station to go to an AM-station you cannot hear and an FM station that blares music.
GULLS GO GET IT…..Superb coaching job for a their third season in a row by Coach Dallas Easkins, holding the team together despite, injuries, callus, and even trades of players. They don’t have a sniper, have some guys who are a bit overwhelmed, but play the Eakins system. They are going to be ‘hell at home’ where they average just under 13,000 for weekend games, come playoff time.
SPRINGTIME SCCRAMBLE…..The Kings and Ducks are in a bitter 5-team fight for the final two playoff spots in the Western Conference of the NHL. Both struggle to score goals, both have had health issues in goal, and both are in jeopardy of missing the postseason despite hefty payrolls. Tough times for GMs Bob Murray and Rob Blake.