Monday, August 31, 2009

Park View Little League puts Chula Vista on map

Congratulations to the Park View Little League team on winning the Little League Baseball World Series!

Not only did Park View prove it is the best team in the world, it certainly put Chula Vista, California on the map.

Not so long ago, that was what the San Diego Chargers were supposed to do (more on that later.)

San Diego County had not had a Little League world champion since 1961, when Brian Sipe led El Cajon/La Mesa Northern to the title. (That was 19 years before Sipe would become the NFL’s most valuable player with the Cleveland Browns.)

You can name each of the Park View players and they are all “heroes”: Isaiah Armenta, Oscar Castro Jr., Nick Conlin, Kiko Garcia, Bulla Graft, Seth Godfrey, Markus Melin, Jensen Petersen, Daniel Porras Jr., Luke Ramirez, Andy Rios, and Bradley Roberto. The manager is Oscar Castro; the coach, Ric Ramirez.

Without a doubt, big Luke Ramirez (6-foot-2, 212 pounds) will be remembered for his towering home runs.

And Andy Rios will be remembered for turning a great double play with the bases loaded in Sunday’s 6-3 win over Taoyuan, Taiwan for the championship.

But Rios’ top feat was on the mound in an 11-10 win over Warner Robins, Georgia in the U.S. semifinals. He finished the game with 2 1/3 innings of shutout ball after Warner Robins had taken a 10-5 lead. Had he not stopped the bleeding there; Park View would probably not have advanced.

As for the Chargers … their grand plan was to build a stadium in Chula Vista and give the South Bay city a “name.” That didn’t work out in the long run, but Chula Vista is certainly on the map now.

Thanks, Park View Little Leaguers!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Chargers' LT should rest the rest of exhibition season

Don’t expect to see LaDainian Tomlinson play again in the preseason for the San Diego Chargers.

Ostensibly, he won’t play Saturday at Atlanta because the game is on artificial turf.

Then comes the final preseason game Sept. 4 at home vs. San Francisco … a good time to rest virtually all regulars.

From what little we’ve seen of Tomlinson this summer, he does not appear to be benefiting from exhibition games.

He’s barely averaging two yards a carry and has found holes hard to come by.

Yet this is what’s to be expected from a veteran playing in the preseason for the first time in four years.

The Chargers are fortunate QB Philip Rivers didn’t get hurt when he was sacked four times in the first quarter last weekend by the Arizona Cardinals.

San Diego is a team that only needs to stay healthy to cakewalk through the otherwise horrible AFC West division in 2009.

And remember: The Chargers open their season Sept. 14 at the Oakland Raiders.

LT always has a great game in Oakland. Don’t expect anything less in 2009; as long as he stays healthy through the exhibition season.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Colorado Rockies enjoying Rocky Mountain High

Don’t look now, but the Colorado Rockies are making it appear as if it’s 2007 all over again.

You remember those Rockies? The team that won 21 of 22 games to make it to the World Series, only to be swept by the Boston Red Sox?

Well, these Rockies of 2009 are looking like another miracle team.

How many people thought Colorado had a chance when it trailed the Los Angeles Dodgers by 15 ½ games on June 3?

But how many of those people now think the Rockies don’t have a chance as they are only two games behind the Dodgers in the NL West?

The Rockies have certainly made their impression with a three-game sweep of the San Francisco Giants and last night’s win vs. the Dodgers.

Suddenly, it appears as though they are the best team in a very competitive three-team race in the NL West.

And to think the Dodgers were supposed to be unbeatable after Manny Ramirez returned from his 50-game drug suspension July 3.

Problem is, somebody forgot to tell the suddenly resurgent Rockies!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Peavy trade may turn out OK for San Diego Padres

It’s waaaaaaaaaay too early to judge how the trade of Jake Peavy to the Chicago White Sox will turn out.

Was it just another fire sale move for the San Diego Padres?

Or did they actually receive some value in return for Peavy … and getting rid of the $55 million remaining on his contract?

This line from the Associated Press sure catches one’s attention:

“White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen remains optimistic that Jake Peavy will pitch again this season. Peavy will make his third rehab start today.”

What’s up with some of the four pitchers acquired for Peavy?

Clayton Richard is 3-0 for San Diego with a 3.67 ERA.

Adam Russell has been called up from the minors to help out San Diego’s overworked bullpen.

Aaron Poreda could be called up from the Triple-A Portland Beavers as soon as Saturday to make a start for the Padres.

As for Peavy, he may start again this year.

It may be a poor trade for San Diego in the long run, but early returns say that the Padres did not get duped in the exchange.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Let's hope Favre falls on his face

Brett Favre makes his first exhibition start Friday for the Minnesota Vikings.

If you are like me, you are suffering from Brett Favre Fatigue.

The best case scenario would be that Favre does not get hurt seriously this season but his team fades down the stretch ... as his New York Jets did last season.

After all, he's the one who has said in the past that he cannot play a 16-game schedule nowadays.

Willie Mays hung around too long in baseball; once stumbling on his face as he neared home plate.

Here's one hope that Favre figuratively stumbles on his face in 2009.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hoke will soon discover few care about San Diego State football

Brady Hoke apparently doesn’t quite seem to know the circumstances.
The new San Diego State football coach can close practice to the media all he wants ... nobody cares.

But when it comes to closing Saturday’s practice at Qualcomm Stadium to the public, maybe somebody does care.

Hoke may not realize that few people care about SDSU football in the first place. Closing all practices to the public is no way to reach out to a "fan base" already turned off by SDSU football’s 10 straight non-winning seasons..

This isn’t Ball State, where Hoke led his former team to a No. 12 national ranking at one point last season. This is San Diego State, which can’t even beat San Jose State or Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

Hoke may be fooled when the Aztecs draw over 50,000 fans for their home opener Sept. 12 vs. Southern Utah. That will be due to the annual KGB Sky Show; not the Aztecs.

When Hoke comes home to a virtually empty stadium his remaining five home games, it might just remind him of the empty stadium the Aztecs will practice at this Saturday.

Too bad for him.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Michael Vick deserves second chance ... barely!

Michael Vick is a disgrace, scumbag and anything else you want to call him.

That being said, he deserves the second chance he is being given by the Philadelphia Eagles.

Vick has served his 23 months in prison for leading a dog-fighting ring. He’ll also be sidelined up to six games this NFL season as further punishment.

Some will say he can never be punished enough.

I’m willing to give him another chance, with a 2-inch rope to hang himself if he screws up again.

After all, he has taken his legal punishment. And think of how many other people with lesser profiles have been given second chances.

If there is even an indication Vick is involved in dog-fighting rings or any other poor behavior, the NFL should tell him “goodbye.”

The biggest reason he should be given a second chance is his mentor, former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy.

If there were more Tony Dungys in today’s society with strong Christian morals and a lifestyle to back it up … just think of how much better off our country would be.

Hey, O.J. Simpson was given a second chance (and even didn’t go to prison) after killing his wife. Thank goodness, he’s finally in prison where he belongs.

Give Vick a second chance. If he stumbles, put him right next to O.J.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Adrian Gonzalez is quite a hit(s)

How about that Adrian Gonzalez?

Forget Baseball Hall of Fame players Tony Gwynn and Dave Winfield for a moment.

Gonzalez became the first San Diego Padres player ever to collect six hits in a nine-inning game Tuesday at the Milwaukee Brewers.

This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise to anyone.

After all, Gonzalez was tearing the cover off the ball and leading the National League in home runs until opposing teams wisely decided to start walking him over-and-over again from June on forward.

And to think that Gonzalez and Padres closer Heath Bell could have been members of the Los Angeles Dodgers at the July 31 trading deadline …

The Padres were asking for Dodgers first baseman James Loney and catcher Russell Martin … among others … for Bell and Gonzalez.

Can you imagine even how much better the Dodgers would be with Bell and Gonzalez?

Speaking of the trading deadline, it doesn’t look so much like a fire sale when the Padres traded Jake Peavy to the Chicago White Sox for four pitchers on July 31.

Has anybody else noticed that the Padres have won all three games started by Clayton Richard, a key figure from the White Sox in the Peavy deal?

For the past two weeks, it’s all good news for the Padres as they gaze toward what the future might have to offer.

Monday, August 10, 2009

MLB: It's time for instant replay!

Umpires are human beings. Yes, they make mistakes (lots of them in some cases.)

Now that the San Diego Padres have concluded a 10-game homestand punctuated by missed calls, it has become more than obvious that instant replay is needed in MLB.

Take just a few instances of the past week, and it’s hard not to conclude that it’s time for instant replay:

Tony Gwynn was called out for a batted ball hitting him on the basepaths. Problem is, the ball clearly missed him.

Chase Headley made a great sliding catch to end an inning. However, the umpire wrongly said Headley trapped the ball.

Headley was again the victim on a play at the plate. He was called out, yet replays showed he was unquestionably safe.

Everth Cabrera was ruled safe on a stolen base attempt of third. He was unmistakably out.

However, that one more than evened out. Cabrera was ruled out for missing home plate on a sliding attempt; replays showed his hand clearly touched the plate.

Kyle Blanks was ruled safe at home on a tying run in the ninth inning vs. the New York Mets. Replays showed he was definitely tagged out by catch Brian Schneider.

Ok, this was only the Padres. On a scale of MLB, there seems to be an attitude of “Who cares what happens west of the Mississippi?”

Let’s hope the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox have this many blown calls on a homestand. Then, MLB will do something about adding instant replay.

Friday, August 7, 2009

A local NFL blackout may be coming your way

NFL fans, beware!

Television blackouts may soon be coming to your area for your home team.

If you are a fan of teams such as the Washington Redskins or Green Bay Packers, it’s no problem. Your team’s home games will be sold out (and not blacked out) for generations to come.
But in front-runner cities such as San Diego, TV blackouts may be on their way.

Jim Steeg, chief operating officer of the San Diego Chargers, said as much this week to

“Yes, local television blackouts are a definite possibility,” said Steeg. “Our goal right now is to make everyone aware that tickets are still available and that, at this point at least, blackouts are likely.

“It appears that both preseason home games (against Seattle and San Francisco) will be blacked out. Hopefully the knowledge that most home games likely will not be shown locally will spur additional fans to join us at the stadium. Our players want to play in a full stadium, and we want all of our fans to be able to watch all of our games on TV.”
There are issues:

First of all – and most of all – the nation’s economy is still hurting. People aren’t going to rush out to buy tickets primarily ranging from $74 to $98 to ensure someone else can watch the game on TV.

Local Native American casinos and TV stations – which have stepped up to the plate in recent years to buy tickets and ensure sellouts – just don’t have the funds to do so in this economic climate. Last year, TV bought out remaining tickets three times so games could be seen locally.

Charger fans are front-runners, anyhow. In the team’s only Super Bowl season (1994), the first home game vs. the Cincinnati Bengals was 10,000 seats short of a sellout.

The NFL could make an exception and televise all games locally in this down economy. But the chances of that happening are about as likely as the Oakland Raiders winning the Super Bowl this season.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Players should concentrate on football; not Twitter

Joe Tiller, former head football coach at Purdue University, was right about modern day players.

On an ESPN broadcast last season, Tiller said it’s hard to know what you will get from Saturday to Saturday because players sometimes “take a day off.”

Tiller further elaborated on the distractions of some players being more interested in spending the pregame making sure they know where friends are sitting so they can wave “hello” during the game than paying attention to a pregame pep talk.

Maybe Tiller has said goodbye to football, but we continue to say hello to the 21st century player who has trouble focusing.

First of all, the current generation has been raised to think they are special. It’s all about “me, me, I and I.”

Take the latest case of San Diego Chargers cornerback Antonio Cromartie sending out the following tweet on his Twitter account:

“Man we have 2 have the most nasty food of any team. Damn can we upgrade 4 str8 years the same ish maybe that’s y we can’t we the SB we need.” It cost Cromartie a $2,500 fine.

“I just thought it was harmless. It was just me talking about the food and stuff. I took it as a joke. But other people took it as a different kind of way,” Cromartie told the Associated Press.

One of the reasons San Diego did not make the Super Bowl in 2008 was a huge regression by Cromartie. He went from 10 interceptions in a Pro Bowl 2007 season to just two picks last year.

Then, we found out that Cromartie has seven children (under the age of 5) by five women in five different states.

Between having kids all over the place and his Twitter account, no wonder some in the Chargers organization question his concentration involving football.

Don’t blame it all on Cromartie, though. He’s just a typical example of the many players that drove Joe Tiller nuts.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Jury will long be out on Jake Peavy trade

Just because Clayton Richard pitched 5 2/3 solid innings Saturday night, it doesn’t mean the San Diego Padres made a great trade in getting rid of Jake Peavy.

On the other hand, perhaps the multitudes shouldn’t jump to conclusions by calling it a bad trade yet for the Padres.

If Peavy can help lead the Chicago White Sox to the playoffs this year, it’s certainly a good immediate trade for them.

But remember, Peavy practiced off the mound for the first time in nearly two months Sunday because of his ankle injury. It may be September until he can help the Chisox; if it all.

And if Peavy does pitch in the postseason, his small sample says he might not do so well.

In two division series games, Peavy is 0-2 with a 12.10 ERA. In addition, he gave up six runs on 10 hits in 6 1-3 innings during a one-game playoff for the National League wild card in 2007 vs. the Colorado Rockies.

As for the pitchers the Padres received from Chicago:

Richard was in the White Sox rotation and will continue to be a regular (and the only left-hander) in San Diego’s rotation.

Aaron Poreda, another southpaw, has been projected as a No. 2 starter by some among the MLB Network family and should join the Padres soon.

Minor-league right-handers Adam Russell and Dexter Carter both have potential … whatever that means.

Sure, this was another money dump for San Diego, which owed Peavy close to $55 million. But this might not have reached the fire sale stage yet of the 1993 Padres. (Hey, Heath Bell and Adrian Gonzalez are still in San Diego … for now.)

Is there another Peavy in this group? Doubtful.

But when the Padres drafted Peavy in the 15th round in 1999, who knew he would turn out to be the superstar (on those occasions when he’s healthy) that he has been?