Los Angeles Dodgers: Retire a Number for Vin Scully
Is it just me or should the Los Angeles Dodgers retire a number for Vin Scully?
Okay, the man has been doing the Dodger games since 1950.
Let's go get into the time machine and turn the clock back:
Give 'em Hell—Truman is president, the H-bomb hasn't been developed yet, Eisenhower wouldn't send any advisers to Vietnam for a few years, but Truman has sent a few, heck, Harry S. starts sending troops to South Korea, the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel is formally opened to traffic, the comic strips Peanuts and Beetle Bailey are first published. (If some of you don't know any of these things, that might help tell you how long ago 60 years was.)
And now we're back to the future:
This was 1950 folks:
The year that Ken Griffey, Sr., Doug Ault, Lyman Bostock, and Manny Trillo, were BORN. And so was: David Cassidy, Peter Frampton, Jay Leno, Stevie Wonder, and Cybill Shepherd.
This was before any team had moved to California.
This man is a Dodger institution! How rare is it that any one person gets to work for the same place for almost 60 years?
So, before we lose the man to the great field of dreams—where the Disciples are bat boys, the L.A. Blue win every game (especially against the Yankees), the white chalk lines, and the weather, and grass are always perfect (and real)—retire a number for him.
I would like the number to be his years of service with the Dodgers.
So, to make this possible, retire No. 60 this year and after he officially stops calling games, make it that number. What if Vin passes while calling a game? I think that would be great way to go.
I would like him to be honored while he is still here and his family can be there and see it. As an additional tribute, put the number on the official Dodgers' press box.
No. 60 would be a good number, don't you think?
So, if you think it is a good idea, contact the Dodgers and tell them about it.
And to you Vin:
- "Hi, everybody, and a very pleasant good career to you, wherever you may be."
- "As long as you live, keep smiling because it brightens everybody's day."
- "High drive into center field, and deep. Back goes Scully, a-way back, it's gone!"
- "Forget it."
Oklahoma's Five Keys to Motor City March
Wow! How many athletic programs have three different high-profile sports teams reach the top three in a season? Football and both men's and women's basketball. Add to that those three teams have arguably three of the best players in their sports: Sam Bradford, Courtney Paris, and Blake Griffin. Talk about ménage à trois dream fantasy heaven!
Okay, the Oklahoma Sooners have their best record (20-1) since the 1987-88 team that made it all the way the 1988 NCAA tournament championship game against the Danny Manning-led Kansas Jayhawks.
Most of us know what happened in that game: Manning turned in one of the best tournament finals performances in history—31 points, 18 rebounds, five steals, two blocked shots, and an MVP trophy in an 83-79 KU victory. (Having the game in Kansas City didn't hurt one bit either.)
Back in the 1980s, coach Billy Tubbs (1980-1994) showed up not long before a 6'9" forward from Tulsa, Wonderful Wayman Tisdale (1983-85). Before Tubbs and Tisdale, Lloyd Noble Center was place for football fans to chat about the upcoming spring practice twice a week.
But Tubbs had his best success with the 1988 team, led by Mookie Blaylock (1988-1989), Harvey Grant (1987-1988), and Stacey King (1985-1989). Two of those guys, Blaylock and Grant, would have pretty solid NBA careers. If only Wayman could have had a guard like Blaylock or Willie Warren.
Fast-forward 20 years: Now it is Jeff Capel's turn. This time Blake Griffin is playing the part of the dominant big guy a la Tisdale or Manning.
If Griffin stays four seasons at OU, he will have an outside shot at eclipsing Wayman's all-time career points (2,661) mark (22.3 PPG x 35 games x three seasons + 484 points from 2008 = 2,825). But he must want to stay and not get injured, and risk of injury is good reason to get a multi-million dollar paycheck.
Now Kelvin Sampson (1994–2006) almost derailed the program into NCAA-sanctioned purgatory, so it is pretty amazing that the team of Capel-Griffin & Co. has been able to pull off what they have so far. Even if the Sooners don't make it far in the tournament of 64 that comes this March, you have to say it has been a pretty amazing run with two pretty new key elements.
What will be the keys to repeating the 1988 tournament run?
1) Three-Guard Rotation
They must get solid play from three different guards. Between Willie Warren, Austin Johnson, and Tony Crocker, the three of them must get into a solid game-rotation routine. All three of them have had some really good games and some other games where they seem to disappear.
There is no doubt that the 20-1 record has been due to Griffin on one hand and one or two of these guys getting hot on the other. A good three-guard rotation is not only essential to winning the championship, but also in just getting there.
Going forward into the tournament, these three guys must smooth out their performances a little, not counting on one of them to get 20 (Warren had 35 points in the loss to Arkansas), but the three of them getting eight to 10 points and two to four assists apiece per game. Give me three with 10 over one with 35 anytime.
2) Big-man Sub for Blake
One of the big guys (Taylor Griffin, Ryan Wright, Juan Pattillo) must step up and give Blake at least a five minute rest per half, a respite he will need to go far in the tournament. Now, one of these guys doesn't need to step up every game, but at least one of them needs to in each game. They can take turns doing it, which would be a good idea, but it will be crucial that it does happen.
3) Unexpected defenses (1-3-Man)
When they get to the tournament, they are going to get some wild defenses that they haven't either seen before, or much of. Nebraska tried it (Jan. 21, OU 72-NU 61) but didn't have the manpower to pull it off. Arkansas did (Dec. 30, L 88-96). If you take the junk defense that Nebraska ran and a team like Pittsburgh runs it on Oklahoma in the tournament, and OU is not ready, they are toast.
Teams are going to run a 1-3 zone with a man on Blake. The Sooners must pick up these changing defenses right away, or five or 10-point runs will occur, and then it will be an uphill battle to get back in the game.
4) Pressure release for Blake
Not only does Griffin need a blow each half, but while he is on the floor he can use some help. One other player per game, don't care who it is, must have his day in the sun to take the pressure of Blake.
Griffin, like Tyler Hansbrough, has opponents' coaches designing their game plan to attack him. Hansbrough has stepped up both his points and rebounds in the face of opposing teams lining up a target on his jersey, and Griffin has gone even farther in improving his production from last year (points up 7.6 and rebounds up 4.9). But this is the regular season, and when March comes it will be a lot tougher.
In order to get to the final game, at least one other teammate must step up and do something each game to get the other team to notice him, and let Griffin slip off into a shadow for a few minutes (for a nice backdoor-where-did-he-come-from), if that is possible.
5) Toughness via Capel, especially at the point
Capel must be a tough coach, like Billy Donovan at Florida (or as Larry Brown did at Kansas). Capel must come across tough and composed. So far this season he has, but OU has yet to get to the tournament. He must convey this toughness to the players, but most importantly to the point guard.
If I had one player to take off the 1988 team, it would be Mookie; if you removed him from that team, it is doubtful the Sooners get past the first round. All the players are going to have to show some of the Billy Donovan-Scott Skiles-Terry Porter-John Stockton-type toughness, but at that one position, it means the ballgame.
Now, that doesn't mean that they have to score a bunch of points; five good points and five assists will do. But they must take the contact and hit those free throws at the crucial point in the game when it is needed and not back down.
All you have to do is look at Florida under Donovan for a blueprint. Great play for the 6'9"/6'10" guys, real toughness at the point, be ready for changing defenses, don't let your star carry the entire load, and all the players on the floor remaining very active and moving their feet.
Now Kansas got to play in Kansas City, so to be equal, OU should get to play the finals in Tulsa, right? So, right there you know it is going to be a tougher fit to get back the final game. I would argue that the entire tournament field will be more level this season, meaning that any team in the top 10 could win it all.
The ability of these freshmen to go to the NBA has changed the game. What if Kansas State still had Michael Beasley this season? Or Texas still had Kevin Durant and D. J. Augustin? Those two guys on the same team with A.J. Abrams and Damion James? Wow.
Capel can be the new Donovan and Griffin can be part of the "Blake and the Miracles" for the 2009 Oklahoma team. (The one thing that OU doesn't want is the following season, 1989, KU was banned from the tournament for recruiting violations of NCAA rules.)
In 1988 OU had Blaylock, Grant, and King, but guys like Milt Newton, Kevin Pritchard, Clint Normore, Keith Harris, and Lincoln Minor made the difference. OU had been leading the nation in scoring with 103 points per, but Kansas (like Florida) set the tempo. Newton had 15 points and hit all six shots from the field, including two three-pointers. You have to have the Newtons to step up if you want to see how sharp your scissors are on twine.
If the three guards, Warren, Johnson, and Crocker, can smooth out their play and jell in a good rotation, and be tough and clutch, there should be no reason that the 2009 Oklahoma team can't be better than the 1988 Kansas Jayhawks.
How about this: Willie Warren and the Wonders!
PS: Talk about depressing—with this economy and Detroit, OU winning the tournament may just be the bright spot of the year.
PPS: Can we also get Sam Bradford and Courtney Paris to play on this team?
I think what Warren, Johnson, and Crocker, have done this season has been great. But, you have to admit that there have been games where each one of them was almost totally MIA. And, we are talking about getting to the final game of the tournament. For that they will have to think just a little more about playing as a "team" (the examples of 1988 Kansas and '06 & '07 Florida are perfect).
So, when the go out there on the court, I want each of them to have the mind set: I am going to get my 10-15, but I am also going to help the other two get their 10-15. So, it is not that I think they haven't played good, they have, I just want them to "smooth" out the peaks and valleys just a little bit. We are not talking about anything major here. It is something that Capel can work on between now and the start of the NCAA 64-team race.
I don't know if he said it first, but when I heard it back in the '70s, it is something that really stuck with me; a reporter asked Willie Stargell what the 'key was to being great', he said one word:
So, instead of 35, then 2, the 22, then 6, I want to see 15, 17, 14, 18. Don't swing for the fence every time, just try to make contact.
I worked for the Portland Trail Blazers for the 1986-87 season, and after a very choppy rookie season (1983-84; 7.7 PPG), Clyde Drexler got to where he put up about 12 to 15 points without you noticing it. Then he would tack on another 10 to 15 points that got your attention. In '88 and '89 he averaged 27.1 PPG, but you only remembered half of them in any one game. It was a workman like attitude that he had, 'I am going to get five points per-quarter, anything else is gravy-that I will take advantage of what the defense gives me.'
If you go look at the game logs for those two season for him, you see this consistency: In 159 regular season games Drexler scored under 10-points once! (9 points in a win over Golden State December 12, 1987) And he scored under 15 points 5 times. FIVE in 159. And 19 games under 20! That means 140 with 20 or more out of 159. What a stud. What CONSISTENCY.
I want Willie Warren to play like Willie Stargell; 1) Tough, and 2) Consistent
To any one not familiar with Willie Stargell and Clyde Drexler:
- Willie Stargell: An Autobiography -- by Willie Stargell and Tom Bird
- Clyde the Glide -- by Clyde Drexler and Kerry Eggers, with forward by Jim Nantz
Juárez Murders; BC's "Highway of Tears"; Peter Greenburg's "Don't Go There!"
"Don't Go There!"
Peter Greenberg's guide to the must-miss places of the world.
About the Yellowhead Highway Greenburg had this to say:
"Even what seems like a perfectly safe place to visit can be a deadly destination — on the road. Highway 16 in Canada is nicknamed the "Highway of Tears"; in 30 years, there have been at least 43 unsolved murders of women along this isolated highway."
But he didn't have Juárez on the list?
Well, here is what I say:
A) Canada Highway 16, or the Yellowhead Highway goes from Portage la Prairie (Winnipeg), Manitoba, to Prince Rupert (Masset on on the northern coast of Graham Island via ferry), British Columbia.
The "Highway of Tears" is the 724-kilometer portion in British Columbia (Hwy 16) from Prince Rupert to Prince George, according to the RCMP. The RCMP has also extended the Highway of Tears south on BC-Highway 97 to Kamloops.
It is a remote, rugged, and beautiful place.
Of the murder victims, all were young females, all but one of the victims were aboriginal (although they didn't look it), and all were between the ages of 15 and 25 years old when they disappeared (not sure about Maureen Mosie?), and most all of the victims were last seen hitchhiking alone. According to the RCMP there are 18 victims:
1) Monica Ignas, 15, last seen alive December 13, 1974 in Thornhill, just west of Terrace
2) Alberta Williams, 24, last seen alive on August 27, 1989 leaving Popeye's Pub in Prince Rupert at about 2:30 a.m.
3) Delphine Nikal, 15, missing since June 13, 1990 hitchhiking from Smithers to Telkwa
4) Ramona Wilson, 16, last seen alive June 11, 1994 hitchhiking between Smithers and Moricetown
5) Lana Derrick, 19, missing from Terrace since 1995
6) Roxanne Thiara, 15, last seen alive in Prince George in July, 1994 and found dead near Burns Lake in August of that year
7) Leah Alishia Germaine, 15, found dead in Prince George in December, 1994
8) Nicole Hoar, 25, missing since June 21, 2002 hitchhiking west of Prince George
9) Tamara Chipman, 22, missing since September 21, 2005 hitchhiking outside of Prince Rupert
10) Aielah Saric-Auger, 14, found dead on Highway 16 east of Prince George in February, 2006
11) Gloria Moody, found dead in Williams Lake in 1969
12) Micheline Pare, murdered in Hudson Hope in 1970
13) Gale Weys, killed in Clearwater in 1973
14) Pamela Darlington, found dead in Kamloops in 1973
15) Colleen MacMillen, murdered in 100 Mile House in 1974
16) Monica Jack, killed in Merritt in 1978
17) Maureen Mosie, found dead in Kamloops in 1981
18) Shelly-Ann Bascu, missing from Hinton since 1983
So, fat white guys like Peter Greenberg are safer than Jodie Foster in the panic room.
Anyone with information on the Highway of Tears girls please contact Prince George Crime Stoppers at:
Tips can also be made online at:
B) Juárez murders:
In 2008, in the city of Juárez, there were 1,605 murders! Over 2000 for the state of Chihuahua. There were 40 in one 48-hour period. 26 people on Friday November 28.
More than 400 women have been killed since 1993, with the majority of the cases going unsolved.
In August 2008 alone 228 people died. In December 195.
According to the newspaper El Universal based in Mexico City:
Armed groups linked to Mexico's drug cartels murdered around (for the whole country):
1,500 in 2006
2,700 in 2007
5,630 in 2008
Since the war in Iraq started in 2003, at least 4,223 U.S. soldiers have died there (through Jan. 9th 2009). 314 U.S. soldiers died in Iraq in 2008, 904 in 2007.
Iraq is safer than Juárez.
President Felipe Calderon of Mexico should declare war and ask the U.S. military to come in and clean it up (at least they could come home for weekends and holidays!). Then we can go clean up Haiti! If I had the money I would start a national advertising campaign here in the United States telling people NOT to go to Juárez or the state of Chihuahua. There should be huge billboards at the Mexican border with images of the bodies and a McDonald's like counter:
"Over X,XXX killed"
Please email Mr. Calderon: Presidencia de la Republica (email@example.com)