Not A Great Week—Sports Or Otherwise
April 15, 2013

Today was Patriot's Day. The annual Massachusetts holiday honoring the midnight ride of Paul Revere now features a Red Sox game in the morning, and then the sellout Fenway Park crowd spilling out onto the streets of Beantown to catch a glimpse of the Boston Marathon. An estimated half a million people line the streets to watch over 20-thousand runners. Some crackpot knew that, and decided to plant bombs near the finish line, killing at least two and injuring close to two hundred.

Today was Jackie Robinson Day. The 66th anniversary of the first black player in Major League Baseball. Even that occasion was somewhat tainted in Los Angeles because of a brawl in San Diego last week. The Padres faced the Dodgers in LA tonight, but the principals involved in the fight last week have been suspended. 90 year-old Rachel Robinson was in attendance tonight at Dodger Stadium, as was Harrison Ford, who played Branch Rickey in the movie “42”. Rickey's great-granddaughter sang God Bless America at the seventh inning stretch.

In this space this week, I was going to write about what a tough week it was for Los Angeles sports fans. Thursday night, Dodgers pitcher Zach Greinke broke his shoulder in that brawl with San Diego, after hitting Carlos Quentin with a 3-2 pitch, and Quentin subsequently charging the mound. 24 hours later, Laker superstar Kobe Bryant suffered a season-ending, and possibly career-threatening ankle injury. Bryant will miss the rest of the season, with the Lakers barely clinging to the final Western Conference playoff spot. At least Mike Scioscia hasn't been fired yet. The Angels were 2-8 before taking the final two games in the weekend series against the lowly Houston Astros. Hey, at least there's the Clippers. The NBA Pacific Division Champion Los Angeles Clippers. Sounds weird, doesn't it?

With the mayhem in Boston, it seems kinda silly to be talking about the woes of the Dodgers or Lakers, or anything to do with sports, really. Still, for those of us who follow the games people play, it is just as much reality as what's going on in the news. Trivial perhaps, but still real.

Sports can still provide good stories, though, and the two best stories of the week came out of the sport of Golf. An Aussie won the Masters for the first time ever, and a 14 year-old from China became the youngest to be the top amateur. If you only watch one hour of golf on TV all year, make it the final day of the Masters. Adam Scott defeated Angel Cabrera in two playoff holes one year after Bubba Watson somehow got his shot to make a right turn out of the rough to beat Louis Oosthuizen in two extra holes last year. I know its just an interview and some trying on of menswear, but the green jacket ceremony in Butler Cabin is a sports fan's must-see.

After what happened in Boston today, it is trivial to think a lot about sports, but remember, it was a sporting event that was going on at the time. To our knowledge, there were six people from the Grass Valley area who ran in the Boston Marathon today. We've been able to account for all of them, and that's what's really important.

42: I'm sure in this day and age, it would be impossible to accurately portray the bigotry and foulness that Jackie Robinson had to go through in the minor leagues, and then on to the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Watching '42' is not unpleasant, however, but still gives you a pretty good idea. The movie is rated PG-13, but does use the N-word a few times. If your kids are old enough to handle it, take them to see this film.

Announcer Observations: Listening to Charley Steiner and Rick Monday call last week's brawl in San Diego, and then watching the highlights, seemed like two different things. Steiner did a nice job calling the “action”, but neither Steiner nor Monday ever mentioned that Greinke said something to Quentin before Quentin charged the mound. Monday's comments were still a little one-sided, saying that Quentin made no attempt to get out of the way, when in fact he turned away, albeit not a whole lot.

Interleague Offerings: There are not one, but three interleague games during the week when Arizona travels to the Yankees, Texas is at Wrigley Field against the Cubs, and Kansas City goes to Atlanta. Over the weekend, it's back to just one game between leagues when the Dodgers travel to Baltimore. Sunday's game will be televised nationally by TBS. Next week, Miami visits Minnesota during the week where Sunday's game with the Mets was snowed out. Detroit is at Atlanta in an intriguing matchup next weekend.

Happy birthday to my Mom, who celebrated on Saturday. I didn't get to go home this year, but hopefully she had a good day.

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