Let's say you are one of those people who followed every move the Los Angeles Dodgers made during this season. You turned on the television, the radio, or your phone to watch or listen, knowing (except for that dismal month or so there) that they were going to win, but the only question was how. Was Cody Bellinger going to homer? Maybe Justin Turner will get three hits. Yasiel Puig might go deep. They kept you busy for six months, and ended up one win away from a world championship. So what are you supposed to do now?
Well, with the time change to where it's dark at 5 o'clock, with some wet weather coming and the cold getting here eventually (cold is relative in California, I know), you could just curl up until spring training camps open in February. The new Star Wars movie opens in a month—there's always that. Maybe you could find some other sports team to latch on to for awhile. That seems to make the time go by faster.
How about the Los Angeles Rams? They do play football now in LA, and the Rams are actually pretty good. They are 7-2 with quarterback and top draft pick last year Jared Goff no longer a rookie, and they have the strong part of their schedule coming up. You can tune in and see how they do at 7-2 Minnesota, with home games in the next few weeks against New Orleans and Philadelphia. Fox might even show the Rams game to more of the country this week, especially with the Forty Niners getting a bye week to enjoy their lone victory.
Not into football? Well you don't have to worry about the UCLA Bruins, then. Maybe they'll pull off an upset against USC, but they'll still likely only get a bid to the Who Cares Bowl in Mississauga, Ontario. 'SC has aleady clinched a spot in the Pac-12 title game, but seriously, so what. Oh yeah, the Chargers play in LA too now. They are 3-6 and lost to Jacksonville this weekend. Jacksonville!
Now wouldn't be such a bad time to check out the Lakers. They are 6-8, which is slightly better than the Clippers, and only five and half miles behind the Golden State Warriors. They've got that great rookie in Lonzo Ball, and his dad has even shut up for awhile, which is all the better. The Lakers are on national TV against Philadelphia Wednesday. I'm not sure how ESPN is marketing this one. It's either 'watch the two worst teams in the league last year duke it out on the hardwood', or 'check out the top two draft picks in the NBA meet for the first time and see who's off to the better start'. Tip time 7:30pm from Staples Center.
Speaking of tips, college basketball got started on Friday. UCLA defeated Georgia Tech in Shanghai, China, despite three freshmen under house arrest for shoplifting. How smart are Jalen Hill, Cody Riley, and LiAngelo Ball (yes, Lonzo's brother) for not only (allegedly) shoplifting, but doing so in a country that doesn't exactly have a sterling reputation for championing human rights. The three are still being detained in China, and could actually face lengthy prison time if found guilty of grand larceny. (The three are accused of stealing Louis Vuitton sunglasses from a store near the team's hotel, and reports indicate there is surveillance video to prove it). Ball's dad LaVar was at the game, too, and thank goodness ESPN didn't ask him for an interview.
So Dodger fans, if none of those ideas have you intrigued, then there's still one more team that's slowing down that bandwagon just enough because they can't wait for you to jump on. I'm talking, of course, about the Los Angeles Kings. So what if you think a blue line is what you wait in to pay for a discount at K-Mart, or you think icing is the best part of a cupcake (which, of course, it is). The Kings are 11-4 plus 2 overtime losses, which is good enough for first place in the Pacific Division, and one of the best teams in the league. You know how the Dodgers got to the World Series the year after Vin Scully retired? Legendary Kings broadcaster Bob Miller retired last year, so maybe that means a trip to the Stanley Cup finals. Of course, it's been almost 30 years since the Dodgers won it all. It's only been three since the Kings hoisted the big trophy.
So there are lots of choices to keep a Dodger fan busy for the next few months. Come to think of it, though, that curling up until February idea isn't all bad. I'm due for a nap anyway.
Sour pickles: I hadn't checked in on the amateur Great West (Baseball) League in awhile, so I was surprised and a little saddened to read that the Portland Pickles have ceased operations. The GWL was really founded in 2016 for two reasons (in my opinion)--to put a team in Chico that has had summer baseball success and give them some teams to play, and to resurrect baseball in Oregon's largest city, which has no pro baseball of any kind. They even renovated the ball park for the Pickles, and they seemed to have some moderate success. The same league announcement said that the Klamath Falls Gems, which have been around for a few years in another league, will move to the GWL for 2018, keeping the league with six teams, and making travel easier for the other five franchises. The league will enter its third year of play with only three of its original franchises (Marysville, Medford, and Chico—all owned by the same people, by the way) remaining.
Yeah, we know who the winner is: You couldn't ask for less drama when it comes to an awards presentation. The Yankees' Aaron Judge and the Dodgers' Cody Bellinger were both unanimous choices for their league's Rookie of the Year. Bellinger is the 18th ROY in Dodger franchise history. The Managers of the Year will be announced tomorrow, the Cy Young Award winners Wednesday, and Most Valuable Players on Thursday. It won't happen because Dusty Baker is not a finalist, but wouldn't it be funny if both Managers of the Year were guys who then got fired at season's end? Dusty's Washington Nationals and Joe Giardi of the Yankees are both deserving of accolades, not pink slips.
Once I was afraid. I was petrified: If I didn't give myself a mulligan a few weeks ago, this 'survival football' thing would really be something. I actually didn't survive when Buffalo beat Atlanta in Week 4, but I decided to ignore that, and have gotten my pick right every week before and since. Having now used Carolina, New England, Green Bay, Atlanta (incorrectly, but we'll still count it), Philadelphia, Houston, Cincinnati, the Rams, and Detroit (which beat Cleveland this weekend), we'll now select Kansas City over the 1-8 New York Football Giants. The Chiefs are big favorites, but the Giants are back home after getting embarrassed at San Francisco on Sunday. Niner fans finally got something to cheer about.
Today was my fifth anniversary at KNCO. It went completely unheralded and unnoticed, frankly, but it actually might be a personal record. I've had jobs like statistician for Sacramento Kings broadcasts, and doing Gold Sox games on the radio that have lasted each well more than ten years, but five years of full time employment in one place is something for me. I don't know if there will be a sixth anniversary, but something here is likely to change soon. Good or bad, only time will tell.