06.18.18: Five things you should plan for the week ahead based on unscientific evidence of guaranteed importance

2future1Thursday’s NBA Draft (4 p.m., ESPN, Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.) may mark the first day of summer, but it appears to shed little sunshine on the Lakers or Clippers. The former has the No. 24 overall pick (via that Cleveland trade) and No. 47, while the later has picks 12 (from Detroit) and 13. Phoenix chooses first, and Sacramento second. But with Kawhi Leonard now apparently available in San Antonio, one scenario is the Kings dealing that No. 2 choice to the Spurs for him. Philadelphia, the mess that it is with six picks in this draft somehow, could also put a package together. Wouldn’t that be a problem for the Lakers? University of Arizona freshman Deandre Ayton is supposed to go first, but Slovenia’s Luka Doncic could upset those plans. UCLA’s Aaron Holiday (who will share the stage with his two NBA brothers) and USC’s De’Anthony Melton are the local noteworthy players. And of the 60 players expected to get chosen, none seem to be named LiAngelo Ball (Lithuania, UCLA, Chino Hills), who had to spend last Sunday’s Father’s Day with …


2future2Rich Hill, who turned 38 last March, may have never thought he’d be venturing out to Rancho Cucamonga last Thursday trying to prove he can still pitch with a blister issue. He struck out 10 Single-A players in almost five innings against Lake Elsinore, throwing 75 pitches. He’s been on the DL since May 19, and missed three weeks earlier with a cracked nail. The body just falls apart at a certain point, doesn’t it? The plan appears for Hill to return to the rotation Tuesday in Chicago. We shall see.
Also this week for the Dodgers: At Wrigley Field in Chicago to face the Cubs, Monday and Tuesday at 5:05 p.m., Wednesday at 11:20 a.m., SportsNet LA; at CitiBank Field in New York to face the Mets, Friday at 4:10 p.m. (SNLA), Saturday at 4:15 p.m. (Channel 11), Sunday at 10:10 a.m. (SNLA)


2future3So, in San Jose, they’ve opened up their little soccer stadium and turned it into a live watch party for this World Cup thing going on in Russia. What a grand plan. If we could pick a game next week to plop ourselves down on the grass and witness entertaining kickball, it would be Nigeria vs. Iceland from Volgograd on Friday at 8 a.m. Remember, Nigerian fans are not allowed to bring live chickens into the stadium. But why can’t fans do that in San Jose?
The rest of the games of note coming up in pool play (find it somewhere on KTTV-Channel 11, FS1 or Telemundo):
Tunisia vs. England, Monday at 11 a.m.
Colombia vs. Japan, Tuesday at 8 a.m.
Portugal vs. Morocco, Wednesday at 5 a.m.
Iran vs. Spain, Wednesday at 11 a.m.
France vs. Peru, Thursday at 5 a.m.
Argentina vs. Croatia, Thursday at 11 a.m.
Brazil vs. Costa Rica, Friday at 5 a.m.
Germany vs. Sweden, Saturday at 8 a.m.
South Korea vs. Mexico, Saturday at 11 a.m.
England vs. Panama, Sunday at 5 a.m.
Poland vs. Colombia, Sunday at 11 a.m.


2future4Of all the things the Angels have to offer from their 2018 promotional schedule, Friday’s giveaway may be the most cringe worthy and get-worthy item of them all. There are so many ways we can go with the Trout Nutcracker, but since it falls under the “Christmas in June” promotion, and includes a post-game movie “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” after Saturday night’s firework show, we will keep it in that context. Mike Trout has managed to avoid injury at various stages of this season, one that many call one of the greatest in the history of the game to this point. Let’s not let a nutcracker derail it.
Also this week for the Angels: At Angel Stadium vs. Arizona, Monday and Tuesday at 7:07 p.m., Fox Sports West and ESPN; At Angel Stadium vs. Toronto, Thursday and Friday at 7:07 p.m., Saturday at 6:07 p.m., Sunday at 1:07 p.m., FSW


2future5OK, Ant-Man, let’s see how you do playing an MLB player. On RottenTomatoes, Paul Rudd’s new flick, “The Catcher Was A Spy,” is only getting 47 percent of the love. The rating is 6.3/10. The Metacritic has it at 53 percent. The IFC Films production based on the 1994 book by Nicholas Dawidoff about how former big-league baseball catcher Moe Berg lived a double life as a spy during World War II opens in theatres Friday. Berg worked for the OSS trying to help determine Germany’s atomic bomb capabilities. Here’s the review from Variety after it was screened at Sundance.  You decide if it’s worth catching on the silver screen after all this time in scriptwriting, production and distribution. Here’s more on Berg’s life from the NYPost.


06.18.18: Five things you need to know from this past weekend

Phil Mickelson faces a crowd of media after Saturday’s round, trying to explain himself after an act that could have got him DQ’d on the 13th hole.

If you spent the last three days unplugged from the world of sports, recharge your knowledge here:

1oneThe aftertaste of 28-year-old Brooks Koepka’s second straight U.S. Open triumph, this one at Shinnecock Hills in New York, is a strange one. The course was “cooked” on Saturday, resulting in eight players shooting 80 or worse, including Phil Mickelson having a “moment of madness” (in the words of his playing partner, Andrew Johnston) where he hit a moving ball on the 13th green that was about to roll off. Mickelson says he knew he would get a two-stroke penalty for the move, face a DQ by flaunting the rule and making a statement against the USGA, but he only embarassed himself more than anything. (“This was Mickelson’s attempt to be the smartest guy in golf once again,” wrote AP reporter Tim Dahlberg. “Mickelson should know there’s no place for that kind of behavior on any golf course.”) What was he thinking? Only he can answer it. The next day, someone named Tommy Fleetwood almost sets a record for lowest round in a major, missing a birdie putt on 18 that would have given him 62. For contest, Fleetwood shot a 78 the day before. And then there was Paulina Gretzky celebrating as if the father of her kids just won the event. That kind of summed it up.



1twoThe World Cup’s first full weekend. Let’s exhale.
Saturday: Argentina chipped away at Iceland but had to settle for a 1-1 draw. Yes, Iceland. Whose coach, Heimer Hallgrimsson, is a part-time dentist. Whose goalie, 34-year-old  Hannes Halldorsson, is a commercial film director that made a save on a Lionel Messi penalty kick that could have changed the outcome. The New York Times’ newsprint headline called it “David Earns A Tie with Goliath.” Said Fox analyst Alexi Lalas: “It’s an incredible story – this moment it wasn’t necessarily pretty, but they got the job done. I don’t think we can overstate how important this is and how big this is and how much this should be celebrated.” Then on Sunday, Mexico secured a 1-0 win over Germany — the first time since 1982 that the defending champs have lost an opening-round game. Some of the German newspapers were wondering if the team was actually boycotting the Russia event. Still, it left Mexico’s “Chicharito” Hernandez sheding tears of joy, and U.S. star Landon Donovan having to explain why he’s rooting on the El Tri in this event.


1threeDid the Dodgers take Father’s Day off as a holiday? A 4-1 loss Sunday under gloomy, overcast skies was a sour way to finish a week in which the Dodgers improved to 11-3 in the month of June and have won 21 of their last 28. As pointed out, the Dodgers averaged 7.15 runs per game, with a .581 slugging percentage and a .939 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, in the first 13 games of June. They had just four hits, all singles, on Sunday and scored their run on an error. The Giants won Sunday also while having to wear these light blue hats that were forced upon them (and all MLB teams) for Father’s Day (and prostate cancer awareness).


1fourKawhi Leonard wants out of San Antonio, according to many sources. He has L.A. on his radar, according to even more sources. The Lakers, in particular, would be his target landing spot, according to a few more sources. But don’t rule the Boston Celtics out of a Leonard Wish List move before the NBA Draft happens next week. “Indiana had little interest in Paul George trade w/ Lakers … and that’ll be case for Spurs too,” reminds ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski … “Lonzo to Spurs? Don’t hold your breath.” This, as the L.A. Times’ Bill Plaschke is unsurprisingly hyperventilating about all the possibilities.


1fiveCheck the bracket: The two Pac-12 teams at the College World Series will end up facing off in the elimination bracket Monday morning — Oregon State and Washington each lost their openers over the weekend in Omaha, Neb. Oregon State, which seemed to be in trouble after the first pitch of the game (see above) gave up eight runs in five postseason games, but North Carolina had that many in seven innings Saturday, knocking out starter Luke Heimlich in the third inning of an 8-6 win on Saturday. Mississippi State outlasted Washington 1-0 on a walk off single. The Huskies’ pitchers threw only 19 balls in nearly nine innings, but the result was Omaha’s first 1-0 result in 33 years. On the other half of the bracket, big-timers Florida and Texas have to meet Tuesday as one will knock out the other.

The Drill: Ned Colletti on the human side of making MLB decisions, his ‘Gram account and a special Father’s Day tattoo story

It was our pleasure to have former Dodgers GM Ned Colletti visit The Drill and sit in one of our big chairs for an extended interview today.
91WYqcRV0HLWe covered all sorts of things from the current status of the Dodgers, a deeper dive into his book “The Big Chair,” and a few quick hits on the news of the day.

Sports media notes 06.12.18: How Fox falls forward with a U.S.-empty World Cup and Telemundo turns up the flame with a Mexico-charged Copa de Mundo

Alexi Lalas, Fernando Fiore and Landon Donovan at the Fox Studios for the announcement of the 2018 World Cup brackets. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Fox Sports)

So we’re sitting around at the Fox Sports Studios in Century City back in early December. The sun has barely risen on a Friday morning call for all soccer hands on deck – particularly Southern California residents Landon Donovan and Alexi Lalas.
They wanted to be there, and maybe they didn’t, as the draw for the 2018 World Cup was taking place live in Russia and carried on FS1. A 2 1/2 hour show was devoted to the selection of the 32-team bracket.
The buzz in the air was interesting – anticipation for the announcement, but deflation knowing the U.S. isn’t one of them.
Team America, f*%# no.
Continue reading “Sports media notes 06.12.18: How Fox falls forward with a U.S.-empty World Cup and Telemundo turns up the flame with a Mexico-charged Copa de Mundo”

06.11.18: Five things you should plan for the week ahead based on unscientific evidence of guaranteed importance

2future1For about a year now, there’s this little green book we’ve kept nearby – on the night stand, in the backpack, next to the throne in the guest bathroom. It’s called “What We Think About When We Think About Soccer” by social philosopher Simon Critchley. (Here is a review by We pick it up, read some chapters, ponder, and put it down. Wait’ll the World Cup starts, we say. Then it will become more important. Critchley calls soccer (or football, if you will) “a working-class ballet.”  “Why is it beautiful and in what does its beauty consist?” he writes about the sport on page 15 in a chapter titled “Socialism.” It continues: “I will use the method of what philosophers call phenomenology to try and give some kind of answer to these questions. Phenomenolgy is a philosophical tradition that beings in the early twentieth century in the writings of Hurrerl and finds its decisive existential elaboration in the work of Heidegger, Sartre and Merleau-Ponty. It is a very simply: Phenomenology is the description of what shows itself to us in our everyday existence. … (it) is relearning to see the world… My hope is that this approach will enable the reader to see the beauty of football with slightly different eyes.” You’re already kinda lost but intrigued at the same time. Time’s up. The World Cup in Russia begins Thursday, and Mexico plays its first game of its group against Germany on Sunday morning (8 a.m., Channel 11), and maybe by the time you digest all this until the final scheduled for July 15, you’ve got just a good a shot of reading this book, feeling a little more superior in a group of friends, and then forgetting all of it when someone asks, “Why didn’t the U.S. qualify again?”At the very least, recalibrate your cognitive dissonance meter.

Continue reading “06.11.18: Five things you should plan for the week ahead based on unscientific evidence of guaranteed importance”

06.11.18: Five things you need to know from this past weekend before you stumble back to work Monday

If you spent the last three days unplugged from the world of sports, recharge your knowledge here:

1oneIf you strip down the Dodgers’ season to this point, Ross “Boss/Chicken Strip” Stripling might be their only thrower worthy of NL All-Star team consideration. And Max “Headroom” Muncy is making himself a candidate for the NL roster as a super utility man. Stripling, the 28-year-old wearing No. 68, tied the MLB high this season with his fifth straight victory during a 7-2 win over Atlanta at Dodger Stadium on Sunday. Muncy, the 27-year-old sporting No. 13 who admits he still pays rent on a place with some teammates at Triple-A Oklahoma City,  homered in his third straight game to give him 12 (tied with Cody Bellinger for the team lead) in just 44 games and 125 at bats for a team-best 1.011 OPS. Stripling (5-1, 1.65 ERA) has 49 Ks and five walks in his seven starts and he’s third in the NL in ERA (minimum 50 innings pitched) behind Justin Verlander and Jacob deGrom. The Dodgers’ overall look: A 6-2 record in June and 33-32 overall.
Continue reading “06.11.18: Five things you need to know from this past weekend before you stumble back to work Monday”

The Drill 06.8.18: A special edition about mental health, sports, and how ‘mental toughness’ doesn’t necessarily get you through some cloudy days

With the tragic passing of Anthony Bourdain — and other celebrities in recent weeks — Tom Hoffarth and Steve Lowery share their feelings on the state of mental health in American sports and life.
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255 (TALK)
Self-Harm Hotline: 877-455-0628
Depression Hotline: 888-640-5174
Twitters: @Tom Hoffarth @SteveLowery12 @McKLVtheJon