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African American news from Pasadena - RogersUSC football coach Pete Carroll finally discovered that Allen Bradford is on his team. Bradford just happens to be the most terrifying college running back that I have seen in many years. I could not understand why he had not received more playing time. For example, in a recent game against Notre Dame, Bradford carried the ball for a 10 yard gain. The entire Notre Dame team, and the state of Indiana, had jumped on his back, but they could not bring him down. At that time, USC had a 20 point lead, and I expected that they would give the ball to Bradford, and have him close out the game for them. But I was wrong.  The next play was a pass, and it was intercepted. Then Notre Dame scored again and again, and nearly tied the game in the last few seconds.

It was late in the game at the Coliseum last Saturday night, and the outcome of a game between the Trojans and the Oregon State Beavers was in doubt. There was fear of another upset in the air, and the fans were restless. Then someone remembered that Bradford was on the team, and they started giving him the ball. When it was all over, he carried the ball 15 times and gained 147 yards. That averages out to be 9.8 yards per carry, and he scored two touchdowns. USC does have phenomenal freshman Matt Barkley, as their new quarterback. Coach Carroll seems so blinded by his brilliance that he has turned USC from Tailback U to Quarterback U. Success in football, at any level, depends upon having a tough, dependable running back. Those who forget that, often suffer surprising upsets. The Trojans will get another reminder, when they go up to the Farm, and have to face Stanford's terrifying Toby Gerhart.

African American news from Pasadena - RogersThe Lakers are ready to roll. Everyone feels good about the team, except me. They have added Ron Artest, a great player, but one with a lot of baggage. I don't think that he and Bryant can happily coexist for 82 games. Troubled players are often available because they have caused trouble someplace else. I hope I'm wrong, so we will see.

Congratulations to both the Angels and the Dodgers. All in all, it was a successful season for them. They made it to the MLB Playoffs, and each won their opening Series. On paper, the Yankees have more talent than the Angels, and the Phillies have more talent than the Dodgers. In addition, teams from the warm weather on the West Coast usually don't play well in the frigid East. It would have been very nice to have a Freeway Series, but it was unlikely to happen, as most of us realized. The biggest shock for local baseball fans was the fact that Dodger owner Frank McCourt, and his wife were getting divorced.

There is a hint of scandal in the air. When I was young, I believed in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and Baseball Umpires.

My friends and I would go to at least every Sunday game, and we would sit in the bleachers. In case you did not know, those were the cheap seats, and they were quite a distance from home plate. Still, it was a lot of fun to go to the games, and it was something that we all enjoyed very much.

During every game, there would be at least one major argument between a player and a manager and the Umpire. We did not have instant replay then, and most of us assumed that the Umpire was always right and that the players were arguing because they did not swing at the third strike. It did not occur to us that some of the umpires were absolutely clueless as to what a ball or a strike was. They were just guessing, as we would have done, if we had been umpires.

A very bad call on a third strike by the plate umpire during a six-game of the World Series nearly cost the Angels a game. The umpire called ball four on Yankee Catcher  Posado, and the television showed that John Lackey had thrown strike three. So, instead of the inning being over, it was continued and the Yankees wound up scoring six runs.

It is well past time for balls and strikes to be called by the computers. This is a job that human beings cannot do well. Professional Tennis now uses computers to tell whether or not a serve is good or bad. The balls that are served travel just too fast, for human beings, to reliably judge where they land. The same thing is true in baseball, which is being led by doofus Commissioner Bud Selig, and is thus 30 years behind the time in everything, except Chasing Barry Bonds. In addition, baseball needs to implement instant replay, so that close calls can be reviewed, and the correct decisions can be reached. It is true that this  might mean that they do not need as many Umpires, but some of them are worthless anyway. Like the one who did not call the players out, when neither of them were standing on third base, and they were tagged by the catcher. They don't like to have their calls challenged, even when they are wrong. Tough turkey.

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