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Sports Watching and Wondering

Black news from Pasadena - Sports - Commentary on baseball, NBA, NFL and golfThe Dodgers are in first place. For most of the season, they were the least motivated team that I have ever seen. They were counting on Matt Kemp and Andre Either at the beginning of the season. Kemp always seems to be injured, and Either was busy sulking.

Mattingly did not know how to take charge, the way that Kirk Gibson would have. So, the team was stumbling through the season with more losses than wins. It was during these bad times that Yasiel Puig landed in Los Angeles, and put the Dodgers on the winning track.

Finally, there was a talented player who really enjoyed playing baseball. His batting average was over 400, he had an arm like a cannon, and he could run like a deer. Best of all, he enjoyed playing baseball! What a novel idea.

The fans immediately fell in love with him, and he found ways to give them new thrills every night. Some of his teammates grew envious and decided that they too would play better. So, since June 1, the won-loss record for the team is 28-16, the best in the National League. They have also received good play from Ramirez and Crawford. The Dodgers should become the champions of the NL West, and then they can worry about Atlanta and St. Louis.

Major League Baseball has suspended Ryan Braun for the remainder of the season, for multiple violations of baseball's drug policy. It seems peculiar to me that so many fans and pundits are surprised that he was suspended. He failed a drug test about a year ago, but he managed to have the results thrown out on a technicality. A sample of his urine had been stored over a weekend, before it was sent to the laboratory for analysis.

Braun, and his people, argued that the temporary storage was a violation of the protocol, and he had the results of the sample declared null and void. However Bud Selig was on to him and it was just a matter of time before they reeled him in.

Alex Rodriguez is expected to be the next person to be suspended. He has been suspected of using illegal substances for many years, but no one was able to prove that he was. Now, they are saying that they have the goods on him, and this may result in him being banned from baseball forever.

He has a big financial stake in the outcome of this mess, as he is owed nearly $100 million by the Yankees. If he is kicked out of baseball for cause, they may not have to pay him anything. Since he is no longer a good player, the Yankees are most hopeful that this move will save them a lot of money.

The time between the end of the NBA season and the beginning of the NFL is kind of boring. For many fans, baseball alone is not enough. Happily, for many of us, the NFL will start to play their games in August. This should be an interesting year, since both the San Francisco 49ers and the Washington Huskies both have teams that should compete for the championship. It has been a long time since anyone could make that statement.

Tiger Woods seemed ready to win another tournament last weekend. It was Saturday morning, and he was just one stroke behind the leader. He had been playing well, so like many of his other fans, I had great expectations for the weekend. However, Tiger did not play well on Saturday, and he played even worse on Sunday. Bummer!

Tiger has been a great golfer all his life. However, most of his professional success happened when Steve Williams was his caddie. Williams had asked and received permission from Woods to caddie for another golfer, while Woods was injured. Then, it seems to me, he became worried Williams might want to drop him and become the permanent caddie for one of his competitors. So, he struck first, and fired Williams. Williams was surprised, and very hurt. It became clear to everyone, including Woods that Williams had intended to remain his caddie as soon as Tiger could play again.

I had noticed in some of the earlier matches that Williams was a strong motivating factor for Woods. He kept telling Woods that the next shot would be better, and generally working hard to keep him in a good frame of mind. Maybe Tiger needed Steve more than any of us realized. While this may be true, I do not think that they will ever work together again.

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