WORLD SERIES - By the time you read this, it may be over, since Boston currently has a 3-2 lead, and they are headed back to Massachusetts to play game 6. If the Cardinals win that one, then there will also be a game 7. It is interesting to me to note how baseball has changed in my lifetime. In the old days, each team had two or three fearsome home run hitters. The score in a typical game might be 10-8. Very few, if any, pitchers could throw a baseball faster than 90 miles an hour. So, the big hitters went to the plate with a great deal of confidence. It was the pitchers who were trembling.
Today, there are a number of pitchers who routinely throw the ball 98 miles an hour, or faster. Any way you look at it, that is some serious heat. As a result, there are many strikeouts, and not many scores. The purists may enjoy this, but I like to see someone knock the ball into the stands. Also, if I was the Manager of the Cardinals, I would walk Big Poppy every time he came to the plate, even if the bases were loaded. At one point in the Series, he had gone to bat 12 times, and he had 9 hits. Incredible! So, if the Cardinals had walked him every time, they might be leading the Series, or they might have already won it.
UCLA - The Bruins had their heart broken when Oregon routed them by a score of 42-14. The score was numerical 14-14 at the half. However, the Bruins and their fans knew that bad things were likely to happen to them in the second half. The Ducks turned up the heat and scored 28 unanswered points. Brett Hundley had a disappointing game and the team gained only 64 passing yards. They will be playing Colorado at the Rose Bowl on Saturday. This is a game that they can, and should win if they play well. The Buffaloes are 0-4 in the Conference, but they should not be taken lightly.
USC - The Trojans will be in Corvallis to play the Oregon State Beavers, on Friday night. Unlike many past years, this will not be a walk in the park, since the Beavers have a record of 4-1 in the Conference. It used to be fun for the local teams to play any team from Oregon. The Beavers and the Ducks routinely gave up 72 points to any opponent. Then Nike Founder Phil Knight gave a great deal of financial assistance to Oregon University, which is his alma mater. This turned the Ducks into winners, and some of that money must have spilled over to Oregon State University. Those Beavers are almost as tough as the Ducks. Unbelievable!
Ed Orgeron, the interim head football coach, has won the support of many of the Trojan Family. The team is playing much better than it did under Kiffin, and Ed is in a recruiting frenzy. While he knows that USC would like to hire an elite coach with a proven track record, he is fighting hard to show that he should have the job. I think that if he gets the Trojans into a Bowl Game and wins, that he should become the next permanent coach. Even if they do not do that well, I hope that he receives strong consideration for the position. Fight on, Ed!
LAKERS - I think that this will be a most difficult season for this team. Basically, it is a hodgepodge of older players, castoffs, and rejects. Even if Kobe Bryant is able to return to championship form, the only other quality player on the team is Pau Gasol. I do not think that Coach D'Antoni has the strength to maintain the control of this group of underachievers. The fans and the media will be on him 24 hours a day, and in the past, he used poor judgment in trying to respond to them. To add to his problems, even if Bryant is playing well, he will still be uncoachable and that will be another distraction that he will have to deal with. The Lakers are paying him $4 million a year, and he will earn every cent of it.
CLIPPERS - This is the year that the Clippers dominate Los Angeles. Their opportunity just could not be more perfect. This is the way that Germany looked at Poland in 1939. There is nothing here to stop them. The once powerful Lakers are now helpless and hopeless. So, all they have to do is march in and plunder the city. Their leader is Doc Rivers, simply one of the best in the world. This team will become a disciplined, hard-working machine that takes no prisoners. I do not think that they will be able to dislodge Chicago, Indiana, or Miami, but they will be in the conversation.