August 14, 2010

Frank Deford gave the reasons it’s an advantage being a left-hander.

“For the 90 percent of us who do things the right way, it has probably escaped our attention that, for the
last 34 years, Aug. 13 has been designated International Left-Handers Day. As a minority that has
historically been put upon, you southpaws certainly deserve your own holiday this Friday. However, and not
to be gauche about it, but in sports, every day is left-handers day.
Trust me, if you are a young parent and you want to give your son every advantage, spend a fortune sending
him to all the right schools and teaching him all sorts of cultural skills, just save your money. Instead,
tie his right arm behind his back as soon as he gets out of the crib and teach him to be a left-handed
relief pitcher, and that kid of yours will still be making a good living pitching, when you’re in assisted
living — him paying your way. A left-handed reliever can last forever.
Well, so can some southpaw starters. I spoke to Billy Beane, the Oakland A’s general manager, reknowned for
his command of statistics, and he told me it was absolutely true, the A’s’ figures showed that left-handed
pitchers as a group don’t throw as fast as right-handers. But they don’t have to be as good. They’re needed.
Why? Duh. Left-handed pitchers are needed to get left-handed batters out.
It’s those sports, like baseball, which feature the mano-a-mano component, where portsiders have the edge.
The left-handers’ propaganda — I was going to say propaganda arm — but let’s say propaganda lobby —
argue that southpaws succeed in sports because they’re more influenced by the right side of the brain,
which influences creativity. Right-handers, being left-brained and allegedly duller, maintain that
left-handers do well simply because they’re rare. Whether it’s boxing or wrestling or fencing or tennis,
all of a sudden you’re facing a strange creature coming at you differently.
Right-handers also say that left-handers in sport, like blondes in sitcoms, are goofy. Sylvester
Stallone’s Rocky was a southpaw, remember? Of course, he was goofy.
GALLERY: Famous lefties in sports
Rafael Nadal, a natural right-hander, was taught to play left-handed, which was why he was just about the
only player in the world who could beat Roger Federer, when he was the best tennis player in history. Now
Nadal is No. 1 himself, like Laver and Connors and McEnroe and Navratilova and Seles, all who beat
right-handers with that confounding different spin. Bill Russell, the great Celtic center, told me that the
main reason why he was the greatest shot-blocker in basketball history was simply because his dominant left
arm perfectly countered a right-hander’s natural shot.
Left-handers aren’t so valuable in sports like football, where one-on-one isn’t so pronounced. And soccer?
Who ever heard of a southhoof? Except primarily for Phil Mickelson, left-handed golfers have always been
oddities, but never bowl a lefty for money. It has something arcane to do with the way the lanes are oiled.
So, why have left-handers managed to survive evolution, in a right-handed world? Well, even some animals
are supposed to be lefties. Polar bears, for example. Who knew? But it’s probably because of athletics that
left-handed human beings are still with us. Being different, they won more duels and passed their genes
down to southpaw relief pitchers, who thrive to this day … because they’re needed against left-handed

Chris Erskine of the LA Times nominated this “All-Ego Team.”

“Ego makes the sports world go round. We could either become bitter about that, or mock it. So with
mocking in mind, we give you the somewhat annual All-Ego Sports Team, based on a careful study of the
boneheads and blunderkinds who have graced us with their over-the-top behavior. As you can see, it’s been a
very good (or bad) year.

First team

LeBron James, pro athlete: The captain of this year’s All-Ego Team. In an era of tatted-up, trash-talking
ballplayers, he sets new standards in icky self-importance. Even so, doesn’t the NBA get better by the
minute? Where would All-Ego teams be without it?

Ben Roethlisberger, pro athlete: If ego were rum, he’d be Mel Gibson. Nobody plays football with more
heart. Nobody parties with less brains. This kind of abusive behavior used to be tolerated. But even in
Pittsburgh, his act has grown old.

The NFL, sports league: If this control-freaky league were an emperor, it’d be Kaiser Wilhelm. Oversees a
magnificent product with a heavy hand and too much Madison Avenue panache. Let it breathe, baby. Let it

Lance Armstrong, cyclist: If he sticks around much longer, we’ll have to get him rust-proofed. Get off the
bike already and serve as a spokesman for some worthy cause. Otherwise, you’re going to wind up as the
Brett Favre of cycling.

Mark Cuban, team owner: Will he eventually purchase the Dodgers? Will he add mascots and midgets? Somehow,
the dude seems destined to wind up in Los Angeles appearing in his own comedy show — which the Dodgers have
managed to become.

Jerry Jones, team owner: Colossal stadium, colossal id. How come you Texans always make the most bombastic
team owners? His star turn on this season of “Entourage” gives hope to wax museum figures across the land.

Free agency: OK, not a person. But what a beast. What has been good for pro athletes has been a disaster
for fans, particularly in baseball, where the long season should make for a more familial atmosphere. Who
are these guys?

Mike Garrett, former AD: Not since Richard Nixon have we seen anyone mishandle an important national crisis
this horribly. Terrible instincts helped lead to his impeachment. The new poster child for win-at-all-costs

Rex Ryan, football coach: Buddy Ryan’s little boy is rattling cages around the NFL. Is he a breath of fresh
air or hot air? Time will tell. With a little effort, he could top the All-Ego list. In the plus category:
Bill Belichick must lie awake nights worrying about this guy.

Any fan who got a foul ball and didn’t flip it to the closest kid: You expect athletes to do the right
thing? Why not you? New rule: If you get a foul ball, go ahead and wave it proudly in the air. Then hand it
to the nearest youngster.

Second team

Alex Rodriguez, showboat: Headed to the All-Ego Hall of Fame — on the very first ballot.

The McCourts, Dodger dawgs: You might’ve heard about the breakup? Pretty good owners till then.

Tiger Woods, duffer: Soon, his only endorsement will be for eHarmony.com.

Scott Boras, greed counselor: See free agency (above).

Carlos Zambrano, meltdown artist: If only the rest of the Cubs swung the bat half as well as he swings at
water coolers.

Chris Berman, broadcasting blowhard: Thanks, pal. You almost single-handedly ruined the Home Run Derby.

Serena Williams, anger management specialist: Yes, female athletes can be as boorish as men. Congrats.

The Philly Phanatic, baseball fuzz-kill: A Muppet on meth.

Manny Ramirez, human bobblehead: Good riddance, Rapunzel. Go let down your locks somewhere else.

Kobe Bryant, recovering egomaniac: Because he’d probably be insulted if we didn’t include him.

Pete Carroll, fugitive: Real men clean up the messes they leave.

Barry Bonds, chemist: And you thought we forgot?

Dishonorable mention: Chad Ochocinco, Shaquille O’Neal, Tony La Russa, Bill Belichick, Tom Cable, Nike,
Carmelo Anthony, Isiah Thomas, David Beckham, Ozzie Guillen, Jim Rome, Terrell Owens, Bob Costas, Alberto
Contador, Yankees fans, the French World Cup team.


DURING FOUR agonizing rounds of what passed for golf at Firestone in Akron, Ohio, Tiger Woods spent more time in the forest than Robin Hood, more time in the sand than Lawrence of Arabia and more time in the water than Michael Phelps.

Twenty-one bogeys, three doubles during four Bridgestone World Invitational rounds of 74, 72, 75 and 77.
The only thing that kept Woods out of the 80s in three of the rounds was 10 birdies. It was a shocking thing to see – even more jaw-dropping than the first pictures of the Escalade against his neighbor’s tree, when The Trouble bubbled to the surface last Thanksgiving.

No athlete in the history of fun and games had been more dominant in his sport than Woods. Not the NFL’s Joe Montana. Not the NBA’s Michael Jordan. Not the NHL’s Gordie Howe. Not even baseball’s Babe Ruth.

To win a major on the PGA tour, a golfer skilled enough to qualify for an event must beat 156 of the world’s best professionals. For Woods to have won 14 of them while still at the lower end of a golfer’s
prime years defies comparison.

But when Tiger hacked his way over just about every square inch of Firestone – where he had won seven tournaments – on his way to that final round 77, I remembered a round my father shot at the Atlantic City Country Club. He was about a 12 handicap and shot a 76. He was 65 at the time. Thousands of recreational golfers shoot Tiger’s final round score each year. The drinks at the 19th hole are on them. However, Woods with that number after his name generates fear and loathing.

Watching the uncertainty of his short game and putting, the wildly sprayed tee shots and disconsolate marches into the deep rough, deep sand or deep woods, I asked myself if this former automaton of perfect
shot-making could be suffering from a golfing version of Steve Blass Disease.

Blass remains the classic example of Forgetting How, the sudden inability to throw a baseball to a spot by a professional who had always had fine control.

Pitching a baseball and hitting a golf ball are similar in several respects. Both involve steering a ball
toward a very small target. Both involve a finely tuned database of muscle memory, the mechanics of the
perfect golf swing against the mechanics of the perfect delivery. Woods making a shambles of Augusta
National and its ice-slick greens or the wind-raked meadows of St. Andrews and Pebble Beach were the
rewards for that precision. Just as an on-form Roy Halladay pounding both sides of the strike zone with
four pitches, all moving wickedly, represents the highest level of the pitching art.

And then one day you are Steve Blass. It is 1973 and the season before you were runner-up to the great
Steve Carlton for the Cy Young Award. You were the Pirates ace with a 19-8 record and a 2.49 ERA. Your arm
feels fine. Your mechanics are still tight and efficient. But the results are horrific. You strike out just
27 hitters and walk 84 in 88 2/3 innings. Your ERA is 9.85 and you are out of the rotation. There is no
real physical or mental explanation for the reversal of form that will end your pitching career by 1975.

Blass was not the only one, of course. The Phillies had Joe Cowley, who once threw a no-hitter for the
White Sox. Joe was a big righthander with electric stuff. He was 11-11 with a 3.88 in 1986 with 83 walks
and 132 strikeouts.

The Phillies expected him to be a solid 3 or 4 in ’87. Cowley and the strike zone became total strangers.
His final big-league season – he was only 28 – lasted four starts and one relief appearance spanning 11 2/3
IP. He walked 17 and struck out five. His ERA was an engorged 15.43. He was optioned to Triple A, where he
was 3-9 with a 7.86 and 76 walks in 63 innings.

Then there were the position “Forgot Hows.” Mackey Sasser, the catcher who needed a sequence of contortions
before he could throw the ball back to the pitcher. Dale Murphy was drafted as a catcher, but when he had
trouble hitting the pitcher with a 60-foot throw, he was moved to rightfield. Tommy Lasorda closed his eyes
and prayed every time a ball was hit to scatter-armed Steve Sax.

Wilt Chamberlain could bank in impossible-looking fallaways with forwards chinning themselves on his arms,
but put him on the foul line and he was a basketless case. Righthanded, lefthanded, scoop shots. Standing 5
feet behind the line. Nothing worked. Wilt even tried taking a running start and jamming the basketball.
The NBA said, “Uh, no.” Shaq is not as clueless, but he is close.

There is a big difference between forgetting how to throw strikes, however, and forgetting how to throw,
period. I witnessed the bizarre case of Larry Keener, a 6-5 righthander from Kentucky who was the Phillies’
second-round pick in the 1967 draft. He came down with a bum shoulder at a time before the labrum and
rotator cuff were invented. Larry sat out a year after major surgery.

In spring training, the Phillies were shocked to learn that Keener was unable to throw a baseball with
anything resembling proper form. Picture a natural righthander trying to throw lefthanded.

I was there when the Phillies’ braintrust-owner Bob Carpenter, farm director Paul Owens, manager Gene Mauch
and assorted coaches stood behind a practice mound and quite literally tried to teach the kid how to throw
again. It went something like this:

“That’s right . . . Lift your left leg and kind of balance your weight on your right leg while you bring
the arm back and down . . . Turn the right hip . . . Take the baseball out of the glove while striding
toward the plate . . . Move your arm in an overhand motion and, and . . . ”

The voice of Mauch finished the tutorial. “Now throw the sumbitch . . . ”

Keener never could. He pitched 10 1/3 innings in the low minors. The ERA that went with an 0-5 record was
24.39. He walked a colossal 40 hitters. The Phillies tried to make him a first baseman, but that didn’t
work, either.

Tiger Woods tossed two birdies and a par in the face of gorgeous, treacherous Whistling Straits yesterday.
Then he subsided into that metronomic, just-missed-it rhythm typical of the tour’s rank and file. He showed
no Blass-like tendencies and his one-under 71 has him in the wind shadow of the leaders.

It does not appear that history’s greatest golfer has Forgotten How.


August 12, 2010

Michael Wilbon, of the DC Post, has decided not to allow his 2-year-old son to play organized football when
he is older.

“While we’ve been obsessing over LeBron James’s decision and Brett Favre’s indecision, a real story – one
of staggering importance – has pretty much been ignored. It’s a story of the NFL finally facing the truth
about the frightening nature of head injuries, a story that could one faraway day lead football down the
same path as boxing, one that has already persuaded me to ban my son from ever playing organized football.
There’s been precious little angst or public discussion to this point even though America’s current
national pastime, professional football, is very quietly trying to figure out what to do about the biggest
crisis the sport has ever faced: head injuries. The NFL, less than two weeks ago, produced a poster warning
players of the dangers of concussions to the point of admitting that multiple head injuries can lead to
permanent brain damage.
The posters, headlined with the single word “CONCUSSION,” now hang in every locker room in the league and
appear to be the equivalent of the Surgeon General’s warning on every single cigarette package that smoking
can kill you.
This reflects a stunning reversal by the NFL on the severity of concussions and comes on the heels of
various academic studies that have produced conclusive findings, not to mention the revelation that the
late Chris Henry, a wide receiver who played only five NFL seasons and was never determined to have had a
concussion, suffered from a form of degenerative brain damage caused by multiple hits to the head.
One would think this would be enough to scare at least the families of every young football player in
America and start a national examination of just how big a health hazard football is. Yet, the stories have
been, so far anyway, a collective footnote.
What we’re in is a national denial. Nobody wants to hear that football is so dangerous that the NFL is now
asking players to not only report their own head injuries but to turn in teammates they suspect are
exhibiting symptoms of concussions. Nobody wants to hear that former NFL players suffer from Alzheimer’s
and other memory-related diseases, headaches and other neurological problems at a rate many times higher
than the national population. Football, perhaps more than anything else in the culture, is to be celebrated,
 not examined too closely, lest we freak out about what we find.
What players are finding this preseason is a new set of rules that have introduced caution, an about-face
policy that runs away from past practices and warns players in stark language about the kinds of
neurological problems that can result from concussions.
David Pollack, a three-time all-American and first-round draft pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2005, now
hosts a radio sports-talk show in Atlanta and calls college football games for ESPN. Four years ago, at the
beginning of his second NFL season, Pollack suffered a broken sixth cervical vertebrae while making a tackle.
He wasn’t paralyzed, thankfully, but the injury ended his career.
“It’s a weird, weird topic,” Pollack said in a conversation about concussions last week. “It’s a gladiator
sport, and no matter the injury we want to be back in the game. … Intellectually, you know it’s scary.
Practically, I can say this: I bet you it doesn’t scare guys while they’re playing. When you barricade
yourself in that world you make your responsibility to your teammates your priority.
“I don’t remember a lot of things, dates, memories. I thank God I broke my neck and had to get out of
football when I did. I actually think that when I see the older players, some of the things they suffer
from and think, ‘Wow.’ ”
If you successfully introduce this subject to any gathering of football sycophants, one of them is certain
to suggest that these injuries are the result of the violent hits that can only be caused by players as big
and as fast as professionals, that none of this pertains to high school kids, which Pollack scoffs at,
going to back to his own hits in high school. The New York Times, which has reported extensively on this
topic, quoted current Baltimore Ravens cornerback Domonique Foxworth as saying, “Ninety-nine percent of the
people who put on helmets don’t get the payback we do, but they’re taking the same risks.
[The warnings are] probably more valuable to them than it is to a lot of us.”
Given what we’ve learned recently, that the trauma and the long-term effects begin in high school, if not
earlier, I told Pollack that my son, Matthew, who is 2, simply won’t be allowed to play organized football.
The risk is too great, and to what end? When I asked Pollack, knowing what he knows and having experienced
such a serious injury, whether he’ll allow his son Nicholas, 2 years old, to play organized football, he
“I struggle to answer that,” he said. “My goal? For him to hold a golf club in his hand. I don’t know if I
can stop him, and I won’t push him to play football. Funny thing is, here I am doing college football games
for ESPN. I loved the camaraderie, the friendships. But I’d definitely be okay if he doesn’t play.”
So even though nobody believes for one second, today, that football in America could be in any kind of
jeopardy, we have to wonder what could happen in 10 years when parents have an additional decade of
research detailing the effects of cognitive issues confronting another generation of former football
players. If a sportswriter and former NFL player steer their sons clear of organized football, what might
that say long-range about the game’s viability? What happens in 20, 25 years when the research on brain
injuries at the youth football level piles so high parents simply can’t ignore it?
There is a sporting precedent. For the first 60 years of the 20th century, prize fighting trailed only
baseball in popularity in America. The heavyweight champion was often the most celebrated athlete in the
Boxing, the original gladiator sport, has now all but disappeared and head injuries, some resulting in
deaths in the ring, played some part. Yes, there were plenty of social and cultural factors unique to the
fight game which led to the demise of boxing, but so did, among others, the 1982 death in the ring of Duk
Koo Kim, and Howard Cosell’s on-air soliloquy about how horrified he was over the sport’s brutality.
Just as pro football now has introduced new safeguards, boxing adopted its major reforms, including cutting
bouts from 15 rounds to 12 and allowing referees, not just ring physicians, to halt one-sided fights.
Football, college and pro, is so beloved it’s almost impossible to imagine the sport will be threatened in
the less than 30 years it took to essentially kill off prize fighting. The game holds such an exalted place
in today’s culture, and high schools across the country are stocked with enough young footballers that
replacing one fallen player after another is a given, as was the case with ancient gladiators.
But unless someone comes up with a miracle helmet to stop this damage, the NFL’s new warnings and the
gradual realization that very serious injury results from football’s inescapable collisions are the first
steps toward more bad news most of us would just rather ignore.”

Bob Molinaro of HamptonRoads.com asked if going after Lance Armstrong is worth all of the tax payers money.

“What’s it worth to find out that Lance Armstrong has been a doper and cheat?
At considerable taxpayer expense, the government is out to prove that Armstrong, the winner of the Tour de
France seven times, was a juicer.
Is there anybody who actually believes he wasn’t?
Aren’t all world-class cyclists juicers? Isn’t the sport rife with drugs? Does dogged Jeff Novitzky, the
special agent for the Food and Drug Administration, need to make a federal case of what we already suspect?
And for what purpose? To discredit a man who means so much to so many?
The famous line from the movie “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” applies here: “When the legend becomes
fact, print the legend.”
In Armstrong’s case, what’s the harm? He’s a hugely inspirational figure whose successful battle against
cancer and incredible fundraising efforts have elevated him to a position of prominence enjoyed by no other
American athlete.
If it’s proven to the satisfaction of most people that his reputation and fortune are built upon fraud, his
iconic status will take a hit. But for goodness sake, the man rides a bicycle. He isn’t suspected of
bilking investors out of billions or raiding a teachers’ pension fund.
At worst, he was just better than the other dopers at pedaling up and down hills. However it was done, he
entertained and stirred millions. Let’s not make more of this than it has to be.
The government is doing just that, of course. But as former teammates come forward to implicate him,
Armstrong isn’t giving an inch. Last month, he said he would deny any involvement in doping “as long as I
We’d expect that. Dopers
stonewall. That’s what they do. Sprinter Marion Jones went to prison for six months after lying to
investigators about her use of performance-enhancing drugs.
Floyd Landis, who has accused Armstrong and other riders of using drugs and blood transfusions, is an
inveterate liar who insulted everyone’s intelligence long after his 2006 Tour de France victory was
nullified by a positive doping test.
The international cycling community is a rogue’s gallery, so let’s not prepare to be shocked by more drug
Novitzky was the lead investigator in the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative steroids case that led to Jones’
imprisonment, and which may have barred the door to Cooperstown for Barry Bonds. He’s been chasing drug
cheats for eight years, though it’s unclear how much the government has to show for it.
You could argue that the public has become comfortably numb to drugs in sports. That could change if the
spotlight on Armstrong intensifies.
But if it does, what then? The Byzantine world of cycling is far harder to fathom than baseball, yet while
almost everyone believes Bonds was a steroids freak, Novitzky’s efforts at getting at the truth continue to
be thwarted.
The feds can’t even prove that Bonds is a liar. His long-delayed perjury trial suffered a setback in June
when the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals disallowed entering into evidence urine samples collected by
Bonds’ personal trainer.
We’re free to believe the worst about Armstrong, yet for what it’s worth, he’s left behind no positive drug
tests of which we are aware. If the feds can’t get to Bonds, how can they take down Mr. Livestrong on the
strength of testimony from avowed cheaters?
However this turns out, though, our tax money is being wasted. As the spending continues, ask yourselves
how much of a public menace one man on a bike can really be?
You want the truth about Armstrong? That’s what the government is after, though the truth is almost
certainly unattainable.
For good reason, most people are more comfortable with the legend. For now, it lives strong.”

Every Red Sox win gives its rooters reason to be hopeful. Here Dan Shaughnessy, of the Boston Globe, talks
about game four of the recent series with the Yankees.

“The finale was better than the first three games. It was an epic August matinee on a sultry Monday
afternoon in the new/old ballpark on 161st Street. The Red Sox and Yankees stared at one another for 3
hours and 33 minutes before the Bronx Bombers finally blinked as Mark Teixeira swung and missed at a
2-and-2 Jonathan Papelbon splitter with the tying run on second base.
It was an afternoon of missed opportunities by both teams, an afternoon in which Papelbon and Daniel Bard
struck out some great hitters with a lot of men in scoring position. It was an afternoon in which the Red
Sox’ 2-1 victory enabled them to salvage a split in New York. No matter what happens from here, it will go
down as one of the memorable games of this strange season.
“You saw two good teams going at it,’’ said excited Sox skipper Terry Francona. “That was good baseball.’’
It was also an afternoon in which we saw Jon Lester’s first victory in one full month. The Sox stopper was
0-4 since pitching an inning at the All-Star Game in Anaheim, Calif. This represented a significant drought
for the guy who is supposed to be Boston’s best pitcher.
Lester was on his game yesterday. He smothered the Yanks for 6 1/3 innings, allowing four hits and three
walks and striking out six before handing the ball to rocketman Bard.
If you want to talk about laser shows, talk about Bard. When the media assembled in the Sox clubhouse after
the game, Bard got most of the attention.
“If something bad is going to happen, you want to be out there yourself, but I’m happy to give the ball to
those guys [Bard and Papelbon],’’ said Lester.
Fortunately for the Sox, Lester succeeded where John Lackey and Josh Beckett failed Saturday and Sunday.
“For the first six innings he was lights-out,’’ said Yankee manager Joe Girardi.
“Tremendous,’’ said Francona. “Early on, his strike/ball ratio was even, which was interesting. It says a
lot about his stuff. He pitched well with men on base. He made pitches down and had movement. He was great.
“This was a huge win for us,’’ said Lester (12-7, 2.94 ERA). “Hopefully, it’s a step in the right direction.’’
The struggling Sox are still alive and they have a chance to make the playoffs on the strength of their
starting pitchers. Boston’s quintet of Lester, Beckett, Lackey, Clay Buchholz, and Daisuke Matsuzaka is
better than any other rotation in the American League.
“I don’t think it’s just about the starting pitchers,’’ said Lester. “It’s the whole team. Obviously you
can’t be giving up four or five runs a start. If we keep our team in the game, we’ll score runs and win
games. It sounds simple, but that’s really it. We just have to keep chipping away.’’
Starting pitching can make up for an offense that scored only six runs over the final three games in Yankee
Stadium. It can make up for the devastation of the disabled list. It can make up for a bullpen populated by
people Francona cannot trust in any close game (At this hour, it’s pretty much “Bard and Papelbon, and pray
for rain’’).
Lester needed a win. He’d lost four consecutive starts, giving up 13 earned runs and 31 hits over 26 2/3
innings. This stretch included a fateful night at Safeco Field in his native Washington when he had the
best stuff of his life (yes, even better than in his no-hit game), but suffered a 5-1 loss after taking a
perfect game bid into the sixth inning.
There was something else to consider. On the last weekend of July, after a disastrous start against
Cleveland at Fenway, Lester’s wife, Farrah, gave birth to their first child, a boy named Hudson. It can’t
be easy being a 26-year-old first-time dad, traveling around the country while your wife is home with a
newborn. But this is the life they choose and it is a good life, and now Lester has a game ball for his
baby boy.
“I wasn’t worried about the last four starts,’’ he said, quietly. “I was worried about executing pitches
on the day I get to pitch. I know what these past three games [at Yankee Stadium] were like and I wanted
to give our team a quality start. I was worried about today, not three weeks ago. When you start worrying
about your last outing, you get in trouble.’’
A couple of New York writers arrived from the Yankees clubhouse as Lester was delivering his closing
remarks. They asked what it was like to watch Bard, and Lester told them he’d already answered the
question. He was ready to get on the bus to get to the airport to get to Toronto. He was ready to move on
with this strange, strange season.”

I already told you that I enjoy it when the Red Sox have trouble, right?

Dan Shaughnessy, of the Boston Globe sees pitching problems for the Sawx, after game three.

“Josh Beckett has an interesting history with the Yankees. He was the Most Valuable Player of the 2003
World Series when he was a 23-year-old Florida Marlin. He clinched that Series with a five-hit shutout in
Yankee Stadium. He has more regular-season wins (nine) against the Yankees than any other team.
But it’s been different lately. Downright ugly. In his last five starts against the Yanks (four this season)
Beckett is 0-3 with a 10.54 ERA, including 10 gopher balls. Over his last 27 1/3 innings against the Bronx
Bombers he has given up 42 hits and 32 earned runs.
The Red Sox were looking for a big game from Beckett last night, but they didn’t get it. The erstwhile ace
gave up a whopping 11 hits and seven earned runs before leaving with two outs in the fifth, trailing, 7-1.
The Sox lost, 7-2, squandering another chance to gain on Tampa Bay (the Rays haven’t won since that ball
clanged off the catwalk last week). If you’re still scoring at home, the Twins have tied Boston in the
wild-card race behind Tampa.
This was Beckett’s fourth start since coming off the disabled list and it seemed reasonable to expect a
strong performance in the wake of his recent mastery of the Indians and Angels.
Alas, these Yankees are no Angels. And Beckett struggled mightily.
“It’s hard for our guys to catch balls that are hit that hard,’’ said Beckett. “I just threw too many balls
over the fat part of the plate.’’
He gave up eight hits and two runs in the first three innings, running a high pitch count. He fanned a pair
in a 1-2-3 fourth, but after the Sox cut the deficit to 2-1 in the fifth, Beckett blew up.
Mark Teixeira crushed a homer to start the inning. Then Beckett overthrew the baseball and unraveled. After
the Tex message, we witnessed a walk, a hit batter, a strikeout, a double, a walk, a strikeout, and a
knockout two-run double by Derek Jeter. Beckett turned a 2-1 deficit into a 7-1 deficit. He was lifted in
favor of Manny Delcarmen.
Second baseman Bill Hall and catcher Kevin Cash compounded Beckett’s problems with throwing errors, but the
righthander wasn’t making any excuses.
“When you give up seven runs, who else are you going to blame?’’ he asked.
Cash subscribed to the overthrowing theory.
“In that last [fifth] inning you could tell he was rushing,’’ said the catcher. “We tried to make
adjustments, but he was putting a lot behind the ball.’’
The Yankees are Beckett’s Kryptonite. It’s as if the baseball gods are getting even after watching Beckett
master the Bronx Bombers when he was a major league baby.
Asked about his recent problems with the Yankees, Beckett said, “I don’t break it down that way.’’
Remember Beckett against the Yanks in May?
He staggered through one of the goofier starts of his career at Fenway May 7. He started off the night with
electric stuff and struck out the side (all swinging) on 13 pitches in the first inning. He had seven Ks
and a shutout with two out in the fourth. Then he imploded. By the time he was yanked in the sixth, he’d
given up nine hits and nine earned runs in 5 1/3 innings. He also walked three, threw a wild pitch, and hit
Robinson Cano and Jeter. He looked like he didn’t want to be out there and a lot of the Yankees were
yelling at him after he hit Jeter.
Beckett’s next start was on a wet mound in New York May 18. That’s when he hurt his back. We didn’t see him
again until July 23.
He was impressive in his first three starts after coming off the shelf. He went 5 2/3 innings against
Seattle, seven against the Angels, then eight against Cleveland. He won the latter two starts, allowing
only eight hits over 15 innings. Over the three games he struck out 18 and walked only one. Granted, those
are weak lineups, but he looked like he was on his way to being the old Josh Beckett.
“We wanted so bad for him to be Beckett, and not be out there in name only,’’ manager Terry Francona said
before last night’s debacle. “It’s pretty exciting. He threw the ball real well. He’s had a better feel for
his breaking ball and his cutter.’’
After the game Francona said, “I thought that he gave up a lot of hits, some of them not so hard. They
really worked the count on him, that’s what they do well. Even if you are falling behind, if you leave the
ball over the middle of the plate or give them extra outs, they are going to hurt you.’’
Beckett doesn’t say a lot, but one might presume he’s a tad embarrassed that he got hurt and won only one
game in the first four months of the season after signing his four-year ($68 million) contract extension.
When he first tweaked his back, there was no doubt a temptation to keep pitching because he’d just signed
the deal. He’s certainly carrying himself like a possessed rebel since his return. We figured we’d see the
best of Beckett now that he’s working in early August with more than two months of rest.
“Health-wise, I’m fine,’’ he said. “It just comes down to making pitches.’’
Bottom line: It is Aug. 9 and Josh Beckett is 3-2 with a 6.21 ERA.”

Jerry Crowe wrote in the LA Times about the drive that pushed Bob Boozer, the No.1 pick in the 1959 NBA
draft, to delay his professional basketball career for a year.
“Knee injuries delayed the professional basketball debuts of No. 1 NBA draft picks Greg Oden and Blake

For Bob Boozer, it was national pride.

The top pick in 1959, he kept the Cincinnati Royals at arm’s length for more than a year to maintain his
amateur status in hopes of playing for Team USA in the 1960 Olympics.
“I always had this deep desire to represent this country on its Olympic basketball squad,” Boozer says,
“and at that time, you only had one go-round at it. Everyone told me, ‘Your chances are remote,’ et cetera,
et cetera. Each person that tried to get me to sign on the dotted line expressed that, but I said, ‘Hey,
this is something I’ve got to go for.’

“I knew I only had once chance.”

The 6-foot-8 former forward made the most of it, taking his place on a team coached by Pete Newell that
tore through its Olympic competition in Rome by an average of 42.4 points a game.

Considered the greatest amateur basketball team ever assembled, it featured future Hall of Famers Oscar
Robertson, Jerry West, Jerry Lucas and Walt Bellamy.

“We,” Boozer says, “were the first Dream Team.”

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame will pay homage Friday, enshrining the team en masse along
with the 1992 Dream Team ( Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, et al) and eight individuals, among
them Jerry Buss, Scottie Pippen, Karl Malone, Cynthia Cooper and the late Dennis Johnson.

Boozer, 73, is delighted to be in their company.

A member of the Nebraska State Board of Parole and a former Laker, he never regretted his decision to
postpone the start of his NBA career to chase his Olympic dream.

He’d been a two-time All-American under Tex Winter at Kansas State, where the Wildcats utilized the
triangle offense in reaching the Final Four in 1958, but was in no hurry to go pro.

“I had tunnel vision,” says the gold medalist, who is no relation to Carlos Boozer of the Chicago Bulls. “I
was going to stay out that year and try out for the Olympic basketball squad. No ifs, ands or buts about
it, that’s what I was going to do.”

Still, he notes in a phone interview, “I couldn’t possibly do it now, with the kind of money they’re giving

But 50 years ago, while working for Peoria Caterpillar and playing for the company’s team in the National
Industrial Basketball League during the 1959-60 season, Boozer says he earned only slightly less than he
would have made playing for the Royals.

At the AAU national tournament, the Cats won the championship, and Boozer was the tournament’s most
valuable player.

After the Olympics, Boozer rejoined Robertson in Cincinnati and launched an 11-season NBA career in which
he played for six teams, averaging 15 points and eight rebounds a game.

In 1966, he helped the Lakers reach the NBA Finals and in 1971 he won a championship with the Milwaukee

“That season with the Lakers was the most enjoyable season I ever had in the NBA because it was Hollywood,
Los Angeles,” Boozer says. “Jack Kent Cooke had parties at his place and you got a chance to meet movie
stars. It was a fun time.

“I hated to leave, I know that.”

But after the Boston Celtics broke the Lakers’ hearts in Game 7, Boozer was left unprotected in the
expansion draft and picked up by the Bulls. In Chicago, he enjoyed his most productive NBA seasons, making
his only All-Star appearance in 1968.

“If good players get minutes,” he says, “they’re going to score.”

In Milwaukee, Boozer rejoined Robertson and capped his career playing alongside a young Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

All the while, he was preparing for life after basketball, having spent several summers before his
retirement working in a management-training program at the Bell System.

“You can tell when your career is over,” Boozer says. “The training camps were harder, your body didn’t
bounce back as readily as it used to. It was more of a job, rather than fun.

“If we won the championship, I definitely was going.”

They did and he bolted, spending the next 27 years working for Ma Bell, the last 10 as a federal lobbyist
in Washington. In 1997, after a fitful month of retirement, Boozer was appointed by then-Nebraska Gov. Ben
Nelson to the State Board of Parole, “and I’ve been there ever since.”

He and Ella, his wife of 42 years, are grandparents.

In Springfield, Mass., this week, Boozer will be reunited with teammates who might be unaware of the path
he took to the Olympics.

“I didn’t realize he’d waited a year to make the team,” Lucas said last week. “I think that’s fantastic. I
mean, he had the dream and he accomplished it. It’s a tremendous story.”

Boozer couldn’t have done it any other way. Maybe it was a gamble, he says, but the reward was worth the

“Winning that gold medal and standing on that podium with ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ being played — that’s
a feeling you can’t understand unless you’ve experienced it,” he says. “It’s very moving, something I don’t
think you can duplicate.”

Bill Plaschke, of the LA Times, gave us this feel-good story.

“Sylvia Fisk, 88, and Esther Rosen, 83, are inseparable, having lived together for 50 years. But the
strongest bond the sisters share is the Dodgers — they’ve been going to games since 1972, the year Sylvia
got a concession-stand job. She still works there, and Esther still joins her at Dodger Stadium nightly.”

“Esther Rosen leans against the concrete wall outside the elevator on the top level of Dodger Stadium. It
is a Thursday evening at 5:20 p.m. The doors open and out steps her older sister, Sylvia Fisk.

“There you are!” shouts Esther.

“Here I am,” says Sylvia.

Sylvia steps into the sunlight, gently places her sister’s right hand into the crook of her left arm, and
carefully escorts her back onto the elevator. Together they ride down to the loge level, then walk slowly
arm in arm down the empty concourse.

“If I fall, you fall,” says Esther.

”You won’t fall,” says Sylvia.

They stop at Section 129, at one of the most unusual seats in the stadium. It is in the top row, but it is
the only seat in the row, a concrete post on the right, the aisle on the left. Sylvia helps Esther sit on
the yellow plastic and places a white paper bag containing a wrapped hamburger in her lap.

“My special seat,” says Esther.

“Best in the house,” says Sylvia.

Sylvia touches Esther’s shoulder with a soft goodbye, and continues walking down the concourse to the
concession stand opposite Section 141. This is where she will spend tonight’s game against the San Diego
Padres, working as a lightning-fast cashier with a calculator mind. She will take only one 10-minute break
midway through the game, to walk back and check on Esther, to see if she’s hungry or to escort her to the

“You don’t really need to do that,” says Esther.

“I know I don’t,” says Sylvia.

When the game ends, Sylvia will check out of her job, walk back down the concourse and carefully escort
Esther back upstairs and outside to a handicapped spot in the parking lot. In a red Chevy Malibu, perhaps
with Nancy Bea Hefley on their CD player, they will drive back to the condo they share on a busy Pico
Rivera street. Together they will watch the late news in their tiny family room, then amble upstairs to
sleep in the same king-size bed.

“I’m afraid of earthquakes,” says Esther.

“I don’t blame her,” says Sylvia.

The next morning they will awaken early and prepare to do it all over again, this unusual daily ritual that
not only defines their existence, but embellishes it with a sort of gray, wrinkled, wondrous beauty.

Sylvia is 88, Esther is 83, and they’ve been drawing precisely this same deep Dodger Stadium breath for 38

“Our family,” says Esther.

“Pretty much,” says Sylvia.

They don’t do it for the glamour — in nearly four decades, neither woman has ever met a player. They don’t
do it for the money — Sylvia makes barely $13 an hour, and pays more than $5,000 for the season ticket she
buys for her sister, including a $15 daily parking fee so they can park close enough for the severely
arthritic Esther to walk inside.

They do it for the connection. They do it for the smiles, the hugs, the exchanges they share with the
Levy’s concession employees and Dodgers security guards and longtime fans. They do it for the kisses that
men spontaneously place on Esther’s cheek, for the compliments that the prolific Sylvia hears from her
bosses, for the joy they feel on opening day, for the tears they shed in October.

“I tell her, she can never quit working, because I can’t stop coming to the games,” says Esther.

“It kind of does give you a reason to get up in the morning,” says Sylvia.

For all its flaws of age, this remains one of the wonderful things about Dodger Stadium. It is Los
Angeles’creaky front porch, a place where people come not only to watch baseball games, but to grow old,
sustain relevancy, maintain a human touch.

“You don’t really see that anymore, do you?” asks Esther Jones, the manager of Sylvia’s concession stand.
“Two sisters who will do anything to stay together forever? We all get emotional just watching them.”

As children growing up in Los Angeles, Sylvia and Esther were separated after the death of their mother.
They were reunited when they were in their 20s, and have been living together for the last 50 years. Sylvia
is a widow, Esther is divorced, and both are childless.

“Just us,” says Esther.

“Well, yeah, us and all those people,” says Sylvia.

When Sylvia landed the job at Dodger Stadium in 1972, she could not, for various medical reasons, leave
Esther at home alone, so she brought her sister with her to work. She’s been doing it ever since, even
though it used to mean leaving Esther in the car in the parking lot for a couple of hours before the gates

These days, thanks to the Dodgers’ generosity, Esther spends the pregame time waiting inside in the shade,
in the top-level media entrance, leaning against a counter and staring into space as the reporters hurry

“It’s an amazing story,” says Diana Chico, a Dodgers security guard. “Everybody knows her, everybody
watches out for her.”

Then, every night, at precisely 5:20 p.m., a Dodgers employee helps her walk to the wall, where she waits
for the elevator door to open and her sister to guide her inside, thus reuniting what has become one of the
Dodgers’ most memorable double-play combinations.

Esther to Sylvia to life.”

Chris Erskine of the LA Times wrote about retro-reading.

“They say these Kindles and other electronic reading gizmos will replace books one of these days, and to
that I say, “NOT SOON ENOUGH!”
I am all for that. I can never get paperbacks or hardcovers to work. They won’t hold a charge, and they’re
so hard to reboot.
The other day, I was trying to upgrade a cherished old copy of “The Great Gatsby” and I couldn’t get the
install to go. Then it froze up on me. I mean, it wouldn’t do anything, this stupid book. It wouldn’t
upload, it wouldn’t download. It just sat there. Seriously, the traditional book must be the dumbest, most
antiquated thing ever.
Yep, books blow. It seems only right that they have no future, for their past is so mixed. A book never
changed the world. Oh, there was the Bible, sure, and Shakespeare wrote some stuff that might’ve advanced
love and language, so what? Surely “Tom Sawyer” was pretty good in its day, but children change and so
should books.
There was also, if I remember, “Mein Kampf,” which didn’t really do the world much good, not to mention any
of the crud Nicholas Sparks ever wrote. See, books aren’t only obsolete. Many can be harmful. I actually
can’t wait to see them go.
Know what I really hate? Days like this — warm August afternoons by a lake or an ocean, when there’s a gnat
floating in your margarita, both of you comatose. On a perfect day like this, how do many people spend the
time? They ruin it with books.
Fitzgerald and Conroy, Updike and King. Those are just some of the writers to be wary of. John Irving? I’ve
wasted weeks of my life reading his novels, cover to cover to cover to cover.
Here’s more good news: If we don’t need hardcover books, soon we will no longer need bookstores, or those
annoying old libraries where, if you’re not careful, you end up whiling away an entire day.
Ever spent a rainy afternoon in a library or a bookstore? There’s nothing worse. As a young man, I was once
seduced in a bookstore. Her name was Jane Smiley. I loved her. She didn’t even know I existed. That’s the
heartbreak of books.
Perhaps worse than libraries or bookstores are those homes lined with books. I’ve rented summer cottages
just brimming with books. Do people really think that’s appealing? Really, a home full of books is no home
at all.
What happens in such a place is that you start browsing till you find a title you just can’t resist. You’ll
crack open the book, and it’ll smell a little musty, like the forest after a good rain. And, if you’re
really unlucky, its binding will crackle like an old set of stairs.
You know what’ll happen next? You’ll sack out on the couch or on an Adirondack chair in the yard, and
you’ll get lost in this book. The next thing you’ll know, the whole day is ruined.
Yep, a book can go anywhere — the beach, the bathroom, the moon. They are so low-tech they can ingest salt
or sand or sunscreen and still keep right on working. No company would ever support that kind of lame
technology. Imagine producing a product that would still work in 100 years. That would just be stupid. Who
could make money like that?
Obviously, a book is an awful, out-of-date thing. I have no patience with them, the way they steal our
attention and clutter up our lives forever. To be rid of them is the best possible outcome.
In fact, here’s what these soon-to-be-gone books remind me of: They remind me of oysters, another
simple-stupid thing that evolution left behind. Oysters are just ridiculously succulent rocks. And books
are just ridiculously succulent trees (but with a few more pearls).
So, yeah, it’s a no-brainer to get rid of books; we’re actually lucky to see them go. Good riddance, books.
Please take those lousy oysters with you.”

Dan Shaughnessy, of the Boston Globe, gave this recap of yesterday’s game between the Yankees and HIS Red

“The planets were aligned. The Rays had already lost their fourth straight game and the Red Sox were riding
high after a nifty Friday night victory. Alex Rodriguez was bounced from the lineup by one of his own guys
during batting practice. The Sox were poised to beat the Yankees again yesterday and pull within four games
of first place. They haven’t been closer than 4 1/2 since July 6.
For a few moments, thoughts of a Bronx sweep were dancing in the bobbled heads of citizens of Red Sox Nation.
All those happy themes were reinforced when the Sox bolted to a 2-0 lead against CC Sabathia in the second
inning. The Sox finally were going to take off, and they were going to do it by sweeping the Yankees in their
own ballpark.
This was going to be payback for 2006 (when the Yankees swept five at Fenway) and the Boston Massacre of
1978 (Yankees outscore Sox, 42-9, over four games).
But then reality got in the way. We again were reminded that this is 2010 and something always stops the
Sabathia is a better pitcher than John Lackey; David Ortiz still can’t hit lefties (three strikeouts and a
double play grounder); it’s still too easy to steal on the Sox; and manager Terry Francona has no options
for middle relief.
We watched Lackey (who keeps reminding us that he didn’t pitch that badly) surrender five runs, eight hits,
and three walks over six innings of a 5-2 loss to the first-place Bronx Bombers. So much for the sweep. Now
it’s just two more days off the schedule as we wait for the surge that may never come.
John Henry says it will take a miracle to get into the playoffs for the seventh time in eight years.
“After April, all of the injuries — which continue daily, the 2010 schedule and having fallen as far back
as we did coming into NYC for four — it would take a miracle to make the playoffs,’’ the nocturnal owner
wrote in an e-mail at 1:38 yesterday morning. “But we saw miracle comebacks in 2004 & 2007 and we have a
rotation that could help us get on a roll. Miracles happen.’’
A sweep here would have been Al Michaels miraculous. But it was possible. With a win Friday night and a 2-0
lead yesterday, it was easy to fast-forward to a 4-0 weekend.
Not so fast. The Yankees reached Lackey for a pair in the second, two in the fifth, and one in the sixth.
“It’s not like 2-0 means we’re going to win the game,’’ said Mike Lowell, who had one of Boston’s six hits
(RBI double) off Sabathia. “They’re a good team. They’ve got the best record in baseball.
“But we’ve still got two games left in this series and Josh [Beckett] brings that pedigree of a No. 1 guy.
Let’s see what we can do. We know we still have the ability. We have a chance.’’
The pitching matchups for Games 3 and 4 favor Boston.
Beckett, tonight’s starter, looks to be getting into 2007 form. Time on the disabled list can be beneficial
to starting pitchers. Remember 1986? Roger Clemens went 24-4 and won the Most Valuable Player award. Bruce
Hurst was a pedestrian 13-8 but missed a month and a half in the middle because of a groin pull. When
October rolled around, Clemens was tired while Hurst was dominant. That’s what the Sox would like to see
from a well-rested Beckett.
The Yankees’ A.J. Burnett, meanwhile, often looks like a super talent with confidence issues. He’s a guy
you never want in the big game.
Tomorrow afternoon (2:05, the fourth different starting time in four games), it’ll be Jon Lester vs. Dustin
Moseley. You’ve got to like the Sox in that one even though Lester hasn’t won since the All-Star break.
Boston’s power lefty is due.
Bolstering Boston’s case to overtake the Yankees, we had the weird injury to Rodriguez.
A-Rod was taking grounders at third base during batting practice, shooting the breeze with Fox’s Joe Buck
(don’t you love that detail?), when Lance Berkman hit a liner off Rodriguez’s left shin. Poor Berkman. He
is 2 for 22 since joining the Yankees, fans are booing him, and he knocked his 600-homer teammate out of
the lineup.
X-rays were negative, but A-Rod is day-to-day.
“Now we’re getting some of the stuff that Boston’s been getting all year,’’ said Yankees general manager
Brian Cashman.
Too bad the Sox failed to capitalize.
As always, Francona downplayed the magnitude of the matchup.
“I swear to you, I don’t circle the Yankees series,’’ said the manager. “We just play.’’
And we just watch. And for a few moments, we were starting to believe again.”

When Dave Barry goes on a safari, with his family, it is a sport where the animals have an equal chance.
“Originally posted in the Miami Herald Sun, Jul. 25, 2010

Dave Barry maintains a safe distance from an elephant. Here’s how I pictured my African safari: I’d sit
inside a sturdy, enclosed, animal-proof vehicle, and I’d be driven around to picturesque places to observe
exotic creatures participating in the Circle of Life by eating each other.
In other words, I expected to be entertained, but safe. And I did feel safe, for roughly 30 seconds. Then
things got dicey. What happened was, my family and I had just been dropped off with our luggage at the
entrance to Londolozi, a lodge and game reserve next to the Kruger National Park in South Africa. We were
being greeted by a staff person, when all of a sudden there appeared, about 50 feet away, an elephant the
size of Cincinnati. (I am exaggerating, of course: Cincinnati is nowhere near as big as this elephant.)

The elephant was trying to get past an electrified fence, into the compound. It was being quite persistent,
but I assumed there was nothing to worry about.

Then the staff person said, “We need to get out of here right now.”

“What about our luggage?” asked my wife.

“He doesn’t want your luggage,” said the staff person.

We abandoned our luggage and hastened into the lobby just as the elephant got past the fence. Fortunately,
it couldn’t get into the lobby. There were monkeys in the lobby, but they weren’t a threat to us; they were
there to steal food.

We later learned that this particular elephant is called Night Shift, and that he’s always getting past the
fence. Other animals also routinely get into the compound, including leopards and lions. We were not
permitted to walk to our room at night without a staff escort, who kept shining a spotlight around. He told
us that if we encountered a large animal, we needed to remain still and not run.

“What happens if we run?” we asked.

“If you run,” he said, “we are all dead.”

The next morning we went outside to discover that Night Shift had deposited an enormous mound of poop
outside our door. This is the safari version of a mint on your pillow.

The actual safari was not quite as I had pictured it. Instead of an enclosed vehicle, we rode in a Land
Rover with low sides and no roof, so we were basically sitting outside, totally exposed, like human hors
d’oeuvres being carried around on a large, four-wheel-drive tray. We had two guides, Alfred Mathebula and
Bennet Mathose; they had a rifle and a machete, and they were very firm on the point that we should not get
out of the Range Rover. I definitely didn’t want to get out of the Range Rover. I wanted to put the Range
Rover inside a larger, safer vehicle, such as a tank.

I felt better once we headed out onto the savanna, where it became clear that Alfred and Bennet knew what
they were doing. We’d be zooming along a dirt road, and suddenly they’d stop and point to a small patch of
dirt that to me looked exactly like all the other dirt in Africa. But Alfred and Bennet could tell at a
glance that it was a footprint, and they knew not only what kind of animal made it, but also its gender,
age, hobbies, credit rating, Twitter name, etc. Sometimes they’d follow the tracks, and when they spotted
the animal — usually a half-mile before we could see it — they’d drive off the road and, by creeping the
Range Rover along in stealth gear, get us amazingly close.

We got close to elephants, giraffes, hippos, rhinos, buffalo, warthogs, wildebeests, hyenas and thousands
of nervous deer-like critters that belong to various species but all fall into the biological category of
`lunch.” But the animals we got closest to — a few yards away, and sometimes closer — were the leopards
and the lions. At first this seemed insane, since these are the animals best equipped to convert us into
jerky. But the big cats pretty much ignored us and went about their business.

For lions, their business consisted of sleeping. They were sprawled all over the grass, looking like the
morning after a fraternity party. I half expected to see empty Budweiser cans. The sleeping lions actually
looked kind of cuddly, especially the younger ones.

“I want to hug one!” exclaimed a member of our party.

“We will come back in the morning and fetch your shoes,” replied Bennet.

The leopards were more active. We spent an hour following a male leopard known as Camp Pan, who would stop
every dozen yards or so to spray aromatic liquid from a large scent gland on his butt. This was his way of
marking his territory. Or, he was just proud to have a large scent gland on his butt. I know I would be.

We saw many other amazing natural sights, including a pair of hippos doing it in broad daylight, stark
naked. If you ever have an opportunity to witness this very special event, rip out your eyeballs.

But just about everything else we saw was fascinating, and often heart-stoppingly beautiful. So I strongly
recommend the safari experience It’s great family fun, and there’s absolutely nothing to be afraid of,
except being eaten or trampled to death. Long after you return home, you’ll think often of your African
adventure, because of the wonderful memories in your heart. Also the elephant dung on your shoes. “


© 2010 Dave Barry. All Rights Reserved.

Michael Wilbon of the DC Post talked about the real NFL start.

“Usually, these are the dog days of summer in the sports news business.

If we’re not being force-fed overstated Yankees-Red Sox stories, we’re obsessing about some inconsequential
football player missing a week of training camp. With a full month still to sweat through before pennant
races become serious and before pro football and the U.S. Open begin, just the sight of Tiger Woods is like
pennies from heaven. But Brett Favre and Albert Haynesworth have changed all that, haven’t they?

The 24-hour news cycle, not to mention Twitter, was tailor-made for Favre and Haynesworth and their
respective dramas, the back-and-forth, the need for constant updates. If, for example, you didn’t check
your PDA by 11:45 Tuesday morning, you wouldn’t have known that Favre had told ESPN’s Ed Werder that
Monday’s hysteria over him retiring was a waste of time, that he plans to play this season for the Vikings
if his surgically repaired ankle holds up. And if you wake up and fail to jump right into your Albert
Haynesworth update mode, how would you know whether Coach Mike Shanahan would allow the team’s best
defensive player to practice later that day?

You probably couldn’t find two football players as different as Favre and Haynesworth, yet they’ve
tag-teamed the first week of training camp.

They’ve defined the start of the 2010 preseason. With any luck, their shenanigans will completely
overshadow the worthless August exhibition games we’ll make far too big a deal of.

Very quickly we’ve switched gears this summer: from consuming stories about a sport where athletes have so
much control (professional basketball) to a sport where very few have any control (professional football).
Haynesworth, though paid like a king, is finding out that he nevertheless has little, if any, control.
Favre already knew he has all the control, and he’s one of the very, very few players in the NFL who does.

Favre is going to play for the Minnesota Vikings this season. Monday’s retirement headlines were a waste of
time. The Vikings, who have a Super Bowl-quality team and have never won one, are entirely dependent on
Favre playing quarterback for them this season, if not when it opens Sept. 9 then certainly by the first of
October. Not only that, but the club is actively engaged in lobbying for a new stadium, and it’s easier to
press local interests if you’re en route to a 13-3 season than going 7-9 and constantly fretting over what
might have been if you had Brett Favre.

So, as annoying as these “retirements” are every year – and I think this is the third in four years – the
Vikings desperately need Favre. They need him more than any team in the league needs any player, with the
possible exception of the Colts and Peyton Manning. Favre might be 40, but he’s coming off a 33-touchdown,
seven-interception season, easily the most efficient of his career. Given that, if I represented Favre, my
starting point for his 2010 salary would be $30 million. Yep, Michael Jordan money. I’d let Favre say
publicly every single day, “It’s not about the money” while I was telling the Vikings, “Yes, I said $30
million. Make it a check payable to ..”

Thirty million to Favre, even if he has an off-season, is money well spent. Haynesworth? Not so much.
While the Vikings are playing this perfectly, and saying nothing no matter how much swirl there is, the
Redskins are once again demonstrating why the club has been utterly dysfunctional for the past 10 years.

Every single summer, the Redskins are involved in something goofy, something of their own doing, and make
no mistake this is of management’s doing. That doesn’t mean Mike Shanahan’s humiliation of Haynesworth
won’t work to the coach’s advantage and the team’s advantage over time. It might. Shanahan is a very, very
smart man and knows how to take the temperature of a locker room. In this case he knew many of the veterans
in the room were as fed up with Haynesworth as he is. So, if you make him run distances no defensive tackle
in the history of football would have to run in a game – or, for that matter, in 10 games – to make your
point, it might work.

Do I think Haynesworth could have passed these “tests” when he was the best defensive player in football,
three years ago in Tennessee? No, not a chance. The tests are far less important than Shanahan showing
Hayensworth (and every other player) who is in control. And if Shanahan wins points with 40 players while
sacrificing Haynesworth, it could be the right move. This is what a coach can do in football that he can’t
in basketball or baseball.

It happens all the time in pro football; the big deal now is that it’s happening front and center, right
here. Remember a few years ago when Jon Gruden shut down Keyshawn Johnson for the final half-dozen weeks of
the season, simply sent him away? Players much better than Albert Haynesworth have found themselves on the
humiliating end of a control struggle with management. For every Emmitt Smith that wins a holdout battle
with management as he did with Jerry Jones during the Cowboys Super Bowl run, there’s a Marcus Allen, the
brilliant runner whose career was essentially eliminated by Al Davis. Allen went from Super Bowl hero to a
non-person after a salary dispute with Davis and the Raiders. It was a nasty story for seven years and
lasted until Allen went to Kansas City late in his career. Seven seasons, poof!

A nightmare for an NBA or MLB star is dreaming he’s playing in the NFL, where owners and coaches have all
the control unless you’re a star quarterback who by not playing can get the coach fired. See, Haynesworth
can’t do that.

Good as he can be, he doesn’t have that kind of influence over a game or a season (or a career) that Favre
has. Few defensive players have had that kind of influence. Reggie White comes to mind. Lawrence Taylor.
Mike Singletary. It’s a short list.

The bet here is that Favre will start Game 1 for the Vikings and that Hayensworth will be in no better
shape come mid-September than he is now, but will be on the field. The Redskins aren’t so good that they
don’t need Haynesworth. But Shanahan wants Haynesworth on the coach’s terms. And very likely, Shanahan can
take just as long to make his point as Favre can take to make his, which is that training camp, depending
on the hand you’re holding, can be optional.”

OK, this is Bob Ryan talking about the Yankees.

“Team Checkbook — and I say that with all due respect — has not had as easy a time maneuvering itself into
its current spot in the American League East a half-game ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays as you might imagine.
The esteemed Yankee captain and shortstop is having the least productive offensive year of his major league
career, and it is accompanied with renewed concern about his diminishing range in the field. The prize
offseason acquisition center fielder has been significantly outperformed by the youngster for whom he was
traded. The man who was going to become the permanent DH was off to a miserable start before he was lost
for the season, which would have been less predictable if his name weren’t Nick “DL’’ Johnson. The pampered
bull of an eighth-inning setup man has underperformed so badly he has been replaced as the final bridge to
Mariano Rivera by Dave Robertson.
But they’re still a plus-27 (67-40), so something must have gone right.
Given all that’s been going on with the Red Sox, however, wouldn’t you think the Yankees would have had a
much better record than the Bostonians since the two last met on May 18? Well, they haven’t. Since last
they met, the Yankees have gone 42-26. The Red Sox have gone 42-27. The gap between the two reflects
Boston’s sluggish 20-20 start.
The big news in New York since the Red Sox beat the Yankees May 18 was the death of George Steinbrenner.
The Boss had long ago relinquished day-to-day control of Yankee affairs to his sons, with Hal, the younger,
emerging as the true man in charge.
Left unclear is how much pure baseball input Hal Steinbrenner will have. So until further notice, we must
assume that general manager Brian Cashman has as much power as he’s ever had. We will further assume that
he feels an innate obligation to continue the George Steinbrenner policy of leaving no stray ballplayers
out there if he feels they could be of use to the New York Yankees.
Hence his trade-deadline haul of Lance Berkman, Austin Kearns, and Kerry Wood. Messrs. Berkman and Kearns
augment the bench depth, while Wood gives the pitching staff another strikeout weapon, although it must be
pointed out that in order to retire his last 11 men he has required 95 pitches. This projects to
233 pitches were he asked to throw a complete game. Yes, I know that’s irrelevant and fanciful, but if
someone in Boston can’t have fun messin’ with a Yankee, whom can you have fun with?
One guy you can’t mess with is second baseman Robinson Cano, who, a late dip notwithstanding (1 for 14 this
month), has had an MVP-type season. No one would dare argue the premise that he has been New York’s best
player. A switch-hitting second baseman with an impressive .945 OPS who can also flash some fancy leather —
what’s not to like?
Nor do the Yankees have any complaints with Nick Swisher, the switch-hitting right fielder and occasional
first baseman/DH who makes the GM who picked him up in a somewhat unnoticed deal look good every time he
steps on the field. Throw in the contributions of Brett Gardner (.388 on-base percentage, 30 stolen bases),
and a case can be made that these three guys have, to a certain degree, carried the big names on the ball
A lot has been made of Mark Teixeira’s slow start at the plate, Alex Rodriguez’s relatively low home run
total, and Derek Jeter’s all-around deflated stats, but when you take a closer look, it suggests we may too
often dwell on the wrong numbers. Teixeira may not wind up hitting much more than .270, but he has very
quietly driven in 81 runs. A-Rod is not projecting to hit more than 25 homers, but he is second only to
Miguel Cabrera in RBIs with 87. And as down as Jeter’s overall numbers are (his .735 OPS is eighth on the
team), he has somehow managed to score 78 runs and is thus on pace to score in excess of 100 for the 13th
time in his Hall of Fame career. There is still plenty of time left for him to pump up those stats.
Center fielder Curtis Granderson, obtained from Detroit at the steep cost of prized prospect Austin
Jackson, has had a rough start that included missing most of May with a groin injury. But he is showing
recent signs of life.
Finally, Jorge Posada remains a very dangerous man with a bat in his hands. But he catches less and less.
On the mound, the Yankees are getting their money’s worth from CC Sabathia. Phil Hughes is everything they
hoped he’d be. Until he strained a groin, Andy Pettitte was having a turn-the-clock-back season. A.J.
Burnett has been a trick-or-treater, with an emphasis on the trick part. The fifth starter, Javier Vazquez,
has been so-so.
By far the biggest mound issue for manager Joe Girardi has been getting from the starters to Rivera
without the game falling apart. But then the Yankees have only themselves to blame for destroying Joba
Chamberlain (5.36 ERA, 1.49 WHIP) with their ridiculous “Joba Rules’’ and their indecision over whether he
should start or relieve.
Of course, once they get to the ninth inning with a lead, there are no worries. Rivera is defying age (he’s
40) and all reason with an ERA of 0.91 and a WHIP of 0.63. As great a one-pitch pitcher (cutter) as
baseball has ever known, he remains at the top of his game.
It has all added up to them being good, but not great, and they have not been able to shake the Rays. With
a $206 million payroll, they know they are supposed to win, and that can be a burden. All in all, the
players should feel lucky it isn’t 10 years ago. No better than Tampa Bay? The Boss would not have been

Bob Ryan looked at the addition of Shaq to the Celtics’ roster for the Boston Globe.

“Shaq, too?

Let the jokes begin.
Instead of a bench, the Celtics will have a couch. No, make that easy chairs and hassocks. All team meals
will be Early Bird Specials. A typical player anecdote begins, “So I said to Dr. Naismith . . .’’
The 2010-11 Boston Celtics won’t be a basketball team. They will be a walking hoop museum. Among them,
Shaquille O’Neal, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Jermaine O’Neal have a combined total of 71
years of service, good for 5,655 regular-season and playoff games and 200,371 minutes. They have combined
for 51 All-Star Game appearances. They have 10 All-NBA third-team selections, eight second-team selections,
and 12 first-team selections. If honors and plaques were all that mattered, we could book the parade right
now, Miami Heat or no Miami Heat.
It goes without saying, of course, that they also lead the league in O’Neals.
But seriously, folks . . .
Danny Ainge certainly has guts and imagination. What if someone had told you at the conclusion of the
2006-07 season that, by the summer of 2010, among the people they’d have seen wearing a Celtics uniform
would be Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Sam Cassell, Rasheed Wallace, Jermaine O’Neal, Shaquille O’Neal, and
let’s not forget Nate Robinson? I know I would have said something like, “Sure, and the next thing you’ll
tell me is that LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh will all be playing for the same team.’’
But how many times must I remind you that in the matter of Truth vs. Fiction, you’d always be wise to take
Truth, plus the points, every time? Those two highly unlikely scenarios have indeed come to pass.
Yup, Shaq is now ours for two seasons. If the Heat didn’t exist in their current form, the Celtics would be
the most talked-about team in the league.
What the Celtics are getting is a 38-year-old, 7-foot-1-inch, 300-and-whatever-pound guy who still commands
a great deal of attention once he is passed the basketball in the low post. That’s where he operates, and
don’t you forget it.
Shaq never got the memo that seems to have been passed around to just about every other big man, be he
domestic or foreign, during the past 20-some years, said memo informing those large fellows that it was no
longer necessary to perform with one’s back to the basket. Hence the onslaught of 7-foot jump shooters with
zero pivot moves.
Shaq is a pleasant exception. Here is a big man — no, a BIG man — who walks, struts, flexes, and generally
acts as a big man. Shaq’s idea of great fun always has been to plant that large posterior into the chest of
a defender, back the hapless foe in the direction of the basket as far as he could, and then dunk in the
guy’s face. That, plus a reasonably broad assortment of little banks and turnarounds, is how he has become
the second-best percentage shooter of all-time. That’s how Shaq came into the league and that’s how he will
leave it.
Even at his advanced age, Shaq is still an effective scorer. He averaged 12 points and 6.7 rebounds in 23
minutes a game last year for Cleveland. In the 24 games prior to Feb. 25, when he injured his thumb
against the Celtics and missed the remainder of the regular season, he scored in double figures 22 times.
In fact, he was coming off back-to-back 20-point games. He still knows what he’s doing in that low post.
The free throws? The free throws are the free throws; there’s nothing much you can do about that. You have
to live with Hack-a-Shaq tactics late in games.
The downside is when the ball changes hands. Things are fine if Shaq is guarding someone close to the
basket. The problem is that the NBA has become a pick-and-roll league, and it’s a common belief that Shaq
is the worst pick-and-roll defender there is. And that Kendrick Perkins is one of the very best. The
Celtics have been built on defense the past three years, and figuring out how to factor in Shaq is
something that will occupy a great deal of Lawrence Frank’s time now that he is inheriting the Tom
Thibodeau role.
So it’s a plus-minus/risk-reward situation. There will be a large element of Shaq giveth vs. Shaq taketh
away to the story, with the Celtics gambling that there will be an advantage leaning toward the giveth.
Remember, always, that so much of what transpires in team sport depends on context. By signing Shaq, the
implication on the part of the Celtics is that they have the proper mix of teammates to maximize Shaq’s
assets while minimizing his deficiencies.
Much will depend on Shaq’s attitude, naturally. It has to be humbling for him to know that not many teams
were interested in his services, just as it must be humbling for him to be playing for relative chump
change, i.e. the veteran’s exception, in the $1.4 million range.
He went to Cleveland billed as the final piece of the puzzle (leading him to proclaim that he had come in
to get “a ring for the king’’), but now he comes here as sort of an insurance policy. ’Tis said you can’t
have too many starting pitchers, nor can you have too many “bigs,’’ as Doc Rivers likes to say. Shaq is
here to be a generic “big,’’ albeit one with a glittering résumé.
Boston could be an ideal place for him to spend his sunset years. Surely Red Auerbach, who once upon a time
provided late-career employment for the likes of Clyde Lovellette and Wayne Embry, would have approved of
the idea.
Shaq should like it here. He undoubtedly will plug himself into the tradition, and he will get himself
around town. The “Names and Faces’’ folks will be on constant alert (the folks at Symphony Hall should book
him for a “Night Before Christmas’’ Pops reading right now).
All that aside, look at it this way: The Celtics find themselves in need of a big body. Should it be Semih
Erden? Or should it be Shaquille O’Neal? If you need to think it over, then perhaps you really don’t care
about the subject in the first place.”

Chris Erskine of the LA Times looked at an eighth inning performer at Dodgers’ games (it must be a
“La-La Land” thing).

“It is an improbable shtick the kid has created for himself, pantomiming to a run-of-the-mill Journey song
in the eighth inning of Dodgers games — a manic, bug-eyed performance that has captured the hearts of
Dodgers fans in this, the summer of their discontent.

Ladies and gentlemen, now batting … Jameson Moss.

“I started out big and bold at first,” he says. “Then this woman, this fan, came by and said, ‘I love what
you do, but you should start small and build to it.'”

So ever since, that’s what Moss has been doing, performing to “Don’t Stop Believin'” and becoming a
feel-good phenomenon in a season that has gone on and on and on and on.

The 19-year-old Santa Monica college student is not there for every game. But when he is, the DodgerVision
camera crew seeks him out, hooks him up with some ear buds so that he’s in sync with the three-second delay
on the big screen, and away they go.

Is he an actor? Of course.

Is he paid? No, but the Dodgers do throw some freebie tickets his way now and then.

Is he famous?

“I was at an In-N-Out Burger the other day and the guy goes, ‘Hey, aren’t you the dancing dude at the
Dodger games?’ ” Moss says.

Fame comes in some funny packages sometimes, and the fact that the camera discovered Moss in the loge
section, most often in season seats that his family splits three ways, seems sort of remarkable. At least
till you see the quivering, impossible-to-ignore performance in person — one part Belushi, one part rally

“He’s really kind of shy,” his mother, Kelly, says.

Sure, Mom, whatever you say.

As noted, Moss starts small — almost reluctantly — looking at the camera skeptically with his puppy dog
eyes. As the song progresses, he becomes more animated, making the song (and the crowd) come alive through
a series of gestures and hand movements.

Part of what makes it so effective is that Moss plays it so straight, pretending to take the whole thing
very seriously.

Two minutes in, Moss is pleading to the baseball gods for help as the entire crowd laughs and applauds.

Don’t stop believin’,

Hold on to the feeeeeeeelin’ …

“I did it as an audition piece for a major casting call for Disney,” Moss says. “So when it happened to
come on one night at the stadium, I was ready.”

It all started late last summer and has been building since. Before and after his bit, spectators stop by
to shake his hand or get a picture taken. Moss is gracious with all of them.

“The guys who come up to him are the guys I grew up with — the cops, the firemen, the everyday people,” his
mother says. “The people who work hard, the family men, they’re the ones who appreciate him the most.”

In person, the wild-haired young man is well-spoken and polite. He is still trying to figure out exactly
where to go with his life and hopes to transfer to UCLA, USC or Cal State Northridge to pursue either
acting or the music business. It’ll be entertainment related, that’s a lock.

“I’m out here for the industry as a whole,” says Moss, who grew up in Atlanta and moved here with his
family four years ago. “Whether it’s behind the camera, or in front of the camera.

“I love making people happy. Whether it’s a smile, a hug or a laugh, I just love making people happy.”

Moss has done a fair bit of acting — a couple of national commercials, a ” Hannah Montana” appearance and a
role in the upcoming feature “Easy A.”

For now though, his biggest gig is this summer stock performance at Dodger Stadium, a jittery-wonderful
one-man show.

And though he has more going on than many 19-year-olds, including charity work for the Tug McGraw
Foundation, his greatest gift may be the desire to just be one of us — at least for now.

“I’m a die-hard fan,” he says. “I like to go out, have some nachos, a Dodger dog and just be a part of it
“I’m an average Joe,” he says.

Yeah, kid. So was DiMaggio.?

Tom Robinson of HamptonRoads.com said that former NY Giant David Tyree, who caught that pass in
the Super Bowl by trapping it against his helmet, didn’t realize at the time that it was going
to be his last NFL reception.
“A tip of the helmet – the very top of it – upon the quiet retirement last week of NFL receiver
David Tyree, who gained sports immortality by using his head better than anyone.
His decision ensures that the spectacularly fluky, trap-it-against-his-helmet catch Tyree made
near the end of Super Bowl XLII in 2008 for the New York Giants was the last reception he’d ever
make in the league.
That’s fitting, even though Tyree, 30, certainly didn’t plan it that way; he missed the ’08
season with a knee injury, and then spent a catch-less ’09 season with the Baltimore Ravens.
But when you’re destined like Tyree to be a player of modest achievement, there’s no better way
to cement a legacy than to make, everything considered, the single-greatest catch in Super Bowl
The fact that it was random, accidental and almost a complete freak of athletic nature? That only
makes Tyree’s 32-yard catch of Eli Manning’s pass, with the New England Patriots Rodney Harrison
mugging him, all the more compelling.
Steve Sabol of venerable NFL Films has called the grab, preceded of course by Manning’s wondrous
escape from a collapsed pocket, “the greatest play the Super Bowl has ever produced,” and
there’s no sense in even debating the point.
It’s all that for what it meant – first down at the 24 with 59 seconds left – for what it
allowed – Manning’s ensuing winning pass to Plaxico Burress – and for what it wrought – the end
of New England’s perfect season.
So in honor of the transformational power of the one-shot moment on a guy with just 54 career
regular-season catches, find the video clip online and appreciate again how inexplicable sports
can be.
What’s interesting, if you view the original Fox call of the play, is the relative nonchalant
commentary of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman. Aikman does acknowledge “that’s a great catch by David
But in the frantic swirl of the dying clock, the announcers actually rave more about Manning’s
spinning escape from furious Patriot rushers than what we now know was Tyree’s leaping, twisting
and falling farewell to the business of NFL pass receiving.
Great as was Manning’s slipperiness and his insistence on remaining upright – he falls there and
the Giants face fourth down and very long – quarterbacks worm their way out of danger every week.
Sure, it was lucky to the core. Still, drop me a note the next time you see a receiver at any
level blindly pin a football one-handed to the top of his helmet with a championship at stake
and one of the game’s most ferocious defenders clawing him to the ground.
“Not in a million years does he make that catch again,” Harrison has said, and he is right, of
But on the occasion of Tyree’s retirement, it also feels right to celebrate the fact that Tyree
never had to make that catch again – or any other catch at all – to earn lifetime fame for an
instant of fortune.”

Scott Ostler of the SF Chronicle talked about how the season was going for the LA Dodgers
(I think he feels the same way about the Dodgers as I do about the Bosox).

“It’s appalling, the treatment the Giants accorded their guests over the weekend.

How many ways can the Dodgers be mistreated and disrespected?

Sunday evening, the visitors from the south were beaten down by ESPN, Deputy Dawg, Lou Seal and
Edgar Renteria, not necessarily in that order.

If the three-game series had been a teeter-totter, the Giants would be the mean-spirited fat kid
launching the little kid into orbit.

Deputy Dawg? That’s Giants manager Bruce Bochy. When Dodgers third baseman Casey Blake came to
bat in the second inning, Bochy yelled something from the dugout.

He was telling plate umpire Joe West that Blake was standing too far back in the batter’s box.
The back line was rubbed out by then, but West asked Blake for his bat, placed it on the ground
next to the plate as a measuring stick and told Blake he had to move up a bit. A tiny bit closer
to hard-throwing Matt Cain.

Maybe it made no difference, but Blake struck out, the first of his three strikeouts on the day.

Remember how on July 20 at Dodger Stadium, Bochy got Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton removed
from the game by calling the umps’ attention to coach Don Mattingly’s “second visit” to the
mound, when Mattingly turned around briefly and stepped back onto the mound dirt.

Bochy, asked Sunday if it was unusual for a batter to set up too deep, as Blake did, said,
deadpan, “It’s illegal.”

Don’t think the Dodgers enjoy being nipped at by Deputy Dawg.

If the players on both teams have a hard time summoning up the crazy intensity of the
Dodgers-Giants rivalry that existed 20 and 30 years ago, Bochy is right there, showing them how
it’s done.

Of even more glaring import Sunday was the 5:10 p.m. starting time, moved back four hours to
accommodate the fine folks at ESPN.

When Renteria came to bat in the bottom of the sixth of the scoreless tie, with two outs and two
on, the setting sun was hovering just over the grandstand behind home plate.

Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw had walked Aaron Rowand intentionally to get to Renteria, at
least partially because Renteria was 0-for-10 lifetime against Kershaw and had already whiffed

Still, as Renteria said, “You don’t want to wake up the baby.”

The baby smoked a low line drive to left-center. Centerfielder Matt Kemp froze and the ball
screamed into the gap, a two-run triple.

“Kemp had no chance at it,” Bochy said. “As soon as (Renteria) hit it, we knew it was in the

Not so, said Kemp.

“The ball was in the sun and it wouldn’t come out,” Kemp said. “Definitely, if the sun wasn’t
like that, I’m catching that.”

So Bochy and Kemp will agree to disagree, but Kemp was either sound asleep or blinded, because
he never moved.

As for Renteria, this was a high point in his two-season career with the Giants. He’s been
struggling, 3-for-22 on the homestand before the triple, and has been relegated to half-duty as
a starting shortstop, sharing with Juan Uribe.

Sunday, Renteria not only drove in the game’s only runs, he made the defensive play of the game,
a 360-degree spin and throw-out of Russell Martin in the third inning.

Even mascot Lou Seal got in on the Dodger disrespect. When Seal drove his golf cart around the
perimeter of the field after the fifth inning, tossing T-shirts to fans, he drove the cart
directly over the Dodgers’ bullpen mound. Maybe the Dodgers didn’t notice, but I think we all
know how Dallas Braden would feel about such a move. He would have had a spike strip ready for
Seal the next time.

You talk about hitting a team when it’s down. The Dodgers are in the middle of a 10-game stretch
against the Padres and Giants, and they are 1-5 so far. Floundering doesn’t begin to describe it.

L.A. Times columnist T.J. Simers, who doesn’t do subtlety, has taken to referring to the L.A.
team in print as the Choking Dogs, and so far Simers has not heard one woof of protest in the

The Dodgers surely felt they nicked the Giants’ spirit when they beat the trade deadline by
scooping up left fielder/leadoff man Scott Podsednik, whom the Giants had targeted.

When Podsednik led off the game, his batting average flashed on the message board: .182.
Actually that was his Dodgers BA; his actual batting average for the season was .307 at the
time. Podsednik popped up.

The Dodgers, I tell you, they can’t get no respect.”