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Are These Dodgers A Vision Or Mirage? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Terry   
Thursday, 31 May 2012 03:14

Random sports thoughts in, around, and outside the Valley…

As the Dodgers charged into the 2012 season, expectations of success were minimal. The fan base was happy that reviled owner Frank McCourt had sold the team, and was prepared to show patience for new ownership to build around established stars Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw.

But the Dodgers are finishing the first two months atop the National League West, and have one of the best records in baseball.

Be honest, who saw this coming?

Of course the team will have played only 51 of its 162 scheduled games after today, May 31, and that may not be a big enough sample.

Or maybe it is. Look at what's already happened:

After his torrid start, Kemp had to go on the 15-day disabled list with a bad hammy (returning on Tuesday, May 29). The team went 9-5 in his absence.

Andre Ethier (who's in a contract year) leads the league in RBIs.

Baseball pundits could barely stifle yawns at the off-season additions the Dodgers made – including pitchers Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano, catcher Matt Treanor, infielder Jerry Hairston and Adam Kennedy, and outfielder Bobby Abreu (who was signed on May 4 after released by the Angels). Yet there is Capuano with a robust 7-1 record and 2.14 earned run average. Harang has pitched in tough luck lately, but is still a respectable 3-3, 4.14.

As of Wednesday, Treanor had hit a solid .290 while playing part time. Hairston was delivering a .371 average and filled in all over the field. Kennedy was struggling at .221; Abreu, in his 17th season, was not, batting .339.

As a team the Dodgers began the week fourth in the majors in hitting average, eighth in total hits, ninth in RBIs and 10th in runs scored. On the mound, Los Angeles is second team ERA, eighth in strikeouts, ninth in saves 29th in hits allowed (that's good), and 28th in runs allowed (also good). But you know where the Dodgers are leading all of baseball, besides wins?

Confidence.

Manager Don Mattingly has the team playing with the same kind of quiet confidence he displayed during his excellent 14-year career with the Yankees. Mattingly never had to tell you how good he was, he just showed it day in, day out.

His team has been doing the same thing since the season began.

Hockey In June

The Los Angeles Kings began the Stanley Cup playoffs this week against the New Jersey Devils, and are playing for Lord Stanley's hardware for only the second time in franchise history.

Unlike the team's last late postseason run in 1993, it shouldn't take another 19 years to get back to this point.

The biggest difference between the 1993 and 2012 teams? Age.

The 1992-93 Kings had several stars like Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri, Marty McSorley, Charlie Huddy and Paul Coffey who were either on or heading to the downside of their careers.

The 2011-12 team has players like Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards, Drew Doughty and Jonathan Quick in or entering their primes.

And should the Kings win it all this year, is there some way to get the Cup out to the Valley for area kids to see?

It's not something they will forget, even in an area more passionate for baseball and soccer than hockey.

Semifinals Changed

The City Section Division I baseball semifinal doubleheader was changed to Wednesday, May 30, to accommodate the May 31 graduation ceremonies at El Camino Real. Results were not available by press time.

El Camino Real was scheduled to play San Pedro in one game, and the other semifinal pitted San Fernando against Chatsworth. The two winners will play on Saturday, June 2, at 1 p.m. in Dodger Stadium for the City championship.

The Division II semifinals, featuring North Hollywood, Los Angeles University, Maywood Academy and South Gate, will be played today at Birmingham High. North Hollywood and University square off at 3 p.m., and Maywood and South Gate begin at 6 p.m.

The two winners play at Dodger Stadium on June 2, at 10 a.m., for the section Division II title.

Valley Volleyball Players Honored

Steven Garcia of Sylmar and Billy De La Espriella of Granada Hills are among those named to the Division I All- City boys' volleyball team. Other first team selections include Anthony Stepanov and Shahriar Tahvilian of Taft, and Sean Greene and Jino Labao of Granada Hills.

Named to the second team were Cody Hughes of El Camino Real, Ryan Lietzke of Chatsworth, John Reyes of Van Nuys and Jose Vazquez of Sylmar.

Chance Earnest of section champion Pacific Palisades was named player of the year, and Palisades Coach Chris Forrest was named coach of the year.

The Division II All-City first team includes Joe Arechiga and C.J. Suarez of Verdugo Hills. Teammates Sevada Arturyan, Luis Castro and Garrett DeGrasse were named to the second team.

In Division III, Northridge Academy's Justin Bates was named player of the year, and Azy Badiei was the coach of the year. In addition, Byran Ronsayro and Joseph Wilkins of Northridge were named to the All-City team. Early Footbal Rankings

Early Footbal Rankings

Just took a look at the Rivals.com top 100 football player rankings for the upcoming season, and it didn't take long to find local names.

The only Valley player listed was Bishop Alemany receiver Steven Mitchell at No.63, whose team plays in the Southern Section's League. The only City Section player named was quarterback Troy Williams of Harbor City Narbonne – at No.98.

I realize most of these type of listings are based on the past season, and no one knows yet who will emerge from under the radar and turn into a college prospect or more.

But I know there is more football talent in the Valley that should be included on this list.

Isn't there?

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Last Updated on Thursday, 31 May 2012 03:22