The greatest Dodger of all time: Sandy Koufax

What began with a simple question from sports writer Houston Mitchell: “Who are the 10 greatest Dodgers of all time?” turned into a massive wave of feedback, with 12,231 ballots surging in. And after a lengthy wait, we can finally reveal that the top Dodger of all time is legendary pitcher Sandy Koufax.

What made Koufax so great (beyond his victory on our ballot):

Koufax was the first pitcher to win multiple Cy Young Awards (1963, ‘65 and ‘66), as well as the first pitcher to win a Cy Young Award by a unanimous vote (1963, when he went 25-5 with a 1.88 ERA). Many people will tell you that the greatest pitcher in baseball history was Sandy Koufax on four days’ rest. Second greatest? Sandy Koufax on three days’ rest.

As for the rest of the top three, the groundbreaking Jackie Robinson came in second, and the longtime voice of the Dodgers, Vin Scully, took third.

Many thanks to everyone who sent in a ballot, and feel free to check out the rest of the top-ranking Dodgers here!

Photos: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times, Al Messerschmidt / Getty Images

Is it time for the (short-lived) Dwight Howard era to end?

After last night’s blowout loss to the San Antonio Spurs, cementing the Lakers’ exit from the playoffs in an embarrassing sweep, columnist Bill Plaschke has some tough words for the highly-touted center.

"This is like a nightmare," said Howard later. "This is like a bad dream and I couldn’t wake up out of it."

Here’s how that nightmare can end. The Lakers don’t re-sign it. The Lakers walk out on Dwight Howard the way he walked out on them. The Lakers shake themselves awake after watching Howard’s pathetic performance Sunday and have the courage to move forward without him.

Yesterday’s loss marks the first time the Lakers have been swept in the opening round of the playoffs since 1967, something fans won’t forget as the team decides whether or not to re-sign Howard in the offseason.

So what do you say, Lakers faithful: Should the team stick by Howard, or move forward without him?

Photos: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times, Joe Klamar / AFP/Getty Images

I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.

I didn’t set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I’m happy to start the conversation. I wish I wasn’t the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, “I’m different.” If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I’m raising my hand.

theonion:

Citing Battle Of Agincourt, Tim Duncan Urges Lakers Not To Get Too Discouraged By Game 1 Loss: Full Report

There’s still hope, Lakers faithful. Get ready for Wednesday’s Game Two matchup!

theonion:

Citing Battle Of Agincourt, Tim Duncan Urges Lakers Not To Get Too Discouraged By Game 1 Loss: Full Report

There’s still hope, Lakers faithful. Get ready for Wednesday’s Game Two matchup!

test reblogged from theonion

Wrestling stereotypes at Panorama High School

Last week, the Times highlighted Ella, a 13-year-old girl who has broken boundaries in her efforts to play football alongside her teammates.

And in the same vein, we present the Panorama High School women’s wrestling team, another example of how younger generations are pushing the preconceived notions of which genders belong in which sports.

Micah’s mother thought she was at a tutoring session. She was on the mat.

Within seconds, the heavyweight had pinned her opponent and the referee raised her hand to signify the win. She scurried to the locker room, emerging minutes later wearing her school clothes and lugging a backpack and violin. She hung around for a few moments, said goodbye to her coaches and sprinted outside.

She knew her mother was waiting in the parking lot — ostensibly to pick her up from the tutoring. Wrestling isn’t allowed.

Read through reporter Stephen Ceasar’s whole story here.

Photos: Christina House / For The Times

Take me out to the (old) ballgame

Way back in 1925, the Angels opened their season in Los Angeles, but instead of the AL West, they were in the Pacific Coast league, opening up their season against the Portland Beavers.

And, as it turned out, the Portland Beavers beat the Los Angeles Angels 7-3 in the April 11 opener at Washington Park, doing a bit of a better job beating the Angels than the Reds did yesterday by a score of 3-1.

Photos: David Mann / Los Angeles Times

Happy Opening Day!

Though the 2013 baseball season technically began last night, today marks the beginning for teams outside of Texas - including the Los Angeles Dodgers and Angels.

Above is a look at some of the preparations and renovations the Dodgers have undertaken as part of a $100 million effort to rejuvenate their stadium. And that’s not even including the massive amount of cash the team has spent on new players over the past year.

Both teams, after missing the playoffs last year, are gunning to return to the postseason, whatever the cost.

Photos: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

The girl who just wanted to play football
Ella, a 13-year-old who attends the Sequoyah School in Pasadena, just wants to play football - something easier said than done when the rest of the teams in the area refuse to play against a girl.

As the season began, the league voted against allowing a girl to play. If Ella played, it would mean a forfeit, even though the games could still take place. And Sequoyah would be banned from postseason play.
Ella’s teammates didn’t blink.

As it turns out, the team finished 0-8 after Ella joined them, not because they lost, but because each time she prepared to take the field, they were forced to forfeit.
Read the rest of reporter Chris Erskine’s story here.
Photo: Michael E. Stern

The girl who just wanted to play football

Ella, a 13-year-old who attends the Sequoyah School in Pasadena, just wants to play football - something easier said than done when the rest of the teams in the area refuse to play against a girl.

As the season began, the league voted against allowing a girl to play. If Ella played, it would mean a forfeit, even though the games could still take place. And Sequoyah would be banned from postseason play.

Ella’s teammates didn’t blink.

As it turns out, the team finished 0-8 after Ella joined them, not because they lost, but because each time she prepared to take the field, they were forced to forfeit.

Read the rest of reporter

Michael E. Stern

Mapping out the trajectory of a possible NBA star

How do you make a basketball legend? Ron Holmes, who played at UCLA but never made it to the professional leagues, has been wondering for years, spending his life trying to turn his son, highly-touted UCLA star Shabazz Muhammad, into NBA royalty.

From Ken Bensinger’s report:

As a student, Holmes said, he found himself fascinated by the careful breeding of thoroughbreds, the way that two fast, powerful horses could be crossed to create an even faster, more powerful colt.

Around that time he met Faye Paige, a point guard, sprinter and hurdler at Cal State Long Beach. Spotting her at a summer league game, Holmes recalled saying to a friend: “See that No. 10? She’s going to be my wife, and we’re going to make some All-Americans.”

Read the entire story, complete with a birth certificate discrepancy and the fate of Shabazz’s siblings, here.

Photos: Luis Sinco, Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

One man runs marathons in marriage, combating illness and on his own two feet

The Los Angeles Marathon, set for Sunday, will have a participant running for two: John Creel, 77, will be taking part not just for himself, but for his wife Ingrid as well. After she was bound to a wheelchair by multiple sclerosis in 1995, John became her primary caretaker, and began running as a means of relief. Sunday’s marathon will be Creel’s 60th since then.

From columnist Bill Plaschke’s time with the Creels:

They still laugh about how they met in 1958 on a snowy night in a small town in Germany. She didn’t speak English, he barely spoke German, yet a year later they were married. At the time he was a member of the U.S. Army's Green Berets. Today he runs his marathons with the actual green beret atop his balding head. It reeks of sweat and has been tattered by moths, but, like his devotion, it is unmoving.

Photos: Mark Boster/Los Angeles Times

What’s it like to be a one-hit wonder?It’s a long journey to success in baseball, an even longer journey to the minors, even longer for the majors and even then, some careers just appear as blips on the MLB radar.
Nearly 1,000 players have appeared for just a single at-bat in the majors since 1871, a stunning number considering the amount of work taken to gain even that singular chance, and the number of players who never even made it that far.From former MLB player Jeff Banister, current bench coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates:

"The events in my life allowed me to just really, truly kind of hold on to that one at-bat, that one game, and just how precious they really are. And how fragile professional sports and athletes really are," Banister says. "It can be there one day and gone the next. I didn’t dwell on it. I don’t dwell on it."

Read the entire story here.

What’s it like to be a one-hit wonder?

It’s a long journey to success in baseball, an even longer journey to the minors, even longer for the majors and even then, some careers just appear as blips on the MLB radar.

Nearly 1,000 players have appeared for just a single at-bat in the majors since 1871, a stunning number considering the amount of work taken to gain even that singular chance, and the number of players who never even made it that far.

From former MLB player Jeff Banister, current bench coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates:

"The events in my life allowed me to just really, truly kind of hold on to that one at-bat, that one game, and just how precious they really are. And how fragile professional sports and athletes really are," Banister says. "It can be there one day and gone the next. I didn’t dwell on it. I don’t dwell on it."

Read the entire story here.

Los Angeles primed to host 2024 Summer Olympics

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has sent a letter to the U.S. Olympic Committee formally asking that L.A. be considered in the bids to host the 2024 summer games - which if accepted, would be the city’s third gig following the 1932 and 1984 Olympics.

Relations between the U.S. and the International Olympic Committee had cooled over a disagreement about sharing sponsorship revenue that flows largely from American corporations. After Chicago was ousted early in voting for 2016 — Rio de Janeiro eventually won — the USOC skipped the 2020 bidding process.

Now, with a new revenue-sharing plan in place, Los Angeles officials believe they have a shot.

Pictured above are some of the highlights of those two previous Summer Olympics.

Photos: Georges Bendrihem / AFP/Getty Images, Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times archives

nba:

Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers dunks on a fast break against the Milwaukee Bucks at Staples Center on March 6, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.
(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Clippers may be under the microscope at the moment, after Charles Barkley accused them of being “fool’s gold,” but how many teams have a maestro of dunks on par with Griffin? Admittedly, we’re a little biased.

nba:

Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers dunks on a fast break against the Milwaukee Bucks at Staples Center on March 6, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.

(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Clippers may be under the microscope at the moment, after Charles Barkley accused them of being “fool’s gold,” but how many teams have a maestro of dunks on par with Griffin? Admittedly, we’re a little biased.

test reblogged from nba

Remembering Jerry Buss: Longtime L.A. Times sports columnist Bill Plaschke doesn’t hold back in his accolades for Lakers owner Buss, who passed away at the age of 80 yesterday.

Jerry Buss was one of the greatest owners in the history of professional sports, the creator of the most entertaining championship teams ever, a fearless pioneer who bonded a giant and disparate city under a brilliant blanket of purple and gold.

Look back at Buss’ life, weigh in on his impressive NBA legacy, or read the rest of Plaschke’s eulogy for the man who brought 10 championships to L.A.
(AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)

Remembering Jerry Buss: Longtime L.A. Times sports columnist Bill Plaschke doesn’t hold back in his accolades for Lakers owner Buss, who passed away at the age of 80 yesterday.

Jerry Buss was one of the greatest owners in the history of professional sports, the creator of the most entertaining championship teams ever, a fearless pioneer who bonded a giant and disparate city under a brilliant blanket of purple and gold.

Look back at Buss’ life, weigh in on his impressive NBA legacy, or read the rest of Plaschke’s eulogy for the man who brought 10 championships to L.A.

(AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)

What does he want, a cookie?