Pete's Arboblog: Scrimmage edition

It was great to be out at the scrimmage on Sunday, what a great day for ANY event, but especially that one!

My observations on spring ball so far: I am very happy with the play of the offensive line, and particularly its depth. The guys up front are agile and mobile, they have both good speed and footwork to go along with technique, and many of the players can play multiple positions. This is one spot, among many, in which the recruiting prowess of the Trojans comes to fruition. The team suffered some big time losses on the OL, but have the returning talent to fill whatever void there might have been. Add to that the fact that they work out against an obviously strong defensive line and the nation's best linebacking corps, and you can see that they might be a very strong point of the Trojans offensive attack this coming season.

I have been intrigued like everyone else at the specter of seeing JDB and Sanchez taking snaps from the shotgun. It allows for a better look at defenses and a good view of receivers running their routes.

It might also help with the large case of the dropsies from up under center, as exchanges between the QB and new center have been challenging, to say the least, and nerve wracking if they continue. I talked to Paul McDonald, who had some experience with a fourth string center at Tempe in '78, and he says it's tough to learn the new guy after dealing with an All-American. One guy might snap higher up his backside, the next might force you to reach all the way under to get the ball. Timing issues come to the fore as well—when to pull away from center and still maintain some sort of momentum.

Well, whatever it is, they'd better figure it out before it becomes the "tipped pass" epidemic of 2007. And there have been a few of THOSE, too, but I tend to credit the DL rather than blame the QB's or OL.

The usual "injuries" have sprung up…….some players really do NOT need to be out there killing themselves as they pretty much have starting spots nailed down, although you'd never hear a single coach or player admit to something of that sort. Those injuries, by and large, tend to clear up around late April, allowing said players to resume workouts, then they creep back in for the start of camp, but—lo and behold!—everyone's ready for the opening game! Amazing!!

Another very impressive sight: this scrimmage was game situation including having coaches up on top of Dedeaux field's offices calling plays, beat writers and others watching from the same perch. Piped in crowd sound. Real refs. Good stuff. Not to mention it was 75 degrees with light ocean breezes. Ahhhhhh life in paradise!

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I went to the Dodger-Angles pre-season game, cuz Jenny's kids wanted to see a game, and since they are out of town for Opening Day, this was the one. We walked up to the top deck ticket window, having noticed from the outside behind the bleachers that the top deck was less than half full.

I asked for three tickets, one adult and two kids. The woman clicked and clicked her computer for a good FIFTEEN minutes. It was into the first inning, so there was only a short line for this mildly attended pre season game. Announced crowd was in the 30's I think, actual looked smaller. And then she said, sorry we don't have three tickets together!!!

Okay, give me three singles anywhere in the top deck. Five more minutes. Sorry we are sold out. (She could not have told me this right away?) I mentioned the fact that there were a good half the seats empty, and she said they were all sold and she could only sell me three in the reserve section for a total of 51$.

I bought three from a scalper for $20, and we all sat together in the top deck.

Man, do I hate…I mean really hate, what the stadium experience has become. The flashing lights, the blaring music, the incessant ads on the video board, the ad strips and the PA system. Even the PA guy seems to find it necessary to do that awful introduction of each guy…I am sure NOT by his own choosing, but by order of the boss……RRRRRRRRRRAAAAAfaEEEEEELLLLLLLL FUUUUUUUURRRRRRRCCCCCAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLL.

Ugh.

And now the topper, along with over priced parking, and overpriced tickets and overpriced small portions of food, (never mind the 10$ cup of bad beer)…..the 7th inning stretch, the freaking singing of Take Me Out To The Ball Game" is now sponsored. I hope at least they pay the estate of the songwriter the proceeds, or it all goes to some charity. Simply awful.

At least we had a good meal at the best Mexican restaurant in Echo Park if not all of LA, Barragans, on Echo Park between Sunset and Elysian Park.

They had better win, and win soon. Trojan baseball is more fun, as are the minor leagues, a better deal, and more fan friendly….

I watched the Dodgers lay the egg today against the Brewers, and did you hear Vinny refer to Geoff Jenkins of "Southern Cal"? Ouch.

Speaking of SC baseball, Marshall plays North Hollywood at Dedeaux this Thursday afternoon while the Trojans are in Corvallis against the (gulp) national champion Beavers. That just sounds weird to say.

Speaking of youth baseball, the Santa Monica Twins are in first at the Spring Break at 6-2-1. Nice. And my girl's basketball team, the Smart and Final Golden Valley Magic are 3-0 in the ARC high school JV league at the break.

And speaking of basketball, let's all thank the deity of your choice that the Bruins are finally shut down. I didn't go as far or as classless as the Westwooders as to wear Gator paraphernalia during or after the game (I wonder what they have all done with all of that Texas stuff they bought—those front running fans) but it sure felt good to see them fall flat in a game in which they had "all the momentum and reasons to win" bla bla bla bla bla.

And I love they didn't get team championship 100. Let's see: Men's football 11-1. Men's overall 86-71. Men's and women's team championships together including football, ucla leads 100-97. Ah, but there's more, for if you add men's and women's individual championships, which most certainly count in terms of a school's athletic prowess and prestige, USC has nearly 450, UCLA around 350. Wow! So I wonder if SC gets the same coverage for it's 100th MENS title, and 500th overall, someday soon!!??

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Another visit to John Hamilton's Newport Sports Museum for delivery of the second of four or five shipments of the programs, etc. When done, I will list those programs the collection does NOT have in hopes that you all might have some to donate and put in for everyone to see. Stay tuned. The first shipment, when I went in, was already being displayed, although when finished, I will go there and put them all in some sort of easy to find chronological order. I have also sent him at least some of my sports clippings scrapbooks, and have many great sports books, to help create an entire interactive sports library.

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How big of a complex do you think Ohio State supporters might have after Florida whups ‘em for both national championships in the same short period? Chomp Chomp.

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Hey Aaron Affalo—you're a first team all-American, do the right thing. Go pro!! The Lakers need you.


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