Author: Chris Dufresne

NCAA Commission Report Falls Short

It pained me to read this week’s 52-page release of a long-anticipated commission report that was supposed to end the NCAA as we know it. (Spoiler Alert: it did NOT). Seriously, though, I devoured the entire report whilst lying flat on my back nursing a back-muscle pull that has left me wondering if I’ll ever again tie my own shoe laces. It could be noted I was injured wearing sneakers manufactured under a longstanding apparel agreement I have with the Adidas clearance rack at Big 5 Sporting Goods. Adidas, as you may well know, is at the sinister center of the FBI indictments\probe scandal that scared the NCAA straight into thinking last October it needed a commission led by Condoleezza Rice. The final draft was titled: “Commission on College Basketball: Report and Recommendations to NCAA Board of Governors, Division 1 Board of Directors and NCAA President Emmert.” Thank goodness editors trimmed Emmert’s first name (Mark) to keep the title succinct and breezy. I read this report, essentially taking one for the team, because it was either that or stare at my ceiling fan. But I also read the report so you don’t have to. Part of our job here at TMG is to synthesize complicated reports like these into bite-sized Halloween candies. Why should you have to waste your afternoon? Synopsis: the commission report that was supposed to shake...

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Why “Paterno” on HBO is worth watching–once

I put off “Paterno” for the same reason I didn’t rush out to see “Schindler’s List.” It was on my “to do” list, I suppose, like a colonoscopy, but that doesn’t mean one can’t concoct legitimate reasons for procrastination. I recorded “Paterno” the night it premiered on HBO, then watched it linger in my queue box. It stared back at me from a menu list of candy-coated confections that included “House Hunters International” and “Drunk History.” What was I afraid of? One, you need to prep for something so distasteful that you know going in is going to be upsetting.  For me it meant setting aside two hours, alone, on an empty stomach. Recently, looking for something else in my garage, I found the book penned years ago by Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant at the center of this pond-scum story. It was an advance copy of his feel-good memoir, sent by the publisher looking for a review in the Los Angeles Times. Thank God we weren’t blogging back then and I buried what turned out to be garbage into a plastic bin. The book, incredibly in retrospect, was titled “Touched.” Or, perhaps, Sandusky was perversely daring us to find him out, like the serial killer who leaves cryptic clues for the chief of police. I covered the horrors at Penn State from the West Coast, way...

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Ohtani is the next Babe Ruth…if Babe retired after a week

It takes a lot to get me to a baseball game these days, in fact, it takes a lot to get me to the mailbox. Take YOU out with the crowd. Peanuts make me gaseous and the only person who makes out big on me eating Crackerjack is my dentist. I don’t care what that song says: years of press box regulations against rooting for the home team make it difficult for this recovering sportswriter to mix in easily with the fan base.  I’ve written this before:  I’m a terrible, uncomfortable, claustrophobic, mostly miserable in-the-stands spectator. I simply don’t know how to act. Two years on the back-up Dodgers beat in the 1990s still haunt me with deadline nightmares of being stuck in a post-game clubhouse with a half-naked Tommy Lasorda. That confessed, I was born and raised on the Angels of Gene Autry and Jim Fregosi, which makes me a closet Harry Halo for Life. Looking back, over five decades of Angel watching, I don’t readily jump on bandwagons, or put carts ahead of power pitchers or work horses. Thinking historically, I can count only three Angels that would make today’s me get up off my couch and attend a game: 1: The young Frank Tanana. Most people remember the “old” Frank who blew out his arm after pitching 14 straight complete games (fathom that today), yet still...

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It’s approaching 1-Zero Hour for the Dodgers

The Los Angeles Dodgers have a chance to make extraordinary history. The franchise that lost Game 7 of last year’s World Series stands, after two games in 2018, as the only club with a chance to lose 162 games by the score of 1-0. That would, I think, be a MLB record. Giant: “I left my heart, in San Francisco.” Dodger: “I left my bat, near Casa Grande.” This season has me pining for all those years the Dodgers held spring training in Florida, if only to groove a fastball to any number of award-winning headline writers: “From Vero to Zero.” Or, perhaps, we can blame all this on the team’s new bat maker: Louisville Sluggish. But let’s put this silly futility notion aside because the Dodgers, possibly as soon as today, are going to score a run this season. I’m more interested in the Dodgers and Giants being involved in consecutive 1-0 decisions. These kind of games, in the super ball juiced era, are as rare as seeing consecutive eclipses of the sun. Next you’re going to tell me “Rosanne” is back on TV with a mash-up of the same cast. I grew up in the 1960s and 1970s fascinated with hard-luck starting pitchers and the inept batting (and fielding) lineups that surrounded them. The team I followed had a famous rhyme “Tanana and Ryan and two days...

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Ten Years After: Chalmers’ shot stirs a fuzzy memory

I can’t believe it’s been 10 years since Mario Chalmers made that shot in San Antonio. Time flies when you’re having fun—and even when you’re not. It definitely flies faster when you’re older, or so it seems, though you’ll need an Einstein expert to prove (or disprove) it. I recall almost nothing about that trip to San Antonio, a decade ago, at the Final Four, except for THE SHOT. Don’t remember what I wore, what I wrote, where I slept, though I’ll bet your house I took a Super Saver (through Phoenix) on Southwest airlines to get there. I don’t remember the Alamo, but I do remember the Alamodome. If there was a Steak N Shake in the San Antonio area, there’s a good chance I ate there with Mark Blaudschun (hey we should co-found a website someday) and AP basketball czar Jim O’Connell (OC). I see where Kansas has made it back to San Antonio for the the 10-year anniversary of that Monday night in April. That’s nice and makes me a tad emotional. If you believe in omens and karma, it’s not good news for Villanova or the winner of Loyola-Michigan. I’m mostly a stay-at-home sportswriter dad now who doesn’t do Final Fours anymore and isn’t prone to sentimental journeys through my clip files. The Chalmers shot is a rule exception that passes my test for drippy...

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