<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Sports]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/sports http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California http://www.nbclosangeles.comen-usWed, 25 May 2016 21:53:02 -0700Wed, 25 May 2016 21:53:02 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA['Red-Hot' Dodgers Sweep Cincinnati]]> Wed, 25 May 2016 21:35:42 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/204*120/Yasmani+Grandal+homer.png

LOS ANGELES – Maybe he was sitting dead red.

Yasmani Grandal homered, Scott Kazmir struck out 12 and the Los Angeles Dodgers completed the three-game sweep of the Cincinnati Reds, 3-1, on Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium. 

The futile-Reds dropped their 10th consecutive game and ninth in a row to Los Angeles as they fall 17 games out of first place in the Central Division, the largest gap in all of baseball. 

Joc Pederson crashed into the wall, and then crashed the party for Cincinnati in the fourth inning: 

After a single by Brandon Phillips, Jay Bruce hit a deep pop fly to centerfield that Pederson couldn't handle as he crashed into the wall, collapsing onto the ground. Thankfully, left-fielder Howie Kendrick stayed with the play, hit his cutoff man Corey Seager, and the rookie shortstop was able to gun down Bruce at the plate as he went for an inside-the-park home run.

The play turned out to be a turning point for the Dodgers as they held the Reds to just one-run heading into the bottom half of the inning. 

With the bases-loaded and two outs, a still groggy Pederson hit a two-run single to right field—right at Bruce—to give the Dodgers a 2-1 lead.

Grandal tacked on an insurance run an inning later when he sent a solo shot into the Reds' bullpen in the bottom of the fifth inning off Dan Straily.

Straily (2-2) took the loss allowing three runs on three hits with 11 strikeouts in seven strong innings. 

Kazmir (4-3) picked up the win in one of his better performances of the season. The left-hander surrendered just one run on four hits, striking out a season-high 12 batters in six innings.

Kenley Jansen worked the ninth inning for his 14th save of the season.

Players of the Game:

 Scott Kazmir: 1 run on 4 hits with 12 strikeouts in 6 IP.
Joc Pederson: Two-run single in 4th.
Yasmani Grandal: Home run. 

Three Takeaways:

1. K for Kazmir: Los Angeles Dodgers' pitcher Scott Kazmir struck out a season-high 12 batters on Wednesday night. It was just the third time in his career that he struck out 12 or more batters in a game.

2. Why Do They Call Him 'Crash?': Los Angeles Dodgers' outfielder Joc Pederson crashed into the wall in centerfield and was unable to make the play on an RBI triple for Jay Bruce. Thankfully, Pederson redeemed himself with a clutch-hit in the bottom half of the inning to win it for the Dodgers.

3. Dodgers Dominance: The Los Angeles Dodgers have won nine games in a row over Cincinnati as they sweep them for the first time since 2013. The nine-game winning streak over the Reds is the Dodgers' longest active streak against any opponent.

Up Next:

Reds (15-32): Cincinnati will get an off-day on Thursday before flying to Milwaukee to open up a three-game series with the Brewers.

Dodgers (25-23): Los Angeles concludes a 20-game straight stretch with a day off on Thursday before flying to New York to face the Mets.

Please refresh this page for more updates, stats and player reactions…

 



Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Vin Scully turns down offer to call All-Star Game]]> Wed, 25 May 2016 20:23:42 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/209*120/Vin+Scully+All-Star+Game.png

LOS ANGELES – The voice of the Dodgers will not be the voice of the All-Stars. 

Hall-of-Fame broadcaster, Vin Scully, reportedly declined Fox Sports' offer to call the 2016 MLB All-Star Game on July 12 in San Diego, CA.

Scully announced before the season that his 67th season calling the play-by-play for the Dodgers would be his last, and even though he's adamant he does not want a farewell tour, for all intensive purposes that's what he's getting.

"I'm not Kobe Bryant," Scully told Fox Sports' Brad Zager. "I'm just out there calling games."

Ironically, the last time Scully called the All-Star Game was in 1989, the season after his beloved Dodgers won the World Series.

Fans across all baseball love and respect Scully and would certainly want his familiar voice echoing into their ears as they watch the 2016 edition of the Fall Classic, but for Scully, he simply doesn't want to take any attention away from the players.

Scully rarely travels for road games with the Dodgers anymore, and with the All-Star Game just a couple hours south of Los Angeles this year, there was optimism that Scully would consider calling the game. According to Richard Deitsch of SI.com, the network was willing to accommodate him and anything he needed to get him in the broadcast booth.

It's unfortunate for fans that Scully will not make the All-Star Game a stop on his farewell tour especially because we doubt he would take away from the players and the game itself, if anything, he would enhance it.

Here's hoping that Scully changes his mind before teams break in mid-July, but as of now it appears that if baseball fans across the country want to hear the most beloved broadcaster of our generation, they'll have to tune in to the local broadcasts (if they even can) of the Dodgers this summer.



Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Yasiel Puig Pulled from game Against Reds]]> Wed, 25 May 2016 08:31:31 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/188*120/Puig+Benched.png

LOS ANGELES – It must be a steep learning curve. 

Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig was removed in the sixth inning from Tuesday's game in the team's 8-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds. 

Puig was pulled from the game in a double-switch in the top of the seventh, and while the casual fan might not see anything in the decision, for those that saw the game live, know that the star was taken out for his attitude.

With the Dodgers leading 3-2 in the bottom of the sixth inning and runners on first and third, Puig hit a deep fly ball to right field that appeared as if it was going to leave the ballpark.

The ever-confident Cuban star stopped and stared at his hit, but when the ball bounced off the top of the wall instead of over it, Puig was stuck with a 380-foot single instead of an easy double.

"I thought it was a home run and I didn't run out the ball," Puig said in Spanish after the game. "It was his decision to take me out of the game, it was a decision I understand and the right decision because all my teammates are working hard on the field and I should have run out that ball."

Two batters later, Puig seemed to have momentarily redeemed himself when he scored from second on a ground ball to first base by Howie Kendrick that was bobbled by Reds' first baseman Joey Votto. Puig was running full speed on the play and when he saw the bobble, immediately turned for home where he just barely slid under the tag for the team's fifth run. 

Unfortunately, his manager was still upset with the lack of judgment on the single.

"We talk a lot about playing the game the right way," Dave Roberts said after the game. "Mental mistakes you can live with, but in my opinion he should have been on second base."

Roberts believes that every player should be accountable for his actions, regardless of who that player is. He wasn't trying to send a message just to Puig, but to his whole team: if there's any doubt, run it out.

"He's young and we have to continue to teach all of our players and treat everyone the same and have the same expectations for everyone," he said.

Puig agreed.

"It was a bad decision on my part, and a good decision on the manager's part. It shows not only myself, but the rest of my teammates that you have to run out every single ball." 

Roberts seemed a little downtrodden after the game that he had to publicly embarrass his starting right fielder even after he redeemed himself by scoring in the inning. Roberts made sure to let everyone know, that in no way did his decision have anything to do with Puig's base-running bluder on Sunday's 17-inning marathon against the San Diego Padres when Puig did not advance to third on a sacrifice bunt by A.J. Ellis.

"No. It was an isolated incident," Roberts confirmed. "I don’t think it's anything a manager wants to do, you lose a little defense, but it’s a continued learning process for everyone." 

The ongoing saga of Yasiel Puig and his steep learning curve in the big leagues continues, just as if it seemed the star had turned a corner this season with his overall jovial attitude and his timeliness at the ballpark.

Thankfully, it appears as if Puig knows he made a mistake and still believes his manager trusts and believes in him despite his lapses in judgment. On the bright side, Puig still had a sense of humor when asked in the clubhouse if he'd ever been pulled from a game before for something like that. 

'I don't remember," he said smiling. "You'd have to ask Don Mattingly." 



Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Cut Through Reds' Tape]]> Wed, 25 May 2016 00:16:49 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/197*120/Puig+Slides+Under+tag.png

LOS ANGELES – For the second straight game, the Dodgers cut through the Red tape.

Trayce Thompson had two hits and two runs scored and the Los Angeles Dodgers routed the Reds, 8-2, for their eighth consecutive victory over Cincinnati on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium.

Joc Pederson and Yasiel Puig both knocked in runs as the Dodgers outfield did most of the damage for the boys in blue off Reds' starter Daniel Wright. 

Wright (0-1) took the loss in his Major League debut allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits with four strikeouts and one walk in 5 and 1/3 innings.

The former Triple-A International League Pitcher of the Week, allowed three singles to start the game, but settled down after that, throwing two scoreless frames before he ran into trouble again in the fourth. 

"Personally, I think it's a little bit tougher to face a guy you've never seen before," Thompson said. "I try to keep it simple and not try and do too much. I'm sure he had some nerves."

Thompson started off the inning with a single, and scored three pitches later when Pederson doubled to left field to tie the game.

Pederson scored on an error by Cincinnati catcher Tucker Barnhardt. Pederson stole third, and Barnhardt threw the ball into left field allowing Pederson to score the go-ahead run. It was Barnhardt's second consecutive game with an error, and third overall in the series.

Adam Duvall sent Mike Bolsinger deep in the top of the fourth inning when he belted a breaking ball over the centerfield wall. Bolsinger (1-1) was bitten with a bit of bad luck before that when Jay Bruce hit a ball off the first base bag and into right field for a double.

"There was a little bit of 'Mike luck' on that Bruce hit," Bolsinger said. "My next thought was 'what's next?' You just have to move past stuff like that and execute. I didn't but I was able to settle down in the next inning."

The right-hander won his first game of the season, allowing two runs on just three hits with six strikeouts in 5 and 2/3 innings in his just his second start since coming off the disabled list last Wednesday.

"I didn't feel to confident in my last start in Anaheim, but everything was working tonight," Bolsinger said of his outing. "I felt like I got over the hump tonight. It was definitely a confidence booster."

The Dodgers broke the game open with a two-run sixth inning. Thompson hit a one-out double off the wall in right field and scored two batters later when Puig hit it in nearly the same place.

"I try and go up there and be a tough out," Thompson said. "Obviously when you play more, you have more consistent quality at-bats."

Puig stood and watched the ball off the bat, assuming it would be a home run, and was unable to stretch the hit into a double.

"I thought it was a home run," Puig explained. "All of my teammates are working hard on the field, and I didn't run out that ball."

Two batters later, Puig scored from second when Cincinnati first baseman Joey Votto couldn't handle a groundball hit by Howie Kendrick and Puig beat the play at the plate to give the boys in blue a 5-2 lead.

Immediately after Puig returned to the dugout, he was taken out of the game by manager Dave Roberts.

"We talk about playing the game the right way," Roberts said. "Mental mistakes you can live with, but in my opinion, he should have been on second base."

The Dodgers bullpen threw three and 1/3 innings of scoreless relief with as Los Angeles moved back above .500 on the season. 

The Reds have now lost nine consecutive games, their longest losing streak of the season.

Players of the Game:

Trayce Thompson:
2-for-4 with a double and 2 runs scored.
Adam Duvall: Two-run home run. 
Justin Turner: 3-for-5 with 3 RBI.

Three Takeaways:

1. Call Em' Up: Daniel Wright was not the only one on the Cincinnati Reds who made his Major League debut on Tuesday night. Reds' relief pitcher A.J. Morris walked three consecutive batters before allowing a two-run single to Justin Turner in the bottom of the eighth inning in his big league debut for Cincinnati.

2. Two Thumbs Down: Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman, Adrian Gonzalez, gave Reds' first baseman, Joey Votto, two thumbs down after he angrily grabbed a paper airplane off the field that was thrown by a fan.

3. Trouble With the Curve: Dodgers' starter Mike Bolsinger was beating the Reds all night with his curveball as he had a one-hitter entering into the fourth inning. However, he hung an 80 MPH 12-to-6 curve to Adam Duvall who promptly hit it over the centerfield wall to give Cincinnati the lead.

Up Next:
Reds (15-31): Dan Straily heads to the hill on Wednesday for Cincinnati in the finale of the brief three-game series.

Dodgers (24-23): Scott Kazmir looks to lead Los Angels into a three-game sweep of Cincinnati before the team heads out onto a seven-game road trip. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10PM PST.

Please refresh this page for more updates, stats and player reactions…

 



Photo Credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Gwynn's Family Sues Tobacco Ind.]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 14:41:56 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/102871071.jpg

The tobacco industry used the late Tony Gwynn's addiction to chewing tobacco to turn him into a "walking billboard," his family alleges. 

"He never knew it but they were using him to promote their dip to the next generation of kids and fans who idolized him," Gwynn's daughter, Anisha Gwynn, said Tuesday in San Diego.

Gwynn’s family has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the tobacco industry, claiming the San Diego Padres legend was targeted to use the smokeless tobacco that led to the cancer that killed him.

The suit was filed Monday in San Diego Superior Court against Altria Group, Inc. (formerly known as Philip Morris USA) and several other defendants. Altria Group, Inc. makes Skoal chewing tobacco, the brand Tony Gwynn preferred and used extensively. 

The Gwynn family alleges the tobacco industry induced Gwynn to begin using smokeless tobacco when he was a star athlete at San Diego State University in the late 1970’s. 

When asked about the lawsuit, an Altria representative told NBC 7 San Diego, "We have no comment."

In the suit, the Gwynn family says the tobacco company "continued to deluge Tony during his college years with countless free samples of 'dip' tobacco products they purposely adulterated to make more addictive. All the while, they did not mention either the highly addictive nature of their products or their toxicity."

The suit alleges Gwynn used up to two cans of smokeless tobacco per day, claiming that is the equivalent of smoking four to five packs of cigarettes daily. In the suit the Gwynn family alleges the tobacco industry chose Gwynn specifically because it was trying to market its product to African-Americans, and that it intentionally misled Tony to use the product.

"Tony Gwynn was the Defendants' marketing dream come true," says the lawsuit. "They knew youngsters looking up to Tony would hope to one day hit like Tony, and be like Tony, so they would also want to 'dip' like Tony."

On Tuesday, Gwynn's daughter Anisha spoke of her dad's legacy, saying the baseball legend “wouldn’t want to see another player or any other person have to get sick and die."

Gwynn used smokeless tobacco for 31 years, despite seeing signs it may be harming his health as early as the 1990’s. Gwynn admitted an addiction to the substance and when he tried to stop using he reportedly needed prescription drugs to fight the anxiety and cravings he felt in its absence.

In recent years, Gwynn had multiple surgeries on his neck to remove both an abscess and a malignant tumor. He died in 2014 from salivary gland cancer at the age of 54.

Tony Gwynn was an elite athlete who “cared about his body,” his son said Tuesday.

“If he had known how addictive and harmful to his health dip was he would not have started using in college,” Tony Gwynn, Jr said of his dad.

The lawsuit does not ask for specified damages, instead requesting a jury trial to rule on grounds of negligence, fraud and product liability by the tobacco industry.

Gwynn’s death has brought about a change in some part of baseball. Multiple young players have either stopped using smokeless tobacco or simply not picked up the habit because of what happened to Mr. Padre.



Photo Credit: Getty Images for Pepsi MLB Refre]]>
<![CDATA[Nation's Top 12-Year-Old Boxer]]> Mon, 23 May 2016 18:03:00 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/box+GIF_19483400.gif

The highlight of 12-year-old David "Dynamite" Lopez’s life was becoming the country’s No. 1 boxer for his age and weight last year.

But a close second was sparring at his dad’s gym with undefeated super middleweight world champion Andre Ward one day this May. Ward threw a few fast punches. One or two landed on David’s headgear, throwing the boy back.

"It was uncomfortable," said the young boxer from Oakland, California. "But I didn’t cry."

Still, his nose smarted a bit and he got to play hooky from Westlake Middle School, where he is a sixth grader.

"It was awesome," he added, his green eyes twinkling.

Chance to be No. 1 Again
The scrappy pre-teen now has a chance to win No. 1 again. He qualified to attend the Junior Olympics National Championships in Dallas, Texas, next month. This round, he’s 85 pounds — a weight he begrudgingly achieves by following a "no hot chips" and no-soda diet. His father is now trying to raise enough funds to get there, as traveling the world to win boxing championships, especially for a working-class family, will be a feat.

David hasn’t read Malcom Gladwell’s "Outliers," which touts the idea that 10,000 hours of practice are required to excel at something.

But David intrinsically understands the book’s theory. He’s already put in about 7,000 of those hours, having started to box when he was just 5. That work led USA Boxing to dub him the top 70-pound boxer in the country in 2015. He also won the national title in Puerto Rico the same year.

"Practice," David said simply when asked why he’s so good. "Boxing is just what I do."

"Dedicated," chimed in Jasper McCargo, 29, who made the U.S. Olympic boxing team in 2014 and trains alongside David at his father’s gym in Oakland, Lightning’s Boxing Club. "And he has a great father." 

Father and Son Box Together
David’s father, Kris "Lightning" Lopez, 39, was a two-time Golden Glove champion and now runs a respected youth boxing program. Father and son train together for two hours every day after school. They also have an unusually close bond, which is obvious to anyone, even when meeting them for the first time.

The elder Lopez echoed that "repetition" is why his son is so skilled. But Lopez also added: "It’s in our blood." Lopez’s great-grandfather was a bigtime fighter in the Philippines in the 1920s. 

Half the week, David goes home with his mother, Wells Fargo corporate finance administrative assistant Denielle Allen, who can’t bear to watch her son fight in the ring.

"My mom will ask how a fight went, but she doesn’t want to come," David said. He added proudly he’s never suffered a concussion, and only broken his hand once.

He's close with his mom, too. She's the one who cooks him the rare feast of fried chicken and ice cream, no matter if he wins or not.

"I went to one fight," Allen said, "and I got sick for three days to my stomach." While David's boxing, she sits at home and prays with her Acts Full Gospel community for his safe return from the ring.

The other half of the week, he goes home with his father and his wife, who moved to Pittsburg, California, when they were priced out of Oakland.

Of Lopez’s four children, two are boxers, including his 20-year-old son, Daniel, who has also won national championships and now attends Laney College in Oakland.

Michael Jordan-Type Talent
Ever since he was in kindergarten, people could see David had something special. His jabs are blazing quick. His feet are light. When he jumps, the rope whizzes by too fast to see. He makes karate-like exhales when he jabs. He never backs down. He's confident but not a showoff.

"He’s got a talent that you see every 100 years," Lopez said. "Michael Jordan-type talent. He’s better than Andre Ward was at 11. At 5, you could see he was stronger and faster."

Ward met David two years ago at the 30th anniversary of King’s Boxing Gym in Oakland. Ward, who is Oakland born and now lives in Danville, noticed David’s quick feet and expert jabs.

"He said, 'You got skills,'" David recalled of the conversation, adding that the champion boxer then asked, "What’s your Instagram?"

The two have been sparring ever since. And last week, Ward stopped by the club unannounced to work out with David. That’s when Ward threw some fast ones at David’s headgear.

"He had never done that before," David said. It hurt. And tears sprang to his eyes. But David said, "I wasn’t going to back down."

Andre Ward Raves About 'Dynamite'
Colorado-based USA Boxing spokeswoman Julie Goldsticker knew David’s name with no prompting, mostly because she works with Ward, who "just raves about David." She said David walked Ward out for his last two fights.

As for finding sponsors to offset boxing costs for young people and families, Goldsticker acknowledged it’s a challenge. Mostly, she said, that’s because boxing is an individual sport and harder to find companies and wealthy entities to support one athlete, as opposed to a team. David’s father estimates it might cost $4,000 for the two of them to fly to the Junior Olympics June 26 to July 2 in Dallas, and stay at hotels for the week.

When David’s not boxing, he’s getting good grades in the hopes of attending Yale University one day. He still wants to box when he grows up, but said wisely: "I might study business as a fallback."

Hard to Remember He's a Kid
Family friend and mentor Jose Grace said he thinks David will accomplish anything he sets his mind to.

"He’s serious, he’s a scholar, he’s the full package," Grace said. "Sometimes I have to remember that he’s just a kid."

Follow David's achievements on Facebook or help send him to the Junior Olympics by donating to his GoFundMe page.



Photo Credit: Kris Lopez
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<![CDATA[Another Masterpiece for Kershaw]]> Mon, 23 May 2016 22:31:36 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/197*120/Another+Kershaw+CG.png

LOS ANGELES – He's simply the best.

Clayton Kershaw threw another complete game masterpiece and the Los Angeles Dodgers sauntered past the Cincinnati Reds, 1-0, on Monday night at Dodger Stadium.

Kershaw (7-1), threw yet another complete game shutout –his third of the season-- allowing just two-hits for the fifth time in his career.

"I'll celebrate tonight and enjoy the win," Kershaw said of his performance. "But tomorrow, I get ready for the Mets."

The three-time Cy Young Award winner struck out just seven batters, snapping his streak of six games with 10+ strikeouts.

"It was pretty apparent early on that their game plan was not to strikeout," Dodgers' catcher A.J. Ellis said of the Reds at-bats. "They were very aggressive. I can't speak enough about what our guys did on defense."

The Reds threatened in the first inning after a leadoff double by Zack Cozart, but Kershaw got Joey Votto to line out and Brandon Phillps to ground out to end the inning.

"That first inning could have gone a lot different," Kershaw said. "Votto definitely deserved a hit on that one, but the defense did a great job."

Cincinnati would come no closer than that as Kershaw was completely dominant on the night. 

"I've seen enough of Kershaw in the past few years," said Reds' manager Bryan Price. "He really had it going tonight."

Fans started chanting "MVP, MVP, MVP" for the second straight day in a different city as Kershaw went back out onto the mound in the top of the ninth.

Reds' catcher Tucker Barnhardt had a rough night behind the plate as he was responsible for two errors, including one that led to the Dodgers only run.

Justin Turner led of the third inning with a walk, and took second when Barnhardt's pick-off attempt went into right field. Adrian Gonzalez followed with a single, and Turner scored on Howie Kendrick's double play ball four pitches later.

Brandon Finnegan was the bad-luck loser, allowing just one run on five hits with two strikeouts in the first complete game of his career.

"I was really proud and pleased to see what I saw from Brandon Finnegan tonight," Price said. "I'm really proud of the way he ran the table and went head-to-head with Kershaw."

Cincinnati has lost eight straight games, and seven in a row against the Dodgers.

Players of the Game:

Clayton Kershaw: Complete-game, two-hit, shutout.
Brandon Finnegan: 1 run, 5 hits, 2 SO, 8 IP

Three Takeaways:

Complete Game Kershaw: Clayton Kershaw threw the 15th complete game shutout of his career, and his third of the 2016 season, tying a career-high (2015). It was Kershaw's fifth career complete game shutout with two hits or fewer.

2. May Day: Clayton Kershaw is 5-0 with a 0.64 ERA in the month of May. He has limited opposing hitters to a .142 average and struck out 55 batters while only walking two. Just to put that in persepctive, Kershaw has more complete game shutouts (3) than walks in the month. He will make one more start before the month is over.

3. Day and Night: After a 5 hour and 47 minute day game on Sunday afternoon, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Cincinnati Reds completed a two hour and 11 minute game thanks to Clayton Kershaw and Brandon Finnegan. The short game was needed for the already taxed Dodgers' bullpen.

Up Next:

Reds (15-30): Right-hander Daniel Wright is expected to make his MLB debut on Tuesday against the Dodgers.

Dodgers (23-23): Mike Bolsinger makes his second start of the season in place of Ross Stripling when Los Angeles hosts the Reds at 7:10PM PST.

 



Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Green Will Not Be Suspended For Suspicious Kick]]> Mon, 23 May 2016 17:55:52 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/draymondgreenkick.jpg

According to reports, Golden State Warrior forward Draymond Green will not be suspended for his kick to the private area of Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams in Game 3 Sunday:

The NBA investigated the kick made by Green, an integral piece of the team. According to ESPN reporter Marc Stein, "Draymond Green's foul has been upgraded to a Flagrant Foul 2 and he will be fined, sources say. No suspension."

Russell Westbrook of the Thunder, along with several analysts and former athletes, said they thought the kick and its destination were definitely on purpose, mostly because of how strange the leg motion was. It was a Karate Kid-style kick going straight up between Adams' legs after the whistle. 

However, Green said it was in no way his intention and that he was just trying to sell the call.

Several analysts believed Green wasn't being entirely truthful, but maybe this is the evidence the NBA used to make their decision:

Looks like Green does this style kick a lot. Just happened to be that this time, Adams' private parts was in the way of Greens’ foot.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[MLB to Review Gay Chorus Incident]]> Mon, 23 May 2016 17:25:50 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/gay+men+chorus+0523.JPG

Major League Baseball will investigate why a recording of a woman singing the national anthem inadvertently played instead of the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus at a Saturday Pride Night Padres game.

“We are pleased that MLB will look into this matter and the Padres will cooperate fully,” Padres CEO Mike Dee tweeted on Monday morning. “Based on our own investigation and the decisive action that we took yesterday, we are eager for all the facts to come to light surrounding this unfortunate incident.”

Meanwhile, the DJ implicated in the technical error has been terminated, as the team continues to investigate what led to the mishap, officials said Monday.

Social media erupted shortly after the game between the Padres and the Los Angeles Dodgers, when a technical error silenced the chorus. The group was set to sing along to a pre-recorded track of the national anthem when a recording of a woman singing played instead.

The moment was captured on cellphone video by a fan attending the game and posted to Facebook. It went viral shortly thereafter.

On Sunday, the team announced the firing of an outside vendor — the DJ hired to play music — and disciplined a team employee.

NBC 7 has learned through multiple sources that the DJ, known by the moniker DJ ArtForm, failed to upload the pre-recorded music file sent in by the group. Instead, a pre-recorded version used the previous night was played.

The DJ has expressed remorse offering his "sincerest apologies and deepest regret.”

Saturday marked Pride Night at Petco Park, an event hosted in conjunction with the San Diego Pride organization's annual "Out at the Park" event to support the LGBT community. The chorus performed at Pride Night last year without issue.

The chorus sang along with the woman's vocal track out of respect for the national anthem, according to Bob Lehman, executive director of the chorus, who said the incident was humiliating.

The Padres later issued a statement apologizing to the chorus and asking them to come back to perform at a later game.

Dee reiterated this message on Monday.

“We deeply apologize to the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus and anyone else who was offended by our mistake,” he tweeted.

The chorus addressed the incident on its Facebook page Sunday morning in a post titled "You Sing Like a Girl," which questioned the San Diego Padres’ relationship with the LGBT community and called for a "full and transparent investigation" by the Padres, Major League Baseball, the San Diego City Attorney’s Office and the city of San Diego Human Relations Commission.

Lehman tells NBC 7 he believes the music was an accident, but is concerned with how the team immediately reacted to the mistake.

He said the chorus' 100 members were left on the field, with no announcement, apology or explanation of what happened at the time. And to make matters worse, Lehman said, the group was jeered by some people when they walked off the field. He’s concerned over any perceived problems between the LGBT community and the Padres.

“I want to see something good come out of this so that the relationship can be examined, and find out why the community feels that way and how we can fix it,’ Lehman said.

Lehman said he plans to meet with Dee later in the week. But he’s also concerned that the Padres didn’t completely respond or take action until the story took off on social media and publications around the nation, and the world.

“I’m sure they (the Padres) felt like we did on Saturday night. When that happened, we were shocked and didn’t know what to do. That’s what happened to them yesterday. The entire world came after them and said, hey something’s wrong here,” Lehman said.

Lehman said he wants to meet with the team before accepting the offer to return to return to perform at a later date.

Here is DJ ArtForm's full statement on the error:

“My deepest apologies and sincere regret toward the entire San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus & the LGBT community for the incident that occurred during the National Anthem. It was a very unfortunate mistake but it was just that, an error. I in no way, shape or form directed any type of hate, bad intent or discrimination towards the chorus or anyone involved. The incident was not a representation of myself, San Diego, & it’s amazing Baseball fans. I have felt the consequences of my mistake as a dream job has dissolved before my eyes which does not take away that I am extremely sorry for the horrible mistake that occurred. I have family members & friends that are a part of the LGBT community and I have always been a supporter of Equal Human Rights, so it pains me greatly to see that I am being accused of acting intentionally. As a former high school and college baseball player, I understand the importance of ensuring equality for all in sports and am appalled by some of the negative, homophobic comments made by fans related to the National Anthem incident. I have reached out to LGBT leaders in San Diego and am currently in discussion regarding a meeting with the Chorus and LGBT leaders personally in order to be as constructive as possible about the error. I’ve let down my city, my family and everyone who had faith in me. Once again, I’m truly sorry for this entire ordeal.”



Photo Credit: Taylor Forsyth
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<![CDATA[Gay Men’s Chorus Silenced at Game]]> Mon, 23 May 2016 07:58:41 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/CLIP-SDGMC_Padres_1200x675_690991171985.jpg

Controversy brewed at Saturday's San Diego Padres game when a recording of a woman singing the national anthem played instead of the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus, which had just taken the field to sing on Pride Night at Petco Park.

A technical error silenced the chorus, which was scheduled to perform the Star Spangled Banner at the game between the Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers. The chorus was set to sing along to a pre-recorded track of the national anthem.

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Saturday marked Pride Night at Petco Park, an event hosted in conjunction with the San Diego Pride organization's annual "Out at the Park" event to support the LGBT community. The chorus performed at Pride Night last year without issue.

In a statement posted on Facebook, the chorus said 100 volunteer singers took to the field for the ballpark performance, but an audio recording of a woman singing the anthem played over the loudspeaker — not the track the chorus had expected. [[380421491,C]]

The chorus stood quietly on the field as the song played. The mix-up meant the chorus did not get to perform along with its own track, as scheduled.

"There was a really long pause — it took longer than normal. Then, all of a sudden, the music started but it was a young woman singing instead of the chorus and it just didn’t stop," Bob Lehman, executive director of the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus, told NBC 7 on Sunday.

Lehman said the chorus thought the audio mistake would be fixed on the spot, but the wrong track continued to play.

"They just played the entire song and we just stood there," he recounted.

He said the group didn't know what to do next. Out of respect for the national anthem, the chorus sang along with the woman's voice track.

"Nobody could hear us," Lehman lamented.

He said the chorus was humiliated. Many of them had invited loved ones to the game to watch the Pride Night performance.

The moment was captured on cellphone video by a fan attending the game and posted to Facebook.

The SDGMC addressed the incident on its Facebook page Sunday morning in a post titled "You Sing Like a Girl," which questioned the San Diego Padres’ relationship with the LGBT community and called for a "full and transparent investigation" by the Padres, Major League Baseball, the San Diego City Attorney’s Office and the city of San Diego Human Relations Commission.

According to a statement released by the San Diego Padres on Saturday night, the incident was the result of a technical glitch in the control room.

"This evening, during the pregame ceremony, a mistake was made in the Petco Park control room that prevented the San Diego Gay Men's Chorus from performing the National Anthem as scheduled. We apologize to anyone in the ballpark who this may have offended, and have reached out to the Chorus to express our deep regret for the error," the statement said.

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A Padres spokesperson at Petco Park told NBC 7 the error was an "unfortunate and regrettable mistake." Once the wrong track started, the control room made a "heat of the moment" decision to let the song continue playing so as not to cut off the national anthem for the crowd, the spokesperson said.

The Padres followed up with a statement Sunday night saying an internal investigation "found no evidence of malicious intent" but that "we have terminated our relationship with the third-party contractor who was responsible for the error, and taken disciplinary action against our employee who was responsible for the game production on Saturday."

The team apologized and has invited the chorus back to Petco Park to perform again. The chorus, for its part, responded to the Padres' statement saying it was "pleased" and looking forward to "a constructive resolution to this issue."

"Our hope is to positively improve the relationship between the Padres and San Diego's LGBT community," the chorus said.

The San Diego Padres is the first MLB organization to hold a "Pride Night" in support of the LGBT community.

Former San Diego Padres player Billy Bean, who is openly gay and serves as MLB’s first Ambassador for Inclusion, released a statement Sunday addressing the incident, saying he does not think the Padres purposely meant to embarrass the chorus:

"This past Saturday night, it was very unfortunate that there was a technical error during the National Anthem at Petco Park. However, I want to convey that my former team, the San Diego Padres, have supported our inclusion message at MLB without hesitation even before my return to baseball in 2014. They have led by example by inviting me, numerous times, to speak with their players and employees. I have also worked very closely with their owner Ron Fowler and team CEO Mike Dee, and I can assure you that they have made every effort to include the LGBT community, and champion equality in MLB for each and every one of us. I’m so proud of the Padres organization for hosting an LGBT Pride event during the season, and I would hope that the community recognizes that error and intent are not related."

[[380424321,C]]

According to the SDGMC website, the group is one of the 10 largest GALA choruses in the U.S. and features more than 130 singers.

The original chorus was first founded in San Diego in 1992 and presented its first concert one year later. In December 2009, the original SDGMC and the Gay Men’s Chorus of San Diego merged to create the new San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus.

The group’s mission statement is "to create a positive musical experience through exciting performances which engage our audiences, build community support and provide a dynamic force for social change."



Photo Credit: Taylor Forsyth
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Avoid Sweep in Marathon Game]]> Mon, 23 May 2016 00:31:50 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/208*120/Puig+Wins+it.png

SAN DIEGO – Good things come to those that wait.

Yasiel Puig hit a two-run single in the top of the 17th inning and the Los Angeles Dodgers avoided the San Diego sweep, outlasting the Padres, 9-5, at Petco Park on Sunday. 

The nearly six-hour long, 17-inning game, was the longest in Major League baseball this season and saw a total of 42 out of a possible 50 players take the field. 

"There was a lot of strategy and a lot of great things that happened," Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts said of the war of attrition on the field. "As a fan, you can appreciate all the pitching, big hits and defense."

Rookie Ross Stripling (2-3) earned his second career win by throwing three innings of relief, just two days after he started in Anaheim on Thursday night.

"We needed that win," Stripling said. "It's great to steal one here. So many things had to come together for me to get in that game. I don't think I've ever been a part of a game that long. It's an unbelievable team win."

It felt like ages ago, but the Dodgers originally erased a four-run deficit, punctucated by Howie Kendrick's first home run of the 2016 season.

Kendrick was 4-for-8 and fell a triple shy of the cycle as he had a home run, two doubles and two runs scored. 

After blowing the lead in back-to-back games, the Dodgers came back from a four-run deficit to avoid a potentially disastrous five-game losing streak. 

After four no-hit innings, Dodgers' starter Kenta Maeda ran into trouble in the bottom of the fifth when he allowed a leadoff single to Melvin Upton Jr. After Upton stole second, Christian Bethancourt brought him home with a single to left field to give the Padres the lead.

Three batters later, Wil Myers broke the game open with a bases-clearing triple to right field and when the dust settled, San Diego had hung a four-run inning on Maeda.

"The ball fell passed me and turned into a triple," said Puig after his diving attempt on the play.

Maeda did not factor in the decision, allowing four runs on four hits, all of which came in the fifth inning, with five strikeouts in five innings of work.

Los Angeles chipped away at the lead in the top half of the sixth off San Diego starter Colin Rea. Corey Seager and Adrian Gonzalez hit RBI singles in the inning as the Dodgers cut the lead to 4-3.

Rea also got a no-decision, serving up three runs on three hits with three strikeouts in five innings.

Justin Turner became the first Dodger hitter to get to Padres' relief pitcher Ryan Buchter when he sent a 93MPH fastball into the upper-deck in left field for his third home run of the season and second of the series. 

Buchter, the former-Dodger, had an 18.1 scoreless innings streak entering Sunday, and appeared in all three games of the series.

In the top of the eighth, Kendrick swung at the first pitch he saw from Padres' reliever Brandon Maurer and crushed it into the "Sun Diego Beach" area in right-center field for the go-ahead blast.

The game hinged in the bottom of the 8th on a rematch between Upton and Dodgers' closer Kenley Jansen. On Friday night, Upton hit a two-run, walk-off homer off Jansen, the first of his seven-year career, in the Padres 7-6 victory. 

"Melvin's put some good at-bats on Kenley," Roberts said. "He told me he wanted the ball in a four-out save situation, so I gave Kenley the baseball and felt great about it. I would do the same thing tomorrow."

On Sunday, Upton got the best of Jansen again as he tripled to right-center with two outs, scoring Myers to tie the game. 

"Upton has made some good adjustments against him," Dodgers' catcher A.J. Ellis said. "He had a lot of confidence going into that at-bat and it showed."

The bullpens took over form there as the game went into extra innings for the second consecutive day. Both pens threw eight innings of scoreless baseball before the Dodgers finally broke the game open in the top of the 17th. 

"It was good to grind it out and get one in the win column," said Ellis who caught all 17 frames. "We got contributions from so many people, and hopefully we can build a lot of confidence off this moving forward."

Kendrick started the inning off with a ground-rule double and two intentional walks later, Puig singled home the go-ahead runs off Padres reliever Luis Perdomo (1-1). LA tacked on two more insurance runs thanks to a wild pitch and a fielder's choice.

"I knew I had to do something to help my team after the base-running blunder," Puig said through a translator. "Thankfully, I was able to make up for it."

Puig was on second with no outs in the top of the 9th, and did not advance to third on a sacrifice bunt by Ellis that had his coaches and teammates scratching their heads in confusion.

"Things happen," Ellis said of the play. "We all have our moments and mental errors. The thing that's great about Yasiel is he learned from it. I'm happy he was able to come up and get the big hit there to push us ahead."

The manager concurred. 

"I was shocked," Roberts said of the failed bunt. "But for him to get another opportunity to break it open and get the game winning hit was huge for him as well for us." 

Players of the Game:

Justin Turner: Game-tying HR in 7th.
Howie Kendrick: 4-for-8 with a HR, two doubles and two runs scored.
Wil Myers: Three-run triple. 

Three Takeaways:

1. #PuigWasLate: Dodgers' outfielder Yasiel Puig was late to dive on a shallow pop fly to right field in the bottom of the fifth inning, allowing the ball to roll passed him and three runs to score for San Diego.

2. Upton Vs. Jansen Part Deux: San Diego Padres left-fielder Mevlin Upton Jr. hit the first walk-off home run of Kenley Jansen's career on Friday night in the Padres 7-6 victory over the Dodgers. It was Jansen's first blown save of the season, and on Sunday, he was given a shot of redemption in the rematch. Jansen entered the game with two outs and a runner on second in the bottom of the 8th and Upton at the plate. Once again, Upton got the better of Jansen, tripling to right-center to tie the game, handing Jansen his second blown save of the season.

3. C'Mon Man! Los Angeles Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis laid down a sacrifice bunt with no outs in the top of the ninth and Yasiel Puig on second. Instead of advancing to third, Puig stood still on the play and was almost picked off by Upton who snuck behind him to cover the bag. A visibly upset Ellis yelled "C'Mon!" as he walked back to the dugout.

Up Next:

Dodgers (22-23): Los Angeles returns home from their atrocious five-game road trip to host the Cincinnati Reds in a short three-game series at Dodger Stadium. Clayton Kershaw gets the ball in Game 1 at 7:10 PM PST.

Padres (18-26): After getting swept at home by the Giants, San Diego travels to San Francisco for an even more difficult three-game stretch at AT&T Park.



Photo Credit: Denis Poroy/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Montas Starts and Bellinger Finishes for Tulsa]]> Sun, 22 May 2016 16:06:55 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/160*130/Frankie+Montas+Rehab.png

ARKANSAS – The kids have come to play.

Los Angeles Dodgers prospect Frankie Montas made his first rehab appearance on Sunday in a two-inning start with the Tulsa Drillers.

Montas has not pitched since early February after he underwent surgery in spring training to have a rib resection procedure on February 12.

The 23-year-old prospect was touted as the best pitcher in the Chicago White Sox farm system last year and was acquired by the Dodgers on December 17, 2015 in a three-team trade with the Cincinnati Reds that saw Todd Frazier go to the Windy City.

Montas appeared in extended spring training last week at Camelback Ranch and was clocked on the gun at 100 MPH, an encouraging sign for the Dodgers' front office.

"Our scouts feel his fastball/slider combo is one of the best in the minor leagues," Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said last Dec. "There's no question in my mind he could step into a major league bullpen right now. But we're more of the mind to develop him as a starting pitcher."

Friedman's plan for Montas could change quickly as the Dodgers are in desperate need of bullpen help immediately.

"His use for us I would assume would be out of the pen," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said on Saturday. "I like hearing that he's hitting 100 MPH. I like 100. 100 is good. When you can throw 100 and have good command, I think you can help any Major League club."

Montas was supposed to appear in a relief role on Saturday night for Tulsa, but did not appear in the game as the Drillers lost 4-0. He started Sunday afternoon and served up a solo home run in the second inning. Montas allowed one run on two hits with two strikeouts and two innings in his first professional action since last season.

Meanwhile, another Dodgers top prospect, Cody Bellinger, continued to impress with his power and a promotion to Triple-A could be in the cards for the left-handed outfielder. Bellinger went 2-for-4 and hit the game-winning two-run home run in the top of the 11th inning to give the Drillers the 6-4 victory over the NW Arkansas Naturals.

The victory improved the Drillers record to 19-23 as they sit 3.5 games behind the Springfield Cardinals for first place in the Texas League's North Division.

Despite their sub-500 record, the Drillers are a team packed with prospects and have the potential to flourish in the Double-A circuit and beyond.

“I think our chemistry as a team is improving,” outfielder Alex Verdugo said.



Photo Credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Lose on Walk-Off Walk]]> Sun, 22 May 2016 00:31:40 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/199*120/Wood+strikes+out+13.png

SAN DIEGO – It was literally a walk-off. 

Relief pitcher Chin-Hui Tsao walked three consecutive batters in the bottom of the 11th, including Yangervis Solarte with the bases loaded, and the San Diego Padres defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 at Petco Park on Saturday night. 

"We had two outs and then the wheels fell off with Tsao," Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts said. "He just couldn't find the strike zone."

The Padres scored two of their three runs on sac flys, and then the winning-run on a walk en route to defeating their Southern California rivals for the second consecutive night. 

"We're finding different ways to lose games," Roberts added. "I haven't seen this one before. It's a tough way to lose."

Winless in his last six starts on the road, Dodgers' starter, Alex Wood, was dominant through the first six innings. Wood struck out a career-high 13 hitters, including every Padres player with the exception of Wil Myers. 

"They have some good guys in that lineup and me and Yaz [Grandal] were able to weave in and out of it in those first few innings," Wood said of his start. "I felt like we made some pitches when we needed to."

Myers was Wood's Achilles' heel all night as he had half of the hits Wood allowed, and three of the Padres five in the game. 

Wood did not factor in the decision for the third straight game as he allowed two runs on four hits in six strong innings. His 13 strikeouts were the most in a six-inning start in Dodgers' history, and the most by anybody not named Clayton Kershaw since Brad Penny struck out 14 in 2007.

"It's been tough these last few games," Wood said of the no decisions. "We definitely need to come in here with some energy tomorrow and leave San Diego with a win."

The Dodgers trailed by one in the top of the seventh when Trayce Thompson continued his torrid month of May with a two-run blast into the "Sun Diego Beach" in right-center. The ball traveled an estimated 412-feet, and gave the Dodgers a brief lead. 

"I'm trying not to force it," Thompson said of his hot-hitting. "I stick to my routine. The biggest thing is not trying to force the issue and find a way to have good at-bats."

It was Thompson's seventh home run of the season, and sixth of the month as he's batting .304 with two doubles and 14 RBI in that span. It was also Thompson's team-leading fourth go-ahead home run this season, and snapped a scoreless streak of 11.2 innings thrown by San Diego starter Cesar Vargas against the Dodgers.

"He knows his strengths and has a good cut-fastball," Thompson said. "He knows exactly where to throw to guys, but as an offense we just need to pick it up."

Vargas threw a career-high seven innings, but is still in search of his first win of the season after he did not factor in the decision, allowing just the two runs on four hits with a career-high tying seven punchouts.

Wood ran into some tough luck in the bottom of the seventh when he allowed a broken-bat bloop double to Derek Norris to leadoff the inning.

"He made a good pitch, but broken-bat double," Grandal said of Wood's bad luck. "Sometimes that's just the way the game of baseball goes."

One pitch later, Brett Wallace singled to left field and Wood's night was done. The Padres would tie the game two batters later when pinch-hitter Alexi Amarista hit a sacrifice fly to left that scored Norris. 

The game was placed in the hands of both bullpens after that as each team took turns throwing three scoreless frames before the Padres recorded their first win with a walk-off walk since May 6, 2011. 

The victory was San Diego's second straight walk-off and the first time Los Angeles has allowed consecutive walk-off losses since April of 2015 against the San Francisco Giants.

"You never want a team to walk-off on you," Dodgers' catcher A.J. Ellis said who has behind the plate in the 11th. "It's never a good feeling when you're on the road."

Corey Seager went 0-for-5, snapping his career-high 11-game hit streak. On a bright note, the Dodgers stuck out 19 Padres in the game, the third-most in franchise history.

Los Angeles has now dropped four straight games and fall two games below .500 for the first time this year. 

Players of the Game:

Alex Wood: Career-high 13 strikeouts.
Trayce Thompson: Go-ahead two-run home run.
Cesar Vargas: 2 runs on 4 hits with 7 strikeouts in 7IP.

Three Takeaways:

1. Kershaw Who? Alex Wood became the first Dodgers pitcher –not named Clayton Kershaw—since Brad Penny in 2007 to strikeout 13 or more batters in a game.

2. Wood you like some History? Alex Wood had 13 strikeouts in six innings of work. According to Baseball Reference, he's the first Dodger to record 13 strikeouts in six or fewer innings EVER.

3. K, We Get It: The Los Angeles Dodgers tied a franchise record on Saturday for most strikeouts in a nine-inning game with 18. Alex Wood (13), Adam Liberatore (1) and Joe Blanton (4) combined for the milestone which has been set multiple times and twice by Sandy Koufax alone.

Up Next:
Dodgers (21-23): Kenta Maeda returns to the place he hit his first career home run as Los Angeles finishes their series with San Diego.

Padres (19-25): Colin Rea faces the Dodgers for the third time this season at 1:40 PM PST.



Photo Credit: Denis Poroy/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Yasiel Puig's Strategy: 'Open My Eyes']]> Sat, 21 May 2016 19:28:41 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/203*120/Yasiel+Puig+Opens+Eyes.png

SAN DIEGO – "Abre tus ojos."

The phrase may have inspired the film Vanilla Sky, but it's become a mantra at the plate for Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig.

Entering a three-game series in San Diego over the weekend, Puig was batting .180/.196/.300 over the past month and his approach at the plate was part of the problem for the Dodgers sputtering offense.

Therefore, Puig went back to the drawing board with team hitting coach Turner Ward as the duo watched film and worked on mechanics.

"They worked on rhythm. He's got a little bit more of a leg kick," Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts said when asked what specifically they've been working on with Puig. "They've worked every day, but ultimately it comes down to getting a good pitch to hit."

Roberts is right. Puig's kryptonite has been pitches off the plate and opposing pitchers have easily been able to exploit the slugger's weakness by throwing him balls low and away that he frequently swings it.

According to Fangraphs, Puig has been swinging at nearly 70 percent of pitches on the outer third of the plate or further. That would explain why he's worked just two walks in his last 126 plate appearances and when he does make contact, the outcome is usually a shallow pop up.

Puig pops up nearly five times more than the league average at the plate, and already has a career high for infield flies in a season at 13, and it's still only May. If not for his Gold Glove like defense in right field, Puig might not be in the lineup every day.

"When you're aggressive, it gives you a better opportunity to take a pitch that's not in the strike zone," Roberts added. "When you use your aggression to hit a strike, your body position is in a better place to stop on the baseball."

On Friday, Puig showed signs of improvement as he went 2-for-4 with a two-run home run and two runs scored in the team's 7-6 loss to the Padres. For Puig, he knows there's been a difference in his at-bats and he thinks its pretty simple to see.

"I was swinging at bad pitches," Puig said after the game, stating the obvious. "Open my eyes. Hit the ball. Wait for good pitches."

Sounds pretty easy, right? The good news is that Puig seems to be starting to understand how more power can come from patiently waiting for his pitch rather than swinging at anything that moves.

"The pitches today were in the zone, my hands and legs were on time and that is why I was able to get a hit and get a home run," Puig said in Spanish. "There is a difference."

Furthermore, Puig believes he can still be the aggressive hitter he's always been without comprising his personality at the plate.

"I've always swung at first pitches," Puig continued. "I swung at the first pitch today and got good results."

Puig hit a first pitch single in the second inning off Padres starter Christian Friedrich, and was able to wreak havoc on the base paths seconds later, when he scored from first on a double by Yasmani Grandal.

Puig followed up his single and run scored with a go-ahead two-run blast in the fifth inning. More important than the Wild Horse's fifth long ball of the season, was that it landed in right-center for an opposite field home run.

"To see him hit a baseball to right-center field like he did…his pulse is better," Roberts said of his right fielder. "He's swinging at strikes and taking balls. When he's in the strike zone, he'll be a lot more productive."

Puig's production is a cornerstone to the Dodgers' success and if the three-time National League West Division champions want to make it four in a row, they will need Puig to be productive at the plate.



Photo Credit: Denis Poroy/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[PHOTOS: Preakness Day 2016]]> Mon, 23 May 2016 03:28:48 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/thumb-GettyImages-533294116.jpg Take a look at photos from the 141st annual Preakness Stakes. Known as the second jewel of the Triple Crown, the race takes places two weeks after the Kentucky Derby and three weeks before the Belmont Stakes.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Time is now for the Dodgers to call up Urias]]> Sat, 21 May 2016 17:27:56 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/176*120/Urias2.JPG

He won't be "The Teenager" forever.

At just 19 years of age, Julio Urias is not just the Los Angeles Dodgers top pitching prospect, he might be the best prospect in all of baseball.

Urias continued to be a major topic of discussion in the big leagues on Saturday despite having never pitched in the show.

The left-hander threw five more scoreless innings for Triple-A Oklahoma City on Friday night, extending his scoreless streak to 27 consecutive innings.

"Julio continues to excel and dominate Triple-A," Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts said before his team squared off with San Diego on Saturday. "Everyone knows what he can to do, they know kind of an asset he is."

He lowered his Pacific Coast League leading ERA to a measly 1.10 and has 44 strikeouts in 41 innings.

His performances have been so outstanding, that as Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times pointed out, even the veteran players are asking about him.

"When is Julio Urias coming up? Asked a veteran in the Dodgers clubhouse.

The answer to that question is unknown, but with the bullpen and back end of the starting rotation severely underperforming, that time may come sooner, rather than later. His pitching coach, Matt Herges, thinks he's ready now.

"He's showing he's big league-ready now, in my opinion,” Herges told MiLB.com. “But I don't make those calls. We have some very smart people that make those decisions and they know what they're doing. But right now, he's just dominating Triple-A lineups.

"Coming into the season, I had a checklist of things I had for him to work on and he's been able to cross those things off. How he handles himself in-game has gotten so much better. The frustration he used to show hindered his performance and it hurt the next pitch. That's gone. How he holds runners was another box that needed to be checked off, and that's done. Tipping his pitches, that's checked. There's always something to work on, but the things I was most concerned about in terms of his big league readiness, those boxes have been checked."

Urias himself is pleased with his progress this season and is not concerned about when he will be called up to the Major Leagues.

"I know that whenever I threw consecutive balls last year, I would lose it," Urias told the LA Times. "Now, if I don't do what I wanted with a certain batter or certain pitch, I move on to the next batter, the next pitch and do better.

"It makes me proud that some people are saying they already want to see me there, but my time will come," he continued. "God's timing is always perfect."

In six of his seven starts this season, Urias has allowed zero runs, with just one bad outing on April 16th, when he allowed four runs against the Nashville Sound. Other than that one blemish on his record, he has surrendered just one run in 37 total innings.

OKC catcher Jack Murphy has been working the majority of Urias’ starts throughout the season and has seen enough from him to believe that he is ready for the big leagues.

“He’s pretty special,” Murphy said. “We talk about it all the time. He’s got a great mentality, a great repertoire of pitches, makes my job easy behind the plate. As much as people ask me and tell me, ‘you did a good job with Julio today,’ there’s a lot of guys who can catch him today. His stuff is fantastic. He’s got a four-pitch mix that he can locate to both sides. So he makes my job easy and he gives a lot of the guys confidence on the team because you know you’re going to be in the game late in the game. He’s the perfect combination of a command guy with power stuff. It’s hard to find that combo.”

The question now is whether or not Urias should be called up to be a reliever this year. The bullpen is a glaring weakness of the Dodgers and bringing him up could be just the spark the Dodgers need. 

 

Tony Capobianco of the Enid News and Eagle contributed to this story.



Photo Credit: Tony Capobianco]]>
<![CDATA[Jersey From Harper Fight for Sale]]> Sat, 21 May 2016 09:55:10 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/490330798.jpg

It was a fight that, at the time, was indicative of a season slipping away from the Washington Nationals.

Nats outfielder Bryce Harper and relief pitcher Jonathan Papelbon got into a scuffle on Sept. 27 after Harper flied out and returned to the dugout. The two players had exchanged words before Papelbon grabbed Harper by the throat and manhandled him towards the bench. Teammates scrambled to break them apart.

The fight came one day after the team had officially been eliminated from postseason play. Papelbon was suspended by the team for four days, and Harper was held out one day.

Now, Harper's #34 Jersey worn on the day described as "the snapshot that best defined the dysfunction and disappointment of the Washington Nationals' 2015 season" is up for sale by online auction site Lelands.

The highest bid has reached nearly $5,000, as of 8:30 a.m. Saturday.

According to the auction description, there is dirt on the back of the size 48 shirt and is signed by Harper, who also wrote "Luke 1:37" under his signature, on the number 4.

"Whether or not you classify Harper as a model Christian, the scripture in question reads: 'For with God nothing shall be impossible,'" the posting reads.

The jersey will remain on the auction block until June 17.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Stun Dodgers on Walk-Off Home Run]]> Sat, 21 May 2016 00:27:15 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/187*120/Upton+Walk+Off.png

SAN DIEGO – Time for a rewrite.

Melvin Upton Jr. hit a walk-off, two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth off Dodgers' closer Kenley Jansen and the San Diego Padres stunned Los Angeles, 7-6, on Friday night at Petco Park.

Both teams exchanged go-ahead two-run home runs throughout the game as the National League West rivals continued to flip-flop lead changes.

Yasiel Puig, Christian Bethancourt, and Justin Turner all hit two-run blasts to put their teams in the lead throughout the game until Upton's blast put the punctuation mark on the Padres victory.

"It was an emotional roller coaster," Dodgers starter Scott Kazmir said of the back-and-forth game. "When J.T. [Turner] hit that home run I jumped up out of my seat. It's been a tough stretch for us, but we have to get it done. It's as simple as that."

The Dodgers were leading 4-3 in the bottom of the sixth inning before backup catcher, Christian Bethancourt, hit a pinch-hit, two-run, go-ahead home run off Scott Kazmir to put the Padres in front 5-4.

Kazmir struggled with his command, serving up a career-high seven walks while allowing five runs on three hits in 5 and 2/3 innings.

"I felt like I was fighting against myself the whole game," Kazmir said of the walks. "It's embarassing issuing seven walks in that many innings. It's unacceptable and something I need to clean up."

The 32-year-old Houston native's Achilles heel was the No. 9 spot in the San Diego order as that last spot in the lineup was responsible for four of the Padres five runs on Friday.

"It felt like there was a force field out there," Kazmir said of the No. 9 spot. "It's almost a nightmare to feel so good, but give up a hit up the middle by a pitcher. It's frustrating."

Kazmir surrendered a two-out, two-run, double with the bases loaded to opposing pitcher Christian Friedrich, in the second inning to give the Padres an early 2-0 lead.

In his first career start against the Dodgers, Friedrich did not factor in the decision, making his 2016 debut at Petco Park, allowing two runs on six hits with two strikeouts in just 3 and 1/3 innings of work.

The Dodgers added runs in the top of the third and fourth innings thanks to an RBI double by Corey Seager and Yasmani Grandal, respectively. For Seager, the double extended his hitting streak to a career-high 11 games.

Yasiel Puig put the Dodgers on top in the fifth inning when he crushed a 90 MPH fastball from Carlos Villanueva into the right field sets as the boys in blue momentarily lead 4-2. 

Derek Norris hit a solo shot into the bullpen in the bottom of the fifth before Bethancourt's blast put the finishing touches on Kazmir's outing.

Turner hit his first home run since May 7th, and just his second of the season, when he found the nook in the right field corner for the game-winning blast. Literally, Turner's blast landed in the shortest part of the ballpark and the only place in the stadium where the hit could have landed for a home run.

"That was a huge lift for our club," catcher A.J. Ellis said. "It's great to come from behind and was a big turn of emotion for us. We had a lot of confidence that we were going to get those last six outs and we felt like we were on our way to a W."

So did the rest of the stadium as arguably one of the best closers in baseball entered the game with the tying run on second base in the bottom of the eighth.

Jansen promptly struck out Norris as the Dodgers appeared to be on the brink of the upset victory, but in the ninth, the closer allowed a bloop single to fall at the side of the retreating Chase Utley before Upton dealt him the death blow.

"Sometimes you get snake bit and you have to ride it out," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "It tests your character and how much your team can stay together. We will be better for it."

The two-run home run was Upton's second walk-off homer of the season, and was the first allowed by Jansen in his entire seven-year career. The blast stunned the Dodgers fans in attendance, and Jansen himself, who was visibly upset as he left the clubhouse after the game, refusing to speak to reporters.

"I expect to have a lead tomorrow and use him again," Roberts said putting confidence back in his closer. "When you get hit, you have to fight back. You have to be a man about it and turn the page."

The loss was the third consecutive blown lead for Los Angeles as the team falls below .500 to 21-22 on the season. Jansen records his first blown save of the season. 

Players of the Game:

Yasiel Puig: 2-for-4 with a two-run homer and two runs scored.
Christian Bethancourt:
Pinch-hit, go-ahead two-run home run.
Melvin Upton Jr.: Game-winning, walk-off, two-run home run.

Three Takeaways:

1. Petco Punch: The San Diego Padres finally snapped their 28-inning scoreless streak at home against the Dodgers when starting pitcher, Christian Friedrich, knocked in their first runs against LA at home in the bottom of the second inning.

2. Put it in Play: Scott Kazmir made 39 pitches in the second inning. He walked two batters and hit another before opposing pitcher Christian Friedrich put the only pitch of the inning in play: a two-run single.

3. Corey on Base: Los Angeles Dodgers rookie Corey Seager has reached base safely in 58 of his 63 career starts. To put that in perspective, Seager is on base in 92 percent of the games he has started in.

Up Next:

Dodgers (21-22): Alex Wood gets the ball on Saturday as Los Angeles looks to snap a three-game losing streak.

Padres (18-25): César Vargas is still in search of his first win of the season when he takes the mound for San Diego on Saturday at 7:10PM.

Please refresh this page for more updates, stats and player reactions…



Photo Credit: Denis Poroy/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Disbelief Downfall of Dodgers in Battle for LA?]]> Sat, 21 May 2016 02:11:57 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/204*120/Dave+Roberts+Disbelief.png

ANAHEIM, Calif. – It's easy to second-guess baseball managers, heck, it's half the fun of being a fan, but for rookie skipper Dave Roberts, his miscues continue to compile.

Every rookie, coach or player, will go through a few growing pains in their inaugural season, but lately it seems that Roberts has been under a proverbial microscope, and his "rookie manager moments" have become magnified.

The biggest evidence of this comes on the heels of the Dodgers dropping three-of-four in the Freeway Series with their Los Angeles rivals, the Angels.

It was the first time that the boys in blue have lost the series since 2012, and the four-game set featured plenty of moments for fans to question Roberts' decision-making.

One of those moments was the decision to pinch-hit for Chase Utley with the bases loaded and no outs in the top of the seventh inning during Wednesday's game with the Dodgers trailing 8-1. Utley had two hits in that game, and had doubled in his previous at-bat against right-hander Nick Tropeano who was wearing down by that point.

"Being down seven runs, we really hadn't threatened at all against Tropeano," Roberts said. "In a game like that, I want to make sure I take care of certain players. For him to be in a game down seven runs, I didn't like that visual."

Did Roberts waive the symbolic white flag? Walking onto the field with his hands held high in the international sign of surrender in order to preserve his 37-year-old second baseman?

"We haven't scored eight runs in I can't remember when," Roberts added when asked if he was giving up. "So a guy [Utley] that's playing every day, 37 years old, it was one of those things where I didn't want him in a game that got away from us. So at that point in time I told him I'm going to give the at-bat to Kiké [Hernandez]."

Last Friday.

That's the answer to Roberts' question of when the last time the Dodgers scored eight runs. Friday the 13th (of May) in an 8-4 victory over the Cardinals. In fact, the Dodgers have scored eight runs or more twice in the month of May, and four times since the season began on April 4th.

In any event, Roberts went with the slumping Hernandez who promptly struck out and Justin Turner followed with an inning-ending double play, putting an end to any potential rally before it occurred.

Sure, the game appeared to be a blowout heading into that seventh inning, but one big swing by Utley in that situation could have made it a competitive game again. Also, it's doubtful that Utley's body would have broken down after one more at-bat, especially since two days later he would be out of the lineup with a lefty on the mound.

Many questioned Roberts decision after the game, and social media was aflame with fans arguing that the man they call "Doc" had made the wrong diagnosis in pulling Utley.

We'll never know what would have happened had Utley gotten that at-bat, he may have struck out as well, or he could have hit a grand slam home run, but that's besides the point.

The hypothetical situation is fun to play around with, but it begs an even different question: Is it better for a Major League manager to have undying faith and belief in his team, no matter what the challenges? Or, is it better for a manager to have the foresight to see the big picture and base his decisions on facts, stats, and probabilities?

As fans, we always hang to the notion of hope. We love an underdog story and will always believe in miracles despite what the odds tell us. Take the unlikely story of Leicester City who defied 5000-to-1 odds to win the English Premier League this season. Or, the 1980 U.S. Men's Olympic hockey team who were 1000-to-1 long shots to beat Russia and helped coin the phrase, "Do you believe in miracles?"

These are the reasons why we love sports.

So as a fan, of course we wanted to see Utley at-bat with the bases loaded. The Dodgers still had nine outs remaining in the game, and as the late Yogi Berra used to say, "It Ain't Over 'til It's Over," or maybe my generation prefers the phrase, "Goonies Never Say Die!"

Regardless, we're used to traditional baseball managers telling us, that they will "fight to the bitter end", that their team "can always come back," and that it ain't over "until the last out is recorded," but is that practical? Wouldn't it be better to be pragmatic and realistic while pointing the ship in the right direction?

In the case of Roberts, he may have known something we didn't. According to Baseball Reference, no team in the 2016 season has come back from a seven-run deficit to win a game. As of Friday night, only three teams in all of baseball had come back from a deficit of five runs.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are not one of them.

In fact, the Los Angeles Dodgers have NEVER come back from a deficit of seven or more runs to win a game in their history. In order to find a team that has, you have to go back to the 1950 season when the Brooklyn Dodgers led by Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese, and Roy Campanella erased an eight-run deficit against Stan Musial and the St. Louis Cardinals.

Ironically, that game took place on May 18th, exactly 66 years to the day that Roberts and the Dodgers waived the white flag in their 8-1 loss to the Angels. That year was also the first year that Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully first stepped into the broadcast booth alongside Red Barber and Connie Desmond.

Could the Dodgers have become the first team in 66 years to overcome a seven-run deficit to win the game? Possible, but not probable.

Weigh in on what you thought of Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts decision to pinch-hit for Chase Utley with the bases loaded and no outs in the seventh inning of a seven-run game, and what you think of his managerial job thus far in his first season as Dodgers skipper in the comments section below. 



Photo Credit: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Bullpen Implodes in Freeway Series]]> Fri, 20 May 2016 10:45:16 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/177*120/Hatcher.png

ANAHEIM, Calif. – They say "if it's not broke, don't fix it," but what if it's broke and you refuse to fix it?

For the second straight game, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts opted to go to the bullpen rather than stick with his staring pitcher in the fifth inning, both times, the move backfired.

Relief pitcher Chris Hatcher surrendered four runs — two charged to Ross Stripling — as his roller coaster season continued in the Dodgers 7-4 loss to the Angels on Thursday night in Anaheim.

"I felt confident that Hatch could get the out there," Roberts said of his decision after the game. "I could have left Ross in, but I liked the matchup between Hatcher and Giavotella."

Mike Trout had a home run, three RBI and two runs scored as the Halos took three of four from their neighbors to the north in the battle for LA known as the Freeway Series.

"The atmosphere is great during this series," Trout said of the battle for LA. "it was a big win for us tonight."

Trout was responsible for the Angels first two runs of the game when he scored Kole Calhoun with an RBI single in the first inning and then sent a Stripling curveball into the rock fountain in centerfield in the third inning for his 10th home run of the season, and second in as many games. 

Trout tacked on a third RBI in the bottom of the sixth inning when he hit into a fielder's choice with the bases loaded.

Just a few days after his first major league win against the Cardinals, Stripling suffered the loss, allowing five runs on seven hits with three strikeouts in 4 and 2/3 innings.

"It's my game, I want to be the one to do it, to finish it, but you can't be angry when he [Roberts] goes to the bullpen in a situation like that," Stripling said of his outing. "When you have major league hitters seeing all my stuff two times and then coming up a third time I need to start mixing in something they haven't seen."

The rookie right-hander got into trouble in the bottom of the fifth after a leadoff single to Gregorio Petit. Two batters later, he wanted no part of Trout when issued him a free pass on four straight pitches, instead opting to pitch to Albert Pujols with the bases loaded.

"I was being cautious, but I wanted to throw him strikes," Stripling said about the third at-bat to Trout. "I just got down 2-0 and basically put him on. I wasn't mad that I walked him, but I didn't want to beat me again."

Stripling punched out Pujols, but beamed C.J. Cron on the next pitch — his last — and Hatcher allowed a two-run single to Johnny Giavotella to give the Halos the lead. 

"Poor execution," Hatcher said matter of factly about what happened. "Something's going on to cause it. I know I can do it, I did it at the end of the year last year, but I just have to keep going out there and working on it."

Former Angel Howie Kendrick torched his former team with a two-run triple in the third inning, but that was the only offense the Dodgers seemed to be able to muster in the game.

"I've got a lot of experience with seeing those balls go down there [the right field line], so I was just trying to make sure I got to third base," Kendrick said of the triple. "We came out today and swung the bats well, but they did a good job making a comeback." 

The Angels planted their flag firmly in Los Angeles soil for the first time since 2012, as they finally won the Freeway Series and their sixth game in seven tries overall.

The loss should be more alarming for the Dodgers who have lost their last four games when a pitcher other than Clayton Kershaw takes the mound. As mentioned, it's the first time they lost the Freeway Series to the Angels since 2012, the last time they lost the division and missed the playoffs.

That season, Los Angeles (86-76), finished second in the NL West as they struggled to stay above .500 and chased the San Francisco Giants for most of the year. If that storyline seems a little too familiar, it's because it is. The Dodgers fall to .500 again at 21-21, and are now 3.5 games behind the rival Giants for first place in the NL West after the three-time World Series champions won their eighth straight game earlier in the evening.

Players of the Game:

Mike Trout: 2-for-3 with a home run, 3 RBI and two runs scored.
Johnny Giavotella: Game-winning two-run single.
Howie Kendrick: Two-run triple.

Three Takeaways:

1. Halos Heating Up: The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim defeated the Dodgers in the Freeway Series for the first time since 2012 and have now won six of their last seven games overall. Since 2005, the Angels are 22-11 against the boys in blue at the Big A, and now hold an all-time record of 61-49 against their rivals to the north.

2. Angel in the Outfield: Mike Trout hit his 74th Career home run at Angel Stadium passing Bobby Grich for 10th all-time in franchise history. His stolen base in the first inning, was his 117th of his career, also good for 10th place on the all-time Angels' list.

3. Seager Streaking: Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop, Corey Seager, improved his hitting streak to a season-high 10 games and is now batting .381 with three doubles, five homers and seven RBI during that span. 

Up Next:
Dodgers (21-21): Los Angeles continues its journey down the I-5 South as they make a stop in San Diego for the first of a three-game set with the Padres. Scott Kazmir on the mound on Friday at 7:40PM PST.

Angels (19-22): Anaheim hosts the Baltimore Orioles for the first of a three-game series on Friday.



Photo Credit: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers' Adrian Gonzalez Headed to DL?]]> Thu, 19 May 2016 22:54:16 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/195*120/GonzoDL.png

ANAHEIM, Calif. – The Dodgers are missing their "Big Butter and Egg Man."

Adrian Gonzalez was not in the lineup for Los Angeles on Thursday night for the finale of the four-game Freeway Series as the Dodgers' first baseman missed his third consecutive game with lower back tightness.

Gonzalez first experienced the back issue during an at-bat on Monday night after he struck out looking. Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts immediately took him out of the game and listed the slugger as "day-to-day."

However, one day has now turned into three straight days and fans are starting to worry.

Roberts himself, hinted that the team was interested in calling up minor leaguer, Rob Segedin who can play first base and the outfield in case Gonzalez has to miss any time.

Fortunately, Gonzalez himself said the injury is not serious and that he does not believe a DL stint is necessary.

"If it was my call, I would be out there playing," Gonzalez said on Tuesday night. "But they said that it's early in the year, and there's no need to push it. "

Gonzalez mentioned a similar issue he experienced in spring training when his neck acted up in Arizona. Gonzalez has dealt with the chronic neck issue the better part of five seasons, and said that the front office immediately shut him down in Spring and is being cautious again with his back.

"I experienced this with my neck, and they're telling me the same thing," Gonzalez added. "It's better to just get over this and come back."

After Wednesday's 8-1 loss to the Angels, Roberts was again asked about Gonzalez and the first-time manager suggested that his first baseman could return on Thursday or Friday. However, before Thursday's game, Roberts retreated, saying that the earliest Gonzalez would return to the lineup is Saturday in San Diego. 

Gonzalez has played in each of the team's 39 games this season and has never been on the DL in his major league career. His longest absence from the lineup was three straight games in 2005 when he was with the Rangers.

If Gonzalez experiences a setback this weekend, the Dodgers could place him on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Tuesday, May 17th. That would allow Gonzalez a little less than two weeks to rest his back, and allow the team to call up a player from Triple-A.

Meanwhile, new "super utility" player Howie Kendrick has started at first base in the last three games, and Kendrick has now played four different positions for Los Angeles this season. 



Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[YouTubers Land 11 Trick Shot Records: Guinness]]> Thu, 19 May 2016 16:42:10 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/471564022-Dude-Perfect.jpg

The basketball-lobbing viral video stars of Dude Perfect have taken 11 new records with their exceedingly high-difficulty trick shots, according to Guinness World Records, even taking one from a Harlem Globetrotter.

Among the records they smashed were "Farthest basketball shot made while sitting on the court" (55 feet, 1 inch), "Farthest trampette basketball shot performing a forward flip" (72 feet) and "Greatest height from which a basketball is shot" (533 feet), Guinness World Records said on its website. Big Easy Lofton of The Harlem Globetrotters used to hold the record for "Farthest blindfolded basketball hook shot," but Garrett Hilbert's 55-foot, no-look basket pipped his mark.

The group from Frisco, Texas, smashed the records March 30 and 31st, with an official adjudicator on hand to verify, the organization announced Tuesday. The Greatest Height record was broken on April 28, from atop the 36-story Cotter Ranch Tower in Oklahoma City.

Naturally, the records were filmed. The "World Record Edition" of Dude Perfect was featured Monday on their YouTube channel, which has nearly 10 million subscribers to its name.



Photo Credit: FilmMagic for YouTube
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<![CDATA[NFL to Reimburse Taxpayers $720K for 'Paid Patriotism']]> Thu, 19 May 2016 14:43:53 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/paid-AP_84226305861.jpg

The NFL is reimbursing U.S. taxpayers more than $720,000 in so-called "paid patriotism" money that the teams took from the military to allow things like color guard displays at football games, NBC News reports.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, in a letter to two U.S. senators, said an audit uncovered that, over four years, $723,734 "may have been mistakenly applied to appreciation activities rather than recruitment efforts."

"This amount will be promptly returned in full to the taxpayers," he wrote Wednesday to Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake of Arizona, who have led the charge against the practice.

"These recruitment efforts are intended to be separate and apart from the NFL's longstanding support of the service members and families who have dedicated their lives to serving this great country," Goodell wrote.

Flake and McCain, both Republicans, revealed in November that up to $6.8 million had been paid "inappropriately" to professional and college sports teams to allow patriotic displays at games.



Photo Credit: AP, File]]>
<![CDATA[D'Angelo Russell Named to All-Rookie 2nd Team]]> Fri, 20 May 2016 00:34:25 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/D-Angelo-Russell-named-NBA-2nd-Team-Rookie.jpg

For the second year in a row, the Los Angeles Lakers have a rookie that received All-Rookie honors from the NBA.

On Thursday, the NBA named Lakers guard D'Angelo Russell, who was picked no. 2 in the 2015 NBA Draft, on the All-Rookie Second Team. Russell received 25 First Team votes, which ranked ninth, but the 20-year-old received more Second Team votes than any other rookie. And so, Russell finished with 142 total points, which ranked him seventh in points.

Russell averaged 13.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.2 steals in 28.2 minutes per game during his rookie season. However, the former Ohio State Buckeye had a stretch of 16 games from the start of February to the middle of March where he averaged 18.3 points, 4.2 assists and 3.0 rebounds and looked like he would finish the season challenging Karl-Anthony Towns for Rookie of the Year. Town, incidentally, earned a unanimous All-Rookie First Team selection.

Unfortunately, Russell never quite found his rhythm following that stretch, save for a 32-point April performance against the New Orleans Pelicans. Also, offcourt issues involving a video recording of teammate Nick Young did not appear to do the kid any favors.

The All-Rookie Second Team selection, though, hardly pegs the dynamic Lakers' rookie for failure. Russell is the fourth Laker to get All-Rookie Second Team honors, along with Travis Knight, Nick Van Exel and Kobe Bryant.

The last name on that list turned out alright, right?

Notes: Larry Nance Jr. received three Second Team votes and Marcelo Huertas received one Second Team vote. Jordan Clarkson was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team for the 2014-15 season.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[MLB Mascot 'Arrests' Pticher]]> Thu, 19 May 2016 11:03:37 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Phillies+Phanatic+ATV+Theif.jpg

Is the Phillie Phanatic authorized to arrest ATV key thieves?

The beloved Phillies mascot gave an assist to Philadelphia police Wednesday when an officer gave him handcuffs to put on Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez. The star pitcher had grabbed the Phanatic’s keys before the Phillies win.

"For anyone who asks - yes, this was a legal arrest," joked the Philadelphia Police Department on its Facebook feed. "Philadelphia icon and national - nay - WORLD treasure, The Phillie Phanatic, was deputized before the start of today's game. Thanks, Philadelphia Phillies - we greatly appreciate the assist!"

The Phanatic appeared to let Fernandez go with just a warning after leading the Marlin into his dugout. Police commented on Facebook on why the Phanatic may have been distracted from pressing charges.

"We're waiting for him to finish his PARS report. He keeps getting sidetracked by an insatiable desire to rub the heads of our bald officers," the department wrote.

Fernandez got lucky, considering the Phanatic could have also nabbed him for assault after the mascot appeared to be pushed (or flopped) off his beloved four-wheeler while trying to keep hold of his keys.

Stealing the ATV's keys is something of a tradition for visiting teams, and Fernandez has stolen them before. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images, File
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<![CDATA[Kobe Bryant Court Sells For $179,100]]> Thu, 19 May 2016 10:52:29 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Kobe-Bryant-court-auction.jpg

Owning a piece of history is priceless, unless it's a few panels of hardwood from Kobe Bryant's final game.

After scoring 60 points in a memorable finale, Bryant walked back onto the court with his family, took pictures and autographed special implanted pieces of hardwood that featured in his final game. The two special add-ons stood out due to the color not matching the remainder of the Lakers' court, and each panel was decorated with the numbers Bryant wore during his NBA career: no. 8 and no. 24.

After a month-long online auction, the final price to own the panels with the no. 8 sold for $179,100 to a lucky, wealthy fan.

Before going mad over the slightly ridiculous final selling price, one should keep in mind that proceeds from the auction will go to benefit the Lakers Youth Foundation. Also, Bryant's league-topping $25 million salary for the 2015-16 season meant that the now-retired superstar earned $378,378 per game played in his final year as a basketball player.

In other words, Bryant earned more than double the winning bid for the historic piece of hardwood per game played.

The second panel will be displayed at the Lakers' new practice facility, and frankly, it's the better piece. On the no. 24, Bryant wrote "Laker for Life" and then autographed the piece of hardwood. Likely, future free agents will seek out the piece of memorabilia, just as they do the Lakers' plethora of championship trophies.

While that first piece has a rather ridiculous price tag on it, the second piece should forever remain priceless.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Angels Beat Up Dodgers]]> Wed, 18 May 2016 23:12:39 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/Angels+beat+down+Dodgers.png

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Welcome back to the big leagues, Bolsinger.

Dodgers right-hander, Mike Bolsinger, had a rough outing in his 2016 season debut and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim defeated their neighbors to the north, 8-1, on Wednesday night to take a stranglehold over the four-game Freeway Series.

Mike Trout welcomed Bolsinger back to the big leagues just 10 pitches into the game when he crushed a cutter into the left field seats for his ninth homer of the season.

"I think it woke me up a little bit," Bolsinger said of the first inning homer. "Once something like that happens you start to dial in. It's a home run, it's one run."

Trout hit his 39th career first inning home run on the long ball, the most in the Majors since 2012 (second Jose Bautista 31).

The Dodgers tied the game in the top half of the fourth on an RBI single by Joc Pederson that scored Corey Seager.

Two batters earlier, Seager thought he had an RBI double down the right field line, but Dodgers' third base coach, Chris Woodward, held Turner at third when it appeared he would have been safe at home.

"We had runners on base all night, but we left them stranded," Pederson said. "There's no panic in here, and things will turn around."

C.J. Cron and Rafael Ortega each had two RBIs as the Angels put up a five-spot on the boys in blue in the fifth inning.

Bolsinger allowed a single to leadoff hitter Yunel Escobar, and wanted no part of Trout whom he walked on six pitches.

"Pitchers pick and choose their battles," Bolsinger said. "I think everyone in the ballpark could guess I wasn't going to give him something to hit."

After Bolsinger exited stage left, Louis Coleman inherited two runners with 600-homer hitter Albert Pujols at the plate. Coleman issued a free pass before the Angels bled the Dodgers with a handful of weak hits breaking open the game.

"I was in jams the whole game and was comfortable getting out of them," Bolsinger said. "I was confident I would get out of that one too, but unforutnately I didn't get a chance to do it."

When the dust settled, the Dodgers were behind 6-1 and before you could say "heavy traffic on the 5 freeway," the boys in blue trailed 8-1 heading into the seventh inning.

Bolsinger (0-1) suffered his first loss of 2016 in his debut, allowing three runs on seven hits with two strikeouts in just 4 and 1/3 innings. 

"Every time I pitch my expectations are to go out there and keep the team in the game," Bolsinger said of his start. "I didn't go the five innings I wanted to, but I think I kept the ballclub in the game and that's the most important."

Coleman and left-hander Adam Liberatore, each allowed two earned runs in an inning of relief each, snapping their consecutive scoreless innings streak at 10 apiece.

Nick "Nitro" Tropeano earned his second victory of the season, allowing two runs or less for the sixth time this season. Tropeano (2-2) surrendered just one run on seven hits with four strikeouts in seven strong innings. Opponents are 0-for-19 with runners in scoring position and two outs against Tropeano this season.

The Angels snapped a six-game home losing streak with the victory over their city rivals. 

Players of the Game:

Mike Trout: 3-for-4 with a HR and three runs scored.
C.J. Cron:
2-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored.
Nick Tropeano:
1 run on 7 hits with 4 strikeouts in 7 IP.

Three Takeaways:

1. Power Outage: The Dodgers streak of 11 consecutive games with a home run was snapped, as they fell short of reaching the mark of 12, last set in 2002.

2. 27 (Hundred) Club: Albert Pujols recorded his 2,700th career hit on an RBI single in the seventh inning.

3. Falling Behind the Pack: The Dodgers fell to 21-20 on the season and by virtue of the San Francisco Giants seventh win in a row, Los Angeles falls two games behind first place and are now tied with the Colorado Rockies for second place in the National League West.

Up Next:
Dodgers (21-20): Rookie Ross Stripling looks to even the Freeway Series as he takes the ball on Thursday.

Angels (18-22): Former-Brave Jhoulys Chacin gets the call on Thursday as first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM PST.

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Photo Credit: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill]]>
<![CDATA[LA Rams Stadium Development in Inglewood]]> Thu, 19 May 2016 09:31:22 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/216*120/overview-rendering-la-rams-051816.jpg A new neighborhood is being built around the future stadium of the LA Rams bringing new plans for hotels, apartments, townhomes and more.It has been nearly two years since the groundbreaking of the future home of the LA Rams at the demolition site of the former Hollywood Park Racetrack. Residents who live and work in the area of 1050 S Prairie Avenue are already making big plans, despite the fact that the stadium itself isn’t expected to be complete until the 2019 NFL season.

Photo Credit: http://www.hollywoodparklife.com and Hart Howerton]]>