(this is not a photograph of Frank McCourt shortly after he read Tuesday’s LA Times.)
“Dodgers”, in the opinion of LA Times Op/Ed contrtibutor Leon Furgatch, is a nickname that survives as “a vestige of nostalgia for a time when Brooklyn fans of the team had to dodge heavy trolley car traffic to enter Ebbetts Field…it has no relationship to Los Angeles or meaning for local fans.” And as such, Mr. Furgatch suggests (seriously) renaming the Los Angeles National League entry, “the Los Angeles Yang-nas.”
When owner Walter O’Malley brought his Brooklyn team to Chavez Ravine in 1958, he did not know the historical significance of the site. (Neither do most Angelenos, unless they attended Los Angeles public schools in the 1950s or earlier, when Yang-na history was still being taught.)
Historians tell us that Los Angeles was first founded on Sept. 4, 1781, by 44 settlers from Mexico on a spot not far from where the Olvera Street tourist attraction is located today. But that is not entirely true.
The pobladores from Mexico were the first foreigners to settle here, by the authority of the king of Spain, and the new community was blessed with the Los Angeles name. But Chavez Ravine — the area now occupied by Elysian Park, Dodger Stadium and the Los Angeles Police Academy — was first peopled by the Yang-na Indians.
If Gary Sherman’s 1982 epic “Vice Squad” isn’t the Citizen Kane Of Movies About Murderous Pimps Named Ramrod, at the very least, it includes the greatest theme song composed and performed for a film since…since…well, since Steve Garvey caught Marvin Hamlisch in bed with his wife. I know, that’s not a song or movie title, I just wanted to give you a visual image to think about rather than be haunted by the trailer above for the rest of your life. “Vice Squad” is being shown at the Alamo Ritz tonight, Wings Hauser is supposedly making a public appearance, and TICKETS ARE STILL AVAILABLE (link courtesy Max and VHS Summer).
We’re 21 years removed from former Norwich/Notts County F Justin Fashanu becoming the first —and only —- openly gay player in English professional soccer, yet not nearly so long past Ipswich supporters chanting, “he’s gay, he’s dead, he’s hanging in a shed”. The latter bit of cruelty is noted by the Guardian’s Patrick Barkham in Tuesday’s profile of Utsiktens BK midfielder Anton Hysén, 20, the first professional since Fashanu to reveal his homosexuality.
In an era when gay men and women play prominent roles in every other kind of entertainment, it looks increasingly bizarre that world football has no openly gay players – apart from Hysén (above). Although, as he points out, he currently plays in the fourth tier of Swedish football, working in the local Volvo factory to support himself, Hysén’s honesty about his sexuality is a big deal. His family is a footballing dynasty in Sweden; Hysén’s older brother, Tobias, is a Swedish international; their father, Glenn, was a tough defender who remains a celebrity in Sweden. In Britain, it would be rather like John Terry having a footballing son who came out. Perhaps most significantly of all, Hysén, like the English cricketer Steven Davies, who came out last month, made his declaration at the start of his career.
Hysén’s family and close friends have been completely supportive since he revealed his sexuality to them a few years ago; he figures he was born this way. “I always knew but I didn’t really think about it seriously when I was younger – you live at home and hang out with girls and you only really think about it when you start to want a serious relationship,” he says. Injuries stalled his development as a footballer with the Swedish premier-league club Häcken and now Hysén is rebuilding his career at Utsiktens, where his father became coach last year. Hysén did not court the flurry of global publicity that, invariably, came with his revelation. During a football magazine interview, Glenn casually mentioned his son’s sexuality; the journalist then politely approached Hysén to see if he wanted to come out. Hysén thought he might as well and, with typical frankness, told Offside magazine: “It is completely strange, isn’t it? It’s all fucked up. Where the hell are all the others? No one is coming out.”
ESPN The Magazine’s “Player X” column affords anonymous pro athletes the opportunity to take a shot at their colleagues and rivals, the recent attack on boozy Tigers 1B Miguel Cabrera being the most recent example (“why isn’t Cabrera paying a guy $100 a night to drive him around?”). In the considered view of Detroit skipper Jim Leyland, growling within earshot of the Free Press’ Anthony Fenech, such criticism is less than constructive (though you might think it pretty mild if you’ve ever had a friend member killed or maimed by an impaired motorist).
“To me that’s a gutless (jerk) that doesn’t put his name to it,” Leyland said. “If somebody would have said, ‘Hey, this is Jim Leyland and this is what I say, he should do this or this, then that’s fine.
“But when you (another expletive) hide behind somebody else’s expense, that’s chicken (expletive) to me. But you guys know your business more than me. Maybe that’s ethical, I don’t really know. But I’d be (extremely irritated) if I was Cabrera.”
“It’s a personal item,” Longoria said. “Obviously, they (authorities) are going to say things that are taken. I think everything within the house is personal, and we’ll just leave it at that.”
“The only time a person would need a rifle of that magnitude (outside a range) is if they’re fending off zombies,” said Fritz Casper, an instructor at Shooting Sports, a N Dale Mabry Highway gun range and shop in Tampa.
The AK-47 is a common choice for gun enthusiasts, he said, mostly because it is cheap, available for as little as $300 to $400.
“It’s a ubiquitous gun,” Casper said. “It’s inexpensive. It’s simple to use. It’s simple to fix.”
Dennis Patriarca, owner of the VIP Security Training school in Tampa, said the AK-47 is “a good protection gun, but it’s mainly a recreational-type thing.”
For many gun owners, Casper said, it’s not about need but want.
“If a dude wants to be cool and goes and gets a Corvette, it has nothing to do with the fact that he’s going to go take that Corvette and go race at 165 mph,” Casper said. “It’s like that. Shooting guns is fun. An AK-47 is fun.”
It wasn’t quite as sensational as allegations Barry Bonds threatened to cut out his girlfriend’s breast implants, but amongst the highlights of Wednesday’s testimony in the Barry Bonds perjury trial was former Bay Area fixture/American League Comeback Player Of The Year Jason Giambi (above) naming Bonds’ trainer, Greg Anderson as the supplier of the same PED’s he once refused to admit using. If the shifting levels of credibility aren’t making you dizzy, congratulations. From the Bay City News’ Julia Cheever ;
Giambi said Greg Anderson mailed him injectable testosterone and syringes, as well as two designer steroids known as “the clear” and “the cream” and calendars saying how often to take the drugs, beginning in November 2002.
He said he never talked to Anderson about whether the drugs were legal, but said, “I took it that it was very secretive to get your hands on it and to be quiet about it.”
He said Anderson said “the cream” and “the clear” had “steroid-like” qualities but were undetectable on tests.
At the time, Giambi was playing for the New York Yankees. He played for the A’s from 1995 to 2001 and is now with the Colorado Rockies.
He told the jury in the court of U.S. District Judge Susan Illston that he paid about $10,000 for the drugs and stopped taking them after injuring his knee in August 2003.
Giambi said Anderson also told him, “If I needed growth hormone he could send it to me.