Rather than one big thing going on in sports right now, there are a lot of smaller things vying for our attention. Pro and college football, pro and college basketball, pro hockey — they are all just starting to draw us in.
Some of the things are on the field and some (way too many) are off the field:
- UCLA men’s basketball players LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill, who returned to the U.S. after shoplifting from stores in China, have been suspended indefinitely by the school. “Indefinitely” can be short or it can be long. It should be long. At the earliest, the players should not play again until February. The optimum length is the entire season. If their uppity, entitled parents pull them out of UCLA, so be it.
- Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys and would-be king of all he surveys, appears to be a conspiracy of one in his effort to derail the contract extension of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. As usual, however, this does not appear to be stopping Jones one little bit.
- New York Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner says manager Joe Girardi, who led his team to within one game of the World Series, would have been fired even if the Yankees had won the World Series. Sounds like Hal learned loyalty from his father George.
- I can’t hear about Buffalo Bills quarterback Nathan Peterman without thinking of Seinfeld.
- Cody Bellinger of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Aaron Judge of the Yankees deservedly won the Rookie of the Year Awards in the National and American leagues respectively. But let’s just say it’s a good thing those awards were voted on before the end of the regular season.
- Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne fittingly went into the Hockey Hall of Fame together over the weekend. The start of Kariya’s career coincided with the start of the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim franchise and he was soon joined by Selanne. The pair made the expansion team worth watching from the very start.
- Dodgers fans should be smart enough to realize that Torey Lovullo of the Arizona Diamondbacks deserved the NL Manager of the Year Award this year more than Dodgers manager Dave Roberts did. Besides, Roberts won it just last year. Lovullo’s D-Backs went from 69 wins in 2016 to 93 in 2017.
However, it might be understandable that Dodgers fans would be irked, miffed and perhaps even a little peeved that Clayton Kershaw did not win the NL Cy Young Award. Kershaw finished second to Washington’s Max Scherzer. Scherzer was 16-6 with a 2.51 ERA, pitching 200⅔ innings and striking out 268 with 55 walks. Kershaw was 18-4 with a 2.31 ERA, pitching 175 innings (missing more than five weeks with lower back tightness) and striking out 202 with 23 walks.
- Kershaw has won Cy Young Awards three times (2011, 2013 and 2014) and has finished second twice, third once and fifth once. He and Greg Maddux are the only two pitchers to finish in the top five for seven straight years.
- However, it’s almost a little strange that Kershaw hasn’t won since ’14. The Cy Young is not about a body of work, but consider this: Kershaw is 46-15 the past three seasons with a 2.07 ERA, but no Cy Young Awards.
- Bobby Doerr of the Boston Red Sox, the first Baseball Hall of Famer to live to be 99 years old, died Monday in Junction, Ore. The oldest living Hall of Famer is now Red Schoendienst, who played mostly for the St. Louis Cardinals at 94; the oldest living major leaguer is now Chuck Stevens, who played for the St. Louis Browns, at 99 (three months younger than Doerr).
- It’s a week of big news for the Oakland Raiders. At 4-5, they’re struggling to get back to .500. They’ll be playing the New England Patriots at Mexico City on Sunday. They also broke ground Monday on their new stadium in Las Vegas.
- Unusual: USC’s football team, which plays UCLA in its big rivalry game Saturday night, is ranked No. 11 in the latest AP poll. Its men’s basketball team is ranked No. 10.