Diberdayakan oleh Blogger.

Popular Posts Today

Panel rejects plea to save Riverside Drive bridge

Written By kolimtiga on Kamis, 29 Mei 2014 | 12.56

A city commission rejected the idea Wednesday of converting an aging bridge spanning the Los Angeles River into a "land bridge," after city engineers warned that the effort could jeopardize federal money needed for a new bridge replacing it.

Neighborhood activists and architects had envisioned turning the old Riverside Drive bridge into a "bridging green space" through which bicyclists and pedestrians could cross the river. Architect Kevin Mulcahy, whose firm RAC Design Build laid out a plan for converting the bridge, described the imagined connector as "the missing link" that would tie together celebrated initiatives to revive the riverfront. The idea comes amid a flurry of plans to revitalize portions of the Los Angeles River, centering on a proposed $1- billion remake of an 11-mile stretch of the waterway just north of downtown.

Demolishing the old concrete and metal truss bridge was part of the replacement plan that the City Council approved eight years ago. Backers of the land bridge point out that when those plans were made, the new bridge was expected to take the same place as the old one. Instead, the new bridge is being built further upstream.

More than 2,000 people have signed an online petition to spare the bridge, including almost 1,400 Los Angeles residents, backers told the Los Angeles Board of Public Works, a five-member panel appointed by Mayor Eric Garcetti. The old bridge, built in 1927, was designated as a historic monument seven years ago after city leaders had already voted to replace it.

"If we tear it down now and decide in two years, 'You know, we could have saved that bridge'...what a tragedy that would be," Eagle Rock resident Bob Inman told the board.

But city officials said the plan faced a host of practical problems.

Interim city engineer Deborah Weintraub said their "back of the envelope estimate" put the cost of converting the old bridge between $15 million and $25 million. Weintraub added that keeping the bridge — scheduled to be demolished within weeks — would end up delaying the new one, because construction plans rely on accessing the site. She added that the new bridge was already designed to allow bicycle and pedestrian access.

City officials also argued that altering construction plans to spare the old bridge could put them at risk of not getting reimbursed with federal funding, which is expected to pay for the bulk of the project. In addition, city structural engineering director Sunny Patel warned that the old bridge had a design with "absolutely no redundancy," leaving it vulnerable if one part of it failed.

Mulcahy countered that the bridge design was an issue, but one that could be addressed with added retrofitting. Tomas O'Grady, executive director of the nonprofit EnrichLA, challenged the rough cost estimates offered by city officials, arguing that "a guess is not good enough" to write off the bridge. Other supporters contended that a completely carless path would be a uniquely valuable amenity.

Their arguments failed to sway the commission, which voted unanimously to stick to city plans for the bridge. Mayor Garcetti and City Councilman Gil Cedillo, whose district includes the area where the project is located, had concluded earlier that the land bridge — though appealing — was not feasible.

Decision-makers "have figured that we can't afford to risk the federal funds that we have," Commissioner Mike Davis said. He added, "It is not because you have not put forth a great proposal."


Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
12.56 | 0 komentar | Read More

Jim McDonnell cites fresh perspective as L.A. County sheriff candidate

On his first day as chief of the Long Beach Police Department, Jim McDonnell stepped into hostile territory.

Many police officers were opposed to a chief from the outside, especially one from the LAPD. McDonnell had landed the job over several well-respected internal candidates.

When McDonnell ordered a mandatory briefing within 72 hours of officer-involved shootings, his subordinates did not mince words, recalled Steve James, president of the Long Beach police union.

"Many of us thought, 'All we need is one more meeting,'" James said. " 'Here comes the new chief and one more meeting.' "

Four years later, the 72-hour review is generally embraced. McDonnell won over skeptics by respecting the department's traditions and listening to suggestions, James and others said.

McDonnell is hoping to repeat his Long Beach experience at a larger and deeply troubled agency: the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

He is one of seven candidates seeking to replace Lee Baca, the longtime sheriff who retired in the face of scandal after 18 employees were criminally charged and the department was found to have hired deputies with criminal histories, including Baca's own nephew.

The federal indictments include allegations that sheriff's officials assaulted jail inmates and hid a jailhouse informant from the FBI.

As the only serious contender without roots in the department, McDonnell has attracted high-profile endorsements and a substantial war chest from those who believe that change can best come from outside. A McDonnell victory would be historic: For a century, L.A. County voters have chosen a sheriff from inside the department.

McDonnell's opponents in the Tuesday primary, who include two assistant sheriffs and a retired undersheriff, argue that only someone steeped in the department's unique mix of jail management and street-level policing can turn the place around.

"He's a very respected law enforcement professional.... To me it's not about whether he has the knowledge or capability, but it's the internal knowledge within the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department," said Assistant Sheriff James Hellmold, a candidate with 25 years in the department.

McDonnell, 54, deflects those criticisms by promising to appoint top aides from within. He cites his service on the Citizens' Commission on Jail Violence, which issued influential recommendations on how to fix the nation's largest county jail system.

"I bring a fresh perspective from the outside. I'm not encumbered by internal alliances," McDonnell said. "I didn't grow up with people in the organization. I don't owe anybody anything."

The son of working-class immigrants from Ireland, McDonnell has lived in Southern California since joining the Los Angeles Police Department at age 21. His Boston origins are apparent in his flat vowels and dropped consonants, as well as in his sports allegiances. He still roots for the Red Sox, the Patriots and the NHL's Bruins.

At candidate debates, McDonnell often reels off his plans in a monotone. He is not a natural politician, and it is in part that reticence that has won him respect from the cops he commands.

"He has a certain style about him," said Robert Luna, a Long Beach deputy chief. "When you're in a room with him, you know he's in charge, but he's not egotistical, he's not, 'I'm the king.'"

McDonnell flirted with a run for sheriff last year but decided that the campaign season was too long and Baca too formidable of an opponent. He jumped in only after Baca's retirement in January.

Despite his outward modesty, McDonnell has long aspired to lead an agency, losing out for the LAPD's top job, first to William J. Bratton and then Charlie Beck. As Bratton's second-in-command, McDonnell helped implement the federal consent decree that arose largely out of the Rampart corruption scandal.

His supporters say that is the kind of experience needed to clean up a sheriff's department with a history of favoritism, deputy cliques and violence in the jails.

"People were a little resistant. They liked things the way they'd always done them," Tyler Izen, president of the LAPD union, said of the consent decree era. "It was frequently Jim McDonnell, with his enthusiasm, who said, 'We're going to do this. This is the right thing to do. We can do it. Let's all get in there and go.'"

In Long Beach, McDonnell leads a force diminished by budget cuts to just over 800 sworn officers. He has been criticized for a rise in officer-involved shootings, as well as the 2013 beating of an unarmed man. Last month, Long Beach officers fatally shot a 36-year-old man who was allegedly armed only with a wooden stick as he fled down a set of stairs. The man's family has filed a $10-million claim against the city.

Citing the 72-hour reviews, McDonnell said the department is always trying to improve.

"We're looking for red flags: training issues, equipment issues, tactical issues," McDonnell said. "Are there things we need to do with the individual officer, with the unit or department-wide training?"

Transparency has also been an issue in Long Beach during McDonnell's tenure. The city and the police union are fighting a request by The Times seeking the names of Long Beach police officers who have used lethal force. The case is now before the California Supreme Court.

In response to a question at a candidate debate, McDonnell referred to the court case, saying the outcome "will dictate where we go from there." In general, he said, he strives for openness in dealing with the press and with oversight agencies.

"In policing, we treat 95% of what we do as a secret, when actually 5% needs to be kept confidential because of state laws or because it would jeopardize an investigation," he said.

McDonnell said his No. 1 priority as sheriff would be "restoring public trust and pride within the organization." He favors a two-track system separating deputies who want a career in the jails and those who want to do street patrol. Under Baca, new deputies spent years in the jails, even if they aspired to do patrol work.

"They're crossing off the days on the calendar as if they're an inmate. That's not a high-productivity individual," McDonnell said.


Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
12.56 | 0 komentar | Read More

Angels can't get much going against Seattle, Felix Hernandez in loss, 3-2

KEY MOMENT: With runners on second and third and two out in the second, Angels left-hander C.J. Wilson fell behind No. 8 hitter Mike Zunino with a three-ball count. Instead of walking Zunino to face .182-hitting Nick Franklin, Wilson caught too much of the plate with a 3-and-1 fastball that Zunino lined to right for a two-run single. Franklin then flied to right, ending the inning.

AT THE PLATE: Zunino led off the eighth with a homer to left-center field, his seventh of the season. The Angels spoiled Mariners ace Felix Hernandez's shutout bid when Mike Trout singled with two out in the ninth and scored on Albert Pujols' double to right to make it 3-1. Seattle closer Fernando Rodney got David Freese to line out softly to shortstop for his 13th save.

ON THE MOUND: The Angels have given Hernandez trouble in the past — the right-hander entered with a 9-13 record and 3.89 earned run average in 36 starts against them — but not Wednesday night. Hernandez gave up one run and four hits in 8 2/3 innings, striking out nine and walking two, to improve to 7-1 with a 2.57 ERA on the season.

ON SECOND THOUGHT: The Angels had two on with one out in the fourth when Kendrick got what appeared to be a good jump off second and tried to steal third. Bad move. Kendrick was thrown out by Zunino, and the rally fizzled when Freese struck out.

REHAB REPORT: Josh Hamilton, who suffered a bone bruise in his left thumb in a triple-A game last Thursday, took about 100 swings off live pitching in a cage Wednesday and expects to hit on the field Thursday. "The first few swings I was a little timid, but then I cut it loose and it felt fine," Hamilton said.

EXTRA BASES: Left-hander Wade LeBlanc was scheduled to start Thursday night, but Burnett's injury allowed the Angels to recall Matt Shoemaker from triple A to pitch against the Mariners.

UP NEXT: Right-hander Matt Shoemaker (2-1, 3.18 ERA) will oppose Seattle right-hander Brandon Maurer (1-3, 6.99 ERA) at Safeco Field on Thursday at 7 p.m. On the air: FS West; Radio: 830.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
12.56 | 0 komentar | Read More

Wild pitch helps Reds to edge Dodgers and ace Clayton Kershaw, 3-2

He wasn't exactly the dominating Clayton Kershaw seen in his last outing and he certainly wasn't the one who couldn't last two innings in the start before that.

This Kershaw was very good, but as it turned out, just not good enough.

Kershaw struck out nine in his 7 innings, but a wild pitch in the sixth allowed what held up as the winning run in the Reds' 3-2 victory over the Dodgers Wednesday night before a Dodger Stadium crowd of 41,129.

Kershaw (3-2) allowed seven hits and walked one, but he wasn't quite as sharp as Reds' starter Homer Bailey. He held the Dodgers to just five hits in seven innings, with a walk and six strikeouts.

The Reds opened the scoring with two quick runs in the first. Todd Frazier doubled into the left-field corner and Brandon Phillips unloaded his fourth home run of the season several rows into the left-field pavilion, giving Cincinnati an early 2-0 lead.

It remained that way until the fifth, the Dodgers struggling get much of anything going against Bailey, the owner of two no-hitters but who entered the game 4-3 with a 5.34 ERA.

Then Justin Turner led off the bottom of the fifth with a double and moved to third on Drew Butera's groundout to first. Turner scored when catcher Devin Mesoraco let a Bailey fastball get by him for a passed ball.

The Reds got the run back in the sixth after Frazier doubled into left for a second time. Matt Kemp, playing left field for the first time since 2006, could not get a good line on the ball and sailed beyond his glove. Frazier went to third and scored on the Kershaw wild pitch.

The Dodgers pulled back within one in the bottom of the inning. After Bailey went high and inside with a fastball to Yasiel Puig, he came back with a hanging slider that Puig drilled for his 11th home run. Puig has now reached base in 29 consecutive games.

Jamie Romak, making his major-league debut after playing 1,069 games in the minors, bounced out to first on the first pitch he saw pinch hitting for Kershaw in the seventh.

The Dodgers got Dee Gordon to second with the tying run with one out in the eighth, but ex-Dodger Jonathan Broxton came in to get Puig and Hanley Ramirez to fly out to right.

Aroldis Chapman pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his fifth save and enable the Reds to avoid a three-game series sweep.

Kemp went hitless in four at-bats with two strikeouts in his first start in six games.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
12.56 | 0 komentar | Read More

Martin St. Louis leads Rangers to 3-2 overtime win over Canadiens

Written By kolimtiga on Senin, 26 Mei 2014 | 12.56

Martin St. Louis put New York within one win of the Stanley Cup Final, scoring 6:02 into overtime to give the Rangers a 3-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals Sunday night.

A loose puck came to St. Louis, the Rangers' inspirational postseason leader, alone in the right circle and he fired a snap shot over goalie Dustin Tokarski's shoulder.

"I just got open," said St. Louis, who has 39 career playoff goals. "I tried to trust my instincts. I hit some good shots, he made some good saves. I was fortunate this one got by him."

The Rangers, who lead the series, 3-1, were forced to overtime for the second straight game despite holding a pair of one-goal leads. New York lost Game 3 at home.

Carl Hagelin put the Rangers in front with a short-handed goal in the first period, and Derick Brassard made it 2-1 in the second. Hagelin also assisted on St. Louis' goal.

Henrik Lundqvist made 27 saves and earned his 41st postseason win, tying the franchise record of Mike Richter, who was in attendance.

St. Louis and Hagelin both have a team-high six playoff goals.

The Rangers are 6-1 since the unexpected death of St. Louis' mother galvanized the team.

Francis Bouillon tied it for Montreal in the second, and fellow defenseman P.K. Subban made it 2-2 in the third with a power-play goal. David Desharnais assisted on both for Montreal. Tokarski stopped 26 shots for the Canadiens, who went one for eight on the power play.

New York can advance to the Final with a win at Montreal in Game 5 on Tuesday night. The Rangers, who rallied from a 3-1 deficit against Pittsburgh in the second round, won the first two games of this series there.

Now they hope to end it quickly north of the border.

"We've got to close it," St. Louis said.

Though there were 13 minor penalties, there was no carry-over of the nastiness in Game 3 when a hit by Montreal's Brandon Prust broke the jaw of New York forward Derek Stepan. Prust served the first game of a two-game suspension. Stepan sat out after having surgery.

The Rangers gave Montreal five power plays through the first two periods, and New York's penalty-killers stood tall as they have for most of the playoffs. But the sixth Canadiens advantage produced the tying goal 2 minutes into the third when Subban scored his first goal of the series and first point in six games.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
12.56 | 0 komentar | Read More

Landon Donovan sets MLS all-time scoring record

It was a curtain call that Landon Donovan will never forget.

Coming off in the 82nd minute after scoring his second of two goals Sunday that helped the Galaxy beat the Philadelphia Union, 4-1, Donovan walked off the field a new man. He was the all-time top scorer in Major League Soccer.

The journey for the record had stretched eight months, since he tied Jeff Cunningham's record of 134 in October.

But setting the record had even more meaning after Donovan endured probably the most difficult week of his career.

On Thursday, Coach Juergen Klinsmann cut Donovan, who has been the face of U.S. soccer for the last 12 years, from the U.S. World Cup team.

Donovan, a three-time World Cup veteran, said he was surprised and disappointed by the decision.

He thought he was fit. He thought he had performed better than other players at camp. He thought he could even compete for a starting position.

"I'm sad," he said then. "I wanted to go, I really wanted to go."

And on Sunday, he put any doubt about his ability to rest.

It took Donovan, 32, less than two minutes to put his stamp on the game, setting up Leonardo's header for a 1-0 lead.

But the highlight came in the 49th minute, when Donovan tapped in a pass from Robbie Keane.

The stadium erupted. Donovan fell to his knees as the crowd of 21,000, which included his parents and sister, burst into chants of "USA! USA!"

"It's been a long week," Donovan said. "It's been a week where I had moments where I fell out of love with [soccer] a little bit and I want to make sure I keep enjoying it."

In the 64th minute, Keane took advantage when Sheanon Williams mishandled the ball in Philadelphia territory and scored to put the Galaxy ahead, 3-0.

But Donovan wasn't done. In the 81st minute, he took a pass from Keane on a counterattack and scored.

Maurice Edu, who was also cut from the World Cup team Thursday, scored for the Union on a penalty kick in the 88th minute.

"All day today my mind was wandering and thinking where else I could be today, but I kept coming back to being present and enjoy this game," Donovan said.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
12.56 | 0 komentar | Read More

Thunder gets back into series by beating Spurs in Serge Ibaka's return

Serge Ibaka scored 15 points in a dramatic return from what was thought to be a season-ending left calf strain to help the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the San Antonio Spurs, 106-97, on Sunday night in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals.

Russell Westbrook had 26 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, and Kevin Durant contributed 25 points and 10 rebounds to help the Thunder cut the Spurs' lead in the series to 2-1.

Ibaka started after missing the first two games of the series. The Thunder had said he likely would miss the rest of the playoffs, but the team changed course Friday.

Manu Ginobili scored 23 points and Tim Duncan finished with 16 points and eight rebounds for the Spurs.

Ibaka, who also had seven rebounds and four blocked shots, pointed to the sky as he left the game to cheers with 3 minutes 17 seconds remaining and the Thunder ahead by 20 points.

San Antonio won the first two games by a combined 52 points, but things were different from the start with Ibaka's return. Thunder Coach Scott Brooks also inserted speedy Reggie Jackson into the starting lineup in Thabo Sefolosha's place.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
12.56 | 0 komentar | Read More

Ryan Hunter-Reay wins Indianapolis 500 for the first time

In qualifying for the Indianapolis 500, Ryan Hunter-Reay could manage no better than 19th-fastest in the 33-car field, which left him puzzled.

"It's a head-scratcher," Hunter-Reay said at the time. "But the race is the only thing that counts."

Hunter-Reay proved his point Sunday, winning his first Indy 500 after a thrilling duel with Helio Castroneves that ended with the second-closest finish in the history of the century-old race.

Hunter-Reay also became the first American driver to win the Indy 500 since Sam Hornish Jr. edged Marco Andretti in 2006 in what had been the second-closest finish.

"It's a dream come true," Hunter-Reay, the 2012 Verizon IndyCar Series champion, said after taking the winner's traditional drink of milk in Victory Lane. "I'm a proud American boy, that's for sure."

The Floridian's margin of victory over Castroneves was 0.060 of a second, or less than a car length. The closest finish ever was Al Unser Jr.'s win of 0.043 of a second over Scott Goodyear in 1992.

Marco Andretti and Carlos Munoz — Hunter-Reay's teammates on the Andretti Autosport team — finished third and fourth, respectively. Juan Pablo Montoya, making his first Indy 500 start since he won the race in his only previous attempt in 2000, was fifth.

And NASCAR driver Kurt Busch, in his first Indy 500, finished sixth in an Andretti Autosport car.

Busch completed "the double" Sunday: racing at Indy and then rushing to Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway to drive in the NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday night. (Busch finished 40th after blowing an engine on Lap 272).

Hunter-Reay had one of the strongest cars all day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway; he led a race-high 56 of the event's 200 laps.

But after the final restart with six laps left, Hunter-Reay and Castroneves swapped the lead in their yellow cars until Hunter-Reay retook it as they started the final lap.

Hunter-Reay at one point made a daring move on the inside where, as he put it, he even "cut a little [infield] grass" as he swept past Castroneves.

"I think that caught Helio completely off guard," team owner Michael Andretti said.

As the crowd of more than 200,000 roared on a warm, sunny day, Castroneves — the Brazilian looking to become the fourth driver to win the Indy 500 four times — looked high and low in hopes of passing Hunter-Reay.

Castroneves tried one last time as they raced down the front straightaway toward the checkered flag, but he came up short.

"I tried, man, trust me," Castroneves said. "It's frustrating to be so close. Unfortunately it wasn't our day."

The final restart was set up by Townsend Bell's crash into the Turn 2 wall with 10 laps left.

Officials stopped the race with a red flag to repair the wall and clean up the debris left from Bell's mangled car.

A few laps earlier, Bell narrowly missed another big crash when he was three-wide with pole-sitter Ed Carpenter and James Hinchcliffe, with all three battling for second place.

As the trio went through Turn 1, Carpenter and Hinchcliffe collided and both crashed into the wall.

Carpenter, an Indianapolis native still looking for his first Indy 500 win, blamed Hinchcliffe for creating the risky situation. "I just didn't think he used his head right then," Carpenter said. "It wrecked both of our races."

Hinchcliffe said it was "100% not Ed's fault," but Hinchcliffe added that he thought Bell would pull back to avoid the three-wide scenario. "I honestly don't think Townsend knew we were three wide," Hinchcliffe said.

Other contenders had various problems, including 2008 Indy 500 winner Scott Dixon, who spun and crashed on Lap 168 while running fourth.

Castroneves' teammate Will Power also was running in the top 10 until he was penalized for speeding on pit road. That dropped him to 19th, but he rebounded to finish eighth.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
12.56 | 0 komentar | Read More

Blackhawks' Jonathan Toews leads but has few followers

Written By kolimtiga on Minggu, 25 Mei 2014 | 12.56

Jonathan Toews let it be known before the puck dropped that his Chicago Blackhawks needed to play ticked off Saturday at Staples Center, then backed his words with two first-period goals.

If more of his teammates don't join his cause, however, more setbacks such as the Blackhawks' 4-3 loss to the Kings that left the defending Stanley Cup champions trailing, two games to one, in the Western Conference finals seem inevitable.

"We all want to win; 'Taser' is our captain and led the way, but we need everybody if we're going to beat this team," said Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith. "It's up to the rest of us to follow that."

The Blackhawks were denied on 24 of the other 26 shots against Kings goalie Jonathan Quick before a goal with an empty net came with five seconds remaining in the game.

Chicago also went scoreless on four power-play opportunities.

The Kings kept Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane (69 regular-season points) scoreless on three shots. Chicago forward Marian Hossa (13 playoff points) was limited to a secondary assist with three shots blocked. And the visitors' leading scorer, Patrick Sharp, scored the final goal after five of his other shots were either blocked or missed.

"We've got to keep pushing for the next level, that's what it's going to take to beat these guys," Toews said. "We had our chances [on the power play], just couldn't find a way to put one in."

Toews did his best to set the tone, scoring the game's opening goal by taking a puck from Kings forward Justin Williams that Toews lost on a faceoff, racing toward Quick on a short-handed breakaway and beating the goalie to his left 5 minutes 26 seconds into the game.

Before the game, Toews told reporters his team was "not at all" deflated by Quick's memorable second-period save on Brent Seabrook in Game 2 that changed the course of the Kings' 6-2 victory in Chicago.

"We'll just keep putting pucks on him and we feel eventually they'll go in," Toews said.

With 6:41 left in the first, Toews again wouldn't be denied, pushing off Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin, controlling a teammate's pass with his right skate and scoring for a 2-1 lead.

The Kings surged ahead by keeping Toews without at shot in the final two periods.

Into that void marched no one.

"We just couldn't quite keep control," Toews said, disagreeing with the notion — perhaps for the sake of team unity — that his teammates didn't match his energy or desire.

Late in the third, Toews tried to act as a decoy, looking for an open teammate, but a pass to Keith led to one of 16 blocked shots by the Kings.

"Obviously, we could've been better," said Chicago center Michal Handzus. "You've got to go out and do it."

The Blackhawks were down in the first-round series against St. Louis and won, were tied with Minnesota after four games in the second round and won in six games.

Now, they need a victory in Los Angeles, and they're 2-5 on the road this postseason.

"We know we can [get] ourselves out of a tough situation," Toews said. "The motivation is right in front of us. There's nothing left to think about but give it all you've got. Next one is a big one … a must-win."

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
12.56 | 0 komentar | Read More

Upcoming executions face scrutiny

��index.html�]{s�8��?U�0ޫ�='Ro[rl�z�<'o�dvnj*����"���y|��n$%J���M��ݱ$ ht7ݿn���7g�O/:�&�4<~p�/,���hKD[��?`��Py�L2��q������_s}u��� ޫ��Y��Db��x&vvwݱ�.��6u����7��^>�<9;���}᳂S�TxЙM�����0����8�&�6"<����%�N��B>�����g�'2v���(�H(��,��ֽp�E��b*�i��0Sb��)Oe8���c˒�8`���JAs #MQ��$f<��ϸbY3%�+x�F�%y��|� ��S��*��!6��"��*�ۿ:��)��L�i瑏��Lդ�3l�����<� "y��m6��ӄ{�&���|�g!�Lt;��fX�x"3.�#�&S���9񓯰��D�xƩ�y�P[�f���E�yx�#I�e�7\Kp�9 �Њ�s F�����i��BU�e�*3�Ρs��"���),3�'I(m���H���G�(o�r�%�g#��< Ŕ�h΀4J �q�"G�̎x͌��G��D�+\O�|&����n0E�eʯ�H�r� �b��D��� ?�c�F<��Z�'>L�TYJ��6�1.0�@��ݎxxp�D!O`��X����G����i���AOf$T*�9.,~4�*D�p�]�V�g*G[��B�z��u��-,�T�%�%qH�n(2���[#�S�)��Q(���L�����\x��q|�JYeޠXuf�!�#��|*.q�lps�,��z�N�Vu�d�T���Q'�(yp��4ճ�<���Z{%�8�U����J5N��L~���cg}�qQ�:d��o\�ڋ (jZ��[���W� r�6u�EK�Ǥ��▜¢m�8�(#8ښdYr�l����^]O�����8�Ds#�5�t��5�s����!i��D�U� h'a��q�C��7�f��nw�����^{��vz{���Mwv�̄s-R ��/�:>LNޞď/��_�Y�i������?�3����;��g�irו�Na9T�wZ���;�^ѷ"�����pI��'�]&���3��o���b)9�s���(���f�x|��x��V����e��-���4��6u@hR�q7ȳ�`��r���-�"���S�K�0�Zd��G��ێ�ZNo�{Πg��A��Ϲ���x��u�}�l��l��' 6�֨���W�v/�ƾ��h�N���l����;��O�oU�t�����x�#��f ��@���y��1���i��:^�㮑��� ��Ʈ���k����Ʈ�Ʈ�� $�S5p�{�v��j ��ޏ��TK��ۇ��~����7I�lw�{�^o��[���RJZf� �S��V>$b|�|�ϋ����T�?��(���ܫl 5"��Ӯ���'HFq���L���v�yͅYq�b�v�'���E����bp=��r[n{p����^�G�fZ$KĖɔ5�Q���o�G�Ā_`) 70̵xX|��&�$��j��������g痋�Z��Y,�سGl��qeX�=�zG�~PM�o꫉�v?�L�搦���<~�ˢ}���7�AW�>^k�r��>�"�7���m�4y�!�������>A�e��l����$�AD�0��v�n��8�� �!����#w,�sNZ�1T�P�*��?@�?��Q����⇋ѿ��Գ�����?���˗?uF��i�Sg��ם���o?�%�E��G�C�?��5�F��� 4��_�?k8,�*G���!jv����|��4��f"|����q��F1�^_5�; R߮�A}U��rAL��Ɖ��tK/�:��E��!��qI��LCk�!��-7S��[�y���j�l��bҧ�+\,c�aS�F���j��}' q��k���,����݁&�� �����E�Wd��p�4,�rհ�&.z+�/�嫓wK��fEzů�XW�+�w_^�l�8"@l"�����[�6"T£* ��Ϫ�P�IZ�����3P�|�Ց�x/���l�9�T� �ἐ+UR;RK�S�<,��7c�(8~�/�MK�hA��f���ޗaZ�i���U?ޗvd���ޗ�,NC��G|�/�Q�pg��yw_�q� �Z���,#�������Z� ^��}�]K�C�u|>��X�o�;�x��a��Jk�R[� T�4/�8�zP!�����W����G��7��c:��\�1��n�� w�u�'�5,��Ks�Ր��V}<�>L�Uím��&+�8�.lA}��]��!�#�w��\>�x�TU�%�B�$~e�V�94ۇu��x�FP���s�B'Q��DV��Q�e1&��>^��{��`��*�6|qryN! �`5z$ ��I��,אyB`�<��Z:����&B/ ��Y��LH d���E�OG�x����(�&�6H���x- �,;W �J�1��Wk��A�V��.4�����Sc��1L����JlUՄ$�+ߟ�Q���GS.õ}���yJf�����j���Bo��W-�I����}qR8�9TYZ�5���|���<���\c��0�Ν�R]�eoSw��d����xcW�&��2�oj$���w�/�uz �l�A��֩7��񪰵A��^p�l�> 3�q5Ç�1����]7X�?cs�P����l�K�dY��˟��RS��͗;l�l��6^'���}-���T�6@t%Oٌ�M#�D�W[D˔�A&�x��Z��f1��X�n�S �|4���������{�� pӇ�Tj�0���Gj=a.?���g��榌e93�s6�]�$V�,����� �{`52�*ۺń*Ggmw��ךп�����8� Mkƒ�q�ُ�b&{�>�������S�i\3�=(�DW�͚�r��z���Ӭ�����*{O��(�"���ww�٘�E�{}����{ݻ+� �/RW����DH>;��0� D�^k���v }!�"���Le�*B���t�_���|�BVguE���SY���x�(g��P0ÊA%Z ��I�����nEزg�l$Y)\�iU"�#d�2�W�QK5�b��F7��d�����Z;�@��V�x��4� ˜g����C�c�@� k��/��k�>®��T���A�?t:B����sg�wΠ7�9�Zm�v��?نT��&G۝Vkۢ��.~h"xm�?(�Ze�8�]\K�n��<�EʤNL�y(���|/���qt@�!��Y�7� bm�:}sAv-|��53�C�uRPđ�=��ġo Y&p���)ӧ| ��v�IHG�;��<���|GyV�q���@�'�5�Sv�#�e�e�":kB�f�� �*Q�c�)�L+�n�S�?�|K�z �a��Xor��f�o>2�9�υ_��h3=�nrXD�l&��� 2�U�C(�Pו�8ǔ� H�fqze���+�����Q�{LB��?0���ef�� ��U >��B��b�$�D01iꅌHX2��pO�֘���Mp1��q�M�)Lȋ��(�A���bv��y�)�ά�� �.���E���D�@��:�)�p1i�D����d�C����Xe"c�\�RM�Y�1��H�\�{��*�&@��z�*��Z��ҹSD�,F�?7��)��D�>D��7rz=o����os�j�?��}v� �� �QJ?���.��_�g�ƺ,�]�3�i�R`EtK�����#��\�"Ρ��Gy:*&��^mI=�v�}X�<+W(��P ,Ien�Gw]#�6�dH��L���� ������)T�_�%_ڎ�XgD�ڣ�^��b:_X+'G�F�,�����J���"8�~��1|�����]pvvt�I� �xi�.�y�ί��X��#wg�е^�>�1�=�X�5cA/�"�"*]��B︰��DmcI�l�l�0��j|E��J�dFVU��&���>�B1�T�au�v�׺t��[T��3����~*S/�h�y':��v����C$���laP�Ǹ�V��Χh�j#�!�>~� =�+�<���L�"1�CXF�Q(D�vje�8�5wLh�)�ަV

12.56 | 0 komentar | Read More

Kings' Tyler Toffoli has made quite a reply to critics

The knock on Tyler Toffoli was that he couldn't skate, that even though he had a goal scorer's instincts and twice recorded 100 points in the junior-level Ontario Hockey League, his NHL prospects weren't considered great.

That flaw led to Toffoli's dropping to the second round and 47th pick overall in the 2010 entry draft, no matter that the puck seemed to follow him and he found ways to get open even if he wasn't the fastest or slickest skater on the ice.

So much for the scouts and critics who focused on what they thought he lacked instead of seeing his persistence and willingness to polish his talent to a brilliant shine.

During the Kings' opening-round playoff series against San Jose, Coach Darryl Sutter said Toffoli's fine performance was "the reason why we're not not playing," a double negative that was the ultimate positive. On Saturday, cheered by a raucous crowd at Staples Center, Toffoli became a key reason the Kings are not not trailing the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference finals.

Toffoli's second-period breakaway, set up by the red-hot Jeff Carter, put the Kings ahead for good in an eventual 4-3 victory that gave them a series lead of two games to one. Not bad for a guy who supposedly can't skate.

"On his goal he looked pretty quick, didn't he?" linemate Tanner Pearson said.

That he did.

"Proved 'em wrong, I guess," Toffoli said of his detractors, whose stinging words drove him to change his habits and take power skating classes, train more diligently, and eat better.

"It's been hard work. It's been a long road. ... Coming here was probably the best thing that could happen to me. I'm just rolling with it, just having a blast with it."

Toffoli has a goal in each of the first three games of the West finals and has meshed solidly with Pearson and with Carter, who's in the middle after playing a lot of wing this season.

The line has been the Kings' most productive in this series: Carter has seven points in his last two games, Pearson has a goal and five points in his last four games, and Toffoli has recorded points in four straight games, with three goals and an assist in that span. That has taken the pressure off the top line of Marian Gaborik, Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown, which was blanked on Saturday.

Toffoli was voted the most outstanding rookie in the American Hockey League last season for his 28-goal, 51-point effort in 58 games, and he seemed a gift in waiting this season for the goal-starved Kings. Instead, he started with Manchester (N.H.) of the AHL. He said he didn't have "the best camp," but the Kings were close to the salary cap and couldn't squeeze him under the limit. He was recalled in early November, sent back in mid-January, and was brought back in late January.

There's little chance he will see Manchester again except as a tourist, so good is his chemistry with Carter and Pearson. He singled out Carter's multi-dimensional game as an asset for the entire trio.

"He's a threat every time he has the puck. He can shoot, he can pass, and obviously he can skate," said Toffoli, who played alongside Carter for stretches last season including the Kings' five-game loss to Chicago in the West finals. "Me and Pears are just trying to read off him and we're making plays and making things happen."

That certainly was the case on his goal, which was made possible when Willie Mitchell captured a Chicago turnover in the neutral zone and got the puck to Carter.

"I turned the right way and I was pretty much full speed," Toffoli said. "I got the puck and just got it on my backhand and slid it five-hole."

His skating didn't hold him back there.

"I think his skating is very underrated," Pearson said. "I've always said that, playing against him in juniors, and he showed it tonight."

Toffoli wouldn't be here — and the Kings might not be two wins from returning to the Stanley Cup Final — if he had sulked when he was demoted at the start of the season. He went to Manchester intent on earning a trip back to the big leagues, and he has proved he belongs.

"It's been a long road," he said. "The beginning of the year seems like a long time ago now."

He's doing his best to push the end of this season deeper and deeper into June.


Twitter: @helenenothelen

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
12.56 | 0 komentar | Read More

Alex Gordon flashes leather in Royals' 7-4 win over Angels

The home run that flies deep into the night. The fastball that triggers a 100-mph reading on the radar gun. The throw that nails a runner trying to take the extra base.

Those are feats of skill you can see just about every day at a ballpark near you. That they might be common among the greatest baseball players in the world does not make them any less impressive.

But what Alex Gordon did Saturday night at Angel Stadium, well, that was pretty special. It was a play made for the highlight reels, the kind of play that happens so rarely that you await a replay not to appreciate the play, but to understand just what the heck happened.

The game was decided in the 13th inning, in what the Angels might call dreadfully ordinary fashion. The Kansas City Royals scored three times against rookie Mike Morin on a double, two singles, two bunts and a throwing error for a 7-4 victory.

But the play of the game belonged to Gordon, and to a much earlier hour in the five-hour game.

The Royals took a 3-0 lead, and then the Angels started to chip away. In the fourth inning, Erick Aybar hit a two-run home run, cutting the Kansas City lead to 3-2.

Mike Trout led off the fifth inning with a home run, his second in two nights and 10th of the season, to tie the score, 3-3. Then Albert Pujols came to bat, and then came the play.

Pujols launched a fly ball deep to left field, and for a moment it appeared the Angels might have back-to-back home runs.

Gordon, the Kansas City left fielder and a three-time Gold Glove winner, retreated to the wall and leaped for the ball.

He caught it, for a split-second.

As he hit the fence, the ball caromed in and out of his glove, then glanced off his head, shoulder, and cheek. Gordon stumbled and fell to the ground, but he kept his eye on the ball.

He grabbed the ball with his bare hand once, and then twice, but failed to hold onto it. Finally, as he sat on the warning track, and just before the ball could hit the ground, Gordon opened his glove as the ball dropped in.

"I've never caught a ball like that, juggling it like that," Gordon said.

James Shields, the Kansas City pitcher, was so impressed that he flashed the sign for a touchdown, as if Gordon were an NFL receiver who had snared a wobbly pass and still landed in the end zone.

Gordon wore a bemused smile on his face. Shields tipped his cap toward Gordon, and the left fielder responded by tapping his cap.

"That was an unbelievable effort," Shields said.

"Phenomenal play," Kansas City Manager Ned Yost said.

This all was wonderful theater, an amazing out – but, wait, that was Angels Manager Mike Scioscia emerging from the dugout. The Angels challenged the play and, lo and behold, the slow motion revealed that the ball had "scraped against the panel" of the fence, Scioscia said.

"Did I know it went off the wall? No," Gordon said, "but I didn't think it did."

That turned the play from an out into a ground-rule double. Pujols later scored the Angels' fourth run, and without it the game would have ended in nine innings.

"Bummer," Gordon said. "The game would have been a lot shorter."

Gordon still can tell his children about the play.

He just doesn't have to tell them about the instant replay.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
12.56 | 0 komentar | Read More

2 men accused in O.C. killings had close association, records show

Written By kolimtiga on Sabtu, 24 Mei 2014 | 12.56

Two sex offenders accused of killing four women in Orange County while being monitored by multiple agencies had a history of escapes and a close association that was prohibited, new records obtained Friday by The Times show.

Franc Cano and Steven Dean Gordon, both of whom served time in state prison for sexually molesting children, were arrested in April on multiple charges of rape and murder. They are accused of killing four women over a span of five months. The body of only one has been recovered. Police say they suspect there is a fifth, unidentified victim.

California parole records released to The Times and federal files show that Cano and Gordon's shared history extends back to just after their release from prison, including one occasion when they fled to Alabama in 2010. The Times previously reported that the men had fled the state together in 2012. Moreover, they went to police together in 2011 to seek protection from a third sex offender they said had threatened to kill them.

"Being in concert, that takes it to a whole 'nother level," said Sen. Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber), a former state parole commissioner. He called for the state corrections department to release currently sealed records that show how closely the agency supervised Cano and Gordon.

"It deserves further inquiry, and communication to the public.… It can't be hidden in the dark corners of CDCR," he said, referring to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Both men initially shared the same state parole agent, and later the same federal probation agent. An Anaheim detective who helped identify the two men as suspects in the murder case said it was well known that they associated with each other. The fact was pointed out to her by their parole agent. And before their arrest for the slayings, they were living in bushes near the Anaheim body shop where Gordon worked, his boss told The Times in April.

Cano's file shows their parole agent in 2010 believed it was wrong for sex offenders to be together. State law does not prohibit such associations, but parole agents often set special conditions that restrict whom those under supervision can spend time with. "Parolee was directed to not have contact with a class of people," Cano's hearing officer wrote in November 2010 after he and Gordon were returned from Alabama.

California corrections officials now say there is little the state can do to prevent such association. In addition, the GPS monitors those offenders wear while on state parole do not signal an alert when those being tracked are together.

"Since offenders must often attend the same counseling classes, substance abuse treatment programs, or live in areas that are far from schools and parks, sex offenders often come into contact with each other," said Luis Patino, a spokesman for the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

State and federal files show repeated violations by the two men, including on Oct. 22, 2010, the day they were arrested after fleeing to Alabama. Gordon's file provides no details, but a summary of Cano's parole hearing shows he had cut off his GPS tracker, thrown it into a trash can and fled.

Among the violations Cano was charged with was associating with another sex offender.

Both men were required to return to prison for five months, including a notation calling for psychiatric evaluation, and were to be released the same day in March 2011.

In October of that year, according to a restraining order filed in court, Cano and Gordon said their lives had been threatened by another sex offender also living on the streets of Anaheim.

According to a police officer's account, which is documented in court records, Gordon and Cano both said that Stanley Halliday had stood about 10 feet from them and threatened them. "Both victims heard the verbal threats and were in fear for their safety," the report states. Halliday was arrested the next day and ordered to probation on a conviction of assault with a deadly weapon.

In 2012, Cano and Gordon again cut off their state-issued GPS monitors and took off, this time spending two weeks together in a Las Vegas hotel before being caught. The excursion landed both men in federal custody, charged with breaking federal sex offender registration laws, and on federal probation, where court files show they were assigned to the same officer.

Shortly after Gordon's state parole ended in 2013, a federal judge ordered him put on federal electronic monitoring. At that hearing, Gordon told the judge he had first fled because of the duress of living on the streets after more than eight years in prison.

"I mean, it was just too stressful," he said. "I just got out of prison, my mom died, and all these restrictions. They had me sleep in the street. I was shocked at sleeping on the street …. I was shocked. I didn't ask for that. They did that to me."

Federal probation officials in Los Angeles declined to discuss their supervision of Cano and Gordon.

Prosecutors say the first slaying occurred in October 2013, when Las Vegas resident Kianna Jackson, 20, went missing after traveling to Santa Ana for a court date. Josephine Vargas, 34, disappeared three weeks later in the same general area. On Nov. 12, the day Gordon was again ordered to put on a GPS ankle monitor, Martha Anaya disappeared and allegedly was killed.

The women, all with histories of prostitution, were considered missing until the body of a fourth woman, Jarrae Nykkole Estepp, 21, was found March 14 on a conveyor belt inside an Anaheim trash-sorting facility. Police said it was probably dumped in a trash bin in an industrial area of Anaheim, near where Gordon worked, and where he and Cano had reported to state parole.



Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
12.56 | 0 komentar | Read More

Clayton Kershaw gets his groove back as Dodgers blank Phillies 2-0

Six days removed from one of the worst games of his career, Clayton Kershaw was smiling again.

Kershaw pitched six scoreless innings Friday in the Dodgers' 2-0 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies, delivering a performance that inspired his teammates, who were uncertain how long he would remain in the game after a 43-minute rain delay in the fourth inning.

"Now, this is my last start and not that one," Kershaw said.

The last time Kershaw scaled a mound, he was there for only 1 2/3 innings, during which he was pounded for seven runs and six hits in a loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field.

"Just pretty miserable, those four days or five days in between," Kershaw said of the time since his previous turn in the rotation. "It's not a whole lot of fun sitting on that game, so I'm glad this day came and I'm glad we got a win."

Kershaw's recovery came at a critical time, as did the three scoreless innings by a bullpen that is starting to form an identity.

The dominant pitching performance masked some of the Dodgers' other problems, starting with the uncertainty in center field. Matt Kemp was replaced there by Andre Ethier, as Manager Don Mattingly insinuated the Dodgers were exploring alternatives to Kemp's unsteady glove.

Hanley Ramirez was also out of the lineup, but for a different reason. Mattingly had to rest him. Ramirez's one-day substitute was slick-fielding rookie Erisbel Arruebarrena, who struck out three times in his major league debut and looked completely overmatched at the plate.

Catcher A.J. Ellis figured Kershaw would deliver something special.

"I don't know the last time I've seen him have two bad ones in a row," Ellis said. "He's always known how to rise to the occasion and kind of make amends for what he's done."

Five times in his career, Kershaw has allowed seven or more runs. Each time, Kershaw blanked the opponent in his next start.

"That's one of his greatest attributes — his will, his will to beat the other team," Ellis said. "His competitiveness is unmatched in baseball."

Nothing would stop Kershaw on this night, not even a 43-minute rain delay.

Kershaw didn't give up a hit in the first three innings. But when play resumed in the fourth inning, he promptly walked Carlos Ruiz and gave up a double to Chase Utley that advanced Ruiz to third base. Kershaw struck out the next three batters to escape with the Dodgers' 2-0 lead intact.

In the sixth inning, he again allowed the first two batters to reach base. And again, he retired the next three.

An even more dramatic escape was required in the seventh inning, this time with Kershaw out of the game. Brandon League loaded the bases without recording an out, prompting Mattingly to call on left-hander J.P. Howell.

Pinch-hitter Domonic Brown hit a screaming line drive that was caught in left field by a sliding Carl Crawford.

"It was a big moment in the ballgame," Kershaw said of Crawford's catch.

Howell induced Jimmy Rollins to hit a grounder to third baseman Chone Figgins, who threw home for a force out. Howell then got Ruiz to fly out to right field.

Making his third consecutive eighth-inning appearance, Brian Wilson retired all three batters. Kenley Jansen also pitched a perfect inning to record his 14th save.

"I think the [bullpen] roles are slowly starting to become a little more defined," Kershaw said. "It's our job as starters to get deeper into games, so it makes their roles a little easier to be defined."

The outfield is another story.

A day after Mattingly said Kemp lacked the "burst" he had before his off-season ankle operation, he replaced the two-time Gold Glove winner in center field with Ethier.

"I feel like we need to continue to get better out there," Mattingly said.

Mattingly wouldn't say if Ethier was now the everyday center fielder or, if he wasn't, how playing time would be split between him and Kemp.

"Again, we keep having talks and discussions about how we want to go about things," Mattingly said. "We'll see as it goes."

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
12.56 | 0 komentar | Read More

Angels turn back the Royals, 6-1

KEY MOMENT: C.J. Wilson looked shaky in the first. He gave up a quick run, and his first two outs were line drives. The Royals loaded the bases on a hit and two walks and were threatening to take a big early lead, but Wilson struck out Lorenzo Cain to end the threat. He never gave up another run.

AT THE PLATE: Mike Trout continued to look like someone ready to break out of his hitting slump (.185 in May). He went two for four with a home run, his ninth of the season. Chris Iannetta also had a solo home run as the Angels pounded the Royals with 12 hits. Trout also contributed the defensive play of the night, throwing out speedy Nori Aoki trying to tag up from second on a fly to center, doubling him with a bullet throw to third.

ON THE MOUND: Wilson followed the shutout in his last outing by holding the Royals to one run in his 61/3 innings. He gave up four hits and four walks, striking out three.

ON THE MEND: Josh Hamilton (thumb surgery) went two for four in his first rehab outing Thursday night with triple-A Salt Lake, but was held out of Friday's game. Manager Mike Scioscia said he was jammed in his final at-bat against hard-throwing Albuquerque reliever Jose Dominguez and it irritated the thumb. Said Scioscia: "It a little discomfort in his thumb. It's nothing to worry about. Today it felt better, but we want to give him one more day to get over it and right now he's scheduled to play [Saturday]."

EXTRA BASES: Left-handed reliever Sean Burnett (left elbow surgery) was activated from the disabled list and outfielder Efren Navarro returned to Salt Lake. Burnett last appeared in a major league game a year ago May 26. Said Burnett: "It's been a long time, almost a year to the day. It's a special day for me. I've been coming here with no chance to play and it's not very fun." Burnett made his 2014 debut in the seventh, getting his only batter, Eric Hosmer, to ground out.

UP NEXT: Right-hander Matt Shoemaker (2-1, 3.03 ERA) makes his third start since taking Hector Santiago's spot in the rotation, facing Kansas City's James Shields (6-3, 2.67) at 4 p.m. at Angel Stadium. On the air: TV, Ch. 11; radio, 830.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
12.56 | 0 komentar | Read More

Angels finding reasons to believe

They're sneaky, those Angels. Starting off the season looking a lot like last year's disappointing team. The rotation still floundering. Clutch hits threatening to become rumor.

Only look at them now. The Angels are quietly making a move. Putting together wins, moving up the standings, playing clean baseball and — surprise! — getting superb starting pitching.

A little over two weeks ago, the Angels were still a sub-.500 team (16-17), still searching for stability and direction. But with Friday night's 6-1 victory over the Royals, the Angels have won 11 of their last 14 games and pulled to within 2½ games of the Oakland Athletics in the American League West.

It's still May, but their 27-20 record at least hints at a team finally starting to turn things around.

"I don't know if you're going to consider this short sample turning things around," Manager Mike Scioscia said before Friday's game. "We're playing much better. That's what we're happy about. We have a ways to go.

"We're not firing on all cylinders. We don't have our deep lineup together on the offensive side that's going to pressure teams every inning. But we're getting closer to that."

The Angels at least have reason to believe this might be only a beginning. They are getting healthy and are poised to get healthier still. Slugger Josh Hamilton (thumb surgery) has begun a rehab assignment, and despite resting his thumb Friday, could rejoin the Angels as early as Monday.

After hitting 43 home runs with 128 runs batted in for the Rangers in 2012, Hamilton signed a five-year, $125-million contract with the Angels prior to last season. And if he didn't exactly bomb, neither did he live up to the high expectations, hitting 21 homers with 79 RBIs.

But this season he was off to a strong start, hitting .444 in his first eight games before injuring his thumb.

This week the Angels also activated third baseman David Freese and outfielder Kole Calhoun from the disabled list. And Friday they activated left-handed reliever Sean Burnett.

Burnett pitched to one batter in the seventh, inducing a groundout in his first appearance in almost a year. Burnett had an earned-run average of 0.93 in his first 13 games with the Angels last year before he was sidelined by the elbow injury.

"I threw great last year ,but it was painful and it was a mental grind more than anything to try and get three outs," Burnett said.

Yet the real key to the Angels' recent surge probably has been the much-maligned rotation. Jered Weaver is back looking like an ace, with Friday's win C.J. Wilson is continuing the run he started last June (19-5, 3.00 ERA), Garrett Richards (4-1, 2.90) looks like a rising star, Tyler Skaggs (4-1, 4.14) has been erratic but showing promise and Matt Shoemaker is 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA in his starts as the new fifth man.

The Angels' rotation entered Friday with a 3.71 ERA and having held opponents to a .220 batting average — second lowest in the majors. Last season the rotation's ERA was 4.30, 22nd in baseball.

"Our starting pitchers have been terrific," Scioscia said. "That's one thing I think is getting lost. When people talk about our team, its Josh and Albert [Pujols] and Mike [Trout] and Howie [Kendrick], and guys on the offensive side who just have a chance to pound the ball.

"That's not what the foundation of our club needs to be. It needs to be what our starters can do day-in and day-out, combined with a bullpen that can hold leads. I think we've seen our team makes strides in both those areas. Along those lines, we're happy that's come together. That's really fueled our turnaround."


Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
12.56 | 0 komentar | Read More

Dodgers fall to Mets, 5-3

Written By kolimtiga on Jumat, 23 Mei 2014 | 12.56

Mets 5, Dodgers 3

ON THE MOUND: In the aftermath of a start that lasted only five innings, Zack Greinke admitted he wasn't his sharpest. Greinke was charged with three runs and four hits. He walked two. The game snapped a streak of 21 consecutive starts in which he gave up two or fewer runs, the longest streak since at least 1914. But Greinke has another streak that is still alive. Because two of the runs were unearned, Greinke has now made 22 consecutive starts in which he gave up two or fewer earned runs. That broke a record previously held by Roger Clemens, who made 21 such starts from July 3, 1990, to May 13, 1991. "They keep changing the wording of it to keep it as a streak," Greinke said.

AT THE PLATE: Justin Turner hit a two-run home run in the seventh inning, which tied the game, 3-3. Adrian Gonzalez drove in his 34th run of the season on a first-inning sacrifice fly.

IN RELIEF: Chris Perez was charged with the loss, as he gave up two runs and four hits in 1 1/3 innings of relief. Perez gave up a run in the seventh and another in the eighth.

UP NEXT: Clayton Kershaw (2-1, 4.43 earned-run average) will face the Philadelphia Phillies and Roberto Hernandez (2-1, 3.98) at Citizens Bank Park at 4 p.m. PDT. On the air: TV: SportsNet LA. Radio: 570, 1020 (Spanish).

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
12.56 | 0 komentar | Read More

Dodgers, Yasiel Puig are all thrills and rally-kills in 5-3 loss to Mets

Yasiel Puig made a diving catch in right-center field Thursday that was spectacular even by his standards.

Manager Don Mattingly said no other player would have come close to making that second-inning play at Citi Field, which prevented an extra-base hit by New York Mets shortstop Wilmer Flores. Center fielder Matt Kemp recalled reflexively shouting an expletive at seeing Puig slide headfirst into the warning track with the ball secured in his glove.

Said pitcher Zack Greinke: "It doesn't happen very often where you know a ball is going to be a double and someone just runs down something they shouldn't run down."

But Puig's breathtaking display of athleticism couldn't overcome another fundamentally flawed performance by the Dodgers, who dropped a 5-3 decision to the Mets and were deprived of a three-game sweep.

Puig's mistakes on the basepaths resulted in two completely avoidable double plays. Kemp made an error in center field and Justin Turner made another at third base, both of which resulted in runs.

Most alarming were the continued defensive problems of Kemp, who ranks among the worst center fielders in baseball, according to advanced metrics.

Kemp has looked nothing like the player who won Gold Gloves in 2009 and 2011. In the wake of his off-season ankle operation, he hasn't had the same burst of speed, according to Mattingly.

"That kind of outrun-the-ball thing," Mattingly said.

Kemp thinks his defensive issues are less about his speed and more about his reads.

"I'm probably not getting as a good jump as I need to on some plays. I have to keep working and practicing on my defense," Kemp said.

Mattingly said he is satisfied with Kemp's effort and pregame work.

"We think that everything's going to continue to come back as long as he works," Mattingly said.

Kemp was playing shallow in Citi Field's spacious outfield when Curtis Granderson doubled over his head to lead off the second inning. Kemp fumbled the ball when collecting it, allowing Granderson to take third base.

Granderson scored on a sacrifice fly by Eric Campbell to tie the game, 1-1.

"I cost us one run today by bobbling the ball," Kemp said. "It's nobody's fault but mine."

Like Mattingly, Kemp was certain his defense would improve.

"My legs are getting stronger and stronger every day," he said.

The Dodgers' next error, this one in the fifth inning by Turner, also cost the Dodgers a run.

Anthony Recker doubled and scored on a double by pitcher Jonathon Niese, who reached third on a groundout. Daniel Murphy hit a grounder that was headed directly toward shortstop Hanley Ramirez, but Turner intercepted and dropped it. Niese scored, extending the Mets' lead to 3-1.

Puig's blunders on the basepaths thwarted the comeback attempt.

The Dodgers had runners on first and second base in the sixth inning when Ramirez hit a pop-up to Murphy at second base. First base umpire Stu Scheurwater invoked the infield-fly rule, meaning Ramirez was automatically out, whether or not the ball was caught.

Puig could have remained at first base but didn't. He was tagged out at second base.

"I didn't see the umpire signal," Puig said. "He did it a little late."

Figgins reached third base on the play, but Adrian Gonzalez grounded out and the inning was over. The Dodgers still trailed, 3-1.

With the Dodgers down, 4-3, Puig doubled in the eighth inning with one out. Ramirez followed with a line drive to left field that sent Puig bolting for third base and, presumably, home plate. But left fielder Eric Campbell caught the ball and doubled off Puig at second base.

The inning ended with Gonzalez in the on-deck circle.

"We just have to be a little more cautious because of where we are in the order," Mattingly said.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
12.56 | 0 komentar | Read More

UCLA football assistants get pay raise

UCLA has given two-year contract extensions with pay raises to coordinators Noel Mazzone and Jeff Ulbrich, and hiked the salaries of other members of the football staff.

UCLA football assistants will earn $4.059 million next season, including signing and retention bonuses. The athletic program funds the contracts through television and sponsorship deals.

UCLA will pay assistants $3.620 million in base pay and talent fees for the 2014 season. Six coaches — offensive coordinator Mazzone, Adrian Klemm, Demetrice Martin, Angus McClure, Mike Tuiasosopo and Taylor Mazzone — received signing bonuses totaling $347,900.

The pay pool was $2.442 million last season. In December, head Coach Jim Mora signed an extension that will pay him $21 million over the next six seasons.

Noel Mazzone, who made $375,000 last season, will make $654,500 each of the next two seasons. He was given a $100,000 signing bonus and can receive retention bonuses of $65,250 each if still at the school on Jan. 1, 2015, and June 30, 2015. Mazzone will receive two more retention bonuses of $165,500 each to be paid Jan. 1, 2016, and June 30, 2016.

Ulbrich, who was promoted from linebackers coach to defensive coordinator, will receive $475,000 in 2015 and $500,000 in 2016.

Offensive line coach Klemm, who signed a new contract in December, will receive $660,000 in 2014 and $760,000 in 2015.

Running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu will make $227,500 each of the next two seasons, as well as retention bonuses of $72,500 to be paid June 15 and $100,000 to be paid Nov. 15. McClure, the defensive line coach, will make $227,500 each of the next two seasons, plus a $52,500 signing bonus. He will receive a retention bonus of $72,500 if he still at the school on Jan. 1, 2016. Martin, the defensive backs coach, will make $295,100 each of the next two seasons, plus a $79,900 signing bonus. He will receive a retention bonus of $104,900 if he is still employed on Jan. 1, 2016.

The deals give UCLA continuity — seven of the nine assistant coaches are under contract for two seasons.

Quarterbacks coach Taylor Mazzone will earn $107,500, plus a $2,500 signing bonus. Receivers coach Eric Yarber will earn $260,000 this season and $285,000 in 2016. Linebackers coach Tuiasosopo will receive $210,000 each of the next two seasons, plus a $50,000 signing bonus.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
12.56 | 0 komentar | Read More

Texas Rangers' Prince Fielder expected to have neck surgery

Texas Rangers first baseman Prince Fielder is expected to have neck surgery next week and sit out the rest of the season.

Fielder has been out because of a herniated disk in his neck, and surgery was recommended after a follow-up exam and another scan Thursday with Dr. Drew Dossett.

General Manager Jon Daniels said the team would get a second opinion about surgery but was "expecting that to be confirmed."

Daniels said Dossett was tentatively scheduled to do a cervical fusion Tuesday. That operation has a typical recovery time of three to four months, and the GM said he anticipated Fielder's being fully recovered before spring training next year.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
12.56 | 0 komentar | Read More

Drew Doughty's frustration spurs Kings to improve risk-reward choices

Written By kolimtiga on Kamis, 22 Mei 2014 | 12.56

CHICAGO -- At the time, it seemed like nothing but public pouting by a sore loser.

TV cameras captured Kings defenseman Drew Doughty slamming his stick in anger as he returned to the bench after a shift during the second period Wednesday, and he had reason to be unhappy. The Chicago Blackhawks were blowing through the Kings' defense with the greatest of ease, generating outnumbered rushes and getting dangerous scoring chances on goaltender Jonathan Quick.

The Blackhawks, who had won the first game of the Western Conference finals, were threatening to take control of the second game and maintain a perfect postseason record at the United Center. Doughty simply couldn't hold back his emotions anymore.

"We were giving up too many odd-man rushes and we were leaving Quickie out to dry, and it was kind of frustrating because we can't play a rush game with that team," he said. "If we want to play back and forth, rush after rush, we're going to lose games

"Maybe sometimes I shouldn't snap like that, but it's just me."

Doughty channeled his emotions wisely and kept his head. So did his resilient teammates. And because they did, because they got leadership from Doughty and valuable contributions on offense from their defensemen, the Kings scored six straight goals in a stunning rally that gave them a 6-2 victory that tied the series at one game each.

"Even though I get upset sometimes, people think it goes in the other direction. But it just pumps me up inside," said Doughty, who showed that when he took a long shot that was deflected by Jeff Carter to bring the Kings even at 2-2 during a power play early in the third period.

"I get myself going and I realize that in order for us to win games and this series I need to be one of the best players on the ice and I need to lead this team, and that's what I look to do every night," Doughty added. "If I don't do it, I'm frustrated with myself."

Teammate Jarret Stoll said Doughty alone wasn't to blame for the Kings' 2-0 deficit, but he understood Doughty's display on the bench.

"I think he was a little bit rattled that so many odd-man rushes were against us, and that's fair," Stoll said. "That's on us, the forwards, and our whole group, to make sure we're on the right side of the puck and the right side of the man. Again, we gave up too many odd-man rushes, but we got fortunate."

They got mad and got their offense rolling. Taking a page out of the Blackhawks' postseason game plan, the Kings' defensemen did much to spark the outburst on offense.

Five of the Kings' six defensemen recorded points Wednesday, including the goal by Jake Muzzin that put them ahead, 3-2, at 4:04 of the third period. The defensemen were active, got shots on net and made a huge difference in turning the game in the Kings' favor after it had nearly become a runaway for the Blackhawks.

The Kings had made a series of bad decisions during the first period about when to take chances on offense and were burned by the Blackhawks' speed, but their judgment became better as the game wore on, and they became more effective at deciding when to take risks.

"I think we kind of needed to because we were down 2-0 at one point and then 2-1," Doughty said. "At the same time, us jumping into the rush got us in trouble a few times, and they had some odd-man rushes and a few breakaways, which we can't be giving up. We want to jump in as much as we can, but we have to be smart and not allow those things going back the other way."

Defenseman Alec Martinez said getting shots past Chicago's dense, shot-blocking defense and to goalie Corey Crawford was a point of emphasis for the Kings' defense corps. One example, he said, was Muzzin's shot from the left circle on the go-ahead goal.

"Muzz had a great shot there, and I know it's a power play, but you've got to get it through, especially with a hockey club like that across the way," Martinez said. "They've got one heck of a goaltender in Crawford. So you've got to throw as many as you can at him."

Getting the defense involved in the offense, Martinez said, is an effective strategy for the Kings because of the defensemen's mobility.

"All the good teams, the successful teams, get their D up in the play," he said.

Doughty saw room for improvement when the series moves to Staples Center for Game 3 on Saturday, but he's not angry anymore. "I think we could have played a better game," he said, "but we won, so I'm happy."

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
12.56 | 0 komentar | Read More

Aldon Smith of 49ers pleads no contest to felony charges

San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith pleaded no contest to three felony weapons charges and two misdemeanor counts of driving under the influence.

The 24-year-old Smith entered his pleas in a Santa Clara County Superior Courtroom in San Jose. He faces a sentence ranging from spending no time in custody to a maximum of four years and four months behind bars at a judge's discretion, prosecutors said.

Smith is scheduled to be sentenced on July 25 — two days after the 49ers are to open training camp.

In November, Smith pleaded not guilty to three felony counts of illegal possession of an assault weapon after deputies said they found three assault rifles while responding to a complaint about a party in June 2012 at Smith's home. During the party, Smith fired a handgun in the air and was stabbed as two other people were shot during a melee, authorities said.

The DUI charges were filed after Smith's car smashed into a tree in San Jose in September as police said his blood-alcohol level was twice the legal limit.

"We are aware that Aldon entered a plea today in a case that we have closely monitored," 49ers General Manager Trent Baalke said in a statement Wednesday. "Today was an important step towards bringing that situation to a resolution."

Smith's lawyer, Joshua M. Bentley, released a statement, saying his client "has never wavered from his commitment to do the right thing in this case."

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
12.56 | 0 komentar | Read More

It all goes wrong quickly for Chicago in 6-2 loss to Kings

CHICAGO — Goalie Corey Crawford and the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks couldn't pinpoint exactly where Game 2 of the Western Conference finals got away from them.

That was the problem Wednesday in a third-period collapse during a 6-2 loss to the Kings. There were a multitude of choices.

Late into the second period, the champions played to the level worthy of the banner they hung in the United Center last year, overcoming a blown five-on-three man advantage and a replay that confirmed a great scoring chance was instead inches short.

The Blackhawks relied on defenseman Nick Leddy's speed to out-race Kings defenseman Matt Greene on a first-period, power-play breakaway goal, then made it 2-0 when forward Ben Smith penetrated the Kings' defense and scored 1 minute 40 seconds into the second period.

"I really liked how we played for 38 minutes," Blackhawks Coach Joel Quenneville said. "We did everything we were looking to do."

Yet everything actually changed just after the 32nd minute. That's when Kings goalie Jonathan Quick made a save on a Brent Seabrook shot that would have made the score 3-0.

Kings star Anze Kopitar and Coach Darryl Sutter pointed to that as a pivotal moment, when the dagger for a team that was 7-0 at home in the playoffs instead became a Kings' lifeboat.

"We were still up 2-0," Quenneville said. "It turned on a dime after that. I don't know that I've seen a game all year like that, when we're doing everything right, and then all of a sudden it's a disaster."

Justin Williams' goal with 1:46 left in the second made it 2-1, and then the Blackhawks committed an interference penalty on forward Brandon Bollig and had too many men on the ice in the first three minutes of the third — advantages the Kings turned into two power-play goals. "The best way to kill penalties is not to take them in the first place, and we didn't do that in the third," Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews said.

The Kings' four-goal blitz in a 10:45 stretch was so overwhelming to Crawford that he said this about Tyler Toffoli's rebound goal that gave the Kings a 4-2 lead:

"I didn't see it," Crawford said. "I saw it come off my blocker and go in the air, and then I lost it in the air and I saw it come down. It doesn't matter.

"It's too many ... . We needed a big stop on the second [power play] — and they got another [goal] that kind of took everything out of us."

The question as the series moves to Staples Center for Games 3 and 4 on Saturday and Monday is, has it taken everything out of Crawford? "They're going to be better in their building," Chicago forward Patrick Sharp said.

The Kings scored five goals on 12 third-period shots — one came with an empty net.

"You've got to reflect on what just happened and be ready to raise our own level of play," Toews said. "That's a team that wants to win."

Twelve Kings contributed a point Wednesday. Chicago's massive withdrawal featured only six third-period shots on goal.

"They're relentless in a lot of ways," Quenneville said. "They got a break, goal goes in, two power-play goals that were nothing plays ... end up in our net, then we've got to press and open it up. We played right into their hands."

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
12.56 | 0 komentar | Read More

Galaxy makes some necessary changes at home, beats FC Dallas, 2-1

The Galaxy got a sweet homecoming Wednesday night, pulling itself out of last place in the Western Conference with a 2-1 victory against FC Dallas that ended a four-game winless streak that coincided with a grueling trip.

Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena made adjustments to the lineup he used in a 1-0 loss to Houston on Saturday.

Midfielders Gyasi Zardes and Kenney Walker were part of the starting 11 — in Walker's second game of his Major League Soccer career — and captain Robbie Keane was moved back to the forward position after he was used as a midfielder Saturday.

This paid off, with Keane opening up the scoring in the 24th minute. After handling a Zardes pass outside the 18-yard-box, Keane wiggled through three Dallas defenders before striking the ball into the net from distance, giving the Galaxy a 1-0 lead. The goal was the sixth of the season for Keane, the team's leading scorer.

Dallas captain Andrew Jacobson was injured during the goal-scoring play and had to be replaced by Adam Moffat.

The Galaxy threatened again in the 43rd minute when a perfectly timed Juninho through pass set up a Keane cross to Zardes, whose header was diverted by Zach Lloyd's arm. The referee decided the play was unintentional and did not rule a handball.

But Zardes would get his goal a minute later, when his header off a Juninho cross easily beat Dallas goalkeeper Raul Fernandez.

Galaxy defender Kofi Opare had to tread carefully in the second half after picking up a yellow card in the 37th minute for a sliding tackle on Dallas' Tesho Akindele beyond half-field.

The Galaxy continued the attack in the second half. Samuel's shot from inside the box went just right of Fernandez's goal in the 47th minute. In the 56th minute, Keane chested down a Stefan Ishizaki lob and one-timed it from the top of the box, narrowly missing the goal.

But the visitors pulled one back in the 65th minute. A giveaway by Walker near the 18-yard-box ended up at the feet of Dallas' Jair Benitez, who found a wide open Tesho Akindele inside the box for an easy goal.

Defensive miscues continued for the Galaxy, who lost Saturday's game by a goal that resulted from a miscommunication between goalkeeper Jaime Penedo and defender Dan Gargan.

In the sixth minute of Wednesday's match, Gargan and Penedo again put the Galaxy in a perilous situation. After disarming Dallas' Fabian Castillo inside the box, Gargan backpassed to Penedo, who picked the ball up with his hands, which constituted a handball and led to an indirect free kick from just outside the six-yard box. But no score came from the mistake.

Dallas continued to attack until the final minutes of the game. Je-Vaughn Watson's volley off a corner kick in the 88th minute caused the Galaxy a scare as it sailed over Penedo's crossbar, but the home team held on for the win.

The Galaxy will continue its two-game homestand on Sunday against the Philadelphia Union.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
12.56 | 0 komentar | Read More

Establishment Republicans in Georgia set for Senate runoff

Written By kolimtiga on Rabu, 21 Mei 2014 | 12.56

The hard-fought Republican primary for a Senate seat in Georgia was headed to a runoff late Tuesday, with tea party candidates trailing but none of the more establishment candidates clearing the threshold for outright victory.

Millionaire former business executive David Perdue led the polls heading into election day, relying on his status a newcomer to politics and his famous family -- he is the cousin of former Gov. Sonny Perdue -- to boost him to a runoff spot.

Jack Kingston, the Savannah-area congressman, took the other primary spot, overpowering Karen Handel, the former secretary of state, who lacked the resources of the deep-pocketed Perdue and the well-connected Kingston.

The brutal battle was a preview of the July runoff.

Handel tried to create a come-from-behind surge with her feisty campaign and big-name backers, including tea party favorite Sarah Palin. Handel
pummeled Perdue after he noted she was a high school graduate without a college degree. But the party's established leaders kept their distance.

Taking a more measured approach was Kingston, whose early missteps -- he suggested schoolchildren should work for their lunches -- were smoothed by a pivotal endorsement from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Republican leaders have become more confident they can hold the Peach State seat, made open by the retirement of GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss, after enthusiasm for the more conservative candidates cooled. Paul Broun and Phil Gingrey, both congressmen, appeared out of the running based on early returns.

Among Democrats, front-runner Michelle Nunn easily won the primary. The political novice, who also has a famous family name -- her father is the still-popular former Sen. Sam Nunn -- faces an uphill climb in November, but she hopes to take advantage of demographics that are shifting the red state toward purple. She offers Democrats one of their best chances to pick up a seat in the fall as Republicans try to retake control of the Senate.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
12.56 | 0 komentar | Read More

UCLA defeats North Carolina for women's tennis title

Kyle McPhillips beat Caroline Price, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, in the last singles match, helping UCLA beat North Carolina, 4-3, at Athens for the Bruins' second NCAA women's tennis title.

McPhillips' No. 3 singles victory came after teammate Robin Anderson, the tournament's second seed, beat top-seeded Jamie Loeb, 6-2, 6-2, in No. 1 singles.

UCLA won its first national title since 2008. North Carolina was appearing in its first final.

McPhillips converted her fourth match point when Price's volley sailed deep, setting off the Bruins' celebration.

UCLA, which improved to 30-0 when winning the doubles point, also got a victory from Chanelle Van Nguyen in No. 4 singles.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
12.56 | 0 komentar | Read More

Lakers' No. 7 lottery pick is anything but lucky

The best and most appropriate reaction to the Lakers' luck Tuesday came from the Jerry Buss and Chick Hearn dolls sitting on James Worthy's desk.

Shaking, shaking, shaking their heads.

For their final act of the 2013-14 season, the Lakers tanked the lottery. More than a month after their final game, the Lakers managed one more loss. Long after it was supposed to stop getting worse, it just got worse.

The team with the sixth-worst record in the NBA will somehow draft seventh after those pingpong balls paddled the Lakers all over Times Square during a lottery drawing that felt like a contrived episode of "Survivor."

The final three teams were represented by a tall NBA legend from Philadelphia, a young woman from Milwaukee in a treacherously short dress, and a nerdy dude from Cleveland with a 1.7% chance of winning. Of course, the nerdy dude won. For the third time in four years, the Cavaliers will have the top pick, their general manager, David Griffin, clapping in glee while Julius Erving rolled his eyes in disgust and Mallory Edens — a Bucks co-owner's daughter and the newest Internet sensation — simply blushed.

The Cavaliers didn't deserve it. There should be a rule against giving another No. 1 overall pick to a team that spent last year's No. 1 overall pick on somebody who averaged two baskets per game. Does even Anthony Bennett remember Anthony Bennett?

The Lakers deserved better. They at least deserved to pick where they had finished. It was hard work, putting together the most awful season since they moved to Los Angeles 54 years ago. They should have been rewarded for their injuries, their incompetence, their dysfunction, and the fact that they somehow talked Mike D'Antoni into leaving town.

Heck, if the league was smart, it would have helped the Lakers move into the top three. Considering a new rumored NBA scheme surfaces about every month, why couldn't one have popped up now? Whatever happened to the idea of freezing an envelope, as conspiracy theorists claim the league did in 1985 so then-commissioner David Stern could blindly pull the New York Knicks out of the hat and give them the No. 1 pick and Patrick Ewing? Couldn't they have drugged up a couple of pingpong balls? Maybe shuffled a few cards on the way to the podium? The league was happy to block a trade that kept Chris Paul from the Lakers — couldn't it have finally paid for David Stern's misstep and evened things up?

The NBA needs the Lakers now like it needed the Knicks back then. The NBA needs the Lakers' glamour and drama. The NBA needs Kobe Bryant, in his final run, to be relevant again.

Saddled with the turmoils of dueling owners and an aging superstar, the Lakers desperately need a reason to believe in themselves next season. One of the first three draft picks would have made that happen. The seventh pick does not.

Joel Embiid, Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins, and Dante Exum are guys who could have immediately made the sort of impact that would make the Lakers fun again. None of them is expected to be around at No. 7, which is a location currently occupied on draft boards by guys like Julius Randle, Aaron Gordon and Marcus Smart, none of whom will immediately make a well-coiffed courtside head spin.

Heck, the Lakers could have even traded one of the top three picks to Minnesota for Kevin Love, assuming the Timberwolves realize they need to get something for him now before he walks next summer. But there's no way anybody like Kevin Love is traded for something like a seventh pick.

Finishing outside the top three also effectively dumbs down the Lakers' coaching search. If they were convinced they could acquire a cornerstone player, they would have probably searched for a young and potentially cornerstone coach who could grow with the new star. But now, one wonders if they won't just grab a calm veteran like George Karl to steer them through the final years of Bryant before pushing reset again to accommodate whoever will lead them into the next era.

Granted, the Lakers had only a 6.3% chance of winning the lottery, and a 31% chance of dropping into the seventh spot, so Tuesday's fall — precipitated by Cleveland's leap — wasn't that unexpected. But, still, one could dream, and the Lakers sent their last No. 1 overall pick, Worthy, to New York with bobbleheads of past Lakers greats — Buss and Chick— in pursuit of that dream.

Big Game James was big-time crushed, beginning with the pre-lottery interviews, when ESPN's Heather Cox pointedly asked Worthy — and only Worthy — how it felt to watch his team stink all season.

"It was difficult … we had a plethora of injuries … we could never catch up," said Worthy.

They finished sixth. They will pick seventh. The chase continues.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
12.56 | 0 komentar | Read More

Dodgers prospect Alex Guerrero's ear partially bitten off by teammate

Dodgers prospect Alex Guerrero was the victim Tuesday of a Mike Tyson-like ear chomp by triple-A teammate Miguel Olivo, according to Guerrero's agent, Scott Boras.

Guerrero, a Cuban infielder who is in the first year of a four-year, $28-million contract, was scheduled to undergo plastic surgery to reattach the part of his ear that was bitten off by Olivo in a dugout altercation, Boras said.

"This is a first for me," said Boras, who has represented players for more than three decades.

Boras said he was uncertain when the hot-hitting Guerrero might return to the field.

The alleged incident occurred in Salt Lake City, where the Dodgers' Albuquerque-based affiliate dropped a 7-4 decision.

Olivo became steamed after his team gave up a stolen base in the seventh inning, according to Boras. Olivo blamed Guerrero for failing to tag the baserunner in time, the agent said. A video posted on the Albuquerque Isotopes' website showed Olivo attempting to charge Guerrero during a pitching change later in the inning. The players exchanged words as they walked off the field at the end of the inning.

"Guerrero was in the far end of the dugout," Boras said. "He went to the front to get his bat and helmet to hit. As he walked across, Olivo decked him."

Guerrero and Olivo had to be separated by teammates, according to Boras. When players pulled off Olivo, he had a piece of Guerrero's ear in his mouth, Boras said.

Criminal charges could be filed against Olivo, a 35-year-old journeyman catcher who has played 13 major league seasons. Whether that happens could depend on whether Guerrero wants Olivo to be prosecuted, according to Det. Greg Wilking of the Salt Lake City Police Department.

When an officer spoke to Guerrero on Tuesday, the infielder was uncertain of how he wanted police to proceed.

"He wants to talk to a lawyer and talk to league officials," Wilking said.

Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti was evasive when asked about the incident, other than to say he was looking into it. He wouldn't say whether either player would disciplined.

Guerrero and Olivo both played in the major leagues this season. Guerrero was on the major-league roster for the Dodgers' season-opening series in Australia, after which he was sent to Albuquerque to continue working on his transition to second base from his lifelong position of shortstop.

With Dee Gordon playing better than expected at second base, the Dodgers now think Guerrero could contribute in a utility role, which is why he started at shortstop for the last two days. Colletti said the Dodgers might also ask Guerrero to play third base.

From an offensive standpoint, Guerrero is close to major league-ready, according to Colletti. He is batting .376 with 10 home runs and 29 runs batted in.

Olivo recently spent two weeks with the Dodgers and was sent back to Albuquerque when A.J. Ellis returned from the disabled list last week.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
12.56 | 0 komentar | Read More

Tim Duncan leads Spurs past Thunder, 122-105, in Game 1

Written By kolimtiga on Selasa, 20 Mei 2014 | 12.56

Tim Duncan scored 27 points and the San Antonio Spurs took advantage of Serge Ibaka's absence to dominate the paint, beating the Oklahoma City Thunder 122-105 on Monday night in the opener of the Western Conference finals.

Manu Ginobili added 18 points and Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green had 16 points each. Tony Parker did not appear limited by a hamstring injury, scoring 14 points and having 12 asssists.

Kevin Durant scored 28 points and Russell Westbrook added 25. Oklahoma City's remaining starters, Nick Collison, Thabo Sefolosha and Kendrick Perkins combined to score five points.

The Thunder struggled without the defensive presence of Ibaka, who will miss the remainder of the postseason after suffering a calf injury in the Thunder's series clincher against the Los Angeles Clippers.

San Antonio had 66 points in the paint and shot 58 percent from the field.

The Spurs fed Duncan early with Ibaka out, and the veteran responded by scoring 12 points in the first quarter, making six of his seven shots.

The Spurs beat the Thunder for the first time this season, but it wasn't easy despite Ibaka's absence. Despite missing his first four shots, Westbrook continued to bull his way into the lane and it paid off as the game wore on.

Westbrook had 12 points in the third quarter, continually driving past Parker and the Spurs before they could settle in defensively.

With the exception of a pair of free throws by Derek Fisher, Westbrook and Durant scored all of Oklahoma City's points in a 23-22 third quarter.

The extended efforts exerted by the Thunder's two All-Stars eventually took a toll, especially with the Spurs bench coming to life. Westbrook and Durant were limited to seven points in the final quarter.

Spurs forward Aron Baynes entered with 2:43 remaining in the third and had an immediate impact. His 6-foot-10, 260-pound presence halted Westbrook's drive in mid-dribble, creating a turnover and he also later forced a miss by altering Reggie Jackson's short jumper.

Ginobili closed the quarter with a pair of driving layups to extend San Antonio's lead to 89-82. San Antonio scored the first six points of the fourth, including Leonard's drive down the lane where he spun away from Durant and split two defenders for a layup on the opposite of the rim.

Leonard later stole an over-the-shoulder pass to Durant on a Westbrook, sprinting down the court and dribbling around Fisher and Jackson for a layup and a 106-93 lead.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
12.56 | 0 komentar | Read More

U.S. indicts five Chinese military officials on cyberspying charges

The federal indictment of five Chinese military officials for allegedly stealing U.S. corporate trade secrets significantly escalated the cyberespionage battle between the two superpowers — and sharply contrasted their attitudes toward commercial spying.

Monday's first-of-its-kind case against foreign government officials marks a new, more aggressive posture by the U.S., which for years has traded accusations with China about launching and supporting cyberattacks against government and private entities.

"This administration will not tolerate actions by any nation that seeks to illegally sabotage American companies and undermine the integrity of fair competition in the operation of the free market," U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. said at a news conference in Washington, where he disclosed the previously sealed indictment.

The allegations elicited strong denials from the Chinese government, which dismissed the case as "fabricated" and warned it would jeopardize diplomatic and commercial relations.

"The Chinese government, the Chinese military and their relevant personnel have never engaged or participated in cyber theft of trade secrets," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said in a statement. "The U.S. accusation against Chinese personnel is purely ungrounded and absurd."

Qin accused the U.S. of hypocrisy, alluding to disclosures by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden that the U.S. has long monitored and hacked into Chinese phone and communications companies.

Holder insisted, however, that the U.S. engages in such surveillance only for national security purposes, not to give American companies a competitive advantage against their Chinese rivals.

Kathleen Walsh, an associate professor at the Naval War College, said the indictment underscored key differences in the viewpoints of the global powers.

The U.S. has historically considered it a crime to spy on foreign companies in order to provide a commercial advantage to U.S. firms, she said. In contrast, China sees no reason not to assist Chinese-owned companies and embraces all forms of technology transfer, including espionage and cyberespionage.

"Therefore, this indictment is unlikely to fundamentally change China's long-standing technology development strategy and cyberespionage activities," said Walsh, who emphasized that her analysis did not represent the official views of the U.S. government or the military.

"It does, nonetheless, raise the costs somewhat, if mainly in diplomatic terms and as a loss of global face," she said.

The hacked U.S. companies and organizations included U.S. Steel, Westinghouse Electric, aluminum giant Alcoa, metals company Allegheny Technologies, the United Steelworkers union and U.S. subsidiaries of German-owned SolarWorld.

The detailed indictment — which included the names, photos, Internet handles, unit and building address of the alleged conspirators in Shanghai — was not expected to result in arrests because China is unlikely to turn over any of its citizens. The officers were identified as Wang Dong, Sun Kailiang, Wen Xinyu, Huang Zhenyu and Gu Chunhui.

Holder said the five stole trade secrets and "sensitive, internal communications" that provided Chinese companies with valuable information on the strategies and vulnerabilities of U.S. competitors engaged in negotiation, litigation or trade disputes with Chinese firms.

Analysts viewed the case as an implicit U.S. warning to China.

"The purpose in naming them specifically would be to show they were able to be caught and tracked down, i.e. the Chinese tradecraft was sloppy," said Dennis Blasko, a former Army attache at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.

U.S. officials characterized the charges as a response to Chinese leaders, who have long denied that the People's Liberation Army is engaged in economic espionage and had challenged the U.S. to provide proof.

"Well, today we are" providing proof, said John Carlin, assistant attorney general for national security. "For the first time, we are exposing the faces and names behind the keyboards in Shanghai used to steal from American businesses."

The Chinese government demanded that the U.S. indictment be withdrawn and announced it was suspending activities of the China-U.S. Cyber Working Group, created last year to address allegations of hacking. Some experts predicted China would respond by filing its own cyberspying indictment against U.S. entities.

The case was filed in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh, the heart of the U.S. metals industry, where several of the targeted U.S. companies operate. It provided a cautionary tale for companies doing business with China.

According to the indictment, while Westinghouse was building four nuclear power plants in China and negotiating to build more, a Chinese military officer using the handle Jack Sun was burrowing into the company's computers.

From 2010 to 2012, the indictment says, Sun and colleagues in "Unit 61398" of the People's Liberation Army in Shanghai stole the equivalent of 700,000 pages of email messages and other documents belonging to Westinghouse's chief executive and other senior executives. The documents included the company's business strategies, designs and proprietary technology.

After U.S. Steel accused China of dumping cheap steel in the U.S., Sun, aided by another officer who went by the name "UglyGorilla," sent a so-called spearphishing email purporting to come from U.S. Steel's chief executive to 20 company employees. Some were tricked into installing malware on company computers when they clicked on a link in the email, the indictment states.

The malware installed by this and other attacks gave the Chinese backdoor access to the company's computers, enabling the Chinese government to gather information from 1,700 company computers that included servers used for emergency response and network security, the indictment said.

When the United Steelworkers' international president issued a "call to action" against Chinese trade policies, a defendant known as "WinXYHappy" allegedly hacked into his and other union officials' email accounts, which contained the union's private strategic discussions.

Wayne Ranick, a spokesman for the 850,000-member union, called the allegations "quite troubling."

David Hickton, the U.S. attorney in Pittsburgh, asserted that the espionage, combined with illegal dumping of underpriced materials, had led directly to U.S. plant closings and the loss of thousands of jobs around the country.

"This 21st century burglary has to stop," Hickton said. "We would not stand idly by if someone pulled a tractor trailer up to a corporate headquarters, cracked the lock and loaded up sensitive information."

The case is likely to increase public pressure on the administration to take further actions against China, whose trade surplus with the U.S. is estimated to have surpassed $318 billion last year. According to recent estimates, cyberespionage costs U.S. firms $24 billion to $120 billion annually.

The alleged activities of the Shanghai unit were first revealed in February 2013 by the U.S. information security firm Mandiant. It reported that Unit 61398 had been linked to cyberintrusions of 141 U.S. and foreign companies and entities, mostly in English-speaking countries.

President Obama raised the issue in June during meetings with China's president, Xi Jinping, at an informal summit in California.

"Mandiant was the first major shot across the bow, and clearly it wasn't working, so this is the next step," said June Teufel Dreyer, a professor at the University of Miami who specializes in China.

She said the indictment was an effort by the Obama administration to demonstrate toughness, both to China and the region.

"From Obama's perspective, this will hopefully take some of the heat, the criticism, off him that he's been totally wimpy," she said.

But she noted that the administration sought to contain the diplomatic backlash by charging only officers rather than the army.

"It is possible what the Obama administration wants to do is limit the adverse reaction by not indicting the entire [military], but naming specific individuals," she said.



Phelps reported from Washington; Makinen from China.

Times staff writers Robert Faturechi in San Francisco and Richard A. Serrano in Washington contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times

12.56 | 0 komentar | Read More
techieblogger.com Techie Blogger Techie Blogger