In an effort to share more of my thoughts about all things sports-related with LASH readers, I have decided to write a daily (minus a day here or there) column called AK’s Corner. Although it’s generally against my nature, I will try not to ramble on for too long–but God knows that I could talk about sports for 24 hours straight without any breaks if I ever needed or wanted to, but I digress…Most days, I will probably limit my thoughts to no more than two or three topics that are relevant to current news/events in the sports world, and particularly to Los Angeles-based teams and athletes.
So let me just jump right in with my first topic: Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher (for now) Dan Haren. Last night, Haren had his fifth consecutive ‘bad’ start (in my humble opinion), surrendering seven runs (six earned) on eight hits in 4 and 1/3 innings…to the Chicago Cubs (yeah, the team with the second worst record in the National League).
When Haren started off the season 5-1 with a 2.84 ERA, I was pleasantly surprised that the Southern California native had picked up where he had left off at the end of last season. In 2013, Haren had an abysmal first half with the Washington Nationals–at the All Star break, he was 4-10 with a 5.61 ERA and 1.42 WHIP. But in the second half, he really turned things around, with a 6-4 record, 3.52 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, and 70 Ks in 76 and 2/3 innings. But after his 5-1 start with the Dodgers, he’s gone 3-8 with a 6.04 ERA–that’s not very good (to say the least).
When Haren signed with the Dodgers during the off-season for one year at $10 million, I figured–‘hey, that’s not a bad deal for a solid, experienced, fifth starting pitcher!’. Of course, I also expected the Dodgers to have Chad Billingsley and Paul Maholm available to take Haren’s spot in case of emergency…well, the Dodgers have an emergency, but Billingsley and Maholm are out for the season. Calling Stephen Fife? Is Zach Lee ready yet? Oh, those guys are struggling in the minors? Hey, did the trade deadline pass yet? Asking for a friend…
So for now, the Dodgers are pretty much stuck with Haren and just have to hope that they can ‘fix’ some mechanical issue or skip his turn in the rotation once or twice to give him a mental break–unless he has an injury that he’s been hiding, there’s no reason why he can’t still be an effective fifth starter for the next two months. After all, the Dodgers won’t really need him in the playoffs.
Ok, so writing about Dan Haren is bringing me down, so let me get to my next topic…oh, wait…I’m not going to feel any better, am I? Poor Paul George. Poor Indiana Pacers. There really isn’t too much more to say, is there? George, another Southern California native, one of the best players in the NBA, and, by all accounts, a really classy guy, suffered one of the most gruesome sports injuries ever in last night’s Team USA Showcase (in advance of the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup) in Las Vegas.
Naturally, after I heard about the unfortunate news last night, I jumped on my laptop to find a video clip of the injury…and, well…my jaw dropped upon seeing his leg snap after colliding with the basket stanchion [WARNING: if you're even remotely squeamish, you should NOT look at the still images or watch the video clip]. As a fan of the NBA, Paul George’s injury makes me really sad. He is almost certainly out of commission for the next 12 months, and might not even be 100% ready to go for the 2015-16 season.
Of course, it was impossible to not think about Louisville Cardinals men’s basketball player Kevin Ware’s gruesome leg injury in the 2013 NCAA tournament. Ware unexpectedly returned to play in an exhibition game only seven months after breaking his leg (in possibly a more gruesome fashion than George did), but he re-injured the leg a month later, and ended up seeking a medical redshirt for the rest of the 2013-14 season. This tweet from renowned athletic trainer Tim Grover (he’s worked with the likes of Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Dwayne Wade) just about says it all:
Not sure what else to say, other than I wish Paul George a full and speedy recovery–the NBA and its fans will definitely miss him while he’s gone!