Author: Chris Dufresne

Why “Paterno” on HBO is worth watching–once

I put off “Paterno” for the same reason I didn’t rush out to see “Schindler’s List.” It was on my “to do” list, I suppose, like a colonoscopy, but that doesn’t mean one can’t concoct legitimate reasons for procrastination. I recorded “Paterno” the night it premiered on HBO, then watched it linger in my queue box. It stared back at me from a menu list of candy-coated confections that included “House Hunters International” and “Drunk History.” What was I afraid of? One, you need to prep for something so distasteful that you know going in is going to be upsetting.  For me it meant setting aside two hours, alone, on an empty stomach. Recently, looking for something else in my garage, I found the book penned years ago by Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant at the center of this pond-scum story. It was an advance copy of his feel-good memoir, sent by the publisher looking for a review in the Los Angeles Times. Thank God we weren’t blogging back then and I buried what turned out to be garbage into a plastic bin. The book, incredibly in retrospect, was titled “Touched.” Or, perhaps, Sandusky was perversely daring us to find him out, like the serial killer who leaves cryptic clues for the chief of police. I covered the horrors at Penn State from the West Coast, way...

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Ohtani is the next Babe Ruth…if Babe retired after a week

It takes a lot to get me to a baseball game these days, in fact, it takes a lot to get me to the mailbox. Take YOU out with the crowd. Peanuts make me gaseous and the only person who makes out big on me eating Crackerjack is my dentist. I don’t care what that song says: years of press box regulations against rooting for the home team make it difficult for this recovering sportswriter to mix in easily with the fan base.  I’ve written this before:  I’m a terrible, uncomfortable, claustrophobic, mostly miserable in-the-stands spectator. I simply don’t know how to act. Two years on the back-up Dodgers beat in the 1990s still haunt me with deadline nightmares of being stuck in a post-game clubhouse with a half-naked Tommy Lasorda. That confessed, I was born and raised on the Angels of Gene Autry and Jim Fregosi, which makes me a closet Harry Halo for Life. Looking back, over five decades of Angel watching, I don’t readily jump on bandwagons, or put carts ahead of power pitchers or work horses. Thinking historically, I can count only three Angels that would make today’s me get up off my couch and attend a game: 1: The young Frank Tanana. Most people remember the “old” Frank who blew out his arm after pitching 14 straight complete games (fathom that today), yet still...

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It’s approaching 1-Zero Hour for the Dodgers

The Los Angeles Dodgers have a chance to make extraordinary history. The franchise that lost Game 7 of last year’s World Series stands, after two games in 2018, as the only club with a chance to lose 162 games by the score of 1-0. That would, I think, be a MLB record. Giant: “I left my heart, in San Francisco.” Dodger: “I left my bat, near Casa Grande.” This season has me pining for all those years the Dodgers held spring training in Florida, if only to groove a fastball to any number of award-winning headline writers: “From Vero to Zero.” Or, perhaps, we can blame all this on the team’s new bat maker: Louisville Sluggish. But let’s put this silly futility notion aside because the Dodgers, possibly as soon as today, are going to score a run this season. I’m more interested in the Dodgers and Giants being involved in consecutive 1-0 decisions. These kind of games, in the super ball juiced era, are as rare as seeing consecutive eclipses of the sun. Next you’re going to tell me “Rosanne” is back on TV with a mash-up of the same cast. I grew up in the 1960s and 1970s fascinated with hard-luck starting pitchers and the inept batting (and fielding) lineups that surrounded them. The team I followed had a famous rhyme “Tanana and Ryan and two days...

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Ten Years After: Chalmers’ shot stirs a fuzzy memory

I can’t believe it’s been 10 years since Mario Chalmers made that shot in San Antonio. Time flies when you’re having fun—and even when you’re not. It definitely flies faster when you’re older, or so it seems, though you’ll need an Einstein expert to prove (or disprove) it. I recall almost nothing about that trip to San Antonio, a decade ago, at the Final Four, except for THE SHOT. Don’t remember what I wore, what I wrote, where I slept, though I’ll bet your house I took a Super Saver (through Phoenix) on Southwest airlines to get there. I don’t remember the Alamo, but I do remember the Alamodome. If there was a Steak N Shake in the San Antonio area, there’s a good chance I ate there with Mark Blaudschun (hey we should co-found a website someday) and AP basketball czar Jim O’Connell (OC). I see where Kansas has made it back to San Antonio for the the 10-year anniversary of that Monday night in April. That’s nice and makes me a tad emotional. If you believe in omens and karma, it’s not good news for Villanova or the winner of Loyola-Michigan. I’m mostly a stay-at-home sportswriter dad now who doesn’t do Final Fours anymore and isn’t prone to sentimental journeys through my clip files. The Chalmers shot is a rule exception that passes my test for drippy...

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Michigan wins the West with win over FSU

LOS ANGELES–Michigan will face Loyola Chicago next Saturday in a not-so-uncommon, second-round NCAA bracket pairing of No. 3 vs. No. 11. Wait a minute—that’s not right at all. This No. 3 is facing THAT No. 11 in the Final Four! That’s not garden-variety, that’s nuts. Loyola of Chicago versus Michigan of Ann Arbor became reality in the City of Angels after Saturday’s West Regional finals win over the Seminoles of Tallahassee. For the love of God. Loyola rambled onward with a little help from Sister Jean while Michigan leaned on Saint John (Beilein), who returns to the Final Four looking to make amends for the one that got away–the 2013 finals loss to Louisville. And while the NCAA has since vacated Louisville’s crown for violating at least four of the Ten Commandments, Michigan wasn’t awarded the trophy by default any more than Oklahoma was able to claim USC’s vacated BCS football title of 2004. The Wolverines have to go down to San Antonio next weekend to earn this one on their own. It would be the program’s first title since 1989. Michigan may be the better team but is definitely on the short end of Final Four rooting interest and host venue religiosity. San Antonio is named after Saint Anthony, a long-dead Portuguese Catholic priest and friar of the Franciscan order who is also the patron saint of lost things,...

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