They lost their best player before the season started and he was never a factor. They have one player over 27 years old. Their youngsters have never been here before. They have a coach that has never coached in the big leagues,and he is young and inexperienced, but he’s a motivator and he believes in them. Yes he believes, but he’s not afraid to get in their face. Now they are staring at the possibility of playing for a world championship.
You have probably figured out I am talking about the Pacers. They lost Danny Granger, who was their unquestioned leader for the season. David West is the only player over 27 years old. Frank Vogel is a career-assistant and a very young coach. But, you can watch these guys grow every game. They make mistakes and they just comeback like junkyard dogs. The Pacers didn’t go out and get some journeyman to take Danny Granger’s place – they let their youngsters grow into the roles.
Last night, the old man, David West was sick and had a fever, but gutted it out to get 11 points and 14 rebounds. It has been fun to watch Paul George and Roy Hibbert grow into superstars and see Lance Stephenson grow from a street thug into whatever he will become (he’s only 22 and has the best skill set on the team). They are an unlikely crew, but they are in a one-game playoff Monday night for the right to play the Spurs for the NBA Championship. They are the underdogs – junkyard underdogs! They just may win it all!
The Los Angeles Dodgers can take a page from the Pacers book. For the record, I have not thrown in the towel. There’s still plenty of time, but change is necessary. The Dodgers need a Manager who can motivate them like Frank Vogel motivates and challenges the Pacers. Right now, everyone is wondering “will I be the one to blow this game?“ instead of “It’s my game to win!“ It’s a different mindset … one that the Dodgers don’t have. The fix starts at the top. The Pacers did that 2-1/2 years ago and it started their run. Jim O’Brien was a highly respected coach. Frank Vogel was an assistant. It turned the ream around overnight.
- Puig is on his way to Colorado (maybe there by now). He has to play, even if it is in CF. Let’s see what he can do.
- Memo to Ned: Quit getting the old, run-down, over-the-hill players like Uribe, Hairston, Hernandez, Uribe, Ellis (I like him), Punto (love him), Schumaker, Guerrier, League and Moylan. Do you think the Dodgers would be worse if they had Fed-Ex, Herrera, Castallanos, Pederson, Withrow, Ames and others instead of that bunch?
- Aaron Miller had a double and triple for Great Lakes last night after his conversion from the mound.
- Crawford allegedly only had a cramp, not a strain.
- If Matt Kemp wants to earn respect back, when he is ready to play he has to go on an extended re-hab assignment to AAA to get his stroke back. He’s killing the team now. Let’s face it: he’s not going to hit with much power this year. He has to adjust and just get on base. Adrian and Hanley said they both lost power after their shoulder surgeries… Adrian evidently forever!
My Monday Lineup:
- Crawford LF
- Ellis 2B
- Gonzales 1B
- Ramirez SS
- Ethier/Van Slyke RF
- Puig CF
- Fed-Ex C
- Uribe 3B