MLB scouts expected at La Quinta-Desert Christian Academy

For those interested in local baseball, La Quinta High School is the place to be this evening. Close to 20 MLB scouts will be in attendance in tonight’s La Quinta-Desert Christian Academy baseball game, secondary principal Steve Blankenship has told The Desert Sun.

Most of them will be there to watch Desert Christian Academy’s senior pitcher Morgan Earman, a 6-foot-4 prospect that has allowed just a single multi-base hit and two earned runs in 40 innings this season.

Making the game even more intriguing is the fact that La Quinta (14-5) will be the Conquerors’ (18-2) toughest competition to date, and feature their own standout on the mound — 6-foot-4 junior Trevor Abshire, whom has has allowed just four earned runs in 52 and 1/3 innings.

Both teams appear destined to make deep runs in the CIF-SS next month, and this could prove to be the biggest game in the valley this year. With a multitude of sluggers that have torched opposing pitchers already this season, both aces will have their work cut out for them.

How will they perform under the pressure? Find out at 6:30 p.m. in La Quinta.

MLB’s Extra Innings free preview begins Monday

Major League Baseball’s Extra Innings package that offers up to 80 out-of-market baseball games per week will offer a free preview beginning Monday.

The preview, offered by Time Warner Cable, DirecTV and Verizon FiOS, runs through Sunday, April 7.

MLB Extra Innings will showcase approximately 80 games during the first week. The full package delivers over 2,000 out-of-market baseball game telecasts during the regular season.

The early bird offer for digital customers is $189 (4 installments of $47.25), a $10 savings off of the full-season price if ordered by April 7.  The package will then be available for $199.

Time Warner Cable Desert Cities customers will receive up to 24 games in HD for the first time this season.

On the Time Warner Cable system, Extra Innings is available on channels 938-951 with the HD channels being 936 and 937.

FOX Sports West to air 150 Los Angeles Angels games

FOX Sports West will televise approximately 150 Los Angeles Angels baseball games during the 2013 season.

Regular season coverage begins on Opening Day, at 12:30 p.m. Monday from Cincinnati with a half-hour “Angels Live” pre-game show.

Victor Rojas enters his fourth season calling play-by-play for the Angels alongside Mark Gubicza, who enters his sixth season offering color commentary.

In addition, “Angels Live” pre- and post-game shows return, surrounding every home and road Angels telecast this season on FOX Sports West. The half-hour program will feature Michael Eaves as host, while Jose Mota and Tim Salmon offer analysis and Jaime Maggio delivers player interviews and reports.

Complementing live game telecasts, “Angels Weekly” returns with exclusive content and insider access surrounding the Angels organization. Hosted by Alex Curry, a new half-hour program will air every Friday throughout the regular season, immediately following “Angels Live” post-game coverage.

To preview the upcoming season, Curry hosts “Angels Weekly: Season Preview” which debuts this Thursday at 6 p.m. on Prime Ticket, followed by encore presentation at 10:30 p.m. The hour-long program will offer an inside look at spring training, one-on-one interviews with Mike Scioscia and Jerry Dipoto, and analysis from Rojas and Gubicza.

Here’s the complete broadcast schedule:

April

Monday, April 1 @Cincinnati 1:10 PM FS-W
Wednesday, April 3 @Cincinnati 4:10 PM FS-W
Thursday, April 4 @Cincinnati 9:35 AM FS-W, MLBN
Friday, April 5 @Texas 11:05 AM FS-W
Saturday, April 6 @Texas 1:05 PM FOX
Sunday, April 7 @Texas 5:05 PM ESPN2
Tuesday, April 9 vs. Oakland 7:05 PM FS-W ESPN Radio
Wednesday, April 10 vs. Oakland 7:05 PM FS-W
Thursday, April 11 vs. Oakland 7:05 PM FS-W
Friday, April 12 vs. Houston 7:05 PM FS-W
Saturday, April 13 vs. Houston 6:05 PM FS-W
Sunday, April 14 vs. Houston 12:35 PM FS-W
Monday, April 15 @Minnesota 5:10 PM FS-W
Tuesday, April 16 @Minnesota 5:10 PM FS-W
Wednesday, April 17 @Minnesota 5:10 PM FS-W
Friday, April 19 vs. Detroit 7:05 PM FS-W
Saturday, April 20 vs. Detroit 12:05 PM FOX
Sunday, April 21 vs. Detroit 12:35 PM FS-W
Monday, April 22 vs. Texas 7:05 PM FS-W
Tuesday, April 23 vs. Texas 7:05 PM FS-W
Wednesday, April 24 vs. Texas 7:05 PM FS-W
Thursday, April 25 @Seattle 7:10 PM FS-W
Friday, April 26 @Seattle 7:10 PM FS-W
Saturday, April 27 @Seattle 6:10 PM FS-W
Sunday, April 28 @Seattle 1:10 PM FS-W
Monday, April 29 @Oakland 7:05 PM FS-W
Tuesday, April 30 @Oakland 7:05 PM FS-W

May

Wednesday, May 1 @Oakland 12:35 PM FS-W
Thursday, May 2 vs. Baltimore 7:05 PM FS-W
Friday, May 3 vs. Baltimore 7:05 PM FS-W
Saturday, May 4 vs. Baltimore 1:05 PM FOX
Sunday, May 5 vs. Baltimore 12:35 PM FS-W
Tuesday, May 7 @Houston 5:10 PM FS-W
Wednesday, May 8 @Houston 5:10 PM FS-W
Thursday, May 9 @Houston 5:10 PM FS-W
Friday, May 10 @Chi White Sox 5:10 PM FS-W
Saturday, May 11 @Chi White Sox 4:10 PM FS-W
Sunday, May 12 @Chi White Sox 5:05 PM ESPN
Monday, May 13 vs. Kansas City 7:05 PM FS-W
Tuesday, May 14 vs. Kansas City 7:05 PM FS-W
Wednesday, May 15 vs. Kansas City 7:05 PM FS-W
Friday, May 17 vs. Chi White Sox 7:05 PM FS-W
Saturday, May 18 vs. Chi White Sox 1:05 PM FOX
Sunday, May 19 vs. Chi White Sox 12:35 PM FS-W
Tuesday, May 21 vs. Seattle 7:05 PM FS-W
Wednesday, May 22 vs. Seattle 4:05 PM FS-W
Thursday, May 23 @Kansas City 5:10 PM FS-W
Friday, May 24 @Kansas City 5:10 PM FS-W
Saturday, May 25 @Kansas City 11:10 AM FS-W
Sunday, May 26 @Kansas City 11:10 AM FS-W
Monday, May 27 @LA Dodgers 5:10 PM FS-W
Tuesday, May 28 @LA Dodgers 7:10 PM FS-W
Wednesday, May 29 vs. LA Dodgers 7:05 PM FS-W
Thursday, May 30 vs. LA Dodgers 7:05 PM FS-W
Friday, May 31 vs. Houston 7:05 PM FS-W

June

Saturday, June 1 vs. Houston 7:05 PM FS-W
Sunday, June 2 vs. Houston 12:35 PM FS-W
Monday, June 3 vs. Houston 7:05 PM FS-W
Tuesday, June 4 vs. Chi Cubs 7:05 PM FS-W
Wednesday, June 5 vs. Chi Cubs 4:05 PM FS-W
Friday, June 7 @Boston 4:10 PM FS-W
Saturday, June 8 @Boston 4:15 PM FOX
Sunday, June 9 @Boston 10:35 AM FS-W
Monday, June 10 @Baltimore 4:05 PM FS-W
Tuesday, June 11 @Baltimore 4:05 PM FS-W
Wednesday, June 12 @Baltimore 9:35 AM FS-W
Friday, June 14 vs. NY Yankees 7:05 PM FS-W
Saturday, June 15 vs. NY Yankees 4:15 PM FOX
Monday, June 17 vs. Seattle 7:05 PM FS-W
Tuesday, June 18 vs. Seattle 7:05 PM FS-W
Wednesday, June 19 vs. Seattle 7:05 PM FS-W
Thursday, June 20 vs. Seattle 7:05 PM FS-W
Friday, June 21 vs. Pittsburgh 7:05 PM FS-W
Saturday, June 22 vs. Pittsburgh 7:05 PM FS-W
Sunday, June 23 vs. Pittsburgh 12:35 PM FS-W
Tuesday, June 25 @Detroit 4:05 PM FS-W
Wednesday, June 26 @Detroit 4:05 PM FS-W
Thursday, June 27 @Detroit 10:05 AM FS-W
Friday, June 28 @Houston 5:10 PM FS-W
Saturday, June 29 @Houston 1:10 PM FS-W
Sunday, June 30 @Houston 11:10 AM FS-W

July

Tuesday, July 2 vs. St. Louis 7:05 PM FS-W
Wednesday, July 3 vs. St. Louis 7:05 PM FS-W
Thursday, July 4 vs. St. Louis 6:05 PM FS-W
Friday, July 5 vs. Boston 7:05 PM FS-W
Saturday, July 6 vs. Boston 7:05 PM FS-W
Tuesday, July 9 @Chi Cubs 5:05 PM FS-W
Wednesday, July 10 @Chi Cubs 5:05 PM FS-W
Friday, July 12 @Seattle 7:10 PM FS-W
Saturday, July 13 @Seattle 7:10 PM FS-W
Sunday, July 14 @Seattle 1:10 PM FS-W
Friday, July 19 vs. Oakland 7:05 PM FS-W
Saturday, July 20 vs. Oakland 6:05 PM FS-W
Sunday, July 21 vs. Oakland 12:35 PM FS-W
Monday, July 22 vs. Minnesota 7:05 PM FS-W
Tuesday, July 23 vs. Minnesota 7:05 PM FS-W
Wednesday, July 24 vs. Minnesota 12:35 PM FS-W
Thursday, July 25 @Oakland 7:05 PM FS-W
Friday, July 26 @Oakland 7:05 PM FS-W
Saturday, July 27 @Oakland 12:05 PM FOX
Sunday, July 28 @Oakland 1:05 PM FS-W
Monday, July 29 @Texas 5:05 PM FS-W
Tuesday, July 30 @Texas 5:05 PM FS-W
Wednesday, July 31 @Texas 5:05 PM FS-W

August

Thursday, August 1 vs. Toronto 7:05 PM FS-W
Friday, August 2 vs. Toronto 7:05 PM FS-W
Saturday, August 3 vs. Toronto 6:05 PM FS-W
Sunday, August 4 vs. Toronto 12:35 PM FS-W
Monday, August 5 vs. Texas 7:05 PM FS-W
Tuesday, August 6 vs. Texas 7:05 PM FS-W
Wednesday, August 7 vs. Texas 7:05 PM FS-W
Friday, August 9 @Cleveland 4:05 PM FS-W
Saturday, August 10 @Cleveland 4:05 PM FS-W
Sunday, August 11 @Cleveland 10:05 AM FS-W
Monday, August 12 @NY Yankees 4:05 PM FS-W
Tuesday, August 13 @NY Yankees 4:05 PM FS-W
Wednesday, August 14 @NY Yankees 4:05 PM FS-W
Thursday, August 15 @NY Yankees 10:05 AM FS-W
Friday, August 16 vs. Houston 7:05 PM FS-W
Saturday, August 17 vs. Houston 6:05 PM FS-W
Sunday, August 18 vs. Houston 12:35 PM FS-W
Monday, August 19 vs. Cleveland 7:05 PM FS-W
Tuesday, August 20 vs. Cleveland 7:05 PM FS-W
Wednesday, August 21 vs. Cleveland 4:05 PM FS-W
Friday, August 23 @Seattle 7:10 PM FS-W
Saturday, August 24 @Seattle 6:10 PM FS-W
Sunday, August 25 @Seattle 1:10 PM FS-W
Tuesday, August 27 @Tampa Bay 4:10 PM FS-W
Wednesday, August 28 @Tampa Bay 4:10 PM FS-W
Thursday, August 29 @Tampa Bay 10:10 AM FS-W
Friday, August 30 @Milwaukee 5:10 PM FS-W
Saturday, August 31 @Milwaukee 4:10 PM FS-W

September

Sunday, September 1 @Milwaukee 11:10 AM FS-W
Monday, September 2 vs. Tampa Bay 6:05 PM FS-W
Tuesday, September 3 vs. Tampa Bay 7:05 PM FS-W
Wednesday, September 4 vs. Tampa Bay 7:05 PM FS-W
Thursday, September 5 vs. Tampa Bay 7:05 PM FS-W
Friday, September 6 vs. Texas 7:05 PM FS-W
Saturday, September 7 vs. Texas 6:05 PM FS-W
Tuesday, September 10 @Toronto 4:07 PM FS-W
Wednesday, September 11 @Toronto 4:07 PM FS-W
Thursday, September 12 @Toronto 4:07 PM FS-W
Friday, September 13 @Houston 5:10 PM FS-W
Saturday, September 14 @Houston 4:10 PM FS-W
Sunday, September 15 @Houston 11:10 AM FS-W
Monday, September 16 @Oakland 7:05 PM FS-W
Tuesday, September 17 @Oakland 7:05 PM FS-W
Wednesday, September 18 @Oakland 12:35 PM FS-W
Friday, September 20 vs. Seattle 7:05 PM FS-W
Sunday, September 22 vs. Seattle 12:35 PM FS-W
Monday, September 23 vs. Oakland 7:05 PM FS-W
Tuesday, September 24 vs. Oakland 7:05 PM FS-W
Wednesday, September 25 vs. Oakland 12:35 PM FS-W
Thursday, September 26 @Texas 5:05 PM FS-W
Friday, September 27 @Texas 5:05 PM FS-W
Sunday, September 29 @Texas 12:05 PM FS-W

 

 

 

 

 

Dish Network to carry Fox Sports San Diego; Time Warner Cable, Verizon FiOS remain holdouts

Dish Network reached an agreement Wednesday to carry Fox Sports San Diego in time for the upcoming baseball season.

The channel will launch on April 1 in time to carry the San Diego Padres’ opening-day baseball game at the New York Mets.

DISH customers  will have access to the Padres, Los Angeles Clippers and Anaheim Ducks, plus other local sports events. FOX Sports San Diego will be available for local DISH customers with the America’s Top 120 Plus and Latino Dos packages.

“We’re delighted that DISH is making Padres on FOX Sports San Diego available to their valued customers,” said Henry Ford, Senior Vice President and General Manager, FOX Sports San Diego. “On Opening Day 2013 Padres baseball will be delivered to more households than ever before.”

In the Coachella Valley, DirecTV was the only local carrier of Padres games on Fox Sports San Diego last season.

Time Warner Cable and Verizon FiOS have not reached agreements to add the channel to their lineup.

“It’s less than two months until Opening Day, and Time Warner Cable has expressed no interest in carrying the Padres in 2013,” a Fox Sports statement said Wednesday. ”We hope that Time Warner Cable comes around to see the value in the Padres just as other providers in San Diego have.  Customers can wield a great deal of influence by contacting Time Warner Cable and demanding to see the Padres in 2013.”

A Time Warner Cable spokesperson had no update to report on negotiations.

“Our offer from last year stands, it is an offer that includes a significant fee to carry the Padres,” the Time Warner Cable statement said. “Unfortunately, Fox is still demanding that we pay a nearly 400% increase over what we paid Cox for the same games two years ago.”

 

 

 

 

One of those slimy days in sports

There are times when being part of the sport world is tremendous fun. And there are days when you feel like you need to take a shower to get the slime off.

Today is one of the slimy days. A group of players, mostly in baseball and one in football, have been hit with allegations of using banned substances. If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying seems to be the mantra for the day.

In baseball, plays like Alex Rodriguez (surprise!), Melky Cabrera (surprise!), Gio Gonzales, Nelson Cruz and a few others have been liked to PED use through a clinic (surprise!) in Miami. This is the same clinic and the same, uh, doctor? who were involved with Many Ramirez was banned from the game not once but twice for banned substances.

The idea of people cheating in baseball and using PEDs is so common now that I can’t image anyone is surprised by any story anymore. And I start to wonder if fans even care, even as baseball writers rebuke players like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens for their association with PEDs.

Ray Lewis denies he used a banned substance to recovery from a tricep injury (AP photo)

Now comes word that Ray Lewis (remember, we aren’t supposed to talk about the blood and the gun and Atlanta anymore) apparently was using deer antler spray in his recovery from a torn tricep muscle that put him out for the second half of the year. Don’t ask me what is in deer antler spray that is banned by the NFL. But there is something, and gosh, isn’t Tuesday of Super Bowl week the perfect time for Sports Illustrated to break this little story?

Are we at a point in time in sports now when everyone cheats? Where people who don’t cheat are the freaks of the sports? Where the defense of “I never tested positive” has become as believable as “My dog ate my homework”?

Today, because the moon and the stars are in just the right place or because it’s Super Bowl media day or because someone in New York hates Alex Rodriguez, is a day of a lot of negative news in sports. And by the end of the day, feel free to wash up and towel off and start fresh tomorrow in search of better news.

 

Dodgers, Time Warner Cable announce new channel: SportsNet LA

The Los Angeles Dodgers and Time Warner Cable officially announced their television deal Monday morning and the creation of the new channel SportsNet LA.

The Dodgers-owned channel will debut in 2014. The Dodgers will remain on Fox Sports Prime Ticket through the upcoming 2013 season.

The deal, which still must be approved by Major League Baseball, is expected to cover 25 years and is worth between a reported $7 billion and $8 billion to the Dodgers.

“We concluded last year that the best way to give our fans what they want – more content and more Dodger baseball — was to launch our own network,” said Mark Walter, chairman of the Dodgers.

The Dodgers will launch SportsNet L.A. in ’14 through American Media Productions, a fully owned subsidiary that the team launched in December 2012. Time Warner Cable will not have an ownership stake in the new sports network, but will handle all ad sales and affiliate sales for the channel.

Time Warner Cable has agreed to be SportsNet LA’s distributor and will carry the new network for its customers throughout Southern California and Hawaii under a long-term affiliation deal.

While the monthly fee that Time Warner Cable will charge for the channel has not been determined, some industry experts expect the channel could land $5 per subscriber per month. That would place SportsNet LA among the country’s highest-priced regional sports networks.

“The creation of AMP will provide substantial financial resources over the coming years for the Dodgers to build on their storied legacy and bring a World Championship home to Los Angeles,” Walter said. “Just as we are actively transforming the team and the stadium, we want the Dodgers to be exhibited on the very best sports network in the country — one that will provide an unrivaled fan experience.”

The creation of SportsNet LA will give Southern California its sixth regional sports network and fourth to launch since August of 2012. The new network joins FSN, Prime Ticket, Time Warner Cable SportsNet, Time Warner Cable Deportes and Pac-12 L.A.

 

 

Report: Time Warner Cable to televise Dodgers’ games

Time Warner Cable has reportedly struck a deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers to broadcast the Major League Baseball team’s games on a new channel starting with the 2014 season.

Citing two sources, Bloomberg reported Tuesday morning that the nation’s second-largest cable company will broadcast the games on a new regional sports network developed by Guggenheim Partners, who purchased the Dodgers last year for $2.15 billion.

Time Warner Cable reportedly will be a partner in the TV channel but won’t own the channel.

The Dodgers have been broadcast by Fox Sports since 1997, including most recently on the Prime Ticket regional sports network for a reported $40 million per season. Fox Sports’ exclusive negotiating window with the Dodgers ended in November, and that’s when talks with Time Warner Cable heated up.

Fox Sports had been discussing a 25-year-deal with the Dodgers worth more than $6 billion.

Time Warner Cable launched two new regional sports networks in the fall devoted to the Los Angeles Lakers after paying $3 billion in a 20-year deal.

Bloomberg reported that while a deal has not been signed an announcement on the agreement is expected soon.

Fox Sports still has the rights to MLB’s Los Angeles Angels, the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers, and the NHLs Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks.

 

Time Warner Cable launches new HD sports channels

Time Warner Cable Desert Cities launched three new HD sports channels on Wednesday, geared toward their season-long professional sports league offerings.

Just in time for the NHL season that begins Saturday, subscribers to the NHL Center Ice package will have two HD channels with game action. The new HD channels are 936 and 937.

Those same channel numbers also will feature baseball games when the MLB Extra Innings package launches in April.

In addition, subscribers to the NBA League Pass can watch selected games in HD on channel 993.

STARTING POINTS: My Bonds-in-the-Hall idea was not well-received

The column I wrote in Wednesday’s paper, in which I said that I would vote for Barry Bonds to make the Baseball Hall of Fame, not suprisingly, drew a lot of ire from readers. I got 11 e-mails and two phone calls on the subject and all 13 were some variation of “You have to be kidding me, you idiot.”

They ranged from conversational and thoughtful – One woman laid out a whole scenario using her job as a sales rep in place of baseball to explain her point — to the less thoughtful — “An idiot like you should be terminated from your job.”

A lot of them took the point of the column to be “It’s OK to cheat.” And then followed that with “what kind of a message is that for kids.” Let’s clear the air on that first. Children, don’t cheat. It’s not the right thing to do. Of course I wish no one cheated. But they did. They all did. That’s where the column begins. The discussion isn’t “is cheating good or bad?” the discussion is “all these guys cheated, how should their enshrinement in the Baseball Hall of Fame be handled?”

Certainly the simple stance, and a completely legitimate one, is to say that anyone under the cloud of suspicion of using PEDs should never make it into the Hall of Fame. It is perfectly logical to have that opinion. I get it. You hold the sanctity of the Hall in high esteem. No Pete Rose. No steroid era guys. That’s fine.

My opinion is that the steroid cloud happened. Tons of people did steroids. It’s an era in baseball history. I don’t think every player that played in that 15- to 20-year span should be left out of the Hall. Now starting with that rationale, how do we discern who in the steroid era still deserves it, even taking into account the black mark on their record?

Of that group, I believe Bonds deserves to be in, because his case is unusual.

One level-headed conversation I had Wednesday was with a fourth-grade teacher and he said “I strongly disagree with your logic about Bonds. I teach 4th grade and abhor cheating, regardless of the reason. Would I be justified in helping my students cheat on the state test simply to compete with other students?”

I thought his argument was a good one, and I used it as an excellent example of the situation Bonds was in. Imagine you teach a fourth-grade class. You have the best class in the state of California and you are the best teacher. You take pride in that and that you do it the right way. Then all the other fourth-grade classes in the state start cheating. Their test scores now blow yours out of the water. They are all receiving praise for their scores. The state is rewarding them with extra funding, new computers, pizza parties. They are getting to go to Sacramento to receive top fourth-grade class awards. They are on the cover of “Awesome Fourth-Grade Class Illustrated.” Now you’re in a tricky spot. Bonds’ spot. You don’t want to cheat. You never had any intention of cheating. But this just isn’t fair, and it’s killing you. No matter how honorable of a person you are or want to be. It’s difficult to sit back and watch cheaters around you not only going unpunished, but being rewarded and being given the funding and accolades you truly deserve. It would take a very honorable man/teacher to sit back and allow that to happen. Bonds is not a very honorable man. He cracked and decided to join the party. Once he leveled the playing field by taking steroids too, he was again the best player. Whenever the playing field was level. He was the best player.

After 10 years goes by and all the fourth-grade classes in the state get dinged for cheating. I would consider the person who cracked and joined the cheaters to keep pace, not as sinister as the people that started cheating because they weren’t good enough.

That’s why I consider Bonds’ situation less atrocious than McGwire or Sosa for example. Those guys cheated to become Hall of Fame worthy. Bonds was Hall of Fame worthy and then cheated. There’s a deliniation there. None of them are honorable. But I can at least understand why Bonds did it.

And again this isn’t to win a Humanitarian Award or Role Model of the Year. If that was the case, I wouldn’t vote for any cheater. But this is to get into the Baseball Hall of Fame, a place to remember the greatest players (no matter their character) and influential moments in the history of baseball. Barry Bonds and the steroid era both belong. I feel the same way about Pete Rose and his gambling.

Anyway, I appreciated all the responses I got. I had some good back-and-forths with people, and it reminded me what a hot-button issue the steroid era still is.

STARTING POINTS: Hall of Fame; Lakers’ latest; Musburger’s gaffe

Another steroid-free edition of Starting Points where the only performance-enhancing drug is Diet Coke.

FIRST POINT: Getting the Hall call

At 11 a.m. this morning, the Major League muckety-mucks will announce that no one will join the elite brotherhood of the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. That’s the feeling heading into today’s announcement. It is unlikely that Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa or Mike Piazza will get the call because for every RBI, strikeout and homer there is a syringe or in Sosa’s case a syringe and a hollowed out bat full of bouncy balls. That leaves Craig Biggio of the Astros and those long-suffering holdouts like Jack Morris as the most likely people to get the call today. But most likely of all is that no one will get the nod. Which brings up a greater question: Is the whole notion of making the Hall of Fame in essence meaningless these days? If the 15 best players of the last 25 years can’t be in the Hall because of PEDs, and players 16-25 aren’t good enough to make the Hall, what’s the point? Anyway on that downer of a note, my column in today’s paper details how I would vote in Barry Bonds despite the fact that he did steroids. But not other guys who did it, because I think you can take each player on a case-by-case basis, and I believe Bonds had the most honorable reason to cheat, if there can be such a thing. I would vote in Bonds, Biggio and Morris if I had a vote today. Here’s a link to my column explaining why I would induct Bonds, but not Clemens, McGwire, Sosa, etc. http://www.mydesert.com/article/20130108/SPORTS12/301080060/I-ll-say-Bonds-belongs-Hall

POINT TWO: Oh those Lakers

I can think of better times for the Lakers’ next two games to be nationally televised contests against the Spurs and Thunder. The reeling and now-shorthanded Lakers lost to Houston on Tuesday to fall to 15-19, and 15-21 certainly feels like three short days away with two road games against two of the league’s best on the immediate horizon. The phrase “This is going to get worse before it gets better” is flashing in neon lights around the Lakers right now.  Interesting side note: This would be hard to look up, but I wonder when was the last time the Lakers were a double-digit underdog (as they are tonight at San Antonio) on the same day the Clippers were a double-digit favorite (as they are tonight at home against Dallas)? My guess would be that it’s never happened in Kobe Bryant’s Lakers’ career. I’ll have to ask my Vegas guy RJ Bell about that.

POINT THREE:  Musburger with a side of overreaction

There was a bit of an uproar after Monday’s BCS championship game after announcer Brent Musburger fawned perhaps too much over Katerine Webb, the girlfriend of Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron, who was shown repeatedly in the stands. “You quarterbacks get all the good-looking women,” Musburger said to his booth-mate Kirk Herbstreit, an ex-Ohio State quarterback married to an ex-Ohio State cheerleader. Some thought Musburger went too far when he added that if you’re a young boy in Alabama you should get out in the back yard and start throwing the football around. The whole thing was way overblown. It was a completely innocent, off-the-cuff reaction to the image of Webb on the TV. ESPN went so far as to send out an apology Tuesday, but that was unnecessary. I mean, ESPN has tons to apologize for, but not what Musburger said. Take the level-headed words of Webb herself. “It was kind of nice,” Webb, a former Miss Alabama, told The Associated Press on Tuesday. “I didn’t look at it as creepy at all. For a woman to be called beautiful, I don’t see how that’s an issue.” Well said Ms. Webb.

I want to hear from you. Should Bonds be in the Hall? If not him who should? Will the Lakers make the playoffs? Were you offended by Musburger’s remarks? Tell me what you think. Comment on this blog, e-mail me at shad.powers@thedesertsun.com or follow me on twitter at TDSshadpowers. Thanks.