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T.J. SIMERS

From Dodgers to USC, there are lots of issues to sort out

Just wondering, among other things, about pitcher Guillermo Mota's deal and Pete Carroll's reaction to Mark Sanchez's decision to turn pro.

January 18, 2009|T.J. SIMERS

Just wondering if anyone else finds it odd . . . the Dodgers wanted no part of Derek Lowe because of his relationship with a TV broadcaster while both were married to others, but management had no problem giving $2.35 million to a drug guy who was suspended for 50 games?

In addition to $2.35 million, relief pitcher Guillermo Mota's contract provides for an additional $300,000 in incentives.

Do you think it's a good idea to give someone with a history of using performance-enhancing drugs a chance to earn more money if he can enhance the performance the team already expects to get out of him?

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Just heard . . . the Clippers had lost a dozen games in a row before Saturday night. Listening to the yahoo on the radio who does their games, I thought they had won eight of their last 12.

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Just a nightmare . . . needing a basket to tie the score or win the game, and who would you rather have drawing up an offensive play to win it all, Phil Jackson or Ben Howland?

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Just by way of comparison . . . a high school girls' basketball team scored one point in a 94-1 loss the other day; that's only one less basket than the Bruins scored in the final 13 minutes Saturday.

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Just asking . . . because Plaschke already nailed it perfectly in an earlier column, but after the latest report in The Times that has Uncle Pete saying he'd have said the same things at Mark Sanchez's news conference had it been his own son, I wonder. Does that also mean he would not have sat with his son for the biggest announcement in the kid's life to date? Does that mean he would have given him the cold shoulder or token handshake while walking by him rather than offering a big hug?

Said Uncle Pete, while apparently chuckling: "I'm the football coach. If [my son's] playing for me, I would have done exactly that."

It's not surprising to hear a driven football coach placing his duty as a coach above that of being a father -- just surprising to hear it from Uncle Pete.

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Just guessing . . . those radio commercials that have Uncle Pete saying, "always compete," won't sound so inspiring to those who believe Uncle Pete was competing to keep Sanchez, the competition more important than the prize, and then acting like a poor sport when it didn't go his way.

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Just guessing again . . . the same thing happened when he told Ken Norton Jr. to go public and criticize Rick Neuheisel a few weeks ago after a prized recruit turned his back on USC to commit to UCLA. Still waiting for someone besides Norton and Uncle Pete to say someone at UCLA was passing around misleading information.

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Just wondering if . . . there are such things as "premier" exhibition baseball games. As you know, the Dodgers are charging $90 plus a $4.50 convenience charge to buy home-plate club tickets for Arizona spring-training games. No indication what the convenience charge might be, but just a hunch it has nothing to do with your convenience.

The Dodgers have picked five exhibition games with the White Sox, Mariners, Diamondbacks, Rockies and Cubs, labeled them "premium," and will be charging more across the board for these practice games, up to $100 behind home plate.

For some reason the March 4 exhibition with the Giants is not considered a "premium" game, the team showing confidence that Manny Ramirez will be a Dodger, I guess, and not wearing a Giants' uniform. I'd pay $100 to see that.

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Just maybe . . . a better way to spend your money. A group of high school baseball teams will conduct a benefit for the Ortega family, which lost nine members in the Christmas Eve massacre -- leaving so many children behind.

The Monday event at Azusa Pacific University begins at 2 p.m. with Charter Oak taking on Covina. Northview will play South Hills at 5 -- each baseball program already contributing a $150 entry fee.

There will be a $2 admission charge for the family's benefit, both games considered premier contests, and there will be no additional convenience fee.

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Just can't wait . . . to watch the Chargers today and then again maybe in two weeks in the Super Bowl.

Oh. Not again.

Someone on the radio was talking about the "face" of the Chargers' franchise, but I had no idea who they were talking about until they mentioned LaDainian Tomlinson. Had they said the "tinted facemask" or the guy who is usually sitting on the bench for the playoffs, I would have gotten it immediately.

In the 14 last seasons, L.A. and the little town down south have won the same number of Super Bowls, although L.A. doesn't have a losing record and the Chargers do -- going 106-118 in that time.

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Just something to ponder . . . will the Cleveland Browns save the day for USC by hiring Carl Smith? Smith is supposed to be the guy coaching the USC quarterbacks and calling the plays next season. He has returned to USC after an earlier stint -- a long time removed from New Orleans, where he became a target for dissatisfied Saints' fans, who considered his run-run-pass-punt offense too dull and conservative.

The Times, noting a sign held up by a Saints' fan, ran the following definition of "empty" in 1995: "1. Carl Smith's playbook. 2. Coach Jim Mora's head when he cut Morten Andersen. 3. The Superdome next season."

The fans in New Orleans were brutal and demanded Smith's dismissal, but Mora stuck with him. Mora quit midway through the '96 season, and a day later the team fired Smith.

Do Trojans fans really want someone calling plays -- who makes the call to go to Cleveland rather than stay in L.A.?

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Just curious . . . while taking a walk through the Clippers' new $50-million practice facility the other day. "So you guys really do practice?" I asked Coach Mike Dunleavy.

Think about it, Donald Sterling finally spends the money and how many wins would the Clippers have if they didn't practice?

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t.j.simers@latimes.com

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