Friday, October 30, 2020

A World Series Title Leading Up to Halloween


Monday-Friday, October 26-30, 2020

What a wonderful week for sports in Los Angeles!

It started off on Monday night with an NFL game in the Rams new SoFi Stadium in Inglewood again without fans.

Chicago Bears (5-1)
Los Angeles Rams (4-2)

The same two teams that I saw play in my first Rams game 60 years ago!

Historically, the Bears led the all-time 94 game series between the two teams by a mark of 54-37-3.

Yes, a Second Wave of Coronavirus
is hitting the world


With their 38th win in the series, the Rams now only trail in the series 54-38-3.

Only 16 more consecutive wins are needed to even things up!

A neighbor's EERIE cat was
camped in Mike and Vanessa's
front yard when I picked up
Jacob for school Tuesday

Well, it is Halloween Week after all.

Fun political news from the internet

Tuesday night the Los Angeles Dodgers
and the Tampa Bay Rays played Game 6
of the 2020 World Series

The Dodgers were up three games to two needing only one more win to claim their first World Series title since 1988.

I'm realizing this more and more
every single day

Dia de los Muertos butterfly
dress from Mexico

This interesting day of celebrating those that have gone before us occurs next Sunday.


It is the Dodgers Seventh
World Championship in team history

With this great win, the Dodgers have now won World Championships in 1955, 1959, 1963, 1965, 1981, 1988 and 2020.

These seven titles rank fourth all-time in Major League history behind the New York Yankees (27), St. Louis Cardinals (11) and Boston Red Sox (9).

The Dodgers have also now won a record 24 National League championship. They broke a tie with the St. Louis Cardinals (23) with this seasons pennant. The New York Yankees lead the American League with a whopping 40 championship banners.

The 24 Dodgers N.L. titles have come in 1890, 1899, 1900, 1916, 1920, 1941, 1947, 1949, 1952, 1953, 1955, 1956, 1959, 1963, 1965, 1966, 1974, 1977, 1978, 1981, 1988, 2017, 2018 and 2020.

New look COVID-19
squirt gun Baptisms

I can dream can't I?

So true says Laurie after working
with Jacob again this week

Reading Is FUNdamental!

Just another great installment in the
Montalbano Sicilian crime dramas


Hey, it's been 32 years since the last title after all!

Monday, October 26, 2020

Lots of Family, Lots of Dodgers' World Series Baseball and a Little American Football


Friday-Sunday, October 23-25, 2020

We enjoyed an excellent weekend surrounded for the most part with family.

Still, it started with a bit of nostalgia on Friday.

Only 60 years ago Friday . . .

I attended my first ever Los Angeles Rams game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

The decided underdog 0-4 Rams were taking on "The Monsters of the Midway", the Chicago Bears, who were 3-1 going into the fray.

By today's wide open NFL standards it was a bit of a pedestrian contest as the Bears totaled 337 yards of Total Offense (a mere 85 yards rushing and 252 yards passing). 

Meanwhile, the Rams could only muster 220 yards of Total Offense (136 yards rushing and a paltry 84 yards passing).

Still, there were some magical names performing in the game for both teams.

The Rams running attack was led by Joe Marconi, "Jaguar" Jon Arnett and future Hall-of-Famer Ollie Matson who scored Los Angeles' only ground game TD from the one yard line.

The Bears featured runner was their bruising Fullback Rick Casares.

As for the passing game, the locals were led by QB Frank Ryan who threw a 12 yard TD pass to Clendon Thomas.

Chicago's aerial circus was led by QB Zeke Bratkowski and supported by reliable QB Ed Brown. Bratkowski threw three TD passes that long ago day, two to Angelo Coia and one to Willard Dewveall.

As for the Kicking Game, the Rams Danny Villanueva and the Bears John Aveni matched each other boot for boot as they both converted all three of their PATs and were successful in powering through identical 12 yard Field Goals in the Second Quarter. The reason for the unusual by today's standards 12 yard Field Goals is that back in 1960 the Goal Posts were still located on the Goal Line, not on the back line of the End Zone as they are today.

As for the missing Los Angeles TD that day, it came on 26 yard interception return by the Rams Free Safety "Little" Eddie Meador.

The final score was a 24-24 tie, thus starting my long suffering love affair with the usually heartbreaking Rams.

As for other notable players on the field that day, the Bears roster in clouded the likes of Earl Leggett, J.C. Caroline, Doug Atkins, Bill George, Joe Fortunato, Stan Jones, Harlon Hill, Richie Petitbon, Willie Galimore and Johny Morris.

Other Rams stars in 1960 were Les Richter, Dick Bass, Red Philips, Del Shofner, Billy Wade, Art Hunter, Gene Brito, George Strugar, Lamar Lundy, Jack Pardee, Bill Jobko, and Buck Lanford.

Now I know that for many of you, these players are unknown but for me they are the legendary names of the beloved ghosts of my youth.

I was hopelessly hooked.

On Friday afternoon Mike, Vanessa, Jacob and Mary came over for dinner.

But first, Jacob was itching to
go to a park and let off steam

So, away we went!

It turned out to be one of the best days of my time as a "Poppo" as Jacob started to really open up about things he wants to do when the threat of Covid-19 finally disappears.

Unfortunately, I don't see that day coming anytime soon.

He is growing up so quickly.

Jacob's battlefield in our
backyard during a paratroop drop

Mary giving us all a tour
of our backyard

This "Group Hug" was called
for by Mary who is walled off
by Jacob, you can see her
little hand on Jacob's hip

After dinner, Mary discovered another use for two of Laurie's rubber Halloween cups as boxing gloves that quickly led to . . .

. . . Elderly Abuse!

After my bruises were attended to, we all sat down the watch Game Three of the World Series between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angles Dodgers which was knotted up art one game apiece.

I saw this fictional team roster
on Facebook, I have to admit that
I can not place about half of the
names listed

No matter because . . .

. . . the Dodgers won Friday night's
game to go up two games to one

Only TWO more wins for the
Dodgers first World Series title
sine 1988!

Saturday would prove itself to be a BEAUTIFUL day for American football!

In the morning, I was up bright and early for an hour and 45 minute drive north through Central California's wine country to do a one-man Special Teams clinic.

I was meeting with the American
football coaching staff of Santa Maria's
Pioneer Valley H.S.

I had met with their staff about five weeks ago to discuss the intricacies of the Delaware Wing-T offense.

On this day, I met with five of the Panther's socially distanced coaches to go over all of our Special Teams organization, structure and drills that have evolved in us over 50 years of coaching.

We started at 9:00 a.m. and finished at Noon. I was on an American football high as it was great to get out of the house and talk American football!

On the return drive home, I decided to stop in quaint town of Los Olivos where several local wineries have tasting rooms to buy Laurie a bottle or two of her beloved Pinot Grigio wine.

Los Olivos was PACKED as I have never seen it before! I could not even find a parking spot. No way was I getting out of the car with the threat of Covid-19 literally in the air.

No problem, I drove on to the Danish oriented village of Solvang just a few miles down a delightful country road to buy Laurie her fermented grape juice.

Same issue as Solvang was also busier than I had ever seen it.

I drove home empty handed but with my spirits still soaring because of our shared American football morning and the knowledge that we were having the same group as Friday night over for Mexican food while viewing Game Four of the World Series.


We lost this one in the most bizarre fashion imaginable in the bottom of the ninth inning.

The best-of-five World Series was now tied at two games apiece.

Still, the Mexican food from Bobbi's was GREAT!

The Varese Skorpions U17 team
played again on Sunday

It was the 1-0 Cernusco Daemons at
the 1-0 Varese Skorpions at
Skorpion Field for First Place
in Girone (League) B

I love the colorful names that the Italian Federation comes up with or their leagues.

Skorpion Coaches Enzo and DJ
LITERALLY pleading their case
to a referee during the big game

No picture that I have ever seen captures the essence and mirth of coaching in EuroBall's Italian theater.

Their plea must have worked!

The U17s took over the sole possession of first place in Girone B!

The current Girone B standings are:
1. Varese Skorpions 2-0
2. Cernusco Daemons 1-1
3. Bergamo Lions 1-2
4. Bolzano Giants 0-1

The 2-0 Skorpions will travel to Bolzano in two weeks to play the 0-1 Giants.

In a typical Italian Federation scheduling quirk, the second round of Girone B play will see the Skorpions and Giants meeting again the following week in Varese.

There will be no byes in this final round with the Skorpions traveling Cernusco and Bergamo to finish up the regular season.

If the Coronavirus permits.

The current leaders in the other two U17 leagues, also made up of four clubs each, are the 2-0 Milano Seamen in Girone A and the 2-0 Ferrara Aquile in Girone C.

After the big win, obviously it was . . .

at Skorpion Field!

A little pasta with red shrimp
is also a post-game must

MAMMA MIA! How I miss life with the fun loving Skorpions who show passion for everything that they do.

Sunday afternoon, we opted to go and visit my 96 year old Mother. She had not seen Jacob or Mary since the start of the pandemic.

Jacob and his
Great Grandmother Chuny

Mary giving her
Great Grandmother a hug

Princess Mary

The kids were great as they knew that they needed to stay calm and devote all of their attention to their frail Great Grandmother.

As we piled into the car for the one hour drive back to Ventura County, Jacob let us know that he had a lot of pent up energy that just had too be released before driving home.

Mary agreed so we opted for a 15 minute stop before getting on the Ventura Freeway.

But where?

Of course, just two blocks from
Pasadena's St. Philip the Apostle School

Lots of wonderful after school memories were made on the baseball field behind this marker where we also practiced and played flag football starting in 1958 when I transferred schools from San Marino's K.L. Carver Elementary School to St. Philip's.

Mary really did not have great
Sherpa Guide approved footwear
but it did not stop her at all

Jacob successfully scaled to
the top of Pasadena's Mt. Everest

Mary is right below him but her lack of proper climbing gear stopped her from the summit.

Oh for the lack of a piton . . .

I think that Jacob still needed
to let off even more stream!

Sunday evening, Laurie and I were glued to our TV for Game Five of the World Series.


The Dodgers now have the
World Series lead at three games to two

Only one more win is needed to capture the elusive World Championship.

The next game is this coming Tuesday night.

Sad news from overseas . . .

It's official

Our Europe Warriors are done for 2020 due to the pandemic.

A few weeks ago we cancelled our Women's game in Barcelona scheduled for early December.

Yesterday the November U19 game in Wroclaw, Poland and the Men's game in late December in Guadalajara, Mexico both meet similar fates. It is just too difficult to travel, practice and play in these unhealthy, unsure times.

I think that these were the correct choices.

Trouble brewing in Spain as well

The Pioners are the team in Barcelona that I am aiding in the roll of Analytics Coach which mostly involves breaking down their game and practice videos.

In response to the strong Second Wave of Covid-19 currently hitting Spain, the government has instituted a national curfew from 10:00 p.m until 6:00 a.m. until May, 2021. In addition, in order to comply with the curfew, all athletic contests and practices must conclude no later than 9:00 p.m.

These issues will be revisited every two weeks in response the Second Wave changes.

EuroBall practices usually start at 8:00 p.m. at the earliest due to the need to cater to Senior team players who usually work until at least 7:00 p.m. and/or have travel issues.

Unfortunately, I think it will be nearly impossible for the Spanish teams to have a season in 2021 with these restrictions in place. Maybe the only hope would be two-a-days on the weekends.

Italy's Coronavirus numbers are also on the upswing. Look for lockdown countermeasures there as well in the next few weeks.

Let's end with a couple of good Facebook postings from the weekend . . .

The older I get the more I'd say . . .

So true, so amazingly true!

Thursday, October 22, 2020

American Football News from Italy and Spain and a Dodgers-Rays World Series


Tuesday-Thursday, October 20-22, 2020

I must start with news from our Varese Skorpions Women's Flag team.

In this Covid-19 crazy year,
they finally started their 2020
season this past weekend

In 2019, a total of 11 Women's teams competed for the National Championship. This year, Italy is down to only eight clubs.

In the North, four clubs met for a round-robin four team tournament. Meanwhile three Southern teams met for a similar tournament.

The one team not playing last weekend was the defending National Champion Parma Panthers, I have no idea why they were not playing.
Click below for a fun message from
the Lady Skorpions that I LOVED!

As for the weekend results, the North looks like this:

1T. Varese Skorpions 2-1
1T. Bergamo Lions 2-1
3. Trieste Ranzide 1-1-1
4. Busto Arsizio Tempeste 0-2-1

The Skorpions have the tie-breaker by virtue of beating the Lions 26-21 in the tournament opener.

Down South, our old club the Catania Elephants dominated. Here are the South standings:

1. Catania Elephants 2-0
2. Palermo Sharks 1-1
3. Crotone Achei 0-2

Unfortunately, rising Covid-19 numbers in Italy are again looking to shut things down in the near future if things go unchecked.

I like this quote because I'm not a
huge fan of meetings in a classroom

It started on Tuesday

The Dodgers played well in
winning Game 1 on Tuesday

Only three more post-season wins
for the Dodgers first World Championship
since 1988

Wednesday's Game 2
was another good one but . . .

. . . the Tampa Bay Rays evened
the Series at 1-1

Game 3 will happen on Friday.

Thursday was Pioners' video
breakdown day for me

Breaking down seventy video clips from Wednesday night's practice in Barcelona kept me busy most of the day.

I look at it as another purpose for living!