Notes, quotes and things picked up on the run from coast-to-coast and all the stops in between and beyond.
Major League baseball spring training camps are in full bloom this week from Arizona to Florida. The Los Angeles Dodgers are in their new spring training camp in Glendale, Arizona. They're still waiting for Manny Ramirez to sign and report to their new home in Arizona.
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are in their Arizona spring training camp. The Angels will undoubtedly have to open the regular season with Gary Matthews, Jr. on the disabled list. Otherwise, the Angels' main men are expected to report to camp.
The New York Mets' open air rotunda at its new stadium, which is slated to open on April 13, will honor Jackie Robinson, one of the most famous Brooklyn Dodgers of them all. Robinson, a baseball, football, track and field, and tennis star at UCLA, never played for the Los Angeles Dodgers nor did Roy Campanella. Both are baseball Hall of Famers.
Loyce Crisp, the father of ex-Boston Red Sox star Coco Crisp, who was traded to the Kansas Royals during the off season, is a happy camper today for two reasons. First his son, Coco, gave him his Boston Red Sox's World Series ring and now old dad is on cloud nine and one of the happiest campers in the world. Secondly, Loyce and his wife of 30-years, Pam's, daughter, is a professional ice skater on the international circuit and is engaged to the Philadelphia Phillies' Jimmy Rollins, the "30-30" man (30 homeruns and 30 stolen bases). Loyce and Pam presently make their home in Palm Desert.
And the beat continues.
The National Basketball Association (NBA) All-Star Game in Phoenix is history and the battle between the west's Kobe Bryant and the east's LeBron James lived up to all the hype. Bryant and the historic reunion with Shaquille O'Neal stole the show like little Nate Robinson did in stealing Dwight Howard's Slam Dunk title.
Back to Kobe and Shaq. In many instances it looked like the old playing days when they teamed up to win three NBA titles and were called the best duo in the annals of the NBA. Bryant led all scorers with 27 and O'Neal contributed 17. Had O'Neal not missed so many free throws he might have matched Bryant's scoring total. Kobe's 27 points topped the 20 LeBron James compiled for the east all-stars.
While the 84th annual All-Star Game will be remembered as the reunion of Shaq and Kobe, it shouldn't be forgotten that the man, Los Angeles Lakers' Coach Phil Jackson, who piloted the great Lakers duo to three crowns, was the head coach of the 146-121 victorious west. This was Jackson's fourth All-Star Game victory as a coach. With Shaq and Kobe sharing MVP honors they both now have three of these awards.
More NBA All-Star Game notes: The NBA announced Feb. 14 that the NBA Championship Finals MVP (Most Valuable Player) award will be named the Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award in honor of Bill Russell, the Boston Celtics' all-time great. Russell, the top winner of NBA titles (11) of all-times, never won the finals MVP award. He was given a cake at the game by the trio of current Celtics, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, in honor of his 75th birthday.