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Garfinkel’s mysterious exit, a rising Clippers squad and more in our weekly sports roundup.
The biggest sports news of the week was not the continued collapse of the San Diego Padres on the field, where they’ve lost 15 of their last 18 games, but the unexpected and mysterious resignation of team President Tom Garfinkel.
Garfinkel ended the 2012 season in a transitional phase, keeping his job despite the sale of the team, and started the 2013 season with a scandal when he was recorded making an insensitive remark about Dodgers pitcher Zach Greinke. The former story probably has a lot more to do with Garfinkel’s exit than the latter, but we won’t know because both Garfinkel and the team have been mum on any reasons for the departure.
Corey Brock wrote an excellent rundown of Garfinkel’s three-and-a-half years with the Padres and what his legacy will be with the team. Padres executive chairman, and the face of the current ownership group, Ron Fowler will be taking over Garfinkel’s responsibilities on an interim basis. Many analysts believe the new ownership group may be looking to overhaul the entire team, meaning that General Manager Josh Byrnes and Manager Bud Black may be under the microscope in the second half of the 2013 season.
You’re reading the Sports Report, our weekly compilation of news and information for the San Diego sports fan.
Losing Streaks Are Familiar Territory for Padres
I ignored the Padres losing ways long enough before I finally had to write about it. I decided to crack open my “Recent History” files and found that this losing streak isn’t all too different from one that knocked Black’s team out of first place, and eventually out of the playoffs, in 2010.
The Padres will need to have close to the best second-half to the season in franchise history if they’re going to make the playoffs this year. If they don’t, it will mark a seventh consecutive year of managing for Black without a playoff appearance. The only hope they have is for the team to stay healthy and for Chase Headley to rediscover the swing that made him an MVP candidate last season.
NBA’s Southern California Teams Look Different
The Los Angeles Clippers, who have been the laughing stock of the NBA since leaving San Diego in 1984, look like they’re ready to take over as the best basketball team in the city in 2013. After losing in the playoffs the last two seasons, the Clippers parted ways with Head Coach Vinny Del Negro and traded draft picks to the Boston Celtics to get Doc Rivers, generally considered one of the best head coaches in the league and one with a championship ring on his finger.
The Clippers brought back almost everyone from their 2012-2013 squad, including superstar point guard Chris Paul and Matt Barnes. They then traded away Caron Butler and Eric Bledsoe to get J.J. Reddick and Jared Dudley, drastically improving their outside shooting. If that team stays healthy, and Blake Griffin’s game continues to mature, they could be a serious championship contender for the next few seasons.
The Los Angeles Lakers have long been heralded as the model franchise for the rest of the NBA. Yet they seem to be heading in the opposite direction of their crosstown rivals. Not only did they lose out on signing Dwight Howard, who decided instead to sign with the Houston Rockets, but Kobe Bryant may not be healthy for the start of the regular season and they don’t have enough cap room to sign any free agents to help him.
While the Lakers have a solid base in Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, they parted with Metta World Peace via amnesty and will have a hard time competing in the Western Conference without much in the way of outside shooter of strong defenders who can play in the post. This could end up being a lost season for the Lakers, which won’t sit well if it coincides with the season the Clippers finally turn their regular season success into a deep playoff run.
Stories You May Have Missed
• Ilya Kovalchuk, one of the NHL’s best players, has retired from the league and the New Jersey Devils to return to Russia and be closer to his family. By doing so, he is forfeiting the remaining $77 million left on his contract.
• Fan favorite Yasiel Puig is apparently no longer a favorite of fans — he lost out on his chance to be voted into the 2013 MLB All-Star Game when the Braves’ Freddie Freeman won the vote.
• GIF of the Week: Rajai Davis is a professional baseball player, but he didn’t appear to be aware of how the sport worked when he swung at this pitch that bounced halfway between the pitcher’s mound and the dugout. That’s one his teammates will never let him live down.
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