O.J. parole hearing: Did Simpson make amends or make excuses?

O.J. parole hearing: Did Simpson make amends or make excuses?

After watching the O.J. Simpson parole hearing Thursday morning, a few reactions:

  • I think there was a clear reason why Simpson was originally sentenced to 9-33 years for burglary -- an uncommonly long penalty for such a crime. You can talk all you want about how his previous murder trial had nothing to do with this crime, but I don't believe that. In spite of denials, I believe the judge in that case delivered a verdict meant to keep Simpson behind bars for as long as possible -- partly due to his escape from the double-murder charge. Remember, the most notorious gangster in our country's history, Al Capone, was finally sent up the river for tax evasion -- not for any of his more heinous crimes. Sometimes justice gets a second chance.
  • When Simpson's eldest daughter told the parole board about how much her family has gone through, I cringed. I can't imagine the Goldmans' reaction.
  • Simpson still owes the Goldmans $33 million as the result of the civil case, which Simpson lost. He lives in Florida in order to preserve his personal wealth ... and not pay the debt.
  • After watching the car chase, the trial and all the documentaries about the murders, I have a hard time believing Simpson isn't a hardcore sociopath.
  • Simpson told the parole board he has lived a "conflict-free" life. Is he that delusional?
  • This man wrote a book entitled, "If I did it." It took a lot of hubris to do that.
  • At the hearing, did he make amends, or make excuses? I would say the latter. What say you?
  • He was released and judged by the parole board not to be a danger to society. After what he went through in that long murder trial, to then get involved in what was basically an armed robbery, was inexplicable. And it was an indication that he's probably not real accomplished at controlling his reaction to adverse situations.  I would not be surprised if he re-offends in some way.

Sign up now for the The Universal Open Rocket League

Sign up now for the The Universal Open Rocket League

The Universal Open Rocket League Championship is now open for competitors to win their share of the $100K prize pool

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                - 2v2 is the most popular competitive mode in the game and this is the first major 2vs2 Rocket League tournament!

                - Sports fans who play Rocket League are quickly falling in love with the game due to the brilliancy in its mash-up of soccer and motor sports


After all these years, Portland still not on MLB radar

After all these years, Portland still not on MLB radar

No surprise.

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred Tuesday named three cities as potential candidates for an MLB expansion team -- Charlotte, Montreal and Mexico City.

Portland? Nope. No mention. No discussion. No movement. No owner. No stadium bigger than the tiny one in Lents Park. No politician with enough guts to even talk about it.

After all these years, still a bush-league town.

That is all.

All rise -- and not just for Aaron Judge but for baseball in general

All rise -- and not just for Aaron Judge but for baseball in general

Last night's Home Run Derby in Miami was a spectacle, as it turned out. No longer a sideshow to baseball's All-Star Game (or MLB's tired answer to the worn-out NBA slam-dunk contest), the contest was a stunning example of the sport's sudden realization of the value of the home run.

Not only to drawing fans but to winning games.

Just as the NBA has finally given in to the statistical data that proves the three-point shot is an invaluable weapon to winning basketball, baseball seems to finally understand that home runs beat the hackneyed old "small-ball" attack -- and attract attention, too.

Aaron Judge -- a massive man who reminds me of one of baseball's long-lost sluggers, Frank Howard, won the derby and is the player in the forefront of its power surge. He's hitting homers at a Ruthian pace and is one of those players you simply can't take your eyes off of when he's in the batter's box. He's so big, so strong, that his average fly ball seems to carry over fences. And, of course, it isn't just this one player hammering tape-measure home runs.

A juiced baseball and a complete turnaround in hitting philosophy has led to an almost home-run-or-nothing era that is on a record pace this season. Can you believe that one out of every 6.8 hits this season has been a home run? That's amazing.

People within the game will tell you that the baseball has changed and studies outside of MLB seem to support that theory. The seams on the ball aren't as high as they used to be (college baseball lowered seams on the ball a couple of years ago and NCAA power numbers are up). Lower seams lead to less wind resistance, allowing the ball to travel farther.

And at the same time, an entire new approach to hitting is taking over among MLB players. No longer are players trying to hit ground balls or even line drives. The way our dads taught us to hit is not the proper way these days. Upper-cut swingers are in vogue as players have decided to forget about trying to beat shifts and to just hit the ball over them. Players don't want infielders to ever come near anything they hit. They want the ball in the air to the outfield.

Suddenly, launch angles and exit velocity are the new buzzwords among hitters. And hey -- Ted Williams was telling hitters decades ago to upper-cut the ball to keep their bat on the same plane as pitches coming from the mound, so this isn't exactly a new idea.

I have no doubt that just as Monday's Home Run Derby was a thrilling event, the home run is going to lead to an upsurge in interest in the game, just as it did during the steroid era, back when they used to say "Chicks dig the long ball."

Everybody digs the long ball, especially when they travel 500 feet. Those long ones Monday were both majestic and breathtaking. And as I've been saying for years, nobody ever paid a dime to watch some poor overmatched guy bunt the ball or hit a weak ground ball to second in order to advance a runner.

After all, the home run is a permanent part of the lexicon in this country. When you do something well, you've hit a home run. You come up with a great idea, that's a home run.

Baseball hit a home run Monday night -- and has this season -- with the home run.


Multiple missteps lead to Hops loss


Multiple missteps lead to Hops loss

The Hillsboro Hops couldn’t get out of their own way Friday night, committing five errors in route to a 5-1 loss to the Boise Hawks. 

After dropping two of three at home to Salem-Keizer, the Hops entered Friday’s game tied at the top of Northwest League South Division with a 4-4 record.

Tyler Keele (1-0, 2.70 ERA) took the mound for the Hops in the series opener across from Breiling Eusebio for the Hawks.

After Keele made quick work of the Hawks first five batters, defense failed the Hops. In the top half of the second inning, the Hops committed four errors and allowed two runs to come through. Keele pitched his way out of a bases loaded jam, but wore out his arm in the process, throwing 40 pitches through two innings. Errors continued to plague the Hops in the third inning. Making his pro debut, shortstop Camden Duzenack committed his second error of the game when he threw wide of first baseman Paxton De La Garza. The next batter, Danny Edgeworth sent a 1-0 fastball on the inside corner over the right field wall to give the Hawks a 4-0 lead after three innings. It was Edgeworth’s first home run of his professional career. 

While the scoreboard was lopsided, Keele allowed 0 earned runs on just two hits and struck out 9 in five innings of work. 

While it was hot outside, the Hops bats weren’t. They only had one base runner on through the first 7 innings. 

Hillsboro was able to get on the scoreboard in the bottom of the 8th after leadoff hitter Billy Endris grounded in a run, set up by Camden Duzenack’s double that put runners on second and third.

Pavin Smith, the Diamondbacks first round pick, went 0 for 3 in his first game with the Hops.   

Friday’s game was the first of six Friday night telecasts from Ron Tonkin Field in 2017 on CSN.

The Hillsboro Hops have moved their weekend game times (June 24 & 25 games). First pitch on Saturday will be at 7:05pm and Sunday’s game time is 6:05pm. Water stations, additional tents on the concourse and misters will be set up for the comfort of fans in attendance at Ron Tonkin Field.   

Hops rally from 6-0 deficit to win home opener

Hops rally from 6-0 deficit to win home opener

HILLSBORO -- It was the home opener for the Hops Tuesday night and there was a special added attraction. Right-handed pitcher Matt Koch, who has pitched in the major leagues, was the starting pitcher for Hillsboro -- the first big-leaguer to ever appear for the team.

But in the end, all Koch did was put the home team in a 6-0 hole. Which it climbed out of, thanks to a sensational bullpen performance and a walkoff single in the 12th inning by Domingo Leyba that climaxed a 7-6 victory.

The Hops loaded the bases in the ninth after a two-out triple by Eudy Ramos on a bloop that turned into a triple after a failed attempt at a shoestring catch. But after two walks, a groundout ended the inning. And in the 10th they had runners at first and third with one out but couldn't score.

Koch, a former big-leaguer with the parent Arizona Diamondbacks, was making a rehab start for the Hops and didn't’t exactly get off to a smooth start.

The right-hander allowed a long, wind-aided home run to the first batter of the game, Malique Ziegler, and then singles to the next three hitters, upping the lead to 2-0 with still nobody out in the first.

But a pickoff at second, a strikeout and a groundout got Koch out of the inning.

He retired the side in order in the second but was touched for two more runs in the third and the same number in the fourth.

Koch finished up his start after five innings, allowing nine hits and five earned runs.

But the Hops didn't quit.

Designated hitter Kyle Smith got the home team on the board with a two-run homer in the bottom of the fourth, pulling Hillsboro within 6-2.

The Hops scored in the seventh on a two-out, two-run bloop double to right field by Yan Sanchez.  The tying runs were in scoring position after that, and Bryan Araiza got one of the home on a checked-swing infield single and the tying run scored moments later on a wild pitch.

By that time the 4,537 fans were in a frenzy after watching their team rally from the 6-0 deficit heading to the eighth. But they had to hang around a while as the night turned chilly to see the end.


Bellator 180 Looking To Steal The Show This Summer


Bellator 180 Looking To Steal The Show This Summer


On June 24th at Madison Square Garden, Bellator MMA will make their return to pay-per-view (PPV) with Bellator 180: Sonnen vs Silva. This will be the first time the company has put a product on PPV since Scott Coker took over as president and they are certainly putting their best foot forward. The card boasts three title-fights along with a co-main and main-event that feature some of the most talked about fighters in the history of mixed marital arts. This fight card has the chance to be the best MMA PPV of the summer and it just so happens to have two of Oregon’s finest on the main card.  The full card is listed below:

Main Card — PPV

  • Light Heavyweight: Chael Sonnen vs. Wanderlei Silva
  • Heavyweight: Fedor Emelianenko vs. Matt Mitrione
  • Welterweight Title Fight: Douglas Lima(c) vs. Lorenz Larkin
  • Lightweight Title Fight: Michael Chandler (c) vs. Brent Primus
  • Lightweight: Aaron Pico vs. Zach Freeman

Preliminary Card — Spike TV

  • Light Heavyweight Title Fight: Phil Davis (c) vs. Ryan Bader
  • Featherweight: James Gallagher vs. Chinzo Machida
  • Welterweight: Neiman Gracie vs. Dave Marfone
  • Flyweight: Heather Hardy vs. Alice Yauger

Early On-line Prelims —

  • Welterweight: Ryan Couture vs. Haim Gozali
  • Lightweight: Jerome Mickle vs. Anthony Giacchina
  • Catchweight: John Salgado vs. Hugh McKenna
  • Cathweight: Matt Rizzo vs. Sergio da Silva
  • Lightweight: Nate Grebb vs. Bradley Desir

***As always, card subject to change

With 14 total fights there really is something for everyone on this card. Let’s break down what to watch for at Bellator 180.

Title Fights, Title Fights, Title Fights

There are three titles on the line at Bellator 180, and all three bring with them interesting matchups and fresh faces. First up, Ryan Bader will make his promotional debut for Bellator when he takes on Bellator light heavyweight champion Phil Davis. These two UFC cast offs are both 8-2 in their last 10 fights with Davis currently riding a 4-fight win streak and Bader having won his last 2. What makes this fight such an intriguing matchup is that these two have fought before and in fact Bader was the last man to hand Davis a loss. The fight was very close and won on a split decision. Davis will certainly be looking to wipe that loss off his record and Bader will be looking to make a huge splash in his promotional debut.

Next up, Michael Chandler will put his lightweight title on the line against Oregon’s own, Brent Primus. This fight is a huge step up for Primus and a major risk for Chandler. With Primus having so few fights, there isn’t nearly the footage available for Chandler to study while Primus has a good-sized library to watch on the champion. This fight pits the one time fresh face, Chandler, against the hot young upstart, Primus. This matchup really mirrors Chandler’s first title shot and could be the beginning of a new regime in the lightweight division. For more on this matchup, please see my recent article on this fight here.

Lastly, Douglas Lima will put his welterweight title up for grabs when he faces the recently signed Lorenz Larkin. Larkin comes to Bellator from the UFC riding a 3-fight win streak and looking more dominant than ever after dropping to welterweight from 185 lbs. His explosive striking and fast pace matches up perfectly with Lima, who has a very similar style. Lima has only lost twice in his last 18 fights and both were in championship bouts. In his last fight, Lima recaptured the welterweight title with an emphatic win over Andrey Koreshkov proving that he will not have problems facing larger welterweights like Larkin. This fight is going to be a barnburner and is my pick for fight of the night. Don’t blink this one might be quick.

Sonnen and Silva Finally Settle the Score

Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva have a beef that spans nearly a half a decade since the moment it was announced that they would coach opposite one another on The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil. Some argue that this animosity on the show was fabricated; others say the editing made things look worse than it was in person. No matter how you slice it, there is video of Sonnen and Silva fighting on set during the filming of the show and since that time, people have wanted to see this fight. For Sonnen, this is a must win fight after losing his Bellator debut to Tito Ortiz. For Silva, this marks his return from a “lifetime” ban by the Nevada State Athletic Commission and his first chance at redemption. These two fighters are legends in the sport that hardcore fans adore. This fight is a must watch for the old school MMA fans of the world.

CSN to carry Friday night Hops games this summer

CSN to carry Friday night Hops games this summer

PORTLAND, Ore. June 14, 2017 — CSN Northwest presents six Hillsboro Hops baseball games live from Ron Tonkin Field in Hillsboro, Ore., beginning Friday, June 23 at 7 p.m. PT. In addition, CSN Northwest will present the Northwest League vs. Pioneer League All-Star Game on August 1. After going 42–33 last season, and finishing second in the league, the Hops look to bring home their third Northwest League in 2017.

The minor league affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Hillsboro Hops have been a staple of the Portland area since 2013. In 2014, The Hops finished with the best record in the south division in both halves of the season, and swept the playoffs winning the team’s first Northwest League Championship. Hillsboro repeated the feat in 2015, finishing with the best record in the south division once again and winning back-to-back NWL titles.

Since 2013, six former Hops players have gone on to play in the majors, including pitcher Aaron Blair and shortstop Dansby Swanson, who both debuted with the Atlanta Braves in 2016; pitchers Zac Curtis and Brandon Shipley plus first baseman Mike Freeman, who all debuted with the Diamondbacks in 2016; and pitcher Ariel Hernandez, who debuted with the Cincinnati Reds in 2017.

Below is CSN’s complete Hillsboro Hops schedule:



Time (PT)

Friday, June 23

vs. Boise Hawks

7 p.m.

Friday, June 30

vs. Everett Aquasox

7 p.m.

Friday, July 14

vs. Eugene Emeralds

7 p.m.

Friday, July 21

vs. Spokane Indians

7 p.m.

Tuesday, August 1

All-Star Game


Friday, August 4

vs. Vancouver Canadians

7 p.m.

Friday, August 18

vs. Eugene Emeralds

7 p.m.

McGregor-Mayweather reminds me of Ali-Inoki and could be the same sort of fiasco

McGregor-Mayweather reminds me of Ali-Inoki and could be the same sort of fiasco

The fight a whole lot of people seem excited to see -- Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather -- has finally been signed. It will happen in Las Vegas, of course, on Aug. 26.

It appears both fighters will get about $100 million for their time and this thing is likely to set records for pay-per-view numbers. And if you think that's high, just take a moment to remember how well McGregor promotes his fights. His wackiness (NSF) at some point before Aug. 26 is going to set this thing on fire.

But come on, a man who has never boxed in his life against someone who is considered perhaps the greatest technical boxer of all time? I know that Mayweather isn't a knockout guy but I'm having a hard time envisioning McGregor even being able to hit Mayweather. There is a real chance this whole thing will turn into a fiasco.

I remember a similar sort of bout many years ago. Does anyone recall Muhammad Ali vs. Antonio Inoki? That fiasco took place in 1976 and matched Inoki -- a pro wrestler -- vs. Ali, in Japan. Without getting into the specifics of the thing, somebody was supposed to lose this bout as a worked match, as in pro wrestling. But it didn't work out that way. What followed was one of the most boring exhibitions I've ever seen, bordering on  slapstick, with Inoki mostly on his back attempting to kick Ali and the boxer trying to avoid the kicks and screaming at Inoki to get up and fight.

But that spectacle made both participants a lot of money (an estimated 1.4 billion people watched it). It worked as a business venture, if not as entertainment. I would say this has a chance to be in the same league. You order this match for about 100 bucks and you'll very likely be sorry you did.

Will I buy it? Yeah, probably. By the time we get there, it's going to be pretty difficult to resist.


Tacoma to host Triple-A All-Star Game, but will any Rainiers get voted in?

Tacoma Rainiers

Tacoma to host Triple-A All-Star Game, but will any Rainiers get voted in?


While doing my mundane, weekly perusing of minor league baseball player stats a few weeks ago, I discovered the Triple-A All-star game will be hosted by the Tacoma Rainiers on the weekend of July 12 this year. That’s kind of cool for Seattle Mariners and baseball fans alike! The Pacific Coast League and the Independent League on the east coast are always loaded with prospects and promising players, but this year might be one of the best from an overall talent perspective.

While many of the minor league’s best – including Chicago White Sox third baseman Yoan Moncada (current leading vote-getter), Oakland shortstop Franklin Barreto and New York Mets shortstop Ahmed Rosario will likely be there, what about the host team? Who from Tacoma has a chance to represent the Mariners?


For those of you who haven’t voted for the Triple-A All-stars yet (don’t everyone raise their hands at once), the ballot includes a fair share of players from Tacoma – including Christian Bergman, Sam Gaviglio, Boog Powell, Tyler Smith and Ben Gamel.

If that list of names looks suspicious, it’s because they are all currently on the Mariners team, and contributing on a regular basis (for now…hopefully). I have no idea what the rules are as far as MLB service time and eligibility for the all-star game, but if I had to make an educated guess, I would word it as follows:

Any player currently on a major-league roster at the time of the Triple-A All-Star break will not be eligible to participate in the all-star weekend festivities. If a player was briefly called up or has ‘x-amount’ of innings pitched or fewer at the major-league level or ‘x-amount’ of at bats or fewer at the major league level this season and are currently assigned to the organization’s Triple-A team, then they are eligible to participate in the all-star game.

That’s not even remotely direct from a rule book. I just made that up, but I needed to establish a baseline for the rest of this column.


When I filled out my ballot a couple weeks ago, I was very conflicted with some of my PCL choices. I wanted to vote for Bergman and Caviglio, but I didn’t because they are up with the Mariners. Tuffy Gosewich, however, I didn’t feel compelled to vote for, nor did not voting for him make me upset. (Sorry Tuffers)

I was able to vote for Dan Vogelbach, who was with the Mariners briefly, but not enough to warrant not earning a vote. I also went with Tyler O’Neil – despite his .219 average. He does have 25 RBIs to go with six home runs and five steals.

Gamel, however, did not get my vote either. He might not see Triple-A again, but once the Mariners get healthy, who knows? It can make voting hard – especially if fans don’t know the guidelines.

For example, Cody Bellinger is on the ballot for first basemen. Last I knew he is the current favorite for National League rookie of the year and playing almost every day in L.A. Dodger fans would be pretentious enough to vote for him on the Triple-A ballot anyway. (Zing!)


There should be plenty of talent in Tacoma, even if some of the big-name guys get called up permanently within the next month. Aside from the three I already mentioned – Moncada, Barreto and Rosario – top prospect in Milwaukie’s system, outfielder Lewis Brinson, is putting together a strong season for the Colorado Sky Sox.

Derek Fisher in the Astros system seems to be leading the next wave of prospects to come out of the Houston pipeline. He is expected to make the trip to Tacoma along with Iowa’s catcher Victor Caratini to lead the PCL squad.

On the Independent League side, I don’t know if a lot of Canadians are voting or what’s going on, but barely behind the White Sox multi-million-dollar Cuban superstar investment Moncada in voting is the Buffalo Bisons’ (Blue Jays affiliate) Jake Elmore. Elmore, a second baseman, is hitting a mild .219, with zero home runs, 22 RBIs and eight steals. There are better second basemen to choose from – including Braves top prospect Ozzie Albies – hitting .262 with three home runs, 18 RBIs and 15 steals.

What are the Canadian voters doing to the Independent League voting? At least Rainiers fans have an excuse – all of their players are in the majors.

On a more serious note, if Rhys Hoskins of the Phillies doesn’t get called up soon, he will be a monster to watch in Tacoma in July as a first basemen representing the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (I just wanted to say Iron Pigs).


Good luck trying to vote for your all-stars, Tacoma and Seattle fans. Regardless of who gets in for the Rainiers (Gosewich will not), it will be a fun game to watch. Sometimes Triple-A games can be filled with aging players, trying to hang onto a career (Leonys Martin), or simply players who are better suited for the minor leagues than the big leagues (Gordon Beckham), but there is a good side to watching minor league baseball.

I drove to Buffalo back in the day to watch Stephen Strasburg’s Triple-A debut and it was arguably the best game I’ve ever been to. It had a World Series feel to it – seriously. I’ve been to both events, and seeing 99 on the ‘not-so-big screen’ to a packed house of maybe 20,000 cheering on the opponent’s pitcher was pretty awesome.

There will be plenty of star power on display in Tacoma. You might have to cheer for players from other teams this year, but think of it as you are simply enjoying the sport of baseball in an exhibition setting. It certainly doesn’t get much better than that.

The Mariners are winning again, so that’s good. The weather will get crappy-ish again, so that’s not as good, but enjoy your weekend anyway. If you get super bored, feel free to vote in the Triple-A All-Star game by visiting this link.