After sailing through the ITA Kick-off Weekend at home with 4-0 wins against both Louisiana and Santa Clara, the USC men’s tennis squad returned to the courts in Athens, Georgia for the Pac-12/SEC Showdown. The Trojans faced off against the No. 17 Florida Gators on Saturday.The Trojans began their match against the ranked Gators with a hard fought 2-0 victory for the doubles point. Junior Max de Vroome and senior Eric Johnson paired up and took down Gators Maxx Lipman and Elliott Orkin by a score of 6-4. Then, seniors Yannick Hanfmann and Roberto Quiroz clinched the doubles point for the Trojans, outlasting Florida’s Diego Hidalgo and Gordon Watson in a close 7-6 (5) win. Oliver Landert and Joshua Wardell from Florida were up 6-5 on sophomores Nick Crystal and Connor Farren before play was suspended.In the singles matches, the Trojans continued to have the upper hand despite tough competition from Florida. Quiroz earned the first singles point for the Trojans and finished off Orkin in two sets with a score of 6-2, 7-5. Hanfmann lost his first set 5-7 to Lipman, but put the Trojans up 2-0 in singles play with a strong comeback and won 6-4 and 6-1 in the second and third sets.It wasn’t long until the Gators came storming back to knot the singles score at two points apiece. Senior Jonny Wang dominated his first set against Hidalgo, winning 6-0, but Hidalgo created problems for Wang in the next two sets. Hidalgo edged Wang in the second set 7-6 (2) before controlling the decisive third set, winning 6-3 and giving the Gators their first singles win of the match. The Gators tied the singles score soon after when Watson beat Johnson in a closely contested three set match. Like Wang, Johnson took victory in the opening set, winning 6-4 over Watson. The next two sets would need a tiebreaker to determine the winner of the set. In both sets, Watson bested Johnson ([7-6 (3) in the second set and 7-6 (4) in the third set]) and brought the Gators to within one point of the Trojans in overall play.Despite the two straight wins by the Gators, the Trojans would clinch the match a short time later when Crystal took down Landert in two sets with a score of 6-2, 7-5. Sophomore Rob Bellamy capped off the day for the Trojans with a three-set victory over Jordan Belga, giving the Trojans a 5-2 victory. With the win, the Trojans moved to 4-0 overall on the season.USC men’s tennis coach Peter Smith was proud of how his team was able to handle the challenge of facing a tough Gators squad.“The conditions were fast and Florida fought really well,” Smith said. “Florida was a big step ahead for us in competition. Good for us to get these matches under our belt.”Smith also noted that the game was a positive transition for his team.“Today was a day of getting used to this level and people in new positions,” Smith said. “We are here to get better and we took a step in that direction.”Next week, the Trojans will return home to take on the UC Irvine Anteaters and the San Diego State Aztecs in a Saturday back-to-back matchup. These two matches will be the final matches for the Trojans before the ITA National Team Indoor Championships.UC Irvine is 2-5 on the season and has lost its last three matches, including a 4-0 loss to UCLA back on Jan. 21. Both of UC Irvine’s wins came on the road against the Arizona Wildcats. In their losses, the Anteaters have never won more than two matches against their opponent.The San Diego State Aztecs have started the season strong. They dominated their season opening, back-to-back matchups against the UC Riverside (won 7-0) and UC San Diego (won 6-1). The Aztecs fell to Utah State on the road 3-4, but got back in the win column five days later with a 4-3 victory over Cal Poly.
At what point do we determine that baseball, the business – and possibly the game itself – has reached the edge of the cliff and is one powerful gust of wind away from going over for good?Or have we gotten to that point already, with a hissing match between owners and players that never should have gotten this far?In an environment where scores of Americans are hurting financially, a global pandemic has by no means gone away and another instance of racism and police brutality has created a new round of social unrest, a fight about compensation – picked in this case by the richer kids on the block – is so tone-deaf it’s a joke, only with no punch line.This is a year that has combined the worst of 1918, 1929 and 1968 so far – kids, consult your history books – and it has now been overlaid with a reprise of 1981 and 1994. The billionaires who own baseball teams, the same ones who profited greatly by manipulating the last collective bargaining agreement of 2016 in their favor, are now attempting to revise an agreement reached with the players in late March – even though they should have been fully aware at that point of the possibility that games could resume with no fans in the ballparks. Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire Angels’ poor pitching spoils an Albert Pujols milestone If you’ll recall, the players had offered a 114-game schedule plan, to which the owners responded that it would run too far into October and could hit a second wave of COVID-19. Layman’s translation: “We’d have to pay you more money than we’d like. No.”Who knows when that second wave will hit, anyway? As National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci likes to put it, “The virus will determine.” (And MLB’s requirement in this proposal that players sign an acknowledgment of risk waiver is one more indication that this is way short of both sides meeting in the middle.)So the stalemate continues. But wait. There’s more.While squabbling with the big leaguers, commissioner Rob Manfred’s office is also continuing to bigfoot the player development system and, not incidentally, take the game away from fans in dozens of minor league towns across the land. We’ve written about this before – and the city of Lancaster and Antelope Valley, solid partners over 25 seasons of California League baseball, are about to lose their team not only through no fault of their own but without even a proper goodbye, assuming that the minor leagues don’t play at all this summer.Big league organizations had to be shamed into continuing stipends to their minor league players, and in some cases major league players – such as the Dodgers’ David Price – were the ones who provided the embarrassment by dipping into their own bank accounts to help the minor leaguers.Meanwhile, teams set about releasing hundreds of minor leaguers in the last couple of weeks. Some were players who would have been released at the end of spring training, while others might have been released anyway in advance of the amateur draft. But these numbers were abnormally high, according to Baseball America, which suggests this was the precursor to the downsizing of the minors. One tipoff may be that many teams still have not announced those transactions as of Monday.Oh, and as for the draft itself? It will begin Wednesday evening as a shadow of what it used to be, five rounds of selections, after which teams will attempt to sign undrafted free agents for $20,000 a pop. For what it’s worth, the average worth of the players taken just in the sixth round in 2019 as calculated by MLB came to $267,826, though the bonuses most teams handed out were under slot value.What will they do with all that money they save?Should we care about all of those players who in all likelihood will never reach the majors? Yes, and Royals GM Dayton Moore explained why on a conference call with Kansas City writers a couple of weeks ago, in talking about his team’s decision to not release any minor leaguers:Related Articles Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Angels’ Mike Trout working on his defense, thanks to Twitter (Pause here for a reminder: We certainly do understand that no spectators means no gate revenue. But it also means no game night employees and thus fewer expenses. And the TV money – fully prorated, we assume – starts rolling in.)If it’s any consolation, we now have a preview of next year’s collective bargaining talks, assuming that there will still be a sport over which to collectively bargain. Baseball has had enough trouble attracting the attention of younger people anyway, and to dither this way while every other professional sport in this country has a plan for restarting play and has players and owners working in at least some sort of harmony … well, MLB couldn’t look more dysfunctional if it tried.Or maybe it is trying. Maybe, as speculated, there really are some owners who would do better financially by not opening the doors at all. If so, I fear even more for baseball’s future.The latest proposal from the owners, offered Monday, calls for a 76-game regular season that would pay players 50 percent of their prorated salaries with an increase to 75 percent if the postseason is completed. It’s no real compromise, because this formula is only a slight increase from what full prorated pay would have looked like for a 50-game schedule: 35.1 percent of full salary here, if the postseason were concluded, as compared to 30.8 for the shorter schedule(But maybe with that 50-game sprint MLB could have modeled the postseason after the NCAA Tournament and College World Series. Could we at least have gotten a Los Angeles regional out of it?) “Understand this: The minor league players, the players you’ll never know about, the players that never get out of rookie ball or High-A, those players have as much impact on the growth of our game (as) 10-year or 15-year veteran players. They have as much opportunity to influence the growth of our game as those individuals who played for a long time, because those individuals go back into their communities and teach the game, work in academies, are JUCO coaches, college coaches, scouts, coaches in pro baseball. They’re growing the game constantly because they’re so passionate about it. So we felt it was really, really important not to release one minor league player during this time, a time we needed to stand behind them.”For baseball, that’s an enlightened attitude. Too bad so many others in the sport have so much trouble getting out of their own [email protected]@Jim_Alexander on Twitter Angels fail to take series in Oakland, lose in 10 innings
A Seminole Ridge High School student is suing the Palm Beach County School District, after she was injured in 2016 while moving a 500-pound tractor tire in class.Trinity Harmon and her mother filed the lawsuit in state circuit court last week. It states that Harmon, who was 15 at the time of the alleged incident, was instructed to move the tire during a class in the school’s Junior ROTC program. The suit adds that the tire “fell on top her her” after she was was told to handle it “without any proper safety instruction (or) guidance.”The school district’s incident summary states that Harmon’s left ankle and right foot were fractured, which resulted in $103,000 in medical costs.The lawsuit accuses the School District of negligence for creating dangerous conditions, as well as failing to adequately train school staff.Harmon’s incident marks the second time in three years that a Seminole Ridge student was injured by a tractor tire.In 2013, a tractor tire exploded in Dustin Reinhardt’s face during an auto shop class, causing loss of use of his right eye, as well as part of his brain. The state later directed the school board to pay him $4.7 million for his injuries.In Harmon’s case, instructors asked her and a group of students to move a large tractor tire that had been delivered to the Westlake school to be used in classes, says attorney Dale Buckner. He adds, “They wanted to get this tire to a different spot, so without really thinking too much they said to these kids, ‘Hey move this tire.’”The tire toppled over while it was being moved, crushing Harmon’s feet, according to Buckner. He explains, “Both of her lower extremities were affected, and they still bother her to this day. She wanted to possibly seek a career in the military, but she’s concerned now that this really won’t be able to happen.”Before the lawsuit was filed, school board lawyers and Buckner had been negotiating a $200,000 settlement, which was approved by the school board’s general counsel and was scheduled to be approved by board members at a September 18 meeting.However, the proposal was removed from the board meeting’s agenda for unknown reasons.A spokeswoman for the Palm Beach County School District declined to comment on the lawsuit.
A Pinellas County father died this week in a freak accident, while teaching his daughter how to park a pickup truck.According to the Tarpon Springs Police Department, the incident happened Tuesday night, as the 46-year-old was trying to teach his 15-year-old daughter to park in an empty lot in Tarpon Springs.The man exited the vehicle while the teenager was pulling into the parking space.As her father stood in front of the truck, the daughter accidentally stepped on the accelerator, hitting him and a nearby tree.First responders found the girl tending to her dad when they arrived.He was later pronounced dead at the hospital.The crash is still under investigation.
The Westinghouse Bulldogs have dominated City League girls’ basketball for the past 20 or more seasons and even though no one knew what to expect from them this season they once again finished on top of the City during the regular season but fell short in the championship game to an outstanding Perry Commodores team. But much like the previous three girls’ All-City Team selections, the Bulldogs once again dominated with all five starters making the team, but this year they had to share that honor with the Allderdice Dragons who had all five starters make the team as well. Perry placed four. Perry also had the Player of the Year and Coach of the Year. Allderdice should be a powerhouse next season as all five starters are underclassmen. DASHAWNA CAREY, TATAYANNNA COX TAYLOR, LONDON MCCOY Even though Tatayanna Cox Taylor from Westinghouse received votes, Dashawna Carey from Perry was clearly the Player of the Year. Teammate Marritta Gillcrease also received a vote as the best player. Carey headed a very solid veteran team as they marched through a 14-2 regular season and defeated Westinghouse for the City League title in an impressive victory. Carey led all City players with a 19.6 scoring average.Ed Allison did an excellent job at Perry this year getting the most out of his players on both sides of the ball to beat out Phyllis Jones from Westinghouse, who once again led her team to the top of the regular season and a 19-6 overall record and into the championship game, and David Walchesky who led a very young Allderdice team to a 13-3 city and 17-6 overall record. Joining Carey as a unanimous first team selection were Cox-Taylor, and London McCoy from Schenley. Gillcrease was next with Janay Bottoms and Denise Saunders from Allderdice battling for the final slot. The top three teams in the City pretty much dominated the team with Peabody and Oliver not placing any players and Langley only having one. Peabody had to forfeit its entire season, and Oliver, despite an outstanding season last year, returned to mediocrity this season with a 2-14 record.Unlike the boys, Schenley and Brashear girls had decent seasons, finishing fourth and fifth with a 10-6 and 9-7 record, with one player each on the team. Carrick had two and Langley one.We at the Courier congratulate all 19 players who made the team from first team to honorable mention and commend the coaches for the time and effort they put into molding these young women into responsible team players. The players and coaches will be honored at the third annual All-City Awards Banquet to be held at the Westin Convention Center Hotel on Sunday, May 2.The guest speaker will be former Steelers great and Court of Common Pleas Judge Dwayne Woodruff.
This is a 2014 photo of Josh Harrison of the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team. This image reflects the Pirates active roster as of Friday, Feb. 21, 2014 when this image was taken at spring training in Bradenton, Fla. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)Inside Conditions…There is an old urban saying that goes something like this: “don’t hate the playa, hate the game.” Prior to Sunday past, I had been hearing the name of the Pirates second baseman Neil Walker, a “homeboy” favorite being tossed around almost as if he was supposed to be “automatic” in regards to making the NL All-Star team roster. I guess the selection of Pittsburgh Pirates “man for all seasons” super utility man Josh Harrison is just another example of “affirmative action” gone amuck.Or wait, could it be that “confirmative action” was sucker punched without warning? See the definition of “affirmative action” at least according to Merriam-Webster.com is; “an active effort to improve the employment or educational opportunities of members of minority groups and also to promote the rights or progress of other disadvantaged persons.”Well if any MLB club has a athlete that can play numerous defensive positions plus is an above average offensive player, then him making an All-Star team, any All-Star team in any sport should not be surprising, it should be expected.The real surprise and travesty should have been if Josh Harrison wasn’t chosen to be an All-Star. By the way, Webster or any other dictionary does not even contain a definition for “confirmative action.” But wait, Aubrey the Great has defined it just for you, boys and girls. “Confirmative action” is; “when a particular race or creed is automatically chosen just because they represent that race or creed.”
Facebook47Tweet0Pin0Submitted by Chris Johns for On Q FinancialTwenty or thirty years ago, if you asked the question, “Is investing in real estate a good idea?”, the answer was most likely a “Yes”. With the great depression long faded from memory, it wasn’t until the crash in 2008 that people began to question whether a real estate purchase was always the right thing to do.I am the first to admit that buying is not always right for everyone.But there are times when buying a home is an undeniably better option than renting. I’ll discuss those below to help you determine if now is a good time for you to invest in a home.The decision to buy a home, rather than renting, is one that should be taken seriously, considering all factors.When You’re In It for The Long HaulThe New York Times says buying is better than renting after five years. If you plan to stay in your house at least five years, then the best option for most people is to purchase a home. Conversely, if you want to be able to pick up and go every few months, buying might not be the best choice for you right now.If you plan to put down roots, look into how long it will take for buying to be better financially than renting. Check out an interactive rent-buy calculator to see if it’s a better value to buy based on how long you intend to be in your house.When You Don’t Want to Pay MoreIf you’ve been in the same rental house or apartment for a while, you’ve probably seen prices increase. In fact, last year, rental prices rose twice as fast as inflation. This isn’t likely to slow down anytime soon. Rental vacancies are the scarcest they’ve been in 20 years, according to a Harvard report. The increasing number of renters has driven down the supply of rental properties, which has in turn increased prices for rentals.If you don’t want to continue to pay more for the same rental property, you should consider purchasing a home. When you buy, your equity increases as you pay down your debt, rather than your payment increasing as is happening with rentals.Chris Johns has a strong background in real estate and the Thurston County area where he lives with his family.When You Can Afford ItUse On Q’s mortgage calculator to determine what your mortgage payment would be. Of course, affording a home purchase isn’t just about being able to make the monthly payment. You also need to have money to cover a down payment, closing costs and other fees.If you are looking at buying a $250,000 home, a 20% down payment is $50,000. Not all buyers require a 20% down payment, however. In fact, many can pay 10%, 5%, or even 3% down on that same $250,000 home.Not only that, but Washington State has some Down Payment Assistance options that many buyers may qualify for.So, can you foot the bill and afford to purchase a home? If so, now is likely a good time to buy a home. But don’t empty all your savings to do it. Even new homes will require fix-ups and maintenance over the first year, as well as homeowners’ insurance and property taxes. So make a purchase that allows you to keep an emergency fund in your savings.It’s also important to note, you may be able to deduct the interest you pay on your mortgage from your taxable income. This will help offset some of the costs of home ownership.When You’re Up for the MaintenanceOwning a home requires more maintenance than renting. However, if you don’t mind doing some small maintenance on your home (or you have a good handyman), now is a great time to buy. Perform your own preventative maintenance like painting the siding every few years, cleaning your air ducts, and tuning up your plumbing, and you’ll save bundles down the road.Chris Johns – On Q Financial(360) [email protected] Chris on LinkedInFollow Chris on Facebook