Don’t Stop Believing: Dodgers in World Series for the ages

In my 27 years on Earth, and two years prior to entering this world, the Los Angeles Dodgers never made it to baseball’s Promised Land, until now.

Cubs fans are scoffing at me: “29 years? That’s cute.”

I know. It’s not 108 years, but it feels like a lifetime. And for those who weren’t alive in 1988, 29 years is a lifetime.

And now that the Dodgers are in the World Series. Like, really there. No dreams, no Kirk Gibson limping around the bases, no Tommy Lasorda jumping 2 inches into the air, no sombrero to the sky, I don’t even care about the outcome.

Years of futility didn’t stop me. It sure didn’t stop my dad, who dragged me to watch mediocre (at best) after mediocre team at Dodger Stadium, and pretended to be Vin Scully announcing his dream scenario: “Tim Weisberg, shortstop. L.A. Dodgers.”

National League West title after National League West title with no World Series on the resume didn’t stop us either.

This is the United States’ second-largest television market and from the South Bay to the Valley, from the westside to the eastside, even Ventura County suburbia, we bleed blue. No matter what.

And the Dodgers being on the brink of elimination isn’t going to stop me.

It’s Justin Turner smashing a home run when we need it the most. It’s Cody Bellinger putting up a finger to his lips to “shhh” the crowd after going yard. It’s Clayton Kershaw stoically walking off the mound after another unhittable curveball. It’s Kenley Jansen pointing to the sky when he closes the deal with one last, breaking cutter.

It’s also a taxed Kenta Maeda, flawless in the first two rounds of the playoffs, serving up a three-run bomb to Jose Altuve, and blowing a three-run lead with one swing. It’s also Brandon Morrow, pitching for the 12th time in 13 games, giving up four runs in one inning. It’s Kenley not being able to shut the door on those Astros hitters, and Kershaw giving up another home run.

It’s Justin Turner not hitting a fly ball far enough to bring in Chris Taylor, leaving a runner stranded on third yet again.

Gaining a lead, blowing a lead, rallying to extend a game when the Fat Lady was warming up the vocal cords.

Back and forth it has been. A comeback one inning, a bullpen folding in another.

When is the last time you saw a team take a four-run lead, blow it. Take a three-run lead, blow it, then rally from a three-run deficit, all in the same game, and lose?

Did I mention the Astros rallied from a four-run deficit, a three-run deficit, and blew a three-run lead in the same game and won?

This has been a World Series for the ages, and the Dodgers are finally in it!

It has sure been worth the wait.

And as the Dodgers sit on the brink of elimination down three games to two, we begin another journey Halloween night for Game 6, listening to Journey, for one last rallying cry.

Wouldn’t it be something if the Dodgers rallied for two wins at home to win the whole darn thing?

Don’t stop believing Los Angeles. This journey is even better than finally getting to the coveted destination.

Terror in Las Vegas: From the sound of music to gunfire

58. 58?! 49 seemed unconscionable. 27, including 20 children, unreal. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse. Just when the thought of adding another “Pray for (insert city)” Facebook cover or profile photo left our consciousness, another man (it almost always is) with a ridiculous amount of fire power (mostly rifles), another mass shooting, and even more blood shed.

It was the last day of a country music festival across the street from the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. More than 22,000 people outside to enjoy country jams and have a good time.

But in a matter of nine, possibly up to 11, agonizing minutes (that’s how long Las Vegas Police said the gunfire went on for), thousands of people were caught in a storm of bullets raining down on them.

Las Vegas Sheriff Joe Lombardo addresses the media Oct. 2 following a mass shooting near Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. (Courtesy: Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department).

A man on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino turned his hotel room into a sniper’s nest, gunning down innocent people on a killing field below.

When it was finally over, 58 people lost their lives and 489 others were injured.

34-year-old Carrie Barnette worked as a cook for a restaurant at Disney’s California Adventure. She had recently bought a home in Riverside, joined by her beloved basset hound, Lucy, the New York Times reported.

Cameron Robinson took time off from his job with the city of Las Vegas to go to the country music festival with his boyfriend. Mr. Robinson was shot in the neck, and died in his boyfriend’s arms, the New York Times reported.

Jack Beaton was celebrating his 23rd wedding anniversary, his father-in-law Jerry Cook, told Mr. Beaton left this world shielding his wife from the gunfire, his son posted on Twitter.

Adrian Murfitt had been working 16-hour days as a salmon fisherman in his home state of Alaska, the New York Times reported. Needing a break, he gathered his two childhood friends, sister Shannon, and headed for Las Vegas. His sister said Mr. Murfitt was shot in the neck. Mr. Murfitt’s friend Brian MacKinnon told the New York Times that Mr. Murfitt died in his arms as medics tried to save his life.

These are only some of the 58 names and 58 inspiring stories that were taken away by gun violence.

Flags at Los Angeles Police Department headquarters in downtown L.A. Oct. 2 flown at half-staff in honor of the victims of the mass shooting in Las Vegas. (Courtesy: Los Angeles Police Department)

From the sound of music, to the sound of gunfire, another senseless tragedy is yet again affecting more victims, as well as their friends and families. For those who did survive the carnage, the 9 to 11-minute nightmare will last a lifetime.

This is starting to sound like a broken record as mass shootings continue to spin out of control, and their orchestration, even more chilling and disturbing.

Authorities eventually figured out where the shooter was, but when they got there he was dead. The shooter apparently killed himself. After a cowardly act, he chose a cowardly way to go.

We want the why and the how, even if they are questions we don’t want to know the answers to.

How did someone manage to bring at least 23 weapons, most of them rifles, into Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino without anybody noticing? That person who I refuse to name because I refuse to glorify murderers, even set cameras up inside and outside the hotel room to watch for police as he carried out his rampage.

A church, a school, a nightclub, now an outdoor music festival. Each is a new place we think is safe, only for someone to one day pump bullets into innocent people. For what? The Islamic State? Out of anger or jealousy? Racism? Mental illness?

I’m already hearing the conversations about gun control, mental health awareness and tightened security start up again. Let Democrats blame the NRA and have gun activists argue once again about 2nd amendment rights, and how it’s not guns, but people, who kill people.

Let’s ask questions about how and why these military-style assault rifles seem to be so readily accessible to people who shouldn’t have them, and the need for more extensive background checks. We could even discuss the gunman’s use of a so-called bump stock device that is legal, and allows a semiautomatic weapon to fire like a fully automatic one.

Go ahead. The same old story. Over and over again.

So I propose this for lawmakers: try it all. Tinker the second amendment, restrict guns, add metal detectors and bag searches at hotels. Set aside your differences, disassociate with any powerful lobbyists like the NRA, and let each side talk out their be-all solutions and try and stop the bleeding.

Whatever it is, there’s no silver bullet. We’re just shooting blanks because nothing seems to be working.

For the rest of us, I implore you to showcase the greatness of human beings. Hug someone you love, hold the door open for a stranger, ask someone you don’t know how their day is on the train, in the elevator, or waiting in line to grab a coffee. Listen to what someone with a different idea has to say.

In the face of evil, remember that our differences are always set aside to help one another. That’s what concertgoers in Las Vegas did Sunday night.

Enough with the thoughts and prayers. A hashtag and cityscape cover photo doesn’t cut it anymore.

I want answers.


Oakland Raiders on the move…again

Oakland Raiders fan Davi Tole of Nevada displays a sign to passing motorists after NFL voters approved Raiders' move to Las Vegas. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Oakland Raiders fan Davi Tole of Nevada displays a sign to passing motorists after NFL voters approved Raiders’ move to Las Vegas. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

If you build it, they will come. Wish the same could be said for the city of Oakland.

Their ‘Field of Dreams’ at the Oakland Coliseum has turned into a nightmare for Raider Nation.

The Oakland Raiders are leaving the East Bay a second time. It’s really happening.

On Monday, 31 of 32 NFL owners gave the okay for the Raiders to move to Las Vegas, according to ESPN. The Miami Dolphins were the only team that wanted to keep the Raiders away from Sin City.


How I almost fell victim to a Student Loan Scam

Yes, even millennials can fall victim to scams. It’s not just the elderly scammers are after. This isn’t the typical scam asking to repay a debt by wiring money, or putting money on a pre-paid card.

In my case, it’s a “legitimate” company that acts under false pretenses. Essentially, what they are doing isn’t illegal, but it’s a ruse: they are offering a service for a fee that you can get for free. You take one letter out of “free” and it changes the meaning.


Bracket Busters: Top 10 Greatest First-Round NCAA Tournament Upsets

We say it every year, do we not? This is the craziest March Madness we’ve ever seen. But really. 2016 has been a major bracket buster, especially for anyone who had Michigan State winning it all. Six double-digit seeds making it past the first round. Yet despite all the alleged parody in basketball, 15 of the 16 left, come from major conferences. The lone exception: Gonzaga. A perennial mid-major that had to win their conference tournament just to get in.

In honor of Middle Tennessee, Stephen F. Austin, Northern Iowa, Gonzaga, Syracuse and Hawaii, here’s a breakdown of the 10 greatest first-round upsets in tournament history.