Tag Archives: Featured

Let’s (L.B.) Post up: When Jerry Tarkanian took Long Beach State to its first Big Dance 50 years ago, the rebel life took hold

By Tom Hoffarth

There is so much to love about this main photo of Jerry Tarkanian with his arm around his son, Danny, as they celebrate an NCAA tournament victory over Weber State in Utah during the first round of the 1971 West Regionals. Just look at the sweatshirt the 9-year-old Tarkanian is wearing as the team’s ballboy.

Tarkanian-Danny-w-Dad.-Ran-SI-in-1984.credit.Don-Grayston.Deseret-NewsA year earlier, Tark took this 49ers program that just entered the Division I territory and won the PCAA, then started a series of head-to-head run-ins with UCLA in the tournament that defined them as more than just a program-on-a-shoestring. They had mined the Southern California landscape for community college talent, and more.

61cPS4-o-ELAnd, thanks to a new book out by Danny Tarkanian called “Rebel With A Cause,” we find out much more about the Hall of Fame coach’s Long Beach experience — four straight NCAA appearances before he went to UNLV — and the admission that he wonders what he could have done had he stayed in Southern California.
Our latest for the Long Beach Post celebrates the 50th anniversary of Tark’s first 49ers tournament team in 1970, and the legacy that continued. Please enjoy…

Obit Tarkanian Basketball

In this Nov. 26, 2005, file photo, former UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian waves to the crowd at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. Hall of Fame coach Jerry Tarkanian, who built a basketball dynasty at UNLV but was defined more by his decades-long battle with the NCAA, died Wednesday in Las Vegas after several years of health issues. He was 84.

New baseball reads for 2020: A safe place to find book recommendations

bca420371def8d13bff3052aee412a74By Tom Hoffarth

When will there be good news?

(OK, look at the book Stephen King is reading while attending a game at Fenway Park. … From a guy who wrote “Misery”?)

Our 2020 spring baseball book review has taken a new turn.  We are springing forward.

As the reviews continue three times a week on fartheroffthewall.com we will have the updated list here.

*Day 1 (March 17): “State of Play: The Old School Guide to New School Baseball,” by Bill Ripken.

xe4uGf6Q*Day 2 (March 19): “The Incredible Women of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League,” by Anika Orrock

*Day 3 (March 20):  “The Hidden Language of Baseball: How Signs and Sign-Stealing Having Influenced the Course of Our National Pastime,” by Paul Dickson

*Day 4 (March 23): “Buzz Saw: The Improbable Story of How the Washington Nationals Won the World Series,” by Jesse Dougherty

STEALING HOME2*Day 5 (March 24): “Stealing Home: Los Angeles, the Dodgers, and the Lives Caught in Between,” by Eric Nusbaum

*Day 6 (March 25): “The Cactus League,” by Emily Nemens

*Day 7 (March 26): “The Baseball Book of Why: The Answers to Questions You’ve Always Wondered About from America’s National Pastime,” by the late John C. McCollister

*Day 8 (March 31):“Swing Kings: The Inside Story of Baseball’s Home Run Revolution,” by Jared Diamond

91bQ7s2k28L*Day 9 (April 1): “The Wax Pack: On the Open Road in Search of Baseball’s Afterlife,” by Brad Balukjian

*Day 10 (April 2): “The Cup of Coffee Club: 11 Players and their Brush with Baseball History,” by Jacob Kornhauser

*Day 11 (April 3): “Sixty-One in ’61: Roger Maris Home Runs Game by Game,” by Robert M. Gorman

*Day 12 (April 6): “Yogi: A Life Behind the Mask,” by Jon Pessah.

The L.A. Business Journal side of thing: When you get 45 minutes with Rams owner Stan Kroenke, and he owns up to a whole bunch of things

IMG_0061The assignment from the Los Angeles Business Journal was to come up with a Q&A that would celebrate his being named the magazine’s “Business Person of the Year” for 2020.
The emphasis would not just be on how he brought the NFL team back to its Los Angeles home, but how he did so by promising to create a $5 billion superstadium in Inglewood.

Research on Kroenke isn’t all that robust. He’s known as “Silent Stan” for a reason.

But Stan is definitely a man with a plan.

So figuring out what books he might be interested in — and pass along — and pushing that toward a series of questions about where he developed his interest in buying pro sports teams, how he modeled some of that after watching Jerry Buss buy L.A. property, buy teams and arenas, then have his children operate it, and why the current SoFi Stadium might some day accommodate flying cars — you read it here first.

Under the headline “Eyes on the Ball,” here’s our six-page spread, with a bio box and a look at his favorite books.

We also jumped on with Rich Hammond at The Athletic L.A. “11 Personnel”  to talk more about surprises that came up in the conversation that Rams’ fans may have not heard before.

stan-kroenke

From January, 2016, from Sports Illustrated, the latest Q&A we could find with any sort of substance on what made Stan Kroenke “the most powerful man in sports.” https://www.si.com/nfl/2016/01/18/stan-kroenke-owner-los-angeles-rams

Remembering Hank Gathers: A statue at LMU 30 years later, and the force of nature returns … along with the tears

It was just a moment. It came after the blousy material dropped to reveal a statue of basketball legend Hank Gathers, located just outside of Loyola Marymount’s Gersten Pavilion Feb. 29. It came after the faintest beat of a gasp was immediately followed by applause and cheers, broad smiles and — this being 2020 — selfies.

Still, there was a moment when, Chris Knight said, amid the laughter and hugs he shared with former teammates who played with Gathers, that he suddenly, in a fleeting space of silence, “could hear Hank’s mother crying above it all.”

For Angelus News, Steve Lowery walks us through the moment when the Gathers statue was unveiled 30 years after his death on the court, right before Easter, and the incredible run the Lions went on with the NCAA Tournament in his honor.

This is a tearjerker and breaks your heart all over again.

 

The side of Kobe Bryant you may not know about

EP8onAVU8AA_4ojTom Hoffarth and Steve Lowery worked hours together last week, with editor Pablo Kay in Rome, not long after reports about a helicopter crash in Calabasas, to produce this cover story for the Feb. 7 edition of Angelus News.

Bryant took his Catholic faith serious. He was at his home parish, Our Lady Queen of Angels Church in Newport Beach hours before he left from John Wayne Airport in the final trip to a youth basketball game in Thousand Oaks.

Where did his faith come from? Did it help him come to terms with his rape trial in Colorado? Did it help him reconcile his marriage?

In 2001, Bryant married his wife, Vanessa, herself a Catholic, at St. Edward the Confessor Church in Dana Point. Father Sallot at OLQA said that he and Kobe had chatted about his desire to receive the sacrament of confirmation in the future.

We try not to judge, but report the facts.

RIP, Kobe, Gianna and all their friends, parents, coaches and families.

 

A sign of the (L.A.) Times: Fore more years of Trump? Rick Reilly would be lying if he said he wanted that, for golf’s sake

By Tom Hoffarth

Rick Reilly’s course of action isn’t to cheat the audience.
The former L.A. Times, Sports Illustrated and ESPN writer sized up the room of about 30 bunched into the center of an independent book store in Manhattan Beach the other night and declared: As a golfer, your president is all about unplayable lies.
“If he’s making America great, he’s made golf gross,” Reilly exclaimed.
It’s all there on the cover of the book Reilly is promoting — “Commander In Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump” (Hachette Books, $28, 244 pages), hacking its way up all sorts of bestseller lists.
Drawing upon his journalistic DNA, Reilly dedicated this book to “the truth … it’s still a thing.” In his acknowledgements, he thanks “every reporter out there who keeps pursuing the truth head-first into the worst hurricane of lies, insults and Constitution-trampling I’ve ever seen in my 40 years in the business. You inspire me.”
More at the L.A. Times website linked here.

Also: 
= Excerpts from the book in Esquire magazine.
= Reilly’s piece about the book for The Atlantic
= Reilly on CNN via RealClearPolitics.com

The vodcast: Pearlman, Dufresne, Vanderpool, the USFL … preposterous fun, ready on two …

What if we told you there was a pro football league that existed more than 30 years ago, contrived as a complimentary spring exercise to the NFL’s fall season, but then one owner in particular based in New York couldn’t help himself, drove it off the cliff at the expense of his supposed business partners, and later would be doing the same things in the White House.
Egads.
We could also tell you this particular story was already an ESPN original “30 For 30” doc  called “Small Potatoes: Who Killed the USFL.”
51cgUKUBGuLNevertheless, we booked Jeff Pearlman on  TheDrillLA.com vodcast based on his book: “Football For A Buck: The Crazy Rise and Crazier Demise of the USFL.”
Crazy, sure. It’s been
 discussed on shows as diverse as NPR to ESPN’s “Outside The Lines”.  From NESN to the Peter King podcast ...
From FS1’s Colin Cowherd to DirecTV Audience Network show host Rick Eisen. Plus, it has been featured in Forbes and The Christian Science Monitor, and The Associated Press Sports podcast.
We have a different spin.
A true spiral.
One inspired by a left-handed Mormon who made the Los Angeles Express something we still look fondly back on.
The Southern California-based Pearlman, the former Sports Illustrated writer now working for The Athletic who did the incredible Lakers’ book “Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s in 2014, carves out some time here to spend with us.
More context: Chris Dufresne of TMG Media Sports.com, which focuses on college football coverage, was the Los Angeles Times beat writer for the L.A. Express starting with their 1982 birth up until the final courtroom drama that ended with a jury agreeing that the NFL did in fact monopolize pro football, but the USFL was owed just one dollar in damages.
Add to this: Tom Hoffarth covered the Express for several years as well for the South Bay Daily Breeze.
And … Steve Lowery and Steve Vanderpool were part of the Express public relations team and knew all the ins and outs of what went on in the offices.
They got the band back together.
Here is an hour of discussion that Pearlman said in a parting Twitter DM that “was preposterously fun” to do … hope he has the same feeling after watching it here (and where in the world is Bob Rose these days?):

In 2013, Pearlman prepped us by writing this for Sports Illustrated.
And here’s more on Pearlman’s website linked here.
And an excerpt here on Bleacher Report.

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