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Norm Clarke joins The Sporting Tribune
Legendary Las Vegas columnist Norm Clarke returns to his roots as a sports writer as Vegas becomes the center of the sports world.
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1. Norm Clarke joins The Sporting Tribune
Legendary Las Vegas columnist Norm Clarke returns to his roots as a sports writer as Vegas becomes the center of the sports world. Clarke will write regularly for The Sporting Tribune and explains in his first column why sports have always been a big part of his life.
Sports had dramatically changed my life. When I was 10, my father died. Less than a year later, I lost my right eye as a result of a freak accident — my suspenders came loose and struck my eye. I was in a dark place for much of my teen years. But the light at the end of the tunnel, I thought, would come when I got to high school and could join my childhood buddies on the Terry High School football field.
But that dream was dashed when my mother sat me down and explained the risk was too high. Her motherly instincts were correct. But I was devastated. At 15 I started drinking and fighting. I didn’t win many.
The summer after my sophomore year, my mother went to the high school and met with the football coach. She asked him to let me go out for football. The coach, Ray Frank, expressed the same reservations, but, thankfully, relented.
Their mutual decision was the pivotal moment in my life. In my senior season I got to start. Nobody loved hitting—or getting hit— more than I did. I got to play for one of Terry High’s greatest teams.
Two and a half years later, after flunking out of college, I was struggling to find something I loved as much as football. I was working as a grocery boy when the store owner asked me to deliver an advertisement to our weekly newspaper.
A conversation with the editor changed the course of my life. I asked him if he planned to cover the upcoming basketball tournament. Terry High had tied for the best record in conference play.
He took a deep puff on his pipe and said, “No. I’m not that big of a sports fan.” He mentioned his sports guy had gone back to college. Then he paused, gave me a quizzical look and said, “Why don’t you cover it for me. I’ll pay you.”
2. Kings’ season ends with Game 6 loss to Oilers
The LA Kings' season came to an early end, much like it did last season, with a first-round loss to the Edmonton Oilers. The dream second-round matchup against the Vegas Golden Knights will have to wait for another year. The Sporting Tribune’s Derek Lee has more on the end of the Kings’ season.
The Kings’ season has come to a close. In a similar fashion to last season, they fell victim to Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and the Edmonton Oilers. Where last season saw them take the Oil to seven games, only six would be needed this time around.
Looking to bounce back from Tuesday’s 6-3 loss in Edmonton, the Kings returned home wanting to mimic the fast start they got off to in Game 4. That wouldn’t be the case here as McDavid put the Oilers ahead just 1:25 into the game, a deft deflection off a shot-pass from Evan Bouchard. Like the majority of the games in this series, this one too felt like a game of cat-and-mouse, with no lead safe for even a moment.
It was a big night for Kevin Fiala, who had a goal and two primary assists. After missing the first three games of the series with a lower-body injury, he returned in Game 4 and had two primary assists. The reason the Kings acquired him from the Minnesota Wild last summer was for performances exactly like these.
On the other end matching Fiala was Klim Kostin, who had two goals and the secondary assist on Kailer Yamamoto’s game-winning goal with 3:03 remaining in the third period. “Thank goodness it went in,” said Yamamoto, the game-winner being his first goal of the series. He and Kostin combined for five points on the night.
3. Padres-Giants a ‘home run’ in MLB’s inaugural Mexico City Series
The San Diego Padres' popularity continues to grow in Mexico and MLB's inaugural Mexico City Series was the latest example. The Sporting Tribune’s Gabriel Santiago has more on the series south of the border.
With Major League Baseball’s World Tour finally extending to the most populous city in North America, the 2023 Mexico City series between the San Diego Padres (15-14) and San Francisco Giants (11-16) was highly anticipated.
Considering the Padres’ 2020 trip with the Arizona Diamondbacks to Mexico’s capital was canceled due to COVID, the hype this year was magnified. Serving as MLB’s first international game this decade, regular season games have been played in Mexico before, but never in Mexico City.
Sitting at a breezy 7,350 feet in elevation – which is over 2,000 feet higher than Coors Field in Denver – Estadio Alfredo Harp Helu will play host to the two N.L. West rivals this weekend. The stadium has a seating capacity of 20,576, and is the newest in Mexico City.
Despite being a completely outdoor field, the playing surface is artificial turf (one that plays very buoyant). A premier national venue, Estadio Alfredo was constructed for the Diablos Rojos del Mexico (Red Devils of Mexico); the Reds have won more Mexican League championships (16) than any other franchise. They moved in upon the ballpark’s completion in 2019.
4. Raiders appear to have gotten it right
The Las Vegas Raiders focused on defense during the three-day NFL Draft and that was the right move according to The Sporting Tribune’s Steve Carp, who was at the Raiders’ headquarters for the draft.
The lying has concluded. The subterfuge is over. The misinformation has ended.
The NFL Draft’s three-day run wrapped up Saturday and if you’re a fan of the Las Vegas Raiders, the day ended with hope as it appears your team got it right.
The Raiders had a number of positions to address and the consensus is that general manager Dave Ziegler got the job done. Of course, the draft is an inexact science so we’re going to have to wait and see over the next few years just how well the Raiders actually did.
“I’m excited with what we have and what the future holds,” Ziegler said. “You’re not always going to be able to answer every question. There are 31 other teams trying to do the same thing.
“I like to think we got better. But overall, we feel really good about it.”
5. Four USC Trojans picked in NFL Draft
Four USC players were selected in this weekend's NFL Draft and The Sporting Tribune’s Adam Bradford breaks down the picks.
Over the weekend, four USC Trojans heard their names called in the 2023 NFL Draft.
The first Trojan came off the board on Thursday night, when the Minnesota Vikings selected wide receiver Jordan Addison 23rd overall. A transfer from Pitt, Addison caught caught 59 passes for 875 yards and eight touchdowns in his lone season at USC.
Two more USC players heard their names called on Day 2. First, it was the Los Angeles Chargers taking defensive lineman Tuli Tuipulotu in the second round at No. 54 overall. Then, the Vikings took cornerback Mekhi Blackmon with the final pick of the third round at No. 102 overall. Blackmon will reunite with Addison, his USC teammate, in Minnesota.
6. Four UCLA Bruins picked in NFL Draft
A few draft-hopeful UCLA Bruins had their dreams come true when they were selected during the NFL Draft and The Sporting Tribune’s Kamran Nia breaks down each Bruin selected.
The 2022 season felt like the turning of a chapter for the UCLA Bruins. With starting quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson in his final year and many other Bruins graduating, the first cycle of head coach Chip Kelly's reign ended.
And when the season finished devastatingly against the Pittsburgh Panthers, most graduating Bruins became NFL Draft hopefuls, including Thompson-Robinson.
Thompson-Robinson finished his time in Westwood as one of UCLAs most prolific quarterbacks by breaking numerous records, including total passing yards. Despite his productivity, Thompson-Robinson’s draft projections varied from early second day to undrafted. But, the Cleveland Browns believed in his talents and selected him in the fifth round with pick No. 140.
Thompson-Robinson will join a quarterback room occupied by Deshaun Watson, Joshua Dobbs, and Kellen Mond.
7. Odds and Ends presented by Circa Sports
Here are some odds at Circa Sports if you’re thinking about placing a wager today:
8. Ticket Time presented by TickPick
Here are the “get in” prices for tickets in the area if you’re thinking about going to a game today:
7:00 p.m. – Philadelphia Phillies at Los Angeles Dodgers
9. On the Air presented by Coca-Cola
Here are the game times and television channels for professional teams in the region today:
7:00 p.m. – Philadelphia Phillies at Los Angeles Dodgers – SportsNet LA
10. The Arash Markazi Show presented by The Sporting Tribune
The Sporting Tribune’s Arash Markazi is joined by Armani Buckets and Ji Hae Wiley to discuss the Lakers’ series against the Memphis Grizzlies and what the Clippers can do this offseason to improve the team after losing in the first round.
Listen to The Arash Markazi Show presented by The Sporting Tribune on The Mightier 1090 ESPN Radio in Southern California, 98.5 The Bet in Las Vegas and the Hawaii Sports Radio Network 95.1 FM and 760 AM in Hawaii. You can also listen to the show on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Play and Stitcher.
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That’s it for today. Talk to you tomorrow!