Sports

Sideline Chatter: Pac-12 hoops fans might bring pitchforks and torches to Clippers games

So, does Ralph Lawler get the credit – or the blame?

The Clippers' broadcaster – set to retire after 40 seasons – long ago gave motormouth Bill Walton his first color-commentating gig, and the two even worked 13 NBA seasons together.

"I had never ever given broadcasting (a thought)," Walton told the L.A. Times. "I'm 6-11, I've got red hair, big nose, freckles, goofy, nerdy-looking face, I'm a stutterer, I can't talk and I'm a Deadhead ....

"Learning how to speak is my greatest accomplishment and your worst nightmare."

Headlines

– At TheOnion.com: "Tom Izzo calls 2019 Spartans best team he's ever threatened with violence."

– At Fark.com: "Hapless Mariners can't even get a rebuilding year right."

Tackled for a loss

Sugar daddy Tom Dundon pulled the plug on the fledgling Alliance of American Football after just eight weeks.

Or as AAF historians prefer to spin it, the final sack in AAF history.

Baseball quiz

Seven consecutive Mets batters reached base via walk or hit by pitch in the fifth inning against the Twins last week, the first to do it since:

a) the Yankees, in 1994

b) 2,178 Little League teams, just 24 hours earlier

L.A. shakedown

Lakers fans were shocked when the team announced it was parting ways with its head coach on Friday.

Shocked, that is, to learn it was Luke Walton and not LeBron James.

Uh, never mind

Break up the Mariners!

(Oh, wait. They already did.)

And, on the lighter side

Some well-meaning baseball parents trying to dry off the infield for their sons' high-school game in Ridgefield, Conn., poured 25 gallons of gasoline onto it, lit it – and got only 15-foot flames and a $50,000 tab to remove contaminated soil for their efforts.

In other words, third base wasn't the only hot corner at Governors Field.

Injury of the Week

Diamondbacks catcher Alex Avila landed on the Injured List after straining his left quadriceps – while rounding the bases during his home-run trot.

Pucker up

San Jose's Joe Pavelski had a puck bounce off his chin and into the net for the Sharks' first goal in their 5-2 playoff-opening win over Vegas.

Incredulous witnesses say Pavelski was lucky it didn't take his face off.

Talking the talk

– Comedian Argus Hamilton, on the college-admissions fraud scandal: "Just think, if they send Lori Laughlin up the river, her daughter can row her there."

– Golfer John Daly, via Instagram, after obliging a female fan who asked him to autograph her bare derriere: "All I can say is ... I love my life!"

– Comedy writer Tim Hunter, after a rhino poacher was trampled to death by elephants and eaten by lions in South Africa: "Just outside the village of Karma."

That's drawing a charge

A sex-trafficking sting operation led to nearly five dozen arrests during this year's Final Four.

Or as it's now known in Twin Cities police circles: 58 shining moments.

Quote marks

– Brad Rock of Salt Lake City's Deseret News, on the Miami Marlins drawing just 5,900 fans for a game against the Mets: "The crowd was so small that Sonny Crockett and Rico Tubbs personally frisked every fan who entered the stadium."

– Bay Area sports writer Ray Ratto, via Twitter, when asked to name the biggest threat to the Golden State Warriors: "Right now, the Seattle Mariners."

– B.C. comic Torben Rolfsen, on the Lakers' presidential vacancy: "Magic lived up to his name – by disappearing."

– Bob Molinaro in the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, on why curling is his favorite Olympic winter sport: "I can identify with competitors who don't wear skates, skis or spandex and are smart enough to remain indoors."

– RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com, after Canadian tennis star Briana Andreescu threw the ceremonial first pitch – a perfect strike – before a game in Toronto: "The Jays gave her the ball, a commemorative photo and a contract offer."

Say what?

The best claim made with a straight face this past week was by:

a) Umpire Angel Hernandez, saying he no longer gets plum assignments because he's Cuban (with no mention of his reputation as a bad umpire).

b) Safety Earl Thomas – who famously flipped off the Seattle sideline in his final Seahawks appearance last season – stating, "I would never burn a bridge there."

Quote, end quote

– Janice Hough of LeftCoastSportsBabe.com, on the soap-opera Lakers: "I'm so old I remember when the Clippers were Los Angeles's dysfunctional NBA franchise."

– Syndicated columnist Norman Chad, on misbehaving fans at sporting events: "If Vatican City were in New Jersey, the Pope likely would get heckled during Easter Mass."

– ESPN Seattle's Stacy Jo Rost, via Twitter, after Edwin Encarnacion became the first Mariner since 2002 to hit two homers in the same inning: "This was 17 'Spiderman' remakes ago."

– Comedy writer Brad Dickson: "If you have Texas Tech and Virginia in the championship game on your office bracket, clearly you know nothing about basketball and should be disqualified."

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