aring, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Associated Press on Saturday th | Forum

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ESPNs Buster Olney is on vacation this week, but hes still compiling roundups. Ecco Schuhe Schweiz . View his latest roundup here.I dont know exactly when my grandfather, a construction worker by trade, fell in love with baseball. For as hard as he worked, it never occurred to me that there would be enough time for anything except rest preparing for the next day. But I can still see him listening to the games lying down. And now it all makes sense. I dont know when he became a Los Angeles Dodgers fan, but I can remember when I did.It was the summer of 1967. My friends and I used to play baseball in front of Russell Walkers house. He and I both lived in cul-de-sacs. I didnt realize until much later that cul-de-sac was just a fancy French word for dead-end street.When I saw my grandfathers gray, four-door Pontiac (with a black vinyl top) coming down the street, it usually meant I was in trouble for staying out past my curfew. But that couldnt be it today. The street lights hadnt come on yet. We all stepped aside to let the car circle the street. As he drove by, his drivers-side window rolled down, the smell of Pall Mall Reds wafting from inside the car, he looked at me and said, Get in.We drove north up Interstate 5, and I tried to figure out where we were headed. My first clue was seeing the Stadium Way exit. It was about a mile and a half up Elysian Park Avenue.Ill never forget seeing Dodger Stadium for the first time. Little did I know that going to Dodger games would become a tradition for my family.By the end of the 1980 season, the impact of Fernando Valenzuela had caught everybody off guard. Throwing almost 18 innings of shutout relief was insane, and the reaction of all Dodger fans was like nothing I had ever heard before.But wait, Valenzuela: Thats us. This guy looks like us. He could pitch, he could hit and when he ran, he looked like he was barely going to make it to first base -- just like us.That great move of looking to the sky before every pitch added to his identity. Who doesnt look at home plate when hes pitching? you could overhear people say.My grandmother would say, Hes asking God to help him throw a strike, huh, George? To which I would reply, Yeah, Grandma.Starting the season 8-0 caught the city by surprise. It was almost impossible to get a ticket. But the night that Valenzuela single-handedly beat the San Francisco Giants by driving in a run and shutting them out? I was there, sitting high up in general admission.That was also the night a female fan in a Valenzuela shirt ran on the field, caught Fernando off guard with a kiss and then raised her arms high in the air. We all raised our hands in the air and pumped our fists, too. It was impossible not to take the ride with Valenzuela.He was the subject of what appeared to be every conversation. It got so crazy that instead of people believing he was 20 years old, there was talk that he was in his 40s. No 20-year-old could possibly be that good. Plus, he was born in Mexico and didnt have a birth certificate. That was hilarious.My grandmother worked nights at the time. One morning, I woke up and saw a Fernando Valenzuela T-shirt, hat and button on the counter. I couldnt figure out where they came from. When I asked my grandmother, she said, Oh, there was somebody selling them at work.Wait, there was somebody selling Fernando Valenzuela stuff at a factory in Van Nuys, California?Thats how crazy Fernandomania was.News conferences before a game were unheard of. But Valenzuela would have them and back them up with a win. I cant remember a time before or since that I wouldnt miss a game either on television, radio or in person.Valenzuela galvanized Dodger fans with both his talent and his playfulness. Seeing him kick around a baseball in left field like it was a soccer ball was something fans would go early to watch.Manager Tommy Lasorda would even use him as a pinch hitter. There was nothing Valenzuela couldnt do.Fernando made us believe that no matter where we came from or what we looked like, talent was the equalizer. He did this by showing us, not telling us; hes not comfortable with accolades, which is why I find a way to sneak it in. Ive never forgotten what I learned from Valenzuela, and it has helped me become another living proof example.Ive gone to Dodger Stadium with regularity in the years since Fernandomania. Every time I go, I remember my grandmother and grandfather and how much fun we used to have cheering and feeling proud every time Valenzuela did something great.My seats now are a lot better than my 75-cent ticket to the left field pavilion, but nothing is better than looking out from the seats behind home plate and imagining them both still out there.Ive known Fernando for a few years now. When were both on the field, we always make a point of saying hello. Hes a great guy, and Ill always find a place to tell him how much hes meant to me over the years.And then the conversation will switch to how much we both love golf. Ecco Schuhe Schweiz Kaufen . -- Most satisfying to Russ Smith about No. Ecco Schuhe Schweiz Sale . -- New England Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis is retiring after a 16-year career to become the goalie coach for the Los Angeles Galaxy. http://www.eccoschweiz.ch/ . Rob Manfred, baseballs chief operating officer, testified last week during the grievance filed by the players union to overturn Rodriguezs 211-game suspension. A person familiar with the hearing, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Associated Press on Saturday that Manfred testified the sport wasnt concerned whether Bosch distributed performance-enhancing drugs to minors because MLBs interest was his relationship with players under investigation.Canadian Carol Zhao defeated Frances Oceane Dodin 7-5, 6-3 on Monday to advance to the third round of the junior girls singles at the French Open. The 14th-ranked Zhao will next face Elizaveta Kulichkova of Russia. The native of Richmond Hill, Ont., defeated Katherine Ip of Hong King iin the first round, 6-0, 6-1. Ecco Schweiz Online. Zhao, who turns 18 years old in two weeks, along with Ana Konjuh of Croatia captured the junior girls doubles title at the Australian Open earlier this year to become the ninth Canadian to win a junior Grand Slam title. ' ' ' 
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