Out of print for more than 30 years, now available for the first time as an eBook, this is the controversial story of John Wooden's first 25 years and first 8 NCAA Championships as UCLA Head Basketball Coach. This is the only book that gives a true picture of the character of John Wooden and the influence of his assistant, Jerry Norman, whose contributions Wooden  ignored and tried to bury.

Compiled with more than 40 hours of interviews with Coach Wooden, learn about the man behind the coach. The players tell their stories in their own words.

Click the book to read the first chapter and for ordering information. Also available on Kindle.

Sports Medley: The Worst Baseball Game of All Time 23 May 16

by Tony Medley

On May 16, the Dodgers and Angels played what was arguably the worst baseball game since the inception of the National League in 1876. As prologue, when Clayton Kershaw shut out the Mets on May 12, the time of the game was 2 hours 13 minutes. The average time it takes to play a nine inning game during the first part of the 21st century was roughly 2 hours 55 minutes, still egregiously long when one considers that the average time was only 2 hours 30 minutes in the 1970s.

On May 16, however, the two local teams took over four hours to play a fairly typical 9 inning game. In comparison, to go back in history, when the Dodgers and the Braves played their 26 inning tie on May 1, 1920, the time of the game was only 3 hours 50 minutes, 10 minutes faster than this game, despite playing three times as many innings.

Here’s the inning by inning breakdown:

Inning        Time Played       No. of Pitches     Total Game Time

1              13 minutes         27                     13 Minutes

2              27 minutes         43                     40 minutes

3              30 minutes         38                     1 hour 10 minutes

4              23 minutes         37                     1 hour 33 minutes

5              29 minutes         37                     2 hours 2 minutes

6              21 minutes         25                     2 hours 23 minutes

7              56 minutes         70                     3 hours 19 minutes

8              25 minutes         38                     3 hours 44 minutes

9              16 minutes         24                     4 hours

There were 339 pitches thrown in these 240 minutes. That comes out to one pitch every 43 seconds! Let’s round it up and say that the pitchers threw a little more than 1 pitch a minute. How can anyone call this entertaining?

The rules require that there be no more than 12 seconds between pitches when the bases are empty. But like lots of the rules of baseball, this is one that the umpires ignore. The penalty is to call a ball if the pitcher doesn’t comply with the rule. When has anyone ever seen that happen?

But batters are equally to blame. After each pitch, they back out, look around, adjust their batting glove, and waste as much time as the pitcher wastes on the pitching mound.

Batting Gloves: To digress, nobody, not Joe DiMaggio or Mickey Mantle or Willie Mays or Henry Aaron or Stan Musial or Ted Williams, wore batting gloves when I was growing up. Are modern players such pansies that their, oh, so sensitive hands can’t hold a bat for a couple of minutes? This is the most ridiculous item of clothing in the world of sports. I can understand golfers needing a glove because they’re swinging their golf clubs constantly and that type of activity can cause blisters. But batters are only at bat 4-5 times in a three-hour game, and then for only a couple of minutes. For this they need a batting glove? “Mr. October” Reggie Jackson thinks it’s silly, saying, “Gloves are for girls,” and says they are only worn for endorsements. I say, get rid of them.

Back to the game of May 16. The most flagrant performer was Dodger pitcher Pedro Baez. He pitched the seventh inning, threw 29 pitches, faced eight batters, and it took him 33 minutes! While there was a short rhubarb during that inning, that took only 4 minutes, so Baez threw only one pitch a minute. Even Vin Scully commented on what a deplorable exhibition of baseball this game was, as did the commentators after the game, including former Dodgers pitcher Orel Hershiser. Everybody involved, including (I should say, especially) the umpires who allowed this to happen, should be ashamed of themselves. This is the kind of lackluster game that kills enthusiasm for baseball, proven by the fact that at the end of the game, most of the fans had vamoosed.

Bottom Line: When I pitched as a teenager, I threw the pitch, got the ball back, got the sign, and threw another pitch, usually within 5-7 seconds. At bat, I took a pitch, the ball was returned to the pitcher and I stayed in the box to await the next pitch; no stepping back, fidgeting, and looking around. There’s no difference between baseball in high school and college and baseball in the major leagues, except that baseball in MLB is devastatingly slow. There’s no earthly reason why pitchers and batters take so much time. No normal 9 inning game should last longer than 2:30.

Postscript: The fastest game in history was the Giants-Phillies on September 28, 1919, which was over in 51 minutes. But that was a fraud because both teams agreed before the game to try to set a record for the fastest game and all the batters swung at the first pitch to put the ball in play quickly.