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One Year After the Borderline Tragedy, Love and Sports Help Provide Strength to a Grieving Community

One Year After the Borderline Tragedy, Love and Sports Help Provide Strength to a Grieving Community

When was the last time you said, “I love you?”

What if you had to say it for the final time? 

The cold, calm air spread out across the dark cloudless sky. In the sleepy town of Thousand Oaks, the nights are typically calm. But on this particular night, it was too calm. The kind of calm that makes one uneasy. The kind of calm that makes you realize just how fragile the world is, as if it could shatter like glass at any second.

In the late evening of Nov. 7, 2018, Ventura County Sheriff Sgt. Ron Helus was on the phone with his wife when the call came over the police radio. A gunman had opened fire at the Borderline Bar and Grill, the largest country dance hall in Ventura County. Sgt. Helus told his wife he had to go.

His last words were, “I love you.”

Minutes later, Helus arrived at a hellish scene. A 28-year-old gunman had opened fire on over 200 people, killing 12 of them. The gunman was still inside, so Sgt. Helus and members of the California Highway Patrol engaged him in gunfire before he retreated into a back office where he ultimately turned the gun on himself. Helus was shot multiple times, and would later die in a nearby hospital from his wounds.

The fear came for 12 families that November night. They weren’t expecting it. The evening sky, dark as onyx, had dropped early and hard, as is customary in the Conejo Valley in the fall. Hours had passed since the shooting, and the once ordinary evening had been replaced by grief and regret. The numbness came without warning.

Life isn’t fair sometimes. Certainly not for the 12 men and women that walked into Borderline that night only to have their lives senselessly cut short by an evil that was unleashed upon them. Certainly not for the survivors and the families that are left to pick up the pieces in the aftermath of their shattered lives.

*****

One week earlier, on the Wednesday before the shooting, the Los Angeles Dodgers were packing up their lockers inside the team’s clubhouse at Chavez Ravine. It was a somber mood as players placed their things in boxes and taped them shut. Another season had ended in a World Series defeat, with their opponent again celebrating a championship on the field at Dodger Stadium. Amid this hopeless flotsam, the players thought about their loyal fans: they would have to wait another year to watch the Dodgers try and end the 30-year World Series drought.

One of those fans was 21-year-old Blake Dingman. He grew up playing baseball in Thousand Oaks. Blake’s positive attitude and smile were infectious. He loved to go off-roading with his Ford pickup truck, and he gave everyone a hug everywhere he went, even if he was meeting you for the very first time.

The Dingman family was avid Dodgers fans. Blake and his brother Aidan helped build an outdoor living room at their home, where they would hang out in the summer watching Dodger games. A week before the shooting, as the Dodgers were squaring off with the Boston Red Sox in the World Series, Blake asked his parents if he could host a “World Series Party,” in lieu of a traditional Halloween party. Instead of costumes, Blake asked his friends to arrive donning their Dodger gear. Blake chose his favorite player, Cody Bellinger.

“When Cody Bellinger came up to bat, it was like Blake was up to bat,” said Blake’s mother Lorrie. “Blake played first base and center field. He would run, dive, and catch anything just like Cody.”

Blake worked as an electrician for a few years, but he had multiple interests. In addition to sports and off-roading, Blake loved tattoos, working on cars, and country music. A skillful artist, Blake had obtained a couple tattoos over the years, and one of his dreams was to have his mom get one with him.

“Blake, I’m not getting a tattoo,” Lorrie would tell him. “I’m never getting a tattoo.”

Blake arrived at Borderline that night with his friend Jake Dunham. The pair would regularly go off-roading together in the desert and host group bonfires. They were there to drink, dance, and have a good time. Instead, their lives were inexplicably cut short. His mother, who still cries every day, never got to say goodbye. 

“I didn’t get to say goodbye,” she said fighting back tears. “It’s hard. People lose someone to sickness, and you get to say goodbye. I didn’t get to say goodbye to Blake, it’s a horrible thing.”


Los Angeles Dodgers infielder/outfielder, Chris Taylor #3, poses with the Dingman family on Jan. 25, 2019.

Photo credit: Jon Soo Hoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Another ardent Dodgers fan was Daniel Manrique. A 33-year-old Marine Corp veteran who served with the second combat engineer battalion division as a radio operator. After his tour of duty ended, Manrique devoted his life to working with other veterans.

Just over a week before the shooting, Manrique was with friends enjoying another one of his passions: watching Dodger baseball. A devoted fan of the sport, Manrique attended games regularly, and had set a goal to visit every stadium in Major League Baseball.

Manrique was in attendance for what he would later describe as one of the greatest events he’d ever seen: Game 3 of the World Series. The unforgettable, 18-inning marathon between the Dodgers and Red Sox that ended in dramatic fashion when Max Muncy hit a walk-off home run to punctuate the longest game ever played in Fall Classic history. It was the first and only game the Dodgers would win in the series, and the last game Manrique would ever attend.

“We were hardcore rooting for the Dodgers,” said his friend Genevieve, who went with Daniel to the game. “We celebrated when they won. We were over the moon. It was a very special moment.”

Manrique went to Borderline that night to meet with members of the non-profit group Team Red, White, and Blue, an organization that enriches the lives of veterans through community events involving physical and social activity. He also went because he loved country music, something he had in common with his favorite Dodger, Chris Taylor.

Before he left for the bar that night, Daniel spoke to his parents Elsa and Mario, Mexican immigrants who worked diligently to build a life for their son in America. They told him they were proud of him. His last words to them were “Te amo,” which means “I love you” in Spanish.


Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher, Ross Stripling, meets family members affected by the Borderline Mass Shooting at Cal Lutheran University on Jan. 25, 2019.

Photo credit: Jon Soo Hoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Cody Coffman wasn’t a military veteran, but he had aspirations of one day becoming one. The 22-year-old was planning to join the Navy because he wanted to help serve and protect his country.

Coffman grew up playing baseball where he learned to love the “hot corner,” otherwise known as third base. Born and raised in Camarillo, Cody was taught the sport by his father, Jason. The Coffman family would frequently make the 50-mile trek to Dodger Stadium where they attended at least a dozen games a year. Cody’s favorite player was none other than third baseman and Long Beach native, Justin Turner. Whereas his little brother Dominic, was more of a Bellinger fan.

“He loved Justin [Turner],” Cody’s father said. “What he loved about Justin the most was his big red beard. It was a staple of what Cody loved. He loved the hot corner, and loved Justin because of his big beard.”

Cody left his parent’s house that night to celebrate his girlfriend’s 21st birthday at Borderline. Hours later, he would save her life, in addition to three other young women whom he shielded from the spray of bullets, leading them out of the bar and to safety. Cody could have stayed with them, but instead he went back inside to help others. He never made it out again.

As he walked to the front door that night dressed to the nines, his father stopped him and reminded him not to drink and drive. He explained that if he needed a designated driver to call him, and that he would come pick them up. As Cody reached for the front door, Jason said, “I love you, son.” Cody turned back around to his father and replied, “I love you too, Dad.” Those were the last words Jason Coffman ever heard from his son.


Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman, Justin Turner #10, shakes hands with family members affected by the Borderline Bar and Grill shooting on Jan. 25, 2019.

Photo credit: Jon Soo Hoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Justin Meek left a lasting impact on everyone he met. The 23-year-old native of Coronado grew up a baseball fan. He would often take a ferry to nearby Petco Park and watch the Dodgers play the Padres. He competed in water polo at Coronado High School, where he was not only the captain of the team, but the school’s mascot as well.

After graduation, he was recruited by Cal Lutheran University to play water polo. During his recruitment visit he was invited to Borderline along with other students for some country line dancing. That sealed the deal. The next day he would commit to CLU.

In addition to water polo, choir, and playing guitar, Meek studied criminal justice at CLU and worked as a bouncer at a nearby bar. Following college, he wanted to join the Coast Guard in order to help fulfill his ultimate goal of becoming a U.S. Marshall. Everyone who knew him called him a “natural born leader,” someone who made others better simply with his presence alone.

Standing at six-foot-three and 270 pounds, Meek was often the largest person in the room, but it was his heart that was the biggest part about him. Justin was with his sister, Victoria Rose, and a group of friends that night, celebrating his buddy’s birthday at Borderline. Everyone was laughing and enjoying themselves when Victoria’s favorite song came on. She immediately darted to the dance floor.

Seconds later, the shots rang out and Victoria Rose and her best friend Kelsey Lewis—who was the DJ that night—urgently ran in the other direction of the onslaught, where they jumped through a broken window and into the bar’s parking lot.

As hundreds of others fled like shadows at the break of dawn, Victoria searched for her brother. Unable to spot him, she called him as soon as she reached safety. When he didn’t answer, she knew he didn’t make it out alive.

“I just knew,” she said sniffling, tears running down her face. “Justin was mentally prepared for something like this. I knew his priority was to help people.”

Justin’s mother, Laura Lynn, was back in Coronado the night of the shooting, preparing for her husband’s retirement party after 40 years of service in the Navy. She spoke to her son for the final time earlier that night, her last words, an eternal reminder of how fragile life can be.

“The last thing I said to Justin was  ‘I love you,'” she said. “There’s solace in that, because he always said ‘I love you’ back.”

Just over a month after the shooting, Victoria Rose surprised her mom for Christmas with a jewelry box. When Laura Lynn opened it, Justin’s voice, set to music, immediately filled her ears. It was his final words to his Mom played on a loop, “I love you.”


Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher, Dylan Floro, autographs a baseball bat for Laura Lynn Meek (left) and Victoria Rose Meek (right,) on Jan. 25, 2019.

Photo credit: Jon Soo Hoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

*****

Friday marks the one-year anniversary of the morning after the Borderline shooting. It was a silent and somber morning in which most of Southern California, and the nation itself, awoke to the tragic news that had befallen one of the safest cities in the country.

Located about 40 miles north of Los Angeles, and named after the trees that envelope the area, Thousand Oaks sits nestled between mountains and the Pacific Ocean. It’s a suburban oasis, with a strong emphasis on family and community. Earlier that year, the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports ranked it the third safest city in America.

Many athletes and celebrities call Thousand Oaks home. The Los Angeles Rams built their training facility there. Anthony Davis, the newest superstar to join the Los Angeles Lakers, purchased a home there, and even many past and present Dodger players reside there.

The players heard the news like the rest of the country did on that fateful Thursday morning. As Dodgers’ pitcher Ross Stripling awoke from his offseason ranch outside Houston, he heard the news on the television in the other room. There had been a mass shooting in Southern California. He immediately raced to the TV, where the news stung him like a frozen lash. Two thoughts rapidly raced across his mind: were any of his friends and teammates related to the victims, and what could he do to help.

Two months later, as the back-to-back National League pennant winners reunited at Dodger Stadium for their 16th annual community tour, over 30 players, coaches, and team broadcasters, hosted a luncheon at CLU. There, they visited with the survivors, the families of the victims, and the brave first responders. The players took pictures, signed autographs, provided comfort, and helped honor the memory of those that tragically lost their lives. Afterwards, the survivors, holding fast to some sense of normalcy, joined the players in a country line dance.

Dodgers Line Dance With Those Affected by Borderline TragedyDodgers Line Dance With Those Affected by Borderline Tragedy

“I could feel how fresh it still was on everyone’s mind,” said Stripling who taught his teammates the dance. “But I could also tell we were able to provide a momentary bright spot for them—even if just for a few hours—after what had been a tough and difficult few months. We were all just happy to be able to put some smiles on their faces and help deliver a brief escape from the mourning.”

What was undeniable in the room that day was the spirits of the 12 courageous people that lost their lives that dreadful night at Borderline. Veiled within the souls of their loved ones, there were 12 angels among us. United by tragedy, and brought together by sports, their spirit lived on, passed down from son and daughter to mother and father, as clear and definite as the glance of a child.

Blake Dingman was there, as his family wrapped themselves in an embrace with Cody Bellinger, his favorite player.

Daniel Manrique was there, as his friends and family sat down with Chris Taylor to talk country music, and share their memories of that unforgettable Game 3 of the Fall Classic.

Cody Coffman was there, as his younger brothers freaked out when they met their favorite Dodgers, and when his father shook hands with his idol Justin Turner.

Justin Meek was there, as his mother and sister stood arm-in-arm with Stripling, at the front and center of the dance floor, teaching the survivors and first responders how to do the electric slide.

It was because of their spirits, that in that moment, a town desecrated by tragedy, began to heal and rebuild. In fact, the moment could best be summed up by the words embroidered on the back of the gainsboro gray Dodger hats worn by everyone in attendance: “Thousand Oaks Strong.”  A reminder that the story of the Borderline shooting, even a year later, is not one illustrated by misery and sorrow, but by courage and love.


The words “T.O. Strong” written at the Borderline Bar & Grill mass shooting memorial in Thousand Oaks.

Photo credit: MediaNews Group via Getty Images

The grief will never subside, the families will never move on, and the hole left within will never dissipate, but through the pain and tears can come valuable lessons and reminders.

A few weeks after the shooting, Lorrie Dingman, was brushing her teeth, staring blankly at her reflection in the mirror. That’s when she noticed the note on the counter, it had been written by Blake before the shooting. It read simply, “Love you!”

Suddenly, the mother who swore to her son she would never get a tattoo, found a way to honor his memory forever. The following day, she had her son’s handwritten note tattooed on her arm. She finally got to say goodbye.


Lorrie Dingman, mother of Blake Dingman, who was killed at the Borderline mass shooting on Nov. 7, 2018 shows the tattoo she got of Blake’s handwriting in his memory.

Photo credit: Michael Duarte/ NBC LA



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Take Paws: Black Cat Halts Cowboys-Giants Game After Rushing Field

Take Paws: Black Cat Halts Cowboys-Giants Game After Rushing Field


A black cat interrupted the Cowboys’ Monday Night Football game against the New York Giants with under six minutes to go in the second quarter at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Cameras first captured the cat when it paused inside the 5-yard line with 5:32 to go in the first half, forcing referee Clay Martin to halt the game.

The cat ultimately crossed the goal line for the score, after which its touchdown celebration was cut short by stadium staff and New Jersey State Troopers.

There were no flags on the play.

Following the Cowboys’ win, defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence tweeted an edited image of the cat with “Hot Boyz” chain around its neck. Hot Boyz is the nickname Dallas’ defensive line goes by.

NBC 5’s Pat Doney reports the cat has been at MetLife Stadium for at least three weeks, adding he saw it on the field following the Cowboys’ game against the New York Jets on Oct. 13.

The Cowboys trailed the Giants 9-3 when the cat took the field. After the cat left, Dallas outscored New York 34-9 on the way to a 37-18 win.



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Ex-NFL Player Kellen Winslow Jr Pleads Guilty During Retrial of Rape Charges

Ex-NFL Player Kellen Winslow Jr Pleads Guilty During Retrial of Rape Charges


Five months after a jury convicted Kellen Winslow Jr. of raping a homeless woman, the former NFL player pleaded guilty to additional rape and sexual battery charges during a retrial Monday.

In June, the jury found him guilty of the attack last year on the homeless woman in his picturesque beach community of Encinitas. Jurors also convicted him of two misdemeanors — indecent exposure and a lewd act in public — involving two other women.

But after six days of deliberation, jurors said they were hopelessly deadlocked on the other criminal charges, prompting the judge to declare a mistrial.

The remaining charges included six felonies including kidnapping, sodomy, forced oral sex, two counts of rape and an additional count because the woman, who was 17 at the time of the 2003 attack, was also unconscious.

Opening statements began Monday morning in San Diego County Superior Court in Vista.

The 36-year-old former tight end — at one point, one of the highest-paid in the NFL — initially pleaded not guilty to the charges, but on Monday, Winslow changed his plea to guilty of rape of an unconscious person and felony sexual battery and waived appeal rights for his previous convictions. The remaining charges were dismissed.

“Your honor, I would like to waive my right to a jury trial,” Winslow said.

At one point, Winslow could be heard saying, “I’m not thinking clearly.”

The judge then asked Winslow if he was sure, to which Winslow said he needed “a couple of minutes.” Eventually, Winslow accepted the plea deal.

Five women took the witness stand this summer, and three of them were expected to testify again before his change of plea.

“I’m satisfied that now Mr. Winslow’s been held accountable for his conduct involving five separate victims over the course of 15 years,” Deputy District Attorney Dan Owens said after Winslow’s change of plea Monday.

A judge said Winslow would face at least 12 years in prison as part of his plea deal.

“The victims are supportive of this kind of resolution,” Owens said.

Previously, Winslow faced a maximum sentence of life in prison, but Monday’s deal would lessen that maximum sentence to 18 years in prison.

“I pray to God for 12 years, so I can return to my family,” Winslow said.

Winslow will be sentenced on Feb. 19, 2020.

“In addition, he is going to be a mandatory lifetime sex offender registrant. That is a mandatory requirement for each of the charges for which he’s been convicted,” Owens said.

As part of his plea deal, Winslow could “face a possible commitment as a sexually violent predator to an indeterminate term for the rest of his life into a state hospital if he is found to meet that criteria,” Owens said.

That aspect of the plea deal will not be determined until Winslow is eligible for parole upon his potential release from state prison.

“He will not be automatically released into the community until he has been evaluated by two psychologists appointed by the state,” Owens added.

He may also face a life parole term, Owens told NBC 7.

By 2 p.m., the jury was dismissed from the San Diego County Superior Court.

Winslow, who played for Cleveland, Tampa Bay, New England and the New York Jets, earned more than $40 million over 10 seasons in the NFL. He is the son of Chargers Hall of Fame receiver Kellen Winslow, who was in the courtroom throughout the first trial.

The defendant did not testify at his first trial.

Winslow has been held in custody and will be sentenced for the rape conviction after the second trial.

This summer, jurors listened to several days of testimony from five different women who accused the former NFL player of sexual assault and indecent exposure from June 2003 to earlier this year.

Jane Doe 1 said she was raped when a man in an SUV stopped to pick her up as she was hitchhiking in Encinitas in March 2018.

Jane Doe 2 said a man in an SUV picked her up on Vulcan Avenue and raped along Manchester Avenue in May 2018.

Jane Doe 3 said a man exposed himself to her while she was gardening at a residence on Lake Drive in May 2018.

Jane Doe 4 said a man raped her while she was unconscious in a Scripps Ranch townhouse when she was 17 in June 2003.

Jane Doe 5 said a man exposed himself to her on two separate occasions at a Carlsbad gym and began masturbating in front of her in February 2019.

To see a full timeline of events and accusations, click here.



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MLS Playoffs: LA Galaxy Vs. LAFC ‘El Trafico’ Set for Thursday

MLS Playoffs: LA Galaxy Vs. LAFC 'El Trafico' Set for Thursday


The Los Angeles Galaxy beat Minnesota United 2-1 Sunday night to set up a local rivalry match against LAFC in Major League Soccer’s Western Conference semifinals.

Yes, the Galaxy and LAFC will meet in a playoff match: “El Trafico.”

Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Carlos Vela–the league’s top two stars–will face off at Bank of California Stadium Thursday in a dream matchup for neurals and MLS.

Only two days after the Lakers and Clippers start the NBA season with a local city rivalry, LA’s two MLS teams will meet in a playoff game that will ultimately define the season for both teams.

Los Angeles Football Club

In its short two-year history, LAFC has hit record highs with Vela, a Mexican international attacking midfielder, leading the side to a new MLS points record. The 30-year-old also set an MLS record for most goals in a season with 34 this year and is considered a lock to get the MVP Award, named after former LA Galaxy great Landon Donovan.

Despite all its success, LAFC has never beaten the Galaxy–the local team with history on its side and five MLS Cups to its name.

Thirty-eight-year-old Ibrahimovic, who had an accomplished career in Europe that included stops at Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, FC Barcelona and Manchester United prior to moving to LA, scored 30 goals with the Galaxy this season.

Undoubtedly, Ibrahimovic is one of the all-time greats in the history of the sport, and he even received a statue in his home town a couple weeks ago. The Swede’s time in MLS, however, may well be judged by the result in Thursday’s match, as he has yet to experience playoff success in America.

Likewise, LAFC’s spectacular year and record-breaking sophomore season would quickly be forgotten if the Galaxy comes into their multi-million dollar Banc of California Stadium, in front of the lauded 3-2-5-2 supporter group, and walks away victorious.

Kick-off for Thursday’s “El Trafico” is 7:30 p.m.

Los Angeles Football Club



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Altuve’s HR in 9th Sends Astros to World Series Over Yankees

Altuve's HR in 9th Sends Astros to World Series Over Yankees


Jose Altuve hit a game-ending homer off Aroldis Chapman with two outs in the ninth inning and the Houston Astros outlasted the New York Yankees 6-4 Saturday night to advance to the World Series for the second time in three years.

In a bullpen game with a back-and-forth finish, DJ LeMahieu hit a tying, two-run shot off Astros closer Roberto Osuna in the top of the ninth. Altuve answered with a two-run drive to left-center, setting off a wild celebration at Minute Maid Park.

Astros ace Gerrit Cole was waiting to pitch a potential Game 7 in this AL Championship Series on Sunday. Instead, the postseason star — undefeated since May 22 — could be lined up for Game 1 at home against the NL champion Washington Nationals on Tuesday night.



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Jalen Ramsey Found Out He Got Traded to the Rams While Eating Tacos

Jalen Ramsey Found Out He Got Traded to the Rams While Eating Tacos


There are two words every foodie in Los Angeles knows well: Taco Tuesday.

The nationwide day dedicated to a single food was well known before LeBron James started yelling about it on Instagram. It’s even become a tradition of the newest superstar athlete in the City of Angels.

The reigning NFC Champion Los Angeles Rams made a flurry of roster moves on Tuesday, the last of which was the biggest blockbuster of all: acquiring two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Jalen Ramsey from the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Ramsey told reporters during his introductory press conference on Wednesday night, that he was enjoying Taco Tuesday inside his home in Jacksonville when he first got the call that he had been traded to the Rams.

“I was excited. I had a ton of joy. I was at home chilling, eating tacos,” said Ramsey of the moment. “I don’t think I ate another taco the rest of the night.”

Ramsey has had a rough 2019 season. After nearly advancing to the Super Bowl in 2017, the Jaguars finished 5-11 last year, good for last place in the AFC South. 

“I wanted a fresh start and a fresh start in a place like LA,” said Ramsey. “With the culture I’ve heard about here, I’m a young guy still. Everyone around here is kinda young, I feel like they’ll be a little bit more understanding.”

After a week two confrontation with head coach Doug Marrone, Ramsey met with Jaguars Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin in a closed door meeting. That meeting reportedly did not go well as Ramsey said that the 73-year-old said “some disrespectful things.” After the meeting, Ramsey requested the Jaguars trade him.

Ramsey did whatever he could to not see the field while waiting to see if the Jaguars would meet his demand. Ramsey missed the last three games with a back injury, but reportedly will play this Sunday when the Rams travel to Atlanta to face the Falcons.

“I definitely want to call Les [Snead] and Sean [McVay] and give them a piece of my mind,” joked Falcons head coach when he was asked what was his immediate reaction after finding out the Rams had acquired one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL.

Ramsey is one of the more outspoken players in the league, and has a personality that has been known to rub people the wrong way. In August of last year, while being interviewed by GQ magazine, the 24-year-old native of Tennessee gave his opinion on nearly every quarterback in the league, calling his new quarterback Jared Goff, “average to above average.”

“In relation to what he was calling a lot of people, that wasn’t half bad,” laughed Goff when asked about his thoughts on those comments. “That’s part of Jalen’s attitude and it doesn’t bother me one bit. I thought it was quite funny, actually.”

One teammate who is excited to play with Ramsey is safety Eric Weddle, who got to know Ramsey during the Pro Bowl in 2017 and 18.

“Amazing individual,” said Weddle of Ramsey. “Very charismatic. Obviously competitive and fiery. That’s what you love in a DB [defensive back], especially in a corner. We’re all very excited, you’re talking about one of the best players in the league.”

Rams head coach Sean McVay is no stranger to players with big personalities inside the locker room. In addition to Todd Gurley, the Rams brought in Ndamukong Suh, Aqib Talib, and Marcus Peters last season. The latter of which was traded to the Ravens to make room for Ramsey.

“I think you want guys with some swag, some personality, different things like that,” said McVay of Ramsey. “As long as those guys love football, they love competing every single day, I think usually this is a building that I think will suit him well.”



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Joe Maddon Agrees to Terms With Angels, Completing His Road Back to Anaheim

Joe Maddon Agrees to Terms With Angels, Completing His Road Back to Anaheim


What to Know

  • Joe Maddon signed with the Angels as an undrafted catcher in 1975

  • He spent three decades at almost every level of the Angels organization as a player and coach

  • Maddon managed Tampa Bay, then Chicago, where he led the team to its first World Series title in 108 years

The Los Angeles Angels are welcoming back Joe Maddon with high hopes that he can turn things around for a club coming off another disappointing season.

After weeks of rumors, the team announced Wednesday that it agreed to terms with the former Chicago Cubs and Tampa Bay manager. Maddon takes over a team that finished a dismal 72-90, the franchise’s worst record since 1999. 

Maddon spent 31 years employed by the Angels as a player and a coach in the organization. He was a bench coach with the 2002 World Series champions under Mike Scioscia before leaving for manager jobs in Tampa Bay and Chicago, where he won the World Series in 2016. 

“We are thrilled that Joe is coming back home and bringing an exciting brand of baseball to our fans,” general manager Billy Eppler said. “Every stop he has made throughout his managerial career, he has built a culture that is focused on winning while also allowing his players to thrive. We believe Joe will be a great asset for our club and look forward to him leading the team to another World Series championship.”

The Angels will formally introduce the 65-year-old Maddon at a news conference next week.

His Angels roots date to 1975 when he signed with the team as a catcher. Over the next three decades, he bounced around the organization as a playe and coach.

Maddon managed Tampa Bay for nine seasons, starting in 2006, before managing the Cubs. One of the most infamous title droughts in sports came to an end when Maddon led the Cubs to the 2016 World Series title — the team’s first in 108 years. 

He was let go by Chicago on the final day of the regular season after the team missed the playoffs for the first time in his five-year stint. 

The Angels parted ways with manager Brad Ausmus shortly after the final game of the season, a move that was followed by speculation that team would pursue Maddon.



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Here’s How the Rams’ and Chargers’ Future Home is Shaping Up

Here's How the Rams' and Chargers' Future Home is Shaping Up


The Rams and the Chargers won’t move into their new Inglewood home for some time, but construction is already progressing on their new digs.

The stadium, impressive as it’s expected to be with its 70,000 to 100,000 seats, is only the cherry on top of a massive sundae. The Los Angeles Stadium and Entertainment District at Hollywood Park will also include a 6,000-seat performing arts center; 890,000 square feet of retail space; 300 hotel rooms; and approximately 25 acres of “public parks, open space, pedestrian walkways and bicycle paths,” according to the stadium website.

Located two miles off the 405 Freeway and one-and-a-half miles off the 105 Freeway, owners are expecting the stadium to be a “must-see” destination when it opens in 2020.



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Brigid Kosgei Breaks World Record at 2019 Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Brigid Kosgei Breaks World Record at 2019 Bank of America Chicago Marathon


Brigid Kosgei has just won the 2019 Bank of America Chicago Marathon in world record fashion. 

Kosgei, of Kenya, finished with an unofficial time of 2:14:04 (pending ratification), which puts her more than a minute faster than the all-time record of 2:15:25 set by Paula Radcliffe in the 2003 London Marathon. She also broke the course record set by Radcliffe in 2002 in Chicago. 

“When I was going I feel my body is moving, moving, moving and so I tried to go,” she said. 

Kosgei’s personal record time was previously 2:18:20, which she set earlier this year in the London Marathon. 

The 25-year-old was congratulated at the Chicago finish line by Mayor Lori Lightfoot, men’s winner Lawrence Cherono, and the very woman whose record she broke – Radcliffe. 

“It is a great achievement,” Cherono said. “She deserves to be congratulated.”

Radcliffe acknowledged that 17 was her “lucky number” and Sunday marked 17 years since she set the course world record in the city. 

“That was a very special day for me and it’s a very special day for Brigid,” she said. 

Kosgei has literally been unbeatable in 2019. 

She wowed fans in 2017 with a second-place finish, but she made an even bigger splash last fall when she won the race with third-fastest time in Chicago’s history.

She was followed in the 2019 race by Ababel Yeshaneh and Gelete Burka, both of Ethiopia, and the first American finisher Emma Bates, who was racing in only her second marathon. 



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