Rams News & Notes; celebrating Kenny Washington; and an MLB rant
Rams News & Notes; celebrating Kenny Washington; an MLB rant; and our Week 7 Straight Up Picks
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Welcome back to Rams up, your Los Angeles Rams podcast. We're a proud member of the Pigskin podcast network. We'll cover just about any SoCal sports team, but we're mostly about your Los Angeles Rams. I'm your host, mark. Let's get to it. Welcome back, Rams fans. Season 2, episode 49 of Rams Up Your LA Rams podcast. We can all have a nice relaxing week, no stress. The Rams are on their bye, and this sometimes is where the most enjoyable weeks of the NFL season. We can watch all these other mediocre teams stumble around NFL fields, NFC contenders taking losses, hopefully. Meanwhile, the Rams in the sauna and the spas in the weight room, getting healthy, getting ready for the rematch with the Niners, and maybe making a trade or two. We can only hope. What do I have for you this episode? Well, I'm sorry, I may have lied to you. I said this was going to be our 1/3 season award show. I'm going to save that for Sunday night. Monday morning just got too much to get in on this episode, including our interview with Dan Taylor, the author of a book about one of the greatest football players ever, Kenny Wash. And I also have to get in a segment about Major League Baseball. And the Dodgers didn't have time for that Sunday after the Rams game. So I'm squeezing it in here and I also have a lot of notes regarding the Rams, more details coming out of that Rams Panthers game and transactions. Roster move. It's just never ending. Totally expect it with all the injuries this team has gone through and guys coming back that are going to help this team real quickly I think, and maybe even more on the way back in the next two weeks or so. Let's get through some Rams and NFL notes and we'll get to that Major League Baseball rant of mine. And our interview with Dan Taylor and then the Gamepics Cam Akers drama. You know I can't say I'm surprised. Very disappointed though. He's on his way out, obviously. I guess there's a sliver of hope he could come back. Not sure what to make of it. We'll probably find out more about what was going on down the road. Cam Akers clearly not happy with Sean McVay and the ramps and his role with the Rams, and probably best for both parties. I think the Rams are going to make a move. Kyren Williams may be it a week or two away from coming back. He was coming back now. Problem solved, hopefully. But not sure if the Rams can roll into that 40 niner game with Darrell Henderson, Malcolm Brown and Ronnie Rivers. Maybe they will. Maybe they'll make him. I wish they had picked up Latavius Murray from that Saints practice squad. That's what the Broncos did, big back, and I think that's just what the Rams need. Although McVay has never been a guy that leans on big running backs, but it is what it is. Tak McKinley released the edge rusher with the team very briefly. Wondering if Justin Hollins gave him a ride to the air? Part and I know a lot of people in my position are probably out there proposing trades. Let's go get this guy. Let's go get that guy. It is so hard to imagine what McVay and less need might want might try to do in these situations taken into account contracts. Scheme fits. Now, we all know offensive line is the priority, but if we could get a guy like Christian McCaffrey, who is going to be opposed to that and if nothing else, keeps him out of the hands of the 49ers? If we can make a small trade and bring in a guy and maybe Austin Corbett, someone like that, that would make a lot of sense. And if you can get an edge rusher like Brian Burns at the same time, hey, awesome. But let's just focus on the one thing this team really needs an interior offensive lineman. Hey, and if there's a left tackle out there? Go get him. But that's a big ask, finding a left tackle in it. Trade that would allow you to move Jackson back to guard, where we know we can play well, but I think it's more realistic to find an interior offensive lineman and hope Eleric holds up at left tackle. So get some grades from that Rams Panthers game. Oday Aboushi came in at right guard, finished with a 47.7. Pass blocking grade and gave up one pressure and Jeremiah Kolone even worse. 18.0 pass blocking grade gave up four pressures now an upside and Andrew Whitworth was excited about a lyric Jackson performance and. Pro Football focus back that up in 86.1 pass blocking grade. Guy was awesome and that's why I gave him a game ball. Other guys had played really well. Ernest Jones obviously had a great game and he had an 83.6 Pro Football focus grade Asted Allen Robinson. The same grade Aaron Donald. 82.7 Jalen Ramsey 8.2 Taylor Rapp season high 73.1. Stafford 75.2 a Shawn Robinson 73.7 so those are the guys that really stood out. It was clear to me real time that Taylor Rapp and Ernest Jones were having really big games. Of course, Joseph Noteboom's out for the year. Another Rams offensive lineman. Down and out Ram signed tightness ecy. Offensive tackle. 36 years old. This guy has been around 68325 out of Texas. Date played for a bunch of Arena Football League teams. Has played in 93 NFL games with 17 starts. Was on the Rams roster in 2012 for a New York minute. Also had moments with the Washington football team, the Saints. Colts, bills and Cowboys Grant Haley also put on injured reserve. Expect it back for that 40 niner game. Troy Hill, a starting cornerback. Ben Jefferson. A starting receiver. Coby Drant, a guy that filled in when Hill went down and played well. Brian Allen, he will come back and hopefully stabilize that offensive line, take over at center and Bobby Brown back from suspension. He will help that defensive line depth other guys that will eventually come back. Sooner rather than later, I assume Daniel Hardy and Kyron Williams. And of course at some point we should hope Jordan Fuller and Coleman Shelton come back. Interesting stat from that Ram Panther game. PJ Howard completed one pass beyond the line of scrimmage. I don't know why Jacob Eason wasn't starting. How about this stat? 2/2 at well has now topped 21 mph twice this season, the only player in the league to do it at all. And he has two touches and I've been clamoring about this. All year long this guy needs to get involved. It's nicer getting branded, Powell some touches, Ben Skowronek, even getting some touches out of the backfield. How about 2/2 at? Well, he has that one deep catch as a carry and that's it. A lot of people disappointed with Allen Robinson. He finally he finally had a little bit of a breakout game against the Panthers and I went back and looked at Obes for six games with the Rams last year. He had 25 catches for 248 yards and four TDs. Allen Robinson 17 catches. 170 yards and two TD's on average. I wouldn't call that a significant difference, but. Allen Robinson isn't really that far behind what OBJ did in his first six games. Obj averaging 4 catches for 42 yards, Robinson 3 catches for 28. So an extra catch a game and Allen would be right there. Still a little disappointed in his production but but we're a little disappointed. About oh BJJ contributions early. And he finally came around. So let's hope that's happening with Allen Robinson. I don't have power rankings for you, but I will tell you whose seasons are over, what teams can basically kiss 2022 goodbye. I took a. Look at the AFC East and everyone really in the hot Dolphins and Patriots bringing up the rear. At three and three, and no way you're counting them out. Yet in the AFC West, the Raiders are one in four. And statistically, historically, they got little chance. But I'm not counting them out yet. I'm not ready to bury them. They have the Texans, Jags, Colts, Broncos and Seahawks coming up. I could see them easily winning four out of five. They got the talent to do it. So they could bounce back, but. I would say this week against the Texans, they better win that one. And actually they better beat the Jags too. Or they're. The AFC North, the Steelers and Browns are both two and four, but there are only one game out, not counting anyone out there yet. The AFC S Texans are one, three and one coming off a bye, but their schedule gets tough. The Titans, Eagles, giants, Cowboys and chiefs coming up. Pulling the season started. They were probably licking their chops at this giant cowboy sequence, but it's not turning out that way, so I'm crossing the Houston Texans off. Houston Texans the season is over. As much as I like their running back peers, I like their quarterback more than most. I like what they're doing there. But their season is over. NFC East commanders are two and four. You'd think maybe they got a shot, but who we kidding, they're done. The Washington commanders gets 2022. Goodbye. You are done. Then if see W not counting anyone out there, Cardinals two and four, they could make a run that would be unlike them to get spun up in the second-half of the season, but they could get it done. DeAndre Hopkins coming back, not crossing them off yet. The NFC North, my darling lions, or one in four. They have the Cowboys, dolphins and Packers coming up so, so I'm not bailing on them yet, but they need to beat the Cowboys. They have to beat the Cowboys or they are done. They probably actually are done already, but I'm going to give them one more week, not crossing them off yet. And the NFC S the Panthers are done at one in five. Who we kidding? They're going nowhere. Got an interim coach? Maybe Baker Mayfield comes back. I'm not even sure that's a good thing. But Panthers are done. So three teams, the Panthers, the commanders and the Texans. Thank you. For joining the party, but your seasons are over. Now we're going to get to my Major League Baseball rant. We'll get to that Dan Taylor interview. Check it out, as Becca's must read if you're a Rams fan. And then we'll get to our straight up ramps up game picks and next week, I promise this time for sure, Monday morning or late Sunday night, our awards ceremony will be handing out awards for the Los Angeles Rams six games in. Your kickers lining up for an onside kick. The chances of regaining possession are slim. The stakes are high and attention is higher. He kicks and you watch as the ball land. Let's make every play field this exciting with DraftKings Sports Book, an official sports betting partner of the NFL right now. New customers can make any $5 NFL bet and get $200.00 in free bets if your team wins and check this out. In addition to the usual bets, everyone can boost their winnings. With DraftKings stepped up, same game parlays. Hey, this is my advice. The Rams have a bye week coming up, and on that bye weekend, I don't even know what the odds are yet, but I'm telling you, you can get some value on these two games. The cheats at the Niners take the Chiefs. The Niners will be looking ahead to that rematch with the Rams, and the Chiefs are a really good team. We all know that Niners are a little bit overvalued right now, and they're banged up. And the other game, I really like the Patriots at home against the Bears. This is the type of game Bill Belichick. Going to figure it out, and the Patriots are going to win handily. So those are the two I like. Not sure the spreads the Chiefs. Niners will probably be pretty tight. Patriots will be giving away some points to them. There's that. Lean on both those games. That's your parlay from Rams up. Download the DraftKings Sports Book app now and use promo code T pen to get $200.00 in free bets. If your team wins, just place a $5 bet on any football game only at DraftKings Sports book. Using code tip, the minimum age and eligibility restrictions apply. See show notes for details. A lot of people were probably expecting me to talk about the Dodgers on our last podcast. Just didn't have the time to much football stuff to talk about. But I'm going to get to it now. Sad to say, the Dodgers. Are eliminated and I'm going to go on two Major League Baseball slash Dodger rants, and I'm not going to talk about Dave Roberts and his decisions. That topic has been beat to death already, and I don't really follow the Dodgers close enough to provide commentary on that. I will say that. I grew up. The biggest Star Trek fan I know. I'm not going to tell you I was the biggest Dodger fan on the face of the Earth. There were probably a lot of guys just like me that followed them, lived and breathed Dodger baseball growing up, but somewhere along the line. I just lost interest a little bit. I think it was right around that Kirk Gibson home run and after that I just became more. Or fixated on the Rams, shall we say? My plate just wasn't big enough with kids and a family for all the things I wanted to do. And I clearly became all in on the Rams and kind of a Fairweather Dodger fan, to be honest with you. But I gotta talk about this playoff format Major League Baseball has and I'm not. A Dodger apologist. I'm kind of happy the Padres advanced. Their fan base has been dying for this, especially to beat the Dodgers. And good for them. They deserve to win this best of five series. They played better. Their bats were hotter. But it's kind of crazy that the Dodgers can win 111 games, 22 more than the Padres, and then they get those two home games, lose one of them, and then have to go to a crazy Petco Park and deal with that and try to get back to Dodger Stadium. And they couldn't do it. You know, that's just not a big enough advantage for a team that won 110 games. Or was it 111? I've heard a. Few people comment on this. One guy said, hey, it's like winning a marathon by a mile. And then the next morning you got to get up and beat the 2nd place guy in a 100 yard dash to decide who the champion is. You really got to get back to A7 game series for this at a minimum, and even then give the first place team the division champion, the team that won 111 games. Give them five of those seven games at home. How about that? That seems more fair to me. I mean, they kind of went in that direction with those three-game series. The higher seed gets three games at home, and now there's probably as much to reduce travel as anything but. And Major League Baseball has to figure out how to shorten the season anyways. Let's get eight teams into the playoffs. Shortened season, 240 games, whatever. More doubleheaders get this. Regular season over quicker get eight teams in each league into the playoffs. How about this? Eight teams in each league get into the playoffs. The first round is 5 games, but the higher seed gets four at home. You go to the seven game series, the higher seed gets five games at home. Something like that. I'm just going to winging it here, but the way they're doing it now is. Just kind of crazy. Just not a big enough advantage for a team that dominated the regular season. But you know what? I'm going to be rooting. For the Padres. Their lineup is a little bit scary. Padres Phillies should be a lot of fun. That's all I'm going to say about that, and as a result, Major League Baseball will not be getting their Dodger Yankee World Series. My second round is bought baseball in general, and I've mentioned this before. I just find it more and more unwatchable every season and maybe next year with the changes they're making with regards to the shifts. We'll bring back some interest. We'll bring back some excitement. We'll bring back more balls in play. This 18 inning game between the Mariners and Astros, people calling it Epic. An amazing game. There are 108 outs in that game. And there were 18 hits. Five hit batters, four walks, but 18 hits, one hit per inning. 132 plate appearances, 75 balls put in fair Play, 57 were not. 43% of the batters put the ball in fair play. 42 strikeouts, 42 strikeouts. Yeah, epic. You know what? No thanks. I I have no interest in sitting through 18 innings. 42 strikeouts, no thanks. Now I know this is a bit of an anomaly as far as the number of hits and runs, but not strikeouts. This is the trend. The final game in the Dr Padre Series, 8 1/2 innings, 51 outs. There were 16 hits, not too bad, 25 strikeouts. Half the batters put the ball in fair play. Half the batters, well, actually one more than half, 38 to 37, I went back and looked at random game from the most exciting era of Major League Baseball. The 1982 World Series October 13th game between the Brewers and Cardinals 8 1/2 Indians, 51 outs. They had two more hits. Than this Dodger Padre game. They had 12 strikeouts. Dodgers Padres 25 strikeouts Brewers Cardinals 12 strikeouts twice as many strikeouts more than twice and this has been the trend. I mean, you can go look at the data batting averages or down think the entire league bat. It's something like 244. You got starters. Batting 201. Ninety nine. I've seen designated hitters batting 199, and this is where we're at in Major League Baseball right now. I think fans have become brainwashed into thinking this is entertaining. Sitting in a seat at a stadium for 2 1/2 hours watching 25 guys strike out? Nothing. Not not interested? Now there is hope for making this change with the shift. Will that pick up batting averages? Probably fewer strikeouts, probably. So it's a good move by Major League Baseball. Too bad it came to this. The analytics kind of destroyed things and the shift and these pictures. Just being so much better. Throwing so much harder. But there is hope. See if any changes come about #1 shortening the season. Giving dominant teams, divisional Champs a better home field advantage in the playoffs, so we get to see. The best teams in the World Series. Not the team that just got hot for two games at home. And we see fewer strikeouts, fewer home runs. I'm OK with. That fewer home runs, more double s, more triples, fewer walks, more excitement. Hopefully that's what we see moving forward. And when I see it, I'll come back. I'll start watching baseball games again. Right now, you know what I do? I tape games. Even playoff games. I'll tape them. I'll go upstairs and I'll Fast forward. I'll Fast forward until I see the yellow dots on the bases or that score change and I'll see what happened. I'm not going to sit there and watch five guys strikeout. I've watched. I swear I've watched 1/2 an hour of baseball and not a single ball gets put into fair play. Not entertainment. Not interested? No thanks. Second, welcome everyone. I have the pleasure of welcoming a very special guest who Rams up today with me is Dan Taylor, the author Dan Taylor. How you doing, Dan?
I'm doing great, Mark. It's great to be with you.
Thanks. Now you're wondering why I have the an author on the podcast today. Well, for good reasons. For a couple good reasons, actually. Dan's new book is out this year, walking alone, the untold story of football pioneer Kenny Washington. Kenny Washington, the Black football player who reintegrated professional football after World War Two. With the Los Angeles. Rams and there's some great stories behind. How that happened? And he was also an incredible athlete at UCLA, played football with Jackie Robinson, and he also still holds the last wild. Rams record for the longest run from scrimmage, 92 yards. So my first question for you, Dan, is let me frame it this way. Jackie Robinson 1947 integrates Major League Baseball and he's a, you know, Jackie is a household name, right? Kenny Washington the year before reintegrated the NFL and I suspect most people don't know. Who he is and I have a feeling a lot of RAM fans don't appreciate what he did. And I, I suspect, is that kind of behind your motive for writing this book in the first place?
Certainly one of them learning about what a tremendous athlete and an individual he was, it was very inspiring, but. To see what he had. Accomplished and and really never received credit for was kind of puzzling. That the Rams have never recognized that. That the NFL has not recognized that. To, you know, I get a lot of. Questions about that. And and and some of that Mark, when Jackie Robinson actually signed with Montreal in October 45, you know, baseball was the national pastime. So that signing was huge headlines and just about every paper in the country.
A few months later in in March of 46, when Kenny signing with the Rams was announced, you know Pro Football at that time really wasn't all that popular. It was maybe 6th or 7th on the National interest list. You know, well below track and field and horse racing and boxing and and college football.
Right. That's that's what I was going to suggest as college football, which was integrated before the NFL.
Well, it was when, when Kenny and Jackie played together in 39 at UCLA, there were only a dozen college programs that were integrated. And UCLA had five black players on that 39 team, and there were five of the 25 black players in college football in the 39th season. But I do think the disparity, I think the popularity of baseball and the the the limited popularity of professional football in 1946 really has a lot to do with with why we hold up Jackie Robinson and and Kenny has really been overshadowed and overlooked.
Yeah, it's it's gonna be disappointing. I wasn't aware that the Rams had never officially recognized him, and absolutely they should. They've been, you know, a groundbreaking franchise in a lot of ways, and this kind of just fits and it fits the LA thing, you know, right kind of lines up with Jackie Robinson, what he did. Drafting Michael Sam you know, the first gate openly gay player ever drafted so hey, maybe I can push some buttons in. I I don't have a very strong voice with the with the Rams organization, but maybe we can start pinging them.
Well, anyway, that'll help, no question.
So one of the more interesting things I read in the book was this back story, and correct me if I get this wrong, but it goes something like the all American Football League. Was going to have a new team in Cleveland, the Cleveland Browns, and they are going to play in the municipal stadium there and the Rams ownership decided, you know what, maybe we need to get out of Dodge and. And so they had it West. Is that kind of what happened?
Somewhat, absolutely. Right when the Browns started and they hired Paul Brown as their head coach, while he was very, very popular in the state, had been an extremely popular high school coach coach at Ohio State, and he had a lot of connections. So he was pulling in a lot of favors and and and signing a lot of players, and it was really clear that the Browns were going to be a. A very strong organization. But at the same time, when Dan Reeves originally bought the Rams, he did not envision Cleveland being the long term home. His original thought when he bought the Rams was to move them to New York. That's where he was from.
But you know, he he stayed in Cleveland for a few years. They never really drew. They they did not play. I mean, you've brought up a very great point that the Browns were going to use cavernous municipal stadium, but the but the the Rams did not. The Rams were playing in an old baseball stadium that seated about 17,000. And they were struggling to fill it. And so when they won the NFL championship in 1945, I believe through that season, they only came close to capacity in that small stadium twice. So Reeves could see. The Rams could see what was what was on the horizon as far as the AFC. The AFC was going to start in 46. And you know, a lot was coming together with the Browns and Reeves was looking elsewhere. And and he initially, he looked at both Dallas and Los Angeles, he put a deposit down on that. Cotton Bowl, but I truly believe that the the popularity of Kenny Washington and what he was doing in the Pacific Coast Football League really had a lot to do with Reeves decision to come to Los Angeles.
Once they got to Los Angeles. They wanted to play in the Colosseum, and there's another story in your book that was really interesting, the black taxpayers of Los Angeles said, wait, hold on a second, you're going to play in the Colosseum? And this team does not have any black players, and I believe it was a writer by the name of. If I'm pronouncing this right, Haley harden.
Hallie Harding, healthy heart.
That's right. Yeah.
Can you tell us a little bit about him?
Right. Well, USC and UCLA had exclusivity on the college use of the Colosseum, and in their lease agreements, it was stated very clearly that professional football could not use the Colosseum. So when the Rams made the decision to move Chili Walsh, their general manager came out and appeared before the Coliseum Commission to try to secure release. There have been some behind the scenes nagot. Initiating with UCLA and USC to to convince them to give up that exclusivity and when they began the meeting discussing the Rams how they Harding who was a sportswriter with the Los Angeles Sentinel he stood up and and made the point that you that you referenced this stadium was built with tax dollars. And African Americans in this community were among those taxpayers. Annalise should not be granted to a team. Team that is in a league that refuses to sign black players, that has and she said has a ban on signing black players. Well, you know, Chili Walsh took offense and said we don't have a ban, and he said Harding countered that, you know, even an unwritten ban is as strong. As a written. Policy, it's very clear for 12 years there. Been some terrific black athletes coming out of American universities and they have not been given a shot in the NFL, and Chili Walsh on the spot said, you know, we'll we'll take a look at Kenny watch.
And Kenny Washington had a big part in Woody Strode ending up on the. Rams as well.
Absolutely. He was a tremendous athlete. Could have been the decathlete in the 1940 Olympics for the US had the those games not been cancelled. He was an outstanding athlete, a teammate of of Kenny and Jackie at UCLA and and with Kenny with Hollywood Bears. I went into the service in World War Two and and did not get his release from the service until about May of 46 and that's when the RAM signed it. But but Kenny really pushed for that. You know, he not only were they best friends, in fact at one time Kenny was asked if he had any siblings that he said yeah, I've got a brother and his name is Woody. That's how close they were. But, you know, he knew it that that would he was a guy who could contribute to the Rams and. And and what he did that first year in 46, he was cut after that and there were a lot of players who felt he was cut unfairly. But yeah, Kenny had a lot to. Do with with helping to bring Woody into the National Football. League with him.
Yeah, a little side note. I'm working on an episode. I may do it in the next couple months. I'm going to have a little segment segment on the. Who is the Rams? King of Hollywood and Woody Strode is definitely in that conversation. I I went back and looked after I I had talked to Berry, your agent, about this podcast. I went back and looked at some of the movie clips from Woody Akande, Spartacus and a couple others, and it's like, I know that guy. I'd forgotten about him. And he's he's. Very memorable and a pretty good actor.
He was, he was did a lot of work, but it was in a lot of pictures.
Right. So tell us a little bit about I I know at one point can be heard. Which hamper his NFL career a little bit, right? But in high school? In college, he was he was quite. The Phantom, wasn't he.
He was a he was phenomenal. He really was. This isn't. A player that. He could throw a football 100. Yards in the air. Had the speed to get to the outside run away from defenders. Had the power and a tremendous straight arm to run over players. Took Lincoln High School there in Los Angeles, which had really never been a sports powerhouse. And made them a a football power. Same with baseball. He was a tremendous baseball player. And then at UCLA, when he enrolled at UCLA, he really was the guy that put UCLA football on the map. They'd kind of been up and down, had their struggles really got. Hammered a lot in in conference play and when he came it really turned things around and he. Was immensely popular as well. But in that in that offense that UCLA used the single wing yeah he he's shown you know had that run pass option and.
I think if he was in an NFL draft today, he would probably just be labeled athlete because it seemed like he could pretty much play anywhere.
And a lot of a lot of coaches thought that he was even better on defense as great as he was on offense.
And one of the other things that I found interesting, you talked a little bit in the book about Bob Waterfield and I was trying to, I was curious if there's a correlation, I don't know if you're. Aware of, I'm sure you. Where the the Royal Pee Wee Reese played in Jackie Robinson's acceptance, did Bob Waterfield kind of sort of play a similar role with Kenny Washington?
Oh, that's a good point, mark. It really is. And I would say definitely yes. You know, Bob, growing up in Van Nuys was it was a big, you see, life and Kenny Washington fan. And so when when Kenny came to the Rams, Bob really took him under his wing. He had been the MVP his rookie year in 45, and the Rams ran a different offense. Obviously they ran the. T and it was much different than what Kenny had experienced before, and the Rams had a decision to make. Do we take advantage of his running skills or his throwing arm? Because in the T you don't do both if you're a back. And they made him a quarterback initially. And and Bob Waterfield spent all kinds of time helping Kenny, teaching him the position, the playbook. Some of the tricks of the. Of the trade of playing quarterback. And DT. Bob really took him under his wing and and it had a lot to do with, I believe with with. Kenny's acceptance.
Yeah, and Bob Waterfield was maybe one of the first athlete Hollywood stars as well. He was immensely popular and well known. The other thing I got from your book was, uhm, maybe you can talk to this a little bit. Kenny and Jackie, I don't want to make this too much about Jackie, but I think there it's an interesting comparison about how they handled their situation. It seems like Jackie was a little bit more out there and willing to confront. People on the social stage, whereas Kenny took a slightly different approach, is that.
Yeah, their personalities were very different. In fact, it was a number of years later. Tom Bradley, at that time Mayor of Los Angeles, in an interview talked about the two of them. He was good friends with both. He was a track and field teammate of both at UCLA and he made the comment at that time. But, you know, we all thought Kenny. Was going to be the first. Because Kenny had that disposition that Branch Rickey said he was looking for with the Dodgers. That guy who had the confidence not to fight back and and that was really Kenny. And and when Jackie arrived at UCLA from Pasadena City College. He had a bit of. A chip on his shoulder. He had had a temper, he was a quick tempered guy and he really alienated a lot of his UCLA teammates. And Kenny took him under his wing. They would go on long walks and Kenny would talk to him about his attitude and and trying to curb his temper. And so, based on the experience at UCLA, a lot of people saw the difference in the two and and thought that Kenny was. That guy that the Dodgers were looking for and and would be the first. But yeah Kenny had a lot to do with with mentoring Jackie and and but their their their demeanors and character was very very different.
If there's one thing you want readers to take away from this book, it's probably you're probably going to have to list. More than one. But what do you want the take away to? Be from this book. Well really this is 1.
Of the greatest athletes of all time. The Hall of Famer said this was the greatest football player they had ever seen. And at the same time, people thought he was an even better baseball player, and Jackie tried to convince the Dodgers to sign Kenny at the. Same time with him. Somebody asked me, you know, how would you describe Kenny Washington to someone today? And I said he's Bo Jackson with John Elway's arm and I, you know, growing up read a lot and and you know when I learned more about Kenny it, it really stunned me that he's never been in a conversation with the greats of all time and. And I think he belongs. I I think he's. Potentially the greatest player to ever play football, that's that, Hall of Famer said. And I I do think that that he needs to be in that conversation as as one of the all time greats.
Yeah, I do remember that. I forget who it was. There was a Hall of Fame player that didn't hesitate. Who's the greatest player ever? Oh, Kenny Washington. Why are you asking that question? Seemed to be divide.
So I do think you know you. You've touched very well on, on what Jackie went through. You made mention of reference of what Jackie went through and Kenny went through a lot as well. I mean, you think about what Jackie went through on the baseball diamond. And then look at football being a contact sport and then you start to get the picture. Of things that Kenny went through. You know the malicious hits in the piles, you know, being pummeled, punched, kicked, having his face scratched up in. The game in. Which he ripped off the 92 yard. Run against the Cardinals that, as you mentioned, still stands to this day is the the Rams franchise record for the longest touchdown run from scrimmage. Late in that game there. Was a late. He was piled on late, and one of the Cardinal players maliciously twisted his leg and reinjured his knee, and he wasn't able to finish the rest of the season. So you know he. Went through a.
Lot, yeah. I think in in baseball, it's obviously a lot more evident when people are trying to hurt you, you know, thrown at your head or coming in high with spikes. But in football you could, you could miss out on 15 or 20 attempts to hurt a player.
There were college games where opponents would try to they scoop up the line, chalk off the lines, and try to rub it in Kenny's eyes when they tackle him. There are opposing players in professional football that would intentionally kick the football away to make the officials chase it down while behind their backs they were pummeling Kenny. Those are some of the things that he went through regularly throughout college and professional football.
Yeah, and I don't think there is. I looked. I don't think there's a lot of tape on Kenny Washington on the football field.
No, there really isn't there. There's a lot of tape out there of Jackie at UCLA and you know, Kenny being the the Fairbanks one or the college football player of the year, you don't see a whole lot on him. And and also professionally you don't see too much on him as well, which is it's disappointing and I think that would help people to to be able to appreciate him more to it. They could see some film on him as well.
Yeah, I think the the words of admiration from various Hall of Famer's carries a lot of weight with me, that's for sure. When a football players tell you how great an opponent is, that's pretty good. That's good enough.
Absolutely, I agree.
So where can our listeners find your book?
Some of the easiest places Mark would be Amazon.com barnesandnoble.com and the publisher is Roman and Littlefield and it's available through their website aswellthatsroman.com spelled ROWMAN.
OK, I will tag that in the podcast post as well. And do you want to mention what other books have you written? By the way.
Oh my goodness, this is my fifth. My previous one was a lights camera fastball. How the Hollywood stars changed baseball about the 1940s and 50s. Southern California ballclub, the Hollywood stars, their celebrity ownership and a lot of the innovations they brought to the game which are actually in Major League Baseball to. This day and. That was very fortunate to Ghost write the autobiography of the legendary baseball scout George Genovese and and that book a scouts report so really proud. Of that.
Oh, good. Well, it's really been fun talking to you. I hopefully. Ram fans, if you're listening, give this book a chance. Check it out. Any Washington one of the forgotten Ram legends, in my opinion, and I've been guilty of that. I don't bring him up often enough. But what a player would an athlete, and what an impact he had on the NFL. So check out Dan's book, walking alone, the untold story of football pioneer Kenny Washington. And any last words, Dan, do you want to share your Twitter feed or anything else?
Writing guy at writing guide WRITINGUY. So yeah, I'd love to have people jump on there and happy to hear their thoughts and interact. But Mark, it's been a treat to to join you. I've I've enjoyed the conversation a great deal.
We're always looking for relevant RAM content. And this fits the bill perfectly. Thanks a lot, Dan. It was great having you.
Thank you, mark.
Second, let's get into our Week 7 Rams up straight up game picks. No Rams game this week, but I'm still picking them and I'm still going to give Aaron, Donald and Cooper Cup game balls, but. As for the game picks, let's take a look back at last week real quick. But what are the standings right now? Mike Florio went eight and six. The rest of us, Pete, Lorenzo and myself all went seven and seven. So the current standings, Mike 58 and 36, Lorenzo and myself 56. 38 two back. Pete Prisco, 52 and 42 and remember that one tie game? I give us all a correct pick just to simplify things. Last week, Lorenzo was the only one to pick the Dolphins, so he got dinged there. But he was also the only one that picked the Patriots. I don't know what I was thinking. Patriots should have been a no brainer Lorenzo was. Also the only one that picked the Cowboys and I was the only one to pick the Falcons, so that. Was a big break for. Me now getting into week 7. There's a lot of games that could really go either way right off the bat. Thursday Night, Saints at the Cardinals. The Cardinals, just like about 20 other teams, really hard to figure out. Offense seem to be in a groove. And then they met one of the worst defenses in the league, and they can't score an offensive touchdown. They add Robby Anderson and they get DeAndre Hopkins back from suspension. That they lose Hollywood brown. Yeah, I'll go with the Cardinals, the Browns at the Ravens and other team. Kind of like the Jags and the lions. Kind of get excited about them at times, but it's just not working. I'll take the Ravens in a bounce back game, the Buccaneers at the Panthers now. I'm not impressed. The Buccaneers at all. They to me are not a Super Bowl contender at this time. But the Panthers might be the worst team in the league right now going through a lot of drama. They got an interim coach. They get rid of Robbie Andrew. Send a lot of guys on the trade block maybe, maybe by the time you hear this, something has happened. But for all those reasons, I'll take the Buccaneers, the Falcons at the Bengals. To me, this might be the game of the week, and I really like the Falcons big game for them. They have a chance to hang with the Bucs and compete for a divisional title. They really do. They're going to get by the defending AFC Champs, though. I'm going to take the Bengals. I think this is going to be a really fun game, though. Lions at the Cowboys the Lions, for a while there, looked like the best offensive team in the league. The Cowboys. The best defensive team, perhaps. I'm not sold on that. But at least. They think they are, but I'm going to take the Cowboys in this one. Giants at the Jags. Who would have thought this would be a really interesting game to Jags? They are a decent team, but they have not learned how to win yet. Two and four in the Giants. Five and one. I'm taking the Jackson Hole. I think the giant bubbles going to get burst and the Jags get the home win. Colts set the Titans big divisional match up. These two teams square up. It's always interesting. I'm going to take the Colts, Packers at the commanders, the commanders, another team in the bottom run at the league and the Packers not really impressing. Are they a contender at this point? A really serious contender? Got me. Can't figure them out, but I'm going to take the Packers, jets at the Broncos, another game that could really go either way. How do you pick this one? Broncos to me are pretenders. The Jets, are they for real? I think they are. I'm taking The Jets, Texans at the Raiders. Texans are going to find a way to make this game interesting. But the Raiders will come away with the win Seahawks set the Chargers. I think the Chargers will exploit that Seahawk defense and Brandon Staley will find a way to slow down Geno Smith charges. Come away with the win to improve to five and two chiefs at the 49ers. I'm going to just go with my heart. Here I'm picking the chiefs. They're the better team. They're better coached. And might be a little hungrier as the 49ers look ahead to a rematch with the Rams and. Say what you say about the 49ers owning the Rams, you know they're probably dreading this rematch. Rams getting healthy and the 49ers getting less healthy. Steelers at the Dolphins. That was really surprising to see the Steelers take care of the Bucs last week, but I think that's more of a reflection of what the. Bucs really are than what the Steelers really are. I'll take the Dolphins and the Bears Monday night at the Patriots. This one doesn't excite me, but you know the Patriots are going to win this, right? This is the type of game Bill Belichick pretty much finds a way to squash the opponent, so that's my rounds up. Straight up picks for Week 7. See if I can gain some ground on Mike and pull ahead of Lorenzo Heat, a distant fourth at this point. That's going to do it for this episode. Remember, you can reach us at Rams up firstname.lastname@example.org. You can visit our website at ramsup.com. You'll find links to all of our episodes and a link to our YouTube channel. And you can also put some voicemail from our website. Don't forget to subscribe. Think of a set five star rating. It's really appreciated. And remember, keep the. Turns up stay safe and have fun out there.
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