I think it’s been very well documented what they did this winter and how they’ve gotten better as an organization over the last two, three years,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said as pitchers and catchers prepared for Thursday’s first workout.,Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman did acknowledge it’s “hard to say” if the Dodgers would have pursued pitcher Trevor Bauer as aggressively in the free-agent market if the Padres hadn’t started the arms race with their acquisitions of Blake Snell, Yu Darvish and Joe Musgrove this winter, fortifying a roster led by third baseman Manny Machado and shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. (third and fourth, respectively in the 2020 National League MVP voting).,Let’s do everything we can to go out next year and do it again,” Friedman said during an appearance on SportsNet LA, summarizing the texts that were going around among members of the Dodgers’ front office in the afterglow of last year’s title.,But as much as the rising threat in San Diego, the challenge for the Dodgers in 2021 is providing validation for last year’s short-season title by winning another in a standard-length season.,“I have argued and would still argue that last year’s circumstances were more difficult than a regular potential grind that we’ve known in the past, all that we’ve ever known,” Roberts said.

The last time San Diego elected a moderate Republican mayor with strong potential for appealing to voters statewide, it was Pete Wilson, a onetime state assemblyman who later won election to the U.S. Senate and two terms as governor.,Now, while Californians think about possibly recalling Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, there’s San Diego’s recently termed-out ex-Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who figures to be on both the recall’s list of possible replacement governors and the state’s June 2022 primary ballot.,With Faulconer as mayor, San Diego was the largest American city with a Republican governor.,Faulconer has sometimes sought to downplay his Republican identity in this state where the GOP label has lately meant certain defeat for anyone seeking statewide office other than the movie muscleman Schwarzenegger.,Faulconer said San Diego cut homelessness after a hepatitis outbreak by sending nurses and paramedics to “every riverbed, canyon and street corner, vaccinated more than 100,000 persons, sanitized streets and built four bridge shelters.”

In the last couple of weeks, however, Newsom has shifted venues to orchestrated outdoor events at sports arenas and other mass vaccination sites.,At one event in Oakland, the city’s mayor, Libby Schaaf, gushed — extemporaneously, of course — “I can’t tell you how lucky we are in California to have Gavin Newsom as our governor.”,At a similar event in San Diego, newly elected Mayor Todd Gloria, chimed in, “Gavin Newsom has always done the right thing to protect public health, even when it’s hard.”,On Monday, John Cox, the Republican businessman whom Newsom defeated to win the governorship in 2018, launched a statewide ad campaign aimed at both Newsom and Republican rival Kevin Faulconer, the former mayor of San Diego.,The 30-second ad, titled “Gavin Faulconer” depicts both Newsom and Faulconer as corrupt politicians, citing Newsom’s infamous attendance at a maskless birthday dinner in Napa and San Diego’s purchase of an asbestos-ridden building during Faulconer’s mayoralty.

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The boys basketball coaches at Orange County’s private high schools are advancing closer toward creating a club-type league that could take the place of the CIF Southern Section season if it is canceled or greatly reduced because of the pandemic.,Coaches at Trinity League and other private schools will have a Zoom meeting Tuesday, Jan. 12 to discuss options for a season that would be held during the spring.,Becoming a club league, with no school associations, would be a last resort, according to Mater Dei coach Gary McKnight, who has a leadership role in the coaches’ efforts to figure out a way for a 2021 spring season to occur.,Figuring it is a longshot that all seven counties will get to the yellow tier by the time the season is supposed to start, McKnight and other O.C. boys basketball coaches are examining options for an all-Orange County private school league.,McKnight said with other counties perhaps having a more difficult time getting to the yellow tier, an all-O.C. league might provide the best chance for having a season.