JAMAICA is yet to win a medal in the men’s 110 metres hurdles at the IAAF World Championships, but history is on the horizon. Two athletes, Omar McLeod and Hansle Parchment, with strong medal prospects in the event will represent the island at the 2015 Beijing World Championships. The country’s best placing in the event at these championships came at the 2009 Berlin meet where Maurice Wignall finished fifth and Dwight Thomas seventh. World leader Orlando Ortega of Cuba, with a winning time of 12.94 seconds at the Paris Diamond League, will not be in Beijing and as a result of this, Jamaica’s Omar McLeod will go into the championships as the top seed, following his personal best of 12.97 to win at the Jamaica National Senior Championships in June. Only one other athlete, defending champion, American David Oliver, with 12.98, has gone sub 13 seconds this season. With no one taking the event this season by ‘storm’, Jamaica’s top two – McLeod and Hansle Parchment, with a season best of 13.08 – both have glorious opportunities to put their names and the country’s into the history book. Parchment does have the potential to go sub-13 seconds, as a year ago in Monaco he raced to victory in a personal best of 12.95. However, he has not competed since the June Trials. With world record holder Aries Merritt of the United States and France’s Pascal Martinot-Lagarde both struggling for good form, this will be a wide open race. After a wonderful 2015 season on the collegiate circuit where he dominated his peers, McLeod looks set to go much faster than his 12.97 best.He has an excellent start and good speed over the first three hurdles and could dominate early and ‘leave the field for dead’. Teammate Parchment, who mined bronze in the event at the 2012 London Olympic Games, may lack the competitive edge, but if he reports fit for Beijing, he could be among the medals. The other Jamaican in the event, Andrew Riley, will need a big improvement on his season’s best of 13.28 to be a factor. Oliver, the defending champion, will be hard to beat, but has his problems. He tends to start slowly and he will need to be on top of his game to win this event. Of the others, Serjey Shubenkov of Russia looks the best of the lot. While McLeod seems to be the best tactically in the event, Oliver with his experience is given the edge, but just to get the win here over McLeod. MY TOP THREE: 1. David Oliver (USA), 2. Omar McLeod (Jamaica), 3. Serjey Shubenkov (Russia). SET TO GO FASTER
Mommas, don’t let your baseball-playing sons grow up to be right-handed … Jason Vargas was right-handed as a child, said Sean Sers, his coach at Apple Valley High School. “Between age 5 and 8, his dad switched him over” to throwing and batting left-handed, Sers said. The rest is history. Left-hander Jason Vargas pitched a six-hitter at the Dodgers and drove in two runs in a 7-1 Florida Marlins victory on Sunday, improving his record to 4-1 – barely a year out of Long Beach State. Clearly, considerable talent is required to make the big leagues at age 22 and a modest 6-foot, 215 pounds. But the climb isn’t quite as daunting if you throw from the south side of the mound. Vargas’ father, Joe, is athletic director at Victor Valley High School and before that was its baseball coach. Jason hung around his dad’s teams year after year. Sers said Jason Vargas was preternaturally mature as a high school player. “His mental and emotional makeup made him stand out,” said Sers, who isn’t surprised to see his former star in the bigs. “He was way above your average high school kid.” Jason Vargas was all-San Bernardino County as a junior but not as a senior, when his Apple Valley team failed to make the CIF playoffs. Demonstrating a bad year doesn’t bury you as long as you’ve had a good one. And are left-handed. Vargas was a second-round pick out of Long Beach State, where he also was one of the 49ers’ leading hitters. He received a $525,000 signing bonus from the Marlins, and joined the big club on July 1. The Inland Empire/Inland Valley hasn’t generated scads of big-league pitching stars. The best who come to mind: Hall-of-Famer Rollie Fingers (Upland) and the late Daryl Kile (Norco). Chad Cordero (Chino) and Vargas are off to nice starts. Dodgers Milton Bradley and Jeff Kent, feuding? You didn’t have to be Nostradamus to see this one coming. Bradley is extremely sensitive to criticism. Kent is extremely blunt. Kent chiding Bradley for not scoring from first on Kent’s double on Saturday set off a rant by Bradley. Would have happened sooner, we imagine, had not Bradley been out two months with an injury. Bradley is prone to the occasional brain cramp. He probably should have scored on Kent’s double. But Bradley’s suggestion that Kent is particularly preoccupied by stats rings true, too. Kent and Bradley are Exhibits A and B in why the 2005 Dodgers clubhouse is as cheerful as a morgue. Neither is known as media-friendly or even friendly. Tight-lipped J.D. Drew is Exhibit C. Paul DePodesta, Dodgers general manager, says he doesn’t dismiss the concept of clubhouse “chemistry,” but suggests it can’t be designed. “When you’re winning, you’ve got great chemistry. I don’t think too many bad teams have great chemistry.” If you want to blame the Dodgers’ struggles on one player, Derek Lowe is a good choice. Signed in January for $36 million over four years to be a front-of-the-rotation starter, Lowe is 8-12 with a 4.20 ERA. His inability to keep the baseball in the park has been a huge disappointment. Lowe has allowed 25 homers; his previous career worst was 17. The Angels still need a hitter. Even if Garret Anderson comes back this week, they need another hitter. Steve Finley was supposed to be that hitter; that’s why the Angels signed him to a two-year, $14 million contract. But that .217 batting average and puny power numbers have turned him into an 8-hole hitter. Another Angels blunder: Giving $32 million over four years to shortstop Orlando Cabrera after cutting fan-favorite David Eckstein – who would have re-signed for a fraction of what Cabrera got. The numbers to date, with Cabrera’s listed first: 48/64 runs, 27/28 extra-base hits, 37/42 RBI, .255/.268 average, .309/.344 on-base percentage, .991/.980 fielding percentage. Dodgers manager Jim Tracy was a coach at Montreal when Vladimir Guerrero first came up, and he said Vlad has been a free-swinger from Day 1. “He’s one of those guys who’ll swing at an oh-two pitch even if it’s headed for the dugout. And he might hit it.” Tracy claims to have seen Guerrero hit a ball off the wall on a pitch that bounced before reaching the plate. “Just bleepin’ crushed it.” Baseball should ban upper-body armor for batters so hitters aren’t as brazen about standing on top of the plate. Barry Bonds is captain of the Kevlar Brigade, but dozens of guys, from David Ortiz to Jayson Werth, do it too. It may be months before we learn the cause of death of 49ers rookie guard Thomas Herrion, who collapsed after an exhibition in Denver. Our first thought: It must be hard on any body’s heart to carry 315 pounds. USC announced 30,000 in attendance for its Coliseum free scrimmage on Sunday. Most Division I programs have trouble drawing that many for real games. Chris McFoy, the Trojans’ redshirt junior from Chino, is being pushed hard by freshman Patrick Turner for the No. 3 receiver spot. Turner is 6-foot-5, and Pete Carroll loves tall receivers. McFoy is 6-1. McFoy’s nickname: “Bobble.” No, not in reference to his hands. Former Trojan Jacob Rogers said McFoy’s head jiggles when he runs. Like a bobble-head doll. USC quarterback Matt Leinart and tailback Reggie Bush have been instructed not to sign autographs this season. Said a USC official: “Ninety percent of them end up on eBay, anyway.” Landon Donovan itinerary update: The Los Angeles Galaxy standout from Redlands played for the national team in Connecticut on Wednesday, went to Washington D.C. on Thursday and waited for the Galaxy to arrive for its Saturday match with D.C. United. He flew to Madrid from D.C. on Sunday for Tuesday’s match pitting Major League Soccer all-stars against superclub Real Madrid. Wrote Donovan in an e-mail: “Sounds fun, huh?!?!?!” On Wednesday, Donovan crosses nine time zones, from Madrid to L.A. We assume the Galaxy won’t ask him to continue on to San Jose (California, not Costa Rica), where L.A. plays the Earthquakes that night in the MLS Cup semis. Donovan’s curling, free-kick goal against D.C. United was exquisite. A few more of those, and someone might do a “Bend It Like Landon” movie. Donovan undoubtedly was on the same flight to Madrid with goalkeeper Nick Rimando, the D.C. United standout from Montclair High School who is among the 19 MLS all-stars. We still watch Indy Racing League contests to see how Danica Patrick does … but eventually she needs to win to keep our interest. Kudos: To Marcie Van Dusen of Lake Arrowhead, who won a women’s wrestling bronze medal at 121 pounds at the World University Games in Turkey. Van Dusen attends the University of Minnesota-Morris. Condolences: To anyone who pays real money to see an NFL exhibition game. Lookalikes: Until he shaved his training-camp beard, Baltimore Ravens coach Brian Billick, Ted “Unabomber” Kaczynski. Where are they now? Tim Burroughs, backfield standout at Fontana High School and the University of Redlands before beginning a long coaching career in San Bernardino, is retired and living in Morro Bay, according to son Dan. They said it: “He painted the corners all day. He knows what he’s doing. He’s going to be around for a long time.” – Marlins catcher Paul Lo Duca, on left-hander Jason Vargas. And finally: Sers said Vargas hits woods and irons right-handed, when he comes home to Apple Valley to golf. But when things get serious, on the greens, Vargas putts left-handed. Paul Oberjuerge’s column appears Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Readers may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!