A Florida waitress who had just emptied her bank account to pay for a car repair received quite a Christmas gift from some regulars with whom she had shared her financial issues.Lynette Baio, who has worked at the Speggtacular in Clearwater for five years, says the couple left her a $2,000 check on Christmas Eve.Last month, she spent $2,000 on a car repair, and told the couple about it recently, with the holidays approaching. When they came back for dinner on Christmas Eve, they left the check as a tip, with a message that reads, “Merry Christmas and restore your savings. God bless you.”“They started to walk out and I picked it up and I was like, ‘What?’ and I started crying and he started crying and she starting crying and it was just totally amazing,” Baio says.Baio used the unexpected tip to buy gifts for family members and friends.“It’s a Christmas miracle to me,” she adds.
After beating the Washington Huskies in game one of the weekend’s series, the Trojans lost the next two games to bring their record to 13-11 on the year.Sophomore Lars Nootbaar’s struggles at the plate continued this weekend against Washington. Austin Paik | Daily TrojanThe Trojans took game one thanks to a clutch home run by redshirt junior third baseman Angelo Armenta in the bottom of the eighth inning to seal the game by a score of 1-0. The Trojans, however, were not as fortunate in game two, losing 5-2. The Trojans were off to an early lead in the first inning when junior first baseman Dillon Paulson hit a 2-run double.However, the Huskies were able to tie the score in the second inning and get 2 runs on the board courtesy of RBIs from freshman outfielder Braiden Ward and freshman second baseman Noah Hsue.The game was tied 2-2 until the top of the fifth inning when Washington senior shortstop Levi Jordan hit a double down the leftfield line off of junior pitcher Solomon Bates to to take the game to 3-2. The game was then killed off in the seventh inning after senior designated hitter Joe Wainhouse hit a 2-run single to put the game out of reach 5-2.After their early lead, the Trojans had a hard time getting the bats going. They only managed to get four more hits the rest of the game.“We jumped early and I thought for his first start Solomon pitched fine,” head coach Dan Hubbs said after game two. “You know they answered back and did a nice job.”Sophomore outfielder Matthew Acosta and junior outfielder Lars Nootbaar played in new positions during game two. Acosta, who usually plays in center field, played in right Friday night. And Nootbaar, who usually plays in left field, played in center.“The switch is more determined on the other outfielder,” Hubbs said. “We decided to put Dubb in the outfield today and get [John Thomas] in the lineup. And he’s better suited for left field and Matthew can play either equally well, and Lars can play left and center equally well, so it was more predicated on that third outfielder than anything else.”Game three ended like game two as the Trojans lost 9-5 on Saturday despite an early lead in the first. Paulson once again got the scoring started for the Trojans as he hit a 3-run homer into right field scoring in junior second baseman Brandon Perez and Nootbaar.However, as they did in game two, the Huskies responded by putting up runs in the second inning. The Huskies scored four runs in the second inning to take the score to 4-3. The Trojans then scored one more run in the fifth inning courtesy of an RBI from Nootbaar to tie the game at 4 runs a piece. In the sixth, the Trojans retook the lead thanks to an RBI from Perez putting the Trojans up 5-4 with three innings left to play.The Trojans have relied heavily on their bullpen all season as it is one of the best parts of their team, but the bullpen gave up 5 runs in the seventh and eighth, ending the game in a loss.The Trojans also uncharacteristically made seven errors in their series against the Huskies this weekend. Prior to the series, the Trojans led the nation in fielding percentage and defending, only making 10 errors the whole year. Earlier in the season, Hubbs mentioned how this team is built around its defense and its bullpen.While Bushor has been playing exceptionally well at shortstop this season, Hubbs seemed excited about the comeback of freshman shortstop Ben Ramirez who returned for game three with a walk and a strikeout.“Well, it would be hard for us to want to move Chase off of shortstop,” Hubbs said of fitting Ramirez and Bushor into the team. “It doesn’t mean that Ben won’t be in the lineup somewhere. Or it means that Chase can play third and move over, or he can play second. I mean there’s a lot of things that we can do, or Ben can play DH. I mean there’s a ton of ways to get him into the lineup.”The Trojans will hope to return to winning ways Tuesday when they play UC Santa Barbara.
The Dodgers might re-sign Kenley Jansen and Justin Turner.But the odds are against it.They might trade for Chris Sale or Justin Verlander.But they probably won’t. Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and his staff will no doubt be involved in conversations involving those players and many others. As much as any team in baseball, the Dodgers have both the financial resources and prospect stash to make things happen. Friedman’s philosophy is to stay “nimble” and “opportunistic” when it comes to talent acquisition and the Dodgers’ well-stocked farm system gives them ample chips to be at the forefront of any auction.But the Dodgers’ focus this winter seems less about making significant additions to the roster and more about maintaining what they have already built — an uncommonly deep roster with flexibility and a more manageable payroll.“Yeah, that’s a really, really good team,” Friedman said of a 2017 roster with the same elements intact that produced 91 wins in 2016 and fell two games short of reaching the World Series.That group would return with the prospects of improved health, Friedman points out – how could it not be better than last year’s? — and added maturity for the young players who made such critical contributions.But there is a strain of wistfulness in Friedman’s comments. He is aware just how unlikely it is that the Dodgers will be able to put last year’s band back together.Jansen, Turner and Rich Hill are all free agents this winter. The Dodgers would like to re-sign all three and team officials insist their ability to do so will not be restrained by debt service or luxury-tax penalties – only by the same kind of good sense that stopped their bidding for Zack Greinke at $160 million last winter.That was only good for third place behind the San Francisco Giants and Greinke’s new employer, the Arizona Diamondbacks, who have spent much of the past year regretting that $206 million decision.The Dodgers are closing in on re-signing Hill to a multi-year deal that would lock him in as Greinke’s replacement behind Clayton Kershaw in the rotation. When it comes to Jansen and Turner, however, market forces are working against the Dodgers this winter as well.Jansen is in a two-horse race with Chapman to set new pay standards for a closer. The target is set at five years and $100 million – the kind of early-winter pie in the sky that only seems absurd until someone offers it. Of the very limited number of top hitters available on the free-agent market, only Turner offers premium defense as well.So far, the Dodgers have elected to slow-play their pursuit of Jansen and Turner. That might need to change soon. The need to gauge the chances of re-signing either – and the search for alternatives – could gain some urgency in the next week as the Winter Meetings intensify conversations.“I think the right to be a free agent is a significant one that players earn,” Friedman said. “We’re trying to be as respectful as we can. But obviously, we have to make sure that we’re in good position as well. So at some point I expect conversations to progress – and I don’t even mean just with our internal guys, with external free agents and on the trade front. I think it’s been a little quieter this month as opposed to past years with the CBA negotiations and the unknowns surrounding it. But I expect things to pick up quite a bit in the next few weeks.”Chapman and, more affordably, Melancon (as well as potential trade target David Robertson of the White Sox) offer alternatives if Jansen leaves the Dodgers for bigger money elsewhere. At this point, it’s hard to imagine realistic options for replacing Turner that don’t take the Dodgers backwards.“Short term or long term?” Friedman responded to that. “Look – I think there are a lot of interesting players on the market. Some on the free agent market, some on the trade market. And we’re continuing to have conversations to see what makes the most sense for us.”Dodgers’ to-do list• Re-sign Kenley Jansen and Justin Turner – or not.The Dodgers would like to re-sign both but the market for each (and good sense) might make that unrealistic, particularly in light of the new CBA’s increased luxury-tax penalties for high-payroll teams.• Find alternatives.If Jansen and/or Turner won’t be back in 2017, the Dodgers need to find someone to close games and/or play third base for them in 2017. Finding replacements won’t be easy. The closer options drop off dramatically after free agents Aroldis Chapman and Mark Melancon. The options at third base are even less attractive.• Settle on a second basemanRe-signing an aging Chase Utley and pairing him with a younger right-handed bat (Kiké Hernandez, Charlie Culberson) is one option. But acquiring someone like Ian Kinsler, Brian Dozier or Josh Harrison would better address the Dodgers’ deficiencies against left-handed pitching.• Trade Yasiel Puig.The Dodgers might finally be ready to part ways with their problem child – even though his value has never been lower.• Restock the bullpenJoe Blanton emerged as the Dodgers’ most reliable setup man last season. But the 35-year-old is a free agent. Regardless of who closes games for them in 2017, the Dodgers will look to restock the relief corps in front of him. They might sign Aroldis Chapman and trade for Andrew McCutchen.But probably not.Maybe they’ll sign Mark Melancon and trade for Brian Dozier.Or maybe not.As the Dodgers head to baseball’s annual Winter Meetings in National Harbor, Maryland — “a census-designated place and development along the Potomac River” outside Washington, D.C. — they will, as usual, be featured prominently in the haze of rumor and speculation that will settle over the sprawling Gaylord Resort playing host to Major League Baseball’s movers and shakers. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error