Mark Whicker

Sports Columnist

Mark Whicker

Recent articles

  • Los Angeles Chargers

    Whicker: Chargers’ defense plays well, until it has to

    CARSON >> On the north sideline, Kansas City’s’ Marcus Peters looked at the ground and held up a fist, with teammate Roy Miller holding up Peters’ arm.On the south sideline, five Chargers sat on a metal bench when the anthem was played, and Casey Hayward also raised a fist.Then the notes faded and a whistle blew, and chaos did not overrun the land.The Chargers (0-3) and Chiefs (3-0) went about playing the game the way they habitually do, the...

  • Boxing

    Golovkin’s draw with Canelo just raises the stakes

    LAS VEGAS >> The two top gunslingers in the sport of boxing got together and finally said, “Draw.”Twelve rounds later, so did the judges.A fight conducted at the highest levels of the sport wound up dead even between Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez, which means Golovkin keeps his three middleweight belts until they meet again.The only controversial aspect -- and, really, the only shadow on the night --  was a cockeyed 118-110 vote for Canelo...

  • USC

    Trojans refuse to repeat Cardinal sins

    LOS ANGELES -- Rasheem Green said it was a week of sacrifice.Maybe you don’t take that post-practice nap. Maybe you realize that the  XBox will still be there after Saturday.Maybe you go to the computer and cue up the tape and try to find the keys to the kingdom, try to learn why Stanford’s offense looks so old and yet works so new, sort of like USC Village.Only the fourth and fifth-year players at USC knew how it felt to beat...

  • Columnist

    Whicker: ‘01 Mariners are a warning for the Dodgers that nothing is guaranteed

    Sixteen years ago the Seattle Mariners were inevitable, too.They scored 300 more runs than their opponents. They had Ichiro Suzuki, the MVP and a Hall of Famer-to-be. They won 116 games, tying the record by the 1906 Chicago Cubs.“We were the Patriots before the Patriots, the Warriors before the Warriors,” pitcher Paul Abbott said. “Everything was clicking. I look at the Dodgers and they make it seem easy. It wasn’t easy, but we just never thought we...

  • Horse Racing

    Bolt d’Oro takes a supercharged victory in Del Mar Futurity

    DEL MAR -- It was a great San Diego story, except for one thing.The winner of the Del Mar Futurity for 2-year-olds Monday is named Bolt d’Oro.Ouch.Why not twist the knife a little deeper into these marooned Chargers’ fans?How about a winner called Spanos’ Pride? Or maybe Charge North?Indeed, Bolt d’Oro will fight for L.A. in his next stop. He will run in the Frontrunner at Santa Anita Sept. 30,...

  • UCLA

    Whicker: Josh Rosen, UCLA Bruins pull an incredible 180

    PASADENA >> Tom Bradley, the defensive coordinator, didn’t even talk about desperation. Desperation implies that there’s a chance.UCLA was down 44-10 to Texas A&M. The only goal left was self-esteem.“We had to take a brave pill,” Bradley said.He meant the Bruins had to go back to a base defense they hadn’t practiced in a week and a half. He meant the Bruins had to send everybody but the mascot on the pass rush. He meant the...

  • USC

    Ronald Jones is strong enough to carry erratic Trojans

    LOS ANGELES >> It was an excellent day to lose 10 pounds. It was almost an excellent day to lose a football season.Ronald Jones II. had pre-planned for this 98-degree brain bake at the Coliseum. He put on 10 pounds during the so-called offseason.All players say they improve their bodies in the winter and spring because, if they didn’t, there would be no reason for those palatial weight rooms and human performance centers. But it became clear on Saturday that Jones...

  • Horse Racing

    Whicker: A 2-year-old colt captures Kirk Herbstreit’s soul

    He is cool like a front porch in the evening, unbothered by three producers in his ear and a fumble plus a penalty on the field below him.Kirk Herbstreit is the triumph of detachment.Well, at least when he’s doing football games.Maybe not when ESPN/ABC’s lead analyst is sitting in his Nashville home watching a 2-year-old pony dig hard for the end zone.Bob Baffert, the trainer, laughed as he replayed the scene on his phone, taken from...

  • Horse Racing

    Whicker: Songbird, ‘the total package,’ goes out on top

    It wasn’t good news, not exactly. But Mike Smith wasn’t singing the blues.Songbird retired at age 4 on Thursday. Doctors found problems with her “hind suspensories,” and owner Rick Porter asked Dr. Larry Bramlage for further tests.They saw a line in a bone in her leg, and when Bramlage did an MRI he still had doubts.So Smith will need another horse to ride in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Del Mar in November.Songbird won’t...

  • Angels

    Angels hope to quicken pace of race with Justin Upton, Brandon Phillips

    Throughout their treadmill summer, the Angels couldn’t play themselves out of the math.They were always there but not there, maybe with an arm or an ear sticking into the picture. They were the team in the wings.When you’re three games out of the second wild-card spot, and you’re unable to escape the shadow of .500, are you legit? Or maybe you’re just being graded on the curve.Finally the Angels got to the end of August.