Rank #1: USC Admissions Scandal (McCollough, Fenno)
Host Beto Duran welcomes Brady McCollough (USC Beat Reporter) and Nathan Fenno (Enterprise Reporter) to discuss the impact on the sports department at USC due to last week's series of arrests, indictments, and firings after the FBI uncovered a nationwide college admissions scandal. Are last week's arrests and firings the end of this matter or is there more to uncover? Brady McCollough discusses this and the shift from covering USC football and other sports to investigating the legal aspects of this situation. How many athletic department members at USC have been arrested at USC in the last 18 months? Nathan Fenno reviews the larger epidemic of a scandal plagued institution. Is this a series of rogue individuals or is a larger department effort at play here?
Rank #2: Zlatan Ibrahimović (Baxter)
Today's episode includes a one-on-one interview with international soccer phenom, Zlatan Ibrahimović. Soccer journalist, Kevin Baxter, conducts the interview on the eve of the 2019 MLS season kickoff. A notoriously difficult interview to land, we take you right to the legend himself and talked with him as much as time permitted. Who does Zlatan consider the greatest soccer player in history? Who is his role model? Why did he choose to come play for the LA Galaxy? From hardcore fans to casual fans, this episode features the Zlatan Ibrahimović interview and gives you a preview of what to look for in the 2019 MLS season.
Rank #3: Super Bowl LIII Preview Week - LZ Granderson & Lakers - Tania Ganguli
Host Beto Duran checks in with new Sports & Culture columnist LZ Granderson, as LZ makes his Arrive Early, Leave Late debut. Promising to use the platform to take subscribers beyond the box score, LZ dives right in to discuss the halftime show, his role at the LA Times, and what impact the Big Game will have on the Rams and Los Angeles. Then Tania Ganguli, Lakers beat writer, updates Beto with the discussion around Anthony Davis' announcement. Tania provides the dynamics at play as the February 7th NBA trade deadline approaches. Are the Lakers in the driver's seat for AD right now? Tania fills us in on that story, the injuries to the Lakers, and gives us a glimpse into how all of this impacts coach Luke Walton.
Rank #4: LA x 2 = NFL Divisional Playoffs (Klein, Miller)
Host Beto Duran discusses the NFL Divisional Playoffs, which features both Los Angeles teams, the Rams and the Chargers. Gary Klein joins to discuss the Rams, bringing us up to date with their progress coming off their bye week as they get ready to host the Dallas Cowboys. How does Gary feel about their chances? The Chargers head east to face the New England Patriots as Chargers' beat writer Jeff Miller reviews key players on their roster, and assesses their chances.
Rank #5: Super Bowl LIII Wrap Up and eSports (Markazi)
Host Beto Duran welcomes Page 2 columnist, Arash Markazi, to the podcast. Arash arrived back from Atlanta and Beto asks about the details from the pre-game tacos to the post-game after party. Did the Rams do enough to move the needle in their return to Los Angeles? Arash shares his prognosis of what to expect. Later, Arash shares what he did during halftime and another aspect of sports that he delves into - eSports. The competitions, the stars, and how Arash ended up in China during the UCLA shoplifting scandal of late 2017 are all discussed.
Rank #6: USC & Dodgers Family (Plaschke), Blake Griffin & NBA (Woike)
Bill Plaschke and Dan Woike join Beto Duran as Bill discusses USC's end of season and how they move forward. Is BIll still the vocal supporter of Clay Helton as he was previously? Also, BIll discusses his column on Maria Hartmark released on Thanksgiving, and the contrast of these two stories in his role as a journalist and as a human. Dan covered the Clippers for many years and recently visited Blake Griffin in Detroit. Dan's recent travels through the NBA and his featured Best Game Ever are discussed too.
Rank #7: Overlooked: Tobias Harris, LA Clippers (Greif)
Andrew Greif joins host Beto Duran to discuss Andrew's interview with LA Clippers' Tobias Harris, which is featured on this episode. Harris was recently named Western Conference Player of the Month, beating out LeBron, KD, Westbrook, Harden, The Brow, and many others in a stacked NBA West. So how does Tobias Harris (and the LA Clippers) get overlooked? Andrew and Beto seek to answer this question and discuss other overlooked sports personalities. Who else does Andrew Greif think is overlooked? It is all covered in this latest episode.
Rank #8: Manny Pacquiao Interview (Pugmire) and Rams, Lakers, Dodgers (Hernandez)
Host Beto Duran welcomes Lance Pugmire and Dylan Hernandez to this week's podcast. Lance was able to visit Manny Pacquiao for a breakfast interview and we have the one-on-one interview. Does Manny want to run for President of the Phillipines? Is he thinking about a rematch with Floyd Mayweather, Jr.? Lance finds out the answers to these questions and more as Manny Pacquiao tunes up for his January 19th boxing match with Adrien Broner in Las Vegas. Dylan Hernandez has some opinions on the fight, and also shares his feelings on the state of the Rams, Lakers, and Dodgers. The Rams are gearing up for the NFC Championship, will a win cement their status as LA's football team? Do they need to win the Super Bowl to achieve that? Is it even possible? The Lakers are dealing with an injury to star player LeBron James. What are we learning from this injury? The Dodgers are wrapping up their off-season, Spring Training starts in 4 weeks. Are the Dodgers done making moves? Dylan breaks down all of these LA sports scenarios with Beto.
Rank #9: LA Rams in Super Bowl (Plaschke) & LAUSD Strike Impact on HS Sports (Sondheimer)
Host Beto Duran welcomes BIll Plaschke and Eric Sondheimer to discuss 2 major stories in Los Angeles this week. First, Plaschke discusses Los Angeles sending their first team to the Super Bowl in 35 years. Bill takes you along for his journey covering the Rams, discuss his feelings on the Patriots, and what to expect in the big game. Who does Bill Plaschke think will win the Super Bowl? Hear his emphatic answer. The LAUSD/UTLA Strike has had a tremendous impact on the entire local education system and residents. We focus on the impact on high school sports with High School Prep Reporter, Eric Sondheimer. How did scheduled games, college recruiting, coaches on strike, and the upcoming playoffs all get affected by the strike? Eric and Beto discuss all of the ramifications and ripple effects.
Rank #10: LA Football and Coaches (Klein)
Gary Klein joins host Beto Duran to cover his amazing career. Starting out in minor league baseball to a low level job at a regional edition of the LA Times to covering the Los Angeles Rams, Gary takes us on a journey of perspective, insight, and wisdom that few journalists can share. What was it like covering Pete Carroll at USC and what is it like covering Sean McVay now? Gary provides his answers on this episode.
Rank #11: Super Bowl LIII Preview Week - Sam Farmer
Host Beto Duran kicks off our Super Bowl LIII Preview Week with guest Sam Farmer. Sam's first Super Bowl was memorable, his second is quite the tale, and Sam covers that history and leads us into his take on this year's Rams-Patriots matchup. Who does Sam like, what does he think it will take to take home the Vince Lombardi Trophy? Sam and Beto cover all that plus some great stories from Sam covering previous Super Bowls.
Rank #12: Super Bowl LIII Preview Week - Arash Markazi
Host Beto Duran welcomes new Sports Enterprise Reporter and Page 2 Columnist, Arash Markazi to Super Bowl LIII Preview Week. This is Arash's first week on the job and it happens to coincide with Super Bowl week in Atlanta. Hear how Arash decided to join the LA Times, his take on the events and parties surrounding the week, and where he plans on being during the game. Will Arash look to take in the Big Game from the Press Box or perhaps somewhere closer? Listen to find out his unique perspective.
Rank #13: JaVale McGee (Ganguli) and Diego Maradona (Baxter)
Tania Ganguli and Kevin Baxter join host Beto Duran to discuss Tania’s interview with JaVale McGee, the Los Angeles Lakers starting center, as they discuss JaVale's passions when he’s not playing, who Pierre is, life growing up, and much more. Kevin Baxter covers soccer for the LA Times and recently traveled down to Culiacán, Mexico to check out world-renowned soccer legend Diego Maradona, who is currently coaching a Second Division soccer team in a rural part of Mexico. Both reporters discuss two of the more colorful characters in the world of sports, bringing you up close to these fascinating athletes.
Rank #14: USC (McCollough) and UCLA (Bolch)
College edition of the podcast, as host Beto Duran discusses USC with beat writer Brady McCollough and UCLA with beat writer Ben Bolch. Brady discusses USC’s unparalleled media access and his recent coverage of Tee Martin, while Ben dives into UCLA football, basketball, and discusses the recent concussion precautions taken by UCLA. Out of respect to our passionate audience, UCLA section starts at 22:06 if you'd prefer to skip ahead.
Rank #15: Super Bowl LIII Preview Week - Gary Klein
Host Beto Duran welcome Rams Beat Writer, Gary Klein, to conclude our Super Bowl LIII Preview Week. Outside of the Rams' organization, Gary has probably spent the most amount of time this season with the Rams. Starting from the end of last year's Super Bowl, through the off-season, draft, and training camp, into the season, through all the practices, media sessions, and every Rams game - home and away, Gary Klein has been there. It is only fitting to close out this week having Gary discuss the players and coaches as the Rams pursue the highest of prizes that a season-long commitment requires. Listen as Gary illustrates the metaphor of the Rams' pursuit for Super Bowl glory and Gary's pursuit of top-notch reporting of the Rams.