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Welcome to 2024

Here we are another New Year and more sports than ever to talk about in Southern California. Lets start with the NFL....


The Los Angeles Rams were not supposed to be good this past season. After their fall from grace post Superbowl win, last year was brutal. Everything seemed in disarray. There were rumors that Football guru Sean McVay might even quit and go to TV.

Come on, he is a McVay. I didn't buy it. Nor did he. After some soul searching and moving on to the 2023 season, Sean McVay started the journey once again. It was clear in training camp that along with alot of youth, the Rams were the second to the youngest team in the NFL, came energy.

We all felt it. It was fun. Rams football was fun again. But could they transform that energy into wins? After a 3-6 start to the season, no one thought there was any post season opportunities in their future. Then something happened after their bye week, the team started to win games. The emergence of rookie WR Puka Nacua turned out to be the real deal. Second year RB Kyren Williams also came alive.  Then Veteran QB Matthew Stafford got his second wind and the team won. They would have to win the remainder of their games give or take one. They won them all accept one to the Baltimore Ravens. And they did not lose that one by much.

Suddenly the Rams were in the playoffs again. The black haze of the last failed season was gone. But it would not be until after the last week of NFL football before the Rams would find out who they would be playing. 

The NFC Gods set the schedule and the Rams would travel to Detroit to play the Lions. You could not make this up. The team that now Rams QB Matthew Stafford played for for 12 years would host their first playoff game in forever. But remember when Stafford came to Los Angeles, the Rams QB Jared Goff was traded to the Lions. Now they would play against each other. In an environment that Stafford could not win a playoff game in.


Could Goff?

Stafford came to Los Angeles and won a Superbowl in two years. Goff went to a Superbowl with the Rams years ealier but lost. The trade was messy between McVay and Goff and Stafford.

What a crazy turn of events. In the end the Lions did beat the Rams for the right to continue on. The Rams season is over. They lost 24-23.

What is remarkable is the way the Rams came together this season. With a mix of veterans like Aaron Donald, Cooper Kupp, Matthew Stafford and Rob Havenstein they jelled with the younger players. Players who could play. The coaches felt it too. Hey the Rams even have a first round pick in the draft this year. So while everyone thought they would be in a long term "rebuild", it turned out to be more like a short term "remodel" as GM Les Snead told us at the beginning of the season.

Time will tell.


The Chargers season ended with a record of 5-12, dead last in the AFC West. It also ended with an interim head coach and GM. That was because of a loss handed to them by the Las Vegas Raiders 63-21 in November. But the team had already given up. Head coach Brandon Staley lost the locker room and that game was just the straw that broke the proverbial camels back.


This team has always been a head scratcher. At the beginning of the season there was talk of this being THE YEAR the Chargers would make it to the Superbowl. Especially with QB Justin Herbert at the helm. Herbert is a player with so much young talent that everyone in the league thinks he will be one of the best ever at the position. But by the end of the season, everyone was walking on egg shells. Coaches were fired, Herbert hurt his hand and was out for the remainder of the season. You could see the players looking at the clock to see how much time was left in the last game so they could go on vacation.

There are many reasons why every year the Chargers season ends badly. But now the big story is who will be the new Head Coach and GM? There are so many high profile names like Bill Belicheck and former Charger Jim Harbaugh available. But will the team pay for a high profile coach? It's not the MO of the Spanos family to spend a lot of money on head coaches. But after paying QB Justin Herbert $133.7 million, they sure better find a coach who can help Herbert and this ultra talented team win games.





There is not doubt there is more excitement around this 2024 Dodgers team than maybe ever. With the arrival of Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto along with Freddie Freeman, Mookie Betts, Joe Kelly, James Outman, Max Muncy (and the list goes on and on) this team is World Series or bust....for the next ten years!

With the team heading out to Glendale, Arizona in February for Spring Training they will hold their annual FanFest on Saturday February 3rd at 11am. Even Shohei is expected to be attending.

This season the Dodgers are charging $10 a ticket for Fanfest. You can go to for more info.


Since Ron Washington was named the new Skipper of the Los Angeles Angels, he has been talking....a lot.  He recently said his whole being is about winning. He also said if you can't hold your weight then you will be out of here.

Probably a good philosophy to build on. Being a Professional Athlete is a Privilege not a Right. The more you appreciate the fact that you get to play baseball for a living, the harder you might try to win.

This will be a very different team without Ohtani in the stadium. But Mike Trout is still the star of the Angels and he is still there. Washington said he is going to depend on Trout and Anthony Rendon to lead this team and help the younger players. It sounds like Ron Washington is trying to build a culture at the Angels.

Let's just hope that Rendon will stay healthy enough to stay on the field in 2024.

2024 will also be a year where Diversity and Inclusion will happen. It will be visual. Maybe not how you might imagine but you will see they are leaving out a very large group of people. The same group that most businesses say they never discriminate against, but almost never hire. So lets start there.



My name is Maria Serrao. If you are reading this, you might already know who I am and what I do for a living. I am a sports reporter in Los Angeles and have been for 20 years.

I also use a wheelchair to get around. It has never prevented me from doing my job, but it has prevented me from getting a job.

The same executives who post that they do not discriminate based on gender, sexual orientation, race or disability DO DISCRIMINATE against hiring me.

My resume speaks for itself from covering the Dodgers in the World Series to the Rams in the Superbowl, the Lakers in the Finals, the Kings in the Stanley Cup Finals to the Indy 500. This includes everyday reporting for every professional sports team in Los Angeles.

You know who has never discriminated against me? Athletes and Professional Sports Teams. Never. Never treated me different than any other reporter who covers their teams.

Its all about lack of knowledge and ignorance. Statistics show that 25% of all people have a disability or injury. That INCLUDES and does not discriminate against Sex, Race, Religion or Gender. Across the board 25%.

I thought by now people in power would be more cutting edge. More open to new ideas. ESPN claims they are the Worldwide leader in Sports. The NFL is all about overcoming adversity even hiring coaches in wheelchairs. MLB and the NBA are being more inclusive to women in power positions than ever before. NBC Sports covers Olympic Games that include Paralympics. IndyCar has an owner of a race team who is a quadriplegic.

Last year I contacted every diversity department at every sports channel. only one of them contacted me to meet. Here is the problem, they simply don't consider disability to be Diversity. The people running these departments are content to hire Women, or people who are Black, Asian, Hispanic, Middle Eastern, LBGT and say, I did my job!  You are not doing  your job if you are not including people with disabilities. 

I am ready to shake this up. I love my job and I want everyone to see how much!


"Playing The Field" can be seen on COX-TV on Channel 3, RPVtv Channel 33 and Verizon Channel 38 and on PLAYINGTHEFIELDTV.COM

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