Santa here. Thought I’d grab the local sports section to see who’s been nice and who’s been keeping their bail bondsmen gainfully employed as the Big Day approaches.
And, before you start asking for national championships under the local U’s tree, just remember: I’m Saint Nick, not the Second Coming. Work with me, people.
Let’s go down the list:
Fresno State men’s basketball – All coach Rodney Terry wants is an improved RPI? I’m used to seeing those letters arranged as RIP by the time I come to town, so this is a pleasant surprise.
Never miss a local story.
The Bulldogs – all 97th-rated of them – don’t need me to impress the NCAA Selection Committee. They just need to beat visiting Evansville on Sunday night, hope close losses in Oregon and Arizona have staying power, and make the conference finals in March.
With no Mountain West Conference teams in the Top 25, the Bulldogs have picked a great year to be better than good.
Yeah, that’s asking a lot, but when’s the last time the Bulldogs could put a conference trophy on their list without first taking a swig of grandpa’s eggnog? With no Mountain West Conference teams in the Top 25, the Bulldogs have picked a great year to be better than good.
High school football – Poor Dos Palos. Their high school team was best in the state for decades, and all they had to show for it were small-school mythical titles.
Now, their ginger-haired cousins up the 152 are the ones playing for a state title that is actually decided on the field, not on some computer geek’s Trash-80 in mom’s basement.
Good for Chowchilla, regardless of the outcome Saturday night. Nothing says community like an entire town sitting in the rain to watch their neighbors’ kids play ball in the mud. That’s what makes this Valley, The Valley, in a good way.
Nothing says community like an entire town sitting in the rain to watch their neighbors’ kids play ball in the mud. That’s what makes this Valley, The Valley, in a good way.
To you, I’m giving a Bruce Springsteen “Glory Days” download. Always remember, the older you get when telling these stories to the grandkids, the bigger and faster you were when it happened.
Bay area NFL – The Raiders have the future. The 49ers have the stadium.
Here’s how we’re going to make this fair.
The team with the best record plays at Levi’s Stadium. The other gets banished to Oakland’s corner of Hegenberger and the 880.
Let us know how you like The Coliseum, 49ers. You’re going to be there for awhile.
Pity the Lakers. Probably still in search of the right coach, while rival Golden State may just have two great ones.
Los Lakers – I know, this isn’t fair. The Golden State Warriors have two incredible coaches, and you have none.
We’ll give Warriors Coach No. 1, Steve Kerr, a speedy recovery and return to the bench, and watch his back give out under the pressure of going 26-1.
The Lakers get Warriors Coach No. 2, Luke Walton. Not as a coach. He’s coming out of retirement to play small forward. Trust me, he’s better than anyone you’ve got on the floor, and we mean you, Kobe Bryant.
The Gigantes – Because two half-Greinke’s are as good as one, the San Francisco Giants are getting their biennial World Series rings after bribing pitchers Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija to come play at Land Line Stadium when Zack Greinke refused.
To give the Dodgers a lump of coal is to give them more than they’ve got all offseason. Seeing the Giants won’t be sharing their pitchers with Los Angeles, the least they can do is let Samardzija do sidework for the 49ers. The college All-America wide receiver is as good as anything running fly routes in Santa Clara these days.
As for the rest of you – May Fresno State football win the 2016 junior college state championship, given the apparent leanings of their winter signings … may 49ers owner Jed York learn to be just like his uncle Eddie DeBartolo, and we mean get involved in a Louisiana riverboat scandal that forces him out … and may Utah – which just beat Duke in basketball and Brigham Young in football bowl – play nice and not remind Fresno State fans that, once upon a time, they were peers in the same conference.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to get to Oakland. This second MVP trophy with Steph Curry’s name etched in it is weighting down my sleigh.
1. All curmudgeon aside, pray with me for retiring Central High football coach Justin Garza, who has been dealing with Hodgkin’s lymphoma since 2011. Everything we deal with in this space is all in fun and games. Garza is dealing with quality of life. Proper perspective always makes these pages turn easier.
2. Good for Paul Loeffler, and not just for the selfless work he does to honor World War II veterans. The radio voice of the Bulldogs will be the voice of ESPN Radio, calling the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl with Pat Hill. How he’s still in Fresno, we have no idea.
3. We almost miss Fresno State playing in a football bowl game. Then, we watched Ohio-Appalachian State play in the sort of bottom-tier game the Bulldogs would have played in if they weren’t so bottom tier this year. Consider us thankful for the three hours of our lives we’ll not be forced to lose.