Enter the Warzone, as Real as real gets.
▪ By all indications, the hole in Fresno’s sports scene will soon be filled by the arrival of professional soccer.
Awesome, and about time. Just, please, don’t call the team Fresno FC or Real Fresno.
▪ Would Fresno support pro soccer? No question. Attendance for the semi-pro Fresno Fuego would rank eighth in the 29-team United Soccer League, according to our soccer guru Angel Moreno.
The bigger question is where this new team plays.
Kinda hate to see Fresno’s USL franchise wind up in suburbia – just when downtown is starting to show signs of life.
▪ For years everyone assumed the Fuego would make the jump the USL. But with ownership’s finances tied to the ongoing sale of the Fresno Grizzlies (four years and counting), there was no way to pay the USL’s $5 million expansion fee.
I thought it was such a shame to have such a good city, with nice restaurants, good people, good culture and growing population that is 58 percent Hispanic and there’s no (pro) soccer. I’m thinking there’s something wrong with that.
Ray Beshoff, investor in Fresno’s USL franchise
▪ North Carolina has spent three years and nearly $18 million defending itself in an academic-fraud scandal that allowed 3,100 students, more than half of them athletes, to take bogus classes.
But to Jim Nantz, it’s all just “swirling innuendo.”
▪ A tradition unlike any other: Millions of Americans scrambling for their remotes before “One Shining Moment” causes their ears to bleed.
A tradition unlike any other: Millions of Americans scrambling for their remotes before “One Shining Moment” causes their ears to bleed.
▪ Georgetown needed a search firm to tell them Patrick Ewing should be the Hoyas’ next men’s basketball coach
We would’ve done it for free.
▪ How serious is Jeff Tedford about academics? Fresno State’s new football coach held three potential starters out of a recent spring practice – and made them go to study hall instead.
▪ Our updated Bulldogs quarterback depth chart (per offensive coordinator Kalen DeBoer’s special request): Chason Virgil, Jorge Reyna, James Quentin Davis, Christian Rossi.
▪ So far, the Fresno State baseball team is making liars out of coach Mike Batesole (“This is going to be one of my favorite teams ever”) as well as colleague David White (“These Bulldogs will be playing in June for the first time since 2012”).
Good thing there’s still half a season to play.
This is a very smart, very old, very savvy baseball team.
Mike Batesole, in February
▪ During opening day festivities at Fenway Park, some meathead made off with Tom Brady’s jersey.
Some meathead named Rob Gronkowski.
▪ Madison Bumgarner is on pace for 68 home runs (based on last year’s 34 starts). That’s the good news. The bad news is the Giants bullpen is on pace for 324 blown saves.
▪ Can hardly believe it’s the 20th season of Fresno Grizzlies baseball. Where have you gone, Jacob Cruz?
(Answer: Hitting coach for the Double-A Tennessee Smokies.)
▪ Colin Kaepernick is unsigned – even as a backup – because most NFL owners (and a good chunk of NFL fans) can’t stand his activism OR because he’s on a vegan diet.
Gotta be one of those two reasons.
▪ You really think Derek Carr wants the Raiders moving to Las Vegas? Of course not. But when you’re the face of the franchise, you can’t come out and say that.
▪ Can’t see the Raiders spending two (or even three) lame-duck seasons in Oakland. It’ll just be too weird.
▪ Hearty congrats to Clovis High’s James Patrick, whose next victory will give him the most wins of any baseball coach in Central Section history.
▪ For no particular reason: Heath Hembree
▪ Horses are the most magnificent of creatures.
Horse owners who let their animals drop a pile of road apples on a paved bike trail instead of nudging them a few feet to the side, not so much.
▪ Can you imagine if the NFL or Major League Baseball took a page from the LPGA and allowed busybodies sitting at home watching on TV to report missed calls and affect outcomes of games?
Reply No. 1: No, and while we’re at it let’s give the 1985 St. Louis Cardinals their rightful World Series rings.
Reply No. 2: Don’t give Roger Goodell or Rob Manfred any more bright ideas.