Enter the Warzone, your guide across that sports wasteland otherwise known as “February.”
• “McFarland USA,” a movie about the 1987 McFarland High cross country team that won a state championship starring Kevin Costner, opens in theaters this week.
Only surprise here is Hollywood didn’t pounce on this feel-good story decades sooner.
• Can’t wait for the sequel, about how the Central Section rewarded McFarland for years of excellence by making the Cougars compete against schools three and four times their size …
• Most years college baseball season begins with crappy weather, and everyone moans.
This year we’re rueing the warm sunshine.
• Stopped by Beiden Field on Sunday afternoon and saw UC Irvine smack three home runs and take a 5-0 lead into the seventh.
After we left, Fresno State clubbed three homers and won 7-5. Just don’t tell Mike Batesole. You know baseball coaches and their superstitions.
• In case Batesole gets any ideas, he should also know athletic director Jim Bartko departed a few minutes earlier to throw out the first pitch at the softball game.
• Four years ago college baseball adopted new standards for metal bats — no moreping
– and offense plummeted.
This year they’re using a ball with flatter seams.
The new balls travel farther off the bat because they have less drag. Likewise, games should be less of a drag to watch.
• Pitchers and catchers report to spring training this week. Which means it’s almost time for Alex Rodriguez to confess he’s a liar.
How many times is that now? Lost count.
• Preeminent baseball writer Tom Verducci is dead on regarding MLB possibly shrinking the strike zone.
The reason strikeout totals are at an all-time high isn’t because the strike zone is too big. It’s because hitter’s swings are.
• The NBA All-Star Game provided some quality entertainment. That is, if you like watching Russell Westbrookscrape his head
on the backboard while finishing alley-oop dunks and Stephen Curry doyo-yo tricks
with a basketball.
• Fresno State can probably go 3-3 over the last six games and bag a top six seed at the Mountain West Conference tournament.
But 4-2 gives the Bulldogs (currently 12-13 overall) a much better chance of bagging a winning record.
• Why does that matter? Only teams with winning records are eligible for postseason tournaments.
Unless they take the Cal Poly route.
• The big story at NFL Scouting Combine will be whether anyone breaks Chris Johnson’s 4.24-second 40-yard dash record.
Only joking. No such thing as big combine stories. Just overblown ones.
• Turns out Jim Harbaugh’s separation from the 49ers wasn’t mutual after all. Not according to whatHarbaugh told
Bay Area News Group columnist Tim Kawakami.
Of course, anyone with half a brain suspected that at the time. But it’s always good to have proof.
• Lance Armstrong has been ordered to pay $10 million to a promotions company in a fraud dispute.
Next time, tell ’em your girlfriend took those drug tests.
• Can’t wait for the (nanny) state law requiring pedestrians to wear helmets, too …
• Sawa picture
on Facebook of a fisherman holding up a fat largemouth bass he caught at Sycamore Island Park.
Even better, the caption said he released the fish back into the pond. So it can grow even fatter.
• For no particular reason: Richie Robnett
• Got a nice email from Danny Tarkanian, who wrote: “At least Fresno State won honoring my family. UNLV lost.”
• Las Vegas will regain the upper hand Wednesday night when casinos on The Strip dim their lights in Tark’s honor.
Fresno could try something similar on Blackstone Avenue, but it wouldn’t have the same effect.