David White

What in the name of Al Davis is Jon Gruden thinking? Plus Bulldog bites and 3-point stance

Al Davis was the principal owner and general manager of the Oakland Raiders from 1972 until his death in 2011. Before that, he served in multiple capacities with the team including head coach.
Al Davis was the principal owner and general manager of the Oakland Raiders from 1972 until his death in 2011. Before that, he served in multiple capacities with the team including head coach. Associated Press

Mr. Davis, is that you?

We always assumed Jon Gruden was the reincarnate of Chucky, the ginger-haired doll with a thing for knives.

After the NFL Draft, we’ve changed our mind.

The man thinks he’s The Al, all over again, only without the Hall of Fame credentials to back his overlord status.

Send the scouts home before the draft because they can’t be trusted? Overdraft a player in the top 10 for the first time since Darrius Heyward-Bey was a bright idea?

That has the spirit of Al Davis scrawled over it, and we don’t mean the 1960s-through-1990s when the man was building winners.

This could be the Late Double Oughts all over again. (JaMarcus Russell, your table is ready for you.) Throw in the volatile Antonio Brown, and this plan is either really going to work or it’s really going to mushroom cloud the room from here to Vegas.

Given Gruden’s body of work to date consists of trading the league’s premier linebacker away, tossing out his best receiver, and flipping an 8-8 team into a 4-12 oil fire …

Maybe Gruden is Chucky, after all, because this has all the fixings of a horror flick.

Making David look smart

Thank you, Mike Batesole, for not making this space look any more nonsensical than is the norm.

We predicted back in March that the Fresno State baseball team would be special. Said Bulldogs proceeded to stab that notion with a thousand box cutters.

Look at those Bulldogs now: first place in the Mountain West Conference.

While you’re up, you may want to catch a glimpse of Bulldogs pitcher Ryan Jensen. A full row of scouts did in Friday’s 5-3 win at Nevada. We’d hate for you to miss out on his local appearance like you did when Aaron Judge made this his home.

Tedford showing confidence

Good for Jeff Tedford, naming Jorge Reyna his starting quarterback out of spring ball.

Not because know anything about Reyna. But because we love a coach who has enough confidence in himself to pick a starting quarterback. You’d be amazed at how much a team will believe in its leader when the coach can name him the leader without stuttering.

Or maybe you long for the Tim DeRuyter days, post-Derek Carr?

Three-point stance

▪ No LeBron? No problem.

Houston Rockets kickboxer James Harden has filled the void in these NBA playoffs, with that void being The Villain We All Love to Not Love.

We’d just the same get our giggles watching LeBron James not win another NBA title, but seeing The Beard get cut out of the bracket by the Warriors will have to do.

▪ The San Francisco Giants are in last place, because why give manager Bruce Bochy the farewell tour he deserves?

But man, it felt good to watch them beat the Dodgers a few times last week. Until the Dodgers win a World Series, 1988 is our one-word answer to any of your questions.

▪ Tip of the bill to Clovis High baseball coach James Patrick on his retirement. A record nine Central Section titles, two national championships, and a lifetime of ballplayers trained to get their jerseys dirty. We’re going to miss these old-time ball coaches.

David White is a former Fresno Bee staff writer and NFL beat writer at the San Francisco Chronicle, now a pastor and Sunday sports columnist for The Bee: bydw@sbcglobal.net, @bydavidwhite

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