Enter the Warzone, never in preseason form.
▪ While some are dreading the opening week of Fresno State football, athletic director Jim Bartko enters more chipper than a woodchuck in a lumber mill.
“I really think we can go 8-4,” Bartko said without a hint of irony or sarcasm as we stood together sipping coffee and watching one of the morning scrimmages.
Not sure how, but this reporter managed to avoid spewing hot liquid from his mouth – which would’ve left a brown stain on the FieldTurf.
If these Bulldogs manage 6-6 and find their way to a bowl, even one that’s played in Newfoundland, the 2016 season will be a rousing success.
I really think we can go 8-4.
Fresno State athletic director Jim Bartko
▪ The top two reasons Fresno State named a starting quarterback 10 days sooner than necessary instead of making everyone wait for the usual game-time decision:
1. Chason Virgil made it that obvious. 2. Nebraska couldn’t care less.
▪ During Monday’s news conference, Bulldogs coach Tim DeRuyter said Virgil possesses poise “unlike any other freshman I’ve been around.”
Virgil turns 20 in December, so he’s also probably older than any freshman DeRuyter has been around.
▪ The first email that plopped into the ol’ inbox in reaction to Sunday’s column about Colin Kaepernick said articles like ours are the reason he stopped getting The Bee. (But apparently still reads.)
The second said our columns are the only reason he subscribes.
We’ll take that .500 average and head straight to Cooperstown.
▪ Best line we read in response to Kaepernick’s harshest critics came from the San Francisco Chronicle’s Scott Ostler: “If you don’t like our Constitution and the right it gives citizens to protest, why don’t you leave?”
Lost in the whole Colin Kaepernick social-conscience-warrior-or-ungrateful-knucklehead debate: how terrible he looked in Friday’s preseason game.
▪ Lost in the whole Kaepernick social-conscience-warrior-or-ungrateful-knucklehead debate: how terrible he looked in Friday’s preseason game, slow-footed and scatter-armed.
But the 49ers can’t cut him now because: a) they still owe him his $11.9 million salary for this season; and b) they’d look like complete schmucks.
▪ Or maybe the 49ers release Kaepernick so they can bring in a less controversial backup quarterback.
Michael Vick isn’t doing much these days …
▪ The Fresno Grizzlies’ final three home games drew 32,336 fans, the largest three-game turnout this season.
Which makes us wonder where those folks have been since April.
▪ Despite the late rush, the Grizzlies averaged 6,189 per game, down 268 from last year and the new lowest figure in Chukchansi Park history.
This is not a trend that portends well for the future of Triple-A baseball in our fair city.
▪ If you think that last item was just us blowing smoke, we’ve got some 2017 Bakersfield Blaze tickets for sale.
▪ Who were the biggest losers last week when the Golden State Warriors announced they were leaving KNBR-680, their longtime radio home?
Who are the biggest losers in the Warriors’ radio switch? Basketball fans in the Fresno arena who will no longer be able to tune in to the NBA’s marquee team.
Basketball fans in the Fresno arena who will no longer be able to tune in to the NBA’s marquee team. (More on this later …)
▪ The Giants blasted four home runs and four triples while pounding the Braves 13-4 on Sunday, extinguishing their monthly supply of each.
▪ For no particular reason: Dean Steinkuhler
▪ With fantasy football so pervasive, someone asked Derek Carr whether family and friends were obligated to draft him.
“Gosh, no – I told them they don’t have to,” Carr replied with a grin. “But they better, if they want to win.”
▪ The curly blond hair, the devilish smile, the dewy eyes – there was something about Gene Wilder’s comedy that drew you in, no matter how neurotic a character he was portraying.
In the words of Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (be sure to pronounce it “Fronkensteen”), one of his most famous characters: “For what we are about to see next, we must enter quietly into the realm of genius.”
The same realm of genius you’d enter watching Wilder make people laugh.