Pack gets Powers retirement right, more needed
May 5, 2014
It is all well and good that the Nevada Wolf Pack is going to retire the number of former baseball coach Gary Powers on May 9. Powers, who wore No. 17, will be the first coach in school history to have his number retired because, well, very few coaches in the history of the school have actually worn a number. But the honor doesn't go as far as it should. The Wolf Pack also needs to put Powers' name on the stadium in which he helped build, care for and nourish. Powers-Peccole Park has a nice ring to it. The Pack put Chris Ault's name on Mackay Stadium last fall. Powers, who coached longer at Nevada than any other coach and won more games than any other Pack coach, has earned the same honor.
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The Wolf Pack, though, has been very stingy in the past when it comes to retiring numbers. The two most egregious Wolf Pack errors when it comes to honoring its great athletes with a retired number are football player Colin Kaepernick and basketball player Nick Fazekas. The two are arguably the greatest athletes in school history yet Kaepernick's No. 10 and Fazekas' No. 22 have yet to be retired. The men's basketball program, thank goodness, has had enough class and respect for Fazekas not to give out No. 22 to anyone since he left the school in the spring of 2007. We can't say the same for the football program (surprise, surprise). Kaepernick has only been gone three seasons yet linebacker Reggie Coates already wore No. 10 last year and will do so again this year. That's sort of like the New York Yankees allowing Yangervis Solarte to wear No. 3.
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The Jameis Winston incident this week — the Florida State quarterback walked out of a grocery store without paying $32 for his crab legs — is just another example of why NCAA athletes should be paid. How can we expect a college football player to pay $32 for crab legs? Where is he going to get the money? He can't sell his jersey. He can't sell his autograph. The NCAA forces Winston to sacrifice his body every fall for free while his coaches become millionaires. Is that fair? The young man needs to keep up his strength and crab legs are an excellent source of nourishment for a developing athlete. Would you rather see him walking out of the grocery store with beer and pretzels? Of course not. Pay the young man so he doesn't have to commit a crime. It's the right thing to do.
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Everybody with a few extra bucks in their checking account, it seems, now wants to buy the Los Angeles Clippers. Oprah Winfrey, Matt Damon, Judd Apatow, David Geffen, Floyd Mayweather, Magic Johnson, Oscar De La Hoya, Frankie Muniz, Sean Combs and, yes, even Don Rickles, are among the list of potential Clippers' buyers. It is assumed Khloe Kardashian will also join the party just to spite Lamar Odom. Donald Sterling bought the franchise in 1981 for just under $13 million and the price tag now for the franchise that once gave us World B. Free and was run out of town in San Diego and Buffalo, could be around $1 billion. Who says racism doesn't pay?
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The Wolf Pack baseball team could find itself tied (with UNLV or New Mexico or both) atop the Mountain West baseball standings by the end of this weekend. The Wolf Pack will need to sweep three games at Air Force this weekend to jump into first place. Rookie baseball coach Jay Johnson has done an admirable job this year showing the rest of the Wolf Pack athletic department that it is indeed possible to compete in the Mountain West for a championship despite all the tired excuses we keep hearing from the football and men's basketball programs.
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The Oakland A's just might be the best baseball team in the major leagues. Nobody east of Vallejo, south of San Jose and north of Petaluma can name more than three A's players but that doesn't seem to matter. The A's, which obviously have less disposable income than Frankie Muniz, do nothing but win games. But the A's always seem to win a ton of games from April to September. The postseason is a different matter. Since getting stunned by the Cincinnati Reds and the previous titleholder of Most Racist Owner in Sports (Marge Schott) in the 1990 World Series, the A's have won just one postseason series. It's World Series or bust this year for the A's.
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Former Wolf Pack pitcher Braden Shipley seems to be adjusting to professional life quite well. Shipley, who was given $2.25 million last summer by the Arizona Diamondbacks as the No. 15 pick in the draft, tossed six no-hit innings last weekend for the South Bend Silver Hawks. Shipley is 1-2 with a 2.76 earned run average this season after going 0-3 with a 4.99 ERA last year. He's fanned 55 and walked just 18 in his pro career so far. He should be making his Reno Aces debut at Aces Ballpark right on schedule in April 2016.
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