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Joe Santoro
For the Nevada Appeal

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July 19, 2013
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Friday Fodder: Northern Nevada shines during Triple-A festivities

Sports fodder for a Friday morning ... The biggest star this week during the Triple-A All Star festivities in downtown Reno was Northern Nevada and its baseball fans. This area’s baseball fans deserve a pat on the back for supporting the Home Run Derby (more than 8,000 fans) on Monday and the All Star Game on Wednesday (10,135 showed up) at Aces Ballpark. It would have been easy for Northern Nevada to give out a collective yawn this week. The Home Run Derby is, after all, glorified batting practice and the game is a meaningless exhibition played by a bunch of guys not even most baseball fans have heard of. Take a bow, Northern Nevada.


The only memorable thing to take out of this week at Aces Ballpark was the performance of McQueen High’s Kody Reynolds. The Lancers’ player hits five home runs and made it to the second round of the Home Run Derby. His four home runs in the first round were more than Buffalo’s Mauro Gomez (2), Fresno’s Johnny Monell (1) and Rochester’s Chris Colabello (none) hit combined. Reynolds finished third overall. Take a bow, Northern Nevada high school baseball.


It is time the national media gives Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel a break. Manziel left the Manning Passing Academy a day early and the national media treated him like he was driving Aaron Hernandez’s getaway car. So he left the Manning camp early. So what? So he made up a fake excuse for leaving early (his cell phone died forcing him to oversleep and miss a meeting). So what? So Manziel likes to party harder than the fun-loving kids on Jersey Shore. So what? He’s just a college football player. He’s just a red-shirt sophomore. He’s just 20-years-old. If you can’t have fun and go a little wild when you are 20 and have a Heisman Trophy in your closet, when can you have fun?


Why, exactly, was Neil Diamond singing (choking and screeching is more like it) “Sweet Caroline” at the All Star game in New York? Sweet Caroline is a Red Sox tradition. Does Major League Baseball (as well as Fox and ESPN) have to make every baseball event about either the Yankees or Red Sox or both? It was a disaster. Diamond was awful. New York fans, understandably, were booing. Fox, and its dreadful announcers Joe Buck and Tim McCarver, need to go away. They turn every big baseball moment into a cliché.


The whole storyline around Mariano Rivera at the All Star game was a bit contrived, corny and overdone. Yes, Rivera, is a great player. And, yes, he seems like a classy individual. But let’s not go crazy here. He’s just a closer. He’s just a guy with one great pitch who comes in with a lead in the last inning and gets three guys to ground out to second. Fox television and Joe Buck, though, tried to portray Rivera Tuesday night as one of the most beloved players in the history of the game when in reality, nobody west of Atlantic City cares about Rivera. But, hey, Rivera is a Yankee. That’s all that matters.


It’s the start of yet another new era of Mountain West football. It took the rebel conference about a decade to get noticed nationally and that’s about when its signature programs (BYU, Utah, TCU) all left. The league, though, stole six teams from the Western Athletic Conference and has done a great job of reinventing itself in a very short time. The MWC, which will conduct its football media days in Las Vegas next week, now has a dozen teams and the champions of its two six-team divisions will meet in a title game. The league is stronger than ever.


The Los Angeles Lakers’ master plan, it seems, has them luring LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony to come play with Kobe Bryant in 2014-15. Yeah, right. That’s not going to happen. First of all, nobody wants to play with Kobe. Second of all, Kobe couldn’t handle being the third star behind James and Melo. And, third, Melo and Kobe could not exist together. LeBron is the best player in the world. He doesn’t need all that drama.

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The Nevada Appeal Updated Jul 19, 2013 01:07AM Published Jul 19, 2013 01:07AM Copyright 2013 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.