Joe Santoro
For the Nevada Appeal

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August 23, 2013
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Friday Fodder:

Sports fodder for a Friday morning ... The Nevada Wolf Pack football and men’s basketball home schedules this year leave a lot to be desired. The football schedule has just two home games — UNLV and BYU — that are even remotely interesting. But even those games have a been-there-done-that feel to them. The basketball home schedule is simply awful. The non-conference games at Lawlor Events Center are against Pacific, Chattanooga, Morehead State, Nebraska Omaha, Iona and Long Beach State. If the Wolf Pack really wants to energize the community, it has to find administrators and coaches who can bring attractive opponents to town.

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When you hire an inexperienced head coach — one that hasn’t even been a coordinator — you have to expect some of that inexperience to shine through. That’s why Brian Polian deserves a one-year honeymoon as Wolf Pack head football coach. Polian might hit the ground running, go to UCLA on Aug. 31 and beat UCLA and shock the world in his first season. And, well, if he does all that, the Pack might be looking for a new head coach next January once again. But if he doesn’t, if the Pack goes 4-8 and struggles all season long, it doesn’t mean that Polian can’t coach. All it means is that building a program in your own image takes some time. Polian deserves that time.

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Stop telling me that Ichiro Suzuki has 4,000 hits. Stop comparing him to Ty Cobb and Pete Rose. Ichiro got nearly 1,300 of his hits in Japan. Japanese baseball is, at best, equivalent to Triple-A in the United States. Cobb and Rose didn’t get to play nine seasons in Japan. If they did, they might have had 6,000 hits. If Babe Ruth played in Japan he would have had more than 1,000 home runs. Adding Ichiro’s hits in Japan to his major league totals is like adding Warren Moon’s Canadian Football League stats to his NFL numbers. Stop it.

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Are the San Francisco Giants headed into an era of mediocrity? This year’s 56-70 record might be the norm over the next few years. Take away Buster Posey and what nucleus do you have among the everyday players? Other than Madison Bumgarner and Matt Cain what do you have on the mound? Enjoy those two World Series titles, Giant fans. Watch the DVDs over and over again. It’s going to be a while before you get another one.

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Not enough hype has been created around the possibility that both Chris Davis and Miguel Cabrera could hit at least 50 home runs this year. The last time two players hit 50 in one season was 2007 (Prince Fielder and Alex Rodriguez). The last time anyone hit 50 was Jose Bautista in 2010. Davis even has a chance at 60, something nobody has done since Barry Bonds blasted 73 in 2001. The home run is still the single greatest moment in sports. It was during Babe Ruth’s day and it still is today.

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Four NFL coaches — Rex Ryan of the New York Jets, Mike Shanahan of the Washington Redskins, Ron Rivera of the Carolina Panthers and Jason Garrett of the Dallas Cowboys — are clearly on the hot seat as the regular season is about to begin. Ryan is a lame duck. Shanahan doesn’t get along with his franchise quarterback. Garrett has done nothing except earn Jerry Jones’ votes of confidence. And Rivera is probably in over his head.

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Allen Iverson, who is finally officially retiring after playing in his final NBA game three years ago, is a Hall of Famer. Yes, he was selfish. He might have been the most selfish player in NBA history. But, hey, you try passing to Aaron McKie, Eric Snow, Matt Geiger and Tyrone Hill and see where that gets you. Iverson, who was barely 6-feet tall and 165 pounds soaking wet, was as tough a player as the NBA has ever seen. He couldn’t shoot but he was one of the greatest scorers in league history.

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The Los Angeles Dodgers are the perfect example of how to build a great team in Major League Naseball these days. They have done it by opening up their checkbook (Yasiel Puig, Zach Greinke, Carl Crawford), making great trades (Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez), developing great talent (Clayton Kershaw, Matt Kemp) and filling the holes with tough, competitive role players (Nick Punto, Skip Shumaker, Mark Ellis, Juan Uribe). You can’t just do it by buying players. You can’t do it by simply developing players out of the minor leagues. You have to spend money, develop young players and make shrewd trades. The Dodgers have done all three.


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The Nevada Appeal Updated Aug 23, 2013 12:55AM Published Aug 23, 2013 12:55AM Copyright 2013 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.