Grandslam memories

Former UNLV coach Fred Dallimore poked some fun at both MattWilliams (left) and Ron McNutt at the Carson Nugget Saturday night.

Former UNLV coach Fred Dallimore poked some fun at both MattWilliams (left) and Ron McNutt at the Carson Nugget Saturday night.

Officially, Ron McNutt has not handed in his resignation as head baseball coach at Carson High School. After greeting 29 years of former players during "Grand Slam Weekend" - which included an alumni game and roast on Saturday, followed by a golf tournament and barbecue on Sunday - it's a safe bet the veteran coach won't come back out of retirement just yet.

Besides, McNutt dropped hints Saturday night during the Roast and Recognition at the Carson Nugget that he has already sent his resume out. Or so he said while taking some light-hearted digs at Carson City Mayor Ray Masayko and former Reno sports broadcaster and Sparks Mayor Bruce Breslow.

He began by wishing Masayko the best of luck regarding his bid for re-election before a crowd of former players, friends and other well-wishers in the Nugget's banquet room.

"I read in the newspaper that Ray is seeking his third term and I saw that he had goals set out," McNutt said, addressing Masayko. "And Ray, if you want my vote, I'd like to ask a couple of things that would help me out. First of all, that the freeway can be finished in my lifetime. No. 2, regarding that drainage problem we have at Carson High; we have this ditch that runs alongside our baseball field, and since I've been here, that ditch floods at least once every year. So can we get that taken care of? And I see your third goal is to finish the railroad between Carson City and Virginia City ... and now that I'm retired, you might want to look at my resume as operations director."

Next up in the roast line was Breslow, the director of marketing, media and public relations for Sierra Nevada Baseball, which is bidding to bring Pacific Coast League baseball to Northern Nevada and plans to break ground on a new stadium in Sparks in February 2005.

"Bruce is one of the forces behind trying to bring Triple-A baseball to Northern Nevada,," McNutt said. "Bruce, I wish you a lot of luck with that, and like I told Ray, my resume is available."

All in all, many laughs and memories were shared as the Roast and Recognition began at 7 p.m. and lasted well past midnight, as well as the rest of the weekend activities. Obviously, there were many tributes to the man who coached Carson baseball between 1976 and 2004.

"My association with Ron and Terri and Carson City baseball goes back to the '70s when I used to come here and work baseball camps," said Fred Dallimore, who coached a number of Carson products during his 23 seasons as head coach at UNLV, a list that included eventual major leaguers Matt Williams, Donovan Osborne and Bob Ayrault. "I personally feel that he's the best thing to ever happen to Nevada baseball here in the northern part of the state. The commitment he made to fulfill his dreams as a coach and to the players who played for him. The morals, values and the character, he always stressed those."

McNutt brought those same values to Carson High as well as the Carson Capitols summer program, which he directed between 1978 and 2001. Dallimore's son, Brian, now an infielder with the San Francisco Giants, played for the Capitols in the late 1980s.

"Mac had a great summer program, there's no doubt about it," Dallimore said. "We thought enough of Mac as a coach and as a person that my wife, Alice, and I sent our 15-year-old son (Brian) up here to play for two years. And I'll tell you, he said those were two of the best years that he ever had in his life. The discipline, the rules and regulations that they had were part of the growing-up process that made him the true professional that he is."

Ah, remember, this was a roast, and Dallimore took his fair share of shots, including one, shall we say, not-so-memorable memory of Williams from his freshman season in 1984.

"I remember one game against some big team like Arizona State, USC or somebody. First time up to the plate, he strikes out. Second time, he strikes out. The third time he strikes out," Dallimore said.

As Dallimore recalled, Williams returned to the dugout and throws his helmet down, and said, "'For crying out loud, what does a guy have to do to get taken out of a game? I told him, 'I'm watching the game Matty, but you happen to be the best defensive shortstop in college baseball, so get your glove and get out there and throw some leather at 'em."

Kerfeld didn't escape from the kidding, either.

"The next guy we really wanted from Carson City was Charley Kerfeld," Dallimore said. "Charley was everything you could ask for in a high school pitcher; he threw strikes, he had velocity, he had stamina. I told Mac, 'I'd really love to have Charley come pitch at UNLV.' And he said, 'Freddie, no, I can't send Charley to Vegas.' I said, 'You're kidding me.' He says, 'Charley's a big guy and all those free buffets you have down in Vegas ... Charley would probably gain weight.' And, he says, 'I want to watch him play baseball on TV playing baseball, not be a member of the WWF."

So Kerfeld went to play for coach Rod Soesbe at Yavapai College in Prescott, Ariz.

"Ron later told me, 'Yeah, they only had one hamburger stand and one doughnut shop in Prescott.'"

Dallimore, who used to come to work as an umpire at the Capitol Classic, vividly remembers Ayrault.

"Bob was the worst catcher for an umpire. He was so big ... I'd get behind him and I couldn't see the pitch so I'd have to guess half the time," Dallimore recalled. "Mac told me, 'He's going to be a big-time college player, Freddie ... he's got more power than Matty ... There's just one problem. The instances when he makes contact aren't very often.'"

Instead, the potential of Ayrault's strong arm was recognized and he was converted to a pitcher - eventually moving on to play three seasons with the Phillies and Mariners.

Dallimore also

"You look at McNutt Field; he built the stands, he built the press box, the batting cage, put in an electronic scoreboard, the sky box luxury seats and brought in a train car (which serves as a clubhouse for Carson's players), but he forgot one of the most important aspects that a spectator likes to have," Dallimore said.

"Restrooms! Where are the restrooms, Mac?" he went on, raising his voice and drawing laughter from the crowd.

And while Dallimore did concede the field offers portable restroom facilities, he added with a laugh ... "Is this a construction site? I don't think so. So, Ron, we need to get some restrooms open to really finish this off."

While McNutt's final chapter as head baseball coach at Carson High appears to have been written, the legacy lives on. And so do the memories.

Dave Price can be reached at 881-1220 or at dprice@nevadaappeal.com

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