Here is doubting Thomas

• While I was waiting for the high school golf tournament to end earlier this week, I struck up a conversation with a gentleman at Silver Oak Golf Club, who was critical of the Raiders' inability to get quarterback JaMarcus Russell some receiving help in the draft. I pointed out to him that all the great receivers in the world won't help him if the offensive line can't keep him upright. The offensive line has been downright horrible in recent years, and any rebuilding of the Raiders' offense has to start there.

• I scratched my head in wonderment when the A's announced they had picked up designated hitter Frank Thomas, who was recently released by the Toronto Blue Jays. Why did the A's do that? Do they think Thomas is going to put butts in the seats? Do they think he is capable of hitting 30-plus homers like he did the last time he was in Oakland? The A's are supposed to be rebuilding, and if that's the case, you don't go signing a has-been like Thomas. Put the youngsters on the field and let them get some much-needed experience. So far, the A's have been a success on the field, and let's hope that continues.

• Western Athletic Conference baseball will have a different look next year in terms of scheduling. In 2009, teams will play each other in just one series (four games), meaning the conference schedule will consist of 24 games. This year, some teams played a team twice, home and away. That means teams must find six to eight nonconference games to fill the void, and Nevada has already done that. Oregon and Cal-State Bakersfield are the two new teams on the Nevada schedule. The Ducks are bringing back baseball after a long absence, and lured George Horton away from Cal-State Fullerton to be their head coach.

• I applaud the move made by Stanford to hire Johnny Dawkins as its new head coach. It's apparent that Stanford AD Bob Bowlsby forced Trent Johnson to look elsewhere by not aggressively pursuing a contract extension for the former Pack coach. Dawkins, a longtime assistant for Coach K at Duke, is no stranger to recruiting for a school with high academic standards. No doubt he's made some valuable contacts during his career at Duke, and that could help lure some prospects to Stanford that might not have otherwise considered going there.

• D.J. Whittemore has his Western Nevada College team pushing toward another World Series berth. The young coach has done a nice job luring players from Las Vegas, Oregon and Arizona to the Carson City campus. You have to wonder how long he'll stay at WNC, however. An ideal fit for him could be at UNLV where Buddy Gouldsmith's teams have underachieved in recent years. Whittemore already recruits the area well, and he should be somebody that the Rebels take a serious look at when Gouldsmith's time is up, which could be at the end of this year or next if things don't improve.

• If you watched the Giants game on Tuesday night, you saw one of the more bizarre calls of the season. The Giants asked for time, and catcher Benji Molina got up out of his crouch. Plate umpire Gary Darling raised his hands, which is what you do when you are calling time. Instead of time being allowed, Darling said that SF pitcher Tim Lincecum flinched, forcing him to call a balk. SF manager Bruce Bochy was ejected after a lengthy argument at the plate. I think Darling screwed up, but the one thing I question is why Lincecum was in a windup position and not the stretch? If something strange happens while you're in the stretch, you can always step back and off the mound. The windup doesn't afford you that opportunity.

• High school golfers might think the weather gods are conspiring against them. In the first round of the Carson Invitational two weeks ago, the weather was brutal at Silver Oak. The schools played at Eagle Valley the next day, and the weather was much calmer. This past Monday, we were treated to some great weather, only to see strong winds pick up and ruin the round on Tuesday for the Sierra League golfers. The only thing I can say is welcome to Northern Nevada.

• Contact Darrell Moody at dmoody@nevadaappeal.com, or by calling (775) 881-1281

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