Aces park will be filled

Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . .OK, they built it. Finally. Now, will you come to the ballpark? The Reno Aces are bringing Triple-A baseball to the area tonight and the biggest issue surrounding the game is (besides where to park) how long will the team stay in Reno? Good question. To be honest, we don't have a stellar reputation for supporting our sports teams. We don't flock to Mackay Stadium, Lawlor Events Center or Peccole Park when the Wolf Pack isn't winning every game. We failed to support Class A and independent baseball. We let minor league hockey quietly leave town. The PGA comes here and we yawn louder every summer. We didn't exactly go crazy over the Reno Bighorns basketball team this fall. The NBA plays exhibitions here and, well, let's just say a parking lot filled with 1956 Chevys in August will draw a bigger crowd.

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So what does our spotty sports attendance record mean? Well, it means that we have never had a big-time team like a Triple-A baseball team before to call our own. But, more importantly, it means that we are not sports lemmings, blindly supporting every fly-by-night so-called sporting event that comes to town looking to make our wallets lighter. This is not Boise, Missoula or Pocatello. We have entertainment dollar options here. This community will indeed support Triple-A baseball. The Aces will thrive here. Let's not forget that this is the same community that once crammed nearly 20,000 people inside the gates to watch the 1910 Jack Johnson-James Jeffries "Fight of the Century" in 100-degree heat when the total population of Reno was about 18,000. OK, most of those 20,000 people were from out of town, and the crowd figures seem to grow every year the legend is told, but you get the idea. We'll fill Aces Ballpark. After all, if you've seen one 1956 Chevy, you've pretty much seen them all.

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Do you want Brady Quinn as your quarterback, San Francisco 49ers fans? Of course you don't. And you certainly don't want to give up the No. 10 pick in the draft to get him. Shaun Hill is good enough to get the 49ers to the playoffs next year and, well, how many quarterback busts (see Alex Smith) do you want on the roster? A lot of draft experts have the 49ers taking USC quarterback Mark Sanchez with the No. 10 pick. Sanchez will have a much better NFL career than the not-so-mighty Quinn.

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Jackie Robinson certainly deserves to be honored by major league baseball. Every player wearing Robinson's No. 42 on April 15 (Robinson debuted on April 15, 1947) is a bit goofy but, hey, it definitely brings attention to what Robinson meant to the sport and to society. So it is definitely a positive thing. But it's about time major league baseball also tells every player to wear Larry Doby's No. 14. Doby, the first black player in the American League, made his debut on July 5, 1947, less than three months after Robinson. Doby had to go through all of the same ugliness that Robinson endured and he did it with just as much class, professionalism and dignity.

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The Nevada Wolf Pack baseball program should be applauded for changing the start time of its game today to 1 p.m. (from 6 p.m.), to accommodate fans who want to attend both the Pack game and the Aces' home opener tonight. It's just nice to see a Wolf Pack sports program showing some type of awareness that it is not the only game in town. The Wolf Pack football team, by the way, will play two Friday night home games (Sept. 25 against Missouri and Oct. 9 against Louisiana Tech) during prep football season.

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Isiah Thomas coaching the Florida International Golden Panthers is everything that is wrong with college sports these days. It just leaves you with an ugly, dirty feeling. Then again, FIU is not the first university to hire a coach simply for publicity purposes. But why hire Thomas, or "Thompson," as the FIU provost called him at Wednesday's press conference? Why would you hire a coach who was involved in a distasteful sexual harassment suit not too long ago? Why would you hire a coach who can't coach? Why would you hire a coach who can't coach who has absolutely no connection to your school or to your community? Maybe they actually thought they were hiring a guy named Thompson (John Thompson?). That would explain it. There are a lot of good, young coaches out there who would have loved that FIU job and would win many more games than Thomas. Thomas won't last two years in South Florida.

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John Madden announced his retirement from NFL announcing this week. He should have done it eight years ago. Madden was never the same without Pat Summerall.

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Former San Francisco Giants shortstop Omar Vizquel, now with the Texas Rangers, had four hits in just eight at-bats with one RBI heading into Thursday's games. New Giants shortstop, Edgar Renteria, had four hits in 29 at-bats with a big, fat zero RBIs. Nice upgrade.

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One other stat to ponder this week . . . JaVale McGee won more games with the Nevada Wolf Pack basketball team his final season (21) in college than he did with the Washington Wizards (19) in his rookie NBA season in 49 fewer games. Then again, he did receive a bit more meal money with the Wizards.

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