Friday Fodder: Swallow your pride high schools

Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . . There has been opposition at both ends of the state to the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association's proposal to realign Nevada's 100 or so schools from four classes to three divisions. The proposal, which will likely be voted on next month, is an intelligent and rational attempt by the NIAA to work within the state's dwindling education budget. Still, there are some schools -- mainly some Class 4A schools who will be placed in Division II -- that are opposed. Well, it's time those schools stop worrying about their selfish feelings and pride getting hurt and start thinking about the overall good of Nevada prep sports. This state has never been big enough to justify four classes. This proposal, which does not affect football, gives every school a legitimate chance to be successful in every sport. You cannot say that right now. This proposal also limits the amount of regular-season contests in each sport, an idea that has long been overdue with the way some coaches abuse the schedule. This proposal " or some form of it " needs to be passed.

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The University of Nevada athletic department deserves a pat on the back for naming Dayton High graduate and Pack baseball player Matt Bowman its Doc Martie Award winner for 2009. The award, given to the Wolf Pack's Male Athlete of the Year, has gone to a football or basketball player every year since golfer Kirk Triplett won it in 1985. It's about time a baseball player was given the award. The last baseball player to win it was Craig Congdon in 1969 when Richard Nixon was president, the New York Mets were the darlings of baseball, college baseball used wood bats, man walked on the moon for the first time and gasoline cost 35 cents a gallon.

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Is there anything more meaningless than a radio or TV interview with a professional athlete? Well, this week alone on radio we heard Roger Clemens insist that he has never used performance enhancing drugs and Pete Rose say that Hall of Fame voters should vote for Alex Rodriguez when Rodriguez becomes eligible. What's next? Ty Murray declaring that he was robbed on Dancing With the Stars? Yes, I need to stop watching so much reality TV.

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Since we are on the subject of meaningless TV and radio interviews, Regis Philbin reminded everyone this week on ESPN that Notre Dame's football schedule this year is "softer." Philbin, who probably knows more about college football than Beano Cook, said that Notre Dame could win all of its games this year except the USC game. "Why can't they win 11 of 12 and go to a BCS bowl?" Kelly Ripa's sidekick said. The Wolf Pack, by the way, plays Notre Dame on Sept. 5. Expect Philbin to return to ESPN on Monday morning Sept. 7 to cry about how Notre Dame's BCS dreams are crushed.

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It is obvious that the national media will consider the Wolf Pack football team's victory over Notre Dame on Sept. 5 something along the lines of Appalachian State beating Michigan. We -- those of us west of Elko, north of Tonopah, east of Auburn and south of the Black Rock Desert " know better. The Wolf Pack will be the better football team with the better coach on Sept. 5. A Pack victory is almost a sure thing. What we don't know is how many people in South Bend will mistake Chris Ault for Lou Holtz.

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Reno Aces manager Brett Butler has to wonder whether or not he is in the right organization. The Arizona Diamondbacks picked 34-year-old director of player development A.J. Hinch, a guy with no managerial experience, over Butler last week when it came time to replacing the fired Bob Melvin. Hinch is a smart guy " he has a psychology degree from Stanford " but since when does managing require intelligence? It requires the respect of the players. Butler would have been a much better choice.

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OK, it's becoming more and more obvious with each passing day that LeBron James is the best player in the NBA right now and the Cleveland Cavaliers will win the championship next month. James' time has come. It's 1991 with Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls all over again.

Expect James to win at least a half-dozen titles before he runs for president in, say, in 2024.

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Pitcher Bobby Jenks of the White Sox was fined $750 for admitting he threw a baseball behind Ian Kinsler of the Texas Rangers. Wow! A whole $750. Fining a major leaguer $750 is like fining Paris Hilton a pair of shoes for doing 75 miles per hour in a 35 mph zone. Come to think of it, it's also like making a player sit out 50 games for testing positive for using performance enhancing drugs.

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