Two years ago the Nevada Wolf
Pack hyped its 2018 home football schedule as the best in school history.
Nobody is calling the 2020 home schedule the best in school history. This
year’s home schedule will bring UC Davis, UTEP, San Diego State, Fresno State,
Utah State and Wyoming to Mackay Stadium. We’d be more entertained with three
tractor pulls, a Milli Vanilli cover band, a Reno City Council debate and a
Christmas craft show. Davis was 5-7 last year in the Big Sky Conference. UTEP
was 1-11 in Conference USA. Fresno State (4-8) couldn’t get out of its own way
last year, San Diego State is rebuilding with a new coach, Utah State is
looking for a new quarterback and Wyoming is, well, Wyoming. The 2020 home
schedule has no UNLV, no Boise State and no Power Five opponent. That has
happened just four times (1992, 1994, 2000, 2016) in the first 28 years the
Pack has been in Division I-A. No Boise, no UNLV, no Power Five equals no
traffic around Mackay Stadium on game day. OK, so it’s not all bad.
The Wolf Pack’s
non-conference home schedule over the next three (2020-22) seasons, according
to the Pack web site, is about as enticing as getting stuck in a blizzard on
Interstate 80. Davis and UTEP this year. Idaho State and New Mexico State next
year followed by something called Incarnate Word and Texas State in 2022. Idaho
will come to Mackay in 2023. Didn’t Kathy Ireland once kick for Texas State?
When Chris Ault was Nevada's
athletic director and head coach at the same time (1986-92, 1994-95) he never
played a Power Five team home or away. When he was just athletic director
(1993, 1996-2003), Pack coaches Jeff Horton, Jeff Tisdel and Chris Tormey
played 11 Power Five games in nine years. Brian Polian (2013-16) played two
Power Five schools each year. Draw your own conclusions.
According to media reports if
Major League Baseball does play games this summer it will do so with a
designated hitter in all games. It is also likely, according to the reports, that
the National League will use the DH from here on out. It is about time. Welcome
to 1973, National League. Nobody wants to see pitchers bunt, strikeout or
ground out to the opposing pitcher. Nobody also wants to see a grown man put on
a jacket when he’s on the bases because his precious arm might get cold. It has
always been silly for the two leagues to have a significant rule difference,
especially now that there is a ridiculous amount of interleague games. I
understand some fans insist pinch-hitting for the pitcher and making a double
switch in your lineup is great drama and can only be done by genius managers
with master’s degrees. All we know is that if your son or daughter’s Little
League manager, who just got to the game 15 minutes before it started after
rushing to the park from his construction job can do it, so can Terry Francona.
Major League Baseball also
announced that the 2021 World Baseball Classic has been called off because of
the coronavirus pandemic. The next one will be 2023. Here’s hoping the WBC dies
quietly and goes away forever. It is meaningless. It proves nothing. Pitchers
are just out there trying not to get hurt. Daisuke Matsuzaka was the Most
Valuable Player in the first two WBCs in 2006 and 2009, for goodness sake. It messes
with spring training and each team’s preparation for the regular season. Make
it go away.
ESPN’s Last Dance documentary
about the Chicago Bulls 1990s dynasty has been interesting and entertaining and
a nice distraction from everyday life. But nothing new has been revealed. Every
issue talked about in the first eight episodes was reported thoroughly when it
happened in the 1990s. Michael Jordan was a great player. Michael Jordan was a
jerk. Michael Jordan was on a minutes limit when he returned from the injury
his second season. Michael Jordan was a bully. Michael Jordan was idolized.
Michael Jordan didn’t like the Detroit Pistons and Isiah Thomas. Michael Jordan
plays golf and cards for money. Michael Jordan uses foul language. Michael
Jordan made fun of Jerry Krause. Michael Jordan liked to embarrass opponents.
Been there. Done that. A thousand times. Two and three decades ago.
The national media is now
feeling sorry for Scottie Pippen. Jordan’s sidekick has not been portrayed in a
flattering light in The Last Dance. Well, too bad. Pippen did all of those
things. He quit on his team in a playoff game. He purposely sat out the first
few months of the 1997-98 season because he was unhappy with his contract. He
got a famous headache against the Pistons. He treated Krause poorly. All of
those things, too, were reported when they happened. But the national media
didn’t dwell on them in the 1990s because there was always a Jordan story to
talk about five minutes later. And the Bulls won.
ESPN came out with another
ludicrous list this week, detailing its top 74 players in NBA history. There
are far too many ludicrous rankings to mention here but some are worth
mentioning. Here are the players whose talents were severely underestimated: Wilt
Chamberlain (No. 6), Elgin Baylor (22), John Stockton (28), Bob Cousy (41),
Rick Barry (43) and Pete Maravich (68). Others, like Chet Walker, Dennis
Johnson, Joe Dumars, Nate Thurmond, Walt Bellamy Calvin Murphy and Nate
Archibald weren’t even listed at all.
There were far more players whose talents were overvalued, such as LeBron James (2), Larry Bird (7), Tim Duncan (8), Stephen Curry (13), Dirk Nowitzki (19), Kevin Garnett (20), Scottie Pippen (21), David Robinson (24), Dwyane Wade (26), Allen Iverson (29), James Harden (32), John Havlicek (33), Kevin McHale (36), Patrick Ewing (37), Chris Paul (40), Russell Westbrook (42), Anthony Davis (45), Reggie Miller (49), James Worthy (51), Tracy McGrady (52), Gary Payton (53), Paul Pierce (54), Vince Carter (55), Ray Allen (56), Manu Ginobili (58), Bob McAdoo (59), Willis Reed (60), Robert Parish (61), Dennis Rodman (62), Alonzo Mourning (63), Earl Monroe (64), Pau Gasol (65), Damian Lillard (72) and Dikembe Mutombo (73).