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Area needs to support Triple A team

Darrell Moody
Appeal Sports Writer

Some thoughts for a summer Saturday:

I read in the Appeal on Friday that the Reno City Council has found a parcel of land that would be suitable for a Triple A Stadium. The land is located at Evans and 2nd Street, a short walk from the casinos on Virginia Street.

Great news. Now let’s see it happen. Talk is cheap. Actions speak louder than words.

Getting a Triple A franchise would be great. What would make it better is if it were a Giants or A’s farm club. Currently, Sacramento hosts the A’s Triple-A team and Fresno has the Giants’ Triple-A team. I don’t see those affiliations changing anytime soon, however.

Certainly it would be great to see affiliated baseball in Northern Nevada, though I’m not sure the area deserves it or is willing to support it. In my five years in Nevada, I’ve been disappointed by crowds at anything local or regional.

High school football and basketball haven’t drawn well here. Ditto for Nevada football and basketball. About the only time football sells out is when UNLV is in town, and that’s even iffy sometimes. Basketball has had a few sellouts, but that should have been a tough ticket to get the last few years, and fans have treated the Pack like second-class citizens in terms of in-the-arena support.

The people in Reno, Sparks, Lake Tahoe, Carson City, Dayton, Fallon, Fernley and Gardnerville need to get off their butts and support this Triple-A venture. It’s good baseball and a chance to see up-and-coming stars.

• I’d like to be a fly on the wall when the Western Athletic Conference baseball coaches meet in early August to decide the format for the upcoming season.

The NCAA is making all teams start a month later this season and will still allow teams to play 50-plus regular-season games. The move was made because the NCAA was getting too many complaints from schools located in cold-weather regions that the teams in Florida and the West Coast had an unfair advantage because of weather.

If you are going to start late, why not just extend the season a month longer? I’m sure the answer would be the fact that schools probably don’t want any of their teams playing into late June, which is about a month after the school year ends. It also could affect the annual amateur baseball draft.

Coaches in the WAC voted to play four-game series this season, but they now differ on what format should be used. Jeff Hurd, senior associate commissioner, said that athletic directors won’t let schools play a four-day series because of time out of class.

For teams flying, that would mean missing class Wednesday through Saturday. In the current format, players miss class Thursday and Friday for conference trips requiring flying.

There seems to be a disagreement between playing two 9-inning games and two 7-inning games. Hurd said coaches believe that playing too many 7-inning games will cheapen the season and the series.

Maybe, maybe not.

Those coaches need to consider that none of them have enough pitching to play five or six 9-inning games in a week, which is what will happen next spring. Trust me on this. Some teams in the WAC don’t have two reliable starters let alone four or five.

Another thing that should be considered is the roster size. Currently it’s at 25, and for a four-game series probably needs to be expanded by at least two pitchers. That may not fly because it would cost more money for airfare, hotels and food to have two more players traveling.

• Two things bothered me about the All-Star game this week.

The first is that Barry Bonds opted not to participate in the Home Run Derby. I think it was a slap in the face to local fans who have stood behind him through thick and thin. I think he owed it to them.

Oh wait, this is Barry Bonds, who only cares about himself.

The second is the Albert Pujols-Tony La Russa situation. La Russa, the Cardinals’ manager and N.L. manager, held Pujols, the Cardinals’ slugger, out of the game.

I’m sure in the back of his mind, La Russa was worried about running out of position players or pitchers due to injury or length of game.

That’s all fine and dandy, but with homefield advantage resting on the outcome, you play the best players. If you are forced to play a position player at a different position, so be it. You have to start treating the all-star game like it’s the seventh game of the World Series. There is no tomorrow, and the homefield advantage is huge in any World Series.

• According to general manager Kurt Jacey, Silver Sox reliever Chris Testa, who shook off a sign from his catcher and then delivered a three-run gopher ball against the Armada, has been released.