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Don’t call Nevada’s season a success

Don’t call Nevada’s season a success

BY JOE SANTORO

Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . .

How do we sum up the 2007-08 men’s basketball season at Nevada? Well, solid season, disappointing finish. Don’t forget that this team went 19-6 from Dec. 8 through March 13. And don’t forget that three huge pieces to this year’s team — Armon Johnson, Brandon Fields and JaVale McGee and some small pieces – will be back next year to combine with recruit Luke Babbitt. So the immediate future looks promising. But nobody in Silver & Blue should be happy with the way this season ended. Just getting to the College Basketball Invitational (formerly known as the MPC Computers Bowl?) isn’t a reason to celebrate.

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It was a disappointing March because the Pack men didn’t get to the Western Athletic Conference tournament finals and they lost to a mediocre team at home in their meaningless bowl game. Hey, at least the football team had the decency to lose in their bowl game away from home. Take away that room service title in the WAC Tournament in 2006 and this program is 4-7 in the postseason over the last four seasons. Remember the loss to Boise in the WAC Tournament in 2005, the loss to Montana in the NCAA Tournament in 2006, the loss to Utah State in the WAC Tournament in 2007 and the last two games this year? The Pack has gone from a good-to-sometimes-great team in the regular season to a mediocre-to-sometimes-underachieving team in the postseason over the last four years. That needs to be corrected if this program is ever going to take the next important step.

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We understand why the Boston Red Sox threatened to boycot their trip to Japan if their coaches, manager and trainer didn’t get their $40,000 expense check. It’s nice to see millionaires sticking up for the little guys once in a while. But what we don’t understand is why anyone needs a $40,000 expense check to go on a trip to play two games? A free trip to Tokyo with free food and free room and board – not to mention their normal paycheck – isn’t enough? In baseball, it’s always about getting as much money as you can at every single moment. It’s about time fans start to boycot $50 boxseats, $7 beers and $6 hot dogs. If anyone needs a $40,000 expense check it’s the fans.

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If you never had the pleasure of watching a Los Angeles Dodgers spring training game in Vero Beach, Fla., well, you missed out on a truly amazing experience. Dodgertown was the last spring training site where you could experience spring training the way it was meant to be experienced. But, remember, teams need to make as much money as they possibly can at all possible times, so the Dodgers are going to a multi-million dollar cookie cutter training complex in Arizona next year. Dodgertown is now going to be Dollartown, just like every other major league spring training site.

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Barry Bonds’ agent, it seems, want players union boss Donald Fehr to look into why Bonds has not gotten a single contract offer this spring. How long will that take? About three seconds? Figuring out why Bonds is unemployed this spring isn’t exactly uncovering one of the most baffling mysteries of our generation. The guy is a jerk, he’s wants too much money and he only plays when he wants to play. End of mystery.

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The Houston Rockets’ winning streak ended at 22 games this week. Did anybody even notice that the Rockets had a 22-game winning streak? If the Rockets were a college basketball team, the media would be calling them a heartwarming Cinderella story. There would be national stories on the little town where Luis Scola grew up. But since the Rockets are a NBA team, the media is off telling us about the greatness of Tiger Woods and all of the teams that were treated unfairly by the NCAA selection committee.

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Have you heard? Tiger Woods is a good golfer. He’s going to win 30 tournaments in a row, feed 14 starving countries by playing 18 holes in corporate-sponsored charity events, develop a putter with which your pet hamster could tame Augusta’s greens and run for president and win in 2016. It’s golf, folks. It’s golf. Relax.

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The New York Yankees deserve a huge pat on the back for playing an exhibition at Virginia Tech this week. The Yankees, who have no ties to Virginia Tech, didn’t have to do that. If the Red Sox did the same thing, they would demand a $40,000 expense check for their trainers and bat boys. Now it’s time for the White Sox and Cubs to follow the Yankees’ example and play an exhibition at Northern Illinois University sometime this spring or summer.

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Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor (the T-Wolves are a NBA team, for those of you mesmerized by the exploits of Tiger) had the stupidity to say this week that Kevin Garnett tanked the last five games last season by sitting out with a leg injury. And you wonder how some people become owners of professional sports teams. Garnett is one of the truly great warriors of the NBA. Why doesn’t someone ask Taylor why he tanked the entire immediate future of the franchise by trading away Garnett?

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The Oakland Raiders sure have been busy this off-season. Now it appears that they will get cornerback DeAngelo Hall from the Atlanta Falcons. Hall, who verbally battled with former Falcons coach Bobby Petrino on the sidelines last year, fits the mild of the old Raiders — a guy who can play who also just happens to be a loud mouth, cocky renegade. If the Raiders do the sensible thing by drafting Arkansas running back Darren McFadden with the fourth pick next month, it could be a very interesting (8-8?) season in Oakland this fall.