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Some notes on a scorecard

Nevada Appeal Staff Reports

I didn’t feel like writing a real column this week, but for anyone who still wants to pay attention to this popcorn stand, here’s a few notes on a scorecard:

– From the no matter what you do you’re wrong department comes Eli and Archie Manning. Who can blame Archie for wanting what’s best for his son?

His view was totally understandable since he spent most of his career being beaten up in New Orleans. Archie shouldn’t be criticized because he didn’t want the same thing to happen to his son.

Sure, all indications are Eli will be the starter from day one with the Giants, which means he’ll be under incredible scrutiny from the New York media. Less than 20 games into the season, one New York newspaper has already called the Yankees start alarming, so you can imagine what they’ll do to Eli if he has a Ryan Leaf-type opening act.

But all those experts who are pointing out the scrutiny Eli will be under in New York would also be questioning his decision if he ended up in San Diego. The psuedo-wannabe experts like Mel Kuiper, Jr. and Chris Mortensen would be just as quick to point out that the Chargers have a terrible offensive line unable to protect Eli.

The chorus of boos that greeted Eli when the Chargers drafted him wasn’t really surprising and showed that nothing has changed since John Elway also became a “holdout” when the Baltimore Colts drafted him in 1983. I can remember Elway’s treatment from fans and the media was comprable to the treatment that the Mannings received.

The only differences was the NFL draft didn’t receive nearly the attention it receives now and Chris Berman wasn’t as heavy, had more hair and wasn’t as annoying.

– We are quick to decide that people are guilty before proven innocent in our society and that’s been the case with the whole steroids controversy. We were quick to jump on Jason Giambi’s noticeable loss in weight (four pounds, yeah right) and concluded that Giambi has been using steroids.

So why is it when we look at Barry Bonds’ phsyique and notice virtually no change we aren’t at least giving him the benefit of the doubt and saying maybe that shows he wasn’t using steroids after all. I know the circumstancial evidence is overwhelming and maybe it’s wishful thinking, but I’m willing to give Bonds and others the benefit of the doubt until absolutely proven otherwise.

Besides, we’ve given President Bush the benefit of the doubt on the whole weapons of mass destruction issue, haven’t we? (Many of you are no doubt now saying stick to sports you bum).

The shame of it is – no matter if it turns out he used steroids or not – Bonds’ Hall of Fame stats will be tainted more than they should. Bonds could hit .400 this year and that will have nothing to do with steroids. Bonds’ bat speed has nothing to do with steroids.

Bonds has nine home runs and I still believe that’s more than the number of times he’s swung and missed this season. That has nothing to do with steroids.

With or without steroids, I still believe Bonds would have hit more than 600 home runs in his career. The issue is greatness. If it turns out he cheated with steroids, it certainly would be a shame.

But Gaylord Perry is in the Hall of Fame even though he’s an admitted cheater. Bonds should receive the same consideration.

– I know it’s still way too premature to make any judgements, but I wasn’t exactly encouraged by a poll I saw when checking out Sierra Nevada Baseball’s website. That group is determined to bring a Triple A Pacific Coast League baseball team to Northern Nevada in 2006 and has the league’s blessing.

As of Wednesday night, only 618 people had responded to the question what types of tickets would you be willing to purchase.

Even more alarming (I know the target date is still almost two years away and I’m already starting to sound like the New York media) is that about 60 percent of those who responded said they are interested in season tickets. While that sounds like a good number that’s only about 360-370 people, which is far shy of the likely number the franchise will need to be successful. On the other hand, 370 people saying they are interested in buying season tickets for a team that doesn’t even exist, yet, may not be that bad.

On a brighter note it looks like the franchise will have no problem selling the 30 or so luxury boxes that will be offered. Four percent of those responded said they were interested in the luxury boxes, which is rougly 25 people.

I know it’s early and I’m sure the Sierra Nevada group will plan an aggressive campaign to sell season tickets if and when it becomes clear the franchise will be a reality.

Again, maybe it’s wishful thinking, but unlike most skeptics, I believe Triple A baseball in this area could be a big success if marketed properly. I know I would attend as many games as I could.

Charles Whisnand is the Nevada Appeal Sports Editor. Contact him at cwhisnand@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1214.