High School Football Preview Show 9-26

 

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Big match-ups highlight an exciting week of league play in North State football. Two of the most exciting teams in the region will square off in Redding as perennial power Enterprise (2-1) hosts Chico High (2-1.) This game is more than Izzy Matthews for the Hornets and Clayton Welch for the Panthers. Will the championship experience of Enterprise carry them in this big early season tilt ? Has Chico’s defense improved enough to stop a potent Hornet offense ? Can Welch lead the Panthers with his arm and feet to the upset ? This should be a great game.

Both Foothill and Red Bluff are desperate as they both come in scuffling. Big game for both. And, the Shasta Wolves and Pleasant Valley Vikings both come in to their Friday night match-up undefeated at 4-0. This should be a great game as both teams look to serve notice that they are a team that needs to be reckoned with this year.

Our panel of experts breaks it down in this weeks’ edition of the High School Football Preview Show brought to you by Mountain Mike’s Pizza…..

RICK SILVA-Paradise Post @Post_RickSilva

TJ HOLMES- Redding Record Searchlight @tjholmes_RS

JOSEPH SHUFELBERGER-ChicoER @JShufelberger

LEE CARRELL-Action News 12 & 24 @CarrellLee

MIKE BACA-KPAY Sports Director @BitOBaca @KPAYBacaSports

 

Dodger lineup

Head and Heart at odds over Dodgers playoff hopes

 

The Los Angeles Dodgers are truly one of my first loves. I know that I can be so ridiculously critical of them that it makes no sense. They are that cherished heirloom that holds great sentimental value.

As the Boys in Blue prepare for their 2014 post-season run I am trying to balance being a fan and a realist.

The fan in me says that once you get into the post-season you have a chance to be World Champion. The realist looks at the Dodgers injury-depleted rotation and knows a deep run will be hard.

The fan in me says that the Dodgers are the best road team in baseball with a 49-32 record away from The Ravine and that their veteran leadership will serve them well in October. The realist looks at the Dodgers defensive and base-running deficiencies and sees a club that is apt to boot a grounder or run themselves out of an inning at the most inopportune of times.

The fan in me sees a team tearing the cover off the ball and sees Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke sitting at the top of the rotation ready to lead the Dodgers into the Fall Classic. The realist looks at the most horrific bullpen in the 2014 post-season. A collection of has-beens that has been bad all year-long. What makes me think anything will change in October ?

The fan in me sees a battle-tested group that came back from 10 games last year and 9.5 games this year to most-likely capture their second straight division crown. The realist in me sees a manager in Don Mattingly making decisions at critical times that could directly influence the game and as much as I have supported this guy through the noise of an impatient fan-base, well, the thought of Donnie pushing buttons to try to help this team win, scares the hell out of me.

In closing, 26 years is a long long time. It’s not the 56 years Giants fans had to wait. It’s not the 86 years Red Sox fans waited. And, it’s not even close to the misery the Cubs have put their fans through. As much as I want it to happen, sadly I can’t bring myself to think that this is the team that ends the Dodgers World Championship drought. They have too many weaknesses, and good teams will take advantage of them and make it hurt.

So, I will celebrate this week’s divisional title. I will whoop it up with the rest of Dodgers Nation. But, unlike past trips to the post-season, I will temper my enthusiasm, knowing full well that in that must-win 3-3 game in the 7th Donnie will look to the pen and all he will see is Brian Wilson and Brandon League warming up.

BobcatFootball

High School Football Preview 9-19

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We enter Week 3 of the high school football season. Several intriguing match-ups as teams look to take the big step forward and serve notice that they will be a factor when league play opens.

Battle for Ax in Willows as the Honkers host Orland in one of the best rivalry games in the North State.  Can Pleasant Valley stay undefeated ? Our panel of high school experts breaks it down in this week edition of the High School Football Preview Show brought to you by Mountain Mike’s Pizza. 4 locations in the North Valley including Paradise, Oroville and two locations in Chico.

Today’s panel includes….

LEE CARRELL- Action News 12 & 24 @CarrellLee on Twitter

TJ HOLMES- Redding Record Searchlight @tjholmes_RS on Twitter

JEFF LARSON- Paradise Post @jtlarson on Twitter

JOSEPH SHUFELBERGER- Chico Enterprise Record @JShufelberger on Twitter

HOST: MIKE BACA-KPAY Sports Director @BitoBaca and @KpayBacaSports on Twitter

 

 

The A’s are a regular season tragedy

The Oakland A’s have lost 26 games by one-run and it feels like they have all come in the last six weeks. It’s a stretch of dismal baseball that the game hasn’t seen in years; and it has the Athletics playoff hopes teetering.

With last night’s excruciating 6-1 loss to the Texas Rangers the A’s are now in a flat-footed tie with the Kansas City Royals for the top wild-card spot in the American League and are a mere two games in front of the Seattle Mariners for the second and final spot. There are losses, then there are the inexplicable, the cosmic, the numbingly torturous that we saw on Wednesday night.

Jeff Samardzija had pitched 8 innings of shut-out baseball and the A’s were looking for added insurance in the bottom of the 8th. After loading the bases with no one out the A’s proceeded with two pop-ups and a fly ball and failed to score. They handed the ball to reliable closer Sean Doolittle to close out the win. Instead it was an epic implosion as the woeful Rangers tagged the A’s pen for 6 runs. To borrow a line, “it was so quiet in Oakland you could hear Anaheim.”

The Angels and their fans were hoping to turn Angels Stadium into their own version of Disneyland after they had disposed of the Mariners 5-0. The win had clinched a tie for the American League West title for the Halos. With the A’s loss the Angels were able to pop the bubbly and celebrate their first division title since 2009. The Angels are the anti-thesis of the Athletics. While Oakland has dropped 17-of-27 the Angels have won an amazing 18-of-22.  Incredibly, the Angels surge coincides with the loss of their best pitcher Garrett Richards who tore up his knee in Boston last month while covering first base. Since then numerous players have stepped up in Richards absence while the offense has found their stride.

Fan message boards and chat rooms will point to Billy Beane’s trading of Yoenis Cespedes as the reason for the team’s foibles over the last month-plus. While the loss of Yoni may have had an adverse affect on the chemistry of the team, to point to THAT as the lone reason for Oakland’s troubles is being short-sighted.

Oakland has been decimated by injuries. Short-stop Jed Lowrie spent considerable time on the DL forcing Bob Melvin to piece together an infield of punch-n-judy hitters. Coco Crisp missed significant time because of a blow to the head as he chased a fly ball and with hellacious slumps by multiple hitters (Moss & Donaldson) the A’s weren’t giving themselves a chance to win on a daily basis. In short, they stopped scoring runs and when they did, the back-end of the bullpen was failing in Doolittle’s absence. The result has not only been losses in the standings, but a loss of that Oakland swagger that they used during the summer. The Athletics need to find that swagger and confidence FAST.

The irony is that if the Athletics actually make it to the post-season they will  be a very dangerous team. The game of baseball and the fortunes of teams’ can turn on a dime. There is not one team in the American League that “wants” to play the A’s in a series. I will give you four reasons.  Lester, Samardzija, Gray and Kazmir. The A’s greatest asset is that glorious rotation.

It was 8 years ago that the St. Louis Cardinals were in danger of not making the post-season. They lost 8 straight games going into their final regular season game, needing to win to get into the post-season. The Cardinals would win that game. The Cardinals would also win the World Series even though they only won 84 games during the regular season.

Pitching wins in October but if Oakland can’t at least figure a few things out offensively over the next 11 days, they may not get a chance to prove it.

 

Text Messages

Violence toward children breeds defiance

 

Growing up in a single-parent household my mother had ample reason to give me a whack every now and then. She never did.

All of those moments where I mouthed off, gave her that “look,” or just straight up dis-respected her and she never hit me once. “Thanks Mom.” I bet you  know this already, but it wouldn’t have worked anyway.

You see my mother had her way of getting me to behave. It was subtle, it wasn’t violent and it was effective. She found what I cared about the most, whether it be playing baseball, shooting hoops, playing with my buddies, riding my bike, listening to Bill King on the radio (yeah, I was a strange kid) and she would take it away. She didn’t just give this punishment lip service. She took it away. When she said two weeks, she meant two weeks. When she said “no game,” damn, I knew there would be “no game.” There was no negotiation when it came to consequence if her beloved little Michael was acting-a-fool. This is what kept me in line, she didn’t need to hit me. And, it’s a good thing,  because I will tell you why it would have back-fired.

Growing up in catholic school was a great experience. To this day I am still friends and at least acquaintances with most of my classmates from St. Joseph’s in Alameda. There was basically a core of 30 students that went from 1st grade to 8th grade. We spent so much time together that in an odd kind of way I feel they will always be part of my family. We grew up together.

Many of my teachers at St. Joseph’s  were not “of the cloth,” but many were. I was hit twice in my life for disciplinary reasons. In those instances the punishment was levied by a nun. Yes, NUNS.

Let me start by saying I had some teachers who were saints. They had to put up with a rambunctious young lad who was constantly talking, constantly. I just never stopped. They never hit me, but they befriended me and made me want to behave better so I wouldn’t disappoint them. It took some time, but I thank them for their patience in dealing with me.

The first time I was hit was by a miserable old woman named Sister Bernice. She had to be in her late 60’s or early 70’s. Prim and proper in appearance, she was a stern task-master. The problem is she didn’t appear to have a kind bone in her body. She was just mean, all the time. Now I am sure she did kind works, fed the poor, administered to the sick, loved God and worked hard, but she was damn cold.

One day as this 6th grader was once again being disruptive, she called me out, made me stand up in front of the class and slapped me. I will never forget it. It was not an ordinary soft slap, there was some force in the right arm of that grey haired old woman. I’ll never forget the look of anger in her face as she stared me down as I retreated a few steps. I looked back at her in fear. I knew my classmates were in shock. I know I was embarrassed. Not only was my face red from the “smack,” but I was thoroughly embarrassed by being the center of ridicule. Not to say I didn’t deserve some measure of punishment for my antics, but I didn’t deserve THAT.

Sister Bernice got the desired effect in THAT very moment. But, for the rest of the day I sat sullen and quiet. I didn’t make a sound. In fact, I was probably down-trodden during lunch and recess when I should have been playing with my friends. It was a horrible experience. Then something happened internally that is hard to put into words and is hard to quantify.

I became defiant.

I reasoned mentally that I had taken what she had to offer and she wasn’t going to get away with that. “Screw her” is what I thought.  I made it my life’s goal to be as disruptive and as much of a nuisance as I possibly could in her class. I didn’t care if she hit me again. She had already taken something from me. I had nothing to lose. I was a mere annoyance before she hit me. I was a terror AFTER she hit me. I openly mocked her. I challenged her. I verbally shot back at her, I baited her, goaded her into getting angry with me. I was hit on the shoulder, I was grabbed and I was sent to the principal’s office. I was defiant. The only way my behavior changed was when my mother got involved. Her solution, “well if you insist on embarrassing me with your insolent behavior. If you will not respect authority then maybe you don’t need to play in your team’s basketball game this weekend. Maybe we won’t go to the Warriors game next week. Maybe we won’t be going to the batting cages on Friday night.”

Problem solved.

I didn’t want to disappoint my mom. The thought of that was awful, the guilt, some would say, the catholic guilt was over-whelming. I wouldn’t change for the crotchety old nun that wanted to hit me, but I could change for the woman who raised me and loved me.

In closing, those that say violence is the only way or is the preferred way of disciplining a child must have issues themselves. They are either dysfunctional, were abused themselves and are continuing the cycle, or simply don’t care about their kids. There is another way. If you think there isn’t, then you are the problem.

Dodger lineup

The Dodgers: Not shaken, not stirred

 

The Dodgers give their supporters plenty to worry about. With their shaky defense, leaky bullpen and inability to hit with the bases loaded the team continues to back themselves into corners. Well, they have done it again.

Last night’s 9-0 drubbing at the hands of their arch-rivals signified the ultimate “GAME ON” moment in the National League West. The San Francisco Giants two month collapse from June 10th to mid-August is a distant memory and now they are charging……HARD.

But, the Dodgers have shown they have some inner toughness this year. They were a mediocre team for much of the year and have had to really grind to sit on top of the NL West. The Giants haven’t cornered the market on toughness as their supporters would leave you to believe. Entering the final two games of this three game series the Dodgers are still in great shape. Yes, not good, GREAT. The Dodgers will pack the best one-two punch in baseball on the bump the next couple of days. Zack Greinke gets the ball tonight against Tim Hudson, while Jesus Christ himself, Clayton Kershaw takes to the mound tomorrow.  The Dodgers could lose tonight and still leave San Francisco in first place on Sunday night.

No need to fret Dodgers fans. The race has tightened and the Giants are no push-over. But the Dodgers, despite all of their ills, are still in first place and they have two of the best pitchers in baseball in their hip-pocket.

High School Football Preview 9-12

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It’s the High School Football Preview Show for September 12th

Lee Carrell-Action News Now @CarrellLee

TJ Holmes-Redding Record Searchlight @tjholmes_RS

Joseph Shufelberger-ChicoER @JShufelberger

Rick Silva-Paradise Post @Post_RickSilva

Mike Baca-KPAY Sports Director @BitOBaca

 

BREAKING: AP says law enforcement official sent Ray Rice elevator video to NFL offices !!!

A law enforcement official has told the Associated Press that they sent a copy of the Ray Rice elevator video to the NFL offices in New York. This same official says they talked to a woman in the office who said they had received the tape and, “you are right, it’s terrible.”

This official tells the AP that it was a 12-second conversation. This comes on the heels of repeated denials by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in that no one in the NFL offices had received the Ray Rice elevator video.

The AP says the law enforcement official says this happened in April. AP says the police official said they were unauthorized to release the video but shared it unsolicited, because they wanted the NFL to have it before deciding on Rice’s punishment.

An NFL spokesman has told Fox Sports Mike Garafalo that “they have no knowledge of this, and will be looking into it.”

ESPN’s Outside the Lines program is reporting that a lobby videotape shows Ray Rice apparently spit in the face of his fiancé before they entered the elevator. She responds by swiping at Rice with left hand. They both walk into the elevator where the assault takes place. As Rice drags Jayna Rice out of the elevator a Revel Casino security guard confronts Ray Rice, who tells the security guard that “she has had too much to drink.” The security guard can be seen talking to someone on his walkie-talkie. Authorities say the guard was being told by security to keep Ray Rice away from Jayna who was lying prone on the floor.

Outside the Lines reports that Rice propped up a dazed Jayna against the open doors of the elevator to which she says to him, “how could you do that to me, I am the mother of your child.” Rice proceeds to get on his phone and call someone and says, “I am going to be arrested tonight.”

More to come…….

ROADRUNNER HELMET

NFL, 49ers and Butte College in full backpedal…..

 

Butte College, the San Francisco 49ers and the mighty NFL are all in full back-pedal mode as they try to fend off questions on their handling of alleged assailants in assault cases.

MISCOMMUNICATION LEADS TO MIXED MESSAGE AT BUTTE

For Butte College this simply seems like a matter of mis-communication among school administrators. The case revolves around 19 year-old Brandon Banks. The former Vanderbilt Commodore was arrested along with three of his teammates in July of 2013 for the alleged sexual assault of a woman. The ensuing investigation led to Banks’ indictment and subsequent dismissal from the Vandy football team.

Fast-forward to this off-season. Athletic officials contacted Director of Student Affairs Al Renville asking him if there would be a problem in allowing Banks to come to Butte and play football while he was out on bond in the Tennessee case. Renville told local media on Monday that, “since Banks had not been prosecuted for anything,  there was no reason he shouldn’t be able to attend the school and play football.”

When that story was broadcast on Monday, it certainly had to raise eyebrows, because on Tuesday the school’s president Dr. Kimberly Perry dismissed Banks from the team citing the school’s code of conduct policies. In her statement she said Banks should not be pre-judged just because he has been accused and indicted. But, she added that students and staff need to feel safe. She concluded by saying Banks will be allowed to stay in school to continue his studies, but can not play football.

The communication break-down at Butte is unfortunate. This situation could have easily been rectified if Student Affairs Chair Renville made a simple phone call and asked Perry if they should move forward and allow Banks to play. There comes a time in all jobs where we are tasked with making decisions. Sometimes these decisions are way above our pay grade and our superiors should be consulted before a final decision is made. That is certainly the case here.

This has nothing to do with the guilt or innocence of Brandon Banks. This is purely an image question. Sometimes it is not the best course of action to bring in a player or student of suspect character when it might create a black-eye for the institution. I think the circumstances change a bit when you consider Banks has been indicted. Certainly an indictment does not equate to guilt. But, this is not simply a mere arrest. There is enough evidence for an indictment. That should have sent up caution flags at Butte, it didn’t.

I believe athletics is free and clear in this situation. Unless there is something we do not know, it appears Athletic Director Craig Rigsbee and Head Coach Jeff Jordan did their due diligence in this case. They heard about a talented player that needed a place to play. He had some baggage. They went through the proper steps to address that baggage by contacting their superiors. Those superiors (Renville) said move forward. Instead, the administration at Butte didn’t get on the same page, and now has to deal with the fall-out.

Mistakes were made,  but I don’t think athletics should shoulder them.

NFL TROUBLES

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is asking you to believe that the long arm of the NFL’s investigative team could not retrieve the Ray Rice elevator assault video. I don’t believe him one bit. And, that is one of the NFL’s biggest problems. They lack credibility now on a variety of issues ranging from domestic assaults to concussion remedies and settlements.

The long investigative arm of the NFL is a distinguished group. They have former CIA, FBI and other federal investigators who work for them. How can a sleaze website in TMZ obtain the Ray Rice elevator video, yet the league’s hoard of investigative heavy-weights not be able to get their hands on it. My question is, COULD they not get the tape or WOULD they not get the tape ?

Goodell told CBS’s Norah O’Donnell in an interview this week that the NFL tried, but they just couldn’t get the tape because law enforcement would not hand it over. So, you don’t have one investigator on payroll with a connection to law enforcement that could have at least “SEEN” the tape ? That’s right, not only does Goodell want you to believe that NO ONE with the league could obtain the tape, he says not one person with the league could actually view the footage. This explanation is a farce. And, when you consider Goodell is the CEO of a multi-billion dollar corporation where image and protecting the NFL shield is sacrosanct, his reasoning comes up short.

The league will persevere. The games will go on. And, Goodell will most likely keep his job, but he will forever be tarnished by his mis-handling of this case.

49ers AND THEIR BIG GAMBLE

With 10 arrests in the last three years you would think the San Francisco 49ers would have some sensitivity about their image and on what is happening in the world around them. Again, faced with possibly disciplining one of their players who was arrested for felony domestic assault the 49ers have chosen to tell the football world, “image be damned, lets just win games.”

Defensive lineman Ray McDonald was arrested by San Jose Police in the early morning hours of August 31st after he reportedly assaulted his pregnant girlfriend. While he has been arrested the district attorney has not filed formal charges while the San Jose Police continue their investigation.

Who knows, after all the fact-finding in this case we may learn that McDonald was arrested under false pre-tenses and that the charges are unfounded. But, there is also the chance the DA finds enough evidence to charge McDonald and then IMO the 49ers are in some deep trouble.

We first heard the 49ers stance last week. Head coach Jim Harbaugh was rolling out the ole “due process” claim. He said accusations do not directly correlate to guilt. Both of these are true, but it shows that Harbaugh and now team CEO Jed York are missing the point. They have a team that is making run-ins with the law common-place. 10 players arrested in less than three years means you should be more cautious about how you handle each legal case. The 49ers image now is one of a bunch of hooligans in shoulder pads and jerseys.

CEO York should be in tune with the 49ers brand and hold his employees to a higher standard since each time the 49ers are on the police blotter, the 49ers brand is tarnished. Harbaugh and York have said numerous times they have a no tolerance policy toward domestic violence regarding their players. If that is the case, why take McDonald off the field, let the investigation move forward, keep paying him and take the high road. By doing this, you let “due process” play out, and the player still makes his money.

The argument that McDonald is being punished if you don’t let him play rings hollow. You are still paying him. He can still earn a livelihood. Playing the game should not be a given, it’s a privilege. When you put yourself in suspect situations, I believe you are putting that privilege at risk. Unless you play for the San Francisco 49ers.

The 49ers will look awful if McDonald is charged and ultimately convicted of felony domestic assault on his pregnant girlfriend. I will never feel sorry for Harbaugh, York and company. They have decided to have a team with players of suspect character and they have to live with the consequences. The surprising thing is that the fans seem more than willing to embrace a team, that has the likes of Montana, Craig, Rice, and Lott turning away in disdain.

Beat Seattle ? Not Gonna Happen

Last night the Seattle Seahawks raised the 2013 championship banner, and unless my eyes are deceiving me, I expect them to raise another one next year.

That was an over-whelming performance against a very good Green Bay Packers team. I know its only the first game of what will be a long season, but the Seahawks look even better than they did last year. Why are they better ? Well, let’s start at quarterback.

Russell Wilson is not some game manager as some led you to believe last year. Wilson is emerging as a multi-faceted star. I love his decision-making skills as the leader of the offense. We rarely see him make a bad decision when it comes to threading a needle, or putting his head down and running. Many QB’s never learn this lesson. They try to do too much. They force the issue. Wilson epitomizes the “letting the game come to him” mantra.

Oh man, THAT Seattle defense is something vicious. They have speed, speed and more speed. That Seattle defense is mean. Straight up mean. They are always in full attack mode. They never sit back, they never wait for the action to come to them. They are always advancing and never allow offenses to find a comfort zone. If people thought there would be some drop-off or ambivalence in the wake of their Super Bowl championship……Nope.

Aaron Rodgers may be the best quarterback in the NFL. You know how many  times he tried to challenge Richard Sherman last night ? ZERO ZIP ZILTCH NADA. Rodgers didn’t throw one pass Sherman’s way. I believe Rodgers may have wanted to test Sherman, but he just didn’t have time on his check-downs. That brings me to the unsung heroes on this Seahawks squad. Seattle’s pass rush is unrelenting. They do not allow quarterbacks time to go through  their progressions. So, while Sherman and Cam Chancellor get all the press, Seattle’s interior line makes it happen with their speed and menacing brute strength on the ball.

Seattle was a Super Bowl contender before last night. But, with the spry and rested Marshawn Lynch (sat out most of pre-season,) serviceable offensive reserves, and a full season of Percy Harvin. Oh hell, as Dennis Green would say, “you wanna crown their ass, then crown their ass !” LOL

Weaknesses ? The loss of Golden Tate is the only weakness I see on this squad. Tate was a dependable returner. Seattle will miss him. But, in the grand scheme of things, this team is as complete as any team in the league.

The great equalizer in the NFL is injuries. If the bug hits the Seahawks then they could come back down to earth. The league isn’t going to catch the Seahawks. If Seattle fails, they will be complicit in their own failure.