How is Bill King NOT in the Hall of Fame ?

For the umpteenth time Bay Area icon and long-time sports broadcaster Bill King did not receive the necessary votes to be inducted into the broadcaster’s wing of the Hall of Fame. This is just a tremendous injustice. So many fans associate their love of team with their local broadcasters. No one exemplified this passion more than the great Bill King. Not only was his emotion for the game and his team’s second-to-none, but his descriptions of what was actually taking place on the court or field is unparalleled.

LISTEN TO KING CALL GAME 4 OF THE 1975 WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS BETWEEN THE BULLS AND WARRIORS. GOLDEN STATE WAS DOWN 2-GAMES-TO-1 AND TRAILED BY 18 BEFORE RICK BARRY LED THEM BACK….

There are so many broadcasters today that are either cookie-cutter, general in scope or just plain boring. In a day where it’s all about who-you-know instead of…how good you are….the likes of Bill King are obsolete.

Bay Area fans grew to love his passion-filled broadcasts of Golden State Warriors basketball, his incredible connection to the Silver and Black and his infamous calls with the Oakland Raiders and during the latter stages of his career his descriptions and playful way of broadcasting Oakland A’s baseball.

KING WAS AT THIS BEST DURING GAME 7 OF THE WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS IN 1975 AS THE WARRIORS TRAILED CHICAGO ENTERING THE 4TH QUARTER BEFORE RICK BARRY LED THE WARRIORS TO A COME-FROM-BEHIND WIN…

It is my contention that the Hall of Fame is incomplete without King. How can you have a Hall without a man who is considered by so many……as The Standard by which a game should be called on the radio. Many of us in the business who enjoyed his decades of calls, will not rest until we can celebrate Bill King in the broadcaster’s wing of the Hall of Fame. Until then, the place just seems empty.

*Broadcast footage courtesy of the Bill King Broadcasting Library and The Warriors: A Championship

 

Harbaugh’s move will back-fire

San Francisco 49ers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh made a move six weeks ago that will define the 2012 season. By yanking Alex Smith from the 49ers line-up he signaled a changing of the guard for a franchise hungry for a winner. In going with Colin Kaepernick, Harbaugh showed his cards for the 2012 season….In Kaep We Trust.

The problem is that his starter, Smith, was performing brilliantly. Leading the 49ers to a 25-1 record over his last 26 starts. It is obvious that Smith was not the long-term answer for the franchise, they were practically salivating and falling over themselves talking about Kaepernick, but it would have better served this franchise to hand the keys to the car to Kaepernick for the 2013 season.

Kaepernick looked solid and seasoned in the 49ers win in New England, he looked like a rookie in Seattle. I concede the fact that the rabid fans in the Emerald City make it tough on everyone, but still, in a big games, where ancillary factors matter, clutch play and veteran leadership is most assuredly needed….Kaepernick didn’t have it. Someday he will, but not now. Do you honestly feel comfortable having Colin Kaepernick take these 49ers into Lambeau Field to play Chico’s Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in the playoffs ?

I never compare football to auto racing but the analogy fits. Harbaugh was leading the race, he basically pulled over the to side of the track, told his driver to get out of the car, and gave the keys to his future star. Never mind that Kaep hadn’t done anything to get the 49ers to this point, and, also never mind the fact that Kaepernick is probably a better driver…..for this race, for this season, Alex Smith was the choice.

If the 49ers make it to the Super Bowl, Harbaugh is off the hook. His decision will have worked and regardless of how the Niners fare in the big game, it will have worked. But, if this 2012 49er team falls short. The blame falls squarely on the shoulders of their head coach…..who tinkered where no tinkering was needed.

 

Warriors didn’t need to deceive on Bogut…

WARRIORS CENTER ANDREW BOGUT IS OUT INDEFINITELY WHILE STILL RECOVERING FROM MICRO-FRACTURE ANKLE SURGERY IN APRIL

Now that we have learned that Golden State Warriors Center Andrew Bogut didn’t just have ankle surgery in April but micro-fracture surgery on that ankle, only one question comes to mind ?

Why did the Golden State front office feel a need to deceive their fans on the extent of Bogut’s injury and surgery ?

Its my contention that the Warriors fans are a patient lot. We have endured lenghty playoff droughts (76-87) (93-07). Even worse, we have endured horrendous ownership during the Chris Cohan years. True Warriors fans have a never-ending supply of patience, so why did the Warriors brass feel this need to not be forthright about the Bogut procedure ?

First, the Warriors pulled off a trade that was not popular with much of the fan base when they traded Monta Ellis for Bogut. Newer and younger Warriors fans loved Ellis, despite his obvious short-comings as a complete basketball player. He was exciting to watch, but wasn’t going to be an integral piece of a winning team moving forward. He is simply Alex English in a smaller body. Bogut was worth the gamble despite his various injuries. And, when allowed to heal, could still be a big boost to Golden State. It’s my belief  Warriors brass didn’t want to admit the extent of Bogut’s injury fearing the backlash from the fan base, having experienced the booing episode of team owner Joe Lacob at the Chris Mullin jersey retirement ceremony last season. So, they decided to be general in scope when discussing the procedure.

Second, from what I understand of the procedure on Bogut’s ankle, there are times when the ankle feels great during rehab. Then, in an instant, there will be residual pain and it is tough to shake. The Warriors and Bogut may have felt this urgency to get back on the court, well before it was wise to do so. Bogut felt good, season is approaching, structurally ankle looks fine, but in reality it needs more time to heal. And, the Warriors figured why be forthright about the micro-fracture procedure when the timeline has been accepted by all parties.

On Wednesday, both Bogut and Warriors General Manager Bob Myers seemed to issue divergent message. Bogut saying, “we don’t want to fool anybody anymore. We don’t want to keep creating this excitement of, ‘Hey, Andrew might be coming back to play on Saturday, it might be Monday.” Bogut went on the tell the San Francisco Chronicle, “Its enough, it takes a toll on me and the organization. We met this morning and I said, ‘Let’s make it and indefinite  leave until I’m ready, there is not point throwing dates out there anymore.” EXACTLY

It’s confusing why the Warriors would hide this micro-fracture news. Warriors GM Myers said the focus of the organization was not to deceive. He told the Chronicle, “there were a lot of components to the injury that made it a situation that might take a little time, but knowing that element from the get-go didn’t change our expectations and don’t to this day.” Huh ? So, you knew this surgery might side-line him for a long time, but were “hoping” it wouldn’t so you went public with time-frames that brought the fan base into a lather only to yank the rug from them time and again ? The Warriors front office of businessmen is too smart to think this way. Honesty and not inferences of a quick return should have been company policy.

The problem with this is that by constantly putting a timeline on his return there is an expectation from the fan base that Bogut will be on the court, when in reality the time-table’s set forth by the organization were unrealistic. Micro-fracture ankle surgery needs to be dealt with delicately, especially when talking about a 7-footer.

I love this new Warrior ownership group and regime. They have big plans and big ideas. They have put the pieces in place for a winning organization and the fruits of their labor are obvious. The Warriors are young, exciting, well-coached, fun to watch and most importantly, winning. But, next time when a Warriors player goes under the knife be honest, don’t deceive, don’t lie. Warriors fans are like that thirsty man in the desert. We are so happy to see a glass of water….it doesn’t really matter if it tastes perfect or is ice cold…..we just want the water. But, we don’t like being deceived and mis-led when reaching for the glass…..and its empty.

 

Paradise and Enterprise Football….Great theatre….Great controversy

In the spirit of full disclosure let me say I am the play-by-play voice for the Paradise Bobcats, and In my 16 years of providing play-by-play of North State sporting events, primarily Chico State athletics, I don’t know if I have seen two teams more evenly matched than the 2012 versions of the Paradise Bobcat and Enterprise Hornet football teams.

The two teams played two epic football games during this 2012 season, and it culminated with an amazing back-and-forth game on Saturday night. The Enterprise Hornets were able to drive 80 yards in 1:14 seconds to pull off a thrilling 36-35 win over the Paradise Bobcats.

For me to focus solely on one play in this game would be short-change the amazing performances on both sides of the ball by two determined teams who wanted to capture North State supremacy.

For Enterprise, I thought their senior quarterback Zack Trueblood showed tremendous poise and resiliency in leading his team on Championship Saturday. Despite throwing three interceptions, his ability to shake off his own miscues and perform at such a high level was amazing. Senior running back Brad Woods had a stand-out  game as well, with touchdown runs of 27 and 32 yards in the first half. The co-captain was hard to handle for the Bobcat defense. Wide receiver Brock Barr had several big catches, that were instrumental in the Hornet win. When you throw-in the amazing lateral from Woods to Taylor Angley at the final gun of the first half for an improbable score, and with clutch performances from sophomores Izzy Matthews and Justin Abney……you have several reasons why Enterprise is a deserving champion.

For Paradise, they simply gave everything they had. With senior quarterback Tommy Hays leading a punishing running attack, he led the team beautifully for four quarters. Junior running back Jonathan Dixon was superb, running over and through so many Enterprise defenders that they simply needed multiple helmets to bring him down. The Bobcat line providing huge holes for Dixon and Matt Machado to take advantage of, and with Johnny Porter using his speed off the edge for two scores, the Bobcats were primed and ready for a celebration in Redding, but it was not to be.

As we have illustrated there were several signature plays in the game, but none more torturous for Bobcat fans than the third play from scrimmage on Enterprise’s game-winning drive. The play we are talking about happened with just over a minute to go and Paradise leading 35-28. Enterprise had the ball at their own 46 facing a 2nd and 10. Trueblood went back to pass and eye-balled Travis Hall 20 yards down field. Tom Hays had outside coverage, as the ball was in mid-air, Hays made his play for the ball. As the three video angles I have seen show us, Hays did not make contact with Hall, instead he maneuvered his 6’3 frame behind Hall and leapt high in the air. As the ball arrived, Hays arched his upper torso away from Hall, reaching high in the air and securing, what looked like a game ending interception. Not so fast.

As the video shows, the side judge who was trailing the play and who had one of the worst possible angles to see the play threw his flag. He called Hays for pass interference negating the game-ending play and giving Enterprise another shot. What Enterprise did with that one shot will go down in North State football lore and will be celebrated for years to come by the Enterprise faithful. But, let’s look at how Paradise fans will view it.

In all honesty I sensed more venom by Bobcat players and fans over the 2009 officiating interpretation debacle. Maybe Paradiseans are resigned to the fact that they may never beat Enterprise is a close Section Title game. Losing amid controversy on a late pass interference call in 2000 to Enterprise 16-12. Falling in the quirky “illegal participation/substitution” game in 2009. But this, THIS was an absolute egregious call at the most inopportune of times. A call that will simply be known at the “Phantom PI” for years to come. From the outside looking in one can not criticize the rabid Paradise football fan for feeling slighted. They have seen this movie before. They know how it ends. For the third time in 12 years a yellow hankie fell from the heavens to bail out their bitter rivals. It’s a tough swallow. Dare I say, if Enterprise fans had to endure what Bobcat fans have had to over the last decade plus they would also have a bitter taste.

In covering Chico State, Butte College and high school football and basketball in the North State for the last 16 years I have seen everything imaginable from teams, players and officiating crews. Nothing is worse than Anthony Crozier’s technical foul call on the Chico State bench with one second to go against UC Davis in 1998 costing the Wildcats a chance at victory against the eventual National Champion Aggies, but, my friends, Saturday’s injustice is close.

My personal view after watching the video replays of this turning-point play is that the official simply couldn’t believe what he saw. Tommy Hays play was so good, and Hays was so adept at contorting his body to NOT touch Travis Hall that the official could not imagine a player could make that type of play from where Hays was in relation to Hall. Simply, Hays’ play in my estimation duped the official who thought he saw something that didn’t actually happen. Most players would go “THROUGH” the receiver and hit the receiver before the ball arrives. This is what I “think” the official saw.

One more point, if the pass interference was so obvious, why was the side judge along the Enterprise side-line the only official to throw a flag. The back-judge had a great angle at the play…no flag. Even the umpire had a clear angle of the play….no flag. The one official, who literally had to be the second coming of Clark Kent, was the ref who threw the flag. T.J. Holmes of the Redding Record Searchlight has the closest video shot of the play. While the coaches video from the top of the press box clearly shows Hays never touches Hall until he has both hands securing the football. These are truly amazing angles of the play showing it from start to finish. One from the field, and the other from the sky.

Many of my Redding brethren have claimed that the official noticed contact before the ball arrived (contrary to video evidence,) heck even some Enterprise faithful are saying it was an “obvious” pass interference (laughable.) To say this is to be living in an alternate reality. Intellectual honesty is imperative if you are to debate this point.  Unless there is some video that I am missing, I can not see how anyone can be intellectually honest and say that Hays didn’t make a spectacular play on the ball and intercept Trueblood’s pass. The video evidence is simply over-whelming.

I think an admonition by Enterprise that “yeah, we won, and got a break,” would go a long way in soothing the frustration. On the other hand, is it Darren Trueblood’s responsibility to make Paradise feel a little bit better about things ? No. But, it would go a long way in soothing the vitriol. But, nary a peep from Hornet Nation. And, if they have voiced such thoughts, it’s not being publicized.

In closing, this is high school football, and I feel fortunate to witness these epic and downright thrilling match-ups between these two bitter rivals. If you’re a Paradise fan it will be an agonizing off-season thinking about what might have been, for Enterprise the fruits of victory are “Oh so sweet.” Bobcat fans have to realize that in the pendulum of life things always even out. And, while many Bobcat faithful may not be here to see it, there will come a time, there will come a day, when Paradise is playing Enterprise for all the marbles and in the waning moments a flag will come raining from the heavens, and that flag will go Paradise’s way. It has to, you see, because that is how life works. The pendulum will swing Paradise’s way EVENTUALLY and give them a call…….or two or three.

 

Alex or Colin ? This is not a controversy but it is Jim Harbaugh’s first coaching dilema

San Francisco 49ers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh does not have to choose between Joe Montana and Steve Young. But, he does have a “situation” that he must make a decision on before the Niners next game on Sunday. No one would mistake either Alex Smith or Colin Kaepernick, for “Joe” and “Steve.”

This quarterback dilemna sits squarely on Harbaugh’s shoulders. If he stays with Alex Smith and the 8-year veteran continues to be pedestrian, then the fans and critics will criticize Harbaugh for not reading the tea leaves with Kaepernick’s performance on Monday night. If Harbaugh moves to Kaepernick, his critics will skewer the coach for not sticking with a starting quarterback that has 20-5-1 over the last season plus.

It’s a great problem to have but also an important and possibly fatal decision resting on Harbaugh’s shoulders. What he should do is defer. He should punt the decision until the next off-season. Re-instate Smith, if he fails this year, hand the keys to the car to Kaepernick next season and bid Smith a fond farewell. The 49ers immediate and long-term future could rest on the decision that Harbaugh reaches in the next 48-72 hours.

 

Gary Towne is in a class all by himself

CHICO STATE’S GARY TOWNE IS SIMPLY ONE OF THE BEST COACHES IN ANY SPORT ON THE WEST COAST

For the 14th and 15th times in his 17-year coaching career, Chico State’s Gary Towne has been named the NCAA Division-II West Region Coach of the Year. He was honored for his work with Chico State’s men’s and women’s teams as they wrapped up West Region Titles in Hawaii over the weekend.

Towne is a coach who goes under the radar because cross country is seen by the general public as a bunch of kids who find a trail and run…….Eh, not so much.

Towne not only teaches strategy in races, but trains his runners under the most taxing of conditions. Numerous times I have seen him working with his runners in the triple-digit temperatures in Upper Bidwell Park. The crown jewel of Chico is the greatest of training grounds, and Towne knows how to get the most out of his athletes.

While conditioning, strategy and focus are hall-marks for Towne’s men’s and women’s teams, he also has a program that is a great representation of what Chico State is all about. He is a great coach, that has a great team and he makes everyone who is part of the Chico State family proud.

Both the Wildcat men’s and women’s teams are ranked in the top-5 nationally and get ready to head to Joplin, Missouri on November 17th for the National Championship.

Towne is special, his teams are special and clearly he is in a class by himself

 

Holliday blows up Scutaro on a good baseball play

MATT HOLLIDAY TAKES OUT MARCO SCUTARO WITH A HARD SLIDE AT SECOND BASE DURING GAME 2 OF THE NATIONAL LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES

Borderline dirty….Yes. Illegal…No.

Bruce Bochy cries foul and Giants remain incensed over Matt Holliday’s slide in Game 2 of the NLCS. But, the fact is Holliday’s slide was a good hard baseball play. His job as a base-runner is supposed to break up the double-play at second. It’s exactly what he did.

Holliday admitted after the game that he wished he would have slid a little bit earlier. He said he still could have impacted Scutaro, without the violent collision that injured Scutaro’s hip. But, he didn’t. The slide was within baseball protocal and rules. As a base-runner you can not leave the baseline and as long as you can touch the base with arms or legs its deemed legal. It’s the big leagues’ not tee ball.

Now, if this same slide would have been done in Little League, high school and even college both the base-runner and the hitter would be out. But, this is the Bigs and hard-nosed play should be rewarded and encouraged…..not penalized. It was good hard baseball play.

 

For Paradise, its time to move on…..

Based on conversations I have had with Paradise football coaches I don’t see the any lingering affects from the 2009 Division I North Section title game. For those of you who are uninitiated, Enterprise captured the 2009 section title with an improbable and controversial 26-23 win on a cold night at Wraith Field.

Whether you agree with the call by the game officials or not, the result of that game had lasting affects.

First, Enterprise contends that their bus was vandalized when their basketball team came to the ridge several months later as a direct result of that football game. Second, Enterprise cancelled the season series in football with Paradise over concerns for the safety of their fans and players. Third, Paradise fans got a bad rap for being these out of control zealots who were sore losers. And, in conclusion, regardless of who you were pulling for that night, everyone lost.

Paradise lost some respect in the eyes of the peers in the North Section and Enterprise lost the glory that goes with winning a section title since there was such controversy at the end of the game.

I think it is unfair to use a broad brush to characterize the fans of Paradise as these maniacal fans who are sore losers and don’t give the 2009 Enterprise kids credit in that game. 99.9 percent of Bobcat fans congratulate the Hornets and thought they played an amazing game that night. The raucous minority was given too much publicity by the local media, myself included and that I believe helped taint the situation. I believe it was unwise of Enterprise to cancel the season series with Paradise. In some respects I think it was cowardly and dismissive. If Enterprise had safety concerns, those could have been ironed out, with a meeting of the minds at both schools. Instead the Hornets decided to stop playing the Bobcats, which I feel added fuel to fire.

Paradise football fans are the most loyal and rabid in the North State. A few bad apples characterized the Paradise fans as bad fans……which couldn’t be further from the truth. Paradise puts 3000 butts in the seats at every home game and travels better than any fan base, for any sport north of Sacramento. It’s truly “Hoosiers” re-visited.

Sadly the controversial ending to the game meant a tarnished title. Lets put a stop to that right now ! Paradise beat Enterprise 49-13 three weeks before the section title match-up. They held a two score lead late in the third quarter, yet couldn’t put the Hornets away. When they had the chance, they couldn’t get that extra first down, they couldn’t keep possession. When they finally had appeared to win the game, they didn’t stay on the field as required by the rules. We can debate whether the officials made the right call penalizing Paradise for illegal participation, after a blocked field goal had seemingly won the game for the Bobcats. We can debate whether the officials should have allowed Coach Trueblood from arguing his case for 20 minutes on the field until he got his way.  These are all points of contention that  split these schools in the most vociferous of fashions. What can not be debated is Enterprise’s mental toughness and Paradise’s inability to put the game away. And, lastly, the Bobcats inability to stop the Hornets on a 4th and 24 in the waning seconds……

So, Bobcat fans, its time to move on. Hell, you have won back-to-back section titles (2010, 2011) and have been the dominant program in Northern California for more than a decade. Give the Bobcats of 2009 their due….a great team, one of the best to ever suit up in the green and gold. But, you need to also give, as Coach Rick Prinz has, the Enterprise Hornets their due. An amazing performance, on hostile grounds to win a championship that no one thought they could win. It was a great game and its taken way too long for the remnants of that game to be extricated from the Bobcat conscience……Let tonight be the first step in moving on from that cold November night.

 

Chico High beats Paradise in a double overtime CLASSIC

 

It was a classic game with a classic finish. The Paradise Bobcats, playing their third straight emotional game against a high quality opponent. The Chico High Panthers, looking to stand tall against the big, bad Bobcats from the ridge. What we got was one of the best games the North Section has seen in years.

Chico High converts a 4th and 17 for a touchdown in the first overtime and then a 4th and 8 for a touchdown in the second overtime to send their crowd into a frenzy. Chico High Head Coach Jason Alvistur would then go for a two-point conversion in the second overtime. Recognizing his team was physically beaten up, Alvistur in the gutsiest of fashions went for the win. When Daniel Robbins would hit Burak Karatekeli at the goal line, and the referee signaled score…..it was a celebration on the Panther side-line usually reserved for the Almond Bowl. An exhausted Robbins was hugging friends and family at the center of the field after the game. His brow furrowed, in pain, yet his eyes telling the story of a win he will always remember. I saw the disappointment and also the wry smiles of Paradise players, knowing they fought hard, but were beaten by a super-human effort and determination.

As I left the field on Friday night, I could almost sense Paradise’s admiration for what Chico pulled off. A Bobcat team that had to play Foothill, Enterprise and Chico in consecutive weeks. Knowing the schedule was bound to take its toll.

Yet, it appeared they had the game won multiple times.  In overtime, the Bobcats had a chance to intercept Daniel Robbins three times, yet couldn’t corral the passes and let victory slip to the turf. You had Robbins battling a bum ankle and leg cramps, gimping his way through the overtime, virtually willing his team to victory.

Seeing these two teams leave everything they had on the field, you could only feel great for both squads. Sport, in its most raw and simple terms. Two clubs competing at the highest level wanting to win more than a hungry man wants food……What more, as a fan could you ask for ?

Chico High won the game. Paradise won honor in defeat. And, those that witnessed the game had the privilege of seeing it.

 

Thank you Lance Armstrong…..

LANCE ARMSTRONG IS LEAVING THE LIVESTRONG FOUNDATION AND NIKE HAS CUT TIES WITH THE TOUR DE FRANCE CHAMPION AFTER ALLEGATIONS OF DOPING

I will not view Lance Armstrong through the narrow prism the media wants me too. Lance Armstrong founded the Livestrong Foundation after he had fought and won his battle with testicular cancer. Given a 15 percent chance to live, he not only beat the cancer but became a multiple winner of Tour de France titles.

So, when the revelations come out that Lance Armstrong may have been doping during his Tour de France wins….I will give him a pass. First, Armstrong’s LIVESTRONG foundation was pivotal in a recent cancer  fight that I had to go through in my family. The costs of treatments were either reduced or eliminated completely,  SOLELY because of negotiated contracts with Armstrong’s foundation.

So, while the media will pile on Armstrong for leaving the foundation and having Nike drop him as a spokesman and ad-man….I will remember what Armstrong’s foundation did for me and my family as we were going through a stressful time.

Thank You Lance Armstrong