Insert Lin pun here: Is this for real? I don’t mean the on-court play of Jeremy Lin – which has been Lincredible all in its own – but the media attention surrounding the new Knicks star. Not that it isn’t deserved, because it is, but just the craziness of the whole situation is, well, crazy. The second-year player went from being cut by the Warriors to almost being axed by New York before injuries allowed him to step into the lineup and assert his dominance over the Lakers on national television and hit a game-winning three against the Raptors a few days later. His numbers are scary-good while his play has mesmerized media from around the world. He has become the King of NY and finally can move from his brother’s couch to his own apartment in the Trump Towers. How does the Harvard graduate make it into this column? Before he became a sensation on the national stage, he was a standout player at Palo Alto High School and helped lead the team to a Division II state title while being named first-team All-State and player of the year in his region. Scouts ignored him and the Ivy League was the only route to play basketball – not a bad gig, if you ask me. Mostly, we wanted to get in on the Linsanity and while major colleges and NBA teams ignored him, we want to give notoriety to the Northern California native on his recent success. Sorry for all of the Lin-themed puns, it will never happen again on this page.
Our thoughts are with Tony Gwynn: In a more serious note, Tony Gwynn had a successful 14-hour surgery to remove a malignant tumor from inside his right cheek. The Hall of Famer was known for always dipping during his 20-year career and has been fighting cancer-related issues for some time now. 18 months ago he was going through cancer treatments and radiation that took a toll on his body and did not seem to stop the issues. The surgery today had a team of doctors performing a nerve-graft procedure that replaced a facial nerve with one off Gwynn’s shoulder. After the surgery, there appeared to be no complications and he should be back to coaching the San Diego State Aztecs in a month.
College baseball gets underway: College baseball is upon us and Baseball America – my go-to for CBB rankings – released its pre-season top-25 and it has a west coast flare. Stanford comes in ranked second in the nation while Arizona takes the fifth spot despite being unranked in the final 2011 standings. UCLA and its stellar pitching staff is ranked 14th and Pac-12 counterparts Arizona State and Oregon State are given the nod at 17th and 23rd, respectively. Consistent powerhouse Cal State Fullerton rounds out the top-25 after finishing 14th last year with a 41-17 record. Surprisingly, UC Irvine and Cal did not make the Baseball America top-25 but both teams should get into the mix at some point this year. Stay tuned for more college baseball updates! (Hey, west coast college basketball is down so we are looking towards the diamond for relief).
The Mountain West is good. Very good: The UNLV-SDSU game lived up to the hype on Saturday and the Rebels got revenge by beating the Aztecs 65-63. UNLV lost earlier in the year 69-67 but after this weekend things are all tied up at the top of the Mountain West standings between SDSU and New Mexico, who happen to meet tonight with the winner sitting in the driver’s seat for the conference championships. But don’t count out UNLV yet, because they are just a game behind. What does this all mean? Most likely that there will be some great basketball played to determine the conference champ. Or there will be some very confusing tie-breaking scenarios. Let’s hope for a good conference tournament.
The Dodgers are almost free: Finally. The ridiculous debacle that is the McCourt ownership is almost at an end. Bidders for the Dodgers will meet with the MLB ownership committee in the upcoming weeks to go over proposals and financial details. It’s just another step needed for the sale of the team to be completed and by April 30, this should all be taken care of.