Friday, August 10, 2018

Notebook: Great to be back home to, uh, 100 degrees & smoke

by John Hull,

Yes, I missed my home, Elk Grove, but loved my few days in Wisconsin with family this past week, as we married off a nephew in Milwaukee, and then headed north to the old family resort just outside of Eagle River.

If you are a fisherman, you know what clear, clean water and biting fish mean to an outdoor experience. The quiet of the Northwoods is incredible and a hot day there is 80 degrees. Best place to vacation, if you ask me.
A foggy sunrise over South Twin Lake in Wisconsin

So, we're back and writing just one week away from the start of the high school football season. If you didn't know, CIF didn't want their State Football Championship games running into Christmas vacation any longer, so the 11-week regular season (ten games maximum, with a bye week) kicks off Aug. 17.

The big game regionally will be defending Division I champion Folsom playing at perennial power De LaSalle. Other interesting openers will be Elk Grove at Inderkum, Sheldon at Monterey Trail, Placer at Pleasant Grove and Franklin at McNair in Evan Boylan's coaching debut with the Wildcats.

Our family discussion one day steered towards a team from Kimberly, Wisc., that has now won four State championships in a row. My nephew who lives nearby talked about how most of that team doesn't live in or near Kimberly and there's rumors parents get their football "stars" into that school with fake addresses, or renting an apartment in town and using that as their "residence" (Doesn't that sound familiar?).

I assured him that kind of recruiting isn't unique to the land of cheeseheads, that we Californians have that stuff going on in all sports all over the place.

Pope signs with Greek team

After spending the past few weeks with the Summer League team of the L.A. Lakers, former Laguna Creek Cardinal Malik Pope on Thursday inked his first pro contract. It was with PAOK in the Greek Basketball League. He played his college basketball with San Diego State. This past season, the 6-10 forward was selected to the All-Mountain West Conference's second team.

Madrigal strikes out, finally

It was sort of a quirky thing for a couple weeks, but amazing at the same time. Social media, particularly those who follow the Chicago White Sox, were tweeting on a daily basis how their top draft choice from earlier this summer, former Elk Grove H.S. infielder Nick Madrigal, had yet to strike out.

Well, he finally did "K" 72 at-bats into his pro career. It came Aug. 4 with the Winston-Salem Dash, his third White Sox minor league franchise this summer. After winning the College World Series in June with Oregon State, he signed with Chicago, picked up a signing bonus check for $6,411,400 and then went to the Sox' rookie league team in Arizona.

He batted just .154, but was dispatched to Kannapolis, a Low-A team, and batted .341 in 12 games. That earned him a quick promotion to Winston-Salem, the Sox' High-A franchise in the Carolina League. Going into this weekend's play, Madrigal is batting .333 in six games with the Dash.

CIF Meeting

The annual media day at the offices of the Sac-Joaquin Section in Lodi will be next week and I'm sure one thing Section commissioner Mike Garrison will mention is a growing issue with officials - there aren't enough refs, umps, and the like.

This is a complex problem, too. First, there are more games to that need refs, but put atop that the fact the guys and gals in stripes are the brunt of remarks from coarse fans and coaches and nowadays it just isn't something too many people want to do in their spare time. Secondly, there is a need to find officials that can call a good game, too.

Another issue that seems to be brewing, too, is participation in football. After numerous reports of the negative effects of head trauma from the sport, there are fewer and fewer boys playing the football. Several local high schools have dropped freshman teams and there's even a few smaller schools that aren't fielding a JV squad, either.

One solution that has been lofted and may now grab some traction is the idea of forming eight-man football teams. Don't be surprised that becomes a reality.

Details to come.

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