Joe Santoro
Special to the Tribune

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June 5, 2014
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Friday Fodder: UNR deserves some recognition

Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . .

It is time for Colin Kaepernick to show a little appreciation. Now that the San Francisco 49ers quarterback is one of the richest players in NFL history, he needs to toss a million or so thank-you notes to the school that made it all possible. The Wolf Pack needs an indoor practice facility. Mackay Stadium could use about 10,000 or so more seats. Lawlor Events Center could use some updating. The men’s and women’s basketball teams could use their own practice facility. Peccole Park could use some sprucing up if only to take away that erector set on steroids look. Money makes the college sports world go round and, well, Kaepernick now has plenty of money. He needs to put his stamp on the campus that made his fantasy life possible. If it wasn’t for the Wolf Pack, Kaepernick would likely be a washed up pitcher with two rotator cuff surgeries on his resume by now.

. . .

The 49ers had no choice but to give Kaepernick a $100 million-plus contract extension. Game-changing, once-a-generation quarterbacks don’t come along all that often. Kaepernick will bring multiple Super Bowl titles to the Bay area. He is 42-11 as a starting quarterback since Week 3 of his junior year at Nevada. By the time his career ends he will have won more games in a 49er uniform than any quarterback in franchise history. He will be making a speech in Canton, Ohio one day. When his contract runs out after the 2020 season, when he will still be just 33-years-old and can make another $200 million or so, it will look like one of the best bargains in NFL history.

. . .

The relationship between Kaepernick and 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh is becoming one of the greatest love stories in football. Romeo and Juliet, Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler and Kim and Kanye have nothing on Jim and Kap. It was Harbaugh who convinced the 49ers to grab Kaepernick in the 2011 draft. It was Harbaugh who dumped Alex Smith and turned the team over to Kaepernick the first chance he got in 2012. Harbaugh gushes over Kaepernick every chance he gets. Let’s just say that Kaepernick, who doesn’t take criticism all that well, didn’t exactly get the same kind of love from his coach in college. Kaepernick thrives under Harbaugh. When the 49ers win a Super Bowl, Harbaugh will be the first coach to carry his quarterback off the field on his shoulders.

. . .

Nobody north of Fort Lauderdale wants to see it but as long as Dwyane Wade stays healthy the Miami Heat will win its third NBA title in a row this year. The San Antonio Spurs are well coached, they play the game the right way and they are the sentimental favorites. But they are also old. They don’t have any true go-to players anymore. They couldn’t put the final nail in the Heat coffin last year and this year, when they are a year older, it won’t be any different. The Spurs don’t have any great players anymore. The NBA is and always will be about superstars. And the Heat have the two best players (and maybe the best three) in this series.

. . .

The NHL needs the New York Rangers to win the Stanley Cup. It is always good for a professional sport to hand its championship trophy over to a New York team. When that happens the national media machine jumps on the bandwagon and that sport instantly becomes the most important thing in the sports world. But hockey needs it more than any other sport. Los Angeles winning the Cup does nothing for hockey. It barely does anything for Los Angeles. The minute the Kings’ parade is over, Southern California will turn its attention to Kobe Bryant’s health and who will be the Los Angeles Lakers next coach. If the Rangers win, ESPN will run Greatest Games in Rangers History for 30 nights in a row and they’ll start comparing Mats Zuccarello to Mark Messier.

. . .

We might be seeing the final days of Don Mattingly in Los Angeles. The Dodgers and their $239 million payroll are barely above .500 and are coming off a three-game series at home against the Chicago White Sox in which they scored just two earned runs. And they didn’t even face Chris Sale. Mattingly looks miserable. The Dodgers play the game with less passion than Justin Bieber in a MTV celebrity softball game. A hit and run is something the Dodgers only do on the 101 and hitting the cutoff man only occurs when they tell their agent to go get them a bottled water. This is a team that runs to the disabled list when the temperature dips below 75, They don’t need a manager as much as they need a good publicity director. Tommy Lasorda would be perfect.

. . .

This football season can’t start soon enough for the Nevada Wolf Pack. Just 85 more days, Pack fans, until the Pack destroys Southern Utah at Mackay Stadium. The last two seasons up on North Virginia Street have been painful for both football and men’s basketball. We’ve seen the excuses pile up faster than the victories. Last year was the first time in 13 years the football and men’s basketball teams both finished under .500 in the same year. Well, that’s all going to come to an end this fall. The football team, thanks to a much friendlier schedule and twice as many seniors, will go no worse than 7-5 with a bowl game this year.


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Jun 5, 2014 05:47PM Published Jun 5, 2014 04:40PM Copyright 2014 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.