Joe Santoro: Reality is Giants still can’t hit
It sure didn’t take long for reality to dampen the San Francisco Giants season. A 6-1 start has turned into an 8-7 record and a four-game losing streak. The Giants scored a total of five runs in that four-game slide. When you play an outfield that consists of some combination of John Bowker, Nate Schierholtz, Eugenio Velez, Mark DeRosa and Andre Torres, what can you expect? The Reno Aces have a better outfield. The Giants can still win the division (it’s a bad division) but they need to add another bat or two at the trading deadline….An open letter to Luke Babbitt and Armon Johnson:Dear Luke and Armon,Come back! It’s not too late. Don’t hire an agent. Don’t hire a posse. Don’t make some silly rap video and put it on YouTube. Don’t cover your body in tattoos. And, please, don’t start dating Paris Hilton, Rihanna or Lindsay Lohan. All of that can wait another year. It’s OK to change your mind about leaving Nevada for the NBA. We’ll understand. The NBA will understand. Luke, you’ve changed your mind before and everybody (Ohio State included) understood. Think of your recent announcements as a verbal commitment to the NBA. If you come back to Nevada, you’ll both be heroes. How does the Luke Babbitt Events Center sound? The Luke and Armon Riverwalk? Armon Johnson’s Hot August Nights? Say the word and it’s taken care of. Come back and you’d both be Tim Tebow in Silver & Blue. Come back and lead the Wolf Pack back to the NCAA Tournament. It could be the best year of your lives. I know the NBA has been your dreams ever since you hit your first 25-footers as kids growing up in Chicago and Cincinnati. Well, you both made it. That’s not an issue anymore. The NBA wants you both. Take it from an old sportswriter, the NBA not only wants you, it needs you. But, you know what? They’ll still want you next year. You should know one other thing. Nevada wants you, too. We miss you already. And, right now, there won’t be a next year.Yours truly,An old sportswriter…If Babbitt and Johnson indeed jump to the NBA (May 8 is the real deadline for such decisions as long as they don’t hire an agent), what is left of the Wolf Pack men’s basketball team? Good question. Right now the core of this program is merely a collection of talented recruits and transfers. But all recruits have talent. What do we know about the Luke-less and Armon-empty 2010-11 Pack? Well, they’ll be more athletic. And coach David Carter will have a lot more options on his bench. But can they play together? Will some of these fancy recruits accept a bench role? Who will be the team leaders? Who will be the go-to guy in crunch time? Come back, Luke and Armon….The NCAA is expected to approve a proposal later this month that would expand its men’s basketball tournament to 68 teams. Big deal. They are giving us three more play-in games – games involving six garbage teams that nobody pays attention to – and that is supposed to excite us? I was really looking forward to a 96-team tournament. More Cinderella stories. A ton more games. The end of the feeder fish tournaments like the NIT and the CBI. In the end, the NCAA really didn’t do anything of any real substance. We shouldn’t be surprised….The Bowl Championship Series is also reportedly on the verge of adding the Mountain West Conference as its seventh automatic qualifying conference. How nice. The Western Athletic Conference gets left behind again. That also means one less BCS spot for all of the non-BCS conferences (that means you, WAC) to fight for every year….The Pittsburgh Steelers need to dump Ben Roethlisberger immediately. Roethlisberger is going to have to sit out as many as six games next year because he violated NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s vague personal conduct policy. A NFL team can’t punt (literally) the first six games of the season. The Steelers need to find another starting quarterback. They should trade Big Ben to the Oakland Raiders for a first-round pick and draft Jimmy Clausen, Sam Bradford or Colt McCoy. Go get Jason Campbell from the Washington Redskins. Hey, Dan Marino grew up in Pittsburgh and always wanted to be a Steeler. He could go on another Slim-Fast diet and get ready to play by September. The Steelers need to move on and make Roethlisberger somebody else’s problem.- Joe Santoro writes a weekly sports column for the Sierra Nevada Media Group.