Bear River comes up short in battle of the unbeatens

Bear River probably lost its shot at its first Pioneer Valley League championship since 2005 and a top seed in the Division V playoffs last Friday when it was overpowered by Colfax, 41-14.

The Bruins will be assured a high seed and a good shot at getting redemption against Colfax in the division final after  they end league play tonight against a weak Marysville squad. Bear River lost its league game to the Falcons last year and then beat them for the division title.

But at least Bear River is in the playoffs. Nevada Union will have to beat Rio Linda this week to be considered for an at-large berth after getting manhandled by Lincoln last Friday, 44-24. My numbers say the Miners will finish the season 3-7.

          *          *          *

Colfax moved into the top spot among the Foothill 4 with its win over Bear River, but the Bruins managed to beat out Placer for the second spot because it lost to a strong team while the Hillmen beat a weak one.

Here are the rankings:

  1. Colfax                      (9-0)          136.9
  2. Bear River              (8-1)           135.8
  3. Placer                      (9-0)          135.0
  4. Nevada Union       (3-6)            95.8

This week’s picks:

Bear River over Marysville by 41.5 points

Rio Linda over Nevada Union by 29.5 points

Placer over Lincoln by 26.5 points

Colfax over Center by 13 points

I missed on Bear River last week to go 2-1, bringing my season record to 11-3 (78 percent). Who said high school kids are unpredictable?

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How we honor the dead–in this case, Hank Greenwald

If you grew up in the Bay Area and was a big sports fan like I was, you never really appreciated how many good play-by-play announcers worked in that market until you become exposed to their peers in other parts of the country.

Hank Greenwald

Among the best was Giants play-by-play announcer Hank Greenwald, who died Monday at the age 0f 83. Hank combined an extensive knowledge of the game with a dry wit to keep the broadcast entertaining during a period when the Giants weren’t very good.

Where else could you learn that the average score of every major league game played in the first 100 years was 5-3. You thought there were only 3 Alou brothers? You should have heard Hank riff on the other members of the family, like Bobalou and Bebopalou.

Noting one day the 75th anniversary of the first radio broadcast of a baseball game, he added: “By the third inning, people were calling the station and complaining the announcer wasn’t giving the score often enough.”

Greenwald first worked in the Bay Area broadcasting Warriors game with Bill King. He joined Lindsey Nelson on the Giants broadcasts in 1976 and was the lead announcer from 1979-86 and then 1989-96, when the Giants basically fired him.

The story then was that Larry Baer, the Giants’ president and CEO, didn’t think Greenwald gushed enough over the team’s star player, Barry Bonds, or bowed down to him like everybody else did. Bonds developed a reputation for being a first-class jerk who was feared more than liked, but the team tolerated him because he was biggest draw at the gate.

Greenwald basically confirmed the story in 1999 with publication of his autobiography, “This Copyrighted Broadcast,” which included critical comments about Baer and the unpleasant behavior of Bonds. The team initially ordered 500 copies for the team’s dugout store, then somebody read it and it was returned to the publisher. “Did they have a book burning?” Greenwald asked.

But that was then. Here’s part of the statement issued earlier this week after Baer learned of Greenwald’s death: “Hank was a  broadcasting legend throughout the Bay Area and was a huge part of the Giants throughout his 16 seasons as our play-by-play announcer…He will be deeply missed.”

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Bill Smethers: Nevada County’s accidental sheriff?

The site was Rincon Del Rio in the south county. Assembled was the law-and-order contingent of the local Republican establishment, gathered together for the evening to boost the candidacy of Lt. Bill Smethers for sheriff.

Since everybody present was going to vote for him, there was no need to do any selling. Rather, it was an occasion for Smethers to thank his supporters, ask them to put a sign on their property and encourage others to vote for him, and generally enjoy an evening of bonding and fellowship.

Lt. Bill Smethers

But Smethers was new to this campaign stuff, so he proceeded to launch into a presentation of his goals if elected sheriff. I’m told he forgot No. 5–maximize funding to keep deputies on the street–and had to refer to his notes.

This is another example of the less than sure-footed effort that has characterized his campaign since he announced his candidacy in September of 2017–the last of three candidates to enter the race.

Smethers conceded he was getting ready to retire until Sheriff Keith Royal and others talked him into running for the position Royal is giving up. “I have been pushed multiple times by them to run,” he said. “I decided to run.”

Does that sound like somebody who has a burning desire to do the job? Does that sound like somebody who will stay around to apply his expertise to local crime fighting if he loses?

Royal declined to endorse Smethers at that time even though his wife signed-on to run Smethers’ campaign. Huh?  Was Royal going to endorse any of the other two candidates at that time, given his wife’s commitment to Smethers?

Of course not. He eventually give Smethers his support, something that isn’t being played up in campaign advertising.

One more thing: Smethers’ candidacy was announce on a Friday, the worst news day of week if you want to get strong, positive coverage. As any P.R. professional will tell you, Friday is the day for releasing BAD news because people spend less time on Saturday following the news than any other day of the week.

Capt. Shannan Moon

But despite these missteps, Smethers is still a strong contender for the office. He finished second in a three-person primary race in June and faces sheriff’s Captain Shannan Moon in the November 6 general election.

Both have strong ties to the community. Smethers is getting his endorsements from law enforcement and other first responders, while elected officials are leaning toward Moon.

Smethers is viewed as the tougher law-and-order candidate, particularly when it comes to everybody’s favorite subject, marijuana. He was a key player in the dog-and-pony show Royal staged for the Board of Supervisors that led to the emergency ban on growing pot and placing the ill-fated Measure W on the ballot. Smethers even represented the pro-W side in a debate staged by the League of Women Voters.

Moon comes from a law enforcement background–her father was a deputy sheriff–and she has run all of the major operations in the sheriff’s office during her nearly 3o-year career. She was the office’s first female sergeant, lieutenant and captain, and now wants to become the county’s first female sheriff in 167 years.

While both candidates are touting their long careers and experience in the sheriff’s office, each carries some baggage. Drugs were allegedly smuggled into the jail that led to the death of a prisoner on Moon’s watch, and Smethers was running the narco unit when a poorly trained and supervised deputy was allowed to create significant headaches for local prosecutors.

No real polling is done around here so it’s hard to know who has the best shot at winning. Moon finished first in the primary so you have assume she has the lead. The third candidate in that race, retired Grass Valley police chief John Foster, hasn’t endorsed either candidates, so it’s hard to know who his supporters will vote for. Moon is considered to be more aligned with Foster’s approach to police work, for what that’s worth.

Whoever wins will be the new sheriff in town for the first time in 20 years.

Posted in Captain Shannan Moon, Lt. Bill Smethers, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Bear River vs. Colfax: Two unbeatens going for the title

Bear River will face its toughest opponent of the season tonight when the Bruins travel to Colfax to take on the undefeated Falcons.

The winner will likely become champion of the Pioneer Valley League, and get the top seed in the Division V playoffs. In Bear River’s case, this would be the first league title since 2005.

The teams are evenly matched;  each has dominated with the ball while giving up few points. Bear River has played a slightly stronger schedule but Colfax gets 3 points for playing at home. My handicapping rates the Bruins a 5-point favorite in this game.

Meanwhile, Nevada Union is just trying to win a game–any game–to get the fourth victory it needs to make the playoffs. If they make it, the Miners won’t get beyond the first round, but hey, they haven’t been in the playoffs in a long time so getting there is worth something.

NU doesn’t figure to get the win this week when it hosts Lincoln. I see the Miners losing this game by 13 points.

          *          *          *

Bear River remained atop the Foothill 4 with its come from behind victory over Foothill. Colfax dropped down a notch to third place because it beat a very weak Lindhurst team by just 49 points!

This week’s rankings:

  1. Bear River          8-0          140.1
  2. Placer                  8-0          134.4
  3. Colfax                  8-0          132.3
  4. Nevada Union   3-5             94.6

This week’s pick:

Bear River over Colfax by 5 points

Lincoln over Nevada Union by 13 points

Placer over Ponderosa by 27 points

We went 4-0 last week, bringing the season record to 9-2 (82 percent). Sweeping the board two weeks in a row is asking a lot, but why not?


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Jeffie gets a letter from Kamala? Big whoop


By Greg Knightbridge, Special Correspondent

Regular readers of Jeff Pelline’s Sierra Foothills Report know a more accurate title would be “Jeff Pelline: The Saga Continues,” because the basic premise of the blog is the wonderful life he leads when he isn’t plugging advertisers in his “magazine.”

His latest effort to convince the foothills bumpkins that he’s a superior human being is the posting of a letter from Senator Kamala Harris in response to his comments on the Kavanaugh appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court.

It’s difficult to know what Jeffie was complaining about because Harris’ reply touches on several aspects of the Kavanaugh controversy and was probably sent to thousands of people who expressed similar outrage. You will also note the letter is unsigned–apparently her staff couldn’t be bothered to affix a phony signature with an Autopen. Or maybe they didn’t think he was worth the trouble.

P.S.: Did you know that Jeffie also met Dianne Feinstein back in his reporting days? I’m sure Feinstein remembers the encounter well.

Posted in Jeff Pelline, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Senator Kamala Harris, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

QUICK HITS: Women cheering for Trump

–A woman cheering for Trump makes as much sense as a Jew cheering for Hitler.

–After dominating the political coverage, Trump told AP it won’t be his fault if the Republicans do poorly in the mid-term elections. What a stand-up guy.

–Uber has managed to destroy the livelihood of taxi drivers with contract drivers who barely earn the minimum wage. That’s what I call spreading the misery.

–Have you ever noticed how many people who work in the medical field are overweight and smoke?

–Now Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell is blaming the Republican-engineered deficit on Social Security and Medicare spending. Guess what’s going on the chopping block if the Republicans retain control of both houses of Congress.


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Bear River figures to have its second close game tonight

Bear River’s football team did last week what good teams do when they face a weak opponent, jumping on Lindhurst early and then cruising to an easy 49-0 victory.

Things figure to get a little tougher tonight as the Bruins face Foothill (5-2) in their last home game of the regular season (but not their last home game of the season). BR is projected to win a close contest, but Foothill changed coaches a week ago (no explanation given) so it’s hard to judge the focus of the players. It could turn into a blowout.

Meanwhile, it’s easy to write-off Nevada Union’s chances of beating Ponderosa (5-2) this week because it is clear the Miners are not a good team. They gave their fans false hope after beating three cream puffs in non-league play, then things got serious–league play started.

NU left its old league because it was tired of being the doormat, losing 31 straight league games from 2012 to 2017. Things aren’t any better in the Foothill Valley League, where they are 0-2. Ponderosa’s 2 losses also came in league game.

          *          *         *

Bear River stayed atop the Foothill 4 with its easy win over Lindhurst as our top three teams remain undefeated. Things don’t figure to change much this week.

Here are the rankings:

  1. Bear River          7-0          137.9
  2. Colfax                  7-0          136.5
  3. Placer                  7-0          134.1
  4. Nevada Union   3-4            92.1

This week’s picks:

Ponderosa over Nevada Union by 25 points

Bear River over Foothill by 3.5 points

Placer over Oakmont by 18 points

Colfax over Lindhurst by 41 points

We went 3-1 on last week’s picks, bringing the season record to 5-2 (71 percent). It’s time for  4-0 week!

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