By Jim Riggs, Sports Editor
Nuts And Bolts
A New Holiday? - When my wife, Sharon, and I began dating, it was in the days when I was a baseball fanatic. So that is why once a year I gave her a Happy Opening Day card when the major league season began.
What I didn't know was that I was ahead of my time.
This week it was announced that Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith is leading a campaign to have the opening day of the major league baseball season made a national holiday. He is trying to collect 100,000 signatures within 30 days under the We the People petitioning program. If he gets the signatures, it would then be reviewed by the Obama administration.
But what date would be chosen for the holiday?
The Dodgers and Diamondbacks are going to open their seasons in Australia on March 22. Then the Dodgers will help the Padres open their season on March 30 while 26 more teams open their seasons on March 31. And the Yankees and Astros don't open until April 1.
So when would the opening day holiday be?
I'll be keeping track of how Smith's proposal goes. And if it all works out, I'll be contacting Hallmark Cards.
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Recalling Left Out Teams - Every college football bowl season when I see a team with a 6-5 record invited to a bowl, I am reminded of the 1963 Pitt football team that was 9-1, was ranked third in the nation and it didn't get to play in a bowl game.
The 2013-14 Jamestown Community College men's basketball team reminds me of some of the bowl teams today.
JCC finished 7-18 overall and 0-10 in Region 3 Division II this season, but the Jayhawks still took part in the opening round of the regional tournament this week.
Then I recall the 1985-86 Jayhawks who didn't have a winning record, but deserved to play in the postseason as a reward for their perseverance. They had a 10-15 record and were left out of the Region 3 West Zone playoffs.
That record might not sound impressive, but those Jayhawks had a 4-2 record against the other three teams that were selected to play in the four-team tournament.
In addition, JCC had some impressive wins over non-Region 3 teams such as Mott CC, Lakeland CC and the CC of Allegheny County.
But most of all that JCC team, coached by Pete Broaca, deserved to play in the postseason simply as a reward for getting through the regular season.
The 1985-86 Jayhawks finished the first semester with a 5-7 record and nine games were on the road. After the first semester, they lost seven players because of academic ineligibilty and that left the team with only four players for the second semester.
One of the four returnees was Keith Martin, JCC's current athletic director.
The continuation of the season was in jeopardy until four new players were recruited on campus.
In the second semester, the new-look Jayhawks went 5-8 and that squad deserved an award for simply keeping the program alive.
The 1985-86 Jayhawks learned they were being left out of the playoffs before their final regular-season game. Then they went out and won that game with only pride on the line.
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Pretty Good Player - Before he came to JCC for the 1985-86 season, Broaca had coached a rather talented player named Julius Erving.
When Erving arrived at the University of Massachusetts, Broaca was the coach of the freshman team. Broaca was also an assistant for the varsity, so he was on the bench for Erving's entire four-year college career.
Before Erving arrived at UMass, the head coach told Broaca he had received a call from Erving's high school coach who thought '' he could turn out to be a pretty good player.''
Yes, he was pretty good.
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Quite A Trade - Many sports fans may not remember that Erving's first pro basketball team was the Virginia Squires of the American Basketball Association.
In 1973, Erving was traded to the New York Nets for George Carter and $75,000. And then as they say, the rest is history.
It sounded like a pretty good trade for the Squires because Carter was the Nets' leading scorer.
Carter is a Silver Creek native who played at St. Bonaventure before playing in the ABA from 1969-75 and was one of the league's top players.
Carter was inducted into the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame in 1984.
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Could The Final Have Been Moved Closer? - Southwestern and Falconer each played in the Section 6 Class B-2 girls basketball semifinals on Thursday night at Kenmore West. Both lost, but if they had won they would have met in the championship game on Sunday at 7 p.m. at Buffalo State.
It would seem odd for two teams 6 miles apart to go all the way to Buffalo to play game.
''We actually said the same thing as we got on the bus yesterday (Thursday),'' Southwestern athletic director Kevin Salisbury said.
Salisbury thought it would have been good if the game could have been moved to Jamestown Community College or even Dunkirk, which has a new gym. He hadn't pursued a change and said the decision would have come from Section 6.
Falconer athletic director Dave Nelson said, ''We could have tried. It depends on the sites available.''
The site would have to be neutral and the major stumbling block would be if the site wanted to open up for one game.
The time frame to make the switch would also have been tight.
''We probably would have tried, '' Nelson said. But he added, ''It probably would have been tough.''
Nelson recalled a similar situation in softball when Falconer and Dunkirk had to travel to Niagara Wheatfield for a playoff game.