MATHESON: Time to empty the notebook of some last-minute ramblings

Andrew Matheson

We have survived yet another school season, and it’s time to
empty the notebook of some last-minute ramblings that need be
discussed … or not discussed at all.
The football playoffs are expanding, information on old-time
baseball is being sought, and many a-record is being broken in the
sport of swimming.
It’s almost July, so what better time than to announce this year’s Athletes of the Year? They will be announced in Friday’s edition of The Weekend Pinnacle.

Just so we’re all clear, I try to pick athletes – students who excel at more than one sport – and I try to pick seniors.

So there you go.

Also, and I hope to start this in the fall, but we’ll be selecting seasonal athletes as well – fall, winter and spring. The goal is to award those student-athletes who maybe just excel at one sport, because, as we learn in life, there’s nothing wrong with being really good at one thing.

We have survived yet another school season, and it’s time to empty the notebook of some last-minute ramblings that need be discussed … or not discussed at all.

The football playoffs are expanding, information on old-time baseball is being sought, and many a-record is being broken in the sport of swimming.

– The Central Coast Section announced back in late April that it would be increasing the amount of teams qualifying toward the playoffs in football, from 32 to 40, beginning next fall.

The Open Division of eight teams will remain, but the remaining 32 teams will be divided up among four divisions, instead of three, based on school size.

The hope is to provide more balanced matchups between schools of similiar size, especially for those with lower enrollments, where a difference of a couple hundred students is felt much more than at the larger schools.

In the Small School Division last season, for instance, The Kings Academy (roughly 531 students) beat St. Francis of Watsonville (approximately 244 students) by a comfortable 30-3 margin. Meanwhile, Sacred Heart Cathedral (1,269 students) topped Carmel (743) in the opening round, 56-20.

The idea, by adding eight more teams, is that St. Francis will play a school close to its own enrollment size in the opening round, and not one that is more than twice as large.

It’s a good idea, but it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out, and whether or not it actually levels the playing field. It might actually water down the playoffs instead, now that more teams are qualifying.

If lopsided first-round scores are the problem, though, one idea would be to allow fewer teams into the postseason; many would argue that in high school football, the goal shouldn’t be to award fewer teams, however.

– I recently received a call from John Ward, who is putting together a Web site (Goodoldsandlotdays.com) about old-time baseball in Northern California. He is seeking anyone who has information, photos, etc., about teams of years past in the surrounding area, including the Hollister Cowboys.

Ward said small towns hosted travelling teams from San Francisco or played in regional leagues, and teams, such as the Cowboys, were in existence from around the turn of the 20th century into the 1970s. The peak period for Sunday baseball, he said, was around the time of World War II.

If you have any information, contact John Ward at (650) 342-0683 or via e-mail at: [email protected]

– I never got the chance to tackle this subject when it happened back in May at the CCS Swimming and Diving Championships, but something needs to be said about these ridiculous high-tech, high-end (try $550) swimsuits.

I wrote a column for The Weekend Pinnacle prior to the Olympics last year, questioning why the IOC was allowing the usage of the Speedo LZR Racer – Speedo’s Web site at the time kept a running count on how many world records were broken by swimmers adorning the magical, water-repelling LZR Racer.

I even equated the swimsuit to performance-enhancing drugs, which a couple of you thought was over the top. But really, why are these swimsuits OK – swimsuits that are advertised to make you swim faster, but popping a pill so you can hit more home runs is not?

I’m not condoning anything. I’m just searching for some consistency.

The National Federation of High Schools, meanwhile, said in August of last year that it “does not perform scientific tests on any specific items of equipment or wearing apparel.”

The NFHS went on to say, “Based on the information available at this time to the NFHS, the new suits are not considered a device under Rule 3-3-2 that aids in buoyancy or significantly in speed.”

Really?

At the CCS Swimming and Diving Championships in May, a meet where many of the swimmers were wearing the Speedo LZR Racer, records were set in 13 of the 22 events.

It was exciting to watch, to say the least. But not everyone can afford the $550 price tag – this is high school swimming we’re talking about – making it a performance-enhancer of a slightly different sort.

– Former Haybaler Anthony Synegal (Class of 2004) said he’s officially moving on from the game of baseball.

“I think I’m done,” he said last week.

“Moving on to different things.”

After he went undrafted recently, Synegal said he didn’t want to go through the “grind” of playing through independent leagues.

A San Jose City College transfer, Synegal recently wrapped up his senior season at Gonzaga University (36-18 overall), which qualified to the NCAA Regionals for the first time since 1981. The Bulldogs went 1-2 at Regionals, but Synegal went 4-for-11 with four RBI and two home runs in those three games played.

He finished his senior season with a .331 (58 of 175) average, including eight home runs – six of which came in West Coast Confernce play – and 36 RBI. He was a first team all-WCC selection.

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