With the avalanche of trade activity in front, now is a good time to summarize the handful of trades over the last few days.

The Jose Quitana deal was all Cubs.  Do not underestimate Theo Epstein.  Mr. Quintana struggled this year without the company of Chris Sale, but who wouldn’t?  Lefty starters are wonderful.  Especially the type that throw a minimum of 200+ innings the last four years.  In return the White Sox went two for four.  The two are Dylan Cease and Eloy Jimenez.  Mr. Cease has a three-year total of 2.54 era and 1.20 whip.  He is bound for a promotion to A+ ball and more than likely wears a White Sox uniform in 2020.  Mr Jimenez has power (32 homers, 179 rbi in four years of play), plus he hits for average .293/.340.  He is due to play AA ball before the end of the year.  The other two, Bryant Flete and Matt Rose, are inconsistent at best.

Why the Yankees chose Garrett Cooper given the plethora of quality first basemen (Tyler Austin, Billy Fleming and Chris Gittens) in their system is a question without answer.  Mr. Cooper is a 26-year-old AAA first baseman who couldn’t land a job in Milwaukee with very little competition within the Brewers development system.  Commentators who are quick to praise his power numbers must pause for the effect of playing baseball in Colorado Springs, Colorado . . . elevation 6,035 feet.  Milwaukee receives Tyler Webb who rated as the Yankees #4 reliever in system in my 2016 review.  Mr. Webb is of the left-handed variety and should receive plenty of opportunity in Milwaukee.  Advantage Brewers.

Why did Billy Beane aim the equivalent of a cannon at his bullpen by trading Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson to the Nationals or any other team for that matter?  The A’s go from bad to worse.  The Nats strengthen their bullpen.  Both Mr. Doolittle and Mr. Madson are former closers.  Both can log innings.  Neither complains about their respective relief role.  Of the three players obtained by Oakland, Jesus Lazardo is 19 and in rookie ball.   Do explain the long-term forecasting involved in choosing a teenager in rookie ball?  Sheldon Neuse is in year two and playing A ball.  He does show hints of power (10/62 and 24 doubles in total).  Blake Treinen hopes to regain his form from 2014 to 2016  since this year was a disaster (5.73/1.62).  Advantage Nationals.

Returning to Brian Cashman’s brain function, at least the Todd Frazier deal is passable, but I do not find completely sensible the resulting move of Chase Headley to first so that Mr. Frazier can play a suspect third.  Mr. Frazier does offer the chance of dingers almost every at bat, but his obp is dreadful.  However, the NYY bullpen receives a healthy dose of help with David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle.  Mr. Robertson has closed the last four years and does provide options if Aroldis Chapman continues to struggle with his control and Joe Girardi’s confidence.  Mr. Kahnle does suffer from the good year/bad year complex, but 2017 is currently a good year.  The White Sox did well in return.  Yes, Tyler Clippard struggled of late, but his lifetime numbers are solid.  Why baseball mavens rate Blake Rutherford highly is without merit.  Mr. Rutherford is only in A ball and has a difficult journey in front of him.  If he continues to produce in AA, then we can talk.  Ian Clarkin and Tito Polo were both good choices.  Mr. Clarkin is a lefty starter with cumulative era and whip of 3.20/1.29.  Year four of development and in A+ ball is ideal progression.  Mr. Polo has speed (157 stolen bases total) and is in AA ball.  He is 22 and ready for a September call to Chicago.  Advantage NYY (with a nod to of approval to the White Sox).

J.D. Martinez (suffers a hand injury during his first game with the Snakes) is an underrated ball player.  All of 29 and hitting above .300 three of his last four years, he is a productive ball player.  Detroit made a strange choice in return.  All three minor leaguers (Dawel Lugo, Serio Alcantara, and Jose King) are 2b/ss.  None of the three post exceptional offensive numbers.  Mr. King is in rookie ball.  Mr. Alacantara bounces around A- to A+ ball without effect.  Mr. Lugo is in AA ball and strikes out far too often.  I imagine this is a panic move to develop middle infield talent given the imminent departure of Ian Kinsler and likely departure of Jose Iglesias.  Advantage Arizona.

 

 

 

Mountain Division

First:  Boise State

No kidding?  May as well predict heat during August.

Brett Rypien returns as the starting quarterback.  Mr. Rypien is talented beyond his years and experience.  Boise loses their top rusher from 2016, but return the next four.  Alexander Mattison looks to be the best of the lot.  Granted, Boise will throw, but the ground game is ready and deep.  Speaking of throwing, the Broncos lose their #1 and #3 receivers, but return four receivers with double-digit receptions.  Cedrick Wilson and Chaz Anderson should get most of the downfield looks from Mr. Rypien.  Boise’s offense averaged almost 475 yards per game.  Do not expect much change this year.

Defensively, an impressive 17 of the 20 top tacklers return.  Ben Weaver (#1 tackler) and Darren Lee (3# tackler) lead an experienced group.

Second:  Colorado State

The difference between the Rams, Wyoming and Air Force is thin.  Injury, last-minute mistakes and freaky weather (we are discussing the Mountain Division of the MWC.  After the first week in October, most anything can fall from the sky) may well fall to the wayward side of talent in deciding second place.

Nick Stevens improved tremendously last year.  19 touchdowns coupled with only 5 interceptions.  Well done.  CSU also returns their #2 quarterback as well which lends comfort to a worst case scenario.   The Rams return their top two rushers in the formidable duo of Dalyn Dawkins and Izzy Matthews.   2016’s top two receivers, Michael Gallup and Olabisi Johnson, will help Mr. Stevens stretch the field.  When clicking, Colorado State will put points galore on the board.  Opponents preparing for this offense will find plenty of challenge.

Can CSU’s defense keep a fourth quarter lead in 2017?  14 of the 20 top tacklers return that includes 8 of the top 10.  The Rams defense gave up 30.1 points per game last year.  If they do no worse in 2017, second place becomes more likely.

Third:  Wyoming

The Cowboys surprised everybody in 2016.  Josh Allen was the conference’s next best quarterback after Brett Rypien.  If Mr. Allen reduces last year’s 15 interceptions to at least 9 in 2017, he may post the best conference qb numbers.  Sadly, Wyoming loses their top three receivers from 2016.  C.J. Johnson is the only returning receiver with substantial experience.  This poses a potential early season problem for the Cowboys offense and Mr. Allen.  If the new group of receivers runs routes and catches the football, no problem.  If not, Wyoming fans may as well wear a parka on a seventy degree day to experience Mr. Allen’s discomfort.  Shaun Wick will lead the running game.  Much like the receivers, Mr. Wick’s colleagues need to be effective or what should be an explosive offense will fall far shy of last year’s 436 yards per game.

8 of the top 10 tacklers return (17 of the top 20 overall).  Yet, last year’s group gave up more yards (453) per game than their offense generated.  Ouch.

Fourth:  Air Force

A challenging year awaits the Falcons.  They begin the 2017 season losing 4 of their top 6 rushers, starting quarterback and top receiver from last year.  The good news is Arion Worthman brings 2016 experience to the quarterback position along with Tim McVey leading the usual endless running game (the top six rushers for Air Force had a combined 716 carries in 2016).  Air Force fans who might be quick to point out the #2, #3 and #4 receivers return will be reminded to examine their respective catches of 8, 8 and 6.  Regardless, Air Force runs the ball first and foremost.  Charge.

If you thought the offense faced a challenge, the defense will need to replenish the troops, so to speak, quickly.  Only 6 of the top 20 tacklers return.  Retaining last year’s stingy 26 points per game and measly 3.4 yards per rush is almost impossible.

Fifth:  New Mexico

Much of the 2016 offense returns.  Lamar Jordan should get the majority of qb reps this year.  The Lobos lose their #1 rusher from 2016, but return #2 through #5.  Tyrone Owens averaged a stunning 8 ypc last year while Diquon Woodhouse averaged 8.6 ypc on only 27 rushes.  Almost as much depth at the receiver spot returns with the #1 (Q Drennan and his eye-popping 25.8 ypc), #3 and #4 receivers returning.  At the very least, Mr. Jordan will have options.

The UNM defense faces a reality almost as difficult as Air Force.  Only 10 of the top 20 tacklers return.  This includes a loss of 8 of the first 10.  Will the Lobos defense hold onto single digit leads with two minutes remaining?  Will they keep the opposition under 400 yards per game as last year?  Lots of nail-biting awaits.

Sixth:  Utah State

Lackluster describes the 2016 USU season.  At times disinterest seemed to apply as well.  Yawn.  Damn, this is only the third quarter?

Kent Myers returns as the staring qb.  How a qb throws for almost 2,400 yards, yet no more than 10 touchdowns is a long explanation.  Tony Lindsey returns as last year’s #1 rusher.  Much like Mr. Myers, Mr. Lindsey averaged 5.2 ypc, but a paltry game average of 63.6 yards.  How?  Ron’quavion Tarver and Rayshad Lewis should repeat as the #1 and #2 receivers in 2017.

The defense loses 4 of their top 5 tacklers from 2016 and return only 11 of the top 20. Utah State offered the opposition almost 30 points per game last year.  This year will be close to 35.  I sense a coaching staff change.

West Division

First:  San Diego State

If the rest of the West was stronger, SDSU finishing first would be less likely especially given the new faces on defense, but the rest of the West offers little resistance.

Christian Chapman returns as the starting qb.  20 touchdowns and only 6 picks should generate more than 1,994 yards.  Maybe this year.  Donnel Pumphrey is now in Philly.  Rashaad Penny moves to the #1 back with Juwan Washington assuming the supporting role.  Returning receivers Mikah Holder and Quest Truxton along with tight end David Wells must improve on last year’s efforts or maintaining last year’s 35 points per game will be unlikely.

The defense loses 5 of the top 10 tacklers.  Only 11 of the top 20 return.  But, Rocky Long is not only one of the best head coaches in the NCAA, but also one of the best defensive coordinators, thus a brief learning curve awaits the newbies.

Second:  Hawaii

I’m not joking.  The Rainbow is shining bright.  Head coach Nick Rolovich and staff created much improvement during 2016.  Rainbow fans have a reason to once again watch football.

Dru Brown returns as the starting quarterback.  He threw for almost 2,500 yards last year.  While Hawaii loses their #1 (and #4) receiver from last  year, John Ursua and Dylan Collie return for more catches than last year.  Diocemy Saint Juste, last year’s #1 rusher, leads an otherwise inexperienced rushing crew.  But, whereas Air Force runs when in doubt, Hawaii will take to the air.  Points will be scored.

Points will also be scored against the Rainbow defense.  Opposing teams averaged 462 yards during 2016.  2017 features only 12 of the top 20 tacklers returning.  Losing 5 of the top 10 will pose a challenge.

Third:  San Jose State

New coaching staffs usually indicate a year of clumsy learning, disappointment and doubt.  Welcome to 2017, Spartans.

Enough returns on the offense to create the hope that points can be scored.  Josh Love, last year’s #2 qb, is most likely this year’s starting qb.  Malik Roberson and Zamore Zigler both averaged over 5 ypc last year.  Justin Holmes and Tre Hartley were 2016’s #2 and #3 receivers.  They provide Mr. Love with experienced targets.

13 of the top 20 tacklers return.  Last year the Spartans gave up 433 yards per game and 35 points.  The good news is, improvement is possible.

Fourth:  UNLV

If they had more returning defensive players, I would have placed the Rebels third.  Alas, not so.

Tony Sanchez has done a lot in little time as head coach.  A bad case of unrealistic expectations is ill-advised on behalf of alumni and administration.  Coach Sanchez is “the guy”.  Remain patient.

Johnny Stanton and Kurt Palandech shared the starting qb spot last year and may well do so again this year.  Charles Williams and Lexington Thomas return as a powerful running duo.  4 of their top 5 receivers return for 2017 including Devonte Boyd who averaged almost 75 ypg.

Last year UNLV’s defense gave up 430 ypg.  This year may they be so lucky.  They lose their top 6 tacklers (and 7 of the top 8) from 2016.  Ouch.  Only 8 of the top 20 return.  Good luck during the fourth quarter.

Fifth:  Nevada

Have I mentioned my aversion to new coaching staffs?

Ty Gangli gets the starting qb job in 2017.  James Butler and Jaxson Kincaide were last year’s top two rushers and should repeat as such this year.  Wyatt Demps leads an inexperienced receiving corps.  This group must improve as the season progresses or Mr. Gangli’s 8 td and 6 picks will not improve in 2017.

The good news for Wolfpack fans is 8 of the top 10 tacklers return and 15 of the top 20.  The 456 ypg allowed should lessen this year.  As should the 6.1 yards per rush and 13.4 yards per catch.

Sixth:  Fresno State

The usual caution about the new coaching staff and begin.

A lot returns from 2016.  The uncomfortable fact of not quite 18 points per game returns as well.  Chason Virgil barely averaged a 51% completion rate last year.  Much needs to improve.  Dontel James averaged less than 3.5 ypc last year.  Much needs to improve.  Mr. Virgil will have 3 of his top 4 receivers return as well.  Plainly speaking, if this group could not average 20 points per game last year, why this year?

The top 2 tacklers and 3 of the top 5 do not return.  But, 13 of the top 20 do return.  This group was part of last year’s 31 points allowed per game.  Tough times in Fresno.

 

Soccer City seems to be slowly disintegrating.  Public support for Soccer City has shrunk considerably since May.  In the meantime, the NASL has placed a professional soccer franchise in San Diego ready to play in 2018.  Does San Diego need two professional soccer teams?  No.  Will San Diego support two professional soccer teams?  No.  No is the exact point made by Kevin Acee’s criticism of San Diego (politicians, business people, voters, citizens, elderly, disabled, students, surfers and pet owners) from his 6/19/17 UT article, yet Mr. Acee found his uncomfortable truth in the word, “No”.  Mr. Acee needs to stop grappling with political reality as well as wishing on a star that MSL will “wait to add more teams” in the hope that Soccer City will win enough votes November, 2018.  No.

Mr. Acee’s comparing the Chargers hemming and hawing for years to the city council’s denial of a special election equates with comparing the Civil War to pushing and shoving.  His claim that “we’re a joke” is nonsense.  The citizens of San Diego know a tilted political favor when they see one.  FS Investors was all too cozy with the mayor’s office as evidenced by a 3,000 page document (Soccer City) that not a soul in the mayor’s office read from the first page to the last page.  Elected officials and staff need to make the time to understand what they agree to place on expensive special election ballots.  Not having time to read a War and Peace sized document does not meet the challenge of effective public stewardship.  Special elections are not doled out as praise for a job not done.

Mr. Acee writes, “But, dang, this city just won’t get out of its own way when it comes to accomplishing anything.”  Perhaps Mr. Acee could lead the charge on behalf of SDSU in building and/or renovating the Q as well as the creation of SDSU West in Mission Valley so that the largest CSU campus in the state can accommodate 50,000 students by 2030?  Perhaps?

Again, when he invokes the Chargers in comparison to Soccer City woes with “The Chargers could have gotten something done here”, Mr. Acee inadvertently points to the problem that is Soccer City:  Much like Dean Spanos, who wanted everything for nothing, so to does Soccer City see an old-fashioned land grab at minimal expense to themselves as a legitimate method of developing the last piece of sizable land in San Diego without the challenge of competing ideas.  Soccer City reeks of overbuilding, uncertain promises and Charger game day traffic seven days a week forever.

Mr. Acee disingenuously wrings his hands with the concern “. . . how long it will be before we get an alternative plan up and running at last.  At least.”  Please.  San Diego State University is engaged in presenting its vision with or without partners.  Also, other San Diego based development groups want to participate in the request for proposal process to compete against FS Investors (who seemingly seek to avoid competition).  Plenty of options from interested parties will be ready for public vetting by summer’s end.

Finally, as this piece began with the word “no”, I end with “yes’ on behalf of San Diego and SDSU West.

 

 

The simplistic thought process of Kevin Acee’s 6/23/17 UT piece is astounding.  Mr. Acee, long a Soccer City supporter at the expense of SDSU, suggests that Aztec football coach Rocky Long lead the school to the light known as Soccer City (beware of train tracks and tunnels).

Per Mr. Acee’s musings, he insists that Mr. Long must rise in Aztec Warrior gear and smack SDSU administration on its collective helmet to knock sense into all things Aztec.  Key to this dream is Mr. Acee’s reference to Mr. Long once loudly disagreeing with a former athletic director.  A coach, not just football, who speaks his mind?  Who knew?  Believe the vision or else prepare for shouting.

As the article unfolds with alarms, sirens, flashing red lights and general call for panic, Mr. Acee obviously wants SDSU to return to the fleecing of Soccer City whereupon the university would underwrite the annual operating expenses for an MLS squad per agreement with FS Investors.  I think not.

Mr. Acee forgets that FS Investors is under no obligation to pursue an MLS franchise.  Also, MLS has never guaranteed granting a San Diego franchise.  Attaching the future of Aztec football to a potential MLS franchise has all the surety of fog.  Since when does a stadium ranging in capacity from 22,500 to 30,000 satisfy the desire to move up the college football money ladder?  FS Investors development plan physically surrounds the proposed stadium with various forms of development that would make impossible the false promise of stadium expansion.   Moving a multi-story office building slightly to the left to expand the end zone is a non-starter.  SDSU would guarantee itself the proud owner of the smallest MWC football stadium.  The best football team in the MWC gets the smallest stadium.  The most populous city in the MWC gets the smallest stadium.

As Mr. Acee writes of solutions, then he immediately dismisses said solutions.  No viable alternative exists.  All is lost.  The end is, oh, so near.  Only Soccer City saves.  Amen.  Soccer City accepts checks and credit cards.  Tell a loved one.

But, don’t tell Rocky Long.  Rocky will smack you upside your helmet.

 

Momentum has shifted.  What seemed a done (and easy) deal is now doubtful.

While agreeing that SDSU should have publicly objected sooner rather than later to the Soccer City development, kudos to John David Wicker, Sally Roush and Elliot Hirshman for disengaging as partner (of sorts) to Soccer City and FS Investors.  Granted, this decision is risky, but better to create a challenge than continue to endorse an idea ill-suited to SDSU.

Mind boggling is the idea that FS Investors demand the school pay $13 million per acre when FS is proposing to acquire that same land for $100 per acre.  The proposal is pure larceny.  Why and how the city of San Diego agreed to such a sale price is the stuff of textbook idiocy.  However, if the city is willing to sell Q land to FS at $100 an acre, then why not offer the same price to SDSU for the approximate dozen acres the school desires for a much needed campus expansion?

Mr. Wicker is correct to assume that the $13 million per acres is indeed a subsidy to underwrite the losses of a San Diego MLS franchise.  Additionally, MLS granting a franchise to San Diego is not guaranteed.  The more information pertaining to the financial struggles of MLS (annual average franchise loss is $7 million per team), the less appealing an MLS franchise becomes.  This explains the MLS aversion to stadiums seating more than 20,000.  A half full soccer stadium looks better than a two-thirds empty soccer stadium.

San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott’s 27 pages of response and question is most likely a death knell to Soccer City.  San Diego voters will be extremely reluctant to support a development that Ms.Elliott views as a guarantee of litigation.  “Contradictory provisions”, “No obligation or requirements . . . to build or construct . . .”, “Litigation costs could be significant” and other quotes in Ms. Elliott’s analysis of Soccer City’s 3,000 page initiative creates a great deal of doubt as to exactly what and when FS Investors actually build as Soccer City is developed.

Mayor Faulconer admittedly has not read the entire FS initiative.  Nor did any of his staff.  This reeks of a rigged game.  Since when does “Trust me.” become public policy?   The stink of professional and political incompetence is overwhelming.  Mayor Faulconer needs to receive answers from FS Investors that satisfies not only SDSU’s concerns of fairness and full inclusion, but also pass the substantial legal inspection of Ms. Elliott.  Without full legal obligation, FS Investors may very well build most of the commercial development and 4,800 housing units, but decline the rest of the project.  A perfect opportunity to properly develop the Q site to the benefit of all San Diego citizens may decompose into a half-assed spread of a missed chance.

Mayor Faulconer must publicly address the evaporation of the previous agreement to allow SDSU to play at the Q through the 2020 season.  Now the city offers only 2018.  This is a strong arm tactic to gain compliance from SDSU to participate in Soccer City.  Mayor Faulconer is an Aztec.  He needs to create benefit for SDSU in Mission Valley at the Q site.  He must stop acting as an FS Investor agent.

Transparency and fairness are required.  Soccer City offers neither.

 

With apologies to Nick Lowe.

Another wave of protest rises and falls.  This concern is disconcerting.  Candidly, people such as professor Ozzie Monge have far too much time on their hands.  Perhaps Mr. Monge should body surf.  Create a bit of joy for himself.

How the Aztec Warrior is viewed as “racist” or “culturally insensitive” (re: The San Diego Union Tribune, 4/19/17) confounds me.  The Aztec Warrior is detailed to the most known anthropological facts from his head dress to shield to spear.  He is not a jolly Cleveland Indian.  He is not thrown together haphazardly in an attempt to illicit laughter or disdain or fear.

Returning to Mr. Monge, his claim via the UT 4/19/17 article that the “Aztec name was inappropriate . . . it was chosen on the inaccurate historical assumption that the Aztecs were once in the Southwest United States” is the reason to retain the Aztec Warrior and Aztecs as SDSU’s identify.  The Aztecs were not a Native American tribe.  Therefore, how is an indigenous people whose primary cultural influence was found in modern day Mexico, rather than the U.S. southwest, “racist” or “culturally insensitive”?  Tis not.  If any group of people should be unhappy with San Diego State University, that group is found in Mexico.  Yet, we do not hear of any concern.  Perhaps other social and political issues are of primary importance.  Per the Daily Aztec, 4/20/17, Mr. Monge face plants into the puddle of hyperbole when he compares the Aztec issue to that of Jim Crow laws.  Please, professor.  You are a step away from bemoaning a propellor as unnecessarily churning air or water.  “The debate should have been about principles and values.”  Evidently, you were snoozing.  Your concern was met.

I have yet to hear or read of the Irish demanding that Notre Dame drop their fist ready Irishman as racist or culturally insensitive.  For the record, I’m Irish.  I don’t give the proverbial rat’s ass or two shits about the angry leprechaun ready to brawl.  Frankly, a half-full (I’m that kind of guy) glass of beer should be in the background.  Do Greeks protest San Jose State or Michigan State for their use of a Spartan Warrior as their respective mascot?  Not yet.  Does Germany object to the University of Idaho’s Vandal?  I do not know of Norway, Sweden and/or Denmark calling Portland State University to demand the removal of their beloved Viking.  What is the difference?  Florida State University (Seminoles), Utah University (Utes) and Central Michigan University (Chippewas) receive permission from their respective Native American tribes to use their mascots.  SDSU is not alone in the culturally respectful use of mascots representative of history.

Regarding the ten Associated Students representatives who resigned immediately after the meeting, a wise choice given your individual and collective inability to effectively debate and endure a loss.  Politics is not your future.

Go Aztecs!

 

 

 

 

N.L. East

First – New York Mets.

Great pitching with just enough hitting lands the Mets in front of the Nationals.  Noah Snydergaard, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz, Robert Gsellman and Matt Harvey should share a win total of at least 75 games.  The bullpen features two guys who can close:  Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia.  Fernando Salas and Jerry Blevins are best of the rest.

Yoenis Cespedes, Curtis Granderson, Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera provide enough offense.  If Jay Bruce can find his old self, Mets’ fans will be pleased.  If not, Brandon Nimmo is looking for at bats as is T.J. Rivera.

Second – Washington.

A fine outfield now that Jayson Werth drives in runs.  Adam Eaton is one of the best centerfielders in the game.  Bryce Harper will start fast, stall, rally his sizable ego and have a good year.  Anthony Rendon, Trea Turner and Daniel Murphy can all hit.  Ryan Zimmerman returning to form would be swell for Nats’ fans.

Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Tanner Roark, Joe Ross and Gio Gonzalez present difficulty for any lineup.  Blake Treinen should close.  Not Shawn Kelley.  Joe Blanton keeps pitching and eating.  He Bartolo Colon should lead us to the fountain of youth.  Sammy Solis is the best of an anemic bullpen.

Third – Philadelphia.

Maikel Franco, Odubel Herrera and Cesar Hernandez will make a lot of money in the near future.  A talented trio.  Michael Saunders and Howie Kendrick bring experience to a youthful team.

Jeremy Hellickson and Jerad Eickhoff are becoming an effective one-two as starters.  Vince Velasquez and Aaron Nola need to improve.  Why any team would trade for Clay Buchholz is without explanation.  Hector Neris should replace Jeanmar Gomez as the closer.  Joaquin Benoit, Pat Neshek, Edubray Ramos and Juely Rodriguez will get plenty of appearance and build on last year’s success.

Fourth – Miami.

The starting pitching will struggle.  Only Dan Straily brings any success from 2016.  Edinson Volquez, Tom Koehler, Wei-Yin Chen and Adam Conley will make for many a long day in Miami.  A.J. Ramos will marvel at the few save opportunities presented.  Kyle Barraclough, David Phelps, Junichi Tarawa, Dustin McGowan and Nick Wittgren form an above average bullpen ready to work.

Justin Bour is becoming a quality first baseman.  Martin Prado, Christian Yelich, J.T. Realmuto, Derek Dietrich (he needs a place to play) and Giancarlo Stanton will offer plenty of runs, but often come up shy given the woeful starting pitching.

Fifth – Atlanta.

If the Braves had a better bullpen, I’d chose them in front of the Marlins.  But, they do not.  Julio Teheran meets Bartolo Colon (43!) this year.  Hopefully, Jaime Garcia and Mike Foltynewicz will ask Mr. Colon for advice.  R.A. Dickey either wins 18 games or 10 games this year.  You choose.  The aforementioned bullpen, less Jim Johnson, Josh Collementer and Chaz Roe is a glass of spilled beer.

Much like the Marlins, the Braves will score and score often.  Freddie Freeman (he and Paul Goldschmidt are above and beyond as first basemen), Matt Kemp, Nick Markakis, Ender Inciarte, Dansby Swanson (the real deal in development) and Tyler Flowers will often wonder, how many runs do we need to score to win?

N.L. Central

First – Cubs.

As if I needed to type that word.  These guys are loaded.  From top to bottom.  Loaded.  Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Jason Hayward, Wilson Contreras, Addison Russell and Ben Zobrist are productive plus.  Jon Jay and Tommy La Stella offer the best bench production in the league.  Mr. Jay should replace Albert Almora in center.

The pitching is stupid good.  Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta, John Lackey, Brett Anderson and Kyle Hendricks will dominate entire series against good teams.  Wade Davis closes.  The rest of the ‘pen is as deep as the starters.  Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop, Carl Edwards, Koji Uehara, Brian Duensing and Mike Montgomery will do their best to share innings.

Second – Pittsburgh.

One of the better offenses in baseball.  All five outfielders hit.  Gregory Polanco (why is he and his cannon arm in left field?), Starling Marte, Andrew McCutchen, Adam Frazier and John Jaso all produce.  Jay Bell, Jeff Kang and Francisco Cervelli represent the infield.  David Freese is looking for more at bats.

Jameson Taillon is better than Gerrit Cole.  Ivan Nova completes an impressive first three.  Chad Kuhl and Tyler Glasnow need to improve to keep away the Cardinals.  Tony Watson closes, but getting to him can be a challenge given the average ability of the bullpen.  Expect for Wade LeBlanc.  I never though I would type those words.

Third – St. Louis.

Psst.  Guess what?  Their starting pitching ain’t what it used to be.  Carlos Martinez is the only starter who had a quality 2016.  Adam Wainwright slipped as did Michael Wacha who slipped even more.  Lance Lynn returns from injury.  Mike Leake was unimpressive.  Thankfully, the bullpen is deep.  Seeing Hwan Oh will close.  Kevin Siegrist, Brett Cecil, Jonathan Broxton, Matt Bowman and Miguel Socolovich rarely falter.

Yadier Molina and Eric Fryer offer a lot of punch as a catching duo.  Matt Adams, Aldemys Diaz, Dexter Fowler and Stephen Piscotty don’t quite add up to the Pirates offense, but if they can hand a one run lead to the bullpen, all is well.

Fourth – Milwaukee.

There is little difference between the Brewers and Reds.  Both teams could be as bad as the Padres, Twins and Athletics.  Yep, that bad.

The Brewers do have a group of outfielders who can hit in Ryan Braun, Keon Broxton and Domingo Santana.  I understand the Brewers want to see the continued development of Eric Thames at first, but placing Travis Shaw at third is a mistake.  Many an out will stand on second benefiting from yet another wild throw across the diamond by Mr. Shaw.  Alas, he can hit.  Jonathan Villar is a quality second baseman.

Junior Guerra and Zach Davies at least offer a chance to win.  Once Jimmy Nelson, Wily Peralta and Matt Garza take the mound, seek cover.  Neftali Feliz, Carlos Torres and Jacob Barnes are the best in a thin bullpen that will see far too much action in 2017.

Fifth – Cincinnati.

Joey Votto and Jose Peraza are the offense.  Will Billy Hamilton ever learn to love the walk?

The starting pitching is bad.  Anthony DeSciafani is the only starter who could win a dozen games.  Starting pitchers in the Reds’ organization at the AAA and AA level should receive an extended opportunity in 2017.  Raisel Iglesias, Michael Lorenzen and Barrett Astin offer the beginning of a bullpen, but suffer from a lack of company.

N.L. West

First – San Francisco.

The reason I choose the Giants over the Dodgers (the other three teams have no chance) is better starting pitching.  Madison Bumgarner is awesome.  Johnny Cueto, Matt Moore and Jeff Samardzija should each win between 14 to 18 games.  Matt Cain is the only weak link.  Mark Melancon arrives as the closer.  Derek Law, Hunter Strickland, George Kontos, Steven Okert and Ty Blach complete a formidable ‘pen.

The offense is average on a good day, but Bruce Bochy usually finds a way to win.  Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, Hunter Pence and Brandon Crawford provide most of the limited punch.

Second – Los Angeles.

A lot more offense than the Giants, but not near the bullpen.  Andrew Toles should get a well earned shot in left.  Joc Pederson is reducing his strikeouts.  Yasiel Puig will peg the guy selling popcorn on the second level on the third base side.  Corey Seager, Logan Forsythe, Adrian Gonzalez and Yasmani Grandal will highlight the offense.  Justin Turner looks cool, but he’s overrated.

Clayton Kershaw is unbelievably good.  Kenta Maeda, Rich Hill and Alex Wood are almost as good as their Giant counterparts.  Kenley Jansen will get the saves while Grant Dayton, Sergio Romo, Josh Ravin and Pedro Baez will get most of the work.

Third – Colorado.

If nothing else, these guys can hit.  Lots of power and runs courtesy of Charlie Blackmon, Nolan Arenado (especially), Trevor Story, D.J. LeMahieu, Mark Reynolds and Tom Murphy.  David Dahl and Ian Desmond will make the most of their at bats as well.

Starting pitching is bad less Jon Gray.  The bullpen will feature Greg Holland closing.  Adam Ottavino and Mike Dunn are the best of a suspect group.

Fourth – Arizona.

Torey Lovullo will make the best of a bad team, thus finish in front of the Padres.

Paul Goldschmidt is stuck in the desert until somebody offers enough talent on 7/31/17.  Jack Lamb is the only other source of consistent offense.

Zack Greinke did not have a Zack Greinke year in 2016.  If he returns to form, he and Taijuan Walker will win half the games in the Diamondback win column at year’s end.  Fernando Rodney will close.  Does anything else need to be said?

Fifth – San Diego.

Call me crazy, but San Diego has a lot of youth and talent.  At least on the offensive side.  Alex Dickerson, Hunter Renfroe, Yangeris Solarte and Wil Myers can sweat a pitcher.  The organization has a ton of talent at the AAA and AA level.  Parade the kids and see who can play.

The pitching is awful less a few guys in the bullpen.  Trevor Cahill is the best of the starters.  Jered Weaver will throw a breaking ball clocked in the 50s.  I guarantee the moment.  Returning to the bullpen, Carter Capps should close.  Brad Hand, Ryan Butcher and Buddy Baumann will rarely rest.  A long year awaits.

 

A.L. East

First – Boston.

Why?  Lots of killer B’s, that’s why.  Betts, Bogaerts, Bradley, Benintendi.  Talent plus, especially if Mr. Benintendi has a stellar second year.  The Red Sox have the youngest, most productive outfield in the A.L.  If, a big if, Pablo Sandoval returns to baseball form (not necessarily physical form.  This man loves his food) coupled with Hanley Ramirez finally maturing as a player (DH mostly), the Red Sox could put 6+ runs on the board at least twice a week.  Dustin Pedroia is bound for Red Sox lore.  Mitch Moreland returns to full-time play splitting his time between first and DH-ing for Hanley.  Sandy Leon and Christian Vazquez will share the catching duties.  Blake Swihart and Dan Butler will receive time behind the plate as the season unfolds.  Chris Young and Steve Selsky are the fourth and fifth outfielders while Brock Holt and Marco Hernandez support the infield.

David Price on the d.l. is less than ideal.  Same with Carson Smith and Tyler Thornburg.  An area of immediate concern, no doubt.  However, the acquisition of Chris Sale to accompany Rick Porcello, Steven Wright, Eduardo Rodriguez (he could injure himself stepping into a car) and Drew Pomeranz are an above average starting staff.  Craig Kimbrel , Joe Kelly, Matt Barnes, Robbie Ross and Heath Hembree are the pillars of the bullpen, though more depth will be immediate upon the return of Mr. Smith and Mr. Thornburg.

Second – Baltimore.

Why?  Because of their bullpen.  Zach Britton is the best closer in baseball.  Donnie Hart, Darren O’Day and Brad Brach are slightly less outstanding than Mr. Britton.  As for the starters (Chris Tillman, Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy, Wade Miley and Ubaldo Jimenez), they need to get to 5 and 1/3, then hand the ball to a reliever.

Mark Trumbo, Adam Jones, Manny Machado, Chris Davis, Jonathan Schoop and Seth Smith provide plenty of offensive punch.  O’s fans can look forward to the same run scoring circus of 2016.  However, any significant injury will result will not be easily solved from within the Baltimore minor league system given the barren nature of developing everyday players.

Third – Tampa Bay.

Candidly, the last three spots in the A.L. East are a toss up.  I’m listing Tampa in front of Toronto and New York because of their starting pitching.  If Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi, Matt Andriese and Alex Cobb (whose last full year was 2014) can pitch to ability, the Rays can finish third.  If not, who knows?  The ‘pen is solid.  Alex Colome closes. Xavier Cedeno, Danny Farquhar, Erasmo Ramirez and Chase Whitley are almost as impressive as Baltimore’s bullpen.

When hitting the baseball, if Evan Longoria gets consistent help from Steve Souza, Kevin Kiermaier, Corey Dickerson (who should start in left, not Colby Rasmus) and Logan Morrison, life is hopeful for the citizens of Tampa Bay who watch baseball in a circus tent.  Please build a real baseball stadium.  Please.

Fourth – NYY.

Joe Girardi is the best manager in baseball.  I realize a great deal of time has passed since the Yankees have made the playoffs, but what Mr. Girardi does with the little provided him is impressive.

N.Y. has a fine defensive outfield featuring Billy Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury and Rob Refsnyder (who will take Aaron Judge’s and or Aaron Hick’s place in right as the year progresses).  Matt Holiday at the age of 37 and feeling each day of those 37 years will be best served as the DH with no appearances in left.  Greg Bird and Didi Gregorius will highlight an uneven infield.  Chase Headley and Starlin Castro do not create much confidence.  Gary Sanchez seems to be the real deal behind the plate.

Starting pitching looks spotty after Masahiro Tanaka.  C.C. Sabathia is entering Jered Weaver territory.  Look forward to a breaking ball in the low 70s.  Michael Pineda is a mystery.  Talent never realized.  Luis Severino struggles in the Bronx, but I find his ability substantial.  Perhaps a trade would help.  Chad Green was my number one rated starting pitcher in the Yankees’ system.  Aroldis Chapman returns as the closer.  Dellin Betances and Tommy Layne are the most talented of the remaining relievers.  Adam Warren is a human rain delay.

Toronto – Fifth.

A sub par outfield in the persons of Ezequiel Carrera, Kevin Pillar and Jose “Nobody Loves Me” Bautista.  Is Troy Tulowitzki feeling his age?  Justin Smoak at first is a head scratcher.  I’m guessing the Jays are biding time until Rowdy Tellez is ready.  Josh Donaldson will provide the bulk of offensive fire power.  Devon Travis is seeking quality consecutive years.  He is a potential All-Star.

Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ are the top two starters.  Aaron Sanchez has talent, but needs a full year to prove himself.  Francisco Liriano and the overrated Marcus Stroman complete an average starting staff.  Roberto Osuna and Jason Grilli will handle the closing and set-up roles.  Joe Smith, Joe Biagini and Ryan Tepera will get the bulk of relief  innings.

A.L. Central

First – Cleveland.

Perhaps the most offensively productive infield in the A.L.  Jose Ramirez, Francisco Lindor (a bright, bright future), Jason Kipnis and Carlos Santana love to hit and hit well.  A healthy Michael Brantley makes a good team better.  Tyler Naquin and Brandon Guyer (he will sit when Lonnie Chisenhall returns) complete the outfield.  The catching is somewhat suspect.  Yan Gomez and Roberto Perez can’t hit their weight, but owning a pitching staffs’ confidence is worth the lack of production.  Edwin Encarnacion makes for more runs.

Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco (he’s better than Mr. Kluber) and Josh Tomlinson provide role models for Danny Salazar and Trevor Bauer.  A talented bullpen led by Cody Allen makes for confidence.  Andrew Miller, Bryan Shaw, Boone Logan and Dan Otero are top notch.

Second – Kansas City.

A distant second if the starting pitching fails.  A close second if the starting pitching clicks.  Danny Duffy, Ian Kennedy and Jason Hammel either reach last year’s numbers or the wheels fall off.  Jason Vargas missed most of the last two years.  This year, we shall see.  Kelvin Herrera closes and closes well.  Joakim Soria had a sub par 2016.  Matt Strahm and Mike Minor each had an impressive 2016.  Travis Wood probably leaves the bullpen to become the fifth starter.

Alex Gordon is overrated.  Jorge Soler as well.  Lorenzo Cain is the anchor.  Paulo Orlando should assume right field duties once Mr. Soler is identified as unproductive.  Speaking of overrated, I give you the K.C. infield.  Mike Moustakas and Raul Mondesi are inconsistent.  Alcides Escobar needs his offensive numbers to approach his defensive ability.  Eric Hosmer is the real deal.  Brandon Moss as DH doesn’t tickle me.

Third – Detroit.

Miguel Cabrera, J.D. Martinez, Nick Castellanos, Victor Martinez and Ian Kinsler drive the offense.

Justin Verlander leads a “meh” starting staff.  Mike Fulmer, Jordan Zimmermann and Daniel Norris need to pitch in (oh, evil pun!) or else the Tigers will finish fourth.  Frankie Rodriguez, Bruce Rondon, Alex Wilson and Kyle Ryan are looking for help in the bullpen.

Fourth – White Sox.

Jose Abreu toils away in obscurity (in Chicago?  Yep.  The White Sox are that bad).  Omar Narvaez is a quality catcher.  Todd Frazier, a nice guy, strikes out far too often, but the White Sox need his run production.  Signing Tim Anderson to a long-term deal was dumb.  Mr. Anderson has a long journey to establish himself as a shortstop who can field and hit.

Jose Quintana and Miguel Gonzalez lead a suspect starting staff.  David Robertson and Nate Jones are a quality late inning duo.  Michael Ynoa is the best of the rest in the bullpen.

Fifth – Minnesota.

A young outfield may be ready to blossom.  Eddie Rosario, Byron Buxton and Max Kepler should each receive 500 at bats this year.  The proof waits.  Jose Polanco and Brian Dozier form a solid defensive middle and they can hit.  The catching is anemic.  Jason Castro, Chris Gimenez and John Ryan Murphy are a collective shoulder shrug.

Erwin Santana is the only starting pitcher of note.  Brandon Kintzler will close given Glenn Perkins affection for long-term injury.  Ryan O’Rourke (if healthy) and Matt Belisle are the best of a shallow bullpen.

A.L. West

First – Seattle.

Yep.  Seattle.  Jarrod Dyson improves the outfield.  Guillermo Heredia will take Mitch Haniger’s spot in right as the year progresses.  Kyle Seager, Jean Segura, Robinson Cano and Danny Valencia are the equivalent of Cleveland’s infield.  Lots and lots of hits and runs.  And that’s without the numbers generated by Nelson Cruz.  Carlos Ruiz eventually becomes the starting catcher.

Felix Hernandez will have a better 2017, i.e., normal year as compared to last year (strictly an anomaly).  Hisashi Iwakuma, James Paxton and Drew Smyly need to post better numbers than last year.  The bullpen receives no media buzz, but Edwin Diaz, Dan Altavilla, Nick Vincent and Steven Cishek are a quality group.  Plus, Seattle’s reliever development is quality.  Andrew Kittredge and Steve Johnson await the call to Seattle.

Second – Houston.

Any Seattle stumble, the Astros finish first.  Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and George Springer form an impressive middle.  Norichika Akoi is the best unknown left fielder in baseball.  Carlos Beltran continues to produce in the DH spot.  Keep him off the field otherwise.  Brian McCann and Evan Gattis may set a record for most home runs by a catching platoon.

Dallas Keuchel needs company.  Lance McCullers, Charlie Morton, Mike Fiers and Colin McHugh were ineffective last year.  Joseph Musgrove will receive his fist extended chance as a starter.  This young man has a load of potential.  Ken Giles doesn’t thrill me as a closer.  I’m sure that keeps him up at night.  Will Harris, Luke Gregerson and/or Chris Devenski serve as potential replacements.  Mike Feliz, James Hoyt and Jandel Gustave complete a deep bullpen.

Third – Los Angeles of Anaheim of Southern California.

Mike Trout, Mike Trout, Mike Trout.  Please watch Mike Trout.  He is awesome.  And, no, I’m not an Angels’ fan.  Cameron Maybin puts a stop to 2016’s Rent A Left Fielder approach.  Kole Calhoun keeps getting better with each passing year.  People complain about Albert Pujols, but he drove in runs and hit the ball over the fence.  No bitchin’.  Andrelton Simmons may become a complete shortstop.  The second half of last year, he put the ball in play and reduced his strikeouts.  Yunel Escobar had a quality year.  Luis Valbuena and C.J. Cron form a one-two punch at first, but C.J. eventually takes the job.

What determines the Angels’ 2017 is the starting pitching which was decimated in 2016.  If Garrett Richard, Tyler Skaggs, Andrew Heaney and Nick Tropeano are healthy, the Angels make the playoffs.  If not, another long year awaits.  Huston Street either closes or is replaced by Cam Bedrosian.  The rest of the ‘pen is suspect.  Not good.  The Angels may well find themselves on the wrong side of 6-5, 5-4 and 4-3.

Fourth – Texas.

Nomar Mazara meets his second year.  What will happen?  Jurickson Profar and Carlos Gomez provide little offensive punch.  But, wait!  Adrian Beltre (yes, he is a HOFer), Elvis Andrus, Rougned Odor, Mike Napoli and Jonathan Lucroy will rip the cover off the ball.  Speaking of Mr. Lucroy, if Shin Soo Choo offers average DH numbers, look for Mr. Lucroy to assume the DH role and Brett Nicholas to assume the catching duties.

Yu Darvish and Cole Hamels lead an anemic group of starters.  Thankfully, the bullpen is above average.  Lots and lots of innings will be required of Sam Dyson, Jeremy Jeffress, Alex Claudio, Tony Barnette, Tanner Scheppers and Matt Bush.

Fifth – Oakland.

A truly awful offense less Khris Davis.  Truly.  I have nothing.  As do the A’s.

Sean Manaea and Jharel Cotton (tremendous potential) highlight a dim starting staff.  Sonny Gray starting the year on the d.l. is an indicator of the pain A’s fans will endure.  Santiago Casilla will bump Ryan Madson from the closer role.  Sean Doolittle, Ryan Dull and Liam Hendricks will each receive in excess of 70 innings pitched during 2017.

 

 

The San Diego Union Tribune has published seven articles on the relationship between FS Investors and SDSU during the month of March (or as of this writing 3/26/17).  Much has been reported and debated in the articles written by Kevin Acee, Mark Zeigler, Roger Showley and Tom Krasovic.  Less, Acee’s 3/24 piece, the reporting has been fair and balanced.

As an Aztec alumnus (oh, alliteration!), I begin and end my decision making with “What works best for SDSU?” as applies to all things Soccer City.  Soccer City and FS Investors is plan B for the university.  I want to discuss plan A.

Plan A is the idea proposed by the university via athletic director, John David Wicker, and Campanile Foundation chair, Jack McGrory, that centers on SDSU buying or leasing approximately 47 acres of the Qualcomm site to build SDSU West and a football stadium.

The seven point plan presented by the university is admittedly thin on particulars, especially financial considerations, but at the very least the general idea of what SDSU wants to do with the acreage is easy to understand.  12 of the 47 acres (that’s 25% of the total land purchase/lease) is devoted to the long treasured Aztec football stadium.  The other 75% of the land is dedicated to SDSU West.  I find fair to assume that SDSU will develop the 35 acres along the model of current College Avenue campus expansion meaning the inclusion of retail space accompanying lab and classroom construction.

Mr. McGrory stated that SDSU’s student population will grow from the current figure of 35,000 to 50,000 within three decades.  That is an eye-popping increase of 43%.  An additional 15,000 students (to say nothing of the bevy of university employees to teach the newcomers) will not fit along the border of Montezuma Avenue, College Avenue and the multitude of two lane streets to the west, east and south of the school.  Physical expansion of the campus is required if residents of San Diego do not wish to see Friday night death fights between local homeowners and students.  Said physical expansion cannot happen within the current confines of the university.  Building in ravines is unwise.  Thus, the solution found in 47 acres of mostly ugly, cracked parking lot.

Mayor Faulconer and the city council will enjoy the benefit of pointing to present and future job creation by approving this land purchase as SDSU continues to educate and graduate thousands of students who will earn above average salaries and pay above average taxes that will fund the city and county of San Diego now and in the future.  This is the purest form of non-polluting job creation imaginable.  Mayor Faulconer is an Aztec alumnus.  Pushing hard for his school is expected.  He is believed to hold desire for higher political office.  About 300,000 of his fellow alums live in the city and county of San Diego.  I believe most vote.  That’s a sizable base for future campaign efforts.

Mr. Wicker and Mr. McGrory state that the university can finance $150 million towards the football stadium.  The quote from the 3/22 article from Mr. Wicker, “We’re comfortable that we can go out and build that stadium and finance it.” indicates confidence that public assistance is not to be considered.  Rightfully so.

To State’s advantage, the city has agreed to a lease extension of the Q through 2018.  Ron Fowler and the Padres have offered Petco Park as insurance for the 2019 and 2020 seasons if necessary.  Mr. Fowler stated “We’re not going to let division one football disappear.”  A firm declaration supported by his kind offer of Petco Park.

The usual headache of infrastructure development is a non-issue given east and west entrance to the Q from Friars Road and from the north via Mission Village Drive as well as the trolley stop to the south of the stadium.  No other piece of property in the city or county comes with ready and functional infrastructure, thus the cost savings is dramatic.

Finally, Mr. McGrory is a former San Diego city manager.  Mr. McGrory’s political acumen will guide the university through the political ritual of approval for SDSU West.  He knows when to turn right or left, avoid a dead-end and hammer home the message of campus expansion.

Regarding plan B featuring SDSU as a partner more so than a public sympathy character, works to a limited degree on behalf of the school.  MLS does not approve of stadiums in excess of 30,000 seats.  Granted, SDSU football crowds are generally in the vicinity of 25,000, but what would be lost is the annual crowd of 45,000 seated for the KGB fireworks show in September.  Perhaps some would protest by pointing to the initial seating capacity of 35,000 of the SDSU football-only stadium, but that’s 5,000 more tickets than will be seen at the MLS facility.  Additionally, with Mr. Wicker securing contracts with PAC-12 schools for non-conference games, crowds of 40,000 (last year’s Cal game at the Q) would be non-existent.  The lost revenue for the school would be substantial.

FS Investors is a business.  They want profit as they well should.  I do not anticipate the question of “Does this work for SDSU?” to be at the forefront of decisions, alterations and reconsideration as Soccer City moves forward.  This reality creates a disadvantage for the university.  Disadvantage should not be near SDSU West.  FS Investors can easily work with SDSU as both developments move forward.  This is the best form of partnership for SDSU.

 

 

 

The inevitable finally arrives.  Dean Spanos leaves San Diego and takes the Chargers with him.  This was as likely as a slow commute on the 5.

Mr. Spanos is worth approximately $2.5 billion.  That is a lot of millions to get to those billions.  Yet, Mr. Spanos refused to gather his bankers, use his lines of credit and reach into his deep, cavernous wallet to self-finance the stadium of his choice.  Rather, Mr. Spanos insisted that San Diego’s hotels and motels finance his downtown dream stadium via a tax increase to be demanded of visitors flocking to America’s finest city.  Of course, the San Diego voting public said, “Nay”.  After all, Arizona folk need an affordable place to stay during the summer.

Mr. Spanos’ best bet was to remain in Mission Valley, knock down the Q and build a shiny new stadium a few feet away.  Alas, this practical resolution was not his dream.  Now the moving vans and trucks are full of football gear, Spanos’ household goods and the disappointment of Chargers’ fans.  The last item is quite heavy.

56 years and adios.  Love ya, miss ya, bye.

Mr. Spanos chose to pay a $550 million relocation fee, host NFL football in a 30,000 seat soccer stadium for a minimum of two years, pray that Chargers fans motor north for three hours to watch bad football and three hours south to complain about bad football, become a tenant-renter-occupant of the Rams for who knows how many years and in the end fail as a L.A. franchise, thus forced into some forsaken section of Orange County.

Now for the good news.

San Diego State University football is no longer attached to the coattails of the San Diego Chargers.  Aztec football journeys alone and is relieved to do so.

SDSU has long embraced the proposal of reshaping Mission Valley.  166 acres of cracked asphalt can at last be transformed into SDSU West, livable space and sizable green belt.  As for the Q, renovate or build a smaller version.  Either option works.

Regarding the expansion of SDSU as a university, I dismiss the morons who have yet to discover or acknowledge that the university engages in biological research, embraces engineering and interdisciplinary sciences and has risen in national academic stature dating back to the days of Dr. Stephen Weber as president of the university and carried forth by Dr. Elliot Hirshman.  SDSU entering Mission Valley offers substantial opportunity to the city, county and regional economy.

Yet, let me not drift from Aztec football.  Whether we partner with the rumored Major League Soccer franchise (paraphrasing the MLS commissioner Dan Garber, “San Diego is more attractive to us” given the Chargers exit) or enjoy the support (money) of the city and county of San Diego accompanied by the influence of CSU and the state legislature leading to an exclusive SDSU football stadium, one is the other.

As for athletic director John David Wicker’s concern regarding seating capacity of 30,000 in the instance of MLS partnership in a new or renovated stadium, let me remind him that portable seating sections have been in use at the Q for decades, so employ that, um, technology to boost Aztec seating to 35,000.  Revolutionary.

The Chargers bolting (sorry, could not resist) provides a rare opportunity for Aztec football.  The long-held complaint of we-need-a-campus-based-football-stadium is soon to be addressed and solved.  The reality of an Aztec football stadium also opens doors long closed to, at the very least, actual consideration of joining another conference.  No, I’m not stating that any such invitation is in the near future.  But, the business of conference realignment is nowhere near complete.  The photo of division one football in 2016 will not resemble the near future reality of division one football as ESPN, FOX, CBS and NBC broadcasting contracts begin to expire.  SDSU football will be best served with a stadium home to Aztec football.

Here’s to the immediate future.