Coach: Who’s on first in hoop leagues?

GARDEN GROVE High’s boys’ basketball team has 20 victories and is the favorite to win another Garden Grove League basketball title (Orange County Tribune photo).

With area league high school boys’ basketball races about halfway through, it looks as though clear favorites have emerged in all but two conferences. Only in the Empire League and San Joaquin the question seem far from being decided, and the former might be settled – or at least tilted – after a showdown on Tuesday night.

Pacifica (4-0 in league and 14-6 overall will visit Cypress (4-0, 16-4) in a game which go far in deciding the hoops title of the Empire League.

The Garden Grove League’s heavy favorite is Garden Grove High with a 4-0 record in league and 20-1 overall. Golden West’s leader is Golden West (4-0, 17-4), Edison (5-0, 16-5) appears to have a grip on the Sunset League lead. Capistrano Valley Christian (4-1, 17-5) is atop the San Joaquin League.

On the girls’ side, Kennedy (4-0, 16-4) is on top with Pacifica (1-3, 9-11) is in fifth place. In the GGL, there’s a big showdown on Tuesday when Garden Grove High (4-0, 12-8) visits Bolsa Grande (4-0, 13-7) in a fight for first.

There’s a three-way deadlock in the Golden West League, with Segerstrom, Westminster and Ocean View all at 3-1. In the Sunset, Los Alamitos sits atop the bunch at 5-0, with Edison at 4-1. In the SJC, Saddleback Valley Christian is at 1-0 while Orangewood is 2-0. Those two will meet Tuesday at SVC.

Speed up the grand old game

It’s time to cut the time spent playing the National Pastime. Major League Baseball is poised, we are told, to initiate a series of rule changes aimed at shortening the ever-lengthening number of minute takes to get from “Play ball” to the final out.

A typical game once took about two hours to play, but in 2017 the average MLB content took 3 hours and 5 minutes, a new record. The post-season contests were even more time-consuming at 3:29.

MIKE SCIOSCIA loves to give his pitching staff full employment. (Flickr/Keith Allison).

There are a lot of reasons for this, including TV timeouts, video reviews and the burgeoning number of pitching changes. Time was that a typical pitching lineup consisted of a starter, a middle reliever and a closer.

Now a team might employ as many as 10 or 11 hurlers in a game, some just to face one batter. Angels manager Mike Scioscia is notorious for this. All those changes and warm-ups drag the game out, but is good for the hot dog vendor but bad for the fan trying to watch the game on TV.

What’s proposed for 2018, of course, takes a different direction. We might see a 20-second pitch clock, a limit of trips to the mound by a catcher to one per inning and reducing the size of the strike zone.

Not exactly but what we’d do, but those could be steps in the right direction. Players and coaches need to remember that without fans watching – in person or on the tube – there is no big league baseball for athletes to lollygag in.

Pete Zarustica writes Monday Morning Coach.


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