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Lend a hand in naming stadium

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The Columbus North baseball team has a beautiful, new home, but we still don’t know what to call it.

Perhaps we could give North Athletics Director Jeff Hester a hand with a name-that-field contest.

Sure, we could go the obvious route and call the complex Bull Dog Field or North Stadium.

Or we could go with a very long title, such as Bull Dog Field at Southside Elementary. BDFSE? It just doesn’t spell anything fun.

I’m sure Hester would be willing to listen to anyone who would like to pay for naming rights. Tasty Ice Cream Van Stadium or Jimmy’s Vacuum Repair Field.

We could concentrate on the problems they have getting complete games finished due to a lack of lights. How about “Darkness on the Edge of Town?” Oops. That one is taken.

Perhaps Lights Out Stadium would work or Twilight Field.

I’m sure The Kennel and Dog House would have some support as well.

Send those ideas into me, and I will forward them to Hester. I’m sure this is his top priority.

Remember, though, keep those names short if possible. Short names fit better in headlines.

More study needed

A proposal from the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association for a new state tournament format was tabled on Monday by the Indiana High School Athletic Association to be studied.

The proposal suggests crowning three state champions instead of four but has more divisions in each class.

Seems to me the current format is working pretty well, and I certainly would hesitate to reduce the number of class champs.

Also, in any study done, I hope the IHSAA remembers to place the most weight on the smaller schools’ opinions. It’s easy for a representative of a large school, with lots of students and resources, to say, “Remember the good, old days of the one class system.”

But if you are coaching at tiny Indiana school, you might not feel that way.

Certainly, there are other concerns, such as uneven numbers in sectional competition. However, with numbers of schools that fluctuate and enrollments in constant flux, no system is going to be perfect.

Expect the study to take a year or so to complete, so we won’t be hearing anything about this for a while. In the end, I hope the IHSAA doesn’t take a step backward by reducing the number of state champs.

A fun run for roses

From the good things happen to nice people department comes the story of 77-year-old trainer Art Sherman, who won the Kentucky Derby on Saturday with California Chrome.

It’s a Cinderella story because Sherman toiled for years in the San Francisco Bay Area, often chasing Jerry Hollendorfer for training titles at Golden Gate Fields and now-closed Bay Meadows. Sherman shifted his home base to Southern California in the past five years.

In covering horse racing in the Bay Area, I often spoke with Sherman after a race. He was a pleasure to be around, win or lose.

Even though Sherman trained some tremendous horses over the years, he wasn’t landing the training assignments on the top bred horses such as the big-named trainers at the major tracks. In horse racing, trainers, and jockeys, at mid-level tracks such as those in the Bay Area, hope lightning will strike at least once in their life. For these guys, it usually doesn’t.

Consider the case of jockey Russell Baze, the winningest thoroughbred jockey of all time, who has never landed a mount on a serious Kentucky Derby threat while based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Although the 55-year-old Baze continues to ride, it doesn’t appear he will land his magical horse.

Sherman appeared to be in the same boat as he cut down the size of his barn from about 50 horses to 15 or so in 2010 and moved his operation to Southern California. You couldn’t help hoping Sherman would hit the horse lottery because he was such a wonderful man.

Then came California Chrome.

Hopefully the story will continue at the Preakness.

Jay Heater is The Republic sports editor. He can be reached at or 379-5632.

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