No way to save school; whiner 51s moan about Cashman

James Bilbray is best known in Las Vegas as a former member of Congress, but he also is a proud graduate of St. Joseph’s Catholic School.

Class of ’52, in fact.

The family’s student connection to the school also includes Bilbray’s wife, Mikey, and their two daughters.

Like many locals, Bilbray was saddened to learn of the school’s impending closure after 65 years. He recently represented a group of prospective buyers in a failed effort to buy the school and keep it open.

The group’s visit to campus last week resulted in a flood of rumors about the school’s future.

“I took some people out there that were interested in possibly buying St. Joseph’s and keeping it as a school,” Bilbray said Thursday.

Trouble is, it just didn’t pencil out. Although well-kept, it’s an old facility on a small piece of real estate that can’t accommodate much expansion.

“We have a lot of history at St. Joseph’s, and we hate to see it go,” Bilbray said.

The school at 1300 Bridger Ave. opened in 1948.

FIELD OF SCREAMS: Venerable Cashman Field, considered ancient by Triple-A baseball standards and by those who want the public to help pay for a new ballpark, took a shellacking in The Wall Street Journal this week.

“Basically, I can define it as the worst pitching place imaginable,” reliever Greg Burke told reporter Brian Costa, who called the facility “dilapidated” in a piece headlined, “Las Vegas: The Mets’ Minor Disaster.”

It turns out the field just isn’t up to the minor leaguers’ exacting standards. Cashman’s groundskeepers were vilified for failing to keep the field in proper shape. Former Las Vegas 51s manager Marty Brown reportedly would “often have to water the field himself.”

Talk about a lot of whiners.

One unintentionally humorous observation came from Mets pitching prospect Zack Wheeler, who complained to the reporter about, ahem, dry balls.

No, really. He did.

“It’s ridiculous how dry the balls are,” he said. “It’s hard to get a good grip on it.”

Let’s hope those poor players get a grip on themselves and stop complaining long enough to remember they get to play baseball for a living.

HUSKER POWER: Las Vegan David Humm shattered passing records at Nebraska and went on to spend a decade in the NFL, mostly with the Oakland Raiders. But his life’s biggest challenge came off the field in 1988 when he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

The Husker Greats Foundation has been created to raise funds, ostensibly through an upcoming golf tournament, to help offset Humm’s mounting medical bills and those incurred by other former Cornhuskers athletes.

The tournament is set for June 17 at the Revere Golf Club. Details: 736-8447.

ON THE BOULEVARD: Tony Award-winning entertainer Pia Zadora was arrested recently in Las Vegas on a minor battery charge. Does that count as her latest hit or her greatest hit? … Former Clark County Sheriff Ralph Lamb is in no mood to mambo, but he’s back on his feet after what he calls a minor medical setback. As for his canceled show “Vegas,” I’m betting it gets picked up up by another network, where hopefully they will tell some of the real stories associated with the lawman’s life.

BOULEVARD II: From the Boulevard to the bleachers, here’s to the underappreciated life of Donald Hampton Sr., who died recently at age 74. Known to many as a blackjack dealer at The Mirage, in an earlier life Hampton was a star athlete at Madison School on J Street and Las Vegas High, setting records and graduating in the Class of 1958. He lettered in football at Arizona State.

The most important part is Hampton was an even better family man than he was an athlete.

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