Some matches are made in heaven. The one that resulted in Los Angeles Dodgers rookie relief pitcher Phil Bickford signing with the College of Southern Nevada was consummated at a Coco’s Bakery Restaurant in Victorville, California.
Coyotes coach Nick Garritano was headed to Ventura County with a letter of intent when a hazardous highway spill north of Baker shut down Interstate 15 on the final day of the signing period.
“I called Phil’s mom, Barbara, and said we’ve got a problem,” Garritano recalled. “Is there anyway you guys can meet us in Barstow or Victorville? We get him to sign over a nice breakfast; we get back in the truck and get the letter of intent in the business office at 4 o’clock. They needed it by 5.”
The lanky right-hander with the surfer dude hairdo and mentality started his college career at Cal State Fullerton. But after dominating the summer Cape Cod Baseball League, he transferred to CSN to hasten his major league draft eligibility. In 86 innings for the Coyotes, Bickford struck out 166.
He was selected in the first round with the 18th overall pick by the San Francisco Giants in 2015.
After making his MLB debut with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2020, Bickford, 26, had a breakout season in 2021, appearing in 58 games for the Dodgers and striking out 59 batters in 51⅓ innings with a 2.36 ERA.
“He has had a great year and been outstanding in the playoffs,” Garritano said. “He was a great teammate, great kid, loved having him, miss him to death — he’s one of those guys where you don’t know if you’re going to coach another kid with that kind of talent again.”
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) October 17, 2021
More F1 to LV rumors
With the globetrotting Formula One series racing in Texas this weekend and recently having announced a second U.S. race in Miami for 2022, another round of speculation suggesting Las Vegas could be next in line has surfaced.
A local tourism official said she was not aware of any formal discussions. But after last month’s NASCAR race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway failed to fill local hotel rooms and last week’s in Texas also was poorly attended, Sunday’s F1 stop at Circuit of the Americas near Austin, Texas, has sold out.
More than 360,000 spectators from all over the world with discretionary dollars to spend are expected for the three-day weekend. So if local officials are headed to the luxury suites for complimentary wine and cheese, that would explain it.
Around the horn
■ Shane Steichen, who once played quarterback for UNLV with his injured arm encased in a contraption that resembled a jai alai cesta, returns to Las Vegas on Sunday as offensive coordinator of the Philadelphia Eagles, who meet the Raiders at Allegiant Stadium.
■ Sunday is the 50th anniversary of the death of former Detroit Lions wide receiver Chuck Hughes — the only NFL player to die during a game. On Oct. 24, 1971, the 28-year-old Texas-El Paso product suffered a heart attack on the way back to the huddle against the Chicago Bears. I will never forget Dick Butkus frantically signaling for help, and the grim faces on the sidelines.
In the NFL's more than 100 year history, Lions WR Chuck Hughes remains the only NFL player to die during a game.
The 28-year-old made his last catch just before taking his last breath 50 years ago this Sunday.
Sporting News remembers that tragic day. https://t.co/lTIAxjdQee
— The Sporting News (@sportingnews) October 22, 2021
■ Approximately $5,700 in equipment, food and cash was stolen from the Mountain Ridge Little League equipment room and concession stand Thursday. Anybody with information or interested in helping replace what was taken are asked to contact league president Jimmy Belanger at 702-204-8306 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A photo in this space last week showed former UNLV quarterbacks Steve Stallworth and Derek Stott and mentioned the former’s intention of starting a club for ex-Rebels QBs.
Heading into Friday’s high school games, Stott’s nephew, Tyler, a senior at Desert Oasis, and Stallworth’s nephew, Richard, who plays for Yuma (Arizona) Catholic, were ranked seventh and eighth in the nation in passing yards by Max Preps with 2,980 and 2,941.
“And just like it is in UNLV history, a Stott is just ahead of a Stallworth,” Steve wrote in an email.