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DHS boys should get creative to break skid

By January 24, 2011

Enterprise columnist

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Sports teams can get goofy at any second.

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In 1988, after a decent spring training and a roster filled with solid players — Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken Jr. to name a couple — the Baltimore Orioles started the regular season 0-21.

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After six games, Cal\’s dad was fired as manager and Hall of Famer Frank Robinson took over. Fifteen more losses, consecutively, followed. Robinson got crabbier, the fans more jocular, but nothing out of the ordinary was done to snap the streak — which finally ended on April 29 with a win against Cleveland.

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The season was a disaster. Baltimore lost 107 games and the spiral downward apparently killed the owner, Edward Bennett Williams, who died in August (during a seven-game losing streak).

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Take the Oakland Raiders. A Commitment to Excellence turned to dust after an appearance in the 2002 Super Bowl. The team hasn\’t been over .500 since, setting an all-time record for most consecutive seasons with five wins or fewer.

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Even those costumes in the Black Hole have done nothing to rally the Raiders, or scare the opposition.

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It\’s easy to curse a team. The Chicago Cubs; goat, the Babe Ruth trade to New York, Manny being Manny. And it\’s easy to rally a team or an individual: Pedro Serrano\’s JoBu in “Major League,” the

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Anaheim Angels and their Rally Monkey, the Steelers\’ Terrible Towels, the Aggie Band-Uh at UC Davis.

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But those darn streaks … Robinson couldn\’t figure out how to stop them. Al Davis hasn\’t a clue. And now, at Davis High, boys basketball coach Dan Gonzalez needs some new karma for his guys. That 11-game losing streak needs to take a hike.

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Unfortunately, defending Delta Valley Conference champion Franklin (15-5, 3-0 in league) comes to town on Wednesday. What can be done to reverse this Blue Devil skid?

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Baltimore — there\’s that team again — in 1976 under colorful manager Earl Weaver had lost eight of nine while hitting .211. Weaver let light-hitting shortstop Mark Belanger pick the batting order out of a hat.

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Belanger, with 20 career homers in 18 seasons wound up hitting fourth. Reggie Jackson batted eighth.

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I forget what happened that night.

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The Memphis Tams of the

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American Basketball Association had two double-digit losing streaks in 1973-74.

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Charlie Finley (yes, that Charlie Finley) outfitted his guys in garish Kelly green and yellow uniforms, mimicking his Oakland A\’s. When that didn\’t work, the Tams coach let his guys wear their unis inside out for a game with the Kentucky Colonels. No dice. Plus nobody really noticed. Only 1,005 fans showed up.

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The following season there were no Memphis Tams (short for the tam-o-shanters they wore off the court. Ewwwww).

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I once knew a basketball coach in Corona whose team was sooooo bad shooting free throws, that he called a 10 p.m. shootaround, turned off all the lights in the gym and rewarded players whose free throws he heard hit the rim.

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Never understood that drill (two guys jammed fingers trying to rebound with no light and another got a bloody nose). However, the Panthers hit 11-of-12 charity tosses the next game. Hmmmmm.

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So, for poor Gonzalez and the Blue Devils, what can be done?

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It\’s a good team, a great bunch of guys. They just aren\’t winning. Particularly galling after a 7-1 start and winning their own tournament. But something needs to be done.

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When the Blue Devils take the court Wednesday, maybe they\’ll have their uniforms inside out. Maybe one of the senior captains will have picked the starting lineup out of a hat.

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I can hear DHS announcer Mike Satre now:

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“Starting at center for Davis, No. 5 Graham McDaniel. Point guard, No. 42, Tyler DeLaughder …”

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At least it\’ll be fun and different. But I\’m sure Gonzalez has a better idea.

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— Bruce Gallaudet is the DHS boys basketball beat writer for The Davis Enterprise. Reach him at [email protected] or (530) 747-8047. Comment on this column at www.davisenterprise.com

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