MODESTO — Reading time, two minutes:
If you can't wait for Week 0 next Friday, you get a sneak preview today with high school football scrimmages in Modesto and throughout the valley.
A rule change for safety in 2013: A player who loses his helmet during the play no longer can take part in that play. No more "hero tackles" sans helmets.
Another: A penalty for offensive pass interference won't result in a loss of down, and defensive interference won't mean an auto- matic first down.
Three area offensive linemen who probably will start in their respective season openers: Matt Galas (Central Catholic), Nevada; Matt Cochran (Buhach Colony), Cal; and Cody Wichmann (Mariposa County), Fresno State.
How I'll remember the late civic leader Pete Bakker: When Bob Piccinini welcomed local businessmen for a lunch and asked for their support of the Modesto Relays, Bakker was the first to raise his hand.
While many teams run their offense at 300 mph while wearing goofball uniforms, the best team in the land does neither: Alabama.
Could the going-nowhere Washington Nationals have second thoughts about shutting down Stephen Strasburg last year? There was nothing to be won, other than a championship.
Watch "The 99ers," ESPN's "Nine for IX" documentary on the famous 1999 women's soccer team. Yes, you'll see Modesto-raised Tisha Venturini-Hoch.
A.J. Jenkins joins Rashaun Woods (2004) in the 49er-first-round- busts-at-wide-receiver club. J.J. Stokes barely missed the list.
The 49ers signed Seneca Wallace, their fifth QB. It's quite a logjam. The 49ers may hire Simon Cowell to choose the backup.
There's more quarterback roulette at Indiana, where a choice still hasn't been made among three. One of them is Nate Sudfeld (Modesto Christian).
Modesto Nuts catcher Ryan Casteel made the All-California League team with his 22 home runs. Note: He hit six home runs during his previous three seasons.
OK, if that's how he feels: Ryan Dempster throwing at Alex Rodriguez.
Clueless: Throwing at him for an entire at-bat until you plunk him.
Professionals do their business with one pitch. And the game continues.
A mea culpa gone wrong: Ryan Braun spent nine paragraphs apologizing to his teammates, yet barely paid lip service to the sample collector whose reputation he destroyed.
Brian Wilson may accept a $1 million payoff to cut his beard. Minus the drama, fans would recognize his remarkable comeback from two Tommy John surgeries.
The A's re-signed catcher Kurt Suzuki to avoid activating Ray Fosse.
Strange: Santa Rosa, one of the nation's bicycle-racing hotbeds, said no-thanks to hosting a stage of the 2014 Amgen Tour of California.
Modesto's Michael McDonald no doubt enjoyed his UFC victory last weekend, especially the part about the $100,000 in bonuses.
About the Giants' so-called worst-ever title defense: No. That goes to the 1998 Marlins (an owner-induced fire sale resulting in 54-108).
Just thinking out loud: Matt Flynn doesn't look like the Raiders' long-term answer at QB. Nor their short-term answer.
When you know the earth is spinning too fast football scrimmages before Labor Day.
Bee staff writer Ron Agostini can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2302. Follow Ron via Twitter, @modbeesports.