Agostini: Reading time, two minutes

ragostini@modbee.comAugust 23, 2013 

Former Buhach Colony start Matt Cochran

MERCED SUN-STAR

— 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 ragostini@modbee.com or (209) 578-2302. Follow Ron via Twitter, @modbeesports.

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