Facts stand at third base until The Truth drives them home.
Fact: Officials of the California Invitational Relays and Modesto Junior College have agreed to permanently honor the late Tom Moore, the event's life force for more than 60 years, at MJC Stadium.
The Truth: Remembering Moore, who died on the eve of the 2002 Relays, isn't just the right thing to do. It will keep alive the spirit of a truly difference-making man, a local icon and former world-record holding hurdler who brought world-class athletes to Modesto with little more than a handshake and a grin. What better way to bridge the community to MJC, and isn't that a goal of all JCs? Dr. Richard Rose, the MJC president, deserves credit for signing off on the project. Hopefully, the 67th California Invitational Relays on May 10 will be the last one without a tribute to Moore -- whatever form it takes -- at MJC.
Fact: The 49ers, hamstrung last season by one of the worst offenses in NFL history, devoted two of their first three draft picks to defense and didn't select a receiver until the sixth round.
The Truth: Call him tone-deaf or stubborn, but coach Mike Nolan will succeed or fail on his terms. He's trying to build a Super Bowl team in the likeness of the Baltimore Ravens, his former team that won a Lombardi Trophy with bone-breaking defense. He also knows if the 49ers remain in their present direction, he'll be updating his résumé. Regardless, the 49ers opted for a defensive tackle (Kentwan Balmer) in the first round. Nolan either thinks Isaac Bruce and Bryant Johnson, the 49ers' free-agent signees at receiver, will solve all their problems, or his idea of riveting NFL football is a handoff to Frank Gore and a field goal. A thought: Remember when the 49ers used to score more than one touchdown per game?
Fact: Darren McFadden gives the Raiders their first coast-to-coast threat at tailback in years.
The Truth: McFadden may turn out to be the second coming of Marcus Allen, but the Raiders needed defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey (gone to the Chiefs with the next draft pick) more than McFadden. The Raiders just signed running back Justin Fargas for $12 million ($6 million guaranteed). In fact, the Raiders have spent cash in the offseason like a sailor drinks beer on weekend leave. One senses the Raiders are an organization devoid of connected ideas. Their diehard fans deserve a team on the same page and a front office (read: Al Davis) that values more than just straight-ahead speed.
Fact: Former country-western star Mindy McCready verified a long affair with pitcher Roger Clemens, and that it began when she was 15. He denies the affair was sexual.
The Truth: The congressmen who sought Clemens' autograph might want to rethink their actions. His word, on anything from steroids to flings, has been reduced to dust. He repeatedly told a congressional committee he didn't attend Jose Canseco's party ... until a photo of him at the party surfaced. How can anyone still respect a man who tossed his wife, agent and trainer under the bus to protect his formerly sainted reputation? Good luck on his defamation suit based on his character.
Fact: Chris Paul outplayed Jason Kidd and triggered the New Orleans Hornets' surprisingly easy first-round win over the Dallas Mavericks.
The Truth: Paul's shocking dominance has caused a small tornado that may extend beyond the NBA. Kidd, acquired by the Mavericks as their supposed "final ingredient," proved to be a dramatic misjudgment by owner Mark Cuban. Inspect the current climate: Mavericks coach Avery Johnson was fired, a blowup of the roster is possible, and Cuban again is cozying up to the Chicago Cubs. It all started with Paul abusing Kidd.
Fact: The Giants are 13-16 and emphasize speed and defense as they begin the post-Barry Bonds era.
The Truth: Given the team's bottom-of-the-barrel expectations, it was a fascinating first month. But saying you're all about speed and defense, after decades of relying on the long ball, is easier said than done. The Giants' young roster, for all its base stealing, runs the bases like The Three Stooges and often runs into one another in the field. They're a work in progress, a long and painful work in progress. If nothing else, the Barry Zito soap opera demands a close watch this summer.
Bee sports columnist Ron Agostini can be reached at email@example.com or 578-2302.