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Las Vegas Ballpark shows it would be ideal for prep football

It’s hard to predict what kind of game Sunday’s Pro Bowl at Allegiant Stadium will produce.

Depending on the amount of blocking and tackling, it could be its lasting Las Vegas legacy will be showing how easily Las Vegas Ballpark can be transformed into a practice field for NFL all-stars and a midsized venue for high school football and other special events.

“It depends (on the event), but I think we have to do stuff like that,” Aviators president Don Logan said.

The Pro Bowl practice field that ran from the third-base dugout to the right-field wall was 80 yards long with 10-yard end zones and goal posts. But Logan said there is enough room for a regulation 100-yard field. Same for a first base to left field configuration.

“You could put an extra 20 yards in there easily,” said Logan, though he believes the Pro Bowl layout is better for putting action closer to spectators.

Last season’s Bishop Gorman vs. Liberty showdown, the prep football game of the year in Southern Nevada, attracted a standing room crowd of 5,000 to Gorman’s well-appointed Fertitta Field but caused parking, concession and restroom snarls.

Same for the night Liberty played national champion Mater Dei from Southern California at the Gaels’ field.

“Absolutely,” Logan said when asked if marquee games such as those could be played at Las Vegas Ballpark after the Aviators put away the bats and balls in September.

Around the horn

— Baseball fans who need a fix — especially given the start of the MLB season is in jeopardy because of another labor lockout — should note the College of Southern Nevada has opened its season.

Coach Nick Garritano’s Coyotes, sporting a roster with 23 products of Southern Nevada high schools, went 2-2 in the Manny Guerra Memorial Border Battle last weekend named for the revered local baseball scout.

UNLV also is tossing the ball around the diamond, with its season opener Feb. 21 at Wilson Stadium against Michigan State of the Big Ten.

— The Busch brothers of Las Vegas will reprise the roles of Roman Gabriel and Merlin Olsen when the NASCAR season begins Sunday with the traditional Busch Light Clash at a not-so-traditional venue for auto racing — venerable Los Angeles Coliseum, which has been converted into a quarter-mile bullring for the exhibition race.

There will be an added Las Vegas presence at the Clash, as White’s Howler, the whisky brand of UFC president Dana White, will sponsor Ross Chastain’s No. 1 entry. White gave the command to start engines before last fall’s Cup Series playoff race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

— Local high school football recruits who settled for signing scholarship offers with smaller schools this past week should keep their chins up.

There were 97 players from Football Championship Subdivision schools that made NFL rosters after final 2021 training camp cuts. Only three NFL teams — Bengals, Cowboys, Dolphins — did not have an FCS player on their opening-day roster.

Morale of the story: Curse the transfer portal and COVID-19 if you must (and as many do). But if you can play, they will find you.


Before it televised the ProBowl, ESPN was among those to poke fun at it. Here’s a take from the Worldwide Leader in Sports making light of the 1990 game, and a lot of other Pro Bowls:

“Rick Strom’s stirring comeback bid falls just short as the AFC falls to the NFC 27-21. Strom, the AFC’s backup quarterback and a representative of the Steelers, was added to the roster after Warren Moon backed out with a knee injury, Dan Marino sprained his thumb, Jay Schroeder suffered a hangnail, Steve Grogan had a dental appointment, Bubby Brister had to pick up some milk from 7-Eleven, Billy Joe Tolliver ate a funky slice of pizza and Kelly Stouffer … well, he wasn’t invited.”

Contact Ron Kantowski at rkantowski@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0352. Follow @ronkantowski on Twitter.