, Port Arthur, Texas


April 13, 2013

West column: LSC-PA hit home run with Lance Madison


    Can’t think of a coach who has ever been more deserving of a two-year contract extension than Lamar State College-Port Arthur’s Lance Madison. Though he was the school’s second choice to replace Matt Cross after first-choice Chris Beard backed out, the job Madison did in an extremely challenging situation was remarkable. To go 20-10 and gain a berth in the NJCAA Region XIV tournament when basically starting from scratch, and having to overcome not being hired until early May, says a lot about Madison as both a coach and a recruiter. By the end of the season, I’m not so sure the Seahawks weren’t better than Pat Knight’s Lamar University team. With the return of 7-1 Anthony Allen and 6-6 Jamaal Shabazz, the nation’s leading shot blocker and the conference’s leading rebounder, respectively, the immediate future looks bright . . . As most basketball fans are probably aware, the NCAA Final Four will be played at JerryWorld next April. For those who don’t mind being ripped off, the application process for tickets is open until May 31. Go to, follow the prompts and have your credit card in hand. A book of tickets for the Saturday, April 5 semifinals and Monday, April 7 finals is priced at $190 and a $20 application fee is tacked on.  Applicants are allowed to request up to four ticket books, then a random selection process determines who gets the tickets. Those who are selected will be advised no later than September. Those whose names aren’t pulled out will get their ticket money refunded, but not the $20 application fee.

    Grumbling from the masses about cable providers not being able to make a deal to show Astros, Rockets and Dynamo telecasts has reached the point where Houston mayor Annise Parker is trying to act as mediator. Parker has written letters requesting a meeting between Comcast Houston and several cable providers not willing to accept Comcast’s asking price. It’s a good political move on Parker’s part, especially her public stance about taxpayers paying for stadiums the teams play in, but the bottom line is that nothing’s going to happen until Astros owner Jim Crane is guaranteed a dollar figure that will keep him in the same TV revenue ballpark with the Angels and Texas Rangers . . . For Southeast Texans, not being able to watch the Astros this year isn’t as big a loss as missing out on a remarkable turnaround for the Rockets. A month before the season, Kevin McHale’s team was regarded as a threat to the Charlotte Bobcats as the NBA’s worst. Instead, thanks to deals that brought in scoring machine James Harden (25.9 ppg), the league’s No. 3 rebounder Omer Asik (11.7) and  point guard Jeremy Lin (13.2 ppg, 6.1 apg), the Rockets are headed to the playoffs for the first time in three years. They are not only the NBA’s youngest team, but among its most fun teams to watch for those who actually get to see them. Among other things, they are No. 1 in scoring average at 105.9. GM Daryl Morey would seem to be a lock as NBA Executive of the Year.

    You never say never with Lincoln ex Stephen Jackson but, after the way he was cut by the San Antonio Spurs Friday, it will be surprising if he gets another shot in the NBA. When you’re 34, carry the baggage Jackson does, are being paid $10 million in the final year of a contract and get released a week before the start of the playoffs, it’s going to raise red flags. Especially since Jackson gave San Antonio a versatile, talented weapon off the bench and Spurs coach Gregg Popovich appeared to be somebody who really understood him for who he is . . . For those who may have missed it, former Astro manager Grady Hatton, who grew up in Beaumont, passed away Thursday at age 90. I got to know Grady very well because I landed my first sportswriting job in Beaumont the same year (1966) he was named manager of the Astros. For a young sports writer a little intimidated by dealing with big leaguers, he went out of his way to help me and I’ve never forgotten him for it. I always told him there was great irony in us crossing paths because as a kid growing up in Missouri my first really good baseball glove was a Grady Hatton model. Rest in piece, my friend . . .  With talks continuing about what Harris County is going to do with the decaying Astrodome, one of the studies on eliminating it led to this mind-boggling fact. If the Dome is demolished, the end result would be a massive 30-foot deep hole in the ground that would take nine months and $11. 7 million to fill.

    Tiger Woods should have no doubt about how certain players and media members feel about him in the wake of Saturday’s mushrooming flap over whether he needed to withdraw from the Masters. Woods accepted a two-stroke penalty imposed by the tournament committee for an improper drop and prepared for the third round, as he should have. Anyone who bothered to read everything that went into the decision, including application of a new rule handed down in 2011, would have been satisfied. But because Woods is an easy and inviting target, the likes of the Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee, CBS’ Nick Faldo and former world No. 1 David Duval  couldn’t resist taking shots. Chamblee was practically foaming at the mouth, ranting that Woods was diminishing the game of golf and his own legacy by not withdrawing. Thankfully, there were voices of reason like Fred Couples, Graeme McDowell and Hunter Mahan, who applauded how things were handled . . .  Much will continue to be made during the 2013 season about the Astros lack of talent, and their bottom-of-the barrel payroll. But, as was proven with Bud Norris’ masterpiece in a 5-0 shutout victory against the Angels Friday night, quality pitching often nullifies big bucks. The Angels two highest-paid hitters — Josh Hamilton ($17.4 million) and Albert Pujols ($16 million) — combine to make $10 million more than the Astros’ entire 25-man roster. The Angels team payroll, meanwhile, is $141.9 million. Against Norris, however, all the dollar signs literally meant nothing. The Astros are going to continue to have more downs than ups for at least a couple of years, but as we’ve seen during a three-game winning streak there are going to be bursts of competitiveness.

  Had Michigan defeated Louisville in the NCAA championship game, something pretty remarkable would have happened. Out of 8.15 million brackets filed in ESPN’s Tournament Challenge, the sole winner would have been 10-year-old Brayden Schager from the Dallas suburb of Highland Park. If this makes anybody whose bracket was demolished feel better, Schager did admit to the Dallas Morning News he was just guessing on some of his picks. After Michigan lost, Schager fell into the 99.5 percentile. Among the millions he beat was President Obama, who finished in the 74.5 percentile . . . With all the hype that goes on about  blue chip recruits and the impact they make on elite programs, it was interesting to note that only one member in the top 10 of the Class of 2012 — Arizona’s Kaleb Tarczewski — played for a team that won a game in the NCAA tournament. Three of the top 10 — Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel and Alex Pythress and Baylor’s Isaiah Austin — couldn’t even help their teams reach the NCAA . . . Think NFL management isn’t worried big time about the concussion lawsuits and other litigation it faces? In addition to paying $42 million recently to a group of retired players over improper use of their images for commercial gain, the league stepped up the amount it pays in federal lobbying some 500 percent 2012 to $1.14 million.

Sports editor Bob West can be e-mailed at



Text Only
  • Bassmaster Elites are coming back

    The Bassmaster Elite Series returns to Southeast Texas in March 2015 to fish out of Orange.
    The announcement was made last week, ahead of Bassmaster’s official tournament schedule announcement and the buzz is already strong in Southeast Texas and beyond.
    I was in Orlando, Fla. attending the ICAST (fishing trade) show and talked with a number of top anglers including Kevin VanDam, Mike Iaconelli and Shaw Grigsby who said it was no surprise they would return considering the massive turnout for the weigh-ins and that the area welcomed them in a very special way.
    It’s far too early to speculate anything like who the top contenders will be or how the fishing will be but there are some things to keep in mind and to look for over the next few months and into the event itself.
    • Prefishing-There is a pre-fishing cutoff that usually extends to right before the Bassmaster Classic and I fully expect most of the anglers in the Elites to come back and prefish.
    Last go-round probably 2/3 of the field fished the area but this time I expect that to be just about everyone. Many of the anglers that did not pre-fish told me they expected to have a lot of water to fish but the sheer volume and diversity was almost overwhelming.
    Beginning probably in the early fall we will see many anglers fishing local waters to get a better idea on how to approach the area.
    • East to West Runs-The Elite anglers fished far and wide but I expect even more running next go-round. After launching from the Simmons Drive Boat Ramp in Orange angler Bill Lowen ran down the Intracoastal, across Galveston Bay and fished in the Clear Lake area and placed in the top 12. The more adventurous anglers will try super long runs, in my opinion, even longer than last time to try and score on big fish. The Intracoastal Canal system makes that possible.
    • Sabine River -Very few of the anglers actually fished in the Sabine River despite the event being called the “Sabine River Challenge”. I think that will change with more anglers running as far north as they can to find pockets of fish that receive little pressure and perhaps a four or five-pounder to push them over the top.
    • Bigger Turnout-Last year some 34,000 people attended the event which set a Bassmaster record for an Elite event.
     It was broken a couple of weeks later in New York but I fully expect the 2015 tournament to draw 40,000 plus. The reason they are coming back is not for the stellar fishing because while we have lots of bass, everyone knows our fishery cannot compare to Toledo Bend for example.
    The support from the public however was amazing and that is what is bringing the top anglers on the planet to fish our area.
    We will have the very best coverage of the event beginning now and leading up to it with exclusive interviews with all of the top pros with not only their thoughts on the big event but with unique tips on how you can catch more fish.
    It’s an exciting time and I look forward to bringing you special coverage on a special event.
    (To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI or online at or watch him on “God’ Outdoors with Chester Moore” Saturdays at 10 a.m. on

    July 23, 2014

  • Mid County knocked out of tournament

    The Mid County 16-18 Babe Ruth squad’s run to the World Series is over.

    July 22, 2014

  • West golf notepad: West duo claims title in Texas Father-Son

    July 22, 2014

  • Mid County sets up championship series with Tri County

    The Southwest Regional Babe Ruth championship series is set and yes the hometown Mid County squad will be there to play.

    July 21, 2014

  • MC Babe Ruth goes 2-0

    First things first, give Clint Landry and the rest of the officials credit for making the Southwest Regional Babe Ruth tournament possible this weekend at Nederland High School.

    July 19, 2014

  • Up the odds for solid bank fishing

    There are certain limitations to fishing without a boat.

    July 19, 2014

  • Derek Williams, Summer Money League light up the lanes at Max Bowl

    Thursday nights Summer Money League produced some very impressive scores.

    July 19, 2014

  • West column: Pacers hiring Pat Knight didn't help Lamar

    July 19, 2014

  • Babe Ruth.jpg Mid County Babe Ruth set to host Southwest Regional

    The Mid County Babe Ruth 18U team is once again knocking on the World Series door. Mid County will host the Southwest Regional at Nederland High School starting today. Mid County’s first game of the tournament is slated for 7 p.m. Friday against Pine Bluff, Ark. Thursday was a special day for Mid County Babe Ruth as two locals, Jimmy Collins (shown speaking) and Skip Hopkins (back left) were inducated intot he Southwest Regional Babe Ruth Hall of Fame. Both Hopkins and Collins have been involved in Babe Ruth for over 40 consecutive years either as player, coach or board member. There are nine teams in the tournament with the winner headed to Washington state for the World Series.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • West golf notepad: Eleven-year-old Henry scores ace in YMBL tourney

    July 15, 2014

From the Fieldhouse blog