Baseball nuts

Arizona assistants Frank Scelfo and David Nichol pulled even Saturday.

Nichol's favorite baseball team, the Texas Rangers, dispatched Scelfo's New York Yankees 7-2 in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series.

Nichol's connection to the Rangers is obvious. Though he was born in Chicago, Nichol grew up in Dallas and attended Jesuit High School.

Scelfo, a native Louisianian, got into the Yankees as a kid. After dinners, Scelfo and his father, Sam, would drive to a remote spot near their New Iberia, La., home and listen to Yankees broadcasts on their car radio.

Scelfo may have to change his loyalties soon. His oldest son, Anthony, is a second baseman in the Tampa Bay Rays' system.

U of Apples

Washington State hasn't won many Apple Cups lately, but it has an edge on the University of Washington: The Cougars have their own apple.

The WA 2, a blush red variety known for its sweetness, crisp texture and shelf life, is expected to hit consumer shelves as early as January. The WA 2 was developed by Bruce Barritt, a researcher at WSU's Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center. It's the first Wazzu-bred apple in 15 years.

Dad's day

Washington State takes "dad's weekend" seriously. Former Cougars star quarterback Jack Thompson helped raise the WSU flag just before kickoff; his son Tommy, an employee in Wazzu's athletic department, helped him.

But the Thompsons couldn't beat Butch. The Cougars' mascot and his "dad" - an old-looking Cougar mascot who walked with a cane and wore checkered pants - led the team on the field riding a Harley-Davidson.

The big number


Number of kicking nets at Washington State's Martin Stadium. Fans who catch field goals and PATs can keep the ball.


That Lady Gaga is everywhere - even Pullman, Wash.

The Cougars' marching band performed Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" and "Bad Romance" at halftime, but not before having some fun with the fans. The band played the first few bars of Queen's "Fat Bottomed Girls" before switching to the Gaga-licious one.

Staying warm

Greg Byrne may be new but he's no rookie.

Arizona's first-year athletic director sported a thermal Nike turtleneck and fuzzy Arizona fleece at Saturday's game. Back problems kept him from playing golf with UA boosters in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, earlier in the day.

Byrne's no stranger to cold. While at Mississippi State, Byrne said he saw snow a few times and endured some cold nights. The lake beside his Starkville, Miss., home froze over for a few weeks last winter.

Back in blue

Welcome back, blue helmets. We missed you.

The Wildcats wore blue lids Saturday for the first time since Dec. 5, 2009, when the Wildcats defeated USC at the Los Angeles Coliseum. The UA switched to white helmets against Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl, then reintroduced a tweaked version of the throwback lid for the first five games of this season.

Neal's deal

Former UA golfer and Sahuaro High School grad Tyler Neal was at Saturday's game, something of an old home week for him.

He grew up in Pullman when his father, UA athletic equipment manager Wendell Neal, occupied a similar position at WSU 12 years ago. Tyler came to Pullman to practice golf for a few days and to visit his uncle, Milton Neal, who is now WSU's athletic equipment manager.

Tyler last month passed the PGA Tour Qualifying School's pre-qualifying tournament and is honing his game for the first stage of Q-School on Oct. 27-30 in Beaumont, Calif.

Ryan Finley

Stoops, meet Scott

An hour before kickoff, on the sideline, UA coach Mike Stoops spent about five minutes chatting with Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott. Scott spent much of Friday with UA donors and athletic department staff members in Coeur d'Alene. Scott went on a 90-minute dinner cruise with the donors on Lake Coeur d'Alene, then spent time with the UA's fundraising staff, talking about the business of raising money in college athletics.

Ryan Finley