Ailene Voisin, sports columnist

Randall Benton /

A crowd of over 17,000 cheers for the Sacramento Republic FC during the game between the Sacramento Republic FC and the Orange County Blues at Hughes Stadium in Sacramento on Saturday, May 3, 2014.

Voisin's Monday Morning High Five: Rivers, Silver, California Chrome, Sac City, Righette

Published: Monday, May. 5, 2014 - 11:31 am
Last Modified: Tuesday, May. 6, 2014 - 7:47 am

Last week was crazier than usual, and we won’t even shame the San Jose Sharks by mentioning their blown series. This weekly offering, remember, is designed to kick off your Monday morning with a smile, not a whimper. So here we go:

•  Strong like Doc: If you had to choose someone to coach the Los Angeles Clippers during these difficult past few days, someone capable of dealing with the Donald Sterling situation with dignity, class, perspective, and the appropriate anger it roused in so many people, it would be Doc Rivers. He prepped for this moment – unknowingly – for his entire life. The son of an interracial couple, he is married to a white woman, Kris, experienced racism throughout his life, and yet has always looked at people as individuals. In a competition sense, he has known tremendous highs (coached the Boston Celtics to 2008 NBA Championship) and crushing lows (he was on the Atlanta Hawks team that lost Game 7 to the Boston Celtics in the spectacular duel between Dominique Wilkins and Larry Bird). This last week was totally different. He had to battle the Donald Sterling demons while leading – and leading is the term – his team past a dangerous Golden State Warriors team.

•  Comissioner makes his mark: Adam Silver took the pulse of his players/sponsors/fans, consulted with the NBA’s hefty legal team, and did what he really wanted to do all along. He banned Sterling from associating with his Clippers team, fined the owner the maximim $2.5 million, and began pressuring the league’s longest-tenured owner to sell. The players’ and sponsors’ reaction gave him little choice, but this was the appropriate action. But Sterling’s wife, Shelly, keeps remindings folks that California is a community property state. And no word yet on divorce proceedings. … She has been married to the most litigious owner in pro sorts for, oh, half a century. This is not going to be an easy, by any means.

•  California takes over Kentucky: California Chrome became only the fourth California-bred horse to win the Kentucky Derby, and his owners are from Yuba City and Northern Nevada, which is very cool in a parochial sense. Is there a museum in the works? The trip to Willits for a visit to the “Seabiscuit” museum is worth the drive, and a few miles farther south, to the barn where the beauty was housed, is one of those memorable sports moments.

•  Passionate fan support: Republic FC only has one home game remaining at Hughes Stadium before moving to Cal Expo. Too bad. While the field is too narrow for the ball control/passing/finesse style that the legendary Preki coaches – and Preki’s voice has to be heard – the setting at the Sac City College campus is impressive. Fans park blocks away and walk along Sutterville and Freeport, with all their energy and in their colorful attire. There was no way to cover the track and expand the field with synthetic turf as opposed to throwing together a facility with temporary toilets and bleachers at Cal Expo? Too bad.

Call The Bee’s Ailene Voisin, (916) 321-1208.

Read more articles by Ailene Voisin

Ailene Voisin, sports columnist

Ailene Voisin

Ailene Voisin was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. She earned a bachelor's degree in political science from UNLV and a law degree from the University of San Diego before committing full time to journalism.

Her career includes stops at the San Diego Union, Los Angeles Herald-Examiner and Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and time spent as the backup beat writer for Dodgers and Angels, Clippers and NBA beat writer, sports columnist, along with numerous assignments covering international events and the Olympics. Ailene joined The Sacramento Bee in 1997.

Phone: 916-321-1208
Twitter: @ailene_voisin

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