Arizona Diamondbacks third base coach Matt Williams is reportedly going to be the next manager for the Washington Nationals. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Bay Area Buzz 10/27: Former Giant Star to Manage In D.C., Barbour Owns Cal’s Academic Mess, Spartans Win Wild One


Matt Williams A Leap of Faith for Washington Nationals

Washington Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo has made many decisions, but few are as important — yet based so little on hard data and so much on intuition and chemistry — as the team’s choice to hire [former San Francisco Giants star] Matt Williams as manager. Rizzo and Williams clicked in Arizona. The GM wants a manager he admires, not just respects, and can envision being great, not just good. He got that in Williams.

If Rizzo and the Lerners are correct, they may have found their manager for the next decade, a skipper who could be the leader of a team that appears talented enough to reach a World Series and be in annual playoff contention.

The Nats nudged Davey Johnson, 70, toward and then out the door because of their logical desire to find their Sparky Anderson, Cito Gaston, Tom Kelly, Earl Weaver, Ron Washington or Tommy Lasorda, the kind of man who stays in his first big league managing job for years and wins multiple pennants for the team that had faith in him.

–Thomas Boswell, Washington Post

Barbour Takes The Blame for Cal’s Academic Woes

Sandy Barbour acknowledged the harsh truth on Saturday.

“Ultimately,” the Cal athletic director said by phone from Seattle, “it is my responsibility.”

Yes it is. Cal athletics was dealt a humiliating blow with last week’s report on graduation rates, in which Cal football ranked dead last among 72 major programs in the country and men’s basketball wasn’t much better.

Barbour, who has been athletic director since the fall of 2004, has to own it. She can’t blame those numbers on departed coaches Jeff Tedford and Ben Braun. She was their boss. She extended their contracts during this dismal period. She is the one who has to be held accountable.

It’s a tough time right now for Barbour, who likes to use the phrase “athletics done right.” The report comes while her handpicked football coach, Sonny Dykes, is struggling in his debut season. While the Memorial Stadium financing plan is being questioned. But nothing is worse than messing with the essence of Cal: its academic pride.

–Ann Killion, San Francisco Chronicle

Fales Leads Spartans to Wild Rally Over Wyoming

San Jose State quarterback David Fales gave Wyoming a taste of what it is missing.

The senior threw for 482 yards and five touchdowns, and his 1-yard sneak with eight seconds left was the winning touchdown in a 51-44 victory over the Cowboys in front of 16,123 fans at Spartan Stadium on Saturday.

Fales, a former walk-on at Wyoming whose dad lives in the state, tried to play down any additional satisfaction he felt in beating the school that declined to offer him a scholarship. But he clearly enjoyed the victory.

The passing yardage and five passing touchdowns were career highs for Fales, and the winning score was his first career rushing touchdown. He set a Mountain West Conference record with his fifth consecutive 300-yard passing game.

–Jimmy Durkin, San Jose Mercury News

Tags: California Golden Bears Football San Francisco Giants San Jose State Spartans Football