The more things stay the same

I just got back from a week’s vacation and found that not a lot had changed in Chico in my absence. The county did get a new chief administrative officer, but those trees developer Andy Meghdadi ordered cut down haven’t grown back. Cesar Chavez Day came and went, and I had the depressing misfortune to encounter several people who had never heard of the farm workers’ leader. I went to the two towns in the state where gas prices are highest (Yreka and Eureka) and countered that by venturing into Oregon for some tax-free shopping. I played a lot of Scrabble with the family and ate Easter candy. It was all good.

I was benched

One thing that happened, though, is my editor ran to the verbose and my Newslines article about the Western Baseball League got canned—after Tom Gascoyne went to all the trouble to rewrite my lead paragraph. (I had used a football metaphor instead of a baseball one.)

For those of you who watch this column for all your local baseball news, here’s the skinny:

The WBL, of which the Chico Heat is a member, is showing former President Bob Linscheid its appreciation by awarding him a new franchise. He hopes to set up a team in Shasta County—probably Redding.

“It’s the best market on the West Coast, bar none,” said Linscheid, adding that he already has many contacts there and thinks that given about a year and one-half he can secure private-sector funding for a team that could become an archrival to the Heat.

Accordingly, after three years as president of the professional league, Linscheid has stepped down. Sam Pepper, who is vice president of Family Baseball of Yuma, Ariz., is taking over as both president and general manager, having been elected by the owners of the league’s six teams. (There are a couple of franchises up for sale right now.)

Although the Heat has seen some dips in attendance since its stellar opening season in 1997, Linscheid said the WBL is poised to go nowhere but up. The league has already hosted some 2 million fans during its first eight years.

Linscheid’s new venture will run under the company name of Upstate Sports Enterprise, a nod to the new moniker the economic-development community is pushing for the Northstate.

Enter, stage right

There are changes afoot along East First Street downtown, near the creek. El Patrón, the Mexican furniture store, is out (check Park Avenue), but you’ll have to wait until Saturday to see who’s moved in to 260 East First. OK, I’ll tell you. It’s Stagecoach Station antiques, debuting a second location April 13.

Owner Bill Shelton is bringing three warehouses’ worth of antiques out of storage—"all new antiques that people have not viewed before." He said people from as far as San Francisco and Los Angeles will be there when the butcher paper is taken down and the new shop is unveiled. It will be totally different from the existing location at Ninth and Oroville, including jewelry, primitives, glassware and more; "probably the most diverse selection of all kinds of things," Shelton said. There will even be a museum display incorporating items from his own family, which moved to Magalia in 1849.