Zone Read PM: Oregon baseball kicks off, helmet hoaxes and the best sports story I’ve read this month

Posted by Matt Walks on Tuesday, Feb. 12 at 5:30 pm.

Oregon baseball is ready to kick off its season this week. Starting Friday, the Ducks will start a four-game series in Honolulu, Hawaii looking to extend its three-game win streak against the Rainbows. It’s the third straight season Oregon has begun the season on the pacific island, and the preseason pressure is the highest it’s been since the program was reinstated in 2009. Oregon is No. 15 according to Baseball America, while Collegiate Baseball and USA Today have the Ducks at No. 6.

Oregon returns seven position seven starters and eight returning pitchers, including All-American closer Jimmie Sherfy.

The team’s home opener is Friday, Feb. 22, against Loyola Marymount.

Helmet hoaxes. We were afraid this was going to happen.

Oregon’s Spring Game helmets still have yet to be released, despite a viral photo this morning that purported to be the toppers for the team’s annual scrimmage. The custom helmet was instead created by a Springfield, Ore., citizen who sells his creations on eBay. The leaked photo has been traced back at least as far as KVAL’s Tom Ward, who posted a photo of the helmet on his Facebook and cited De’Anthony Thomas as a source.

All of this comes one day after an ersatz new Oregon State logo gained traction with CBS Sports and other major news outlets.

In case you missed it. Anna Griffin of The Oregonian wrote maybe the best piece of sports journalism I’ve read this month.

Griffin’s piece, originally published Feb. 9, takes a look at a high school basketball game in Mapleton, just under an hour west of Eugene, where two opposing players — Davan and Ethan — transcended ordinary competition and left both teams celebrating at the game’s final buzzer.