I’m delving into territory of which I don’t have the best frame of reference, so I’m going to ask you for help.

I’m a regular on Facebook and a friend of mine from long ago asked me what I thought could be done about local high school officiating. I told him that I had seen complaints about it, but that I really wasn’t the best expert since I hadn’t been to any high school games in a while. His suggestions were better training for officials and bringing in better officials for tournament games. I added that maybe they could rotate officials so that the same officials aren’t working the same games.

My question to the readers is this: What can be done to improve officiating on the high school level? What suggestions do you have?

Also on the high school front, I don’t really know how the departure of Princeton Senior High School from the Mountain State Athletic Conference is going to affect the school. I can see the advantages in avoiding long road trips and tough opponents, but rivals such as Woodrow Wilson and Greenbrier East will be off-limits to PSHS for years and there will be a lack of AAA opponents to play. I guess we’ll know in five years.

As for the National League East, which is more in my ballpark (pun intended), there’s one team which is a realistic contender, the Washington Nationals, who added Max Scherzger to a pitching rotation already including Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Gio Gonzalez and Doug Fister. I think it’s a good move to add to a strength. Key players: Drew Storen, Bryce Harper and Denard Span.

The New York Mets are my choice for second, based largely on the return of Matt Harvey from Tommy John surgery. The real key will be if they can find players to help support David Wright in the order and if either Wilmer Flores or Ruben Tejada develop at shortstop.

The Miami Marlins uncharacteristically signed Giancarlo Stanton to a long-term, no-trade contract last year, locking up one of the best young hitters in baseball. They’ have young talent everywhere, including Stanton, who is 25. They have their own Tommy John returnee in 22-year-old Jose Fernandez. If the young players develop, they could be a real surprise.

The Atlanta Braves era that Bobby Cox started and perpetrated died with the trade of Jason Heyward last winter. The trades of Evan Gattis and Justin Upton just sank the franchise further. I feel for Fredi Gonzalez, who escaped Miami’s former mess only to find that Atlanta has turned into the Marlins North.

The team which keeps them from the basement used to be the team which used to keep them from the division title, the Philadelphia Phillies. They’ve already removed Charlie Manuel and Jimmy Rollins and they’ll probably shed themselves of the likes of Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels. Rebuilding will be a long process.

As for the playoffs, I see the Dodgers, Giants, Cardinals, Pirates and Nationals, with the Dodgers and Nationals meeting in the NLCS, with the Nationals winning.

If you have any comments about this column, write the Princeton Times c/o “Jeff’s Sports Corner”, P.O. Box 1199, Princeton, WV 24740 or contact Jeff Harvey at delimartman@yahoo.com or jharvey1@frontiernet.net.

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