Changes? Not Really For Carlsbad Fans By Don Eskins There’s an old Bon Jovi song still floating around out there that says, “the more things change the more they stay the same. ”Those lyrics could easily apply to Carlsbad’s prep and professional sports scene. For Cavern City sports enthusiasts that’s great news! The more things change So what things have changed on the Carlsbad sports scene? Well how about things like Shane Andrews and Cody Ross’ names no longer being posted in Major League Baseball box scores due to retirement. Then there’s Kent Jones, who after having turned fifty, has cut back on his PGA golf tour appearances. Spotting his name on PGA leaderboards for the rest of his career will be much more difficult. And let’s not forget about CHS coach John Zumbrun. Zumbrun, who built the Cavegirl basketball team into one of New Mexico’s most respected programs, has recently stepped down from the post he’s occupied for some twelve years. The more they stay the same-Baseball Despite those changes life for Carlsbad sports buffs, who enjoy keeping up with CHS sports and former Carlsbad High School athletes who have since moved on to play professionally, things haven’t changed that much. Besides tweaking a few names or a league, things remain pretty much the same. While Cavern City sports fans may no longer be able to follow the major league baseball exploits of Andrews or Ross they can follow former Caveman hurler Trevor Rogers who is currently throwing for the Miami Marlins. Yup, after a couple of years in the minors it now looks as if Rogers may have finally found a home on the Marlin’s major league roster. According to game stats Trevor, a 6’5” 217 lb. southpaw, threw 28 innings for the Marlins in 2020. He earned a 1-2 record en route to a 6.1 ERA. In two previous seasons as a Miami minor leaguer he had an ERA of 3.92.The Marlins made it to two playoff rounds in this year’s Major League Baseball National League Championship series upending the Chicago Cubs 2-0 in the first round of play but falling to the Braves 3-0 in the second. Not sure how many Cavern City sports buffs caught Rogers on the mound during the playoffs but this ol boy did during their stint with the Braves. Getting to watch the former Caveman throw big league pitches on television was very special. Only twenty-two years old Trevor is still learning. But what better place to be learning than on the roster of a Major League Baseball club headed by 2020 National League Manager of the Year Don Mattingly. Still on the Links-Golf Not sure just what Kent Jones schedule will look like on the PGA tour now that he’s hit the big 5-0. However, one thing is for sure, he’s still teeing up. Only now, the two time winner on the PGA’s Korn Ferry Tour, has turned his attention towards the Champions Senior Tour and he’s done it quite successfully. The net shows Jones, who has won $7,576,029 as a professional golfer, played no PGA Tour events in 2020.However, through November 9th, he has participated in thirteen Champions Tour events this year. The former CHS graduate’s best performances in 2020 have been in the Timber Tech Championship, where he finished seventh, and the Pure Insurance Championship where he placed eighth. In 2019, after sharing the lead with five other golfers on the back nine of the final round of the Bridgestone Senior Players Championship, he finished tied for fourth. Winning the event was Retief Goosen who carded a 274. Jones came in at 278.He also placed in the top twenty of the Senior U.S. Open in 2019 finishing tied for seventeenth. So far this year the Albuquerque resident has earned $338,097 on the Champions Tour. He’s also shown up on several Champions Tour event telecasts playing with the likes of Bernhard Langer, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Jim Furyk, K.J. Choi and Ernie Els. Recently added to the list, of former PGA greats to join the ranks of the Champions Tour, has been Phil Mickelson. With a cast like that keeping up with the Jones’ shouldn’t be that difficult for local golf enthusiasts. Still on the Court-Basketball One of the Cavern City’s most intriguing changes in 2020 took place in Carlsbad High School’s basketball programs. John Zumbrun, who successfully built the Cavegirls into one of the most respected programs in the state, stepped down. And as the late great major leaguer Dizzy Dean might have said, “Who would have thank it.” “It was time, I was ready for a new challenge,” said Zumbrun. After amassing 238 wins as the Cavegirl pilot, walking away from the program he built, could not have been an easy decision for the coach who was a regular at the New Mexico State Girls Basketball Tournament, but he did and subsequently moved on. However he didn’t move very far. As most Carlsbad sports fans probably already know Zumbrun has assumed the reigns of CHS’s Cavemen basketball program. The former Cavegirl coach will bring experience, knowledge, a winning attitude and stability to the program. Cavern City basketball fans, as well as the CHS athletic department, have high hopes that he’ll be able to do for the Cavemen basketball program what he did for the Cavegirls, elevate it to a stature of competitiveness and statewide respect.
So maybe, just maybe, Bon Jovi was right. The more things change the more they do stay the same. Carlsbad still has a major league baseball player and professional golfer to follow and it’s managed to keep one of New Mexico’s most successful basketball coaches within the ranks of its high school basketball programs. And yup, Cavern City sports enthusiasts couldn’t be happier.