I just want good things to happen to this guy.Â No, I didnât expect him to return to the 49ers this season.Â Heâs been vilified, spit on, virtually tarred and featheredâ¦ and blamed for everything including the Lindbergh kidnapping.Â To say his first six seasons were a little rocky is the understatement of the year.Â But look whatâs happened.Â Sports Illustratedâs Jim Trotter says Alex is âreborn.âÂ With Jim Harbaugh on boardâ¦ and with essentially the same roster as last yearâ¦ the Niners are 5-1.Â I thought if Alex Smith was just decent this year, it would be a confidence boost for him.Â Heâs been better than that.Â And this humble kid (whoâs the same age as Tim Lincecum), still gives credit to his teammates.Â And his guys love him back.Â The other day, Frank Gore said âNumber 11âs coming!Â You ainât seen nothinâ yet.âÂ If Alex keeps this up, heâll be more than the Comeback Player of the Yearâ¦ heâll be Comeback Player of The Decade.Â No, Alex Smith is not Joe Montana.Â The good news isâ¦. he doesnât have to be.Â In this weekâs SI, Peter Kingsuggests that Alex Smith vs. Aaron Rodgers in the NFC title game is not impossible.Â Yes, this is the same Peter King who picked the Rams to win the West.
One of my favorite shows is Real Sports on HBO, which seems to pop up once a month.Â Investigative pieces, player profiles, behind the scenes stories.. theyâre always top notch, and well worth finding.Â But this monthâs commentary by Bryant Gumbelon the status of the NBA lockout is whatâs drawing a lot of heat.Â He made reference to NBA Commissioner David Stern as âa modern day plantation overseer.âÂ Yikes.Â Are you kidding?Â A slavery reference?Â You obviously knew that would light a fire.Â Well, if you just wanted to get Real Sports some attentionâ¦ you certainly got your wish.Â I donât suppose this discussion will die down anytime soon.Â Shaun Powell of ESPNNewYork.comwrites, âYou can disagree with his tactics and his strategy and his idea of what makes for a financially stable NBA.Â But you canât, under any circumstances, compare the most progressive commissioner in sports to a slave owner.â
I know, youâve heard about the overblown Harbaugh-Schwartz incidenta hundred times this week.Â But I realized that the Handshake and ensuing melee, which took all of about 12 secondsâ¦ is a microcosm of what the 49ers have done to most of their opponents this season.Â They get under your skin, and thereâs nothing you can do about it.Â Getting beat by a bunch of no-names is so humiliating that afterward you chase them across the field and yell, âYou ruined my day!âÂ They not only refuse to apologize.. theyâre laughing all the way to the locker room.Â
IndyCar racing star Dan Wheldon is gone, following one of the worst crashes in the history of the sportâ¦ at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.Â He was a husband, a fatherâ¦ a champion and friend to many.Â Along with millions, I love the sport of auto racing.Â Of course, thereâs risk and danger.Â And some will say that any race track is an accident waiting to happen.Â But there have beenserious doubtsabout the safety of the steeply banked Las Vegas layout for years.. that itâs too fast, too dangerous.Â When someone as experienced as Dario Franchitti says, âIndyCars shouldnât be racing hereâ..Â someone should listen.Â
Letâs face it, the 49ers shockedthe Detroit Lions, the team the rest of America has been fawning over for weeks.Â Most of the NFL reporters wouldnât know Delanie Walker from Delaney and Bonnieâ¦ and yet that fourth down slant play to the 49ers tight end sealed the deal in a thriller.Â But all anyone wants to talk about is The Handshake. Hilarious.Â Hereâs what I saw:Â Americaâs darling got punched in the mouth by a bunch of no-names.Â Well, they do have names.Â Like Anthony Davis, Chilo Rachal, Aldon Smith and Teddy Ginn.Â And Lions coach Jim Schwartz?Â I knew you were in trouble when you implied that the 49ers were intimidated by deferring the kickoff.Â From what I can gather, youâre a cocky loudmouthcoach who even trash talks other players.Â Oh, you heard an obscenity?Â Get over it.Â A hard back slap?Â Wow.Â After having your ass kicked for four hours, youâre lucky thatâs all you got.
I wouldnât wish this on anyone.Â Well, actually I would.Â How about this unlikely scenario for this Sundayâ¦ It would be the ultimate challenge for those giddy Detroit fans, who are obviously basking in all this attention.Â The Tigers fall to Texas, and miss out on their chance at World Series glory.Â Within 15 minutes, the upstart San Francisco 49ers stick a dagger in the heart of Americaâs new darlings, and shock the Detroit Lions.Â Immediately following that, the new owner of the Motor Cityâs NBA franchise announces heâll be relocating the team to the West Coast.Â After the lockout ends, theyâll be known as the Huntington Beach Pistons.Â Eat that.Â Well, at least you still have the Red Wings.
Yeah, the three highest payrolls in baseball are done.. finished for the season.Â And though Alex Rodriguez took it like a man, to see the highest paid guy in the universe make the final out somehow felt righteous to the Yankee Haters.Â And the Red Sox collapse?Â Please.Â Well, Terry Francona mustâve gotten stupid.Â You wonât have him to kick around anymore.Â Oh, and the Phillies?Â I get the impression theyâre still bitter that the San Francisco Giants embarrassed them last year.Â The Giants had to have been a fluke, as if they stole their rightful crown.Â So this year would be differentâ¦ Philadelphia put together the best starting staff in baseball.Â All that got you is a seat on the sidelines.Â How do you like the view?Â Now itâs down to the Tigers, Rangers, Brewers and Cardinals.Â To be World Champions, just about everything has to go right in October.Â For only one of them, everything will.
Lots of people like to go rock climbing.Â The great outdoors, fresh air..Â the exhilaration.Â But after seeing Alex Honnold scale the face of a mountain, calling it climbing seems ridiculous.Â Lara Logan featured Alex on 60 Minutesâ¦. and it was fascinating, jaw-dropping and more than a little scary.Â Alex, whoâs 26, is from Sacramentoâ¦ and heâs the Leonardo da Vinci of climbers.Â What he does is called free-soloing.Â He climbs mountain faces and rocks without ropesâ¦ no climbing gear, no hooks, harnessesâ¦ no nothing.Â Of course, one little slipâ¦ one loose rock and youâre gone.Â I know, itâs insane.Â Heâs the first person to free-solo climb up the northwest face of Half Dome, 2,000 feet straight up in Yosemite.Â Heâs climbed rock walls people wouldnât tackle WITH ropes.Â Alex, Iâd rather you not do this anymore.Â Iâd like you to see age 30â¦ but I donât suppose youâll take my advice.Â Lara Logan.. thanks for the story.Â Â
Oh the 49ers didnât do much.Â They only came from 20 down midway through the third quarter to upset the Philadelphia Eagles on the roadâ¦ and are now an unlikely 3-1.Â Yeah the Eagles, known as The Dream Team, amassed a staggering 500 yards on offenseâ¦ and Michael Vick is as dangerous as advertised.Â So how in the world did this happen?Â Thatâs what Philly coach Andy Reid is wondering.Â His tight-lipped post game comments were pricelessâ¦ he was STEAMING.Â Did the Eagles aid in their embarrassment?Â Of courseâ¦ two field goals missed and a couple of big fumbles.Â But the 49ers took advantageâ¦ and with every first down, every completed pass, every dive into the end zoneâ¦. their confidence grows.Â And it looks like DeSean Jackson likes to trash talk before the game's over.Â You know what that makes you?Â 1-3.Â Hilarious.
I was wrong about Moneyball.Â I thought it unlikely that anyone whoâs not a baseball fan would be very interested in stats, on-base percentage and the Oakland As.Â But sure enough, itâs scoring big box office numbersâ¦ and as baseball movies go, itâs got plenty of mainstream appeal.Â Â Â But Moneyball is not just about baseball is it?Â Itâs for anybody whoâs ever dreamed of taking on the big guys, of challenging the way things areâ¦ Â and itâs about believing in yourself.Â I loved this movie.Â Finding undervalued players is at the core of the story.Â And I was wondering if thereâs a sabermetrics for offensive linemen?Â I mean the 49ers could use some help thereâ¦
And I thought the Giants Faithful were a little down.Â Theyâre downright giddy compared to what Boston Red Sox fans must be feeling today.Â What happened last night, the culmination of a horrendous free fallâ¦ was cruelty personified.Â They went into September with a nine game lead.. and squandered it away.Â No matter how you try and explain itâ¦ injuries, weariness, bad karma, the moon not in alignmentâ¦ you canât go 7-20 down the stretch and expect a parade.Â And the Atlanta Braves, who had a ten game lead over the Cardinals in late Augustâ¦ couldnât gather any momentum, and losttheir final five games.Â Goodnight.Â The offseason can be a long, cold stretch.Â Itâs especially lonely when you canât help but feel.. that you choked.
A T & T Park has been a packed house all season long for the World Champion Giantsâ¦ and the energy and love from millions of fans is not lost on the players and management.Â As the season winds down, Iâve watched Bruce Bochy, Ryan Vogelsong, Tim Lincecum, Cody Ross and so many others express their thanks to a loyal fan base that has allowed them to play their hearts outâ¦ to reach for their dreams.Â Fans matter.Â It reminded me that The Eagle has loyal fans too..Â who know us, reach out to us, question usâ¦ and appreciate the best in Classic Rock.Â You make our shows successful, and help support dozens of worthy causes.Â Believe me, without youâ¦ weâre not here.Â Thank you for allowing us to do what we love.
My reaction wasâ¦âWait a minuteâ¦ what just happened there?âÂ Late in the Bears-Packers game, the Chicago Bears nearly Â pulled off one of the great misdirection plays in the history of televised football.Â The Pack, with a comfortable lead, punted to Chicago.Â Then, things got more than a little weird.Â Devin Hester, the most dangerous return man in football, pretended to drift under the ballâ¦ and so did his teammates.Â The Packers headed straight for him.Â But the ball actually came down on the other side of the field, where it was caught by Johnny Knox, who streaked down the right sideline for a touchdownâ¦ or so we thought.Â A holding call negated what will be remembered as one of the coolest trick plays in the NFL archives.Â Actually, Joe Buck didnât get too excitedabout itâ¦ I kind of wish Al Michaels had the call.
Of course itâs a dagger in the heart of the ever loyal Giants fans, whoâve grinded out every at-bat, every heartbreaking loss.Â But come on, itâs been damned entertaining.Â With the absolutely woeful, impotent offenseâ¦ these guys should have finished in the cellar.Â Only the pitching has kept them in contention for this long.Â I mean, it seems like theyâve lost 100 games 2-1 or 1-0â¦. It happened over and over again.Â I know, if Tim Lincecum had been with the Yankees, heâd be 21-6.Â Same with Matt Cain. We get it.Â But itâs a tough game, and thereâs a fine line between an empty stadium and a packed house.Â You played your asses off, and it didnât work out.Â So hold your heads high.Â All in all, itâs been quite a ride.Â Canât wait for spring training.
In a story that has rocked the poker community,the US Justice Department has accused principals of Full Tilt Poker... of defrauding thousands of online poker players out of more than $300 million that is still owed to them.Â This isnât some nickel and dime websiteâ¦ itâs been one of the best known, heavily promoted sites out there. Â Â A US attorney said âFull Tilt was not a legitimate poker company, but a global Ponzi scheme.â And those named in the civil suit include Howard Lederer and Chris âJesusâ Ferguson.Â Â Yikes.Â Those who follow the game will tell you that these two donât exactly fit the profile of âsleazy crooks.âÂ Theyâre two of the best known players in the world, whose reputations were impeccable.Â Until now.Â In any case, this doesnât look goodâ¦ and Iâm anxious to see how this all shakes out.Â All I know isâ¦ you just canât put a guy named âJesusâ behind bars.
I agree with Monty Poole of the San Jose Mercury News.. whoâs recent story suggests that success can be hazardous to your career.Â Yeah, prosperity can be costly.Â The Golden State Warriors had gone years without sniffing the playoffs.Â Â Then, not long after upsetting top seed Dallas one year, GM Chris Mullin was gone.Â The last time the 49ers won the NFC West, they actually made it to the second round of the playoffs.Â Not good enoughâ¦ Steve Mariucci was fired.Â Rick Adelman had a marvelous run with the Sacramento Kings, and he was then run out of town.Â The Giants took it to Game Seven of the 2002 World Series.Â What happened to the manager, Dusty Baker?Â Oh, gone.Â And now, not even a year removed from the uncontrolled euphoria down Market Street, the World Series Championsâ top guy, Bill Neukom, has been escorted out of the building.Â So there it is.Â Give it all youâve gotâ¦ play your heart outâ¦ then watch your back.
As the Giantsâ season comes to an end, those of us whoâve lived and died with every pitch know the highs and lows of trying to do the near impossibleâ¦ repeat as World Series Champions.Â But they sure have been fun to watch.Â There are new kids coming into their own.. Brett Pill, Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford and Madison Bumgarner.Â And Ryan Vogelsong has been the feel-good story of the year.Â But I donât think Iâve seen anyone play the game with more joy, more enthusiasm than the Panda.Â Pablo Sandoval.Â He looks like he embraces every moment of every inning with a free-spirited, unapologetic love of the game, and it infuses those around him with the same spirit.Â The other night, I saw his reaction when a teammate hit a home run.Â With legs that must be bone-weary, the Panda jumped so high, his head hitÂ the top of the dugout.Â Watching Panda.. has been a joy.Â Now, Brandon Belt?Â Heâs kinda dour.
Of courseÂ the 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys have a long historyâ¦ and plenty of pundits canât stop bringing that up.Â Oh, the âRivalryââ¦ Oh, itâs âThe Catchââ¦ Oh, itâs Bill Walsh and Tom Landryâ¦I know every blogger, tweeter and self-described expert has to fill up time and space.Â What does it all mean for Sunday?Â It doesnât mean squat.Â This is about 2011, and Iâll go out on the limb and say Jim Harbaugh is living in the moment.Â He doesnât care what Michael Irvin or Troy Aikman thinks.Â Heâs game planning for Tony Romo, Dez Bryant and holy smokesâ¦ what are we gonna do about DeMarcus Ware?Â Â Â Yes, this is an important game for Mr. Harbaugh and the Niners, who started last year 0-5.Â So all the blowhard talk can be distilled into one sentence:Â âIf the underdog 49ers can find a way to eke out an unlikely win over the Cowboys, theyâll be 2-0 with momentum on their side.â Â Whatâs your deal?
With so many beat writers following the San Francisco Giants, thereâs naturally a lot of overlapping coverage.Â Thatâs fine with us fans, who want to hear, see and read every morsel of every little detail about the Orange and Black.Â But when it all hit the fan yesterday, only one guy, Mark Purdy of the San Jose Mercury News, broke the stunning story.Â Markâs homework obviously paid off, and he had the scoop of the yearâ¦.that Giantsâ managing general partner and chief executive officer Bill Neukom was out as head honcho, after a fallout with the Executive Committee of the Giantsâ ownership group.Â Derek Moore and I were talking about the fact that anyone can be a bloggerâ¦ anyone can tweet whatever they want.Â But this is old school journalismâ¦ a lot of digging, prodding, protecting sources and sifting through whatâs fact and what isnât.Â Nice work, Mark.Â By the way, the company line is that this is a âretirement.âÂ Hilarious.Â
I think the creativity and vision of those at the helm of NFL Filmshave been, in no small measure, responsible for the skyrocketing popularity of NFL Football in America.Â The emotion of Vince Lombardi on the sideline, the booming voice of John Facenda announcing the arrival of the Oakland Raiders, that spiral from Montana to Clarkâ¦ these moments lovingly captured on film have made a great game even greater.Â So when I found out that the producers at NFL Films are behind a new series,A Football Lifeâ¦ well, I wanted you to know about it.Â Their first subject is Patriots coach Bill Belichick, the only coach ever wired for sound for an entire NFL season.Â By the way, of all the coaches who could have agreed to this kind of access, the last one I would expect would be Mr. Belichick.Â Isnât he the guy under the hoodie who never answers questions?Â I mean he makes Jim Harbaugh look like a chatterbox.Â So here it comesâ¦ Â Part I of Bill Belichick:Â A Football Life premieres exclusively on the NFL Network tomorrow.
The thing that drives the media horde crazy about 49ers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh is what I love the most.Â He just doesnât answer their questionswith muchâ¦ well, with much substance.Â Heâs vague, elusive, snarky and not very forthcoming.Â And the dumber the questions get, the less he says.Â Hilarious.Â Â I guess people expect him to explain his thought process about the offense, defense, special teamsâ¦ play calling and what heâll have for dinner.Â His attitude seems to be âIâll just keep that to myself, thank you.âÂ Jim Harbaugh reminds me of the best poker players Iâve seenâ¦ like Tom Dwan, Patrik Antonius and Phil Ivey.Â They say nothing, show nothing, Â reveal even less.â¦ then stack you off.Â Will this be a fun season?Â Iâll just keep that to myselfâ¦
Alex Smith.. a resurrection?Â Too early to tell.Â But this was huge for himâ¦ seven years of underachieving, and now he wins?Â Sure he was only 15 for 20, but what was more significant was what DIDNâT happen:Â He didnât fumble, throw an interception, get sackedâ¦. or run out of timeÂ getting a play call in. Â Itâs only one game, but The Jim Harbaugh Era has begun.. and this means way more than just beating the Seahawks.Â Things have changed, and hereâs how I knowâ¦Â It was The Hug.Â When Alex came to the bench following his touchdown plunge, the coach hugged his quarterback as if heâd just won Dancing With The Stars.Â I thought he was gonna French Kiss him.Â That moment told me this team has moved onâ¦ from the darkness of Singletary-Nolan-Erickson to something resembling hope.Â Yeah, Dallas is coming in and we could lose to the Cowboys 45-3â¦ so what?Â For the moment, the 49ers are tied for first place.Â And after what weâve seen the last few years, isn't that worth a hug?
I suddenly felt like jumping into a Fantasy Football Leagueâ¦ then I caught myself.Â What am I thinking?Â I donât do Fantasy Football.Â Oh, I know itâs taken the country by stormâ¦Â there are even a dozen sports shows devoting precious airtime to fake roster spots.Â I get it.Â And all of my friends are ready to roll.Â Brian, Derek, ChrisÂ and Lizann are obsessedâ¦.up to their necks in draft picks, trades and speculation.Â Theyâre wondering when Iâll join the rest of civilization and finally take the plunge.Â Being an âimaginaryâ General Manager/Head Coach?Â I donât think soâ¦ I have enough trouble with real life.Â And as the All-Pro is carted off the field with a career-threatening injury, you know what the guy on the couch is saying? Â Â âThat better not be my tight end!â
As the pennant chase takes a dark turn for the Giants, thereâs a bright light on the horizonâ¦ or at least we hope there is.Â And hope is a precious commodity now.Â Giants minor league prospect Brett Pill, who will turn 27 tomorrow, finally made his Major League debut on Tuesday and hit the first pitch he swung at off the second deck of the Western Metal Supply Company.Â Before Duane Kuiper got to âHigh Drive..â it was gone.Â Then yesterday, ho humâ¦. he cranked outÂ another home run. And heâs been in the bigs two days.Â A lot of fans are wondering why he wasnât brought up soonerâ¦.Â heâs actually older than Matt Cain, Panda, Brandon Belt and of course Madison Bumgarner.Â Guess he was biding his time.Â It remains to be seen if a nickname will stickâ¦ âPill The Thrill,â âThe Pill-ager,â âBrett The Threat,ââ¦..Well, if you keep hittinâ, who cares?
Sunday was a Ryan Vogelsong gem.. maybe his finest performance of the year.Â In front of a packed house (as every home game is), the series clincher with the D-backs was a microcosm of the season of 2011.Â A Giants pitcher puts it on the line and gets absolutely no support when he needs it most.Â When youâre last in just about every offensive category, what do you expect?Â Pathetic, heartbreakingâ¦ and hard to watch.Â So what now?Â Well, suck it upâ¦ give the youngsters some experience, play your ass off and hold your head high.Â Itâs been a hell of a run.