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.
for predicting the 49ers will finish in the cellar of the Tough-As-Nails NFC West.Â This all takes me back to last year.Â The Niners had actually won all of their exhibition games.. and players, media and fans were pretty jacked up.Â I recall several âexpertsâÂ picking the 49ers to do wellâ¦ maybe evenÂ winning the division.Â We all know how that turned out.Â The predictable offense, botched time outs, porous secondaryâ¦. âIâve got to look at the film..âÂ Make no mistake, grizzled Niner fans arenât expecting miracles.Â This will be a long road to respectability.Â But maybe the Jim Harbaugh-led roster has found some hope, some new life after last nightâs inspired play.Â And he wonât have to âlook at the film.â
Though people have been grumbling about Aaron Rowand and Miguel Tejada for weeks (or months), it was still a bombshell when they were shown the door yesterday.Â Check out Andrew Baggarlyâs excellent piece hereâ¦. And Mark Purdyâs here.Â The moment the story hit, the change in body language was palpableâ¦ the bounce in the step was back.Â And Iâm talking about the fans.Â The players?Â Well, they went out and won a game.. and actually looked like they were having fun.Â To say Rowand has not performed is the understatement of the year, and you get the impression he wasnât exactly a breath of fresh air in the clubhouse.Â As for Tejada, Bruce Jenkins said âHe hung himself the other day when he said, glumly, âI just work hereââ¦.Â explaining why he didnât run hard to first base when asked to buntâ¦ but thatâs the attitude of a quitter.âÂ Some managers would have cut him right there.Â Matter of fact, the moment after Miggie completes his slow trot to first base, Â I envision a golf cart arriving with all his bags packed.Â It picks him upâ¦.whisks him down the line and through a gate in the right field fence.Â Goodbye and Good Luck.
Niner fans are understandably anxious about tomorrow.Â We donât know what weâre going to get.Â What started out as unbridled optimism turned south pretty quickly, especially after last weekâs embarrassing debacle against Houston.Â Of course, itâs only preseason but a bad night is a bad night.Â Even Head Coach Jim Harbaugh seemed at a loss for words.Â I enjoyed the Barry Tompkins pieceon what Jim really means.Â JH Answer:Â âWeâre in training camp mode.âÂ What JH really means:Â âRight now, we suck.âÂ Matter of fact, this is kind of a pattern these daysâ¦ and I donât blame him.Â When he says âI have a lot of respect for Taylor Maysâ..Â I think he means âIâm glad heâs not in our secondary.âÂ âTheir offense will be a challenge..â is code forâ¦ âI hope they donât drop 60 on us.âÂ How about Colin Kaepernick?Â âI just want to get better every day.âÂ Which means Â âIâm so confused I canât even think straight.âÂ And when the coach says âI donât want to single anyone out.âÂ I think he means âWhat was Joe Staley doing while they were running by himâ¦ taking pictures?âÂ
Donât blame Tim Lincecum for those gopher balls he served up.Â Hereâs my take on the situationâ¦ The Giants have had a first class pitching staff, and a last place offense.Â Sooner or later, the bottom drags down the top.Â You just canât ask a pitcher to throw a shutout every single game.Â Giving up one run is fineâ¦ but when it gets to two,the roof caves in.Â Heâs thinking âOh noâ¦ weâre sunk now..âÂ You can see it in the body language.Â Itâs happened to Timmy, to Cain, to Vogelsong and to Mad Bum.Â The shocking thing is they havenât snappedâ¦ thrown tantrums, taken hostages.Â And Shawn Estes says âWell, you canât think that way.âÂ Guess what Sherlock, theyâre all thinking that way, âcuz theyâre human.Â Iâd bet the Huntington Beach Little Leaguers could take two out of three from the Giants.Â I wish I was kiddingâ¦
Ask any Giants fanâ¦. These are desperate times.Â After last nightâs embarrassing loss to the lowly Houston Astros (again), you get the feeling Bruce Bochyâs gonna blow his top.Â And with that size 8 Â¼ noggin, that could do a lot more damage than that little 5.8 quake the other day.Â Yeah, former minor league journeyman Henry Sosa was pitching on three days rest, and the Giants hitters turned Henry into Bob Gibson.Â It was like watching the Hindenburg in slow motionâ¦ you know whatâs about to happen, and you canât stop it.Â So what do you do, bench some guys?Â Itâs slim pickings there.Â Â Theyâve got more guys that are bedridden than a hospital ship.Â How âbout the young dudes?Â If youâre gonna fail, Iâd rather lose with Brandon Crawford, Brett Pill, Gary Brown, Darren Ford and Eric Surkamp.Â How could they be worse than your current killer lineup?Â Oh by the wayâ¦ Â before last night, Houston had lost 25 of 30 games on the road.Â Did I say it was hard to watch?
Going to an NFL game is supposed to be exhilarating.Â The tailgate party, the steamy scrumptious hot dogsâ¦ cheering your team on in the crisp cold air.Â What the heck has happened?Â There have been loud, boisterous fans at football games for a hundred yearsâ¦ but things have changed.Â Does a family actually feel safe when some burly dudes in the next row are screaming obscenities at each other the entire game?Â I used to laugh when I saw scenes of soccer violence in Europeâ¦ with some fans actually sequestered behind cages.Â Itâs not so funny now.Â I donât know what the answer isâ¦ but the best view of the game might be from my couch.
If it wasnât so painful,Â itâd be laughable.Â Whereâs Carlos Beltran?Â Brian Wilson?Â How about Andres Torres, Sergio Romo?Â Is Miguel Tejada a double play waiting to happen or am I just being a cruel pessimist?Â This is crunch time, and the Giants are playing their worst baseball of the year.Â When the Pirates had a Ten Game Losing Streakâ¦Â the Giants were just what the doctor ordered.Â Florida had lost 7 in a rowâ¦Â hey, bring on the Giants.Â You get the picture.Â And Houston, whoâve already lost nearly 100 gamesâ¦ slapped the Giants around all week.Â Had Panda not gone deepyesterday, Iâm telling you, Bruce Bochy was on the verge of taking hostages and barricading a convenience store.Â And stop saying the Giants are set to play some losing teams.Â I promise you, theyâre all lickinâ their chops to get at the World Champs. Â I know weâve got more than a month to go.Â But with apologies to Yogi Berraâ¦. Itâs gettingâ late early.
In the midst of this feeble stretch of excruciating Giants losses, they actually tieda home run record.Â Well, itâs not one youâd want to brag about.Â When Pablo Sandoval cranked one out yesterday, it was the 19th consecutive SOLO home run the club has hit.Â Way to get on base.Â No Major League team has had that many solo shots in a rowâ¦ Â since the Philadelphia Phillies of 1914.Â Their star pitcher that year was Grover Cleveland Alexander.Â As a matter of fact, if the Hall of Famer were still around, he could have entered the game for Jonathan Sanchez.Â Although heâd be 124 years old, I still think Mr. Alexander would have had better command of the strike zone. Â Â
Iâm not sure if this would be the ultimate honor or the ultimate humiliation.Â Giants ace Tim Lincecum is challenging fans to a video competition in which they are asked to duplicate his unorthodox delivery on videoâ¦ for an opportunity to hit against him at spring training next year.Â Oh yeah, stepping in against the two-time Cy Young Award winner with the 94 mph fastball?Â That should be tons of fun.Â Entries are open through September 16.Â Go to facebook.com/timlincecum.Â Actually, Iâm hoping for a contest in which you can try and strike out Aaron Rowand.Â You might get more entries for that.
Just a pinch between your cheek and gumsâ¦ Yes, this little endeavor of sucking on smokeless tobacco is all too pervasive in the field and in the dugouts of Major League Baseball. Â And I think we all know that itâs a nasty, poisonous habitâ¦. and that nothing good will come of it.Â Janie McCaule of AP has a great storyabout Giants skipper Bruce Bochy, whoâd been âdippingâ for nearly 40 yearsâ¦. and has quit with the help of hypnotherapist Dr. AlVera Paxon.Â She also helped bullpen catcher Billy Hayes and long time equipment manager Mike Murphy kick the dip.Â Amazingâ¦ congratulations.Â Derek Moore tells me that Dr. Paxonâs next project is Barry Zitoâ¦ in an effort to help him give up baseballâ¦
As far as I could tell, he didnât hit a single drive, nail an approach shot or sink any putts.Â But the unquestioned media darling coming off the green at Bridgestone wasStevie Williams.Â I know youâre the worldâs greatest caddieâ¦ I get it.Â Yes, you wanted everyone to know how badly Tiger treated you.. Okay.Â But when the media horde surrounded you, I was hoping that youâd try and squeeze in the fact that this was Adam Scottâsdayâ¦ that he played really well and beat a terrific field.Â That didnât happen.Â It was all about ME.Â MY vindication, MY tournament win.Â I was actually embarrassed.Â The irony isâ¦ had you shown a little humility, I think your status as âcaddie-heroâ would have been even more enhanced.Â So much for the Three Caddie Rules: Â Â Wake up; Keep up; and Shut Up.
So baseball pundits are all atwitter about Alex Rodriquez.Â He may have taken part in some pricey poker games with the likes of Tobey Maguireâ¦. and this could lead to a suspension. Â I know Alex is an easy target.Â Heâs rich, heâs got all the babesâ¦ and heâs a punk.Â From what Iâve heard, he wasnât dealing drugs, torturing animals, or molesting underage girls.Â He played some poker.Â And if youâre sitting with a cash player like Tobey Maguire, youâre running with a high stakes crowd.Â Do you know what they call guys like Alex Rodriquez?Â A fish.Â And the big fish with lots of cash are calledâWhales.âÂ It reminds me of the Alec Baldwin scene.. âTheyâre waiting to give you their money.Â Are you gonna take it?Â Are you man enough to take it?â
Wealthy beyond most peopleâs dreams, heâs been humiliated, vilified and blamed for every major disaster including the Lindbergh kidnapping.Â Okay, it hasnât been easy.Â Barry Zitoâs never whined, cursed the media or played the diva.Â But itâs becoming increasingly clear that highest paid guy on your team canât get anybody out.Â This just inâ¦ Â Â thatâs hard to do with a belt high change-up or an 82 mph fastball.Â Heâs not a criminal.Â Heâs just not getting it done on the mound.Â No matter how much money you have, thatâs tough to swallow.Â If Iâm Bruce Bochy, Iâd invent an injury and put you on the DL until September comes.Â Oh waitâ¦ I guess that already happened.
You could just feel itâ¦Â This was the payback series for the Phillies fans.Â How could the Left Coast Misfits steal the thunder from the vaunted Phils last year?Â The Giants got lucky, they got all the breaks, they got hot at just the right timeâ¦theyâre a fluke, and on and on and on.Â Â But not this time, not in the Phillies ballpark.Â The Phils pitching is the best in the bigsâ¦ their bats will maul you, and they havenât lost two games in a row at home since April 19.Â Theyâre the big dogsâ¦ and they know it.Â But things got real quiet yesterday, as sick little Tim Lincecum and the Giants bullpen shut down Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Shane Victorino on the way to taking two of three.Â Talk about putting a damper on the festivitiesâ¦Â kind of like that shower in the late innings. Â Obviously I still think the Philadelphia Phillies are the team to beat, but on this dayâ¦ the silence was deafening.Â Oh, did I mentionâ¦ the Phillies hadnât lost two in a row at home since April 19th?
The speculation was mind boggling.Â Oh, itâll never be Beltranâ¦ Itâll be Cuddyerâ¦ no BJ Uptonâ¦ no Hunter Penceâ¦And when the tweets were coming in yesterday, they literally were changing by the moment.Â The Giants are giving up Gary Brownâ¦ no, itâs Brown, Jonathan Sanchez and Zack Wheeler.Â No, theyâre giving up 4 blocks of Chinatown and Lombard Streetâ¦ But itâs over.Â Six time All Star Carlos Beltranwill be in the lineup today as a San Francisco Giant.Â I canât wait until he returns to AT & T Park.Â Jeff Keppinger got a standing ovation when he came out of the dugout for the first time.Â Keppinger!Â When Beltran strides to the plateâ¦ there could be a police escort, fly-overâ¦ and a parade.Â Does this guarantee that the offense will improve?Â No.Â But I like our chances.
I know, it's been hard to watch the sinking ship known as the 49ers these past few seasons.Â Nolanâs awfulâ¦ Singletaryâs a disasterâ¦ how can you bring Alex Smith back!Â Youâve heard it all.Â And now, Takeo Spikes is shown the doorâ¦ and say goodbye to center David Baas.Â The dominos are beginning to fall as summer camp finally gets rolling, and more are falling by the minute.Â Is there a lot of room for improvement?Â Of course..Â and this is a monstrous work in progress.Â But in my view, the wild card is Jim Harbaugh.Â The new coach is just nutty enoughâ¦ passionate, wound-up and committed to a fault to make a difference in these underachievers.Â The 49ers won all of 6 games last year.Â But 7 games won the division.Â Â SEVEN!Â So whoâs playbook do you want out there, Harbaughâsâ¦ or Singletaryâs?Â I rest my case.
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While this visit was under the radar for the rest of the country, I think the Giants Faithful were thrilled that the President of the United States made time to honor the World Champion San Francisco Giants.Â Sure, this has been a yearly tradition since President Reaganâs time in the White House, but these were The Misfitsâ¦ and it was great to see the SFGiants videoof the ceremony.Â Within an hour, the President would prepare to address the nation.Â With critical economic troubles looming, itâs hard to imagine one human being having this much on his plate.Â Bill Neukom has got to be thinkingâ¦.âWow, I can sure relate to the debt crisisâ¦ I mean weâve got Barry Zitoâ¦.â
Okay, so Clayton Kershaw is untouchable.Â What else is new?Â The Giants lost a heartbreaker (again) yesterday to the mean old Dodgers, so naturally the Faithful were a little down.Â But, except for one mistakeâ¦ Tim Lincecum threw a gem, the home crowd gave a rousing welcome to new arrival Jeff Keppinger, Â and Sergio Romo had the shut down performance of the year. Â And a lot of fans are still buzzing about The Star Spangled Banner, played by local favorite Jackie Greene.Â Iâll tell you, it was terrific.Â I havenât seen any video of yesterdayâs performance, but I did find his National Anthem from last summer.Â Enjoy it here.
What idiot stays up until 3am trying to find out who ultimately makes Pokerâs November Nine?Â Oh, that would be me.Â Couldnât it wait until the next day?Â I guess so, but in poker, you have to live in the moment. Â The World Series of Pokerâs Main Event is now setâ¦. After 8 grueling days of play, a field that began with 6,865 players has been pared down to just nine.Â Gary Wiseof ESPN.com has an excellent piece on those remaining (representing seven countries) who have a shot at poker immortalityâ¦. and the top prize of $8.7 Million.Â Thatâs a lot of glue.Â You could win The Masters, The Kentucky Derby and the Daytona 500 in the same yearâ¦ and not have 8.7 million.Â And pokerâs ultimate showdown wonât happen until November, so I can finally get some sleep.
No, a young gun didnât win, Phil Mickelson came up a little short, and Rory is not Tiger.Â In the end, the story belonged to Darren Clarke, the 42 year old pro whoâd gone through so much personal tragedy, having lost his wife to cancer.Â He must have wondered if all of his best celebrations were behind him.Â No, heâs the 2011 Open Champion, and as he hoisted the famous Claret Jug, all seemed right with the world.Â Â Nice work, sir.
The Faithful got through the All Star Breakâ¦ and youâve got to admit, weâre feeling pretty good.Â Ryan Vogelsong was introduced as an All Star (unthinkable in the spring), Panda ripped a solid double to drive in a run, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain got to restâ¦. and The Beard slammed the door.Â Props to Bruce Bochy for runninâ the show his way.Â Oh, and the Giants, even with their impotent offenseâ¦.. still lead the NL West.Â And if you need a little more excitement,donât forget tonightâs premiere episode of the Giants docudramaâThe Franchiseââ¦on SHOWTIME.Â Get an inside look at some of the young seasonâs highsâ¦. and lows, including one of the most talked about incidents of the year, the devastating injury to Buster Posey.
I guess the Major League All Star Game doesnât carry the same weight as it did in the days of Henry Aaron, Mickey Mantle, Roberto Clemente and Willie Mays.Â Some guys just donât seem to want to play.Â They need the rest instead.Â I understand.Â But this time, Iâm gonna see FIVE Giants introduced, along with Giants skipper Bruce Bochy and his staff.Â While itâs great to see Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum and Brian Wilson make the roster, last minute addition Pablo Sandoval has really got to be in seventh heaven.Â The kid nearly ate himself out of a job last season, and rode the bench a lot during that memorable post season run to the Championship.Â But I think the best storyÂ is Ryan Vogelsong, the washed up big leaguer who was cut, toiled in mediocrity in the Japanese Leagueâ¦ and was a walk-on in spring training.Â I imagine Giants fans will have goose bumps when heâs introduced tomorrow night.Â Ryan Vogelsong is an All Star.
The Giants scored 19 runs yesterday in their doubleheader sweepof the struggling Cubs while pumping out 30 hits.Â That sounds like a cruel jokeâ¦ or a misprint.Â Thatâs more production than they had during their entire homestand.Â I mean, arenât these the guys who go 0 for 40 with runners in scoring position?Â Who canât produce a sacrifice fly if their lives depended on it?Â Who force their pitchers to throw shutout ball for 8 inningsâ¦ then hope for a bases loaded balk?Â Obviously, the World Champions have exceeded their allotment of runs and hits, and may face sanctions from Major League Baseball.Â So don't look for them to score more than one run a game through at least Labor Day.Â In other words, weâll be back to normal.
Iâm sure youâve heard the latest on Ron Artest.Â No, he didnât beat anyone up, drive off the road or thank his psychiatrist again.Â Heâs decided to change his name..Â to Metta World Peace.Â While I certainly appreciate the sentiment, I never thought there was a thing wrong with the name Ron.Â But hey, Mr. Artest has always been a littleâ¦. different, and heâs entitled to call himself whatever he wants.Â Iâm just waiting for that game changing moment in the fourth quarter when we hearâ¦âand thereâs a Flagrant Foul on World Peace!ââ¦.
Has it really been that long ago that the big hitters hit like men?Â I mean didnât guys in the heart of the lineup have averages like Â .317 or .331?Â Tappers who were struggling to hit .245 rode the pine or were farmed out to the minors.Â Of course Iâm probably overreacting because the Giants are soanemic in this critical area.Â I know, theyâre near the bottom in average, runs scored, runs batted inâ¦. and are nearly impotent with runners in scoring position.Â And theyâre battling for first place in the division?Â Hilarious.Â If they didnât have decent pitching, theyâd be six games behind the Padres, who are now in last place.Â I donât have an explanation for this, but Iâve gotta believe that .250 is the new .300.Â The Giants actually have starters who are hitting around .200â¦ and worse.Â If they could acquire someone who could hit .255, heâd be called a âslugger,â and heâd bat in the four hole. Â Â How about .275?Â Thatâs Hall of Fame material.Â I kind of miss Jim Ray Hartâ¦
Itâs been part of our viewing pleasure, practically since baseball was first televised.Â Itâs the centerfield camera shot.Â You knowâ¦ where we get to see the pitcher, the batter, the ump and the strike zone.Â At least once a game, Iâll be thinkingâ¦. âYouâve gotta be kidding meâ¦ Canât you hit that?âÂ or.. âCanât you throw a strike?âÂ Well, from the pitcherâs perspective, it looks like you ought to be able to get it over the plate.Â From theÂ hitter's perspective, it looks like you should at least make contact. Â Neither are true.Â I believe if most people stood on the pitcherâs mound, that strike zone would appear to be about the size of a first class stamp.Â Yeah, there are plenty of places the ball will goâ¦. that are not in the strike zone.Â And Iâm very sure that if you stood in the batterâs box, connecting with a 96 mph cutter would be the least of your problemsâ¦. âcuz I doubt you would even see the ball.Â Well, I guess thatâs why they call it The Big Leaguesâ¦
Kirk Gibson has the Arizona Diamondbacks playing well, and it looks like theyâll be a force in the NL West all year.Â They come at you with solid pitching, speed and plenty of bats up and down that line up.Â But there was a moment that gave it away.Â A moment that screamed âWeâre Not Worthy.âÂ The other night, Miguel Monterohit a monster blast off of Matt Cainâ¦ a three run homer that cut a 5-1 deficit to 5-4 in one loud instant.Â Fans in the half-filled stadium cheeredâ¦ then when Montero crossed home plate, everybody sat down and got quiet.Â I couldnât believe it.Â Had Pat Burrelljacked one out in similar fashion at sold-out AT & T Park, the place would have levitated.Â It would have been so loud, you couldnât hear yourself think.Â But not in Arizona.Â Youâre playing the World Champions for the NL leadâ¦ and half of beautiful Chase Field is empty?Â Whatâs wrong.. is it too hot?Â Thatâs no excuseâ¦ this is the Big Leagues.Â And youâve got air conditioning.Â Oh, itâs a retirement community?Â That explains it.Â I guess the âearly bird buffetâ can really put a damper on attendance.Â I canât say as I blame you there.
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Jason Whitlockof Fox Sports just called LeBron James âa laughingstock, a late-night punch line.Â Heâs Charlie Brown.âÂ Oh man, this is gonna be good.Â I have to admit, I kind of enjoyed seeing the Miami arrogance get busted.Â And weâve all seen LeBron promise âNot One, Not Two, Not Three Championships etc.ââ¦Â Â Well, for the moment youâre right.Â Itâs Not One Championshipâ¦. itâs ZERO.Â And itâs not all LeBronâs fault, though many will call him a choker.Â Dallas simply rose to the occasionâ¦ because thatâs what good teams do in the NBA Finals.Â Yeah, the Heat may get their seven Championships one dayâ¦. but for now, the paradeâs in Dallas.
Sometimes things donât go the way theyâre supposed to.Â Just about every NBA ââexpertâ has been babbling on for weeks about how the Miami Heat will crush anyone in their path to the Championship.Â Yeah, youâre rightâ¦ theyâre too good.Â Come on, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are getting fitted for rings now.Â The Mavs are losers.. and always have been, and so on and so forth.Â But things are getting a little tense in Miami, arenât they?Â Dallas, with Dirk-somebody has takena 3-2 lead.Â Thatâs an outrage.Â Well, it wonât be The Heat in 4, 5, or 6 anymore, will it?Â Guess theyâll have to settle for winning it all in Seven.Â Thatâs why they play the game.Â
The furious, dramatic rally the Giants pulled off to tie the game seemed like an afterthought.Â The soul of their team, young Buster Posey, was writhing in pain after a devastating collision at the plate.Â The sellout crowd fell silent, as if a black cloud had descended on the parkâ¦as if Buster was the only thing that matteredâ¦. because he was.Â As someone in the clubhouse was heard to say..âItâs way serious.âÂ Thereâs no denying itâ¦ Buster Posey wonât be catching for the Giants any time soon.Â So what now?Â Do you kiss off the rest of the season?Â Only losers do that.Â Itâs time for the playersâ¦ and the fansâ¦ to suck it up.Â Panda will return soonâ¦ maybe he continues to pound the ball.Â Brandon Belt has to contribute, just as Buster did exactly a year ago as an unproven rookie.Â Better at-batsâ¦ clutch hittingâ¦ keep the line moving.Â No time to hang your heads.Â Rededicate yourself.Â Â Win this for your catcherâ¦. the soul of your team.
So the Warriors have brought in a guy.Â Not just any guy.Â Theyâve securedthe services of Hall of Famer Jerry West,whoâll now join their executive board.Â Yeah, thereâs a reason Jerry West is the model for the NBA logo..Â heâs a badass.Â I know heâs had a long career as an exec, but in ancient times, oh he could play.Â I was shocked that his bio lists him as 6â 2ââ¦ because he was a giant on the court. Â Â When he starred with the Lakers, I once saw him cross half court, take a dribble and hit nothing but net.Â Then he did it again.Â In those days, there was no three-point lineâ¦ and I wonder how many points he would have accumulated had there been one.Â So Jerry West is a Warrior.Â Sounds weird.Â Theyâll get used to it.
Every team has the talent to come from behind and steal a win.Â But come onâ¦ The Giants have been doing it practically every night.Â Nate Schierholtz, Darren Ford, Manny Burriss, Cody Ross, Aubrey Huffâ¦ coming through when all hope seems to be lost.Â And speaking of talent, letâs face itâ¦..itâs not like the Giants are stacked with an All-Star caliber lineup.Â Maybe thatâs why so few âexpertsâ pick this team to even make the playoffs.Â Theyâre still being underestimatedâ¦ and thatâs why we love âem.Â The Misfits are back.Â Oh, and to that person whoâs inventing a revolutionary catcherâs helmetâ¦Â please roll one out for Buster.
Nate Schierholtz showed off his rifle arm the other night by throwing out a guy at second, but last nightâs game-ending catch against the Dodgers was unrealâ¦ maybe the defensive play of the year.Â Stop what youâre doing check it out here.Â Aubrey Huff said, âThank God that wasnât me.âÂ No kidding.Â Is there any doubt as to who ought to be patrolling right field?Â And the stellar play preserved Madison Bumgarnerâs first win of the year.Â Coming into the game 0-6, hadÂ Bum let another one get away, he would have gone straight to South America and joined the priesthood.Â
Yeah, they were feeling confidentâ¦. ahead in the series 3-0, and ready to close it out.Â But no, it started to slip away. Â Â All the talking heads said the same thing.. âOh, donât let it get to a seventh game.âÂ Well, here we are.Â I know the Red Wings have tradition, a great history.Â We get it.Â But that doesnât matter now.Â If the Sharks donât win the series at home tonight, that ugly âCâ word will be in every headline tomorrow.Â Theyâll be forever referred to as the chokers of 2011, deserved or not.Â So that cannot happen.Â Do what youâve been doing all season, call upon your skill and toughnessâ¦ and suck it up.Â Get it done tonight and letâs move on.Â Please.
When Tim Lincecum takes the hill tonight, heâll do so as the Giants pitcher with the most double-digit strikeout games in franchise history.Â The Giants ace recorded his 29th game with at least 10 strikeouts last week against the Mets.Â He didnât pass Carl Hubbell or Gaylord Perry or Juan Marichal.Â No, he surpassed a record held byChristy Mathewson.Â Yeah, that Christy Mathewson..Â the great New York Giants star of the early 1900s, and one of the âFirst Fiveâ inductees into the Baseball Hall of Fame.Â Just to have your name in the same sentence as Christy Mathewson has got to be humbling.Â I imagine young Tim, who wonât be 27 until next month, realizes that.Â Nice work, Timmy.Â By the way, Mathewsonâs career stats are mind-boggling.Â He won 373 games, threw 79 shutouts, won 20 games 13 timesâ¦. and won 30 games four times.Â And thatâs why heâs on baseballâs Mount Rushmoreâ¦
Whoâs that?Â Peja?Â Oh, heâs shooting for Dallas!Â Every time he drained a three, I couldnât help but think that he sent some Kings fans into a major state of arousal.Â Nope, I was sure the Lakers would come back, as they had done so many times before.Â Come onâ¦ theyâre the two-time defending champions.Â But noooâ¦not this time.Â You got punkedâ¦ swept in four.Â So there wonât be any fawning over Kobe, for a little while anyway.Â And how âbout the player ejections for those thuggish fouls?Â Nice walk-off Lakersâ¦. gutless and heartless.Â Stay classy.
For me, he was and always will beâ¦ the greatest ever.Â Hall of Famer Willie Mays celebrates his 80th birthday today.Â A recent biography, Â Willie Mays:Â The Life, The Legend, by James Hirsch, is a must read.Â When I was a kid, there was a made-for-TV documentary, A Man Named Maysâ¦ that aired on network television in the fall of 1963.Â Iâd forgotten it was scheduled, and I only caught a few minutes of it.Â In those ancient times, shows only aired onceâ¦ and if you missed it, you were out of luck.Â I did and I was... aÂ regret I carried all of my life. Â Â And these many years later, I realized that even the most obscure program might be found on the internet.Â Well, I found it, acquired it.. and I cherish it.Â A DVD of the 1963 documentary A Man Named Mays can be found at Rare Sports Films.Â
Along with a lot of 49er fans, I follow Matt Maiocco, whoâs great at uncovering plenty of juicy Niner Nuggets.Â Even with the dark cloud hanging over the upcoming season, there was plenty to get excited about as the NFL draftplayed out over the weekend. Â Yeah, their first round pick, Aldon Smithis someone to watchâ¦. but thereâsÂ major buzz on Nevada quarterback Colin âThe Cannonâ Kaepernick.Â And now, Matt writes that Alex Smith will be back!Â Yikes.Â The same Alex Smith who was practically ushered out of Candlestick at the end of last year?Â The same Alex who got booed for every third down incompletion?Â Heâs not officially signed yet, but we know that new head coach Jim Harbaugh has given Alexâ¦ a playbook!Â You canât get those at Wal-Mart.Â Can you imagine the redemption angleâ¦ the resurrection story should Alex Smith actually succeed?Â I canât believe I just said that.Â Iâd better get a drink.
Are we becoming a nation of wussies?Â Or are we already there?Â Saw a story in HolyTaco.comthat reported that the state of New York has recently released a new list of âdangerousâ activities that summer camps need to keep out of their programs.Â A few things on the list:Â Dodgeball, Wiffle Ball and Kickball.Â Too dangerous?Â Lawn darts I can understand.Â Shooting BBs at each other?â¦ okay, I get it.Â But Dodgeball?Â Of course youâll get popped in the nogginâ a few times.Â But it builds character.Â I used to love Dodgeballâ¦ and I lived.Â For Godâs sakes, take a hit once in a while.Â Let me tell you somethinâ kidâ¦Â If Wiffle Ball is kickinâ your ass, Iâve got some bad news for youâ¦ about life.
Just when you thought the Kings were out the door, the town goes Purple.Â This may be too little, too late but Iâve got to admitâ¦ seeing Mayor Kevin Johnson playing host to a bunch of suits from the NBA is pretty exciting.Â Is there actually some shred of hope that the Aloofsâ¦ ah, the Maloofs, Â would NOT be able to exit Sacramento?Â Too early to tell.Â Sam Amickposted a terrific story in SI.com that seems to indicate the battle for the Kings is not over.Â My favorite passage.. âsources say the Anaheim presentation given at the meetings was as ineffective as Johnsonâs was impactfulâ¦âÂ Thatâs hilarious.Â Stay tuned.
Baseball fans probably caught this story about Eddie Cicotte, one of the infamous Black Soxbanned from baseball after their tainted World Series in 1919.Â According to court documents from 1920, Eddie sort of hints that there was talk about theCubs throwing the 1918 World Seriesagainst the Boston Red Sox.Â No names, no evidenceâ¦ just a little speculation after all these years.Â And boy, we love to speculate.Â We canât ask Eddie about it because he died in 1969.Â And of course it doesnât change the fact that the Chicago Cubs havenât won the World Series since 1908.Â If the 1918 fix is true, these poor Cubs fans will be able to say (just as White Sox fans once did)â¦ âWeâve thrown one since weâve won oneâ¦â
It was an unforgettable night at AT & T Park when the Giants players, coaches and staff were presented with their World Series rings.Â Apparently there are rules about this sort of thing.Â From what I can gather, everyone who was on the roster for the 2010 season is entitled to a ring.Â Wow.Â That means Brandon Medders, John Bowker, Joe Martinez, Todd Wellemeyer, Matt Downsâ¦ Â all get rings.Â Yeah, each guy contributed in some way.Â I know the Giants are classy butâ¦ Freddie Lewis gets a ring?Â He never played an inning, as he was on the DL, then got traded.Â A ring for Jose Guillen?Â Thatâs borderline.Â How âbout thisâ¦ Freddie Lewis and Jose Guillen should get a World Series ring.Â One ring.Â Kind of like a time share.Â You get it one weekend, I get it the next.Â Plenty of time to show it off at parties and barbecues.Â Then give it back.
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This time, Barry didnât get a walk.Â Itâs a convictionon a single count of obstruction of justice.Â The jurors couldnât decide on the perjury stuff.Â Well, actually on one of the perjury counts, they did decideâ¦. except for a lone holdout.Â I donât want to minimize the judicial process, but this is an awful lot of time, effort, testimony, migraine inducing research and moneyâ¦ for this result.Â In the end, it was determined that Barry Bonds was evasive.Â Yikes.. thatâs some breaking news.Â And, as in lifeâ¦ a group of people arenât always on the same page, are they?Â Matter of fact, I donât think you can get 12 people to agree that the sun goes down at night.
Wouldnât you know it.. the last nightwill be filled with Lakers fans.Â You donât think theyâll rub it in our faces do you?Â Well, what can you do?Â What is likely to be the Kings final game in Sacramento will elicit plenty of emotions, not just at the arena but for thousands of fans watching the broadcast.Â Anger, sadness, pride, futility, frustration, lossâ¦ yeah, we feel all of that.Â Near the end of âThe Cincinnati Kid,âLadyfingers asks.. âYou still playinâ Kid?âÂ He says softly.. âNo, Iâm through.â
I guess the sad truth is that Marcos Bretonis right, when he wrote âIf the Kings leave Sacramento after 26 years, itâs not because any one person is at fault or the community failed.Â The NBA simply doesnât work in Sacramentoâ¦âÂ Weâre a small market, not enough corporate money, no mega TV dealâ¦ the same story weâve heard over and over again about cities not named New York, LA or Miami.Â And as the final games play out in what will likely be the last Kings season in Sacramento, I realize that they really have left a legacy.Â Come on, the thrilling momentsâ¦ with Vlade, CWebb, Mike Bibby, the Conference Finals.. are too many to count.Â And when it was so loud at Arco you couldnât even think.. well that just doesnât happen everywhere.Â So it doesnât matter if you move to Anaheim, Kansas City, Jackson Hole or the Ukraineâ¦ youâll never have fans like youâve had in Sacramento.Â 26 years.Â All in all, itâs been a pretty good run.
Giants fan Bryan Stow lies in a coma while battling life-threatening brain injuries after he was brutally assaultedin the Dodger Stadium parking lot.Â As much as I detest the Dodgers, even I canât believe the perpetrators are actual baseball fans.Â No, you are criminals, thugsâ¦ who deserve to be locked up for a long time.Â Though Iâm sure LAPD is on the case, why is this taking so long?Â This wasnât random violence in downtown LAâ¦ this was on stadium property immediately following a game.Â A hundred witnesses not enough for you?Â And what about security?Â I believe thereâs wall-to-wall surveillance for every inch of Walmart, Thunder Valley, or the local Shell station.Â But not for Chavez Ravine.Â And the tone coming from Dodgers officials seems to suggest that theyâre happy the majority of fans had a great timeâ¦ and only a few were beaten.Â If the OâMalleys still owned the Dodgers, they wouldnât have stood for this.Â Iâm guessing those geniuses in the clown car run by the McCourts.. donât have a clue.Â At AT & T Park, the Giants will paytribute to Bryan Stow and collect donations on his behalf on April 11th, the series opener againstâ¦. the Dodgers.
Dale Kasler and Ryan Lillis point out in the Beetoday that âif any place figures to get clobbered by the Kingsâ exit, it would be Natomas, the teamâs home since relocating from Kansas City in 1985.âÂ Obviously a lot of businesses, especially restaurants and bars, Â will feel the sting if all those fans donât have any games to go to.Â Letâs see... Â thereâs Malabar, a Hooters, lots of taquerias, rib joints and sushi places that need to stay afloat in this dismal economy.Â The experts are making this too complicated.Â Â Hereâs my plan.Â Every now and then, weâll get 17,000 former Kings fans to meetÂ up near Truxel.Â Weâll take about $285.00 out of our wallets that would have represented tickets, parking, beers and snacks.Â Then weâll put the money back into our walletsâ¦ and go eat.Â Itâll feel like a bargain.Â Letâs start with some wings!
No one repeats as World Series Championsâ¦ at least thatâs the prevailing wisdom.Â But I wouldnât bet against these guys, as they finally begin to defend their title tonight in La-La Land against the hated Dodgers.Â Most of the Misfits return, and a young pup named Brandon Belt surprisedÂ everyone by making the opening day roster.Â If they struggle early, not to worry.Â âCuz theyâve come back.Â Seemed like Tim Lincecum was 0 for August last seasonâ¦. and Panda hit into two double plays before breakfast.Â Oh, and Buster Posey, Pat Burrell, Cody Ross, Javier Lopez and Madison Bumgarner werenât even on the team on Opening Day last year.Â Somehow, it all worked out, didnât it?Â Â If you donât have Band of Misfitsby Giants beat writer Andrew Baggarly, get it.
That the Barry Bonds trial is actually taking place in downtown San Francisco is somewhat comical to me. Â I mean, if itâs in Beverly Hills, this is a different story.Â Philadelphia?Â Thatâs automatic prison.Â But here in the City by the Bay?Â Apparently prosecutors think these jurors couldnât care less that the guy in the hot seat has worn the uniform of the World Champions of Baseballâ¦Â Hilarious.Â Do you mean to tell me youâve found 12 people who say they havenât heard of BALCOâ¦or Bonds?Â Of course, according to that Newsweek storyâ¦ a third of Americans donât know who the Vice President is.Â Yeah, thatâs who I want on my jury.Â Then thereâs Greg Anderson, whoâs done a lot of jail time for refusing to testify.Â Whatâs the upside for him?Â Good lordâ¦ there are guys in the Mafia who couldnât keep quiet this longâ¦
Until last week, the details of this story (originally reported by Gary Woelfel ofjournaltimes.com) were not widely known.Â Seven years ago, former Los Angeles Clippers coach Kim Hughes was diagnosed with prostate cancer.Â A biopsy showed Â his cancer was much worse than he believed, and after finding out the Clippers organization (the evil Donald Sterling) would not cover the cost of surgery, some of his players stepped up.Â Corey Maggette, Marko Jaric, Chris Kamen and Elton Brand quietly and without fanfareâ¦ chipped in to pay for the expensive surgery that would save the life of their friend and coach.Â As for Donald Sterling, his pathetic record speaks for itself.
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Hereâs some stuff to ponder while youâre checking your bracket.Â Â TheSmokingjacket.com reports that the official name of March Madness is the NCAA Menâs Division I Basketball Championship, but no one says that.Â
.. There used to be a lot fewer teams.Â As late as 1950, there were only eight teams in the tournament.Â
.. A 16 seed has never won its opening round game.
.. The FBI estimates that $2.5 billion is illegally wagered each year on March Madness.Â Right.Â Any time youâre talking about illegal action, just triple that number.
.. The odds of getting 100 percent of your bracket right is one in 147.57 quintillion.Â You have a better chance of hiring Gilbert Gottfriedâ¦ twice.
.. And finally, NEVER beg someone who knows nothing about basketballâ¦ to throw in 10 bucks and hand in their bracket.Â He/She will win it all.
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The Kings were tough last night against the Magic.Â They played their hearts out and came up a little short.Â Itâs the story of the season.Â Well, not the big story, which is that theyâre probably on their way out.Â I canât help but watch these games with sadness, with regretâ¦ that smart people couldnât find a way to keep our team here.Â I agree with Marcos Breton, that this should have all been worked out before the eleventh hour.Â Yeah, itâs complicated, but I know how Kansas City fans must have felt when their Kings left town.Â But at least they still have the Royals and the Chiefs. Â And now Kansas City does have a new basketball arenaâ¦ and they still canât get an NBA team.Â At the moment, Hartford, Connecticut is the largest media market without a major sports franchise.Â So I guess weâll take overthat distinction.Â Dubious.Â With all due respect, weâre about to become Modesto.Â Oh, and I hear that LA fans are dying to have the Kings.Â Right.Â That interest level is on fireâ¦ right after the Lakers, Dodgers, Angels, Clippers, Trojans, Bruins, Ducks, Pluto, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Knottâs Berry Farm and Charlie Sheen.Â Then the Kings.Â Yeah, youâll be big news in LA.Â Hilarious.Â Up here in Palookaville?Â Â Weâll live.Â But it wonât be the same.
Mark Teixeiraâs got one of the sweetest contracts in baseball.Â He earned it.Â Heâll be a Yankee âtil heâs 37, and his familyâs set for life.Â Last week Mark dumped his agent of 10 years, Scott Boros.Â Fair enough.Â Itâs a business decision.Â I know you loved Scott when he got you that 180 million, but I guess you donât need him now.Â When the story broke, it sure brought out all the Scott Boros haters.Â Heâs scum.. heâs a slime ball.Â Yeah, Scottieâs responsible for ruining the draft, for escalating salariesâ¦ heâs blamed for everything from global warming to the Lindbergh kidnapping.Â Scottâs pretty good at getting rich owners to cough up a lot of money for his players.Â Uh, thatâs his job.Â If I were 18 and could throw 100 mph on the black, Iâd be in his office today.Â I love Scott Boros.Â Heâs smart, heâs shrewd, and heâs not Drew Rosenhaus.Â From what I can see, Scott plays by the rules.Â You donât like the rules..Â Â change the rules.Â And Scottieâs from Elk Grove High School.Â Weâre from the Herd.
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So the Miami Heat have lost their last four. Â Â Theyâre pressing, theyâre rattledâ¦ theyâre giving away opportunities.Â Yeah, life is tough in the NBA.Â And immediately in the spotlight was head coach Erik Spoelstra, who admitted that some of his players wereÂ bawling in the locker room Â after their latest late-game choke job.Â Thereâs nothing wrong with getting emotionalâ¦. with wanting to win.Â Guys cry all the timeâ¦ thatâs no big deal.Â What surprised me Â was when coach Spoelstra seemed utterly shocked that the media would make âcryingâ the headline.Â Are you nuts?Â I knew that would be the lead story as soon as I heard the clip.Â If you donât want to be the star of âThe Crying Game,â then shut the hell up.Â Columnist Jason Whitlock has a great story here.Â
Itâs an insult, a slap-in-the face, itâs heartbreakingâ¦ itâs long overdue.Â However way you want to describe your feelings, you get the sense that our NBA franchise is leaving town.Â Of course the Maloofs are frustratedâ¦so are the fans.Â Â Who wouldnât be?Â Â Â And although talk of relocation has come up before, this time it feels more sinister.Â In the midst of all this negativity, the Kings shocked the Orlando Magiclast night with aÂ gutsy, spectacularÂ performance.Â I thought of all of the unforgettable moments weâve been witness toâ¦Â with Vlade, Peja, C-Webb and Spud Webb.Â The last-second wins, holding on against the Lakersâ¦ the decibel level so high you couldnât hear yourself think.Â Yeah, weâre small market but weâre proud.Â At least we were.Â Iâll keep a good thoughtâ¦. For The Good Times.
I couldnât help but notice RadarOnlineâs storyabout Jaimee Grubbs.Â Thatâs right, sheâs back.Â One ofTigerâs dozens of (hundreds of?) mistresses says âsheâs been misunderstoodâ and bullied by the media.Â About her affair with the worldâs most famous golfer, she said âHopefully people will forget about it and think of it as an event that was unfortunate for a lot of people.âÂ Forget about it?Â I thought we already had.Â And she said..â..Iâm trying to push forward and move on.âÂ Move on?Â Weâd all love toâ¦ if you would just shut the hell up.
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In the days of Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins and even the great Spud Webb, the NBA Slam Dunk Contest used to be an earth shattering event.Â It seems like the âcool factorâ has worn off a bit now.Â Not as many slammers want to get involved, for a variety of reasons.Â Maybe itâs the risk of injuryâ¦ maybe itâs the money (isnât it always the money?).Â Maybe itâs because just about every conceivable outrageous dunk has been done already.Â And it used to be just a guy and a ball.Â Nowadays, there are supporting actors, guys jumping over candles, people holding props, choreographed dunk routines. Â Â What is thisâ¦ an episode of Glee?Â Still, there is that moment when someone blows the roof off.Â It could happen.
Iâm sure youâve seen the story by nowâ¦ San Diego Padres ace pitcher Mat Latos has signed a few baseballs with âI Hate SFâunder his signature.Â I guess heâs having a little fun, and the sale of the baseballs will raise money for charity.Â Good.Â But thanks for reminding me of last seasonâs closing days.Â The Padres owned the Giants last year, and the NL West title came down to the final day, with you on the mound. Â As I recall, not only did you fail to beat the Giants in Game 162, you gave up a triple in the gapâ¦ to lefty Jonathan âLetâs Watch Him Goâ Sanchez.Â Â As they say in poker, âYou donât have to win every handâ¦ just the last one.âÂ So weâre lookinâ forward to a great rivalry again this yearâ¦ with you on the hill, backed up by Adrian Gonzalez.Â Oh wait..Â you donât have Adrian anymore, do you?
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Some guys wait for this day all yearâ¦ Itâs theÂ 2011 Swimsuit Issuein Sports Illustrated.Â Â Some folks used to have a cow over this annual spreadâ¦ words like âcheapen, degrade and outrageâ would fly around.Â People would picket the storesÂ that sold the magazine, like it was porn or something.Â At least it got everybody talkinâ about it.Â Back in 1964, the sports editors were looking for something cool to fill the space between the end of football season and the start of baseball season.Â So I guess itâs worked out pretty well.Â
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The Super Bowl is over, but the NFL is still dealing with about 400 unhappy fanswho lost their seats after the temporary seating at Cowboys Stadium was declared unsafe.Â During the game, the displaced ticket holders did what I didâ¦ watched the game on TV.Â Who wouldnât be ticked off?Â The league was offering refunds worth triple the face value of their tickets. Hilarious.Â Iâd want triple the value of the scalperâs priceâ¦ and remuneration for the airfare and the ridiculous hotel rates I had to cough up.Â The NFL is also inviting these fans to next yearâs Super Bowl.Â What if Iâm a die-hard Packers fan and I just missed my chance to see history?Â Unless my team returns to the Super Bowl, why the hell would I want to see next yearâs game?Â And another thing.Â If Jerry Jones had spent a little less time trying to set the Super Bowl attendance record with that Party Plaza scam, and a little more time taking care of real ticket holders, this may not have happened.Â Well, the NFL says theyâre conducting âa thorough review.âÂ Which usually means.. âYouâre out of luck.. have a great day.â
Is it the worst thing tobotch the lyricsto the national anthem on the biggest stage in the world?Â No.Â It wasnât the first time that an embarrassing gaffe has happened, and it wonât be the last.Â And I donât doubt that you love this country.Â I also donât doubt that you are what I thought you were:Â a spoiled, self-centered divaâ¦ who has absolutely no sense of style, taste, or the appropriateness of the moment.Â You had to make it all about you.Â And the way things are these daysâ¦ youâll probably become more famous than ever.Â But there are lots of dumbass entertainers who, for some reason, become spectacularly popular.Â âTwilightâs last reaming??âÂ Pathetic.
All eyes are on Dallas this weekendâ¦ it seems like itâs the center of the universe.Â A zillion football fans are descending on the cityâ¦ there are hotel rooms to be booked, food has to be ordered, and certain other needs have to be met.Â Huliq.com is reporting that there is a shortage of strippers in and around Dallas.Â Club owners say they need about 10,000 âentertainersâ Â on a temporary basis, to take care of the demand.Â Both day and night time shifts are available.Â Well, at least it means jobsâ¦
If I didnât see it, I wouldnât have believed it.Â The Kings, doing their best impression of the worst team in basketball for much of this season, shocked the World Champion Lakers on Friday night in LAâ¦ then closed out the Hornets (whoâd won TEN in a row) on Saturday.Â And when did DeMarcus Cousins become Karl Malone?Â I donât know, and I really donât care.Â The much vilified home club has their hands full with the Boston Celtics tomorrowâ¦ and it wonât get any easier the rest of the way.Â But it doesnât matter.Â For one brief shining momentâ¦ they were the real deal.Â And the coach, the players and the fans should not forget what that was like.
When I was growing up, there was the âVette, the Cobra..Â the legendary GTO.Â I mean they sounded like they meant businessâ¦ and they did.Â There were 442s, Z-28s, Chargersâ¦ even Road Runners and Challengers.Â Thatâs the great Bill Bagshaw on the left, in his âRed Light Bandit.âÂ I mean his Challenger looks like it's in a hurry.Â Now, the marketing geniuses have come up with the Yaris, the Aspireâ¦ the Equus.Â Iâm starting to get dizzy.Â Thereâs the Aveo, the Flexâ¦ and the Versa.Â (isnât the versa a sac on your elbow?)Â I imagine the suits sit around a conference table and ask for âcreativity.âÂ Does someone yell out âTouragââ¦ and they high-five each other?Â Letâs pop some champagne.
In the current edition of HBOâs Real Sports, Bryant Gumbel visits with Troy Aikman.Â The former Super Bowl star knows a thing or two about head trauma, having sufferedÂ four or five or ten concussions in his illustrious career.Â His take on the brutality of the game might surprise some.Â Aikman:Â âI think that weâre at a real crossroads, as it relates to the grassroots of our sport, because if I had a 10-year-old boy, I donât know that Iâd be real inclined to encourage him to play football, in light of what weâre learning about head injury.âÂ He went on to say.. âThe only way youâre gonna eliminate helmet to helmet contact is to take the helmets off.Â Go back to leather helmets.Â I mean, I think â a defensive player would be much less inclined to lead with his head, if he had no protection.âÂ I get the impression he wasnât trying to be funny. Â Â Weâve all seen the recent studies that seem to link head trauma in sportsâ¦. to early onset of dementia and Alzheimerâs disease, even ALS.Â And thereâs nothing funny about that.
Jerry Jones, you self-important grandstanding weasel!Â Oh wait, that sounded a little harsh.Â Sorry.Â Iâm sure you know that the owner of the Dallas Cowboys wants to set the Super Bowl attendance recordso badly, Â heâs created a Party Plaza, outside Cowboys Stadium.Â Here, $200 ticket buyers can watch the game on a screenâ¦ and pretend theyâre inside where the action is. Thatâs rich.Â That the NFL is allowing these fans to count toward Super Bowl attendance is, well, an outrage.Â But hats off to you as a business man, Jerry.Â You got folks to dish out 900 bucks to park, sip on $9 beers, pay $200 to watch a game thatâs on free TVâ¦ then get caught in 4 hours of after-game traffic.Â Iâll be watching at homeâ¦ will that count towards the attendance record?Â Gee, I hope so.
What a difference a week makes.Â For a while there, Jed York was the most famous Jed since the Clampetts pulled into Beverly Hills, but without the respect. Â Â 49er fans wanted Jed York run out of town on a rail.Â âYou Bozo!Â Youâre in over your head!Â Sell the team!Â You canât play with the big boys!âÂ You get the idea.Â Then he pulled it off. He reeled in the biggest fish in the ocean, when he landed the most sought-after coach in footballâ¦. Jim Harbaugh.Â Of course, that doesnât guarantee anything, but you can be sureâ¦ it settled the waters. Â And the Niner Nation is now officially giddy.Â Now, all the frenzied chatter is about QB.Â âBut we donât have a quarterback!â Â Â No kidding?Â Yeah, I think Mr. Harbaugh realizes that.Â Heâll get oneâ¦ so try to keep your panties on.
Oh no, Giants fans arenât superstitious.Â Not much.Â We all know that 56 years of futility came to an end on November 1, 2011.Â And my good friend Pete Dufour was living and dying with every pitch, as a lot of us were.Â But Peteâs little mind was working overtime.Â He saw the truthâ¦ he saw the reality of what he calls âThe Curse of Vic Wertzâ..Â which is now, of course, Â over.Â There were signs in the playoffsâ¦ The Mays catch was 56 years agoâ¦ The Renteria over-the-shoulder grab had Torres, number 56, looking on.Â Â The 3-G commercial that aired soon afterâ¦ showed a phone with the time, 10:54.Â Yeah, October, 1954â¦ the last World Championship.Â You get the idea.Â And thereâs a lot more.Â Youâll love it here in the Auburn Journal. Nice work Peter.
I canât stand it.Â A new head coach is bound to be named soon, and the suspense is palpable.Â And we love the rumors, donât we?Â Harbaughâs going to Michigan.. no heâs not.Â The Stanford coach has been linked to offers from the Dolphins, the Broncos, the Raiders and the Bad News Bears.Â Bill Cowher?Â Not even a mention.Â Jon Gruden?Â Not interested.Â What about Brian Billick?Â Hey, any guy who can win the Super Bowl with Trent Dilfer is a geniusâ¦ or a magician.Â And thereâs Marty Mornhinweg, former Lions coach whoâs now the offensive coordinator for the Eagles.Â They average nearly 400 yards of offense a game. Of course, as David Fucillo pointsout, the Eagles have Michael Vick.Â Jimmy Ray could run that offense.Â Okay, maybe notâ¦
So itâs over for the 49ers.Â A season of lofty expectations and crushing disappointmentâ¦Â ends with a win for interim head coach Jim Tomsula.Â Forget that they finished 6-10.Â Forget that they underachieved on so many fronts.Â How could you not notice that the players seemed to come alive for the new guy?Â I saw more enjoyment, and if youâll pardon the expression, âgleeââ¦Â in one game than I saw in 16 weeks with Mike Singletary.Â There were smiles, there was encouragement on that Niner sidelineâ¦ and you can damn well believe there were some high fives when Vernon Davis streaked into the end zone with that 59 yard touchdown pass.Â When Alex Smith was asked if playing this loose would have helped earlier in the season, what he didnât say about Singletary spoke volumes.Â Lowell Cohn has a great take in his Cohn Zohn. It was fun to watch.Â The San Francisco 49ers finish one of the most disappointing seasons in their history, and the head coach gets a Gatorade bathâ¦Â Priceless.
Stop me if youâve heard this beforeâ¦. The 49ers are still alive in the West.Â I donât know whether to laugh or cry.Â And I have to admit, I couldnât help but root against Sam Bradford and Matt Hasselbeck yesterdayâ¦ thatâs what kind of dark comedy this has devolved into.Â In this bizarro world of playoff confusion, the Niners can actually win the division if Seattle and St. Louis choke.Â I heard Coach Sing say he wasnât sure about putting Troy Smith in at quarterback, suggesting heâs not as familiar with the playbook.Â Really?Â The opposing defenses seem to be real familiar with the 49ers playbookâ¦ and they donât even come to the meetingsâ¦.
I know, you could argue that the 49ers are the worst team in footballâ¦ it sure feels that way sometimes.Â But then there are the Cincinnati Bengals.Â Theyâve only won twice this season.. and theyâve lost 10 in a row.Â Not that weâre sympatheticâ¦ but youâll love this item in Sports Illustrated. A letter went out to season ticket holders a while back to entice them to return for another year of âfun.âÂ What do you think theyâre offering as a bonusâ¦. a Caribbean cruise?Â Trip to Vegas?Â Nope.Â Theyâre offering popcorn.Â Â Not unlimited popcornâ¦ one box. And for a limited time.Â From a letter sent by the team:Â â.. we would love for you to join us again!Â For a limited time only, if you purchase new Season Tickets, you will receive a voucher for a free box of popcorn.âÂ If it wasnât so sad, wellâ¦. it would be comical.
The NFC West is a stinker. Okay, we get it.Â And thereâs a mathematical chance that the 49ers could make the playoffs.Â Thereâs also a mathematical chance that Wesley Snipes could be President of the United States.Â Well, maybe not.Â But the fact is, a 7-9 team could go to the post season this year.Â Oh the outrage!Â Itâs as if California is about to break off into the ocean or something.Â Get over itâ¦ we didnât make the rules.Â If the rest of the NFC West keeps losing, and the 49ers keep winning, the unthinkable could happen.Â In the end, if the Niners pull this offâ¦ weâll see mass hysteria, human sacrificeâ¦ dogs and cats living together..Â and the Taj Mahal will become a taqueriaâ¦
If Alex Smith had thrown four interceptions yesterday instead of Matt Hasselbeck, heâd have been run out of the country.Â Thatâs rightâ¦ head straight through the tunnel, donât look backâ¦ and catch a waiting plane to the Netherlands, or wherever.Â But no, the real 49ers (not the imposters who went to Green Bay)finally showed some lifein week 14.Â Well, I guess itâs never too late.Â The humiliation of Seattle was some big time entertainmentâ¦ more enjoyable than an episode of Glee.Â I know the line about Seattle..âOh, theyâve got so many guys hurt..âÂ Donât give me that crap.Â What do you want, sympathy?Â You want sympathy, get a dog.Â Yeah, the division sucksâ¦ but we didnât make the rules.Â Weâre so jacked up, we actually want the Chargers.Â Hilarious.
Alex, youâve been the starter, you got benched, hurt, forgotten, vilifiedâ¦. Â and now youâre back in. Not much is riding on this you knowâ¦ just your future as an NFL quarterback. Â Â So Alex, this is your playoff.Â Itâs all on you to take us to the promised land.Â Sure, you were 1-6, but a lot of those losses were with Jimmy Raye.. and we know what a renaissance period that was.Â Itâs fascinating that this deep into a bad season, thereâs a faint chance that a win might mean something.Â At 5-8, weâre still in it.Â Hilarious.Â But 4-9?Â Turn out the lights.Â Coach Sing says he wants to play the quarterback that âgives us the best chance to win.âÂ Actually that would be Joe Montana, but I think he retired.
In reading Dave Goldbergâs excellent appreciation of the late Don Meredith, it sounds like the old Dallas quarterback had retired to the quiet life in Santa Fe, New Mexico.Â Heâd been out of the spotlight for, ohâ¦. 25 years or so.Â So Iâm sure thereâs a whole generation of young football fans who associate Monday Night Football commentary with the likes of Paul Maguire, Tony Kornheiser or, yikesâ¦. Dennis Miller.Â But for me, Don Meredith was the originalâ¦ and perfect for the role.Â A laid back guy who didnât take himself or the game too seriously.. and who could puncture the pomposity of one Howard Cosell.Â Â Thatâs big in my book.Â About a Cleveland Browns receiver with the unusual name of Fair Hooker, said Donâ¦âFair Hooker?Â Well, I havenât met one yet.âÂ A lot of us will miss Don Meredith.
Wouldnât it be great to be a Lakers fan?Â Not really.Â Â Iâd rather stick a rusty nail in my eye.Â No, Iâm stuck with the Kings. I know what itâs like to hope, to cheerâ¦ to believe good things will happen, eventually.Â But this feels different.Â The frustration of enduring loss after loss has its limits.Â Thereâs anger, thereâs griefâ¦ thereâs finger-pointing.Â But sadly, thereâs something dark and sinister that seems to be lurking around the corner.Â And thatâs the much fearedâ¦.Apathy.Â Thatâs rightâ¦ at some point, we may not care.Â Whenâs the next game?Â Donât care.Â Who are we playing?Â Donât care.Â You think there are empty seats now?Â It could get even more pathetic.Â Maybe weâre spoiled.Â We know what itâs like to see a team play hard and contend every night..Â but that was so last century.
Humiliating.Â Embarrassing.Â Yes, it was a butt-whipping at the hands of the Tampa Bay Bucs last Sunday.Â The 49ers got shutout at home for the first time in 33 years.. and suffered their worst shutout here in 50 years.Â With the exception of Patrick Willis,it was a disasterâ¦ we get it.Â As the coach likes to say, âIâve gotta look at the film.âÂ Iâll bet he didnât enjoy that.Â Donât forget the scene where their 300 pound tackle got to do the bunny hop in the end zone.. to celebrate his own touchdown.Â Ouch.Â But I feel better about it today.Â Because the good news isâ¦ it canât get any worse.Â Or can it?Â Iâd better look at the filmâ¦
I see that TV star and professional celebrityJessica Simpson is now engaged to former NFL player Eric Johnson.Â Eric had some very good years with the San Francisco 49ers, so we feel kind of close to the guy.Â At least we wish him well.Â There is a rumor floating around that Jessicaâs stunning $100,000 ruby-and-diamond engagement ring was paid for by the bride-to-be herself.Â A pal tells PopEater.com, âNo way could Eric â who doesnât have a job at the moment â afford to purchase such an expensive ring.âÂ Right.Â Like Eric would be the first guy in historyâ¦ whoâs bought an engagement ring he couldnât afford.Â Good luck you twoâ¦
I know, it seems a little much to be this happy about being tied for the cellar.Â But come onâ¦ this was the Rams.Â I was gettinâ pretty tired of hearing about their darling new superstar, Sam Bradford.Â Oh, heâs good alright.Â But he lostâ¦Â in overtime.Â After one of the most underachieving, humiliating starts to a football season in recent memory, the 49ers dug deep, played hardâ¦ and scored about 50 points.Â Of course only 23 of âem counted.Â No, it wasnât pretty.Â If you want pretty, date Jessica Simpson.Â And Coach Singletary doesnât want to comment on who the starting quarterback will be for Tampa Bay.Â Hilarious.Â Troy Smith just threw for 356 yardsâ¦ and heâs 2-0.Â You donât need to look at the filmâ¦ we all saw what happened.Â Saying Troy Smith should startâ¦ is like saying Luigiâs Pizza is really fine.
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As Ann Killion points out, Glenn Burke was one of the great high school athletes to come out of the Bay Area in the 1970s.Â He was a top prospect for the LA Dodgers, a starter in the 1977 World Seriesâ¦ and a player for his hometown Oakland Aâs.Â And he was openly gay.Â While many of his teammates were well aware of, even tolerant of his homosexuality at the timeâ¦ he was run out of baseball by the time he was 27 years old.Â He wasnât the first gay player in a major sport, and he wonât be the last.Â His tragic story is told in a one hour documentary on Comcast Sports Net tonight at 8.
In poker tournaments, you donât have to win every handâ¦ just the last one.Â Jonathan Duhamel, a 23-year old college dropout from Quebec, is the first Canadian champion of the World Series of Poker Main Eventâ¦ taking home a stunning $8.9 million.Â You could win the Masters, the Daytona 500 and the Kentucky Derby in the same yearâ¦.. and not earn $8.9 million.Â Oh yeah, that is some serious money.Â John Racener was runner-up, and Iâm sure he was disappointed he came so close to poker immortality.Â But itâs almost comical to think someone would bank the second place check, $5.5 millionâ¦ and be disappointed.Â Catch Final Table action tonight on ESPN.
Art Garfunkel tells Rolling Stone that he needs to be patient as he recovers from a serious throat problem. Â âMy voice is coming back slowly, too slowly,â he says.Â We hear that Art is a huge Philadelphia Phillies fan.Â No doubt he was among those yelling vulgarities at the Giantsâ¦ at the top of his lungs.Â Throat problems?Â Coincidence?Â Hey Art, Â Iâll make you feel at homeâ¦ âStrike Three Calledâ¦ and The Giants win the Pennant!âEat that.
The Fox broadcasters on the World Series kept bringing up Art Garfunkel whenever Matt Cain came on the screen.Â I didnât buy it.Â I kept thinkingâ¦ no, he reminds me of someone elseâ¦ I just couldnât think of who it could be.Â Oh wait.Â A flashback to a TV series that aired way back in the Mays/McCovey eraâ¦Family Affair. Matt Cain is Jody. There.. I feel better now.
Oh yeahâ¦ I think there was an election.
Other random thoughts..Â the 49ers have a better record than the Dallas Cowboys.Â Hilarious.
Meg Whitman gave it a strong shot.Â She spent more money than the entire Giants payrollâ¦ but has a little less to show for it.
Television ratings for this yearâs World Series equaled the lowest ever.Â Good.Â Weâre happy to enjoy this by ourselves.Â Iâll bet the ratings at your house were through the roof.
The Rally Thong is 31 â 14.
After the clincher in Texas, a reporter mentioned to Pat Burrellâ¦âWhen Edgar Renteria came to the dugout after his 3-run homer, you kissed him.âÂ Pat saidâ¦ âyeah, heâs lucky thatâs all I got away withâ¦â
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I guess I wasnât ready for this.Â Of course I was afraid to allow for the possibility that the Giants could be World Championsâ¦ I mean it hasnât happened in 56 years.Â But the parade was spectacular.Â And Comcast Sports Net streamed it beautifully for Â millions of fans to share.Â Â And the broadcast set just the right toneâ¦Â no bimbo reporters or MLB experts to be seen.Â The streets of San Francisco have never looked so good.Â My favorite momentâ¦ when closer Brian Wilson jumped off the cable car and went out into the crowd in the middle of the parade. Â Â The overhead shot made him look like one of those escaped fugitives on Cops.Â Heâs in character every momentâ¦.
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It wonât sink in for a while.Â It seemed like one of those fake souvenir headlines you buy on vacation. âGiants Win The World Series.â Yeah, right.Â I give credit to the Yankees, the Philliesâ¦ the Boston Red Sox and all the rest.Â I knew it would be hard to be Championsâ¦ I didnât think it would be this hard.Â But Joe Morgan was right.Â He said the pitching was phenomenalâ¦ but that the best TEAM did win it all. The Braves series, the Phillies seriesâ¦ those could have gone either way.Â But not this time.Â The favored Texas Rangers, the best hitting team in baseballâ¦ were dominated by a bunch of rookies, castoffs and vets who pulled for each other every step of the way.Â This is for Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Juan Marichal..Â this is for Lon Simmons, Hank Greenwald and The Humm Baby, Roger Craig.Â And to all those experts who never gave an ounce of credit to the Giants, please jump off our bandwagon now. Â Â We never needed you in the first place.Â My Mom will be 91 this month.Â Sheâs seen just about every pitch of every inning of Giants baseball this year.Â She picked the Giants in Five.
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I can imagine how woozy the Denver Broncos must have felt.Â They came into the time-zone lateâ¦ got beat by the lowly 49ersâ¦ and heard boos when they had the ball.Â Yeah, the 49er magic works in the United Kingdom too.Â But the real story is that Smith rocks as quarterback. No, not that Smith.Â Itâs Troy Smithâ¦. the guy whoâs been with the team for about an hour.Â His arm, his legsâ¦ his presence could mean thereâs a new sheriff in town.Â I know, 2-6 doesnât sound like much.. but itâs a start.Â You watchâ¦ Troy Smith will be the second most popular topic this week.Â Second after the San Francisco Giants.
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Whatâs next, a ride on the Spooky Train.. or the Creepy Carousel?Â This canât be for real.The black and orange-clad band of misfits and castoffs has apparently been swallowed up in some bizarre parallel universeâ¦. that is unmercifully teasing their fans and followers to the point of uncontrolled frenzy.Â Letâs be serious.Â No, itâs too late for that.Â A team that finds it hard to scratch out two or three runs a week just doesnât score 20 runs in two nightsâ¦Â in the World Series.Â Right.Â I knew it was a dream when Juan Uribe WALKED. He hasnât walked since the Triassic period.Â So please donât wake me.
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Except here in Giants territory. No, weâre not in Boston anymore.Â As Henry Schulman of the SF Chronicle pointed out, why would anyone else in the country care about the Giants or the Rangers? Â What East Coast bias?Â The baseball experts and their networks spent all year ignoring the 25 teams that are not in New York, Boston or Los Angeles.Â As youâd expect, no one knows who the San Francisco Giants or the Texas Rangers are.Â So the rest of America can watch football, basketball, do their yard workâ¦. we donât give a $##+.Â Let us have this World Series to ourselves.Â Just donât pre-empt Game Two to join Â a Yankees reunion banquet in progressâ¦
And Bruce Bochy was hilarious yesterday.Â He was asked if Vladimir Â Guerrero playing right field would be a problem for Texas.Â He said, âNo, heâll be fine.âÂ Â You know he was thinkingâ¦ âYou wanna patrol right field?Â Here, suck on thisâ¦â
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How will the Giants bounce back after dropping Game One of the World Series?Â I mean, all of the talking heads have given them ZERO CHANCE against Cliff Lee and the big bats of the Texas Rangers.Â Didnât Texas score a zillion runs during the season?Â Arenât they too powerful, too fast, too opportunistic for this little olâ band of misfits and castoffs.Â Maybe.Â Then the overachievers will just have to suck it up tomorrowâ¦ and again in Texas.Â And if you believe Mitch Williamsâ¦ he said the Rangers are a lock to win.Â Just like the Phillies were.
Donât tell me youâre the new power couple. I used to have some respect for Maria Sharapovaâ¦ until now.Â I see sheâs apparently engaged to Sasha Vujacic, of the Los Angeles Lakers. Â How do guys like this always end up with the hotties?Â This is the trash talking punk-ass guard who has tormented the Kings for years.Â He gets in their face, then swishes a threeâ¦ then gets in their face some more.Â It canât get much more humiliating.Â So I hope she tortures your soul, ruins your season, eviscerates your manhoodâ¦ and takes you for every nickel youâve got.Â Other than that, Iâm not bitter.
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There was stunned silence in the park after that called third strike.Â And except for a few vulgar shouts from Philly fans not heading for the exitsâ¦ it was as quiet as a funeral.Â For them, I guess it was one. Â Rest in peace.Â We all knew that the Giants would return to San Francisco as heroes, no matter what.Â But for the mighty Phils, the team with the best record in baseball, they HAD to go to the World Series, or theyâd be seen as chokers.Â Hereâsone writerâs take in Philly.Theyâre in shock that they lost to an untalented bunch of misfitsâ¦ who got lucky at the right time.Â Suck on that.Â So here are the markets that are not in the World Seriesâ¦ Boston, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and St Louis.Â San Francisco fans couldnât care less.
Other random thoughtsâ¦ the shot of Philly fans prayingâ¦ hilariousâ¦
Tim McCarver called Jeremy Affeldt âAflac.â
Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels were all losing pitchers in this seriesâ¦
When Jonathan Sanchez imploded and gave up two runs in the first inning, those were the last two runs the Phillies would score in 2010â¦
In 8 weeks, Cody Ross went from waiver wire to NLCS MVPâ¦
Brian Wilson is starting to look like General Jeb Stuart of the Battle of Gettysburgâ¦
The Rally Thong is 27-13â¦
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I know itâs been torture this year, and we Giants fans have to do everything in our power to help.Â Are you one who wears a magic Giants shirt, hatâ¦ or sweatpants when you catch a game?Â Do you sit in a certain spot, watch a specific TV or hold the only beer that works?Â I know the feelingâ¦ donât laugh.Â My friend Lee Hansen told me his wife Linda came into the room during a Phillies rally and said âIâd better leave.. I must be bad luck.âÂ Lee said âHoney, you know I donât believe in thatâ¦. but just to be safe, why don't you go outside?â¦âÂ Hey, we donât tempt the baseball gods.Â Â Same with poker gods, football godsâ¦ thereâre lots of gods.Â To some, this may sound ridiculousâ¦ is the rally thong ridiculous?
The Giants poured out of the dugout so fast, they nearly beat Aubrey Huff to the plate.Â Tim Kawakami called it âthe greatest rookie performance in Giants playoff history.âOh, and there was a lot more.Â Another big hit for Cody âBabeâ Ross, a run-saving throw by Aaron Rowand, huge at-bats for Pat Burrell, Andres Torres and Freddie Sanchez, clutch knocks for Huff Daddy, a mind-blowing four hits for Buster and the tag at the plateâ¦ and the cannon arm of Juan Uribe and his game ending stroke.Â Add in the edge-of-your-seatÂ two run double by the demoted but much loved Panda.. all in one night.Â Would I love to see them go to the World Series?Â Of course.Â But I donât really care now.Â Itâs easy to forget that the Giants didnât win the World Series in 1951, but it doesnât diminish the Miracle of Cooganâs Bluffâ¦. Bobby Thomsonâs âShot Heard âRound the World.â But this was the moment.Â And on one moonlit October night, in Baghdad by the Bayâ¦. The Giants gave us one to rememberâ¦. the Sac Fly Heard âRound the World.
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And other random thoughtsâ¦Â They are payinâ the cost to pitch to Ross.Just a couple of weeks ago, Jose Guillen had Cody Rossâs jobâ¦
The ball Cody hit to drive in the first run was about 6 inches above his shoelaces..
Bruce Bochy juggled the lineup like a Benihana chef.. and looked like a geniusâ¦
I know itâs popular to rip Joe Buck and Tim McCarverâ¦ theyâre not really that bad.Â Except once in a while.
They were fawning over Cole Hamels so much, I wondered why Matt Cain even bothered to show upâ¦
No one paid much attention to the plate umpâ¦ what a difference from Sunday..
Javier Lopez doesnât get the big press conference because heâs not the starter, and heâs not the closer.Â But the Giants wouldnât be here without himâ¦.
AT & T Park looks marvelous on TVâ¦ so much better than that monstrosity in Atlanta, for exampleâ¦
To âWild Thingâ Mitch Williamsâ¦ I guess it wonât be the Phillies in five after allâ¦.
The Phils HAVE to go to the World Seriesâ¦ or they wonât live it downâ¦
The Rally Thong is 25-12â¦.
Alex Smith did not throw an interception for the first time since the Truman administrationâ¦ and the Raidersâ Jason Campbell had a passer rating of 10.7, smaller than his shoe size.Â Yup, the 49ers finally eked out win number ONE. No, it wasnât pretty, but weâll take itâ¦ anyone can have a bad century.Â And look who weâve got coming up.Â A team that went 8-8 last year.. and has struggled to find their way.Â Sound familiar?Â Itâs the winless Carolina Panthers, whoâve had two weeks to think about this.Â 97% of their fans think theyâll get their first win.. against the hapless 49ers.Â Is that so?Â Provided he plays, I can wait âtil Justin Smith and Patrick Willis pancake that punk quarterback Jimmy Claussen.Â What do you bet little Jimmy squeals for his mommy?
The Giants didnât lose last night because of the home plate umpireâ¦ but he just wasnât very good.Â He stuck it to Roy Oswaltâ¦ then he stuck it to Jonathan Sanchez.Â He was so bad, it was almost comical.Â And Mike Krukow called it BEFORE the game!Â He said, âthis guyâs not very good back thereâ¦ doesnât have a good idea of the strike zone..âÂ Hello?Â Major League Baseball has some very good umps.Â Â Hereâs a thoughtâ¦why donât you let them work behind the plate sometime?Â And I donât buy the notion that âit all evens out.âÂ Thatâs horse$$++.Â At least try to get it right to begin with.
I know.. The Phillies are the class of the field.Â National League Champs two years in a rowâ¦ great pitchingâ¦ phenomenal hitting.. . clutch defenseâ¦ yada yadaâ¦ we get it.Â Their fans have a right to be confident.. about Â 99 % of them think theyâll eliminate the Giants in, whatâ¦ four, five games?Â You wonder why the Giants even wasted jet fuel..Â the Phils are destined to go the World Series, arenât they? Â Â The only dispute seems to beâ¦ are the Giants 10-1 underdogs or are they 14-1?Â Oh, but there is one thing.Â Â You do have to get through Giants pitching four times, and no one picked San Francisco to even be here.Â The Giants are playinâ on house moneyâ¦ even one victory is a bonus.Â Â So here they comeâ¦loose, relaxed, rested.. with 98 mph on the blackâ¦. Â Â Suck on that.
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Someone claiming to be Brett Favre apparently sent racy voice messagesand lewd photos of himself to a former Jets hostess.Â Oh waitâ¦ I just realized how dumb that sounds.Â Brett.. Mr. Family Manâ¦ Mr. Wrangler Jeansâ¦ donât tell me youâre a sleazeball?Â What started out as a little internet story has blown upâ¦these stories usually do, especially if anything lurid is involved.Â When you had a chance to deny all of this, you said âIâve got my hands full with the Jets..â Perfect.Â And now, I hear the NFL has fined Terrell Owens..Â for âTweeting with less than 90 minutes to go before a football game.âÂ Now, thatâs serious.
I was so worried about Tim Lincecum on short rest, the long dreary flight back to San Francisco, lack of run support, the pressure of Game 5â¦â¦ that I actually didnât even account for the possibility that the Giants could win it in Atlanta. It was almost..âWait.. itâs over?âÂ It feels like everything from here on in is a bonusâ¦ weâre playing on house money.Â Come on, no one picked the Giants to even contend in the Westâ¦ doesnât matter what happens with the Phillies.Â Theyâre the big dogâ¦ weâre the underdog.Â Theyâre expected to winâ¦ weâre just a bunch of cast-off mercenaries, the overachievers of the year.Â But anythingâs possible.Â As Blackbeard, uh Brian Wilson said last weekâ¦. âI wouldnât want to play us.â
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