Giants manager Bruce Bochy has shown a remarkable ability to plug the right player into a situation, and now, he has more pieces with which to play.
The latest is Darren Ford, who is as fast as anybody I’ve seen on a baseball diamond. He may never hit enough to be a regular, but he has been a base-running dynamo. He scored the winning run in Sunday’s 11-inning win over the A’s despite a perfect throw from A’s right fielder Ryan Sweeney. Read More
The NFL is a huge business, affecting many people other than those playing the game, and the fallout from the lockout is already being felt.
“There are a lot of people whose income depends in large part on the games,” said player agent Jason Chayut of New York-based SportsStars Inc. “People like ticket sellers, vendors. If the games aren’t played, they lose income and it’s not like they can make it up because the season can’t be extended into April.”
Club employes can feel the crunch, too. “The Miami Dolphins have already cut salaries of employees,” noted Chayut. Read More
Cal football coach Jeff Tedford likened Zach Maynard to Akili Smith, whom he coached at Oregon and was eventually the No. 3 overall pick in the 1999 NFL draft, as he talked during a media gathering at Candlestick Park on Monday to promote the Sept. 3 opener with Fresno State.“He has that ability to escape pressure that we haven’t seen for a while,” Tedford said. “We aren’t going to use him anything like Cam Newton, who was basically in an option offense, but it’s nice to know that he can take the ball down and run if he has to.” Read More
Fans have always been convinced they know exactly how to improve their teams, and they express their views in emails and blogs.
Right now, I’m being besieged by A’s fans who bemoan their team’s lack of hitting. One suggested they should pick up Milton Bradley, just released by the Seattle Mariners.
I don’t think so. The A’s had Bradley once, and he helped them in the 2006 postseason. But the team also had Frank Thomas, who could talk to Bradley, and Ken Macha, a manager he respected. They have neither of those components now. Read More
The great thing about the baseball season is the surprises, and the wonderful surprise that is Ryan Vogelsong has helped catapult the Giants back into the NL West race.
When Barry Zito, the $126 million mistake, went on the disabled list, the Giants called up Vogelsong to take his spot in the rotation.
Little was expected of him. Vogelsong was drafted by the Giants in the fifth round in 1998, but his greatest contribution had been as part of a trade to the Pittsburgh Pirates that brought Jason Schmidt to the Giants. Read More
Willie Mays, who turns 80 today, was a great natural athlete, but as I learned in an interview 15 years ago, much more thinking went into his play than was generally realized.
When the Giants played in New York, he was a pull hitter because the foul lines were short. When he had 30 homers by the All-Star break in 1954, pitchers started pitching him low and away, so he learned to hit the ball to right field. Read More
By the end of this week, we should know if an NFL lockout will remain in place.
The players won round one when U.S. District Court Judge Susan Richard Nelson ruled against the lockout, but the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 on Friday to issue a temporary stay. That court is regarded as the most business-friendly appellate court in the country, but the temporary stay was apparently granted to give the court a chance to review Nelson’s decision. Read More
As expected, the 49ers went for defense with their first-round pick in the NFL draft last night, but they threw a bit of a curve in picking Missouri defensive end-outside linebacker Aldon Smith, who had not been mentioned in any of the pre-draft speculation.
Despite all the talk about the team needing a quarterback, pass defense has been the No. 1 problem for the Niners. Opposing teams who are trailing by less than a touchdown with two minutes to go have known that a “W” is pretty much guaranteed if they just throw the ball. The 49ers couldn’t stop that. Read More
The Giants are showing cracks in the foundation of their success, namely pitching.
No, I’m not talking about Tim Lincecum, who had a bad outing on Saturday. It was just one of those days for Lincecum, who never really had command of his pitches. He’ll be back to his Cy Young form with his next start.
Madison Bumgarner is a much more legitimate concern. The second-year pitcher couldn’t get out of the third inning on Friday night against the Atlanta Braves. When I talked to Giants manager Bruce Bochy before Saturday’s game, he said he wasn’t worried about Bumgarner. Read More
When 49ers general manager Trent Baalke met with the media this week, he was asked if the 49ers will take a quarterback in the NFL draft next week. “Yes,” he said, “but I’m not sure whether it will be in round one or round seven or somewhere in between.”
I doubt that it will be as late as round seven, unless that’s the second quarterback they pick, but I also doubt they’ll go for one with their first pick, at No. 7 in the first round. Read More
The latest sign that running after TV money is going to kill the golden goose for college football: The Pac-12 will televise games on Thursday and Friday nights this season.
Friday night should be for high school games, Saturday for college games, Sunday for NFL games.
Even more importantly, those in charge of college football scheduling should start considering their audience. Read More
The real losers in the Barry Bonds trial are you and me and all the U.S. taxpayers who have had to pay for the $6 million attempt by the feds in this travesty.
Aren’t you glad that crime is at such a low level in the country that federal law enforcement officers can afford to spend so much time and money on this?
To this point, all they’ve achieved is to get a guilty plea for Bonds on obstruction of justice in the BALCO case, which wasn’t even part of the original prosecution. Read More
Barry Zito, the gift that just keeps giving, imploded in the sixth inning Sunday as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Giants 6-1 in the concluding game of the weekend series.
Zito held the Cardinals to one run in the first five innings, helped by two double plays, one of them a terrific third-second-first effort started by Pablo Sandoval, who is much more nimble after his weight loss in the offseason. Sandoval also made a nice running catch later in foul territory. He wouldn’t have made either of those plays last season. Read More
Despite opening 2-4 on the road, the positives outweigh the negatives as the Giants head into their home opener at AT&T Park today.Perhaps the biggest positive: the fans. The Giants have always made a grand production of Opening Day, and this year, they have a world championship to celebrate. Giants fans will be screaming nonstop for their heroes from about three hours before game time. Read More
Professional sports teams should be reveling in their success: rising attendance and revenue, great TV ratings. Instead, you hear talk of contraction in baseball, a lockout exists in the NFL and an NBA team is likely on the move — again.
Since the lunkheads in charge don’t seem interested in solving these problems, I’m going to suggest some solutions.
The richest clubs are tired of supporting the poorest with the revenue-sharing plan, so they’re talking of eliminating the Oakland A’s and Tampa Bay Rays. Read More