Is Steve Young on to something when he says his old team is in a “scary” predicament at the moment. Or has the ex-49ers quarterback taken one too many blows to the head?
“It’s scary right now, and I’m sure that internally, inside the building, [the challenge] has to feel a little bit new,” Young said at a Super Bowl 50 event this week. “But that doesn’t mean you can’t create something new, but you have to go fight from the bottom of the hill again, and that’s the hard part.”
To which the 49ers’ Vernon Davis told Balls on Thursday, “We’re not worried about scary situations. We’re not worried about anything over here. We take it one day at a time, one play at a time and just go from there. I mean, you can’t be afraid to fail, man.
“As a team, we failed last year, yeah. But it’s not about proving anything to anybody. It’s about what we have here. We have our integrity, what we stand for as a group of men as part of a team. That’s what it’s about. We’re fighting for each other. We’re fighting for what we have. It’s a great opportunity to be here this year. I’m extremely excited about what we have and what we’re going to do.”
Well, it sounds good, anyway.
ANY MORE MVPS TO TRADE AWAY? And for his next stunt, Athletics’ general manager-part owner Billy Beane will trade not one but two Most Valuable Players in the same season.
Hey, it’s not as preposterous as you think. Josh Donaldson has been the American League favorite for weeks. Yoenis Cespedes has moved into contention in the National League, which is remarkable when you consider the guy has been with the New York Metropolitans for less than two months.
Bryce Harper has been the best NL player from the start, but the MVP award is as much about impact on a team as individual statistics. While Harper’s Washington Nationals have been colossal underachievers through no fault of his own, Cespedes has done the impossible — turned around the Mets’ offense in a New York minute. Plus, the MVP voters haven’t been fond of players with noncontenders in recent years.
Before Cespedes came aboard, the Mets’ offense was pathetic. But with him in the line up, it has scored a staggering 2.6 more runs per game. The guy hasn’t done it alone, but given how the A’s fell off a cliff after he left last season, the turnaround is more than a coincidence.
ON THE REBOUND: Cespedes will become a free agent after the season, and he loves the big stage of New York and even the New York tabloids love him.
“Yes-pedes” the Daily News blared the other day.
“Yes, Ces!” Newsday followed suit.
Still, it’s no gimme that the cheapskate Mets will offer the $150 million or more that he’ll command in the open market.
“I don’t really know what they’re thinking,” Cespedes said through an interpreter. “But my thing is to go out there and have fun. I enjoy the team. It’s a really great team. I love the city of New York. I love the fans. What we’ve got going here is a really good thing.”
So that means Athletics’ owner Lew Wolff and his billionaire partner, John Fisher, will shake off the cobwebs and bring Cespedes back to Oakland where he belongs, right? (Start laugh track here.)
DAILY HAYNE: 49ers’ rookie Jarryd Hayne said he once lived like a “rock star” in Sydney, and he nearly paid a stiff price for it.
Seven years ago, Hayne was shot at in a nightclub. The close call led him to ask, “What if it happens next time and it does hit me? You don’t get a second chance with bullets.”
Hayne had a heart-to-heart with his mother, who helped straighten him out.
“I made sure I was really calm and pretended like I wasn’t worried and I wasn’t scared, but really I was petrified,” Hayne recalled. “She didn’t have to tell me anything I don’t know. I know I have to pull my head in.”
THE LIST: Stanford plays Central Florida in its home opener Saturday night, but that may not be much of an advantage — especially after the offense struggled last weekend in a stinker loss at Northwestern. According to Prediction Machine, a statistical game simulator, the Cardinal aren’t among the top 100 teams in home field advantage this millennium. The Pac-12 leaders (rank in parentheses):
Oregon State (87th)