Golden oldies Tim Hudson and Barry Zito will pitch one last time at O.co Coliseum on Saturday, which is a cool idea for everyone involved except the Los Angeles Dodgers, who want the Athletics to knock out the Giants once and for all.
But why not invite the rest of the gang? It’s not like the A’s have had a lot of reasons to throw a party this season.
The A’s scored a lot of runs for Hudson, Zito and Mark Mulder in the glory days. Balls bets that fans would love to see Jermaine Dye, Jason Giambi and Miguel Tejada one more time.
Balls will even spring for the phone calls, if they’re not in the budget.
AND ANOTHER THING: First, the A’s said Zito didn’t fit in their plans this month. Then they called him up not to start but to pitch out of the bullpen because of a shortage of relievers. Then they said he could start a game but not necessarily against Hudson…
Is it really so hard to say, “We want to give two of our best pitchers ever a fitting send-off because it’s what the fans want, and if it looks like we’re a bunch of money-grabbers who want an excuse to sell more tickets and beer, well, what’s so wrong about that?”
Sellouts are expected for the entire series, but the infamous outfield tarp will remain.
’BOUT TIME: Since the 49ers moved into Levi’s Stadium last year, a fan is more likely to be assaulted than to see Colin Kaepernick throw a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. And now Santa Clara officials finally want to do something about it.
About the culture, that is, not the quarterback.
It’s not known what role alcohol has had in the incidents exactly, but it’s a good guess that’s where the trouble starts. The city council will consider a halt to beer sales after the third quarter, but as the Raiders have learned at night games, halftime may be a better option. That gives the suspects almost two hours to dry out before they can beat the hell out of somebody.
While they’re at it, city officials may want to look into increased security in all parking lots.
FINE PRINT: Before Raiders’ fans make plans for Super Bowl 50, Balls has some numbers for them: two games, 32 missed tackles, zero sacks.
COME AT YOU IN WAVES: Offensive coordinator Tony Franklin is the brains behind Cal’s shoot-em-up offense, but he has had plenty of assistance.
Every Monday morning, Franklin conducts a conference call with dozens of the most creative high school coaches around the country. There they discuss everything from blitz pick-ups to the newest gadget plays.
“There’s nothing that one of them hasn’t seen, so when the situation comes up, they can tell us what they did and whether it worked,” Franklin told The Wall Street Journal. “The high school coaches are kind of like guinea pigs.”
Franklin began crowdsourcing in 2000, when he was Kentucky offensive coordinator. After the entire staff was released the next year, he started a consultant firm that installed his Air Raid offense for high schools around the country.
Now Franklin reportedly has more than 200 clients who pay upward of $3,000 in annual fees. In fact, one Pac-12 rival had a graduate student sign up for the skull sessions, only to be turned down.
Added bonus: Franklin has a wider base from which to recruit and candidates already are familiar with his system.
THE LIST: Hudson and Zito are among the select group of 36 pitchers who spent time with the Athletics and Giants in their careers. Balls’ All-Time All-Bay Team:
First base: Orlando Cepeda, Willie McCovey
Second base: Ray Durham, Tito Fuentes
Third base: Kevin Mitchell, Marco Scutaro
Outfield: Felipe Alou, Dave Henderson, Stan Javier, Willie McGee, Billy North
Designated hitter: Dave Kingman
Catcher: Bob Kearney, Brent Mayne
Starting pitcher: Hudson, Zito, Vida Blue, Kelly Downs, Brian Kingman
Relief pitchers: Santiago Casilla, Dave Heaverlo, Gary Lavelle, Elias Sosa, Tim Worrell
Manager: Alvin Dark
YOUR TURN: “The Sharks work their tails off, lead by the big names. Guess you don’t see a new coaching staff as enough change, along with the dozens of other player moves, including a lot that won’t impact the NHL roster.” — G.J. Berg, San Jose
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