New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has given presidential hopeful Donald Trump his endorsement. (Steven Senne/AP)

Brady supports Trump — what a country

Honest, forthright, selfless guy that he is, Tom Brady stands behind a Donald Trump presidency for all the right reasons.

“It would be great,” Brady said Wednesday.

No, not because Trump would fix the economy or unemployment or foreign relations or corporate corruption …

“There’d be a putting green on the White House lawn, I’m sure of that,” said Brady, smiling. And spies on the roof and overinflated golf balls, no doubt.

Now you know why professional athletes should stay out of politics unless they have something of substance to say.

Brady and Trump are no strangers. The golf buddies met in 2002, and Trump called the New England Patriots’ quarterback a “great friend” and “total winner” since then.

“He always gives me a call and different types of motivational speeches at different times,” revealed Brady, who was seen in a “Make America Great Again” cap recently. “Now that he’s running for president, he sent [Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft] a hat and it found its way to my locker.”

That’s Make America Great, as in Make Tom Brady Richer. Brady has an $8 million salary, and a Republican president means a reduced tax bill, of course.

OLD-TIMERS’ NIGHT: How nice of Athletics general manager-part owner Billy Beane to heed Balls’ advice to call up Barry Zito from the minor leagues, something that should have been done days ago.

Expect Zito to pitch against ex-teammate and Giants’ oldie Tim Hudson when the teams play out the string at Coliseum later this month. The appearances would be the last for both in the major leagues.

While the A’s are at it, they can ask Zito to bring his guitar and play the national anthem. Then Mark Mulder can throw out the first pitch.

BACK IN THE ’BURGH: This is a big week for Pittsburgh-area native Jim Tomsula, whose 49ers will face the favored team of his youth. But the coach says the date with the Steelers will be strictly a business trip and he won’t sneak a Roethlisberger sandwich along the way.

“Yeah, coming through the tunnel and seeing that beautiful city when you come through the tunnel — it’s the only city in the world with an entrance, and you’re just so damn proud of that place,” said Tomsula, who grew up only a few miles from Three Rivers Stadium, the Steelers’ former home.

The only city with an entrance? Tomsula may want to try the Golden Gate Bridge or Bay Bridge sometime.

Pittsburghers are known to be homebodies who rarely travel unless it’s to a Steelers’ road game, and Tomsula says his parents are no different.

“I like to sit in the backyard and have one with my old man and eat some pizza and my mother’s cooking, and everybody comes over and we have a great time,” Tomsula said. “But there won’t be any of that this week.”

RETURN OF MANGENIUS: Tomsula aside, the biggest winner in the 49ers’ season opener was Eric Mangini, who absolutely schooled Norv Turner in the matchup of coordinators. Not bad for a guy who spent the last five years as an ESPN analyst and tight ends coach.

“I was very proud of our defense’s performance, Eric Mangini and his staff,” Tomsula told Balls afterward. “It was a well-called game. It was a good game plan. We’re happy about that.”

Mangini threw a bunch of stacked boxes and run blitzes at the Minnesota Vikings, and the pressure snookered Turner to all but take All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson out of the game. Peterson had been out of football for almost one year, even more reason to get their best player involved early. Instead, Turner put the ball in the hands of quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, his pet project the last two seasons.

Thirty-one players carried the ball more than Peterson (31 yards, 10 tries) in the first week of the season, a list that included rookie T.J. Yeldon and the immortal Danny Woodhead, of course.

DAILY HAYNE: Here’s why 49ers’ rookie Jarryd Hayne had to suit up for the Monday Night Football opener: His NFL regular-season debut drew a higher television audience than for Super Bowl XLIX in Australia.

According to Mumbrella, an Aussie entertainment website, the game drew a record TV audience of 116,000 on ESPN, more than the previous mark of 107,100 for the Super Bowl earlier this year. ESPN is only available on pay television in Australia. The figures do not include those from a station that had the brains to acquire the 49ers’ free-to-air rights this season.

ARE WE THERE YET? The Giants blew a chance to pick up ground on the first-place Dodgers in a four-hour, two-minute marathon at AT&T Park on Tuesday, but did you catch what happened in Los Angeles?

Of course, you didn’t. The Colorado Rockies-Dodgers game didn’t end until 12:33 a.m. following a five-hour, 23-minute taffy pull. Because of expanded rosters, the teams were allowed to call on a major league record 58 players and 24 pitchers in the 16-inning affair.

“It was a weird night all around — a pitcher ends up in right field at the end of the game, it rains in L.A.,” weary Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. “I don’t know how many players we used, but I think we broke some kind of record. It was a strange one.”

Baseball hyperthermia: Cure it!

TIGER IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Tiger Woods will make a rare Bay Area appearance at the Open in Napa next month, but he’s not the same guy the locals last saw in the U.S. Open at the Olympic Club three years ago.

Soon, golf fans may have seen the last of the Frys as well. CEO John Fry would like to move the event to the hoity-toity Institute Course in Morgan Hill in southern Santa Clara County, a move that could happen after next year.

Got an opinion? A gripe? A compliment? (A compliment?!?) Send them to and you may get your name in the paper one day.Barry ZitoBilly BeaneDonald TrumpEric ManginiJim TomsulaOakland A'sRobert KraftSan Francisco 49ersTim HudsonTom Brady

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