Getty Images File PhotoWith the A’s adding enthusiastic Japanese shortstop Hiro Nakajima

Getty Images File PhotoWith the A’s adding enthusiastic Japanese shortstop Hiro Nakajima

San Francisco Giants, Oakland A's give early Christmas gifts

Christmas came early for Giants and A’s fans this season, in two fairly different forms.

The Giants’ gift to their wildly fortunate fan base was straightforward. And as far as gifts go, it was pretty inexpensive.

It was the gift of continuity, in the form of bringing back virtually every meaningful piece of the team that gave its city a second world title in three years.

Most years, re-signing the likes of Marco Scutaro and Angel Pagan wouldn’t hold a candle to a gleaming new luxury car with an obnoxious red bow sitting in the driveway, but this isn’t most years.

Any year that ends with your boys guzzling Champagne stirs visions not of sugarplums dancing, but of the same lovable cast of characters dancing together again. That’s what Scutaro and Pagan represent, as does the return of Hunter Pence and the underhyped but ultra-important return of Santiago Casilla.

These guys helped make it all happen, in stirring fashion, so their presence in 2013 is present enough.
Throw turning the 50-50 prospect of Brian Wilson coming back into a lead-pipe cinch and you’ve got the stocking stuffer of all time.

The A’s faced a far greater challenge in giving their emotional, perpetually scorned but temporarily smitten fans an appropriate gift. Two heart-and-soul guys, Brandon McCarthy and Jonny Gomes, have already taken their leave, and those were big blows.

But in signing Japanese mystery man Hiro Nakajima, who wowed the crowd at his introductory news conference with a megawatt smile and personality galore, the A’s reminded their fans that when it comes to Oakland baseball under the watchful and masterful eye of Billy Beane, unexpected glory is right around the corner.

Will Nakajima be the next Yoenis Cespedes? Perhaps not. In fact, probably not.
But he could be. You just never know when Beane’s going to dig a slider in the dirt and drill it into the left-field corner for a bases-clearing triple.

First time Nakajima does that, A’s fans will once again bow down to the Beane and say, “Thanks.”

ON THE RIGHT PATH: Not to be outdone, the Warriors shopped a little early, too, and came up with a 6-1 road trip recently for their fans, who have so desperately needed a winner to justify their unexplainable loyalty.

Anyone doubting Mark Jackson now? Not likely. But at the risk of being a buzzkill, that loss last week to the Sacramento Kings, followed by a loss to the struggling Los Angeles Lakers, served as a reminder that Jackson — and the Warriors — have a ways to go before we start looking at Oracle Arena seating charts for the playoffs.

As Jackson himself said, “We can certainly be beaten by the best teams in the league, and we can be beaten by the worst.”

When he can no longer say the second half of that sentence, Warriors fans can say their faith has been rewarded.

SPEED ROUND: Great holiday gift idea for the Sharks fan in your life: San Francisco Bulls tickets. Come on — hockey at the Cow Palace? It’s the closest we’ll ever get to the real “Slap Shot.” Do it. Do it. … Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero is one of the best boxers in the world. I used to write about him when he was a prodigy in Gilroy and I was the sports editor of that town’s little daily newspaper. Damn, I feel old. … Speaking of boxing, I saw Oakland’s Andre Ward, also one of the world’s best boxers, walking through a Bay Area mall last week. Not a soul recognized him. That’s the sad state of boxing in a nutshell. … And finally, to my incredible wife and daughters: The cup that is my life would be empty and broken without you. Instead, it’s filled with love and laughter. Thank you and Merry Christmas.

Mychael Urban has covered Bay Area sports for more than 22 years as a contributor to Comcast SportsNet,, KNBR,, ESPN The Magazine and various newspapers. Follow him on Twitter @BigUrbSports. His website is

GiantsMLBOakland A's & MLBSan Francisco Giantssports

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at

Just Posted

U.S. Attorney David Anderson announces federal firearms charges against two men for their roles in a March 2019 shooting outside the Fillmore Heritage Center in a news conference alongside SFPD staff at the Phillip Burton Federal Building on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Departing U.S. attorney predicts corruption probe will continue

David Anderson shook up City Hall as top federal prosecutor

Board of Supervisors President Shamann Walton, a former school board member, has been asked to help secure an agreement between the school district and teacher’s union. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Supervisor Walton tapped to mediate teacher contract talks

District and union at odds over hours in-person students should be in the classroom

California is set to receive supplies of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is still under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (Courtesy photo)
California could receive 380K doses of new J&J COVID vaccine next week

California could receive 380,300 doses of the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine… Continue reading

Disability advocates protested outside the home of San Francisco Health Officer Tomas Aragon. (Courtesy Brooke Anderson)
Vaccine rollout plan for people with disabilities remains deeply flawed

On February 13, disability activists paid a visit to the house of… Continue reading

A Bay Area Concrete Recycling facility that opened on PG&E property in 2019. Former PG&E employees have been accused of accepting bribes from Bay Area Concrete. (Courtesy of Bay Area Concrete Recycling via ProPublica)
Lawsuit reveals new allegations against PG&E contractor accused of fraud

By Scott Morris Bay City News Foundation Utility giant Pacific Gas &… Continue reading

Most Read