Derek Moore's Blog

 


Please Keep Ignoring The 49ers...

This doesn’t surprise the Faithful who follow the Niners. After last week’s NFL action, most of the pundits couldn’t stop talking about the Philadelphia Eagles or the New York Giants… Oh look at the Pittsburgh Steelers, Rex Ryan’s Jets… How ‘bout the New England Patriots and yeah, the Detroit Lions are back! The 49ers get nary a mention, and I suppose that’s just what Jim Harbaugh wants… to stay completely under the radar, to be an afterthought. That’s fine. But I heard a couple of sportscasters struggle through the 49er-Cleveland highlights.. and one guy says  “that’s Isaac SOPO-GO-AH…” You idiot… that’s Isaac SOPO-AGA. But what do you care? Way to do your homework.
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“Who’s Got It Better Than Us?”…

I love hearing Jim Harbaugh exhorting his team in the locker room, “Who’s got it better than us?”  And they yell back.. “Nooo-bodyyyy!”  The new 49ers head coach is driven, intense, competitive… and he’s as tough as nails.  But the genesis of this celebration goes back to his childhood.  I heard Jim tell the story in Andrea Kremer’s excellent piece on HBO’s Real Sports last summer.  It was his dad, the patriarch of the football family and long time college coach Jack Harbaugh who used to ask his young boys, John and Jim…”Who’s got it better than us?”  They would holler from the back seat… “Nooo-bodyyy!”  When Jack Harbaugh, now 72, speaks of how proud he is of his sons, there are tears in his eyes.  And I know he’s now watching these locker room exchanges, which were born in their tiny house a generation ago.   When he hears “Who’s got it better than us?”…  I can only imagine the pride that fills his heart. monica’sdad photo
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49ers.. On An Unlikely Roll…

After The Bee’s Vic Contreras pointed out that, for the 49ers, this season feels a little like 1981..  how can you not get excited?  30 years ago, the Niners had come off a 6-10 season… after missing the playoffs for the eighth consecutive time.  This year, the 49ers are coming off a 6-10 season… after missing the playoffs for, uh… the eighth consecutive time.  We all know what happened in 1981.  The Bill Walsh-led Cinderella team went all the way to the Super Bowl… and won it.  I know, it’s way too early to think about anything beyond the next game.  But no one expected Jim Harbaugh’s guys to be 5-1 at this point.  Most of the “experts” picked the Rams to win the West.  And no, we don’t have Joe Montana.  But 1981 was long before Jerry Rice.  Their running back that year was Lenvil Elliott… and the tight end was Charle Young.  They were underdogs to the very end.  That’s the way we like it.  So whatever happens….at least 49er football is fun again.  I know we didn’t say that very much last year. xoque photo
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La Russa.. “What Are You Doing Here?”…

The whole game was sort of bizarre… a series of botched moves, misplays and lack of clutch hitting.  At least on the part of the St. Louis Cardinals.  But what everybody’s talking about is Tony La Russa’s failure to bring in closer Jason Motte in a critical moment.  Was this actually because of a miscommunication between the dugout and the bullpen?   The wrong guy comes out to pitch?  I suppose that’s possible, but doesn’t that sound kinda fishy?  Dave Sheinin of the Washington Post thinks there’s something missing from the story, and he explains here. Maybe the manager is covering for somebody… maybe Motte wasn’t ready.   Perhaps we’ll never know.  But that’s a big loss for the Cards, and they’re up against it now.  The only thing weirder… would have been a call to the bullpen, and out trots…  Charlie Sheen. Keithallison photo
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Alex Smith.. At Last…

I just want good things to happen to this guy.  No, I didn’t expect him to return to the 49ers this season.  He’s been vilified, spit on, virtually tarred and feathered… and blamed for everything including the Lindbergh kidnapping.  To say his first six seasons were a little rocky is the understatement of the year.  But look what’s happened.  Sports Illustrated’s Jim Trotter says Alex is “reborn.”  With Jim Harbaugh on board… and with essentially the same roster as last year… the Niners are 5-1.  I thought if Alex Smith was just decent this year, it would be a confidence boost for him.  He’s been better than that.  And this humble kid (who’s the same age as Tim Lincecum), still gives credit to his teammates.  And his guys love him back.  The other day, Frank Gore said “Number 11’s coming!  You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”  If Alex keeps this up, he’ll be more than the Comeback Player of the Year… he’ll be Comeback Player of The Decade.  No, Alex Smith is not Joe Montana.  The good news is…. he doesn’t have to be.  In this week’s SI, Peter King suggests that Alex Smith vs. Aaron Rodgers in the NFC title game is not impossible.  Yes, this is the same Peter King who picked the Rams to win the West. monica’sdad photo
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Bryant Gumbel.. What Were You Thinking?

One of my favorite shows is Real Sports on HBO, which seems to pop up once a month.  Investigative pieces, player profiles, behind the scenes stories.. they’re always top notch, and well worth finding.  But this month’s commentary by Bryant Gumbel on the status of the NBA lockout is what’s drawing a lot of heat.  He made reference to NBA Commissioner David Stern as “a modern day plantation overseer.”  Yikes.  Are you kidding?  A slavery reference?  You obviously knew that would light a fire.  Well, if you just wanted to get Real Sports some attention… you certainly got your wish.  I don’t suppose this discussion will die down anytime soon.  Shaun Powell of ESPNNewYork.com writes, “You can disagree with his tactics and his strategy and his idea of what makes for a financially stable NBA.  But you can’t, under any circumstances, compare the most progressive commissioner in sports to a slave owner.” otterman56 photo
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The Handshake = The Season…

I know, you’ve heard about the overblown Harbaugh-Schwartz incident a hundred times this week.  But I realized that the Handshake and ensuing melee, which took all of about 12 seconds… is a microcosm of what the 49ers have done to most of their opponents this season.  They get under your skin, and there’s nothing you can do about it.  Getting beat by a bunch of no-names is so humiliating that afterward you chase them across the field and yell, “You ruined my day!”  They not only refuse to apologize.. they’re laughing all the way to the locker room. xoque photo
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Dan Wheldon.. 1978 – 2011

IndyCar racing star Dan Wheldon is gone, following one of the worst crashes in the history of the sport… at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.  He was a husband, a father… a champion and friend to many.  Along with millions, I love the sport of auto racing.  Of course, there’s risk and danger.  And some will say that any race track is an accident waiting to happen.  But there have been serious doubts about the safety of the steeply banked Las Vegas layout for years.. that it’s too fast, too dangerous.  When someone as experienced as Dario Franchitti says, “IndyCars shouldn’t be racing here”..  someone should listen. macahanC6R photo
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Boston Cleans House…

Wait… didn’t Terry Francona and GM Theo Epstein help the Boston Red Sox win two World Series after they hadn’t sniffed a Championship in a hundred years?  Oh well, anyone can have a good decade.  Rick Adelman was there for the Kings’ best years.  Let’s run him out.  Steve Mariucci?  The last guy to take the 49ers to a playoff win.  We’re making some changes.  Bill Neukom?  Ten months after The Parade down Market Street… who does he think he is?  I know, you raise the bar so high… expectations change.  Everybody gets hypercritical.  Fans, sportswriters, the big wigs.  Even Christopher Columbus, after opening the door to the New World… was shackled and sent to prison.  I guess the more things change, the more they stay the same. keithallison photo
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Thuuhhhh Yankees Wiiinnnnn!.. Oh Wait…

Yeah, the three highest payrolls in baseball are done.. finished for the season.  And though Alex Rodriguez took it like a man, to see the highest paid guy in the universe make the final out somehow felt righteous to the Yankee Haters. And the Red Sox collapse? Please.  Well, Terry Francona must’ve gotten stupid.  You won’t have him to kick around anymore.  Oh, and the Phillies? I get the impression they’re still bitter that the San Francisco Giants embarrassed them last year.  The Giants had to have been a fluke, as if they stole their rightful crown.  So this year would be different… Philadelphia put together the best starting staff in baseball.  All that got you is a seat on the sidelines.  How do you like the view?  Now it’s down to the Tigers, Rangers, Brewers and Cardinals.  To be World Champions, just about everything has to go right in October.  For only one of them, everything will. gaspa photo
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Dream Team Experiences.. A Nightmare…

Oh the 49ers didn’t do much.  They only came from 20 down midway through the third quarter to upset the Philadelphia Eagles on the road… and are now an unlikely 3-1.  Yeah the Eagles, known as The Dream Team, amassed a staggering 500 yards on offense… and Michael Vick is as dangerous as advertised.  So how in the world did this happen?  That’s what Philly coach Andy Reid is wondering.  His tight-lipped post game comments were priceless… he was STEAMING.  Did the Eagles aid in their embarrassment?  Of course… two field goals missed and a couple of big fumbles.  But the 49ers took advantage… and with every first down, every completed pass, every dive into the end zone…. their confidence grows.  And it looks like DeSean Jackson likes to trash talk before the game's over.  You know what that makes you?  1-3.  Hilarious. xoque photo
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Moneyball Is.. Money…

I was wrong about Moneyball. I thought it unlikely that anyone who’s not a baseball fan would be very interested in stats, on-base percentage and the Oakland A's.  But sure enough, it’s scoring big box office numbers… and as baseball movies go, it’s got plenty of mainstream appeal. But Moneyball is not just about baseball is it?  It’s for anybody who’s ever dreamed of taking on the big guys, of challenging the way things are…  and it’s about believing in yourself.  I loved this movie.  Finding undervalued players is at the core of the story.  And I was wondering if there’s a sabermetrics for offensive linemen?  I mean the 49ers could use some help there… kei! photo
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Red Sox Nation.. Seeing Red…

And I thought the Giants Faithful were a little down.  They’re downright giddy compared to what Boston Red Sox fans must be feeling today.  What happened last night, the culmination of a horrendous free fall… was cruelty personified.  They went into September with a nine game lead.. and squandered it away.  No matter how you try and explain it… injuries, weariness, bad karma, the moon not in alignment… you can’t go 7-20 down the stretch and expect a parade.  And the Atlanta Braves, who had a ten game lead over the Cardinals in late August… couldn’t gather any momentum, and lost their final five games.  Goodnight.  The offseason can be long, cold stretch.  It’s especially lonely when you can’t help but feel.. that you choked. keithallison photo
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Was That The “Deke” Of The Year?

My reaction was…”Wait a minute… what just happened there?”  Late in the Bears-Packers game, the Chicago Bears nearly  pulled off one of the great misdirection plays in the history of televised football.  The Pack, with a comfortable lead, punted to Chicago.  Then, things got more than a little weird.  Devin Hester, the most dangerous return man in football, pretended to drift under the ball… and so did his teammates.  The Packers headed straight for him.  But the ball actually came down on the other side of the field, where it was caught by Johnny Knox, who streaked down the right sideline for a touchdown… or so we thought.  A holding call negated what will be remembered as one of the coolest trick plays in the NFL archives.  Actually, Joe Buck didn’t get too excited about it… I kind of wish Al Michaels had the call. monica’sdad photo
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Put Us Out Of Our Misery…

Of course it’s a dagger in the heart of the ever loyal Giants fans, who’ve grinded out every at-bat, every heartbreaking loss.  But come on, it’s been damned entertaining.  With the absolutely woeful, impotent offense… these guys should have finished in the cellar.  Only the pitching has kept them in contention for this long.  I mean, it seems like they’ve lost 100 games 2-1 or 1-0…. It happened over and over again.  I know, if Tim Lincecum had been with the Yankees, he’d be 21-6.  Same with Matt Cain. We get it.  But it’s a tough game, and there’s a fine line between an empty stadium and a packed house.  You played your asses off, and it didn’t work out.  So hold your heads high.  All in all, it’s been quite a ride.  Can’t wait for spring training. auntijuli photo
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Wait.. You Can’t Put Jesus In Jail…

In a story that has rocked the poker community, the US Justice Department has accused principals of Full Tilt Poker... of defrauding thousands of online poker players out of more than $300 million that is still owed to them.  This isn’t some nickel and dime website… it’s been one of the best known, heavily promoted sites out there.   A US attorney said “Full Tilt was not a legitimate poker company, but a global Ponzi scheme.” And those named in the civil suit include Howard Lederer and Chris “Jesus” Ferguson.  Yikes.  Those who follow the game will tell you that these two don’t exactly fit the profile of “sleazy crooks.”  They’re two of the best known players in the world, whose reputations were impeccable.  Until now.  In any case, this doesn’t look good… and I’m anxious to see how this all shakes out.  All I know is… you just can’t put a guy named “Jesus” behind bars. ralphunden photo
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Winning.. Can Be A Problem…

I agree with Monty Poole of the San Jose Mercury News.. who’s recent story suggests that success can be hazardous to your career.  Yeah, prosperity can be costly.  The Golden State Warriors had gone years without sniffing the playoffs.  Then, not long after upsetting top seed Dallas one year, GM Chris Mullin was gone.  The last time the 49ers won the NFC West, they actually made it to the second round of the playoffs.  Not good enough… Steve Mariucci was fired.  Rick Adelman had a marvelous run with the Sacramento Kings, and he was then run out of town.  The Giants took it to Game Seven of the 2002 World Series.  What happened to the manager, Dusty Baker?  Oh, gone.  And now, not even a year removed from the uncontrolled euphoria down Market Street, the World Series Champions’ top guy, Bill Neukom, has been escorted out of the building.  So there it is.  Give it all you’ve got… play your heart out… then watch your back. MarianneO’Leary photo
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Panda-monium…

As the Giants’ season comes to an end, those of us who’ve lived and died with every pitch know the highs and lows of trying to do the near impossible… repeat as World Series Champions.  But they sure have been fun to watch.  There are new kids coming into their own.. Brett Pill, Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford and Madison Bumgarner.  And Ryan Vogelsong has been the feel-good story of the year.  But I don’t think I’ve seen anyone play the game with more joy, more enthusiasm than the Panda.  Pablo Sandoval. He looks like he embraces every moment of every inning with a free-spirited, unapologetic love of the game, and it infuses those around him with the same spirit.  The other night, I saw his reaction when a teammate hit a home run.  With legs that must be bone-weary, the Panda jumped so high, his head hit the top of the dugout.  Watching Panda.. has been a joy.  Now, Brandon Belt?  He’s kinda dour. SDDirk photo
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Niners-Cowboys.. Let’s Get Real…

Of course the 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys have a long history… and plenty of pundits can’t stop bringing that up.  Oh, the “Rivalry”… Oh, it’s “The Catch”… Oh, it’s Bill Walsh and Tom Landry…I know every blogger, tweeter and self-described expert has to fill up time and space.  What does it all mean for Sunday?  It doesn’t mean squat.  This is about 2011, and I’ll go out on the limb and say Jim Harbaugh is living in the moment.  He doesn’t care what Michael Irvin or Troy Aikman thinks.  He’s game planning for Tony Romo, Dez Bryant and holy smokes… what are we gonna do about DeMarcus Ware?    Yes, this is an important game for Mr. Harbaugh and the Niners, who started last year 0-5.  So all the blowhard talk can be distilled into one sentence:  “If the underdog 49ers can find a way to eke out an unlikely win over the Cowboys, they’ll be 2-0 with momentum on their side.”  What’s your deal? Cliff1066 photo
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The Scoop…

With so many beat writers following the San Francisco Giants, there’s naturally a lot of overlapping coverage.  That’s fine with us fans, who want to hear, see and read every morsel of every little detail about the Orange and Black.  But when it all hit the fan yesterday, only one guy, Mark Purdy of the San Jose Mercury News, broke the stunning story. Mark’s homework obviously paid off, and he had the scoop of the year….that Giants’ managing general partner and chief executive officer Bill Neukom was out as head honcho, after a fallout with the Executive Committee of the Giants’ ownership group.  Derek Moore and I were talking about the fact that anyone can be a blogger… anyone can tweet whatever they want.  But this is old school journalism… a lot of digging, prodding, protecting sources and sifting through what’s fact and what isn’t.  Nice work, Mark.  By the way, the company line is that this is a “retirement.”  Hilarious. btwashburn photo
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Belichick: A Football Life…

I think the creativity and vision of those at the helm of NFL Films have been, in no small measure, responsible for the skyrocketing popularity of NFL Football in America.  The emotion of Vince Lombardi on the sideline, the booming voice of John Facenda announcing the arrival of the Oakland Raiders, that spiral from Montana to Clark… these moments lovingly captured on film have made a great game even greater.  So when I found out that the producers at NFL Films are behind a new series, A Football Life… well, I wanted you to know about it.  Their first subject is Patriots coach Bill Belichick, the only coach ever wired for sound for an entire NFL season.  By the way, of all the coaches who could have agreed to this kind of access, the last one I would expect would be Mr. Belichick.  Isn’t he the guy under the hoodie who never answers questions?  I mean he makes Jim Harbaugh look like a chatterbox.  So here it comes…  Part I of Bill Belichick:  A Football Life premieres exclusively on the NFL Network tomorrow. keithallison photo
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Harbaugh.. The Phil Ivey Of The NFL…

The thing that drives the media horde crazy about 49ers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh is what I love the most.  He just doesn’t answer their questions with much… well, with much substance.  He’s vague, elusive, snarky and not very forthcoming.  And the dumber the questions get, the less he says.  Hilarious.   I guess people expect him to explain his thought process about the offense, defense, special teams… play calling and what he’ll have for dinner.  His attitude seems to be “I’ll just keep that to myself, thank you.”  Jim Harbaugh reminds me of the best poker players I’ve seen… like Tom Dwan, Patrik Antonius and Phil Ivey. They say nothing, show nothing,  reveal even less.… then stack you off.  Will this be a fun season?  I’ll just keep that to myself… ralphunden photo
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The Hug…

Alex Smith.. a resurrection?  Too early to tell.  But this was huge for him… seven years of underachieving, and now he wins?  Sure he was only 15 for 20, but what was more significant was what DIDN’T happen:  He didn’t fumble, throw an interception, get sacked…. or run out of time getting a play call in.   It’s only one game, but The Jim Harbaugh Era has begun.. and this means way more than just beating the Seahawks.  Things have changed, and here’s how I know…  It was The Hug. When Alex came to the bench following his touchdown plunge, the coach hugged his quarterback as if he’d just won Dancing With The Stars.  I thought he was gonna French Kiss him.  That moment told me this team has moved on… from the darkness of Singletary-Nolan-Erickson to something resembling hope.  Yeah, Dallas is coming in and we could lose to the Cowboys 45-3… so what?  For the moment, the 49ers are tied for first place.  And after what we’ve seen the last few years, isn't that worth a hug? monica’sdad photo
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I’m Ready For Fantasy Football.. Oh Wait…

I suddenly felt like jumping into a Fantasy Football League… then I caught myself.  What am I thinking?  I don’t do Fantasy Football.  Oh, I know it’s taken the country by storm…  there are even a dozen sports shows devoting precious airtime to fake roster spots.  I get it.  And all of my friends are ready to roll.  Brian, Derek, Chris and Lizann are obsessed….up to their necks in draft picks, trades and speculation.  They’re wondering when I’ll join the rest of civilization and finally take the plunge.  Being an “imaginary” General Manager/Head Coach?  I don’t think so… I have enough trouble with real life.  And as the All-Pro is carted off the field with a career-threatening injury, you know what the guy on the couch is saying?   “That better not be my tight end!” gongus photo
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Take A Pill.. And Call Me In The Morning…

As the pennant chase takes a dark turn for the Giants, there’s a bright light on the horizon… or at least we hope there is.  And hope is a precious commodity now.  Giants minor league prospect Brett Pill, who will turn 27 tomorrow, finally made his Major League debut on Tuesday and hit the first pitch he swung at off the second deck of the Western Metal Supply Company.  Before Duane Kuiper got to “High Drive..” it was gone.  Then yesterday, ho hum…. he another home run. And he’s been in the bigs two days.  A lot of fans are wondering why he wasn’t brought up sooner….  he’s actually older than Matt Cain, Panda, Brandon Belt and of course Madison Bumgarner.  Guess he was biding his time.  It remains to be seen if a nickname will stick… “Pill The Thrill,” “The Pill-ager,” “Brett The Threat,”…..Well, if you keep hittin’, who cares? randychiu photo
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The Day It Ended…

Sunday was a Ryan Vogelsong gem.. maybe his finest performance of the year.  In front of a packed house (as every home game is), the series clincher with the D-backs was a microcosm of the season of 2011.  A Giants pitcher puts it on the line and gets absolutely no support when he needs it most.  When you’re last in just about every offensive category, what do you expect?  Pathetic, heartbreaking… and hard to watch.  So what now?  Well, suck it up… give the youngsters some experience, play your ass off and hold your head high.  It’s been a hell of a run. auntijuli photo
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Thank You Sports Illustrated…

For predicting the 49ers will finish in the cellar of the Tough-As-Nails NFC West.  This all takes me back to last year.  The Niners had actually won all of their exhibition games.. and players, media and fans were pretty jacked up.  I recall several “experts” picking the 49ers to do well… maybe even winning the division.  We all know how that turned out.  The predictable offense, botched time outs, porous secondary…. “I’ve got to look at the film..”  Make no mistake, grizzled Niner fans aren’t expecting miracles.  This will be a long road to respectability.  But maybe the Jim Harbaugh-led roster has found some hope, some new life after last night’s inspired play. And he won’t have to “look at the film.” monica’sdad photo
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The Shakeup…

Though people have been grumbling about Aaron Rowand and Miguel Tejada for weeks (or months), it was still a bombshell when they were shown the door yesterday.  Check out Andrew Baggarly’s excellent piece here…. And Mark Purdy’s here. The moment the story hit, the change in body language was palpable… the bounce in the step was back.  And I’m talking about the fans.  The players?  Well, they went out and won a game.. and actually looked like they were having fun.  To say Rowand has not performed is the understatement of the year, and you get the impression he wasn’t exactly a breath of fresh air in the clubhouse.  As for Tejada, Bruce Jenkins said “He hung himself the other day when he said, glumly, ‘I just work here’….  explaining why he didn’t run hard to first base when asked to bunt… but that’s the attitude of a quitter.”  Some managers would have cut him right there.  Matter of fact, the moment after Miggie completes his slow trot to first base,  I envision a golf cart arriving with all his bags packed.  It picks him up….whisks him down the line and through a gate in the right field fence.  Goodbye and Good Luck. sddirk photo
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Harbaugh-Speak…

Niner fans are understandably anxious about tomorrow.  We don’t know what we’re going to get.  What started out as unbridled optimism turned south pretty quickly, especially after last week’s embarrassing debacle against Houston.  Of course, it’s only preseason but a bad night is a bad night.  Even Head Coach Jim Harbaugh seemed at a loss for words.  I enjoyed the Barry Tompkins piece on what Jim really means.  JH Answer:  “We’re in training camp mode.”  What JH really means:  “Right now, we suck.”  Matter of fact, this is kind of a pattern these days… and I don’t blame him.  When he says “I have a lot of respect for Taylor Mays”..  I think he means “I’m glad he’s not in our secondary.”  “Their offense will be a challenge..” is code for… “I hope they don’t drop 60 on us.”  How about Colin Kaepernick?  “I just want to get better every day.”  Which means  “I’m so confused I can’t even think straight.”  And when the coach says “I don’t want to single anyone out.”  I think he means “What was Joe Staley doing while they were running by him… taking pictures?” monica’sdad photo
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Witness To A Meltdown…

Don’t blame Tim Lincecum for those gopher balls he served up.  Here’s my take on the situation… The Giants have had a first class pitching staff, and a last place offense.  Sooner or later, the bottom drags down the top.  You just can’t ask a pitcher to throw a shutout every single game.  Giving up one run is fine… but when it gets to two, the roof caves in. He’s thinking “Oh no… we’re sunk now..”  You can see it in the body language.  It’s happened to Timmy, to Cain, to Vogelsong and to Mad Bum.  The shocking thing is they haven’t snapped… thrown tantrums, taken hostages.  And Shawn Estes says “Well, you can’t think that way.”  Guess what Sherlock, they’re all thinking that way, ‘cuz they’re human.  I’d bet the Huntington Beach Little Leaguers could take two out of three from the Giants.  I wish I was kidding… sddirk photo
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Desperate Measures…

Ask any Giants fan…. These are desperate times. After last night’s embarrassing loss to the lowly Houston Astros (again), you get the feeling Bruce Bochy’s gonna blow his top.  And with that size 8 ¼ noggin, that could do a lot more damage than that little 5.8 quake the other day.  Yeah, former minor league journeyman Henry Sosa was pitching on three days rest, and the Giants hitters turned Henry into Bob Gibson.  It was like watching the Hindenburg in slow motion… you know what’s about to happen, and you can’t stop it.  So what do you do, bench some guys?  It’s slim pickings there.   They’ve got more guys that are bedridden than a hospital ship.  How ‘bout the young dudes?  If you’re gonna fail, I’d rather lose with Brandon Crawford, Brett Pill, Gary Brown, Darren Ford and Eric Surkamp.  How could they be worse than your current killer lineup?  Oh by the way…  before last night, Houston had lost 25 of 30 games on the road.  Did I say it was hard to watch? misschatter photo
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The Silence Of The Lambs…

If it wasn’t so painful,  it’d be laughable.  Where’s Carlos Beltran?  Brian Wilson?  How about Andres Torres, Sergio Romo?  Is Miguel Tejada a double play waiting to happen or am I just being a cruel pessimist?  This is crunch time, and the Giants are playing their worst baseball of the year.  When the Pirates had a Ten Game Losing Streak…  the Giants were just what the doctor ordered.  Florida had lost 7 in a row…  hey, bring on the Giants.  You get the picture.  And Houston, who’ve already lost nearly 100 games… slapped the Giants around all week.  Had Panda not gone deep yesterday, I’m telling you, Bruce Bochy was on the verge of taking hostages and barricading a convenience store.  And stop saying the Giants are set to play some losing teams.  I promise you, they’re all lickin’ their chops to get at the World Champs.  I know we’ve got more than a month to go.  But with apologies to Yogi Berra…. It’s getting’ late early. auntijuli photo
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Giants Tie Phillies.. Of 1914…

In the midst of this feeble stretch of excruciating Giants losses, they actually tied a home run record. Well, it’s not one you’d want to brag about.  When Pablo Sandoval cranked one out yesterday, it was the 19th consecutive SOLO home run the club has hit.  Way to get on base.  No Major League team has had that many solo shots in a row…  since the Philadelphia Phillies of 1914.  Their star pitcher that year was Grover Cleveland Alexander. As a matter of fact, if the Hall of Famer were still around, he could have entered the game for Jonathan Sanchez.  Although he’d be 124 years old, I still think Mr. Alexander would have had better command of the strike zone. pvsbond photo
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Facing Tim Lincecum?… How Fun…

I’m not sure if this would be the ultimate honor or the ultimate humiliation.  Giants ace Tim Lincecum is challenging fans to a video competition in which they are asked to duplicate his unorthodox delivery on video… for an opportunity to hit against him at spring training next year.  Oh yeah, stepping in against the two-time Cy Young Award winner with the 94 mph fastball?  That should be tons of fun.  Entries are open through September 16.  Go to facebook.com/timlincecum. Actually, I’m hoping for a contest in which you can try and strike out Aaron Rowand. You might get more entries for that. sddirk photo
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Bruce Bochy.. Snuffed Out…

Just a pinch between your cheek and gums… Yes, this little endeavor of sucking on smokeless tobacco is all too pervasive in the field and in the dugouts of Major League Baseball.  And I think we all know that it’s a nasty, poisonous habit…. and that nothing good will come of it.  Janie McCaule of AP has a great story about Giants skipper Bruce Bochy, who’d been “dipping” for nearly 40 years…. and has quit with the help of hypnotherapist Dr. AlVera Paxon.  She also helped bullpen catcher Billy Hayes and long time equipment manager Mike Murphy kick the dip.  Amazing… congratulations.  Derek Moore tells me that Dr. Paxon’s next project is Barry Zito… in an effort to help him give up baseball… qnr photo
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Caddie Wins Bridgestone.. Oh Wait…

As far as I could tell, he didn’t hit a single drive, nail an approach shot or sink any putts.  But the unquestioned media darling coming off the green at Bridgestone was Stevie Williams. I know you’re the world’s greatest caddie… I get it.  Yes, you wanted everyone to know how badly Tiger treated you.. Okay.  But when the media horde surrounded you, I was hoping that you’d try and squeeze in the fact that this was Adam Scott’s day… that he played really well and beat a terrific field.  That didn’t happen.  It was all about ME.  MY vindication, MY tournament win.  I was actually embarrassed.  The irony is… had you shown a little humility, I think your status as “caddie-hero” would have been even more enhanced.  So much for the Three Caddie Rules:   Wake up; Keep up; and Shut Up. thegordons photo
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The Barry Zito Saga…

Wealthy beyond most people’s dreams, he’s been humiliated, vilified and blamed for every major disaster including the Lindbergh kidnapping.  Okay, it hasn’t been easy.  Barry Zito’s never whined, cursed the media or played the diva.  But it’s becoming increasingly clear that highest paid guy on your team can’t get anybody out.  This just in… that’s hard to do with a belt high change-up or an 82 mph fastball.  He’s not a criminal.  He’s just not getting it done on the mound.  No matter how much money you have, that’s tough to swallow.  If I’m Bruce Bochy, I’d invent an injury and put you on the DL until September comes.  Oh wait… I guess that already happened. slgckgc photo
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Phillies Sweep Giants.. Oh Wait...

You could just feel it…  This was the payback series for the Phillies fans.  How could the Left Coast Misfits steal the thunder from the vaunted Phils last year?  The Giants got lucky, they got all the breaks, they got hot at just the right time…they’re a fluke, and on and on and on.   But not this time, not in the Phillies ballpark.  The Phils pitching is the best in the bigs… their bats will maul you, and they haven’t lost two games in a row at home since April 19.  They’re the big dogs… and they know it.  But things got real quiet yesterday, as sick little Tim Lincecum and the Giants bullpen shut down Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Shane Victorino on the way to taking two of three.  Talk about putting a damper on the festivities…  kind of like that shower in the late innings.  Obviously I still think the Philadelphia Phillies are the team to beat, but on this day… the silence was deafening.  Oh, did I mention… the Phillies hadn’t lost two in a row at home since April 19th? hjwest photo
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Giants Land The Biggest Fish…

The speculation was mind boggling.  Oh, it’ll never be Beltran… It’ll be Cuddyer… no BJ Upton… no Hunter Pence…And when the tweets were coming in yesterday, they literally were changing by the moment.  The Giants are giving up Gary Brown… no, it’s Brown, Jonathan Sanchez and Zack Wheeler.  No, they’re giving up 4 blocks of Chinatown and Lombard Street… But it’s over.  Six time All Star Carlos Beltran will be in the lineup today as a San Francisco Giant.  I can’t wait until he returns to AT & T Park.  Jeff Keppinger got a standing ovation when he came out of the dugout for the first time.  Keppinger!  When Beltran strides to the plate… there could be a police escort, fly-over… and a parade.  Does this guarantee that the offense will improve?  No.  But I like our chances. keithallison photo
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The Harbaugh Era.. It’s On…

I know, it's been hard to watch the sinking ship known as the 49ers these past few seasons.  Nolan’s awful… Singletary’s a disaster… how can you bring Alex Smith back!  You’ve heard it all.  And now, Takeo Spikes is shown the door… and say goodbye to center David Baas.  The dominos are beginning to fall as summer camp finally gets rolling, and more are falling by the minute.  Is there a lot of room for improvement?  Of course..  and this is a monstrous work in progress.  But in my view, the wild card is Jim Harbaugh. The new coach is just nutty enough… passionate, wound-up and committed to a fault to make a difference in these underachievers.  The 49ers won all of 6 games last year.  But 7 games won the division.   SEVEN!  So who’s playbook do you want out there, Harbaugh’s… or Singletary’s?  I rest my case. monica’s dad photo
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The President Makes Time…

While this visit was under the radar for the rest of the country, I think the Giants Faithful were thrilled that the President of the United States made time to honor the World Champion San Francisco Giants.  Sure, this has been a yearly tradition since President Reagan’s time in the White House, but these were The Misfits… and it was great to see the SFGiants video of the ceremony.  Within an hour, the President would prepare to address the nation.  With critical economic troubles looming, it’s hard to imagine one human being having this much on his plate.  Bill Neukom has got to be thinking….”Wow, I can sure relate to the debt crisis… I mean we’ve got Barry Zito….” dcjohn photo
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