This doesnât surprise the Faithful who follow the Niners.Â After last weekâs NFL action, most of the pundits couldnât stop talking about the Philadelphia Eagles or the New York Giantsâ¦ Oh look at the Pittsburgh Steelers, Rex Ryanâs Jetsâ¦ How âbout the New England Patriots and yeah, the Detroit Lions are back!Â The 49ers get nary a mention, and I suppose thatâs just what Jim Harbaugh wantsâ¦ to stay completely under the radar, to be an afterthought.Â Thatâs fine.Â But I heard a couple of sportscasters struggle through the 49er-Cleveland highlights..Â and one guy says Â âthatâs Isaac SOPO-GO-AHâ¦âÂ You idiotâ¦ thatâs Isaac SOPO-AGA.But what do you care?Â Way to do your homework.
I love hearing Jim Harbaugh exhorting his team in the locker room, âWhoâs got it better than us?âÂ And they yell back.. âNooo-bodyyyy!âÂ The new 49ers head coach is driven, intense, competitiveâ¦ and heâs as tough as nails.Â But the genesis of thisÂ celebration goes back to his childhood.Â I heard Jim tell the story in Andrea Kremerâs excellent piece on HBOâs Real Sports last summer.Â It was his dad, the patriarch of theÂ football family and long time college coach Jack Harbaugh who used to ask his young boys, John and Jimâ¦âWhoâs got it better than us?âÂ They would holler from the back seatâ¦ âNooo-bodyyy!âÂ When Jack Harbaugh, now 72, speaks of how proud he is of his sons, there are tears in his eyes.Â And I know heâs now watching these locker room exchanges, which were born in their tiny house a generation ago.Â Â When he hears âWhoâs got it better than us?ââ¦Â I can only imagine the pride that fills his heart.
After The Beeâs Vic Contreras pointed outthat, for the 49ers, this season feels a little like 1981..Â how can you not get excited?Â 30 years ago, the Niners had come off a 6-10 seasonâ¦ after missing the playoffs for the eighth consecutive time.Â This year, the 49ers are coming off a 6-10 seasonâ¦ after missing the playoffs for, uhâ¦ the eighth consecutive time.Â We all know what happened in 1981.Â The Bill Walsh-led Cinderella team went all the way to the Super Bowlâ¦ and won it.Â I know, itâs way too early to think about anything beyond the next game.Â But no one expected Jim Harbaughâs guys to be 5-1 at this point.Â Most of the âexpertsâ picked the Rams to win the West.Â And no, we donât have Joe Montana.Â But 1981 was long before Jerry Rice.Â Their running back that year was Lenvil Elliottâ¦ and the tight end was Charle Young.Â They were underdogs to the very end.Â Thatâs the way we like it.Â So whatever happensâ¦.at least 49er football is fun again.Â I know we didnât say that very much last year.
The whole game was sort of bizarreâ¦ a series of botched moves, misplays and lack of clutch hitting.Â At least on the part of the St. Louis Cardinals.Â But what everybodyâs talking about is Tony La Russaâs failure to bring in closer Jason Motte in a critical moment.Â Was this actually because of a miscommunication between the dugout and the bullpen?Â Â The wrong guy comes out to pitch?Â I suppose thatâs possible, but doesnât that sound kinda fishy?Â Dave Sheinin of the Washington Post thinks thereâs something missing from the story, and he explains here. Maybe the manager is covering for somebodyâ¦ maybe Motte wasnât ready.Â Â Perhaps weâll never know.Â But thatâs a big loss for the Cards, and theyâre up against it now.Â The only thing weirderâ¦ would have been a call to the bullpen, and out trotsâ¦ Â Charlie Sheen.
I just want good things to happen to this guy.Â No, I didnât expect him to return to the 49ers this season.Â Heâs been vilified, spit on, virtually tarred and featheredâ¦ and blamed for everything including the Lindbergh kidnapping.Â To say his first six seasons were a little rocky is the understatement of the year.Â But look whatâs happened.Â Sports Illustratedâs Jim Trotter says Alex is âreborn.âÂ With Jim Harbaugh on boardâ¦ and with essentially the same roster as last yearâ¦ the Niners are 5-1.Â I thought if Alex Smith was just decent this year, it would be a confidence boost for him.Â Heâs been better than that.Â And this humble kid (whoâs the same age as Tim Lincecum), still gives credit to his teammates.Â And his guys love him back.Â The other day, Frank Gore said âNumber 11âs coming!Â You ainât seen nothinâ yet.âÂ If Alex keeps this up, heâll be more than the Comeback Player of the Yearâ¦ heâll be Comeback Player of The Decade.Â No, Alex Smith is not Joe Montana.Â The good news isâ¦. he doesnât have to be.Â In this weekâs SI, Peter Kingsuggests that Alex Smith vs. Aaron Rodgers in the NFC title game is not impossible.Â Yes, this is the same Peter King who picked the Rams to win the West.
One of my favorite shows is Real Sports on HBO, which seems to pop up once a month.Â Investigative pieces, player profiles, behind the scenes stories.. theyâre always top notch, and well worth finding.Â But this monthâs commentary by Bryant Gumbelon the status of the NBA lockout is whatâs drawing a lot of heat.Â He made reference to NBA Commissioner David Stern as âa modern day plantation overseer.âÂ Yikes.Â Are you kidding?Â A slavery reference?Â You obviously knew that would light a fire.Â Well, if you just wanted to get Real Sports some attentionâ¦ you certainly got your wish.Â I donât suppose this discussion will die down anytime soon.Â Shaun Powell of ESPNNewYork.comwrites, âYou can disagree with his tactics and his strategy and his idea of what makes for a financially stable NBA.Â But you canât, under any circumstances, compare the most progressive commissioner in sports to a slave owner.â
I know, youâve heard about the overblown Harbaugh-Schwartz incidenta hundred times this week.Â But I realized that the Handshake and ensuing melee, which took all of about 12 secondsâ¦ is a microcosm of what the 49ers have done to most of their opponents this season.Â They get under your skin, and thereâs nothing you can do about it.Â Getting beat by a bunch of no-names is so humiliating that afterward you chase them across the field and yell, âYou ruined my day!âÂ They not only refuse to apologize.. theyâre laughing all the way to the locker room.
IndyCar racing star Dan Wheldon is gone, following one of the worst crashes in the history of the sportâ¦ at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.Â He was a husband, a fatherâ¦ a champion and friend to many.Â Along with millions, I love the sport of auto racing.Â Of course, thereâs risk and danger.Â And some will say that any race track is an accident waiting to happen.Â But there have beenserious doubtsabout the safety of the steeply banked Las Vegas layout for years.. that itâs too fast, too dangerous.Â When someone as experienced as Dario Franchitti says, âIndyCars shouldnât be racing hereâ..Â someone should listen.
Waitâ¦ didnât Terry Francona and GM Theo Epstein help the Boston Red Sox win two World Series after they hadnât sniffed a Championship in a hundred years?Â Oh well, anyone can have a good decade.Â Rick Adelman was there for the Kingsâ best years.Â Letâs run him out.Â Steve Mariucci?Â The last guy to take the 49ers to a playoff win.Â Weâre making some changes. Â Bill Neukom?Â Ten months after The Parade down Market Streetâ¦ who does he think he is?Â I know, you raise the bar so highâ¦ expectations change.Â Everybody gets hypercritical.Â Fans, sportswriters, the big wigs.Â Even Christopher Columbus, after opening the door to the New Worldâ¦ was shackled and sent to prison.Â I guess the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Yeah, the three highest payrolls in baseball are done.. finished for the season.Â 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.Â Well, Terry Francona mustâve gotten stupid.Â You wonât have him to kick around anymore.Â Oh, and the Phillies?I get the impression theyâre still bitter that the San Francisco Giants embarrassed them last year.Â The Giants had to have been a fluke, as if they stole their rightful crown.Â So this year would be differentâ¦ Philadelphia put together the best starting staff in baseball.Â All that got you is a seat on the sidelines.Â How do you like the view?Â Now itâs down to the Tigers, Rangers, Brewers and Cardinals.Â To be World Champions, just about everything has to go right in October.Â For only one of them, everything will.
Oh the 49ers didnât do much.Â They only came from 20 down midway through the third quarter to upset the Philadelphia Eagles on the roadâ¦ and are now an unlikely 3-1.Â Yeah the Eagles, known as The Dream Team, amassed a staggering 500 yards on offenseâ¦ and Michael Vick is as dangerous as advertised.Â So how in the world did this happen?Â Thatâs what Philly coach Andy Reid is wondering.Â His tight-lipped post game comments were pricelessâ¦ he was STEAMING.Â Did the Eagles aid in their embarrassment?Â Of courseâ¦ two field goals missed and a couple of big fumbles.Â But the 49ers took advantageâ¦ and with every first down, every completed pass, every dive into the end zoneâ¦. their confidence grows.Â And it looks like DeSean Jackson likes to trash talk before the game's over.Â You know what that makes you?Â 1-3.Â Hilarious.
I was wrong about Moneyball. I thought it unlikely that anyone whoâs not a baseball fan would be very interested in stats, on-base percentage and the Oakland A's.Â But sure enough, itâs scoring big box office numbersâ¦ and as baseball movies go, itâs got plenty of mainstream appeal. But Moneyball is not just about baseball is it?Â Itâs for anybody whoâs ever dreamed of taking on the big guys, of challenging the way things areâ¦ Â and itâs about believing in yourself.Â I loved this movie.Â Finding undervalued players is at the core of the story.Â And I was wondering if thereâs a sabermetrics for offensive linemen?Â I mean the 49ers could use some help thereâ¦
And I thought the Giants Faithful were a little down.Â Theyâre downright giddy compared to what Boston Red Sox fans must be feeling today.Â What happened last night, the culmination of a horrendous free fallâ¦ was cruelty personified.Â They went into September with a nine game lead.. and squandered it away.Â No matter how you try and explain itâ¦ injuries, weariness, bad karma, the moon not in alignmentâ¦ you canât go 7-20 down the stretch and expect a parade.Â And the Atlanta Braves, who had a ten game lead over the Cardinals in late Augustâ¦ couldnât gather any momentum, and losttheir final five games.Â Goodnight.Â The offseason can be long, cold stretch.Â Itâs especially lonely when you canât help but feel.. that you choked.
My reaction wasâ¦âWait a minuteâ¦ what just happened there?âÂ Late in the Bears-Packers game, the Chicago Bears nearly Â pulled off one of the great misdirection plays in the history of televised football.Â The Pack, with a comfortable lead, punted to Chicago.Â Then, things got more than a little weird.Â Devin Hester, the most dangerous return man in football, pretended to drift under the ballâ¦ and so did his teammates.Â The Packers headed straight for him.Â 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 touchdownâ¦ or so we thought.Â A holding call negated what will be remembered as one of the coolest trick plays in the NFL archives.Â Actually, Joe Buck didnât get too excitedabout itâ¦ I kind of wish Al Michaels had the call.
Of course itâs a dagger in the heart of the ever loyal Giants fans, whoâve grinded out every at-bat, every heartbreaking loss.Â But come on, itâs been damned entertaining.Â With the absolutely woeful, impotent offenseâ¦ these guys should have finished in the cellar.Â Only the pitching has kept them in contention for this long.Â I mean, it seems like theyâve lost 100 games 2-1 or 1-0â¦. It happened over and over again.Â I know, if Tim Lincecum had been with the Yankees, heâd be 21-6.Â Same with Matt Cain. We get it.Â But itâs a tough game, and thereâs a fine line between an empty stadium and a packed house.Â You played your asses off, and it didnât work out.Â So hold your heads high.Â All in all, itâs been quite a ride.Â Canât wait for spring training.
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.Â This isnât some nickel and dime websiteâ¦ itâs been one of the best known, heavily promoted sites out there. Â Â A US attorney said âFull Tilt was not a legitimate poker company, but a global Ponzi scheme.â And those named in the civil suit include Howard Lederer and Chris âJesusâ Ferguson. Â Yikes.Â Those who follow the game will tell you that these two donât exactly fit the profile of âsleazy crooks.âÂ Theyâre two of the best known players in the world, whose reputations were impeccable.Â Until now.Â In any case, this doesnât look goodâ¦ and Iâm anxious to see how this all shakes out.Â All I know isâ¦ you just canât put a guy named âJesusâ behind bars.
I agree with Monty Poole of the San Jose Mercury News.. whoâs recent story suggests that success can be hazardous to your career.Â Yeah, prosperity can be costly.Â The Golden State Warriors had gone years without sniffing the playoffs. Â Then, not long after upsetting top seed Dallas one year, GM Chris Mullin was gone.Â The last time the 49ers won the NFC West, they actually made it to the second round of the playoffs.Â Not good enoughâ¦ Steve Mariucci was fired.Â Rick Adelman had a marvelous run with the Sacramento Kings, and he was then run out of town.Â The Giants took it to Game Seven of the 2002 World Series.Â What happened to the manager, Dusty Baker?Â Oh, gone.Â And now, not even a year removed from the uncontrolled euphoria down Market Street, the World Series Championsâ top guy, Bill Neukom, has been escorted out of the building.Â So there it is.Â Give it all youâve gotâ¦ play your heart outâ¦ then watch your back.
As the Giantsâ season comes to an end, those of us whoâve lived and died with every pitch know the highs and lows of trying to do the near impossibleâ¦ repeat as World Series Champions.Â But they sure have been fun to watch.Â There are new kids coming into their own.. Brett Pill, Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford and Madison Bumgarner.Â And Ryan Vogelsong has been the feel-good story of the year.Â But I donât think Iâve seen anyone play the game with more joy, more enthusiasm than the Panda.Â 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.Â The other night, I saw his reaction when a teammate hit a home run.Â With legs that must be bone-weary, the Panda jumped so high, his head hitÂ the top of the dugout.Â Watching Panda.. has been a joy.Â Now, Brandon Belt?Â Heâs kinda dour.
Of courseÂ the 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys have a long historyâ¦ and plenty of pundits canât stop bringing that up.Â Oh, the âRivalryââ¦ Oh, itâs âThe Catchââ¦ Oh, itâs Bill Walsh and Tom Landryâ¦I know every blogger, tweeter and self-described expert has to fill up time and space.Â What does it all mean for Sunday?Â It doesnât mean squat.Â This is about 2011, and Iâll go out on the limb and say Jim Harbaugh is living in the moment.Â He doesnât care what Michael Irvin or Troy Aikman thinks.Â Heâs game planning for Tony Romo, Dez Bryant and holy smokesâ¦ what are we gonna do about DeMarcus Ware?Â Â Â Yes, this is an important game for Mr. Harbaugh and the Niners, who started last year 0-5.Â So all the blowhard talk can be distilled into one sentence:Â âIf the underdog 49ers can find a way to eke out an unlikely win over the Cowboys, theyâll be 2-0 with momentum on their side.â Â Whatâs your deal?
With so many beat writers following the San Francisco Giants, thereâs naturally a lot of overlapping coverage.Â Thatâs fine with us fans, who want to hear, see and read every morsel of every little detail about the Orange and Black.Â But when it all hit the fan yesterday, only one guy, Mark Purdy of the San Jose Mercury News, broke the stunning story. Markâs homework obviously paid off, and he had the scoop of the yearâ¦.that Giantsâ managing general partner and chief executive officer Bill Neukom was out as head honcho, after a fallout with the Executive Committee of the Giantsâ ownership group.Â Derek Moore and I were talking about the fact that anyone can be a bloggerâ¦ anyone can tweet whatever they want.Â But this is old school journalismâ¦ a lot of digging, prodding, protecting sources and sifting through whatâs fact and what isnât.Â Nice work, Mark.Â By the way, the company line is that this is a âretirement.âÂ Hilarious.
I think the creativity and vision of those at the helm of NFL Filmshave been, in no small measure, responsible for the skyrocketing popularity of NFL Football in America.Â 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 Clarkâ¦ these moments lovingly captured on film have made a great game even greater.Â So when I found out that the producers at NFL Films are behind a new series,A Football Lifeâ¦ well, I wanted you to know about it.Â Their first subject is Patriots coach Bill Belichick, the only coach ever wired for sound for an entire NFL season.Â 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.Â Isnât he the guy under the hoodie who never answers questions?Â I mean he makes Jim Harbaugh look like a chatterbox.Â So here it comesâ¦ Â Part I of Bill Belichick:Â A Football Life premieres exclusively on the NFL Network tomorrow.
The thing that drives the media horde crazy about 49ers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh is what I love the most.Â He just doesnât answer their questionswith muchâ¦ well, with much substance.Â Heâs vague, elusive, snarky and not very forthcoming.Â And the dumber the questions get, the less he says.Â Hilarious.Â Â I guess people expect him to explain his thought process about the offense, defense, special teamsâ¦ play calling and what heâll have for dinner.Â His attitude seems to be âIâll just keep that to myself, thank you.âÂ Jim Harbaugh reminds me of the best poker players Iâve seenâ¦ like Tom Dwan, Patrik Antonius and Phil Ivey.They say nothing, show nothing, Â reveal even less.â¦ then stack you off.Â Will this be a fun season?Â Iâll just keep that to myselfâ¦
Alex Smith.. a resurrection?Â Too early to tell.Â But this was huge for himâ¦ seven years of underachieving, and now he wins?Â Sure he was only 15 for 20, but what was more significant was what DIDNâT happen:Â He didnât fumble, throw an interception, get sackedâ¦. or run out of timeÂ getting a play call in. Â Itâs only one game, but The Jim Harbaugh Era has begun.. and this means way more than just beating the Seahawks.Â Things have changed, and hereâs how I knowâ¦Â It was The Hug. When Alex came to the bench following his touchdown plunge, the coach hugged his quarterback as if heâd just won Dancing With The Stars.Â I thought he was gonna French Kiss him.Â That moment told me this team has moved onâ¦ from the darkness of Singletary-Nolan-Erickson to something resembling hope.Â Yeah, Dallas is coming in and we could lose to the Cowboys 45-3â¦ so what?Â For the moment, the 49ers are tied for first place.Â And after what weâve seen the last few years, isn't that worth a hug?
I suddenly felt like jumping into a Fantasy Football Leagueâ¦ then I caught myself.Â What am I thinking?Â I donât do Fantasy Football.Â Oh, I know itâs taken the country by stormâ¦Â there are even a dozen sports shows devoting precious airtime to fake roster spots.Â I get it.Â And all of my friends are ready to roll.Â Brian, Derek, ChrisÂ and Lizann are obsessedâ¦.up to their necks in draft picks, trades and speculation.Â Theyâre wondering when Iâll join the rest of civilization and finally take the plunge.Â Being an âimaginaryâ General Manager/Head Coach?Â I donât think soâ¦ I have enough trouble with real life.Â 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? Â Â âThat better not be my tight end!â
As the pennant chase takes a dark turn for the Giants, thereâs a bright light on the horizonâ¦ or at least we hope there is.Â And hope is a precious commodity now.Â 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.Â Before Duane Kuiper got to âHigh Drive..â it was gone.Â Then yesterday, ho humâ¦. he another home run. And heâs been in the bigs two days.Â A lot of fans are wondering why he wasnât brought up soonerâ¦.Â heâs actually older than Matt Cain, Panda, Brandon Belt and of course Madison Bumgarner.Â Guess he was biding his time.Â It remains to be seen if a nickname will stickâ¦ âPill The Thrill,â âThe Pill-ager,â âBrett The Threat,ââ¦..Well, if you keep hittinâ, who cares?
Sunday was a Ryan Vogelsong gem.. maybe his finest performance of the year.Â 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.Â A Giants pitcher puts it on the line and gets absolutely no support when he needs it most.Â When youâre last in just about every offensive category, what do you expect?Â Pathetic, heartbreakingâ¦ and hard to watch.Â So what now?Â Well, suck it upâ¦ give the youngsters some experience, play your ass off and hold your head high.Â Itâs been a hell of a run.
For predicting the 49ers will finish in the cellar of the Tough-As-Nails NFC West.Â This all takes me back to last year.Â The Niners had actually won all of their exhibition games.. and players, media and fans were pretty jacked up.Â I recall several âexpertsâÂ picking the 49ers to do wellâ¦ maybe evenÂ winning the division.Â We all know how that turned out.Â The predictable offense, botched time outs, porous secondaryâ¦. âIâve got to look at the film..âÂ Make no mistake, grizzled Niner fans arenât expecting miracles.Â This will be a long road to respectability.Â But maybe the Jim Harbaugh-led roster has found some hope, some new life after last nightâs inspired play. And he wonât have to âlook at the film.â
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.Â Check out Andrew Baggarlyâs excellent piece hereâ¦. And Mark Purdyâs here. The moment the story hit, the change in body language was palpableâ¦ the bounce in the step was back.Â And Iâm talking about the fans.Â The players?Â Well, they went out and won a game.. and actually looked like they were having fun.Â To say Rowand has not performed is the understatement of the year, and you get the impression he wasnât exactly a breath of fresh air in the clubhouse.Â As for Tejada, Bruce Jenkins said âHe hung himself the other day when he said, glumly, âI just work hereââ¦.Â explaining why he didnât run hard to first base when asked to buntâ¦ but thatâs the attitude of a quitter.âÂ Some managers would have cut him right there.Â Matter of fact, the moment after Miggie completes his slow trot to first base, Â I envision a golf cart arriving with all his bags packed.Â It picks him upâ¦.whisks him down the line and through a gate in the right field fence.Â Goodbye and Good Luck.
Niner fans are understandably anxious about tomorrow.Â We donât know what weâre going to get.Â What started out as unbridled optimism turned south pretty quickly, especially after last weekâs embarrassing debacle against Houston.Â Of course, itâs only preseason but a bad night is a bad night.Â Even Head Coach Jim Harbaugh seemed at a loss for words.Â I enjoyed the Barry Tompkins pieceon what Jim really means.Â JH Answer:Â âWeâre in training camp mode.âÂ What JH really means:Â âRight now, we suck.âÂ Matter of fact, this is kind of a pattern these daysâ¦ and I donât blame him.Â When he says âI have a lot of respect for Taylor Maysâ..Â I think he means âIâm glad heâs not in our secondary.âÂ âTheir offense will be a challenge..â is code forâ¦ âI hope they donât drop 60 on us.âÂ How about Colin Kaepernick?Â âI just want to get better every day.âÂ Which means Â âIâm so confused I canât even think straight.âÂ And when the coach says âI donât want to single anyone out.âÂ I think he means âWhat was Joe Staley doing while they were running by himâ¦ taking pictures?â
Donât blame Tim Lincecum for those gopher balls he served up.Â Hereâs my take on the situationâ¦ The Giants have had a first class pitching staff, and a last place offense.Â Sooner or later, the bottom drags down the top.Â You just canât ask a pitcher to throw a shutout every single game.Â Giving up one run is fineâ¦ but when it gets to two,Â the roof caves in.Heâs thinking âOh noâ¦ weâre sunk now..âÂ You can see it in the body language.Â Itâs happened to Timmy, to Cain, to Vogelsong and to Mad Bum.Â The shocking thing is they havenât snappedâ¦ thrown tantrums, taken hostages.Â And Shawn Estes says âWell, you canât think that way.âÂ Guess what Sherlock, theyâre all thinking that way, âcuz theyâre human.Â Iâd bet the Huntington Beach Little Leaguers could take two out of three from the Giants.Â I wish I was kiddingâ¦
Ask any Giants fanâ¦. These are desperate times. After last nightâs embarrassing loss to the lowly Houston Astros (again), you get the feeling Bruce Bochyâs gonna blow his top.Â And with that size 8 Â¼ noggin, that could do a lot more damage than that little 5.8 quake the other day.Â Yeah, former minor league journeyman Henry Sosa was pitching on three days rest, and the Giants hitters turned Henry into Bob Gibson.Â It was like watching the Hindenburg in slow motionâ¦ you know whatâs about to happen, and you canât stop it.Â So what do you do, bench some guys?Â Itâs slim pickings there.Â Â Theyâve got more guys that are bedridden than a hospital ship.Â How âbout the young dudes?Â If youâre gonna fail, Iâd rather lose with Brandon Crawford, Brett Pill, Gary Brown, Darren Ford and Eric Surkamp.Â How could they be worse than your current killer lineup?Â Oh by the wayâ¦ Â before last night, Houston had lost 25 of 30 games on the road.Â Did I say it was hard to watch?
If it wasnât so painful,Â itâd be laughable.Â Whereâs Carlos Beltran?Â Brian Wilson?Â How about Andres Torres, Sergio Romo?Â Is Miguel Tejada a double play waiting to happen or am I just being a cruel pessimist?Â This is crunch time, and the Giants are playing their worst baseball of the year.Â When the Pirates had a Ten Game Losing Streakâ¦Â the Giants were just what the doctor ordered.Â Florida had lost 7 in a rowâ¦Â hey, bring on the Giants.Â You get the picture.Â And Houston, whoâve already lost nearly 100 gamesâ¦ slapped the Giants around all week.Â Had Panda not gone deepyesterday, Iâm telling you, Bruce Bochy was on the verge of taking hostages and barricading a convenience store.Â And stop saying the Giants are set to play some losing teams.Â I promise you, theyâre all lickinâ their chops to get at the World Champs. Â I know weâve got more than a month to go.Â But with apologies to Yogi Berraâ¦. Itâs gettingâ late early.
In the midst of this feeble stretch of excruciating Giants losses, they actually tieda home run record. Well, itâs not one youâd want to brag about.Â When Pablo Sandoval cranked one out yesterday, it was the 19th consecutive SOLO home run the club has hit.Â Way to get on base.Â No Major League team has had that many solo shots in a rowâ¦ Â since the Philadelphia Phillies of 1914.Â 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.Â Although heâd be 124 years old, I still think Mr. Alexander would have had better command of the strike zone.
Iâm not sure if this would be the ultimate honor or the ultimate humiliation.Â Giants ace Tim Lincecum is challenging fans to a video competition in which they are asked to duplicate his unorthodox delivery on videoâ¦ for an opportunity to hit against him at spring training next year.Â Oh yeah, stepping in against the two-time Cy Young Award winner with the 94 mph fastball?Â That should be tons of fun.Â Entries are open through September 16.Â Go to facebook.com/timlincecum. Actually, Iâm hoping for a contest in which you can try and strike out Aaron Rowand. You might get more entries for that.
Just a pinch between your cheek and gumsâ¦ Yes, this little endeavor of sucking on smokeless tobacco is all too pervasive in the field and in the dugouts of Major League Baseball. Â And I think we all know that itâs a nasty, poisonous habitâ¦. and that nothing good will come of it.Â Janie McCaule of AP has a great storyabout Giants skipper Bruce Bochy, whoâd been âdippingâ for nearly 40 yearsâ¦. and has quit with the help of hypnotherapist Dr. AlVera Paxon.Â She also helped bullpen catcher Billy Hayes and long time equipment manager Mike Murphy kick the dip.Â Amazingâ¦ congratulations.Â Derek Moore tells me that Dr. Paxonâs next project is Barry Zitoâ¦ in an effort to help him give up baseballâ¦
As far as I could tell, he didnât hit a single drive, nail an approach shot or sink any putts.Â But the unquestioned media darling coming off the green at Bridgestone wasStevie Williams.I know youâre the worldâs greatest caddieâ¦ I get it.Â Yes, you wanted everyone to know how badly Tiger treated you.. Okay.Â But when the media horde surrounded you, I was hoping that youâd try and squeeze in the fact that this was Adam Scottâsdayâ¦ that he played really well and beat a terrific field.Â That didnât happen.Â It was all about ME.Â MY vindication, MY tournament win.Â I was actually embarrassed.Â The irony isâ¦ had you shown a little humility, I think your status as âcaddie-heroâ would have been even more enhanced.Â So much for the Three Caddie Rules: Â Â Wake up; Keep up; and Shut Up.
Wealthy beyond most peopleâs dreams, heâs been humiliated, vilified and blamed for every major disaster including the Lindbergh kidnapping.Â Okay, it hasnât been easy.Â Barry Zitoâs never whined, cursed the media or played the diva.Â But itâs becoming increasingly clear that highest paid guy on your team canât get anybody out.Â This just inâ¦ thatâs hard to do with a belt high change-up or an 82 mph fastball.Â Heâs not a criminal.Â Heâs just not getting it done on the mound.Â No matter how much money you have, thatâs tough to swallow.Â If Iâm Bruce Bochy, Iâd invent an injury and put you on the DL until September comes.Â Oh waitâ¦ I guess that already happened.
You could just feel itâ¦Â This was the payback series for the Phillies fans.Â How could the Left Coast Misfits steal the thunder from the vaunted Phils last year?Â The Giants got lucky, they got all the breaks, they got hot at just the right timeâ¦theyâre a fluke, and on and on and on.Â Â But not this time, not in the Phillies ballpark.Â The Phils pitching is the best in the bigsâ¦ their bats will maul you, and they havenât lost two games in a row at home since April 19.Â Theyâre the big dogsâ¦ and they know it.Â 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.Â Talk about putting a damper on the festivitiesâ¦Â kind of like that shower in the late innings. Â Obviously I still think the Philadelphia Phillies are the team to beat, but on this dayâ¦ the silence was deafening.Â Oh, did I mentionâ¦ the Phillies hadnât lost two in a row at home since April 19th?
The speculation was mind boggling.Â Oh, itâll never be Beltranâ¦ Itâll be Cuddyerâ¦ no BJ Uptonâ¦ no Hunter Penceâ¦And when the tweets were coming in yesterday, they literally were changing by the moment.Â The Giants are giving up Gary Brownâ¦ no, itâs Brown, Jonathan Sanchez and Zack Wheeler.Â No, theyâre giving up 4 blocks of Chinatown and Lombard Streetâ¦ But itâs over.Â Six time All Star Carlos Beltranwill be in the lineup today as a San Francisco Giant.Â I canât wait until he returns to AT & T Park.Â Jeff Keppinger got a standing ovation when he came out of the dugout for the first time.Â Keppinger!Â When Beltran strides to the plateâ¦ there could be a police escort, fly-overâ¦ and a parade.Â Does this guarantee that the offense will improve?Â No.Â But I like our chances.
I know, it's been hard to watch the sinking ship known as the 49ers these past few seasons.Â Nolanâs awfulâ¦ Singletaryâs a disasterâ¦ how can you bring Alex Smith back!Â Youâve heard it all.Â And now, Takeo Spikes is shown the doorâ¦ and say goodbye to center David Baas.Â The dominos are beginning to fall as summer camp finally gets rolling, and more are falling by the minute.Â Is there a lot of room for improvement?Â Of course..Â and this is a monstrous work in progress.Â But in my view, the wild card is Jim Harbaugh. The new coach is just nutty enoughâ¦ passionate, wound-up and committed to a fault to make a difference in these underachievers.Â The 49ers won all of 6 games last year.Â But 7 games won the division.Â Â SEVEN!Â So whoâs playbook do you want out there, Harbaughâsâ¦ or Singletaryâs?Â I rest my case.
monicaâs dad photo
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.Â Sure, this has been a yearly tradition since President Reaganâs time in the White House, but these were The Misfitsâ¦ and it was great to see the SFGiants videoof the ceremony.Â Within an hour, the President would prepare to address the nation.Â With critical economic troubles looming, itâs hard to imagine one human being having this much on his plate.Â Bill Neukom has got to be thinkingâ¦.âWow, I can sure relate to the debt crisisâ¦ I mean weâve got Barry Zitoâ¦.â
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