A Weekend Sport-gasbord

September 13

               I saw something actually semi-clever from a Dodgers fan over the weekend.  He used a placard to lampoon the “We’re In This” slogan the Giants have been using down the stretch.  He crossed out the “s” in “this” and substituted the letters “r-d.”  I got a chuckle out of it, anyway.  The back-and-forth in rivalries is often stupid, but occasionally entertaining.

              After a rough weekend, the Giants are still “in this,” just barely.

              The Giants probably need to sweep the Rockies to stay alive in the playoff hunt.  They swept them at home a couple of weeks ago, so it’s asking a lot to have them do it again.  At the very minimum they have to win 2 of 3, then narrow the gap down to two by the next-to-last weekend.

            Why?  The Rockies, who have had an unchallenging schedule this month, finish with the Cardinals, Brewers, and Dodgers — in Los Angeles.  A great deal could be on the line that final weekend.  Oh, by the way, the Marlins are “in this” too, just a game behind the Giants.

            The Giants have a lot of business to do in the offseason, but re-signing Brad Penny would be a very good idea.  Unfortunately ( or fortunately ) for the Giants, Penny is making himself more expensive.  He’s 3-0 with the Giants, including today’s 7-2 gem over the Dodgers.  Re-upping Matt Cain and re-habbing Noah Lowry are also on the agenda, but Penny is clearly a National League pitcher, and he doesn’t seem to mind beating the Dodgers.

            The Giants’ pretty little September balloon was popped and stomped on by the Dodgers Friday and Saturday, but this is a tremendously resilient team.  I’m not going to make the mistake of counting them out again, until we see what happens this week.  Tim Lincecum represents a last gasp of glory if he goes Monday night.

             ***

            I hope the 49ers aren’t reading from the “Giants Way.”  They only had 203 yards total offense but had a good day on defense in a 20-16 win over the Cardinals.  Any road win against a divisional opponent to start the season is a great win.

            Just about every pundit or wannabe pundit (like me) said the 49ers would need to get to Kurt Warner, or he would carve them up.  That was the key to winning in Arizona, and that was as big an opening win as you can have. 

           Mike Singletary became Crazy Coach Sing late in the third quarter in Arizona Sunday.  The Cardinals were driving up and down the field to take the lead, and Singletary called a time out to let the defense have it — and to give them a blow.  It worked. 

           Justin Smith got some rest in the first half and had enough left to pressure Kurt Warner in the 4th quarter.  Parys Harralson made Warner feel as uncomfortable as “two goats in a pepper patch,” if I can steal from the lazer eye surgery commercial.  The ‘Niners changed up their looks and did a great job of bothering Warner when it counted the most, although it looked like the Cardinals should have had one more play.  The ball appeared to roll out of bounds on the sack with one second left.           

            Every team will key on Frank Gore this season.  It’s useful to note that the 49ers won this game without him, except for a touchdown run early and beautiful play call on third-and-goal in the 4th quarter, in which he caught a pass in the flat all by himself.  Shaun Hill tried to go to Gore on a previous third down play but Gore was covered.  Hill found Vernon Davis for a first down.  Maybe the Cardinals thought the ‘Niners weren’t going to the Gore well again.

              Hill isn’t anything close to pretty, but he’s 8-3 as a starting NFL quarterback, and he was sharp when he needed to be on the winning drive.

             The Cardinals will be a different team when they come to Candlestick Park in December.  For one thing, they’ll have long since realized that Beanie Wells should be their running back.  The sooner they do, the more dangerous they will be.

           Crabtree?  Crabtree?  Anyone?

           ***

           Poor, little Lane.

           Rick Neuheisel and UCLA almost blew it with poor clock management in the final two minutes, but the Tennessee Vols have a bad quarterback, so the Bruins held on for a big road win.  It’s going to be a long season for little Lane in the SEC, starting next week vs. #1 Florida.           

             By the way, if I was Lane Kiffin, I wouldn’t have Dad standing next to me on the sidelines.  

             ***

             I laughed out loud when Al Davis held court Saturday as Richard Seymour was brought in by bounty hunter to Alameda.  On Kiffin’s loss to UCLA, including a Bruin goal-line stand at the end, Davis said, “I know Neuheisel, I know the other fella who’s coaching the other team.  I did see the similarities, though, when you get near the goal line.”  Nobody does vindictive quite like Al.

              Other guffaws and baw-ha-ha’s from Mr. Davis:

              On the Seymour deal, Davis said “we know what we’re doing,” then paused to let it marinate.  So, you mean you wanted to give away a likely high first round pick in 2011, when rookie salaries will probably be much lower, for a guy who might have one or two good years left, who didn’t exactly get on the next plane to Oakland?

              Then, when Chronicle beat writer David White asked Seymour if he and the Raiders were discussing a long-term contract, Davis admonished White to not worry about things which don’t concern him.  That’s right, White.  Don’t you ever ask the contract status of a player on a team you’re covering.  That’ll teach you.

              Nothing to see here, football fans.  Seymour wanted to be a Raider all along.  He was simply in shock at the concept of a trade.   Going from a Super Bowl contender to a team that has lost 11 or more in six straight seasons wasn’t what troubled him.  The sending of the warning letter was just a formality.  Again, we’re crazy.

               ***

               So the Dany Heatley trade happened after all, just not the way ESPN.com originally reported.  Heatley will provide the Sharks with badly-needed firepower, especially in the post-season, plus the Sharks still have Marleau.  Giving up Michalek was tough because he’ll be a 30-goal scorer, but Thornton-Heatley-Marleau on the same line?  Intriguing.

              ***

             Serena Williams thought she could bully a line judge.  The foot fault at the end of Saturday’s U.S. Open semi-final vs. Kim Clijsters might have been arguable, but the way she argued was completely out of line.  And please people, don’t turn this into a racial thing. 

             Serena might be right that worse behavior on the court has gone unpunished, but it shouldn’t have.  Serena should be ashamed, whether or not she was in the right.  It’s tough to lose a match on a penalty point, but she set herself up for that by breaking a racket earlier.

             Serena wasn’t recalcitrant.  She assumed the line judge knew she’d never been in a fight .  If I’m the line judge and I see someone twice my size approaching me and threatening to stuff a Slazenger down my throat, I run first and ask questions later.  Serena acted like something was inflicted on her.  Not classy, and a disservice to the great story that Clijsters is writing at this tournament.

              ***

              If I may sound like Mr. House Organ for a moment, the 49ers sound very good with Ted Robinson calling the play-by-play.  I know some people miss Joe Starkey, but Ted was a very, very logical successor.

             ***

             I have signed Liev Schreiber to be the voice inside my head.  Why not?  He voices everything else.

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One Response to “A Weekend Sport-gasbord”

  1. Darius Says:

    Player of the week has to go to Frank Gore. He single handedly ran the 9ers to victory against a rival and NFC West opponent!

    Luckily he’s on my fantasy team and I own shares of Frank Gore in my Sportfolio!

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