- Next time you’re at Pac Bell (or whatever it’s called this week), you’ll be hard-pressed to ignore the giant 31-foot tall, 101-foot wide, state-of-the-art high-def scoreboard. The thing weighs 28 tons and costs $3.1 million. So, it’s like a mini-version of Edgardo Alfonzo [SFGate]
- Rich Aurilia, with leather, is poised to take on Ryan Klesko for the starting first base job. Um, anyone else? Anyone? [SFGate]
- Sweeney, Ellison and Niekro are all vying for that last roster spot. We wonder if the losers get a red tag in their locker, like in Major League. [ESPN]
- Speaking of Major League, will Bengie Molina, deteriorating skills and all, turn into our version of Jake Taylor? And is that a good or bad thing? [Giants Cove]
- Jason Schmidt and Jeremy Accardo both hit 99mph on the radar gun last year, making them tops on the Giants staff for velocity. The Tigers’ Joel Zumaya topped all major leaguers at 104mph. An interesting tidbit: Barry Zito had the fourth-slowest fastball in the AL last year, at 85.8mph. [ESPN]
- It’s a good thing that Giants beat writer Henry Schulman doesn’t write like he plays poker. [The Splash]
- Not technically Giants-related, but gangsta rapper Tony Yayo beat up a 14-year-old kid for wearing the “wrong” t-shirt. Tony Yayo’s real name? Marvin Bernard. [NY Post]
Ah, Jeffrey Leonard.
Where do we start on this one?
“The HacMan” roamed the Giants’ outfield during the mid-80s, culminating with the 1987 NLCS MVP award (even though the Giants lost). But the funny thing about that MVP award is that before the season started, Leonard convinced the Giants to include a clause in his contract, stating that he would receive $50,000 bonus if he was the NLCS MVP. What were the odds, huh?
Leonard had previously gained infamy during the 1986 Pittsburgh drug trials. Along with six others (including Keith “I’m Keith Hernandez” Hernandez), he was suspended for the season after admitting to cocaine abuse (though the suspensions were later avoided).
The HacMan was quite the personality. He taunted opposing pitchers with his signature “one-flap-down” homerun trot: he very slowly jogged around the bases with one arm down and the other extended. Opposing pitchers did not appreciate the gesture.
After retiring in 1990, he was on the 1996 Hall of Fame ballot. He received zero votes, which was not enough to get into Cooperstown.
Leonard was briefly the GM of the Sonoma County Crushers of the Western Baseball League, a short-lived independent minor league system that folded in 2002. He then took the head coaching job with the Antelope Valley College Marauders for several years, but has since been replaced by another coach. His current whereabouts are unknown.
Oh, and his other nickname was Penitentiary Face. Really.
Jeffrey Leonard [wikipedia]
The rollercoaster called the Golden State Warriors was at it again last night, losing a heartbreaker to the hated Lakers, 115-113. Al Harrington had a good look at the buzzer, but his game-winning attempt fell short, and the Warriors lost yet another road game to fall 1.5 games behind the Clippers for the eighth and final playoff spot.
Last week, we pointed out the crucial nature of this five-game stretch against playoff teams. Well, so far, the W’s are 1-2, with the mighty Spurs on tap tonight. Interestingly enough, the game is at home, and Nellie’s squad hasn’t lost at home in a month. In fact, the home-road discrepancy is pretty shocking; the Warriors are 25-10 at home but just 8-28 on the road. The bad news, however, is that five (out of eleven) road game remain, and to make the playoffs, they’re going to need a couple road wins. We shall see.
Lakers 115, Warriors 113 [Yahoo!]
- Reason #14,342 we wish Gilbert Arenas was on our team: he welcomed his new son into the world. His name is Alijah Amani Arenas. Gilbert’s thoughts on the matter? [Gilbert's Blog on NBA.com]
I told him hopefully he darkens up a little bit, because he was a little light in the skin. Then I told him he needs to watch the movie 300, because he needs to be a Spartan type of man … We’re trying to get him sponsored by AAA now and get his diapers paid for.
- Speaking of Washington (tonight’s opponent, by the way) Tim Kawakami breaks down the Warriors’ remaining schedule, highlighting the four remaining Fridays as absolutely pivotal. [Talking Points]
- It’s Stephen Jackson profile day at two major Bay Area newspapers. What makes him tick? And what makes him ticked off? Other than Ron Artest getting hit with a beer cup. [SFGate, CC Times]
- If you go to the W’s website, you can now get on the “Playoff Priority List” and guarantee yourself playoff tickets. Yeah, that won’t jinx anything. [Official Site]
- Speaking of jinxery, Steve Kerr says the Warriors will make the playoffs. [Yahoo!]
- The Sharks finally beat a team that is good at this hockey game. Meanwhile, Joe Thorton became the first Shark in franchise history to eclipse the 100-point mark. [SJ Mercury]
- Jonathan Cheechoo’s seventh hat trick in the last two seasons is the most since 2002. [Elias]
- A puzzled and pissed Ryan Garners wonders, where’s the love for Thornton? [Hockey Buzz]
- The playoff push begins now. The Teal figure to finish somewhere in the fifth- to seventh-place range. [Official Site]
- Best. Sharks. Clip. Ever. [youtube]
Nebraska alum Tom Rathman spent seven years as a San Francisco 49er (1986-93). The hard-nosed fullback blocked for the likes of Roger Craig and Rickey Watters en route to two Super Bowl victories. Interestingly enough, Rathman was a great receiver out of the backfield, perhaps the best receiving fullback in recent memory. In 1989, he led all running backs in receiving yards. He was a perfect fit in Walsh’s system: a tough blocking back who could also do some damage on the short swing passes on which the Niners lived.
Since retiring as Raider (yech) in 1994, Rathman has been a very active running back coach, serving on the coaching staffs of the Niners, the Mariucci-run Lions and finally, the Raiders.
Oh, and Tom Rathman wore the helmet with the vertical crossbar. Those were cool.
Tom Rathman [wikipedia]
Tonight, the NCAA tournament resumes. On tap:
Kansas-Southern Illinois, 7:10ET
Texas A&M-Memphis, 7:27ET
Tennessee-Ohio St, 9:57ET
And in honor of our Bruins, it’s only appropriate to relive 40.8 seconds of bliss from last year’s tournament. Seriously, Adam Morrison’s tears will never get old. We still get shivers. Enjoy the evening; let’s hope it’s a good one.
Ok, the guys over at KissingSuzyKolber did some great work earlier this week, using the power of Microsoft Paint to transform those awful, awful, unfunny Family Circus cartoons into comedic, NFL-related works of genius. So, we decided to put out some Bay Area versions. Suggestions, as always, are welcome.
One of the cogs to those great A’s teams from the late 80s and early 90s, Carney Lansford was one cool guy. He was the complete package: mustache, flip-up sunglasses (whatever happened to those?), high socks, gritty third-baseman who hit for average and even he made a cameo in Angels in the Outfield! And of course, he could play. He won the batting title in 1981 with the Redsox, and then proceeded to play ten years with in Oakland, retiring as an Athletic in 1992. As one of the most beloved A’s of that time period, Lansford won the fans’ hearts by doing the little things. He never struck out (led the league in AB to K ratio in ’89), routinely found himself among the league leaders for sacrifices and led AL third-basemen in fielding percentage four times (’79, ’87, ’88, ’90).
Maybe we just have a soft spot for infielders.
Carney Lansford [Baseball-Reference]
Last night, St. Louis Cardinals skipper and longtime Bay Area favorite Tony La Russa was arrested on a misdemeanor DUI. The incident took place as La Russa was on his way home from the Cardinals’ spring training site in Jupiter, Florida.
Now, the usual offense for DUI (especially with professional athletes) involves speeding or reckless driving. With Tony? He was found asleep at the wheel. The cops noticed something “off” when La Russa’s SUV sat running in the intersection through two cycles of green lights without moving:
A driver behind La Russa had to go around his vehicle, police said.
Police found La Russa slumped over in the driver’s seat of the running SUV. The manager of the world champion Cardinals had his foot on the brake and did not respond to knocks on the window, police said. He finally woke up and parked the car.
Not exactly the most egregious offense, we know. Plus, La Russa was barely over the legal limit (limit=0.08, Tony=0.93), but nonetheless, he should be counting his lucky stars that no one was hurt.
Cardinals manager arrested for DUI in Florida [ESPN]
Now, as Giants fans, we’ve welcomed the likes of Orel Hershiser, Steve Finley and Darryl Strawberry from Chavez Ravine exile into the friendly confines of the Bay. But yesterday, it came out that the Giants may have shown some interest this past offseason in washed-up former Dodgers closer Eric Gagne. Now, the “source” of the rumor is Gagne, so take it with a grain of salt, but can you imagine a closer tandem of Gagne and Benitez? Yikes.
The good thing about this recent Gagne news is that gave the talented Henry Schulman brought up one of the better moments in recent Giants-Dodgers history:
On April 16, 2004, in San Francisco, Gagne started the ninth with a 3-0 lead. With a runner on first and one out, and Bonds unable to tie the game with one swing, Gagne decided to challenge him with fastballs that Bonds later called “straight cheddar.”
Bonds blasted a 101-mph fastball into McCovey Cove, just foul. The undeterred closer came back with one at 99 mph, and Bonds hit it over the center-field fence for his only career homer in 17 at-bats against Gagne.
And on that note–go Giants.
Ex-Dodgers closer Gagne: Giants displayed interest [SFGate]
- Mike Piazza: from nobody to future Hall-of-Famer … [AZ Republic]
- … and he looks “rejuvenated” by his move to DH. [Athletics Nation]
- Bobby Crosby, Rich Harden impress in their spring debuts. [SFGate]
- The A’s to San Jose? Not if Bud Selig has anything to say about it. [Baysball]
- The injured Bobby Kielty took BP and even went yard a couple times. [Official Site]
- Nick Swisher, helping others. [Inside Bay Area]
- Milton Bradley, also helping others. [AZ Republic]