What happened to Oakland being the Bay Area’s black hole for sports? Not anymore, it isn’t.
Thanks in large part to their incredibly dramatic sweep of the New York Yankees last weekend and a failed trade for Hanley Ramirez this week, the A’s are national news now, on and off the field. The Giants are suddenly playing second fiddle.
The Raiders, with a rookie coach hired by a rookie general manager, are as compelling — in a very different way, mind you — as are the 49ers, if only because they’re entering their first full season without the control freak rocking a gaudy white sweatsuit on the sideline.
And don’t forget that the Warriors are Oakland property, too. For now, anyway. This coming week should bring the finalization of what’s expected to be a roster that could contend for a playoff spot and start the long climb back to NBA credibility.
Of course, all three teams could bail from the East Bay in a matter of years, depending on which way certain civic and financial winds blow. But hey, it’s good eatin’ right now, and it’s been far too long to not belly up and partake while it’s there.
LINCECUM A MUST IN PLAYOFF ROTATION: Stealing a page from the A’s handbook with a walk-off win of their own on Wednesday, the Giants remained nearly as hot as their cross-Bay brethren with their ninth win in 11 games since their All-Star party in K.C.
Alas, their third loss since the break came the next day, and that it came with Tim Lincecum on the mound made it a bigger deal.
Or did it?
Seems like everyone’s starting to suffer from a nasty case of Freak Fatigue. Symptoms include apathy.
Shocking, really. It’s like Giants fans have all but accepted that this is simply a stinker of a season for their former ace. The team as a whole, however, looks playoff-bound, begging a silly but interesting question that’s making the rounds on the local radio airwaves: Would Lincecum be in your postseason rotation?
Answer: Yes. Make that, “Hell, yes.” You saw him against the Dodgers. You saw him against the Phillies. You saw him against the Astros. It’s still there somewhere, and you never know when it’s coming back. You can’t run the risk of not giving it a chance to resurface when it’s needed the most.
NOT QUITE THE SAME: Angel Pagan’s circus catch in center field Tuesday to start a borderline-miraculous double play was amazing, but can we knock it off with the comparisons to Gregor Blanco’s grab in Matt Cain’s perfect game?
There is no comparison, OK? One you will see after this week only on the Giants’ 2012 season in review shows and DVDs. The other you will see at least a few times every year until you die.
Blanco preserved HISTORY. Pagan preserved a mid-summer win over the Quadruple-A Padres. Again, knock it off. Seriously.
LUMBERING PANDA: Pagan’s double play was impressive, though, and it came on the heels of an infield twin killing that was nearly as nice. Theriot to Crawford to Sandoval isn’t as lyrical as Tinkers to Evers to Chance, but it sure was pretty.
Not so pretty: the sight of Pablo Sandoval lumbering off with a limp after doing the splits to take Brandon Crawford’s Jeter-esque jump throw.
Thought No. 1: There goes Pablo’s post-baseball cheerleading career.
No. 2: It might be unwise for the Giants to let him get cozy with first base anyway. He’s already approaching Macy’s Thanksgiving Day balloon proportions, and dropping anchor at the not-so-hot corner could indirectly encourage or at least enable him to indulge in that extra order of the devil’s deep-dish.
WILSON STRIKES OUT: First it was the ESPYs, and while it seemed like a stretch for injured Giants closer Brian Wilson to even be there — missing attention much? — it was moderately amusing. Big, hairy closer, big hairy monster. We get it. Here’s a chuckle. Now beat it. Scram. But no. Now we get a fake talk show, hosted by said “Squatch,” with Wilson as his guest. Terrible. Absolutely terrible. And Wilson, who’s no dummy, knew it. So he tried to salvage the comic bomb by dropping a bomb of his own — an
F-bomb — at the end of the clip. Sadly, it wasn’t enough.
Mychael Urban, a frequent co-host of The Wheelhouse (10 a.m.-2 p.m.) on 95.7 FM The Game, can be followed on Twitter @BigUrbSports. His website is UrbsUnchained.com.