Balls: For openers, Sandoval has no hits, still no clue 

click to enlarge Ex-Giants Pablo Sandoval went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts in his Red Sox debut, which came in an 8-0 win over the Phillies on Monday. - CHRIS SZAGOLA/AP
  • Chris Szagola/AP
  • Ex-Giants Pablo Sandoval went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts in his Red Sox debut, which came in an 8-0 win over the Phillies on Monday.

Go ahead, Pablo Sandoval, make our Opening Day.

In his Boston Red Sox debut, Sandoval went 0-for-5 and struck out not one, not two, but three times. Based on his $17 million salary, that's about $142,000 worth of oh-fer, give or take a few bucks.

At least some Giants fans and players would have preferred something more. Namely, an apology.

During the offseason Sandoval broke off contract negotiations with the Giants even though they were prepared to exceed the Red Sox's exorbitant offer.

"I just wanted a new challenge," Mr. Me would explain later. Fair enough. But then he played the no-respect card after walking out the door, dissing practically everybody except manager Bruce Bochy and Hunter Pence in the Giants' organization.

This is the same Sandoval who began last season in a horrific slump, one that took nearly three months to turn around. As late as May 13, the rotund one had a sub-.200 batting average. Through it all, the Giants didn't bounce a single one of his checks. And his name remained on the lineup card almost every day.

(Would someone kindly disrespect me like that? Please?)

Now, Sandoval is in Boston, where the fans aren't nearly as patient as they are here. If Sandoval checks in at .190-something a month from now, we'll see what happens to those cute little panda dolls.

Until then, any time Sandoval wants to man up and say he's sorry for those really dumb remarks is fine here.

BUT DID DUBS NEED THAT? The San Antonio Spurs handed the Warriors their most lopsided loss of the season Sunday, and coach Steve Kerr flicked it off like a fly on his omelet. After all, the game was their second in two nights, and they owned the No. 1 playoff seed already, right?

"It's not the worst thing in the world to happen to us," Kerr said. "A little slap in the face like, 'Oh yeah, oh yeah, we can get better.'"

Still, Balls has to wonder if this San Antonio thing weighs a bit heavier on their minds than it did before. They've won one game there since 1997, the final year of the Rick Adelman era.

If the Warriors avoid the Spurs in the postseason, it's a moot point. Otherwise, the Warriors will enter the series at a disadvantage between the ears, because negative streaks of this ridiculous magnitude become a mental barrier whether you've been a large part of them or not.

"We'll remember this when we come back here maybe in the playoffs or something," Curry said. "They're a good team. They're obviously champions until someone knocks them off."


HIGHWAY TO HELL: In today's edition of Former NFL Players Behaving Badly, Kwame Harris was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs, resisting arrest and aggravated assault. As The San Francisco Examiner reported, Harris was found unconscious with the motor running before he attempted to bite the hand of the San Francisco officer who tried to a handcuff him, according to police. Two years ago, the Stanford product was sentenced to five days in jail and three years' probation after he beat up his ex-boyfriend outside a restaurant.

You probably guessed that Harris played for the Raiders and the 49ers if you didn't know already.

SAME OL' ESPN: Turned on ESPN for the first pitch of the season, and you'll never guess which team showed up.

The New York Yankees!

Major League Baseball likes to talk about parity — yeah, right — but fans will see none of it on ESPN and the MLB Network in the early season. If it's not the Yankees on the tube, then it's the Red Sox as usual. The two teams will be forced upon us no fewer than 16 times, including four head-to-head matchups. The Yankees finished a distant second in their division last season, by the way, while the Red Sox were fifth (last).

Meanwhile, the season opener was the only time you'll see the Giants — the defending world champion Giants. That's one less than the Chicago Cubs, who won three fewer World Series in the last 106 years than the Champs did in the last five.

As for the A's ... does ESPN even know they exist?

JUST SAYIN': The most pathetic performance on Opening Day wasn't by a player but the thousands of Yankees fans who gave drug loser Alex Rodriguez a rousing ovation in the pregame introductions. The idiots did it again when he came to the plate for the first time.

Turns out that not only should fans be subject to security checks upon entrance to the ballpark, but their own random drug tests, too.

THE LIST: Teams that will be seen most often on ESPN and the MLB Network in the first two months of the season:

Yankees 10

Red Sox 6

St. Louis Cardinals 5

New York Mets 4

Detroit Tigers 3

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