Balls: Stow could be what Champs need 

click to enlarge Bryan Stow, second from left, threw out the first pitch a week ago today at the San Jose Giants’ home opener. The Giants fan, who was beaten outside Dodger Stadium on Opening Day 2011, will do the same at AT&T Park today — before the game. - MARCIO JOE SANCHEZ/AP
  • Marcio Joe Sanchez/AP
  • Bryan Stow, second from left, threw out the first pitch a week ago today at the San Jose Giants’ home opener. The Giants fan, who was beaten outside Dodger Stadium on Opening Day 2011, will do the same at AT&T Park today — before the game.
Save for the obligatory World Series celebrations, there have precious few feel-good moments at AT&T Park in the early season. There figures to be an emotional one this afternoon, and it will have nothing to do with the score.

Giants fan Bryan Stow is scheduled to throw out the first pitch before the game, and it won’t be just any pitch, either. It will come four years after a brutal attack left him in a coma and near death. That his appearance will come before the series finale against the Los Angeles Dodgers is no small irony — the former paramedic was outside Dodger Stadium when he was jumped by two assailants on Opening Day 2011.

So much progress has Stow made in physical therapy — “Miraculous,” one physician calls it — the 46-year-old can move around with the aid of a walker now. He took another step forward on Thursday night, when he threw out the first pitch before the San Jose Giants’ home opener at Municipal Stadium.

The Champs face an uphill battle themselves in the early season. Maybe Stow is the just the guy to help them meet the challenge ahead.

L.A. RAIDERS REDUX? Better take a good look at your Raiders in the next few months, because they probably won’t be yours much longer.

On Tuesday, the Carson City Council bypassed a public vote to unanimously approve a privately funded, $1.7 billion stadium, another large step in the efforts to lure an NFL team to the Los Angeles area. A few miles away in Inglewood, St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke is part of a group that plans to build an 80,000-seat stadium on the site of the former Hollywood Park racetrack. That leaves the Raiders and Oakland with eight months to get their act together. Considering they haven’t been able to get it done for the last 20 years, it’s hard to like their chances.

The Raiders could file for relocation as early as January, we’re told. The move would require two-thirds approval of team owners, but that would be a formality. The NFL wants this to get done, and whatever it wants, it gets.

All of which leaves the A’s a bit closer to a state-of-the-art, baseball-only facility with electricity and indoor plumbing among other modern amenities.

MONEYBALL BONANZA: There’s more good news for the A’s — they may have come upon a left-handed relief pitcher in their blowout loss against the Los Angeles Angles on Tuesday night, when first baseman Ike Davis retired the side in order on nine pitches.

“I was a little nervous,” Davis said. “I didn’t want to walk the house and look like a clown out there.”

Unlike most mop-up guys, Davis knew what he was doing out there. In his final season at Arizona State, he had a 2.25 earned run average and a 7.5-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. His daddy is Ron Davis, who pitched for 11 seasons in the big leagues.

Is it possible that Davis could pitch on the days he isn’t needed in the field at some point? Balls wouldn’t put it past Billy Beane to have thought of it already.

CLIP AND SAVE: Here’s a Balls-eye view of the Raiders season ahead:

Cincinnati Bengals 31, Raiders 13: Something very rare is witnessed at Lo.co Coliseum — ex-Raider Denarius Moore doesn’t fumble for 30 consecutive minutes.

Raiders 24, Baltimore Ravens 21:Latavius Murray and Roy Helu run through the big, fat hole that nose tackle Haloti Ngata left behind.

Raiders 21, Cleveland Browns 14: Backup Johnny Manziel runs for a touchdown, attempts a selfie with a cheerleader, gets sacked.

Chicago Bears 34, Raiders 20: The good Jay Cutler makes his monthly appearance.

Denver Broncos 35, Raiders 21: Speculation begins that Jack Del Rio will head to USC after the season.

San Diego Chargers 24, Raiders 17: In a secret agreement, the winner of the season series gets to pick its stadium in Los Angeles.

Raiders 9, New York Jets 3: The Raiders’ defense harasses quarterback Geno Smith into two fumbles, three penalties and four interceptions.

Pittsburgh Steelers 45, Raiders 10: Pride and Poise fans wish it was 1977 again.

Minnesota Vikings 24, Raiders 21: Adrian Peterson runs wild for somebody.

Detroit Lions 31, Raiders 12: The visitors limit Calvin Johnson to 11 receptions, 166 yards, two touchdowns.

Raiders 24, Tennessee Titans 18 (overtime): Derek Carr limps over the goal line with a bum shoulder and a sprained knee.

Kansas City Chiefs 24, Raiders 14: Alex Smith throws his first touchdown pass to a wide receiver in two seasons.

Broncos 42, Raiders 17: Peyton Manning passes for five touchdown because, well, it’s the regular season, right?

Green Bay Packers 34, Raiders 21: Cheer up, Raiders fans, your team selected Fabian Washington one spot ahead of Aaron Rodgers in the 2005 draft!

Raiders 29, Chargers 23: The Raiders lose the season series on point differential, get stuck with Inglewood.

Chiefs 21, Raiders 0: Speculation mounts that Del Rio will even consider UCLA now.

Tomorrow: the 49ers.

THE WORLDWIDE DRAFT LEADER: In its mock draft version 6.9, Balls has the Raiders taking wide receiver Amari Cooper in Round 1 unless they take Kevin White or Devante Parker instead. The 49ers’ first pick will be defensive tackle Leonard Williams, Danny Shelton or Malcolm Brown. Or maybe Cooper or White.

Got an opinion? A gripe? A compliment? (A compliment?!?) Send them to pladewski@sfexaminer.com and you may get your name in the paper one day.
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