Monday, January 30, 2012

The A's, Giants, and San Jose

The Oakland A's have made it clear they want out of Oakland. They have refused to renovate the Coliseum at all. I went to an A's game two years ago and the stadium was terrible (I was able to see Ken Griffey Jr. pinch hit though). Furthermore, the A's have traded all their talent, just like Billy Beane does when his stars start to shine. Gio Gonzalez, Trevor Cahill, and Andrew Bailey are all out of Oakland. This is Oakland's way of protesting to MLB to let them move. Their obstacle: the San Francisco Giants.

The Giants own the territorial rights to San Jose, and as a result, the A's would have to make an agreement with  the Giants in order to play there. The Giants have a lot to lose, including their most valuable asset, the fans. However, here in the Bay Area, we feel like the Giants won the World Series yesterday. the Giants are the best show in town, not the Oakland A's. Giants fans outnumber A's fans approximately 10:1 based on my observations. And that is enough consolation, in my opinion, for the Giants to give up their territorial rights (for a fee), and let the A's move to San Jose.


Having watched the film Moneyball when it came out last year, I have wanted to read the book by Michael Lewis, which I had heard was quite good. And after finally reading it this weekend, I must say I have to agree.

The book was amazing. It was like a dive into the world of the sports executive. The ideas presented in the book were mind-blowing: the fact that players were being valued by how they looked playing the game rather than how they produced on the field, that baseball clubs were taking risks on high school players when they were largely unproven, that the disparity in riches in baseball did not make a huge difference as long as the poor teams used their money wisely. The scene that captivated me the most, both from the movie and book, was the scene where Oakland A's manager Billy Beane orchestrates a trade for Ricardo Rincon of the Cleveland Indians. Beane discovers that there is one more suitor for Rincon other than the A's, the Giants. Beane offers his own reliever, Mike Venafro, to the Giants to lower their interest in Rincon. At the same time, after realizing that he probably can't pay for Rincon, he lures the Mets into a trade where he receives enough cash to pay for Rincon for the remainder of the season.

This scene blew my mind. Beane's character was so manipulative that he was able to implement his ideas and create a successful baseball team considering the amount of money that he had.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Ranking the All Star Games

With two pro sports All Star games occurring this coming weekend (NFL and NFL), I thought it would be appropriate to rank the 4 major sports league's all star festivities.

1) NHL All Star Weekend
The best part about the NHL all star game is the fantasy draft that occurred on Thursday. It has a playground style feel to it, with two team captains alternating picks. It is always interesting to see which player will be picked last (I regret to say that this year's was Logan Couture of our beloved Sharks) and which player will be picked first. One gripe I have with this format is that captains tend to pick their teammates first, which takes the prestige out of the first pick. However, it is still the most intriguing format for an all-star game.

Furthermore, the NHL skills challenge is also interesting. How fast is Zdeno Chara going to shoot this year? Find out in the hardest shot competition. What crazy stunt will be pulled off in the breakaway challenge in the absence of Alexander Ovechkin? The skills competitions are fun to watch and I look forward to them in the next couple of days.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Digesting the 49ers loss

The reason this post is not coming to you immediately after the 49ers game is because I needed to give myself time to digest the loss. And after giving myself 3 full days, I realize that I really don't want to talk about that loss. But I will.

First of all, I do not entirely blame Kyle Williams. He made two terrible mistakes, yes, but he also is only a 2nd year player who was drafted in the 7th round out of Arizona State by the old coaching regime in San Francisco. The fact that he is even on the roster is a testament to how much this team desperately needs a wide receiver (more on that later). Basically, he's here because there's no one better than him. So I can't possibly blame him for his mistakes when the 49ers should have had a better player in his position anyway. Of course, we had Ted Ginn, but it was clear after Williams made a diving fair catch earlier in the game that he is a very risky punt returner and he should have never been placed in that precarious position.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Halftime Thoughts

This game definitely is nothing like last week's. Its a grind-it-out affair in terrible weather. The 49ers look completely dysfunctional on offense right now, except for that 73 yard touchdown pass to Vernon Davis. Alex Smith is 2-for-7 and needs to pick up the pace. The defense is playing fine as a whole, but the secondary must cover better, simply put. Victor Cruz is running amok all over the field and accumulating plenty of yards after catch.

Overall, the 49ers should be happy that they're only behind by 3. The Giants will get the ball first in the second half and the 49ers defense must hold strong in order to give the offense a chance. This game looks like it will come down to a key turnover. Someone will eventually have to score in order to secure this game. I'm revved up for the second half of this one for sure despite the gloomy day.

Go 49ers!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Hold On Folks

Everywhere I look, people are already gifting the NFC Championship to the New York Giants. Most, if not all, of the ESPN analysts are giving the Giants the win. 49ers supporters are in the minority, and this is unbelievable. Everywhere I go, people are saying that the Giants are the hottest team. I beg to differ on that account. The 49ers just came off their biggest win since 2003. They hung with and eventually beat one of the most gifted offensive teams in the New Orleans Saints. Yes, the Giants are probably a more complete team, but the 49ers have proved themselves in my eyes. They have a shot, and a very large shot at that, of beating the Giants and making it to the Super Bowl. To prove this, let's break down each matchup going into Sunday's game and award points on a scale of 1 to 10.

Giants passing vs 49ers pass defense
The Giants have three dynamic receivers in Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks, and Mario Manningham and they could pose serious problems for the 49ers' secondary. They also have Eli Manning, whom I now consider one of the premier passers in this league. The 49ers have a decent secondary, however, including Pro Bowl cornerback Carlos Rodgers and Pro Bowl safety Dashon Goldson. The 49ers linebacking corps is one of the best in the league, featuring Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman on the inside. They also have one of the best pass rushes in the league, featuring sack machine Aldon Smith and total beast Justin Smith, who will have to overcome the Giants shaky offensive line. Solely because of the advantage in the receiver vs secondary matchup, I'll give this one to the Giants.
Giants: 1.5 points

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Impressions from the 49ers victory

When all that had to happen on the field was done happening, when Alex Smith connected with Vernon Davis with 9 seconds left in what will be penned in football lore as "The Grab," when the 49ers defense finally failed and the 49ers offense had enough for 1 final drive, — when all the drama had ended and a victor emerged  the world had just witnessed the most amazing game in the history of football. The game featured everything: hard hitting defenses, prolific offenses, big plays, dramatic turnovers, an array of emotions, a 4th quarter that can never be forgotten. There was something about that game that cannot be expressed or quantified that simply captivated the heart of every football fan across the nation.

It was one of the hardest hitting games that I've seen. Donte Whitner singlehandedly knocked out Pierre Thomas to stall the Saints first drive just yards from the goal line, gain control of the ball, and set the tone for the rest of the game. The 49ers defense did not let the Saints run the ball at all and the Saints only rushed for 37 yards.

Monday, January 2, 2012

NFL Playoff Predictions

The euphoria hasn't passed yet. With the 49ers clinching the No.2 seed and a first round bye in their defeat of the Rams yesterday, I believe they have a chance to win the Super Bowl. However, they're not my pick to win it all. Here are my predictions for the NFL playoffs.


Wild Card Round
Cincinnati Bengals over Houston Texans
Yes, I know, the Bengals haven't looked good as of late, but neither have the Texans. The Texans currently are starting their 3rd string QB, TJ Yates, and I don't have Matt Schaub-like confidence in Yates' abilities. The Bengals have Pro Bowl WR AJ Green, who will likely be at full strength for Saturday's game, and Rookie of the Year candidate Andy Dalton. The Bengals have the 10th best rush defense to counter the Texans' illustrious running game led by Arian Foster. If Cincinnati can stop Foster, the Bengals will win this game.

Pittsburgh Steelers over Denver Broncos
Let's face it, defenses have figured out Tim Tebow. And when you pit Tebow against a stellar defense like Pittsburgh's, they don't have a chance. Pittsburgh's D is tops in total yards and passing defense and 8th in rush defense. As we witnessed in Denver's game against Kansas City, Denver is dysfunctional on offense. Even though the Broncos have one of the best defenses in the league, you still have to score points to win a game. If Denver's defense can't generate turnovers, something they've struggled at throughout the year, it'll be hard to beat Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers.