<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - San Diego Sports News, Photos, and Scores for the Padres, Chargers and More]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/sports http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/KNSD+RSS+Feed+logo+blue.png NBC 7 San Diego http://www.nbcsandiego.com en-us Thu, 30 Oct 2014 05:43:38 -0700 Thu, 30 Oct 2014 05:43:38 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Limping Along]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 23:36:24 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Addae-stinger-chargers.jpg

After a few rare days off the Chargers returned to practice on Wednesday. As has been the case most of the fall, who didn't practice made more news than those who did.

Cornerbacks Jason Verrett (shoulder) and Brandon Flowers (concussion) did not participate. Safety Jahleel Addae, who suffered a concussion in the game Thursday at Denver, also was held out.

The others who did not practice were Jerry Attaochu (hamstring), Dwight Freeney (knee), Ryan Mathews (knee), Rich Ohrnberger (back) and Manti Te'o (foot).

Running back Donald Brown practiced for the first time since suffering a concussion against the Jets on October 5th.

The Chargers play in Miami on Sunday.

<![CDATA[Players and Fans Celebrate Giants' World Series Win]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 22:42:05 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP283856501206.jpg Giants fans and players celebrated their team's eighth World Series win, only two years after they last claimed the title.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[City Braces for World Series Chaos]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 07:17:23 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GIANTS-JUMBOTRON-SET-UP-NORBERT-RAW---10571027.jpg

Civic Center Plaza is likely going to be a party Tuesday night if the expected thousands of Giants fans show up to watch Game 6 of the World Series on a giant Jumbotron.

In fact, Yvette Bautista showed up at 5 a.m. to get a front row seat as the Jumbotron was being set up - 12 hours before the game.

"Worth it," was all she said.

She was joined early in the day by Barbara Grauke, who set up a chair right up close to the big screen.

"Since I didn't  have anything else I really had to do today," Grauke said, "I decided I'll set up for my family."

She said shed' spend the time reading. "It's nice to sit and do nothing for a while."

But it's not just baseball that will be taking over San Francisco.

There are hundreds of concert goers attending the Phish concert inside the Bill Graham Civic auditorium next door.

City officials are advising anyone visiting San Francisco to come early in order to get a viewing spot for the game on the plaza, and take BART or public transportation if you can.

Police also say leave the booze at home. There will be "zero tolerance" for alcohol at the event. And officers are on standby in case the Giants win the World Series against the Kansas City Royals and fans decide to cause problems.

Remember the Novato man in 2012 who smashed windows and a Muni bus in 2012? Police do and want to avoid that sort of thing. Officers are bracing for possible chaos, and want to especially prevent fires, which also erupted after the Giants won the World Series two years ago. That's why city crews are cleaning the street of debris so happy fans won't set things ablaze.

"We plan like crazy for the worst and we  hope for the best," Police Chief Greg Suhr said.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers Rookie Breaks Leg in Loss]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 04:22:35 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Lakers+Rookie+Julius+Randle+Breaks+Leg.jpg

The Los Angeles Lakers' season opener against the Houston Rockets met expectations in several ways, but the end result left players and fans feeling ill.

Lakers' rookie Julius Randle, who many consider the future of the franchise, suffered a broken leg in his first NBA game. Prior to that point in the game, Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard had an altercation that resulted in both players being separated after Howard swung his elbows in Bryant’s face. Choice words were exchanged, but none of that mattered by the end of the game.

All thoughts and prayers were with the 19-year-old kid after he had been stretched off in his home debut. As he lay on the hardwood waiting for the stretcher to arrive, one by one, Randle's teammates learned that the kid was seriously hurt. Each player made his way over to the rookie who was struggling and in serious pain. By the time the stretcher finally arrived, Randle was surrounded by a huddle of teammates rubbing his head and telling him to be strong, most notable in the bunch was Bryant.

The fact that the Houston Rockets beat the LA Lakers 108-90 was an afterthought. Had the game been halted at the 6:46 mark in the fourth quarter, when Randle suffered the broken leg, the Lakers would have likely gladly taken the loss and moved on to process the news.

The mood in the arena turned somber the moment Randle went down, and the remaining fans in the stands could not even bring themselves to heckle Howard, the object of hate for most of the evening. Sadness overcame all who had been following the rookie, and news that his mother was present to watch her boy play in his first NBA game only further added to the glum mood.

After the game, the doleful mood carried over into the Lakers' press conferences. Lakers' coach Byron Scott called the injury "heartbreaking."

"I just told him to stay strong," Scott recounted his message to the crying Randle after the game. "Adversity tests the true character of a man. This is some adversity that we’re facing."

Bryant, who took it upon himself to mentor the youngster, also spoke to the kid and provided him a message of guidance.

"I just told him to keep his spirits up, try not to think about this too much right now," Bryant told reporters after the game. "We're here to pick him up and help him through it."

Bryant added, "You can only control what you can control. That's really tough to process. That's really tough to let that go. But it's the truth. You can't worry about those things. It's a fluke injury. There's nothing you can do about that."

On a stretcher, Randle was transported to a hospital as the Lakers departed for Phoenix, where they will play the Suns on Wednesday night without their rookie sensation.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Tony Gwynn Memorial Freeway Clears Hurdle]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 06:32:25 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/tlmd_7296559128129.jpg

Baseball hall-of-famer Tony Gwynn could soon be memorialized on a major San Diego freeway.

County supervisors voted on Tuesday to approve $7,500 to purchase signs along a portion of Interstate 15 as the “Tony Gwynn Memorial Freeway.” The state Legislature must now vote on whether or not to support the memorial.

If passed, the signs would be erected on the 15 between Scripps Poway Parkway and Pomerado Road near Poway.

Gwynn, 54, died on June 16 after a long battle with cancer of the salivary gland. He was a longtime Poway resident.

Gwynn played his entire 20-year career with the San Diego Padres and earned the nickname Mr. Padre. To locals, he was also known as “Mr. Poway.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Michael Jordan Tweets "I'm Back!"]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 08:50:14 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/tlmd_michael_jordan_apuesta.JPG

Michael Jordan is trying his hand at social media, and he went all out for his first tweet Tuesday.

In the tweet, which was posted to the Charlotte Hornets official Twitter account, Jordan revived his legendary “I’m back!” announcement, which signaled he was coming out of retirement roughly 19 years ago.

“I’M BACK!” the tweet read, followed by Jordan clarifying that he's "just kidding" then “laughing out loud.”

The tweet comes on the opening day of the NBA season.

As the owner of the Hornets, Jordan, 51, posted a series of tweets with the hashtag #MJTakeover as part of a social media promotion.

A day earlier, Jordan, who faced criticism when the Hornets played one of the worst seasons in NBA history, told ESPN that being an owner is very different than playing.

“You can’t impact the game. You cannot impact the game,” he said. “I played this game for a long time and I always took criticism in a way that’s going to make me better as a basketball player and I could affect the game per se. Here, I can’t do that other than talking to my other employees or coaches or players.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Canseco Accidentally Shoots Own Finger Cleaning Gun]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 14:13:55 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/jose-canseco-getty.jpg

Former baseball star Jose Canseco accidentally shot himself in the finger while cleaning what authorities say is a large-caliber handgun in his Las Vegas home Monday afternoon, police told NBC News.

Canseco shot a finger on his left hand, apparently unaware that a bullet was in the chamber, Las Vegas Metro Lt. Mark Reddon said.

"It was a serious hand injury," but not a serious medical injury, Reddon told NBC News. "There was nothing suspicious. There was no alcohol involved, just a misstep with a handgun."

Canseco began his long major league career in the 1980s playing for the Oakland Athletics, before going on to play for the Rangers, Red Sox, Yankees, White Sox and other teams.

He has admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs during his MLB career and after retiring also competed in mixed martial arts and boxing.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Redskins PR Pulls QB From Interview]]> Tue, 28 Oct 2014 16:29:30 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/165*120/457968826.jpg

Amid the euphoria of the Redskins' 20-17 overtime victory against the Cowboys on Monday, no one can blame quarterback Colt McCoy's exuberance following his exceptional performance

But when ESPN Deportes reporter John Sutcliffe attempted to interview McCoy, Washington senior vice president of communications Tony Wyllie forcibly pulled the quarterback away.

From Dan Steinberg

"No no no, we gotta go guys, we gotta go," Wyllie said, hands on his quarterback, attempting to physically move McCoy toward his destination. But there was resistance from Sutcliffe.

"No means NO!" Wyllie finally shouted, which became the seminal moment for people attempting to make late-night jokes on the internet.

The interview eventually took place.

Wyllie explained the now-infamous moment to ProFootballTalk Tuesday morning. According to Wyllie, McCoy was needed in the locker room for a postgame speech from coach Jay Gruden. Sutcliffe had not set up an on-field interview with McCoy, but still attempted to speak to him. 

Wyllie told News4 he had nothing more to add Tuesday afternoon. "We were just trying to get the player into the locker room so he could hear the post-game speech," he said.

"The guy refused to listen about getting the player in."

Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bolts Finally Get Some Time to Recharge]]> Tue, 28 Oct 2014 10:58:20 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/floyd+time+off+chargers.jpg

After a grueling first half of the season, the Chargers finally get a few days to rest and reflect before battling the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

Coming off Thursday’s game against the Denver Broncos, the Bolts more or less get five days without any significant practice time. They are off today after a quick walk-through on Monday.

What’s on the to-do list with the time off?

“For me it’s keep those feet elevated and try not to do anything stressful,” said linebacker Dwight Freeney, a 12-year veteran. “It just depends on what’s going on, just don’t go out and try to have a mini-scrimmage in the back yard or anything.”

It’s been more than just eight straight weeks of football. The Charges played two straight divisional games against teams who enjoyed their bye weeks right before playing them, followed by Thursday’s grueling matchup with the Broncos on four days’ rest.

Fortunately, after this weekend's trip to Miami, the Bolts get their bye week before hitting it hard for the final seven games of the regular season.

“I think the break is needed,” said defensive end Corey Liuget.

He said he will try to keep his regular routine and encouraged the rest of the team to do the same. That includes getting massages, chiropractor and hitting the ice tub.

“Take care of your body,” he said. “Do the things that are going to help you get ready for Sundays.”

For a mostly veteran team, the rest is necessary. But it will also help that they know how to handle the workload and prepare for the second half of the season.

“We got some experienced veterans on the team that know how to take care of their bodies,” said receiver Malcom Floyd, who is in his ninth year in the league. “When they’re away, they’re not just partying. And we got younger guys who look up to those guys and carry on the same way.”

Floyd said he was in the practice facility, even on the off days, doing some light running and weights.

“You just gotta listen to your body and keep your routine up,” he said.

Has the extra down time paid off?

“I already feel faster.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Emails Show Cozy Relationship Between SJPD Officers, 49ers]]> Tue, 28 Oct 2014 06:14:17 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/SJPD-Seal.jpg

Cash, fun, and a shot at Super Bowl glory.

The San Francisco 49ers had it, and some lucky members of the San Jose police department wanted a piece of it.

E-mails from several San Jose police officers, including the sergeant apparently in charge of determining who could work security for the team, reveal a "close" relationship between the SJPD and the 49ers with little oversight, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

At the center of it is Sgt. Sean Pritchard, who apparently had the authority to recommend officers to be hired to protect the 49ers by an Oakland-based security company.

Pritchard called working for the 49ers a "cash cow," the newspaper reported. It was also Pritchard who, on duty and in uniform, was found to be at the home of defensive lineman Ray McDonald when police responding to a report that McDonald had struck his fiancee, the newspaper reported.

Pritchard was reportedly called there by McDonald prior to police being called, the newspaper reported.

The department has since suspended officers working for the team following that Aug. 31 incident. But other examples persists.

The newspaper also reported an assistant chief also received free VIP passes to a preseason game courtesy of the team.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Play These Songs to Help The Giants Win]]> Tue, 28 Oct 2014 06:15:05 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/168*120/457922444.jpg

The Giants need just one more game to add to the growing collection of even-yeared World Series titles, and if you're looking for a broader soundtrack than "Don't Stop Believin," consider this group of newcomers:

Hot Buttered Rum has blessed the team with not one but six volumes of their "SF Giants Bluegrass Fight Song" — Volume 6 is specifically for the World Series:

Equipto, Curt Sak, Ike P, Aukwin, Shag Nasty and Baldhead Rick were inspired by the "Yes Yes Yes" chant to make a smart rap of the same name:

And finally, some visitor love: Ohio's Round2Crew recently came through the Bay Area on a radio tour and got swept up in Giants fever, today dropping a song called "Giants Had Me Like (Woah)." The potential second and third verses are left out in order to encourage fans to remix the track and fill that time with their own rhymes:

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[LA Soccer Team Ceases Operations]]> Mon, 27 Oct 2014 19:03:51 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/lafile-chivas-usa-fans.jpg

Major League Soccer announced Monday that Chivas USA ceased operations and that a new franchise planned for Los Angeles would begin play in a new soccer-specific stadium in 2017.

The league’s Board of Governors unanimously decided to disband Chivas USA as part of a change in strategy for the Los Angeles market, MLS said in an announcement on its site.

“As part of our new strategy for Southern California -- a major hotbed of soccer participation and fan support -- we believe that engaging with a new ownership group which has the resources and local community ties, and a plan for a dedicated soccer-specific stadium, provides us with the best chance for success,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber in the statement.

The ownership group for the new team will be announced Thursday.

The league will play with 20 clubs in the 2015 season.

MLS said it will conduct a dispersal draft of the Chivas USA roster in the near future.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chargers Swap Cornerbacks]]> Tue, 28 Oct 2014 08:49:59 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/457740006.jpg

During the off-season and training camp, the Chargers decided to move Richard Marshall from cornerback to safety. The decision was working out fairly well. In his ninth season, Marshall really did not have the speed to run with young, physical wide receivers anymore.

However, injuries to Brandon Flowers, Jason Verrett and Steve Williams forced Marshall to move back to corner. His performance there have prompted the Chargers to move him off the roster.

San Diego released Marshall on Monday. He allowed a big game to Chiefs wideout Dwayne Bowe in Week 7, then was routinely beaten for touchdowns by Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders in a Thursday night loss to Denver.

Marshall is now a free agent, eligible to sign with any team.

To replace him, the Bolts signed former Washington cornerback Richard Crawford, an Oceanside native and El Camino High School alum. Crawford was drafted by the Redskins in the 7th round of the 2012 Draft.

He had a solid rookie season, with three passes defensed and one interception in 10 games. Crawford missed the 2013 season after tearing knee ligaments in the pre-season. He was back with the Redskins for training camp this year, was released, then signed to the practice squad, then spent one week on the 53-man roster, and was waived on October 7.

One way Crawford might be able to make an immediate impact is on special teams. He's an accomplished punt returner who had a few big plays his first year in Washington, one to set up a field goal in overtime to beat the Ravens.

His senior year in college at Southern Methodist University, Crawford was named First Team All-Conference USA as a punt returner.

Crawford will wear number 35 for the Chargers.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Marshawn Lynch to Chargers? Probably Not]]> Tue, 28 Oct 2014 08:51:27 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/lynch+oliver+seahawks+trade+copy.jpg

Rumors have been swirling throughout the NFL on the eve of the league’s trading deadline, which is Tuesday at 1 p.m.

One of those involves the Chargers making a deal for Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch.

The man they call Beast Mode has fallen out of favor with the Seahawks front office after incidents that include an attempted holdout over the offseason and Lynch failing to appear at the White House Super Bowl ceremony.

ESPN threw out a deal of Lynch for Chargers rookie running back Branden Oliver and a fourth-round pick in next year’s draft and other media outlets have been running with it.

If that were the case, the Bolts would be fools not to look long and hard at the trade. Lynch has been one of the best rushers in the league, even if at age 28 he is reaching old-timer status for running backs.

Oliver could be a star in the making, but he could also be the guy every other team in the league passed on in this year’s draft.

It could be well worth the risk.

Unfortunately, don’t look for that trade to happen. Even at 4-3, the Seahawks still have to consider themselves in the hunt for a playoff berth. It wouldn’t make sense to deal away a guy who knows their offense well for a relatively unproven rookie, especially after they just traded away receiver Percy Harvin to the New York Jets.

Also hampering a deal is the injury to fullback Derrick Coleman, which thins Seattle’s backfield even more and will likely result in a shuffling of roles for backups Christine Michael and Robert Turbin. Many think Michael is their back of the future, but that potential hasn’t turned into success.

All in all, it doesn’t look like the Chargers will get a new toy in the backfield. That’s OK, as starter Ryan Mathews could be ready as early as this week after missing six games with a knee injury.

For Chargers fans, getting a healthy Mathews would be even better than a trade.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Quietly, Raiders' Mack is Becoming a Difference-Maker]]> Mon, 27 Oct 2014 10:33:04 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/Mackkvrsrruunn.jpg

Seven games into his rookie season, Raiders linebacker Khalil Mack is still looking for his first sack.

But that doesn’t mean Mack is a flop. Far from it.

In Sunday’s 23-13 loss to the Browns in Cleveland, the fifth overall pick of the 2014 draft was outstanding. The outside linebacker had six tackles, including two for loss, and several times put pressure on Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer. He also had a quarterback hit.

The play of Mack and second-year outside linebacker Sio Moore were major reasons why the Oakland defense shut down the Browns’ solid rushing attack. Cleveland ran the ball 25 times Sunday, yet gained just 25 yards – a 1.9 yards per carry average.

“He gained the respect of everybody on our team,” Hoyer told reporters after the game. “That guy is one of the best players we’ve gone against this year, and that’s unanimous in our locker room.”

Going into Sunday’s game, in fact, the Browns already were quite impressed by the rookie from Buffalo.

After watching him on film in preparation for Oakland, Browns coach Mike Pettine said Mack’s game has translated very well from Buffalo to the NFL.

“It’s translated and then some,” he told the Akron Beacon Journal. “I think we all knew that he would be a handful as a pass rusher, but where he’s been impressive is his physicality on the line of scrimmage against tight ends.”

And, though he didn’t have a sack against Hoyer or any in his first six games, he’s been close a number of times. Raiders head coach Tony Sparano says the sacks will come, because he’s already shown he’s capable. According to Pro Football Focus, Mack had 16 quarterback hurries and hits combined before the Browns game.

The main thing, says Sparano, is Mack is an intelligent and hard-working player who’s constantly making progress.

“This guy’s motor goes all the time,” Sparano said.

But the biggest impact he’s made is against the run. Mack plays his responsibilities and makes the right reads. Pro Football Focus ranks him the top run-stopping linebacker in the league.

Against the Browns, Mack and defensive end Benson Mayowa were strong against the running game up front, allowing the Oakland defense to perform much better on third downs. Cleveland converted just 2-of-12.

Said Raiders veteran defensive end Justin Tuck, to the San Francisco Chronicle: “We did a great job of limiting their run game. Benson and Khalil, up front, and it created some favorable third-down situations.”

Now at 0-7, Mack and the Raiders will face one of their toughest tests of the year this coming Sunday, taking on the Super Bowl-champion Seahawks in Seattle.


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Niners' Offensive Line Needs to Lead the Way]]> Mon, 27 Oct 2014 10:32:49 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/191*120/anndddavsss.jpg

On paper, the statistics don’t look so bad.

The 4-3 49ers, coming out of their bye week, rank 10th in the NFL in rushing yards per game at 125.1 and 11th in total yards per game in total offense at 357.4.

But this season doesn’t have the same feel of recent seasons.

In 2011, 2012 and 2013, the Niners often pushed people around with their offensive line and took over games by running the ball.

The offensive line last season of Joe Staley at left tackle, Mike Iupati at left guard, Jonathan Goodwin at center, Alex Boone at right guard and Anthony Davis at right tackle was not only good, but durable.

This season, however, it’s been a different story.

Goodwin is gone, replaced by Kilgore. Now Kilgore is gone, likely to be replaced by rookie Marcus Martin this Sunday against the Rams at Levi’s Stadium.

Staley has been the steady presence he’s always been, but Iupati and Davis have missed multiple games between them with injuries, and Boone had a long holdout that set him back.

Now, heading into the Rams game, Staley, Iupati, Boone and Davis are back. As the final nine games of the season unfold, how they come together – along with Martin – may be one of the biggest keys to how San Francisco fares on its run to make the postseason for the fourth straight season under head coach Jim Harbaugh.

As Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group noted recently, the offense is in flux – flopping back and forth between running and passing personalities – possibly in large part because of problems along the offensive front.

Wrote Inman: “The line has lost its consistency.”

When healthy, players such as Davis, Boone and Iupati have been road graders in the running attack, opening holes even against the NFL’s best defenses. But this season, their in-and-out status in the lineup means they just haven’t yet gotten in sync.

With extra time to prepare following the loss to Denver on Oct. 19, it’s possible that the Niners offensive line can find its rhythm and start leading the charge.


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Report: Big Clippers Tax Write-Off]]> Sun, 26 Oct 2014 23:50:26 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/tlmd_steve_ballmer_clippers_microsoft.jpg

Billionaire Steve Ballmer bought the Los Angeles Clippers in August for $2 billion, but he could write off as much as half of that amount in taxes by 2030, according to an analysis by the Financial Times.

A tax break for owners of sports franchises would let the ex-Microsoft CEO claim about $1 billion of the team's purchase price from the taxable income he makes over the next 15 years, said the report, published Sunday in the London newspaper (paywall, registration required).

Ballmer paid the Sterling family almost four times as much for the Clippers as the previous record NBA franchise purchase, $550 million for the Milwaukee Bucks.

Ballmer bought the Clippers at a tough time for fans, many of whom were distraught at apparently racist comments made by previous owner Donald Sterling on a tape recording. Those comments kicked off a long battle with the NBA that eventually led to a bidding war, which Ballmer won.

The difference between the value of the company's assets and what the purchaser paid for it is the key to the tax breaks Ballmer may be able to take, according to the Financial Times article:

"Under an exception in US law, buyers of sports franchises can use an accounting treatment known as goodwill against their other taxable income. This feature is commonly used by tax specialists to structure deals for sports teams. Goodwill is the difference between the purchase price of an asset and the actual cash and other fixed assets belonging to the team."

Most corporations can't charge for goodwill, but sports franchises are an exception, according to the Financial Times.

Representatives of the Clippers and of Ballmer didn't comment for the Financial Times report. Ballmer didn't immediately reply to an e-mail from NBC4 Sunday afternoon.

<![CDATA[Best of NFL: Week 8]]> Sun, 26 Oct 2014 22:51:07 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/457913960.jpg Don't miss the most dramatic images from the eighth week of the 2014 NFL season.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chargers Fans, ALL IS WELL!!!!!]]> Sat, 25 Oct 2014 23:07:05 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/164*120/457519000.jpg

I have lost count of how many people have asked me if it's time for Chargers fans to panic. The main reason for that is I have a math learning disability (seriously, it's been diagnosed and everything) and am not good with counting.

On social media, at the gym, in line at the grocery store, even once in the men's room. Two straight losses, both to division opponents, have a surprisingly large portion of Chargers fans stressing out. Folks, right now we need to listen to Van Wilder, who wisely said:

"Worrying is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn't get you anywhere."

Sure, the Bolts are using backups more often the the office I.T. specialist, but most of the injured guys are going to be back in the next few weeks. The fact the team has been competitive during a stretch where their depth has been so thoroughly tested could turn out to be a positive.

The Chargers have used four different centers and used a platoon of Johnnie Troutman and rookie Chris Watt at right guard, yet Philip Rivers has played at an MVP level. They've lost, at one time or another, defensive backs Brandon Flowers, Jason Verrett and Steve Williams, as well as safety Jahleel Addae, yet they've only allowed one 300-yard passing game (Carson Palmer's 304 in the season-opener). Oh, and let's not forget the linebacking situation. Melvin Ingram only played two games before being hurt, Manti Te'o couldn't make it through three games, and Dwight Freeney has been fighting through a knee injury.

Their depth has been tested, and it finally broke down in losses to the Chiefs and Broncos. But, in all those absences the Bolts have realized they have guys who can impact games like Kavell Conner, Ricardo Mathews, Tenny Palepoi, and of course Branden Oliver. When the projected starters come back, San Diego's lineup will be even better than the one that stole the Seahawks mystique back in Week 2.

Plus, it's not like the rest of the AFC West is running away and hiding. Denver is the favorite, but they're not perfect and the Chargers will get another shot at them, this time at Qualcomm Stadium, in December. Even if the division is out of reach, the Wild Card is not a bad consolation prize.

The main competition for the two extra spots will come from Kansas City, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and some combination of the Buffalo, Miami and New England from the East.

The Bolts control their destiny against the Chiefs (they play at Arrowhead on the final day of the season). They own the first tiebreaker on the Bills, play the Dolphins in a week, and host the Pats in December on NBC's Sunday Night Football, so they also control their destiny there. That leaves Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, two teams they do not play, but neither one has impressed of late.

The Chargers are 5-3 at the halfway point. They've had a worse record at this point in 2013, 2008, and 2007 and still made the playoffs. So, what do you say we hold off on hovering our palms over the panic button until we see what happens in Miami, and stop asking me about how bad things are right now.

Especially at the urinal.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Giants Tie Series Against Royals ]]> Sun, 26 Oct 2014 00:44:47 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/457868870%281%29.jpg

The World Series was slipping away from the San Francisco Giants.

A botched grounder led to a three-run deficit, and they were in danger of falling behind the Kansas City Royals three games to one.

Instead of panic, it was time for some Panda-monium. Pablo Sandoval's single set up Hunter Pence to score the tying run in the fifth inning and the 2012 Series MVP followed with dramatics later in the game.

The San Francisco Giants evened up the World Series 2-2 against the Kansas City Royals, with an 11-4 win in Game 4.

The Giants were down 4-1 in the third inning, but scored 10 unanswered runs the rest of the way. The big blow in the 4-hour game came in the sixth inning, where the Giants scored three runs to take a 7-4 lead.

Sandoval delivered in the sixth with the winning, two-RBI single that put the Giants on top 6-4.

"We're going to battle and scratch and claw,'' Giants second baseman Joe Panik said.

With the World Series tied at two games apiece, the title will be decided at Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium next week.

"We never give up, that's the thing,'' said Sandoval, who shook off a stomach bug after starting to feel ill Friday. "We've been doing it all year in these situations. We know how that feels.''

Pence, eyes ablaze, had three hits, three RBIs and a nifty sliding catch in the ninth inning, and Panik hit a two-run double in a four-run seventh.

"We had to win this game tonight no matter what,'' said Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong, who was knocked out of the game in the third inning.

Vogelsong only went 2 2/3 innings, giving up seven hits and four earned runs, but the Giants still have not lost a postseason game Vogelsong has pitched in.

Reliever Yusmeiro Petit (3-0) went three shutout innings to earn the win.

Up next, Giants ace Madison Bumgarner will take on James Shields in Game 5 Sunday night at 5:07 p.m. at AT&T Park.

"This was a great ballgame, I thought, especially the way we came back,'' Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.

Showcasing baseball at its exciting best, the game included a sprawling catch by Royals center fielder Jarrod Dyson that left a pair of divots, and the first use of expanded video review in Series history, which became a turning point. Jeff Kellogg's safe call at second base was upheld by replay ump Jerry Meals on catcher Salvador Perez's pickoff attempt of Joaquin Arias, helping the Giants build the pivotal rally.

Four fans in the first row near the Giants dugout wore giant, of course, white panda heads as they cheered on Sandoval, nicknamed Kung Fu Panda and a veteran of the team's World Series titles in 2010 and '12. The switch-hitter batted just .199 right-handed during the regular season but came up with his first two-hit game from that side of the plate since Aug. 25, emphatically tossing his bat after lining a single to center that put the Giants ahead 6-4.

Sandoval said he vomited after batting practice and took medication.

"No one was taking me out of the lineup,'' he said. "I play giving my heart and soul to the team.''

Lost in the torrent of runs was the earlier fit of pique by Bochy, who threw his hat to the dugout floor when his team botched a third-inning grounder. The mood was different by the eighth, when former Journey singer Steve Perry sprinted to the front row of the second deck behind home plate and led the crowd of 43,066 in a sing-along of "Lights.''

The outlook seemed far different in the third , when ominous, dark clouds formed over the bayside ballpark, and the Royals burst ahead 4-1 against Vogelsong with the pitcher's help. He failed to step on first while covering and trying to catch Brandon Belt's throw on Eric Hosmer's tapper. Orange-clad fans quieted, and there even were scattered boos.

"I thought we had the situation right in the palm of our hand,'' Royals manager Ned Yost said.

But Petit settled the NL champions with his scoreless relief.

"The way Petey threw tonight saved our bullpen. He was our MVP tonight for me,'' San Francisco pitcher Jeremy Affeldt.

Yost stayed with starter Jason Vargas into the fifth, removing him after Panik's leadoff double. Royals relievers had been 7-0 in the postseason, but Yost couldn't get to his hard-throwing HDH triad of Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland.

Jason Frasor and Danny Duffy combined to allow the tying run in a two-run fifth. And Brandon Finnegan, the first player to appear in the College World Series and World Series in the same year, allowed Sandoval's two-run single and Brandon Belt's RBI's single in the sixth.

Click here for full Giants coverage.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Giants Edged by KC, Down 2-1 in WS]]> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 22:12:24 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/457810112.jpg

Sparkling defense, a stingy bullpen and just enough timely hitting. That same winning formula of fundamental baseball put the Kansas City Royals on top in the World Series.

The San Francisco Giants were edged by the Kansas City Royals 3-2 in Game 3 of the World Series and are now down 2-1 in the best of seven.

Down 3-0 in the sixth inning, the Giants rallied for two runs on a Michael Morse double and a Buster Posey groundout, but the Royals bullpen shut out the Giants for the final three innings.

But Jeremy Guthrie outpitched fellow Series newcomer Tim Hudson and four Royals relievers combined on four hitless innings, as Kansas City beat the San Francisco.

"This is the way our games have gone all year,'' said Royals manager Ned Yost, who made several lineup changes that paid off. "I'm getting really good at protecting a one-run lead because a lot of times that's exactly what we have to deal with.

"But I have the necessary tools to be able to do that. It's not me doing it. It's the guys that we put out there that are doing it. We have the type of pitchers in our bullpen that can accomplish that,'' he said.

Alex Gordon hit a run-scoring double and Lorenzo Cain made two slick grabs in right field as the Royals backed Guthrie with nifty glove work. All night long, Kansas City looked perfectly comfortable playing in the tricky territory at unfamiliar AT&T Park.

Eric Hosmer had a sixth-inning RBI single on the 11th pitch of his at-bat against lefty Javier Lopez. It was the first World Series hit for Hosmer _ on his 25th birthday.

Cain drove in the first run with a groundout after Alcides Escobar's leadoff double in the first.

Game 4 is Saturday night, with right-hander Ryan Vogelsong scheduled to pitch for the Giants against lefty Jason Vargas.

"We've got to keep grinding. It's going to be a tough series,'' said Royals center fielder Jarrod Dyson, added to the starting lineup in Game 3.

Yost moved Cain from center field to right in place of Nori Aoki for a defensive boost in the expansive outfield at AT&T Park. Cain chased down Buster Posey's slicing line drive in the first for a pretty catch from his knees, then snagged Travis Ishikawa's sinking liner in the second.

Gordon was moved up from sixth to second in the lineup and came through with his RBI double following Escobar's single in the sixth.

On a night that began with a remembrance of late Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, Kansas City produced just enough offense even without designated hitter Billy Butler. The Series shifted to AT&T Park and National League rules for three games.

The Giants had their six-game home winning streak in the World Series snapped. The unbeaten run dated to the 2002 wild-card club of Barry Bonds and Co. that lost in seven games to the Angels.

The Royals seemed unfazed by the fanfare and tough conditions in improving to 5-0 on the road this postseason. Of the first 56 times the World Series was tied 1-all, the Game 3 winner went on to win in 37 of those instances and four of the last five.

A cast of Giants Hall of Famers were celebrated on the field in a star-studded pregame featuring a "Play Ball!'' chant by Huey Lewis.

Pinch-hitter Michael Morse hit an RBI double with none out in the sixth to chase Guthrie. Yost turned it over to his fantastic bullpen, and Kelvin Herrera immediately walked Gregor Blanco.

With the hard-throwing Herrera clocking 99-101 mph on the radar gun, Joe Panik had a tough time attempting a sacrifice bunt. His high-bouncing grounder still did the trick to advance both runners, and Buster Posey pulled the Giants to 3-2 on a groundout.

Then, the Royals shut down San Francisco the rest of the way.

"I don't know if there's a better bullpen, because that seventh, eighth and ninth inning, and you get a tough go when you're facing those guys,'' Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "Hopefully you get some runs early, but Guthrie did a great job on us.''

Herrera worked 1 1-3 innings, rookie Brandon Finnegan got two outs in his World Series debut, and Wade Davis pitched a 1-2-3 eighth. Greg Holland got three quick outs for the save.

The four hitless innings of relief were the most in the World Series in 22 years.

"Our bullpen's been lights out. We've got 100 percent confidence in (those) guys getting their job done,'' Dyson said. "From an offensive standpoint, we're just trying to put runs on the board and get them in position.''

Guthrie, who attended nearby Stanford, retired 10 straight during one stretch and combined with Hudson to retire 20 in a row. That was the longest Series streak since the Yankees' Don Larsen and the Brooklyn Dodgers' Sal Maglie retired the first 23 batters during Larsen's perfect game in 1956, according to STATS.

"What a gutsy performance,'' Royals teammate James Shields said. ``He went out there and pitched his heart out. He did a phenomenal job.''

As a gorgeous Bay Area afternoon turned into a breezy night along the water, the 39-year-old Hudson left in the sixth to a rousing ovation from the orange towel-twirling sellout crowd.

Hudson waited 16 years for his first World Series chance only to watch Escobar hit the game's first pitch for a double. Escobar scored on Cain's groundout, and Hudson settled in nicely after the second. The right-hander retired 12 in a row before Escobar's one-out single through Hudson's legs in the sixth. Gordon followed with his RBI double.


In a quirky stat, Guthrie became the fifth starting pitcher in World Series history to not record a walk or a strikeout through five innings and the first since Hall of Famer Greg Maddux in Game 2 of the 1996 Series for Atlanta against the Yankees.


Royals: Vargas, an 11-game winner who pitched the ALCS clincher against Baltimore, attended Game 1 of the Giants' 2010 World Series at AT&T Park against Texas with his wife as a fan.

Giants: Vogelsong is the only pitcher to yield no more than one run in his first five postseason starts. That run ended in the NL Championship Series when Vogelsong allowed four runs in three innings of a no-decision against St. Louis. ... Bochy said he and pitching coach Dave Righetti discussed going with ace lefty Madison Bumgarner in Game 4 on short rest if trailing something they know he can handle physically despite his heavy workload.

The Giants will look to even up the series tomorrow with Ryan Vogelsong taking the hill.

Full Giants coverage here.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jahleel Addae Hit Concerns Fans]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 13:32:46 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Addae-stinger-chargers.jpg

The health of Chargers safety Jahleel Addae was a concern after Thursday night’s game against the Denver Broncos.

On the first play of the game, Addae made a hit on Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders and fell to the turf. It looked serious.

Addae was checked out on the sideline and diagnosed with a stinger, Chargers officials said.

The team did not pull Addae so he kept playing.

In the third quarter, another hit really got a lot of fans concerned.

Addae jumped in to a pile and when he surfaces, he clearly appears to stagger and shake.

Again, Addae says it was a stinger. Hopefully it was.

Once again, he was allowed back in the game.

Chargers fans still have Kris Dielman fresh in the memory, so seeing something like this is scary.

A nine-year NFL veteran, Dielman suffered a concussion in a loss to the New York Jets in 2011, returned to the game, then had a seizure on the flight back to San Diego.

A stinger is described by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons as "an injury to the nerve supply of the upper arm, either at the neck or shoulder."

The temporary sensation can feel like an electric shock but usually disappears quickly, according to the website.

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<![CDATA[Walruses, Tiger, Dolphin Root on San Francisco Giants]]> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 09:47:13 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/174*120/Siku_Uquq_sign3.jpg

By now, we're all pretty aware that the animals and Six Flags Discovery Kingdom are sports fanatics.

Remember Siku the Walrus doing pushups with 49ers Coach Jim Harbaugh?

Well, now Siku and her furry pals are rooting on - who else? - but the San Francisco Giants, who play just minutes from their Vallejo amusement park. The team takes on the Kansas City Royals Friday at AT&T Park in San Francisco in Game 3 of the World Series. The two teams are tied 1-1.

Siku and Uquq mugged this week for park spokeswoman Nancy Chan, who caught them nuzzling whiskered noses behind a an orange and black sign that reads, "Together We are Giants."

Faruq the tiger clawed up a pole wrapped with rope, reaching for a "Go Orange and Black Sign."

And Liberty the bottlenose dolphin thinks he has a lot in common with Hunter Pence. He held a sign reminiscent of the ones drawn up by opposing teams' fans over the summer that said that both the dolphin and the Giants outfielder can hold their breath underwater for 10 minutes.

Chan said the park animals always get into the spirit of the national sporting stage. They posed for photos each time the Giants have been in the  World Series, and participate in Super Bowl "picks" every time the 49ers are in the game.

And of course, Chan pointed out, the park's new baby giraffe, Brandon, was named after Giants first baseman Brandon Belt, and Posey the penguin is named for Giants catcher Buster Posey - even though she's a female.

<![CDATA[Scenes from Chargers Loss to Broncos on Thursday]]> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 10:00:48 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/457744516.jpg The Chargers lost to the Denver Broncos on Thursday night, 35-21. Here are pictures from the game

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[A's, SJ Renew Agreement to Continue Working for Ballpark]]> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 06:51:14 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/169*120/72542977.jpg

San Jose will keep trying to land the Oakland Athletics and build a Major League Baseball park in Silicon Valley -- even if it takes another seven years.

"The San Jose project is still alive," Mayor Chuck Reed announced to the San Jose Mercury News, after inking a deal to continue negotiating to bring the A's to San Jose for up to seven years.

The A's have signed a 10-year lease extension in Oakland at O.co Coliseum. But they can exit that lease to move to San Jose, the newspaper reported.

San Jose, however, is still San Francisco Giants country. The Giants have "territorial rights" under MLB rules to the South Bay city, and so far, court action by San Jose to get baseball to say if it would approve a move has been unsuccessful.

But San Jose will have another seven years to try to make it happen.

A's owner Lew Wolff called the deal "an option, and we want to keep our options open."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Orange Crushed]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 22:28:39 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/457744516.jpg

Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers is not shy. So, his explanation of the Bolts' 35-21 loss in Denver on Thursday night sums everything up perfectly.

"They outplayed us," said Rivers, adding, "I just think they're better than us right now."

With all the injuries the Chargers are dealing with, the Broncos are certainly better than they are. Rivers and his counterpart, Peyton Manning, both threw three touchdown passes. All three of Manning's scores went to Emmanuel Sanders.

The difference is, Rivers also threw two interceptions. One of those came when Keenan Allen slipped on a route. The other came when Malcom Floyd wasn't quite able to outjump a pair of Denver defenders on a late, semi-desperation heave to try and make the game close.

Manning did throw one pick to Eric Weddle, but it was called off because of a penalty. The Chargers also recovered a fumble when Denver kick returner Andre Caldwell coughed it up, but that was overturned by a replay. Both calls were ... let's say suspect, at best.

One of the lone bright spots for the Bolts was tight end Antonio Gates. In the second quarter, he hauled in a 31-yard reception to pass Lance Alworth and become the franchise's all-time leader in receiving yards. That catch set up a touchdown pass to Keenan Allen, his first scoring catch of the season.

But, the Broncos were just too much for a depleted Chargers secondary. Cornerback Jason Verrett tried to play with his injured left shoulder but was ineffective and joined fellow injured defensive backs Brandon Flowers and Steve Williams on the sidelines for the second half. Without him, Richard Marshall was forced to play corner and was repeatedly beaten like a drum.

For a stretch in the second half, undrafted rookie Chris Davis took over defensive back duties while Marshall was on the sidelines.

The Bolts now have 10 days to get ready for their next game, on November 2 in Miami. With a 5-3 record, the pressure is on to win in South Florida, something they have not done since the 1983 playoffs.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chargers at Broncos: Who To Watch For]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 16:44:29 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/173*120/457519442.jpg

We waited on this to see whether or not Jason Verrett was going to be able to play for the Chargers in their Thursday Night Football duel with the Broncos.

He is, which is a bit a surprise and a testament to just how tough this rookie out of TCU really is. Verrett has not played since making his first NFL interception at the end of San Diego's win in Oakland two weeks ago.

He's been limited in practice for two weeks, missing last week's game against the Chiefs. But since fellow CB Brandon Flowers can't play with a concussion, Verrett is going to give it a go, even though he's nowhere near 100-percent. healthy. That's not really the way you want to go in to your first career game against Peyton Manning.

You can bet the house that Manning is going to test Verrett early in the game. If he holds up to the challenge, it'll be up to another defensive back to play a whole lot better than he did a week ago, and that brings us to our three players to watch:

Richard Marshall, CB

There's no way to sugar coat this. Marshall was awful after he came in for the injured Flowers against Kansas City. Dwayne Bowe was open multiple times against Marshall, who had trouble with the more physical wide receiver. Fellow starter Shareece Wright will likely see a lot of Demaryius Thomas, so Marshall should be matched up on Emmanuel Sanders quite a bit. Sanders is only 5'11", not the kind of monster that Bowe or Thomas are, so Marshall will likely not have to be playing 10 yards off the line of scrimmage like he did against Bowe. Marshall also had a brain cramp with a holding penalty on 3rd down that extended a Chiefs scoring drive. If Marshall is not dramatically better in coverage, especially early in the game, Manning will exploit him and the Chargers might be forced to give undrafted rookie Chris Davis more snaps. Again, not the way you want to see Manning for the first time.

Corey Liuget, DE

Now, the best way to help out a struggling corner is to not let the quarterback have enough time to throw at him. Last year's 27-20 Chargers win in Denver was sealed when Liuget hit Manning, forcing a bad throw that was intercepted by Thomas Keiser. If the Chargers want to have any chance at all of keeping this game close, they'll have to force turnovers. Since Manning typically is not going to make bad reads, and the running game with Ronnie Hillman is used mostly as a change of pace to keep defenses honest, the best way to get the ball from the Broncos is to force Peyton in to bad throws by knocking him around. Liuget has been, by far, San Diego's most disruptive lineman this season, and he'll have to keep it up in Denver.

Ronnie Brown, RB

Branden Oliver will be the feature back again, and he could have a big game. But he can't carry it 30 times. I have a feeling Brown has a chip on his shoulder right now. The veteran played a majority of the playoff game in Denver last year with Ryan Mathews out with an injury, and was not terribly effective. But, he's still dangerous going bewteen the tackles (witness last year's monster TD burst in Cincinnati) when he has a bit of a hole. Plus, he's earned the trust of Philip Rivers in the passing game. Last week the Bolts were 3-for-10 on 3rd downs, well below their season average. They repeat that this week and they'll get boat-raced. If Rivers needs to find someone on 3rd down he'll be looking for Antonio Gates. But, so will the Broncos. So, Brown will be an important option to keep the chains moving, and keep Manning off the field.

Derek's Prediction

Realistically, given the injuries the Chargers are dealing with in the secondary and at linebacker (Melvin Ingram will be especially missed Thursday night), it's crazy to think the Broncos are not going to score a bunch of points. So, the only way for the Bolts to win is to outgun them.

Philip Rivers absolutely has the ability to do that. He has the weapons in the passing game. He has a brand new toy in Branden Oliver (by the way, all the folks saying Oliver had an off game against the Chiefs are just wrong. He only got 15 carries because the Chargers had to throw so often, but averaged just shy of five yards a rush, which I'll take any day). He has complete command of the offense and what to do when.

I know it's a completely different situation, but last year's Thursday night win in Colorado keeps popping up in my head. All logic says the Broncos win this game. All numbers and statistical analysis say the Broncos win this game.

However, football is a game of emotion. So forgive me if I let my heart get the better of me here. The Chargers keep it close enough to have a shot, and Nick Novak nails a 58-yard field goal late in the 4th quarter to win it.

Final Score: Chargers 41, Broncos 40

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Broncos Trample Chargers in Denver]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 20:38:21 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/457744034.jpg

The Denver Broncos out gained, out scored and out played the Chargers in a 35-21 win on Thursday Night Football.

It spoiled the celebration for Chargers tight end Antonio Gates, who set the franchise record for receiving yards on a 31-yard catch in the second quarter.

Gates finished with 54 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He passes Lance Alworth's record of 9,584 yards.

Denver topped the Chargers by more than 100 yards, rushing for 139 yards in the win.

Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning threw for 286 yards and three touchdowns, all to receiver Emmanuel Sanders, who nearly gave up a fumble midway through the fourth quarter to let the Bolts back in the game. But Wes Welker fell on the ball and kept their drive alive.

Juwan Thompson added a pair of rushing scores for the Broncos, who improve their division-best record to 6-1. The Chargers drop to 5-3.

They could never get their running game going, gaining just 15 yards on 11 carries before a 17-yard Philip Rivers scramble in the fourth quarter.

The Bolts travel to Miami to play the Dolphins next Sunday at 10 a.m.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Niners' Second-Half Schedule Appears Softer]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 12:13:26 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/harrrbyeee.jpg

Depending on how it’s viewed, the 49ers' cup is half empty, or half full.

After getting roasted by the Broncos Sunday night in front of a national TV audience – and with so many key players missing in action with injuries – it would be easy to feel shaky about the 49ers future after this bye week.

The Niners are 4-3 and did little right against Denver.

But aside from the fact so many players may soon be back from injury, there’s another reason for optimism: the schedule.

As Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle pointed out this week, the final nine games of the 2014 season are a bit less foreboding than the first seven, beginning with the Rams on Sunday, Nov. 2 at Levi’s Stadium.

The cumulative record of the 49ers’ first seven opponents is 29-15. And, the 49ers gave the Cowboys (6-1) and Eagles (5-1) their only losses.

Over the second half of the season, just two opponents have a winning record, and the cumulative record of opponents is 22-29.

After the 2-4 Rams come the Saints (2-4), Giants (3-4), Redskins (2-5), Seahawks (3-3), Raiders (0-6), Seahawks again, Chargers (5-2) and Cardinals (5-1)

Of course, nobody before the season would have pointed to games against the Seahawks and Saints as being easy. Both have struggled but remain very dangerous. The Cardinals, meanwhile, might come back to Earth a bit and the Chargers benefited from a soft early schedule, so they may not be as strong as their record indicates.

After watching his team suffer its first loss in four games Sunday night, head coach Jim Harbaugh believes the 49ers will rebound, as they have so many times the past three seasons.

“Onward, we’ll rally,” he said. “Our team will be good at that.”


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[War of the Words: Battle Heats Up Between SF, KC Librarians]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 13:07:42 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Juan+Marichal+and+Dan+by+Jim+Hart.jpg

The war of words is heating up between two public libraries 1,500 miles apart, as dueling librarians do their part to boost their hometown baseball team's quest to win the World Series crown.

Sounding a bit Shakespearean, Liesl Christman, the Twitter czar for the Kansas City Public Library, tweeted on Wednesday morning, hours after the San Francisco Giants crushed the Royals in Game 1 on Tuesday, 7-1: "'Tis but a flesh wound - @Royals will rally! Tonight, #LetsThrowFire!"

If the Giants win it all, Christman promised Wednesday her library will buy and shelve San Rafael author Dan Fost's book, "The Giants Baseball Experience: A Year-by-Year Chronicle from New York to San Francisco."

If the Royals win, Christman hopes the San Francisco Public Library will be forced to stock George Brett's "From Here to Cooperstown," which is about the Royals, on its shelves.

Michelle Jeffers, the digital guru at the library in San Francisco, said she'd consider the request, but from what's she's heard, that book is out of print.

"Even better!" Jeffers joked, adding that under different circumstances she and Christman might be very good friends.

Then Jeffers tweeted: "Guess we'll see what happens tonight when the Giants shhhhhhh-ut you down in Game 2."

No one is happier about the librarian smack talk than Fost, a former San Francisco Chronicle reporter who is now a full-time author and freelance writer. Each time the Giants make it to the World Series – this is third time in five seasons – he is asked to write a new edition. "This is a mutually symbiotic relationship," he said on Wednesday.

As for the baseball book bet, Fost is also genuinely enthralled Kansas City readers may be flipping through pages he wrote.

"What a great idea to promote reading," he said. "I'm so moved."

Photo Credit: Jim Hart
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