OAKLAND The problem with the unwritten rules of baseball is that no one has a hard copy to reference.The unwritten rules are again receiving a preposterous amount of attention thanks to Al Alburquerque, who drew the ire of As players and fans by planting a kiss on a baseball before he threw to first for a rally-killing out in the Detroit Tigers Game 2 win Sunday.Yoenis Cespedes, who hit the ball that received the questionable affection, took offense to the move, as did many of his teammates. But Monday in Oakland, veteran Jonny Gomes took a more Zen approach.There are baseball gods that take care of that stuff, Gomes said. He obviously doesnt believe in them but I do.In Oaklands visitors clubhouse, Alburquerque drew a larger media scrum than Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera or Prince Fielder. Through a translator, Alburquerque explained what was going through his mind as he planted the controversial kiss.Just got caught in the emotions of the game, Alburquerque said. I respect Yoenis Cespedes; I was just excited to get that out.While Cespedes and Josh Reddick did not hold back their disgust with the perceived slight after Sundays loss, other As were more understanding Monday.I guess he got the out so he can do what he wants, infielder Cliff Pennington said.Closer Grant Balfour said he didnt see the kiss because of Detroits isolated bullpen and didnt make an effort to catch a replay, either.I didnt watch any baseball; I wanted a break from the game, Balfour said.Gerald Laird, who started the game at catcher but gave way to Alex Avila by the time Alburquerque was called in from the bullpen, tried to defend his teammate.Hes not out there trying to disrespect anyone, Laird said, adding that he understood why some As took offense. Asked for his reaction to the move, Laird said: I laughed and asked myself Did I just see what I saw?Tigers manager Jim Leyland, a self-proclaimed old-school baseball man, made no excuses for his 26-year-old reliever.I dont think it was the right thing to do, Leyland said. I will sit here today and I will not try to defend it. I will say that I can assure everybody, including the Oakland As, that Alburquerque did nothing intentionally to offend the Oakland As.We make no excuses; it happened. It shouldnt have happened. It did happen. But like I said, in no way was that meant to offend an opponent, no way. We have too much respect for the game. Too much respect for Bob Melvin and the Oakland As. If thats not acceptable, then people have to deal with it the way they want to deal with it.Melvin, when informed of Leylands respect, returned the compliment and offered his take on The Kiss Heard Round the Baseball World.I respect Jim Leyland as much as I respect anyone, Melvin said. I think there are varying degrees to all that stuff, showmanship, whatever. We were accused of something in New York that was going on in our dugout. I think everybody has different takes on that. I dont think theres one right or wrong way. Emotionally after a game when something like that happens, youre always going to hear something from somebody. But you move on. Its not a big deal for me.Melvin has at least one bigger concern than an offensive kiss. His As can kiss their Cinderella season goodbye with just one more loss.
The players and coaches of the Golden State Warriors have pledged to donate $75,000 to the ongoing relief efforts surrounding the Oakland Fire, the team announced on Wednesday.
The warehouse fire that began on the night of December 2 claimed a total of 36 lives.
The $75,000 from the players and coaches is in addition to the $50,000 that was previously pledged by the Golden State Warriors organization to the Oakland Fire Relief fund.
“As a team that calls the Bay Area our home, we are all devastated by this tragedy that took place right in our community,” said Warriors All-Star forward Draymond Green. “Our thoughts and prayers are with those that have lost their lives, and our sincere condolences go out to their loved ones.
"We invite anyone that would like to help those who have been affected by this tragedy to join us in supporting our neighbors that have lost so much.”
An Oakland Fire Relief PSA featuring the Warriors players can be found at warriors.com/OaklandFire.
Golden State Warriors media services
LOS ANGELES – In opening a five-game road trip Wednesday night, the Warriors are going right into an NBA war zone they know all too well.
They’re invading Staples Center to face the Los Angeles Clippers.
The teams, along with the San Antonio Spurs, are expected to battle for Western Conference supremacy. The Warriors (18-3) are 12 days removed from overtaking the Clippers (16-6) for sole possession of first place in the Pacific Division. Though LA started fast, winning 14 of 16, it has since lost four of six.
The game is Kevin Durant’s introduction to the agitation that tends to accompany Warriors-Clippers, and he’ll see plenty of LA defensive ace Luc Mbah a Moute.
The Warriors are reuniting with popular former teammate Marreese Speights, who after three seasons in the Bay Area signed with LA in July.
Warriors by 4
MATCHUP TO WATCH:
Stephen Curry vs. Chris Paul. Several matchups deserve attention, but it begins with the two fabulous point guards. Paul’s task is to slow Curry, and he occasionally does. Curry simply wants to make sure Paul doesn’t impose his enough to supervise the action. The winner of this matchup tends to dictate the winner of these games.
Warriors: 9-1. Clippers: 6-4.
Warriors: No injuries listed.
Clippers: F Brice Johnson (lower back herniated disc) is listed as out.
Warriors C Damian Jones is on assignment with D-League Santa Cruz.
The Warriors have won six in a row and seven of the last eight, and are 24-12 over the last nine seasons against the Clippers.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH:
Tests for the best. The Warriors lead the NBA in scoring and overall offensive rating, while the Clippers are tops in overall defensive rating. Conventional wisdom is that good offense beats good defense. It’s certain that each team’s “1” is under the gun.
LA loves charity: No team in the NBA shoots more free throws than the Clippers. The Warriors won’t mind sending DeAndre Jordan to the charity stripe, maybe even intentionally, but they want to avoid fouls that give Jordan’s teammates easy money.
From the jump. While the Warriors are downplaying the significance of the game, the Clippers are not. So LA definitely will make an effort to make a statement in the opening minutes. Will they? And what happens if they don’t? The Warriors will be on alert.