With Dodgers deal done, focus turns to A's-Giants

With Dodgers deal done, focus turns to A's-Giants

The Los Angeles Dodgers are now officially worth three times as much as the San Francisco Giants, and part of the reason is Warriors part-owner Peter Guber.Frank McCourt finally found a number he could live with -- 2 billion -- and people who could deliver the number - Guber, Magic Johnson, Stan Kasten and a bunch of others. And unless Major League Baseball rejects the sale because Guber still hasn't explained what the hell the Warriors are doing to Bud Selig's satisfaction, the deal is done.Which means that the A'sGiants San Jose spitfest is one hurdle closer to being settled. Maybe.MLB has been grappling with the Mets and Dodgers, and their horrific ownership issues, as top priorities, which means that John Fisher and Charlie Johnson's inabilities to come to an equitable price to settle the matter of who gets San Jose have put the A's planned move on hold for more than two years now.That's every song in the history of muzak, thrice.And unless MLB actually doesn't give a damn what happens to San Jose, or the A's have been bluffing about having the money to cover the new ballpark and the tribute to the Giants, this could come to a conclusion sometime soon.Again, maybe.The number of moving parts that have to be greased for such an undertaking are far more than most people know, and since MLB has the antitrust protection that allows it to roadblock just about anything it doesn't really want to do, greasing is only part of the process.There is also the matter of prioritization, and by almost any measure the Dodgers were more important than the A's and Giants combined. If you take the Forbes numbers released last week, the Dodgers were 536,000,000 more important than our two teams, and that was when the Dodgers were listed at 1.4 billion.So now the gap is, for argument's sake, 1.136 billion, and when you throw in the Mets' valuation of 719 million, Bernie Madoff and all, the Giants and A's matter exactly 1.855 billion less to Bud Selig and the other 28 elven rich than the Dodgers and Mets.That, plus the intractability of our two little mom-and-pops to agree with each other, plus the matter of whether the A's have their financing down, is why we are in the holding pattern we are in.Not because the mythicalnonsensicalP.R. illusion blue ribbon panel hasn't released its findings yet - that has been a pathetic lie from the start. The blue ribbon panel has found San Jose on a map, period. That's all it could do, because this is an argument between very rich folks, and nothing is more vicious than rich people arguing about becoming richer.But the Mets have settled their end of the Madoff case now, and the Dodgers have finally rid themselves of the malignancy of the McCourt regime, which means Bud can start making phone calls and waiting for guidance on how to whip votes, and eventually a decision will be made that will satisfy one party, or maybe none.If they want to. There is still the possibility that Selig and the owners that really matter still haven't found the strength to give a damn about the Bay Area. There is a bias in ownership circles, and it's not East CoastWest Coast. It's juice, and frankly, neither the Giants nor A's may have a lot.Fisher has been a profit-taker, Johnson is the Giants' third lead money man in five years, and Larry Baer and Lew Wolff are front men who talk the talk so that Fisher and Johnson don't have to. That probably isn't the kind of throw-weight that makes the real powers in MLB sit back and say, "Boy, we'd better keep them happy."But now the agenda items above them have been cleared, and now Bud is going to have to make the phone call he's been delaying all this time, in the Marlon Brando Godfather voice:"How much will it take for us to come to an accommodation?"And then things should move pretty fast after that. I'd give it 15 months.Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com.

Report: Shanahan 'almost certain' to accept 49ers' offer

Report: Shanahan 'almost certain' to accept 49ers' offer

Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is reportedly “almost certain” to accept the 49ers’ offer to become head coach.

Shanahan is the lone remaining candidate among the six individuals who interviewed with 49ers executives Jed York and Paraag Marathe. The 49ers plan for a second interview with Shanahan and a job offer, a source told CSNBayArea.com. Shanahan is expected to accept the 49ers’ offer, reports Michael Silver of the NFL Network, citing sources familiar with both parties.

The 49ers continued to work Tuesday evening on the process of narrowing down the general manager choices, a source said. Shanahan is expected to play a role in the select the team’s next GM, sources said.

On Tuesday, Seattle offensive line coach Tom Cable and Seahawks co-director of player personnel Trent Kirchner removed their names from consideration for the vacant coach and general manager positions. The 49ers fired Chip Kelly and Trent Baalke after the 49ers' 2-14 season.

One source said Cable and Kirchner believed the 49ers were using them as leverage to hire Shanahan. Cable interviewed with 49ers co-chair Denise DeBartolo York over the phone on Tuesday, NFL Network reported.

The 49ers are allowed to interview Shanahan for a second time after the Falcons’ NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. The 49ers are prohibited from hiring or making a formal contract offer to Shanahan until the Falcons' season has concluded.

The top remaining candidates for the general manager job are believed to be Green Bay executives Brian Gutekunst and Eliot Wolf, Arizona's Terry McDonough and Minnesota's George Paton.

Wilcox embracing challenge, will change the way Cal looks on field


Wilcox embracing challenge, will change the way Cal looks on field

BERKELEY — With more than a half-century without a Rose Bowl berth, tougher academic standards than most Pac-12 schools and lackluster fan support in a pro-sports focused market, there are plenty of hurdles for a football coach at California.

Coach Justin Wilcox took the job for the Golden Bears because he embraces those obstacles and he wants players who feel the same way as he seeks to rebuild a program that has one winning record in the past five years and no conference championships since 1958.

"When you come here, there are challenges," Wilcox said at his introductory news conference Tuesday. "You don't come here and go through school and just go through the motions. You'll be challenged in the classroom, challenged on the football field and learn to interact in a dynamic society. I believe in that and that helps guys grow."

Wilcox faces many hurdles in his new job replacing the recently fired Sonny Dykes less than three weeks before national signing day. He has to put together a coaching staff, evaluate the players already on campus and try to keep together, and even add to, a recruiting class that committed to a different staff.

Athletic director Mike Williams fired Dykes after four seasons on Jan. 8 because he wanted a coach committed to Cal instead of flirting with other jobs and needed someone who could excite a fan base that often stayed away from Memorial Stadium in recent years as the Bears teamed porous defenses with sometimes exciting offenses while posting a 19-30 record.

Williams had five finalists for the job but chose a former Cal assistant with a defensive background and familiarity with the Pac-12 as an assistant for seven years at three schools in the conference.

"He truly gets this place, he truly gets coaching in the West," Williams said. "He came in and was very organized and thoughtful. He knew what he wanted to do and who he wanted to hire. ... It's a special place and I think he'll treat it as a special place."

While Dykes flirted with job openings at Houston and Baylor this past offseason in part because of his concern about increased academic standards for recruits, the Bears hope Wilcox is someone who wants to stick around after more than a decade of being on a self-described "windy" path as a top defensive coach.

The former Oregon defensive back began his coaching career in 2001 as a graduate assistant at Boise State. He spent three years as linebackers coach under Jeff Tedford at Cal from 2003-05 when the Bears nearly ended their Rose Bowl drought during a 10-win season with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback in 2004.

Wilcox has spent the past 11 years as a defensive coordinator with stops at Boise State, Tennessee, Washington, Southern California and finally Wisconsin, where he helped the Badgers field a top 10 defense and win the Cotton Bowl.

Wilcox has worked and played for many successful coaches, including Tedford, Chris Petersen, Dan Hawkins, Mike Bellotti, and Paul Chryst.

"I've been extremely fortunate to work for and with people I learned so much from," he said. "Each step along the way, I've seen it done a lot of different ways. I'm not trying to be any of those people. I always try to take pieces and make it my own."

Wilcox has begun putting together his staff, having hired former Eastern Washington coach Beau Baldwin as offensive coordinator and longtime Oregon offensive line coach Steve Greatwood to fill that role on the Bears.

The Bears will look very different under Wilcox than Dykes. Wilcox said he will recruit tight ends as Cal moves from the spread "Bear Raid" offense that relied on four receivers almost exclusively to a more balanced offense with tight ends and more power concepts.

While he will delegate most of the offensive responsibilities to Baldwin, Wilcox said he will be more involved on defense where he wants to find players who can fit into his base 3-4 system.

Cal ranked 125th in total defense, 127th in scoring defense and 122nd in yards per play out of 128 FBS teams last season on the way to a 5-7 record.

"Every second is critical right now," Wilcox said. "I will not sacrifice the long-term good of the program for what everyone wants which is certainty. Things will happen quickly. I understand the recruits have some anxiety about the situation and there's emotions involved. That's totally understandable. I'd feel the same way."