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.

Crowder on facing Cousins: ‘Step up to the test or you get run over’

Crowder on facing Cousins: ‘Step up to the test or you get run over’

BOSTON – There was a point in the fourth quarter when Sacramento's DeMarcus Cousins was fouled trying to score which brought about an automatic, intense and angry scowl from the all-star center. 

He raised his hand as he were going to strike back at the potential assailant. 

And then he saw the man was Jae Crowder.

Cousins, who had a game-high 28 points, then went to the free throw line, incident-free. 

“I’m not one those other cats he be punking,” said Crowder with a grin.

That moment was one of many throughout Friday night’s game when Crowder made his presence felt when the game mattered most, and wasn’t afraid to mix it up with whoever stood between him and helping the Celtics win – even Cousins. 

But as Crowder explained following Boston’s 97-92 win, that moment was about two physical players who have developed an on-the-floor rapport that speaks to their intensity and desire to win at all costs. 

“He’s going to bring the game to you; his physicality,” said Crowder who had 16 points on 6-for-12 shooting. “He’s a very physical type of guy. If he senses you’re not physical at all, he’ll let you know. He’s a dog down there; he’s a bull. I love to go against a player like that. He’s going to give you his best shot each and every night. You either step up to the test or you get run over.”


49ers specialists get drenched in preparations for inclement weather

49ers specialists get drenched in preparations for inclement weather

CHICAGO – The 49ers trained for the expected low-30s temperature and snow at Soldier Field with a week of workouts in the 80-degree heat of Florida.

However, the team’s specialists got some practice handling wet footballs during the 49ers’ final practice in Orlando, Fla.

Special-teams coordinator Derius Swinton and his assistant, Michael Clay, made a game of it. Long-snapper Kyle Nelson had to execute 10 perfect snaps to holder Bradley Pinion for field goals. Then, Pinion moved back to punt formation, where another 10 in a row were required.

But they had to be perfect while Swinton and Clay squirted water on the ball and at the hands of Nelson and Pinion, who also received a blast of water in his ear hole at one point.

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“We always look up to see if there’s a chance of rain or snow, and we go, ‘Wet-ball drill,’ ” Nelson said. “They (Swinton and Clay) get to have fun, squirting water on us and use the water bottles.

“They make it as bad as possible.”

Nelson and Pinion teamed up to execute perfectly on all 20 field goals and punts.

“If I can do this, in a game it’s going to be even easier,” Nelson said. “They make it a lot harder in practice than it is in a game, so when we get to a game, everything is not as fast.”

The weather conditions on Sunday against the Chicago Bears will likely challenge Nelson, Pinion and kicker Phil Dawson as much as anyone. Dawson has been tracking the weather forecasts for more than a week to get mentally prepared for what he might face.

“Soldier Field is notorious for being a tough place to kick because of the wind and the field itself,” Dawson said this week on the 49ers Insider Podcast. “The footing is pretty poor. So when you add snow and moisture to the equation, it’s going to be one of those days.

“You need to have conversations with your coaches and let them know – be honest with them – about the difficulty. But you have to do that without it affecting your confidence to go out and get the job done.”

Said Nelson, “It takes more focus in bad weather. The snaps have to be a little more perfect. Bradley has to focus more on catching the ball, and Phil has to concentrate on the approach and be more cautious.”