Urban: Bay Ball news and notes


Urban: Bay Ball news and notes

Nov. 22, 2010


Mychael Urban

Joey Votto is the National Leagues MVP?Cody Ross got hosed!OK, maybe not. But thats the best we can do in terms of Bay Areabaseball conversation starters right now. Monday marked the start of whats typically a very quiet time onthe games calendar. From Thanksgiving week until the start of the annualwinter meetings, which this year will be held in Orlando, Fla.,Dec. 6-9, front offices tend to stay under the radar.Thats not to say there wont be any big news. There justwont be a torrential downpour; thatll come once the big-name freeagents start signing (i.e., setting the market for everyone else).For now, then, well have to make due with making sense of thesteady drizzle of rumors and roster machinations, including ... Oaklands stalled pursuit of Japanese pitching starHisashi Iwakuma. As first reported by the San Francisco Chronicle,talks between the As and Iwakuma, a 29-year-old righty, have hit a wall-- of cash. The As paid a posting fee of between 16-18million for the right to negotiate with Iwakuma for 30 days, and two weeks intothe process the sides are said to be worlds apart on proposed contract terms. Oaklandwont have to pay that fat fee if it doesnt reach an agreementwith Iwakuma, who apparently wants to be paid like an ace. The As,however, already have an ace in 18-game winner Trevor Cahill, and BrettAnderson and Gio Gonzalez have ace potential. Youve heard the adage that sometimes the best deals are thosethat dont go down? This might be one of them. And dont worry about that deal that Vin Mazzaro to the Royals acouple of days after the As won the bidding rights; that was more aboutlanding David DeJesus -- an excellent all-around player -- than it was aboutOaklands supreme confidence in signing Iwakuma.With or without the Japanese import, the As are going to have atremendous rotation in 2011, especially if Josh Outman is 100 percent in hisrecovery from the Tommy John surgery that cut short his breakthrough 2009season. If healthy, Cahill, Anderson,Gonzalez, Outman and Dallas Braden -- with Tyson Ross and Bobby Cramer asinsurance -- would represent the best 1-5 in the American League West.And with the 16-18 million posting fee, plus another 10 million orso for the actual contract, that Oaklandappeared to have earmarked for Iwakuma, theyll have a better shot attruly addressing the glaring need that is their dearth of power. The D-Trains never-ending quest for a return torelevance. Its a sad story, really. Dontrelle Willis was oneof the most charismatic players in the game when he burst onto the scene as arookie on FloridasWorld Series-winning 2003 team, but injuries and anxiety issues have sincerobbed him of his confidence and command.They havent robbed him of his love for the game, though. Thatmuch is obvious. And perhaps because of that charisma, teams continue to givehim chance after chance to find his once-funky, fantastic form. Hes a Tiger! Hes a Diamondback! Hes a Giant! Andas of Monday, hes a Red, signed today. All in the past six months alone. Good luck to one of Alamedasfavorite sons. Darren Ford avoiding time behind bars. TheGiants speedy outfielder entered a pre-trial intervention program that keepshim out of jail in connection with a November 2009 arrest for essentiallystealing 300 from the car dealership at which he worked and making up a storyabout it being taken from him at gunpoint.Ford, who provided one of the seasons more memorable momentswith his mad dash home in a big September win over the Rockies,declined comment after reaching a deal with prosecutors.The deal means Ford wont have a criminal record in his hometownof Vineland, N.J.,and thats probably a relief to Vinelandmayor Robert Romano. Last week, Romano gave Ford a key to the city. The unenviable task of Nick Paparesta.Whos that? The guy the As just hired as their head athletic trainer.And we can neither confirm nor deny that he sprained a finger reaching for thepen with which he signed his contract.
What's on your mind? Email Mychael and let him know. He may use it in his Mailbag.

NBA Gameday: Warriors welcome Cavaliers with vengeance in mind

NBA Gameday: Warriors welcome Cavaliers with vengeance in mind

OAKLAND -- With the Christmas Day Collapse lingering about the back of their minds, the Warriors are out for vengeance against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

When the teams meet Monday for a late-afternoon Matinee on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Warriors will be trying to end a four-game losing streak to the Cavs, who came from behind for a 109-108 win on Christmas Day in Cleveland.

The Warriors (34-6) hope to benefit from the sellout crowd at Oracle Arena, where they have been nearly invincible over the past two-plus seasons. They are 95-7 at home since coach Steve Kerr arrived before 2014-15 season.

The Cavaliers (29-10) are making the final stop of a six-game road trip that spanned 12 days in three different time zones.


Warriors by 7.5


Stephen Curry vs. Kyrie Irving: Though they don’t always defend each other, each point guard is his team’s catalyst. Irving has been winning this battle of late, and the result is success for Cleveland. Curry is playing well of late, better than Irving. If that trend continues Monday, the Warriors will take their chances.

Kevin Durant and LeBron James: Durant was superb on Christmas Day, clearly outplaying James until the final quarter, when he melted down with his teammates, missing seven of his last nine shots. James seized the moment, leading his team to victory. Nothing would please the Warriors more than KD getting the best of James.


Warriors: No injuries listed.

Cavaliers: G J.R. Smith (R thumb fracture) and F/C Chris Andersen (R ACL surgery) are listed as out.


Warriors: 8-2. Cavaliers: 6-4.


The Warriors lost the previous meeting this season and, including the last three games of the 2016 NBA Finals, have lost four straight. They are 10-8 (including postseason) against Cleveland since James returned before the 2014-15 season.


THE START: In winning their last three games, all against sub-.500 teams, the Warriors cruised through the first half and didn’t get serious until the third quarter. That formula would be particularly dangerous against a defending champion. A faster start is called for, and the Warriors know it.

THE GLASS: What killed the Warriors in the Christmas Day Collapse, perhaps as much as turnovers, was Cleveland’s relentless work on the offensive glass. The Cavs piled up 18 offensive rebounds, leading to 17 additional shot attempts. If the Warriors can’t do a better job, it could be disastrous.

THE 3-BALL WAR: The Warriors rank fourth in 3-point shooting percentage; the Cavs are third. The Warriors rank fifth in attempts from beyond the arc; the Cavs are third. Cleveland put up more triples, with more accuracy, on Christmas Day. But . . . the Warriors are No. 1 in defense against triples, while the Cavs are 14th.

What they're saying: Celebrating MLK Day 2017

What they're saying: Celebrating MLK Day 2017

As we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Bay Area athletes and teams posted their favorite quotes from the iconic Civil Rights leader.

Thank you for your sacrifice, dedication, and willingness to help others! Great god fearing man! #mlk

A photo posted by Quinton Dial (@quintondial92) on