Urban: Giants' Sandoval stepping up huge


Urban: Giants' Sandoval stepping up huge

August 22, 2011


Follow @MUrbanCSN
Mychael Urban

Just in case you forgot to do so in the giddy aftermath of Sunday's game-winning homer, now would be a really good time to step back from the ledge and appreciate everything that Pablo Sandoval means to your 2011 Giants.As desperately as it was needed, the home run was almost beside the point. The point is that he was standing in the batter's box at all.In the 11th inning. Having previously been in the same box, batting left-handed against left-handed pitching -- more or less an out waiting to happen.Why would he put himself in such a position? Because he senses the desperation of the situation, and because he desperately wants to be part of the solution.RECAP: Sandoval to the rescue, Giants avoid sweep
It's called leadership, and it's a part of Sandoval's game that we've never really seen before. Now we're not only seeing it, but we're seeing it in its most pure form.We know all about Sandoval's personality and how it filters through the clubhouse. He's a big kid. He's almost always "up." His enthusiasm, energy and joy are infectious. You take one look at the guy and feel better about your place in the world. He'll smile at you. He'll tease you. He'll make up a handshake for you. That kind of thing matters in baseball. It might not sound like much, but it is. Baseball is an absolute grind, and anything that lightens the mood and reminds its professional practitioners -- especially at this time of year -- that it is a child's game and extremely fun and lucrative to play at this level is a highly welcome respite.But having a sunny disposition only goes so far. Attitude probably ranks third on the list of sports needs. At the root, any athletic endeavor is about performance first and foremost, with guts a close second. Fortunately for the Giants, Sandoval is killing it on all three fronts.RELATED: Pablo Sandoval stats
Sunday's homer served as a nice little bow to the package, but the bow was just a bow -- an impressive visual. The package has been there all along, and it's loomed larger than ever in the past week.The foot injury he suffered last Monday night alone could have shelved him for the rest of the week. Nuh, uh. Too many people on that shelf already, he decided. His team needed him. He played -- demanded to play -- the next day.
Then the shoulder started barking, limiting him to one-side swinging. Missed one game. (You reading this, Mr. Beltran?)
Two games later, Sandoval wins one with an extra-innings homer, records the final out of the game on defense and makes a bee-line for the trainers' room so he can strap it on and try to do it all over again Tuesday, Wednesday and for the rest of what remains of his scuffling team's season-gone-wrong.That's performance. That's guts. And that's why when the Giants gather 'round to vote on the Willie Mac Award next month, they'd better vote for Pablo.

Report: 49ers seek first-round pick for Staley

Report: 49ers seek first-round pick for Staley

If the 49ers are active at the NFL trade deadline on Nov. 1, the organization figures to be sellers.

With a 1-6 record, mired in a six-game losing streak and seemingly fielding a less-competitive team every week, the 49ers do not figure to be in the buying market with the trade deadline approaching.

Left tackle Joe Staley, 32, one of the team’s few players who would be attractive to a contender, is available for a first-round draft pick, according to Pro Football Talk. The report cited a “source with knowledge of the dynamics.”

Cleveland Browns left tackle Joe Thomas is also on the trade market for a second-round pick, according to the report. The teams mentioned with potential interest in acquiring Staley or Thomas are the Vikings, Giants, Cardinals, Seahawks and Patriots, reports PFT.

Staley has a base salary of $5.4 million this season. His pay increases to $8.95 million next season, including $8.25 million in base salary. He is signed through the 2019 season.

Staley, a first-round draft pick in 2007, has been selected to five consecutive Pro Bowls.

If the 49ers trade Staley, it could open the way for right tackle Trent Brown to move to the left side. The only other tackle on the roster is rookie John Theus. Veteran guard Zane Beadles is also capable of playing tackle.

The NFL trade deadline is Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 1 p.m. (PT). The 49ers enter their bye week after Sunday's 34-17 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The team’s next game is Nov. 6 against the New Orleans Saints.

Kickers miss short field goals in OT; Seahawks, Cardinals tie


Kickers miss short field goals in OT; Seahawks, Cardinals tie

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Seattle's Stephen Hauschka and Arizona's Chandler Catanzaro missed short field goals that would have won the game in overtime and the Seahawks and Cardinals settled for a 6-6 tie Sunday night.

Hauschka's 27-yard field goal was wide left with seven seconds left after Catanzaro's 24-yarder bounced off the left upright.

The tie was the Cardinals' first since Dec. 7, 1986, a 10-10 draw at Philadelphia when the franchise was based in St. Louis. It was the first for the Seattle since entering the NFL in 1976.

The last tie in the NFL came in 2014, when Carolina and Cincinnati tied 37-37.

The Cardinals (3-3-1) dominated the game statistically and looked to be in shape to win it after Carson Palmer's 40-yard pass to J.J. Nelson set up Catanzaro's short kick.

The Seahawks (4-1-1), stuffed throughout regulation by the Arizona defense, took over and Russell Wilson completed passes of 31 yards to Jermaine Kearse and 27 yards to Doug Baldwin to give Houschka his short attempt.

Both kickers made field goals on their teams' first possession of overtime.

Catanzaro, who kicked field goals of 46 and 45 yards, also had a 39-yard field goal blocked by a stunning play by Bobby Wagner.

Until the overtime, the only time the Seahawks crossed midfield came when Tanner McEnvoy blocked Ryan Quigley's punt with 4:33 to play. That gave Seattle the ball on the Arizona 27 and led to Hauschka's 40-yard field goal that tied it at 3 with four minutes to play.

Catanzaro's 46-yard field goal put Arizona up 3-0 with 3:11 left in the first half and the Cardinals nursed that lead until the blocked punt.

On a bruising night, Arizona's David Johnson had a career-high 41 touches. He carried the ball 33 times for 113 yards and caught eight passes for 58 yards. Russell Wilson, obviously slowed by leg problems, complelted 24 of 37 passes for 225 yards, most of the damage coming in the overtime. He carried the ball once for minus-two yards.

Arizona's defense nearly scored halfway through the fourth quarter when Chandler Jones hit Wilson as he was about to pass and the ball bounced toward the Seattle goal line, but Michael Glowinski jumped on it for Seattle and the 4-yard line, a 20-yard loss.


The Cardinals had the first scoring threat. Catanzaro lined up for a 39-yard field goal but 245-pound linebacker Wagner jumped over Arizona long snapper Aaron Brewer like an Olympic hurdler and blocked it. Cardinals coach Bruce Arians argued loudly for a penalty and was charged with a timeout when he challenged a play that is not reviewable. That proved significant when the Cardinals couldn't stop the clock to get off a short field goal attempt as the first half ended.


The Cardinals were without speedster John Brown after doctors diagnosed sickle cell traits that were causing leg pain. The other wide receiver named Brown, Jaron, left the game early with a knee injury, depleting is usually one of the league's deeper wide receiver corps.