Posey takes the fun out of NL MVP race


Posey takes the fun out of NL MVP race

Buster Posey has never been one to give in willingly to his whimsical side. Well, publicly, anyway. Privately, he could be incredibly madcapzanywacky, but thats the problem its private.Thus, his winning the National League Most Valuable Player award is in keeping with his general persona. All the fun-filled arguing, finger-pointing, recriminations and irrational threats happened in the other league. Mike Trout, Defender Of The Logarithm, vs. Miguel Cabrera, Unwilling Proponent Of The Old School why, you can just feel the judgmental hate.Posey, on the other hand, won in something of a walk. He received 27 of 32 first place votes and was in the top three of all 32 ballots.BAGGARLY: Buster Posey honored with NL MVP AwardHe had all the math on his side, all the logic on his side, all the valuable on his side. To not vote for him to win the award required a localized stubbornness or a refusal to reconsider ones ballot after August 1.And whats the fun in that?Posey is already well on his way to being a Carlton FiskThurman Munson type of catcher. True, its early to extend his career and get there, although through age 25 Fisk and Posey are similar players. But personality-wise, he is an amalgam of the two flinty catching stars of the 70s and 80s. In short, he knows what he wants, he states fairly clearly what he wants, and he gets what he wants.And he says it, though in a way that makes you work to understand the meaning. To our knowledge, he still has yet to fully bygone the bygones with Scott Cousins, and he didnt mince a single syllable in discussing Melky Cabrera either. You want Posey, you get Posey, unalloyed.RELATED: Baggs' NL MVP ballotIn exchange for the freedom to have a personality when prudence suggests the mute button, he delivers everything the Giants want. Offense, pitcher wrangling, nucleus-of-the-franchise stuff. He is the teams gravitational center after only 3 12 years, and his total earned salary of 1.657 million is roughly one tenth of what he could legitimately ask for in his next contract discussion.And thats including the fact that he broke an ankle last year.But the lack of debate over his worthiness for the award due entirely to the fact that he had demonstrably the best year of all the candidates is so very Posey. None of his doing, we grant you, but entirely his idiom.It would have been more amusing had there been a more compelling reason to vote for Ryan Braun, or Yadier Molina, or Joey Votto. All had worthy years, but in rarefied air like an MVP vote, the worthiest get defined by a different standard. And at the risk of failing to bore you to tears with all the mathematical and metaphysical reasons why Posey was the best choice, just take our word for it. Posey won because he was that much more comprehensively better.Put another way, Posey deserved the AL Cy Young vote that was cast for Fernando Rodney. Thats how good a year he actually had.Put yet another way, he would have had a hell of a hypothetical case for AL MVP against either Trout or Cabrera.But he screwed up. He ended up in the wrong league, and is on the cusp of becoming the highest paid catcher not named Joe Mauer. Molina signed a five-year, 75M deal that kicks in next year, but Poseys next contract ought to shame that, at least a bit.And when he signs it, he will handle it in that understated yet subtly edgy way of his, as though he were too polite to say, Well, what did you expect to happen?In that way, he is so Fiskian, with hints of Munsonality. And he neither sees reason nor impulse to change. Who he is, is plenty good enough now, to the point where debate for debates sake is essentially pointless.Somewhere, Carlton Fisk doubtlessly nods with approval. And trust us, he doesnt nod easily.

Internet immediately goes to DefCon1 on Chip Kelly-to-Cal


Internet immediately goes to DefCon1 on Chip Kelly-to-Cal

In what can be considered your standard bolt out of the blue, California head football coach Sonny Dykes has reportedly been fired.

In what can be considered your standard spur-of-the-Internet-moment-connect-the-dots inspiration, the Internet went immediately to DefCon1 on Chip Kelly-to-Cal rumors.

The logic, of course, is impeccable. Dykes never really snapped the Cal program around, taking a bad program and making it, well, mediocre, and he has spent much of the past two years aggressively seeking out other jobs, so one can assume there was at least some trouble in paradise, even if you want to make the case that Cal football and paradise are somehow connected.

And Kelly just got canned by the 49ers as part of Jed York’s latest I-will-not-be-made-to-look-ridiculous twitch, so he could sign a properly modest contract at Berkeley and still get his full $6 million with the offset from the three years left on his Jed deal.

So it makes perfect sense . . . which is why it should be judged with considerable skepticism.

For one, Kelly can almost surely do better in the college job diaspora. Cal is a big name with modest ambitions due in part to constant budget constraints, and there are better jobs out there even if he sits for a year.

For two, Cal and Kelly are an odd fit, given the persistent tensions between academia and athletica at Berkeley.

For three, the job comes with massive roadblocks, including Stanford, USC, Washington and (potentially) a resuscitation of the Oregon he left behind. Success will not come easy, if it does at all.

For four, Cal just finished four years of gimmick offense and overburdened defense, and Kelly would provide a more successful version of the same.

And for five, this is too easy, too simple, too convenient. Something about this scenario must be wrong somewhere. When people hit the Internet with photoshopped Kelly-in-Cal-costumes within minutes of the Dykes announcement, you know this is too obvious to actually come to fruition.

Why? Because we don’t live that well, that’s why.

The beauty of a triumphant Kelly at Cal glowering down at the charred ruin in Santa Clara seems more appealing than it actually is, because try as they might, Cal fans will never be backing the more popular horse here, and Kelly won’t win that battle unless he takes Cal to the Rose Bowl while the 49ers are still grappling over draft positions.

In that way, reality sucks. The idea that Jed York could be mocked in collegial absentia by his two biggest coaching hires is delicious but almost surely illusory.

But until we get more on why Dykes got canned 43 days after the team’s last game – recruiting, academic issues, legal issues, photocopier problems from him sending his resume out so often – all we have is the Chip Kelly rumor-ette to keep us intrigued.

Okay, to keep us amused.

Okay, to keep us from falling over in a coma. Cal should matter more than it does, but it’s been 13 years since the Holiday Bowl zenith of the Jeff Tedford Era, and 25 since Bruce Snyder took the Ursines to the Citrus Bowl. The evidence since 1990 is of a team with bigger dreams than means that is slightly below .500 (160-164). Sonny Dykes leaving means one more coach who didn’t make an impact unless his departure leads to either reassessment of the program’s standards, internal or external sanctions . . .

. . . or what the hell, Chip Kelly. Let’s face it – in these dismal days for wacked-out rumormongering, this is pretty intoxicating stuff.

Warriors are most geographically vague team in history of American sports


Warriors are most geographically vague team in history of American sports

The Philadelphia/San Francisco/Golden State Warriors have always had a casual attitude about their home court, even by the once-flexible standards of the National Basketball Association.

Thus, it should be only slightly amusing but not actually surprising that Warriors chief arenologist Rick Welts is now waffling a bit (courtesy Comrade Poole) on whether the team will change its name to San Francisco Warriors when it moves across the pond in 2019-20, or retain its current geographic association with Narnia.

I mean Golden State. I often confuse utterly fictional locales – when I can be bothered to give a toss either way.

But the Warriors, whether they play in Oakland, San Francisco, Pier 30, Pier 32, Westeros, Hobbiton, the Duchy of Grand Fenwick, Curryvania, the Klingon Empire, the Death Star or Planet Nine, are relocating, and once they break the seal on the earth in 12 days, Welts and his fellow elves will almost surely play the team’s future name as a mildly tedious cliffhanger.

Hey, fun is where you find it.

The matter of the team’s relocation will be a sore subject among lifelong East Bay residents, who have put up with the Warriors for 45 years in various stages of development, including the current “We Almost Never Lose” stage. They regard the Warriors’ transplantation to San Francisco to be an unspeakable crime given the high level of fan allegiance afforded them in Oakland.

And yes, they regard Oakland and San Francisco as very real places, as opposed to Golden State, Freedonia, Vulgaria or the Nexus of All Realities.

It is not yet fully known what San Franciscans think of this development, but that’s the nature of the gamble here. They may embrace the Warriors as the new toy in town and then lose interest, and frankly, neither Welts nor anyone else knows the answer to that.

Either way, their die is cast, and Joe Lacob and Peter Guber are now future former Oakland fixtures. Yes, they are quite fond of the exciting new real estate values and their exciting new unobstructed view of the bay, but it has long been assumed that the move would also entail changing the name back to “San Francisco” for the snob appeal.

Now Welts, who has overseen both arena projects (including the one at Piers 30 and 32 which ended up with the piers beating the Warriors in a rout), tells Comrade Poole that the San Francisco Warriors might not end up as the San Francisco Warriors after all.

“Four years ago, I think the conventional wisdom in our building here in Oakland was that yes, we should attach a city name to the team, then it becomes a more global franchise,” Welts marketing-gobbledy-gooked. “There was a lot of head-scratching four years ago about where the Golden State Warriors even played, in other parts of the world. What’s happened with the team over the course of the ensuing years, until today, has made the Warriors if not the preeminent, at least among the three best-known NBA franchises around the world. And everybody who didn’t know where the Golden State Warriors were four years ago, if you’re a fan today, anywhere in the world, you know where the Golden State Warriors are.”

In Oakland.

Now, the mic drop.

“The team’s success has caused us to really rethink whether or not that’s something we should or want to do,” he added. “I guess it’s fair to say there’s been no final decision made. But if you were a betting man, I think you would probably want to wager that the name might remain the same.”

Of course. Why not stay fictional when specificity might move fewer hoodies?

Then again, this is a team that in its 70 years has played home games in Philadelphia (the Arena, the Civic Center, Lincoln High School and Convention Hall), Hershey and Bethlehem PA, Atlantic City, Trenton, Collingswood and Camden NJ, and Saratoga Springs NY . . .

(a moment’s rest here to catch our breaths)

. . . and then after moving west in 1962, the Cow Palace, San Francisco Civic Auditorium and USF’s Memorial Gym, the Oakland Auditorium, San Jose Civic Auditorium, San Jose Arena, Richmond Auditorium, then Sacramento, Bakersfield, Fresno, San Diego, Eugene, Seattle, Phoenix and Salt Lake City.

In fact, and you can swindle the gullible at your neighborhood tavern with this one, the Warriors’ first game in San Francisco occurred almost three years before the team left Philadelphia. The Warriors played the visitors to the Minneapolis Lakers, who moved to Los Angeles a year later and had already played a regular season game at the Cow Palace earlier in the year, so this game, January 31, 1960, could have been considered a civic scouting trip for both teams as they sought new homes.

In other words, the Warriors are almost surely the most geographically vague team in the history of North American sports. Moreover, they are about to become the first team in sports history to go home for the third time under three different city names – Philadelphia, San Francisco and Krypton, or whatever the hell they want to call themselves this time.