Giants explore ways to keep pesky seagulls away

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Giants explore ways to keep pesky seagulls away

July 29, 2011
GIANTS PAGE GIANTSVIDEO

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- For years, the San Francisco Giants' regular seagulls cooperated so nicely: They flocked to AT&T Park after the final out to scavenge for treats like leftover popcorn, pizza or garlic fries.Those gulls have become more pesky and plentiful of late, creating a problem for fans during games on occasion this season. So, now, the Giants are considering bringing in a resident falcon to help fend off the birds and keep them at bay out where they belong - above the bay."The gulls are more like your guests. They see a food source and opportunity. They're transient. There's a window of time they're around: they see it, they hear it, they smell it," said Jorge Costa, the Giants' longtime senior vice president of ballpark operations. "Most of the time they're up on the roof of the building, on the glove (in left field), on the light towers. When people leave, they come down."While the issue won't be solved by the time the defending World Series champions return for a 10-game homestand starting Monday, the Giants are working on it.Bringing in a falcon to nest around the ballpark is an expensive endeavor that requires budgeting, which might take until next year. Unless the problem persists and requires immediate attention.Costa declined to say how much it might cost. Other ballparks near the water have faced similar situations with seagulls. They even turn up across San Francisco Bay at the Oakland Coliseum after the Athletics play.This is right up there with the strangest things Costa has dealt with and studied in his 23 years with the Giants and 40 years in the stadium business - along with such serious issues as terrorist threats in the wake of Sept. 11 and the effects of weather and how grass grows and reacts.While the Giants have found humane ways to keep pigeons from roosting in their 12-year-old ballpark, the hovering gulls that come in from McCovey Cove and elsewhere are different. Their postgame snacking has long played a part in aiding San Francisco's extensive cleanup process in the stands after each game.But the 2011 crop appears to be growing impatient. And fans who pay lots of money for tickets and concessions don't like to be bugged by the unfriendly visitors in the middle of a ballgame.Studying bird behavior and various populations has become a new part of Costa's job description."This year we're seeing larger numbers of the seagulls, and sometimes they've not been stationary," Costa said. "There have been a couple of games this year when they've started swirling around while the game's still going on. It's not pleasant if they're dropping things and they're sitting there (with fans)."With the help of Wingmaster Falconry Inc., which states that it works "to provide our clients with the most effective, natural, humane methods available for pest bird abatement," the Giants are exploring their options regarding the falcons.If all goes as planned, the gulls get to the point where they can sense when the falcons are in the area and stay away.Birds of prey have often been part of the big league scene.The Minnesota Twins' Target Field attracted a male American Kestrel last year. He became a fan favorite and even generated a Twitter account with the username TargetFieldHawk and was named Kirby the Kestrel.In other baseball bird news, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said Thursday it was sending a thank-you note to Giants outfielder Cody Ross "for being a fine friend to the feathered."A press release from PETA - subject line: "Goose Abuse Makes Major League Champ Cody Ross Gag" - said that when Ross "learned that foie gras is made by shoving tubes down the throats of ducks and geese, often causing serious injuries, and force-feeding the birds until their livers become painfully engorged, he immediately decided to change ducks' luck and dump foie gras."

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's skid-snapping win over White Sox

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USASTI

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's skid-snapping win over White Sox

BOX SCORE

The A’s six-game road trip got off to a promising start Friday as they try to reverse their fortunes away from Oakland.

Jharel Cotton shined over five innings before leaving because of a blister on his right hand, and the bullpen took care of things from there to complete a 3-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox.

Considering the A’s came in just 9-25 on the road so far, this was the rare occurrence of them taking control early and staying in control while wearing the road grays. Now the A’s just hope the victory didn’t come with a steep price.

In addition to Cotton (5-7) leaving after a blister opened up on his right thumb, shortstop Chad Pinder left with a strained left hamstring. The severity of that injury wasn’t immediately known.

Here’s five things you need to know from the opener of this three-game series at Guaranteed Rate Field:

-- Davis hits No. 19: Khris Davis gave Cotton some early cushion with a two-run homer off Mike Pelfrey (3-6) to center field in the first. It was Davis’ team-leading 19th long ball, but just his third in 22 games this month.

-- Another solid outing for rookie: Coming off a strong 6 1/3-inning outing against the New York Yankees, Cotton again looked in control Friday before having to leave. The right-hander held the Sox to three hits over his five innings, striking out three and walking one. It’s unknown whether the blister will affect his availability for his next start, but the A’s learned with Rich Hill last season how nagging a blister can be for a starter.

-- Ninth-inning nerves: The final score didn’t indicate how tense things got for Oakland in the ninth. Closer Santiago Casilla gave up two singles to start the inning. After Avisail Garcia flied out, Todd Frazier hit a pop up behind first. Yonder Alonso couldn’t haul it in and the ball dropped, but Alonso alertly threw to second to get a force out. Then Matt Davidson sent a deep fly ball to center that Jaycob Brugman hauled in at the warning track.

--- Joyce powers up: In the fifth, Matt Joyce lit into a 3-2 pitch from Pelfrey and homered to center field to put the A’s ahead 3-0. It was the ninth homer for Joyce, who continues to provide some of the spark the A’s are looking for in the leadoff spot.

-- A double ejection: : White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson and manager Rick Renteria both were ejected for arguing a fifth-inning play after Anderson hit a dribbler near home plate that surprised him by being called fair.

Sharks' draft pick Norris possesses 'Logan Couture attributes'

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USATSI

Sharks' draft pick Norris possesses 'Logan Couture attributes'

CHICAGO – Sharks general manager Doug Wilson is typically restrained in his public praise for players in the system. “We don’t like to over promote our prospects” is a phrase he’s used countless times.

That’s what made his instant comparison of Sharks first round pick center Josh Norris to a current core player so unexpected.

“We think – I hate doing this, but I’m going to – [Norris has] a lot of the Logan Couture attributes to him,” Wilson said on Friday at United Center, shortly after presenting Norris with a teal sweater.

Wilson also made note of Norris’ confidence, which was evident in the 18-year-old’s media availability. Norris described himself as “a 200-foot player. I think I can give you a little bit of everything: power play, penalty kill, faceoffs, can chip in offensively. I think I kind of do a little bit of everything.” He added that he attempts to pattern his game to Maple Leafs center Tyler Bozak.

Like most players that aren’t top five selections, Norris isn’t likely to make the NHL roster in the fall. He’s set to attend the University of Michigan in the fall.

Still, Wilson suggested that it might not take long for the six-foot, 189-pound Oxford, Michigan native to make the leap.

“He’s a kid, the way he plays and the way he thinks, he potentially could fast track. So, we’ll see,” Wilson said.

Norris had some familial help on his journey to draft day. His father Dwayne had a few cups of coffee in the NHL with the Quebec Nordiques more than two decades ago, playing 20 career games from 1993-96.

Dwayne Norris was right there to congratulate his son, who was no sure thing to go in the first round as the 34th ranked North American skater, according to NHL Central Scouting.

“He just said how proud of me he was, and it was kind of a big moment we had that I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” Norris said about his conversation with his father.

Norris’ stats suggest he has an ability to create offense, as he posted 27 goals and 61 points in 61 games for the U.S. National Under-18 team last season, and added 12 goals and 26 points in 25 games in the USHL.

“I think I’m a little bit of a goal scorer and a playmaker,” Norris said. “I think I’m really good in my defensive zone. I think I have a lot of upside on the offensive side of my game that I’m going to continue to work on.”

Wilson said: “We think he’s a mature player.”

Norris had a strong showing at the NHL combine, leading all 104 draft-eligible players in attendance in five of the 14 fitness tests. Those results, along with a strong interview, made Norris an appealing target for San Jose.

“He’s arguably one of the most athletic guys in the combine,” Wilson said. “His interview was phenomenal. If you go back in his history in big games he’s stepped up in a big way, and that’s the type of guy we’re looking for.”

Norris, who played baseball as a shortstop until age 13, said: “I wasn’t too nervous going to the combine. … I just tried to make good impressions on teams. The physical testing aspect of it, I’ve always been a pretty good athlete.”

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, Norris will make his first-ever trip to California in early July to take part in the Sharks’ development camp.

* * *

Just before the Sharks’ contingent made its way to the stage to select Norris, Wilson was spotted talking with Washington general manager Brian MacLellan. After a brief exchange, MacLellan shook his head, and Wilson went back to the San Jose table and gathered his group to head to the podium.

Asked about the chat, Wilson said it was not about the 19th overall pick.

“We were actually looking at some other things, some other picks that we had,” Wilson said. “Some teams had reached out to us, and we’re planting our seeds a little bit for tomorrow already.”

The draft concludes on Saturday, with the second round beginning at 7 a.m. PT.