Tip of the Cap to Cal's Montgomery

Tip of the Cap to Cal's Montgomery

Feb. 9, 2010
You know who Im happy for? Mike Montgomery.Im happy for Montgomery because hes once again beingthought of as one of the best coaches around. And thats the way it should be.Because he is. When Montgomery left Stanford after the 2004 season to coachthe Golden State Warriors, he was considered one of the games brightest mindsand second-to-none when it came to getting his teams to play hard. His Stanford teams were tough and smart, and nobody couldaccuse Montgomery of not getting the most out of his players.Then he went to the Warriors, where he put togetherback-to-back 34-48 seasons. His reputation took a hit, and the common refrainbecame that Montgomery couldnt succeed at the pro level. Maybe not. But Montgomery never came into that Warriorssituation thinking he knew it all or that he was the one to turn it around. Hewalked out onto the floor during training camp of the 2004-05 seasonaccompanied by a desire to learn the pro game and plenty of humility. I know that because I was around the Warriors then, as Ivebeen around them for the past 15 years or so. At the end of Montgomerystwo-year run with the Warriors, I remember him saying: When I took theWarriors job, I didnt even know what I didnt know. Well, one thing Montgomery knows is how to coach. Hesbetter at it at the college level than he is at the pro level, but in the grandscheme of things that matters little. What does matter is Montgomery has Cal in first place in thePac-10 Conference and is looking at guiding the Bears to their first conferencechampionship in 50 years. He took the Cal job last year and promptly got themback into the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2005-06 with a teamthat was picked to finish in the lower half of the conference, by the way.Now that Montgomerys two-year stint with the Warriors hasbeen mostly forgotten, hes making people remember just how great of a coach hestill is.--Matt Steinmetz

What's your take? Email Matt and let him know. He may use it in his weekly Mailbag.

Hoesen leads the ways as Earthquakes take down Real Salt Lake


Hoesen leads the ways as Earthquakes take down Real Salt Lake


SAN JOSE — Danny Hoesen scored his second goal of the season and assisted on Marco Urena's second goal, lifting the San Jose Earthquakes to a 2-1 victory over Real Salt Lake on Saturday night.

Hoesen opened the scoring in the 13th minute, off a long cross from Nick Lima. After touching the ball down, Hoesen gathered it off a defender's foot, stepped inside and unleashed a left footer into the top corner from just off the penalty spot.

Hoesen's long through ball down the right side sent Urena free and from a tight angle he rolled the ball past Nick Rimando in the 68th minute.

San Jose (6-6-5), which has battled injuries and call-ups to score just 16 goals in 16 games, won for just the second time in its last seven games.

Lima picked up two yellow cards in the second half and the Quakes played a man down from the 71st minute.

David Bingham made only one save in each half but was denied his seventh shutout when Jose Hernandez scored his second goal in the fourth minute of stoppage time for Salt Lake (5-11-2).

Latest round of bullpen auditions go poorly in Giants' 50th loss

Latest round of bullpen auditions go poorly in Giants' 50th loss

SAN FRANCISCO -- Practically speaking, the 50th loss is no different than the one before or the one after, but this sport is built on milestones, and this one came quickly.

The Giants lost their 50th game on August 12 last year. This season, it was clinched when Ryder Jones grounded out in his fourth career at-bat, handing the Mets a 5-2 win on June 24. 

Bruce Bochy called losing 50 of your first 77 games "hard to believe" and "embarrassing." Johnny Cueto, who went seven strong, said the reality was "hard and sad." Brandon Belt, who got Cueto off the hook for a loss, agreed with his manager.

"That's a pretty good word to use -- it is embarrassing to come out and lose every day, especially with the group of guys we have," Belt said. "When you're losing as much as this, it is embarrassing. We're trying to do whatever we can to turn this thing around."

Lately, that has meant changes to the roster. It is officially audition season, and in that respect, it was not a particularly inspiring day for the bullpen. The Giants felt they would have a better mix this year, but it hasn't played out. Instead, they're once again trying to find pieces for the next successful Giants bullpen.

With Hunter Strickland suspended and Derek Law in the minors, two young relievers, a middle-innings stalwart, and a newcomer pitched the final two frames. They gave up four runs.

Sam Dyson was the first on the mound in the eighth. Belt had homered a few minutes earlier, tying a good starter's duel. Dyson gave up a leadoff triple to Curtis Granderson and walked Asdrubal Cabrera before throwing two good sliders past Yoenis Cespedes for the strikeout. With two lefties coming up and the go-ahead run still on third, Bochy turned to Steven Okert. He immediately gave up a seeing-eye RBI single to Jay Bruce. Wilmer Flores doubled off George Kontos later in the frame to make it 3-1. 

In the ninth, Kyle Crick showed some of the wildness that kept him in the minors for seven years. He, too, gave up a leadoff triple, a sin you always pay for. A walk helped put another run into scoring position and a wild pitch extended the Mets’ lead to four. 

Before the game, Bochy talked of getting an extended look at Jones. He was 0-for-4 in his first big league game but he’ll be back out there tomorrow. It’s time to fight for a job, and the same holds true of some relievers who didn’t fare well Saturday. It is a group with a closer locked into a longterm deal and little else decided. 

Are Strickland or Law eighth-inning guys? Will Dyson be a worthwhile reclamation project? Will Kontos be back, and will he carve out a different role? Are Okert and Josh Osich capable of giving Bochy lefties he trusts? Is Crick’s improvement in Triple-A a sign of things to come? There are many questions to be answered over the next three months. 

“This is a good time for them, this is what players get up here for, to show what they can do,” Bochy said. “Because of our situation, we’re going to take a look at these guys and we know there are going to be growing pains.”