Urban: Carter the Up-and-Comer


Urban: Carter the Up-and-Comer

Sept. 29, 2010URBAN ARCHIVEA's PAGE A's VIDEOMychael Urban

Hitless in a six-game stint with the As in August,much-hyped prospect Chris Carter was recalled to Oakland in the middle of thismonth and looked like the same overmatched 23-year-old rookie in going hitlessin his first five games back.A fearsome slugger during his days in the minor leagues,Carter certainly looks the part of an impact power bat. Hes an imposing6-foot-5 and tips the scales as a taut 230 pounds, and to watch him takebatting practice it to watch a steady stream of baseballs effortlessly launchedover fences.He is, in the usually astute minds eyes of Oaklands talentevaluators, the right-handed, middle-of-the-order threat that the team hasntreally has since Matt Holliday.OK, bad example. Really bad. So lets go with Frank Thomas-- the 2006 version that led the As to the American League Championship Seriesand should have been named the AL MVP.It might be unfair to Carter to compare him to the Big Hurt,who surely will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, but since when are sportsfair? Comparing up-and-comers to all-timers is what we do.And what a delicious coincidence that Carters big-leaguecoming-out party came last week against the White Sox, the team whose capThomas will be wearing on his plaque in Cooperstown. In a three-game seriesagainst visiting Chicago, in front of the As fans almost certainly getting atad anxious to see the kid bust out, Carter went 4-for-8 with his first homer. Better yet, a couple of the hits came off sliders. The wordon Carter among scouts is that sliders are his kryptonite, and that was clearlythe case during his August cameo. It wasnt so much that he was taking bad,off-balance swings at them; in fact, his hacks were very balanced and undercontrol. It appeared as though he simply wasnt recognizing or identifying thepitch as a slider. Now that hes had a little success against the pitch on thegames highest level, though, he at least knows that hes capable of handlingit, and that will help him down the road.More important is that he know exactly what his focus needsto be this winter, and something else that several scouts have said about him-- hes a hard-working, bright young man -- is true, he should be able to youknow, slide right into the middle of the order, as planned,next April.
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Warriors, Cavs to square off in ultimate NBA Finals trilogy

Warriors, Cavs to square off in ultimate NBA Finals trilogy

The Trilogy has arrived.

The Warriors. The Cavaliers. Facing each other in the NBA Finals for the third consecutive postseason. The series begins June 1 with Game 1 at Oracle Arena.

With a 135-102 victory over the Celtics Thursday night in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Cavs advance to face a Warriors team riding the wave created by being the first club in NBA history to start the postseason with 12 straight wins.

With the teams splitting the first two Finals, the Warriors winning in 2015 and the Cavs prevailing last June, this one is to break the tie.

In the meantime, both teams have done some significant retooling.

The Warriors last summer added four-time scoring champion Kevin Durant, along with veterans JaVale McGee, Zaza Pachulia and David West.

Though LeBron James remains the hub of the Cavs, the team made several in-season changes, most notably adding veterans Kyle Korver and Deron Williams.

The Warriors came into the playoffs having earned the No. 1 overall seed by virtue of their NBA-best 67-15 record. They’re 27-1 since March 11, having ended the regular season by winning 15 of their last 16 games before taking out Portland, Utah and San Antonio in four games each to reach The Finals.

The Cavaliers (51-31) held the top seed in the East for most of the season before staggering over the final six weeks, going 9-12 over their final 21 games, including four consecutive losses to end the season.

Cleveland seems to have recovered from its late-season slump, sweeping Indiana and Toronto in the first two rounds before ousting the Celtics in five.

The Warriors and Cavs split two games in the regular season, each team winning on its home floor. Cleveland took a 109-108 decision on Christmas Day, while the Warriors came back for a 126-91 on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Oakland.

The NBA Finals schedule can be seen below. 

Game 1 – Thu  June  1  Cleveland at Golden State          6:00PM  

Game 2 – Sun  June  4  Cleveland at Golden State          5:00PM  

Game 3 – Wed  June  7  Golden State at Cleveland          6:00PM  

Game 4 – Fri  June  9  Golden State at Cleveland             6:00PM  

Game 5 * Mon  June 12  Cleveland at Golden State          6:00PM  

Game 6 * Thu  June 15  Golden State at Cleveland          6:00PM  

Game 7 * Sun  June 18  Cleveland at Golden State          5:00PM    

Dusty chooses son's graduation over Nationals game against Padres


Dusty chooses son's graduation over Nationals game against Padres

WASHINGTON — Dusty Baker will miss the Washington Nationals weekend series against the San Diego Padres to attend his son Darren’s graduation.

Baker said he will rejoin Washington when it begins a three-game series in San Francisco on Monday, near Baker’s offseason home. Bench coach Chris Speier will assume managerial duties against the Padres.

Baker’s son Darren is graduating from Jesuit High School in Carmichael, California. He’s committed to play college baseball at Cal.

As a 3-year-old bat boy, Darren was rescued from a potential home plate collision by J.T. Snow in Game 5 of the 2002 World Series between Baker’s Giants and the Angels.