Urban: Giants huge hit at All-Star Media Day


Urban: Giants huge hit at All-Star Media Day

July 8, 2011


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Mychael Urban

PHOENIX -- As defending champions, the Giants drew a lion's share of attention Monday during the cattle call that is All-Star Media Day, held this year in a ballroom at the swank resort in which the game's top performers are housed while prepping for the 2011 Midsummer Classic at Chase Field.Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Brian Wilson, Ryan Vogelsong and Pablo Sandoval were surrounded my microphones, cameras and notebooks for 40-plus minutes, where a highly unscientific poll of a national cross-section of media types crowned San Francisco's amiable five-man contingent the best of the bunch."They don't have any attitude at all," offered a radio reporter from Milwaukee. "I expected a guy like Lincecum to get tired of answering the same questions over and over and over, but he's the most unassuming superstar I think I've ever dealt with. Just a regular guy."A writer from Arlington, Tex., who didn't cover the World Series last fall and thus was not privy to Wilson's unique sense of humor, was blown away."Everything that comes out of his mouth is funny," she said. "Even when he's being serious."Of Vogelsong, who was swarmed with Japanese journalists eager to get his thoughts on the impact that playing in the baseball-mad country had on his recent success, one fawning television personality said, "He seems to understand our culture very well, and he did everything he could to make us comfortable. Very polite and respectful. Like most of us."Another TV type, this one from Mexico, was smitten with Sandoval."He has the perfect nickname, 'Kung Fu Panda,'" he said. "He's like a character from a cartoon. So happy, and he makes you happy to be with him."Cain might have opened the most eyes among Giants, though. A stoic, emotionless figure on the mound, he wowed the crowd with frequent flashes of his understated sense of humor."He surprised me," said a writer who works out of Phoenix but travels the country covering the game. "Very quick wit, very clever, very observant. His answers are short, but whenever there was an opportunity to crack a joke, he had one. I had no idea he had such an outgoing personality." Fear the advice
Wilson's beard gets huge attention wherever he goes, and it was a predictable hot topic Monday.Asked if he's ever considered dying it orange, he quickly quipped, "I have not, until you said that just now. Brilliant."He also fielded requests for advice on beard maintenance from a younger reporter, whose facial hair was less than impressive, but Wilson did his best to put him at ease."That's a nice little starter kit," Wilson said. "You look great. Be proud of that. It'll come."Rings and bling
There wasn't a lot of flash among the National League All-Stars, at least half of whom wore checkered or flannel shirts."Is that what's cool now?" Cain asked.The most eye-catching getup was rocked by Wilson, who wore shades and his knit camp. He did not, however, wear his World Series ring. Nor did Cain. Lincecum and Sandoval did."I wear my ring on my heart," Wilson said.Added Cain, "We're not really the kind of team that flaunts that kind of thing."Playing time
Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he'd like to avoid using Lincecum, who pitched Saturday, and Vogelsong likely will be saved in the event of extra innings. With Cain ineligible to pitch because he started Sunday, Wilson and Sandoval are the best bet to see time Tuesday."Of course I want to pitch," said Wilson, who is eager to sport his new, colorful cleats for the occasion, but refused to divulge details.As for Sandoval, who wore a permagrin throughout, he's ready to play anywhere."Just put me out there," he said. "I don't care. I just want to say I played in the All-Star Game. I'm here, so let's go. I'll play 50 innings if they need it."

Report: JaVale McGee will re-sign with Warriors


Report: JaVale McGee will re-sign with Warriors

JaVale McGee isn't going anywhere.

McGee will re-sign with the Warriors, according to ESPN's Chris Haynes.

Golden State could only offer the big man the minimum of $2.1 million.

In 77 games (10 starts) with the Warriors last season, he averaged 6.1 points and 3.2 rebounds.

More to come...

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Gold Cup roundup: Five takeaways from USMNT's championship win


Gold Cup roundup: Five takeaways from USMNT's championship win

For the sixth time in Gold Cup tournament history, the United States hoisted the championship trophy – this time in front of 63,000 fans Wednesday night at Levi’s Stadium.
Jozy Altidore opened the scoring in the 45th minute with a beautiful free kick. However, Jamaica equalized only five minutes into the second half.
Stanford product Jordan Morris later scored the game-winner in the 88th minute to secure a U.S. title. 
Here are five things you should know about the U.S.’ latest tournament championship.
-- Aside from a little extra gold in the trophy case, the biggest thing the United States takes from winning the cup is confidence. They’ll have about a month worth of rest before the Hexagon resumes – and right out of the gate, it’s a date with Costa Rica, who the U.S. beat on their road to the tournament title.
Currently, Costa Rica sits three points clear of the U.S. in the CONCACAF’s 2018 World Cup qualifying table. A victory against Los Ticos on Sept. 1 would be the biggest win of this latest Bruce Arena era.
-- Speaking of Bruce Arena, it can’t be understated just how big of tournament win this is for the U.S. Soccer manager. Hired to jumpstart a team that to many pundits looked flat and lacked fire under Jurgen Klismann, Arena has now won a trophy, helped the USMNT get back into Hex contention and has not lost a match. In 15 matches, Arena has a 9-0-6 record. He now has 84 career wins as the USMNT front man.
-- We’re still on record breaker watch since Clint Dempsey did not start or play in Wednesday’s final. The Seattle Sounders, who recently took down the San Jose Earthquakes to move ahead of them in the standings and are Dempsey’s club of employment, play their next MLS fixture on Saturday. The risk of shot rest could explain Bruce Arena’s apprehension to not start Dempsey. He came in during the 57th minute. Captain America came really close to scoring twice. 
So, the record, shared by Dempsey and Landon Donovan at 57 international goals, will sit there for at least another match.
-- Quick look at the numbers and there isn’t a clear contender for the U.S. Player of the Gold Cup. So after stumbles against Panama and Martinique to start the tournament, what was most impressive is how the U.S. defense came together to close out the Gold Cup. In five games, they surrendered just one goal. So, hats off to Omar Gonzalez, Graham Zusi, Matt Besler and Jorge Villafaña who were instrumental during that stretch – but let us not forget Matt Hedges, Eric Lichaj and Justin Morrow who really got that impressive defensive stretch rolling.
-- Morris had been struggling to score all season but he may have now forced Arena’s hand with his Gold Cup performance. While he did get beat on defense on Jamaica’s goal, the search for a scoring defender by the USMNT as qualifiers creeps up is ongoing. Morris, who burst onto the MLS scene last season, is making a strong case for himself.