Urban Interaction: Taking all questions

Urban Interaction: Taking all questions

As part of our ongoing effort to engage and interact with as many members of the Bay Area sports community as possible, every Friday morning I'll be trolling through my e-mail, selecting a handful of submitted questions, and answering with no-holds-barred opinions and insight. Most people call this type of content a "Mailbag" or an "Inbox." We just call it another cool way to rap with fans. Keep the queries comin'.Email MychaelHey Mychael, great to see you back online. I'm a huge A's fan and was bummed when I heard you'd left the beat, but now I see you're covering them for Comcast. I assume you'll be doing Giants stuff, too, and baseball in general. What kind of coverage, though? Just columns, or will you do news and notes and game stories, too?
--Rick P., Lodi, Calif.Having covered the big leagues exclusively for the past decade, baseball is my primary area of expertise, and I'll still be providing virtually every type of coverage of the A's and Giants I've provided elsewhere. Working on the TV side for post-game shows figures to prevent me from doing traditional game stories, but being at CSNBayArea.com will allow me the time and freedom to go much deeper into team-related stories than I've ever had.We're also going to create new types of content that will bridge the gap between players and fans; I can't give away any trade secrets before we unveil these bad boys, but trust me -- you've never seen anything like it on the web. And the great thing about said creative new content is that it translates across all sports. We'll use it for everything we cover, and as much as I love baseball, I'm pretty jacked to go back to covering the "other" sports, which I did for the first 10 years of my career.I'm a Bay Area guy, born and raised. I grew up as a fan of every team in the region, and I grew up to eventually cover every team in the region. So when you're sending in questions, by all means come strong with baseball all you want. But I can get into the respective futures of JaMarcus Russell, Alex Smith, Don Nelson or the merits of the "C" on a hockey sweater with equal enthusiasm. And if I don't have a good answer for you, I'll tap into the expertise that's coursing through the halls of our offices and get one for you.And hey, if you want an opinion on Tiger, LeBron vs. Kobe, Sid the Kid vs. Alex O., NCAA hoops, whatever bring it. This is your one-stop shop.You get to be the Giants' GM for one hour. You get three phone calls. Who do you call?
--Cameron J., Hayward, Calif.First I call Bill Neukom and ask him to conference in Larry Baer. Saves me from burning a second call. Then I explain to them how badly the team needs not just an impact offensive player, but a player with whom Giants fans are somewhat familiar and have seen do some serious damage. I add that it'd be nice if the player were a prince of a man, a positive clubhouse influence who might ease the pain among the team's Latin players in the wake of wildly popular Juan Uribe's departure, and highly marketable. I tell them that player is Miguel Tejada.Then I call Tejada's agent and make him an offer he can't refuse. Two years, 16 million? Fine. Heck, Edgar Renteria costs more than that. Miggy needs more? Fine. Hey, I'm out of a job in an hour, anyway. I'll overpay.Then I call Kung Fu Panda and tell him he's a first baseman. Miggy's at third now.That should take about 48 minutes. For the next 12 minutes, I cruise the halls and swipe as much schwag as possible.What are the chances of this Michael Taylor kid the A's got in the Brett Wallace trade making the team and starting out of spring training?
--Lyle F., San Rafael, Calif.First of all, he won't make the team if the A's don't plan to start him right away. He's turning 24 on Saturday, and at this point in his development, he has to play every day, whether it's in the bigs or at Triple-A Sacramento.What are the chances? I'd say decent, because I hear he's a potential beast, but you never know how a kid's going to handle the kind of hype that's going to follow him into camp. And to have any chance at all he's going to have to go off in Cactus League play if the A's are still carrying Scott Hairston and Travis Buck at that point.Oakland didn't exactly steal Hairston from the Padres in that midseason trade, so they're going to want to get some bang for their buck -- not Buck -- out of it. That means getting some production out of him while delaying the start or Taylor's arbitration clock, and flipping him elsewhere when it's financially safer to promoter Taylor.Where does that leave Buck? I have no idea. Personally, I think Buck could be a very good big leaguer if he got another chance to play on a regular basis, but a lot of the moves the A's have made in the past year suggest that they don't agree with me at all.Was it a mistake by the Giants to not make a harder run at re-signing Brad Penny?
--Vicki L., Dublin, Calif.That's difficult to answer because I don't truly know how hard their run was, but I don't think what he got from the Cardinals (one year, 7.5 million plus 1.5 mil in possible incentives) is something that should have scared anyone off. I'm guessing a second year might have brought Penny back, but I've heard the G's didn't want to go there.The problem with not bringing back Penny, whom I think probably overperformed for the Giants but still would have been a valuable member of the 2010 staff as back-end starter, is that it appears to have taken Jonathan Sanchez away as a potential trade chip. I've heard that the Dan Uggla deal with Florida might have been done if the G's were open to parting with Sanchez, but with Penny gone, Sanchez can't as easily be moved.I was never a monster fan of the Uggla thing, anyway, by the way. He's obviously got pop, and the Giants could use his bat, but he's an absolute butcher on defense. I've heard the nod the plan with Uggla on board was to move Freddy Sanchez to third, but that would have weakened two defensive positions on a team that needs to give its pitching all the defensive help it can get.I heard the "Moneyball" movie is back on. Is it the good script that ends with Scott Hatteberg's homer and Billy Beane turning down the Red Sox job, or is it the snoozer than I used to read when I couldn't sleep?
--Tim R., Rocklin, Calif.I'm pretty sure it's the former, and it better be. I've read both scripts, too, and I couldn't agree with you more. The re-write was awful. The first version, though, was terrific. I covered the A's during the season that's depicted in the script, and it's pretty true to life. Certainly there's a little editorial license used, such as the presence of a soda vending machine in the clubhouse to pound home the point that the A's are somewhat frugal, but that's Hollywood.There is not a soda machine in the clubhouse, of course. And the truth is, the A's aren't as cheap as you think. I just got a lovely holiday card from the public-relations staff, for instance, when they totally could have gone the e-card route. And they do have free hot dogs in the press box. The Yankees charge for that.

Giants lineup: Panik leading off in series opener vs Cubs

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AP

Giants lineup: Panik leading off in series opener vs Cubs

Bruce Bochy and Joe Maddon issued their lineups for today's series opener in Chicago:

Giants (19-26)
1. Joe Panik (L) 2B
2. Christian Arroyo (R) 3B
3. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
6. Eduardo Nunez (R) LF
7. Justin Ruggiano (R) RF
8. Gorkys Hernandez (R) CF
9. Ty Blach (R) P (1-2, 4.15 ERA)

Cubs (22-20) 
1. Ben Zobrist (S) LF
2. Albert Almora Jr. (R) CF
3. Kris Bryant (R) 3B
4. Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B
5. Willson Contreras (R) C
6. Addison Russell (R) SS
7. Jason Heyward (L) RF
8. Javier Baez (R) 2B
9. John Lackey (R) P (4-3, 4.37 ERA)

Entering the NBA Finals 12-0 'would be irrelevant' to the Warriors

Entering the NBA Finals 12-0 'would be irrelevant' to the Warriors

SAN ANTONIO -- The Specter of 73 haunts the Warrior still and you can feel it in their dismissive, yes-but responses to being on the brink of yet another entry into the NBA record book.

Though they do not believe their pursuit and achievement last season of an NBA-record 73 wins sabotaged their chances for a championship, it is evident the Warriors came away with diminished appreciation of gaudy numbers.

They can add to their list of shiny accomplishments Monday night. A victory over the Spurs in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals would make the Warriors the first team ever to open the playoffs with three four-game sweeps and a 12-0 record.

“My wife asked me this morning: What if you guys win and you’re 12-0?” general manager Bob Myers told NBCBayAreaSports.com Monday afternoon. “Well, for me, the record thing kind of got screwed up last year.”

Yes, the record thing. The Warriors chased 73 and got 73 and yet they’ll be known just as much, if not more, as the first team to blew a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals.

“It’s all about 16,” Stephen Curry told NBCSportsBayArea.com.

Getting to 16 wins in the postseason means getting to the top. Winning it all. The very thing the Warriors did not accomplish a year ago.

They are one win away from being three-quarters of the way there.

“Going 12-0 sounds great,” Curry said. “But it probably would have happened if the Lakers would have played a seven-game series to start the run through the playoffs.”

The Lakers twice swept their first three postseason series -- in 1989 and 2001 -- but in both instances the first round was best-of-five. Both streaks ended at 11 in a row.

The Warriors seem to view numbers as decoration, ancillary components to the primary. They may have felt that way all along, but going through what they did last season, losing The Finals to the Cavaliers, provided an acute sense of context.

“It’s unfortunate that we put so much into the last game of the season, or winning the whole thing because there are a lot of things that we, as an organization, should be proud of no matter what happens,” Myers said. “But it’s hard, knowing where were last year, to see that regular-season record and then not win the championship. It’s a mixed feeling.

“So when you talk about records and numbers and things like that, and you know what it’s like to win a championship and you know what it’s like to lose, it’s hard to put them in proper perspective.”

The Warriors have made it clear they are less than impressed with their average victory margin of 16.5 points through the first 11 games in these playoffs. The record is 14.5, set by the Bucks in 1971.

They’re not buying into the hype generated by leading all playoff teams in points per game (117.4) and field-goal percentage (49.7) and field-goal percentage defense (41.6).

Numbers. Just numbers. Like, for example, 73.

“To know that we have a great regular-season record and a tiny little banner in our practice facility, “ Myers said, “it doesn’t feel like it should.

“I wouldn’t go as far as to say it doesn’t mean anything. But it’s hard to really understand what it means right now. And knowing that we’ve been in the midst of all these numbers and records and road-win records and things like that, you get lost in it in good and bad ways. It’s fantastic, but also what does it mean? Because what we’re really trying to do is win a championship.”

Which, of course, comes back to numbers.

“You can learn lessons in winning and you can learn lessons in losing,” Curry said. “It’s just a matter of how you respond from game to game. But 12-0 would be irrelevant come next series.”