The World According to Keitho

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Posts Tagged ‘San Francisco 49ers’

A lull in the sports world

Posted by keithosaunders on December 18, 2015

This is a terrible sports time of year but it’s not the worst — that dishonor belongs to February with its glut of meaningless NBA, NHL, & NCAA basketball games. Still, this is pretty bad.  The NFL playoffs are a month away and the bowl season, if you care about that sort of thing, won’t kick in for another two weeks.

Here in the Bay Area we had the Warriors winning streak to follow which was exciting.  How strange it was to care about basketball in November. Now that they’ve finally lost, their next meaningful game will be in April.

The worst thing about November through January is being bombarded with baseball player signing news.  This is the time of year where I learn that Jason Heyward, a pretty good, but not great player, will earn more in one at bat then I will in a year.  It’s out of control.  I get it – it’s nothing new –  supply and demand, free market, yadda yadda.  It’s just that I would rather not hear and read about salaries at all.  It takes me until June or July, when the pennant races begin heating up, to get the taste out of my mouth.

Not only is the baseball news a capitalist sack of you know what, the local football teams stink this year.  While the Raiders are much improved and are still mathematically alive, the 49ers are a stinking mess.

What else do I have to complain about?  Oh yeah, I haven’t done my Christmas shopping.

 

Posted in baseball, basketball, football, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Oh it’s on!

Posted by keithosaunders on January 22, 2012

Here is a last-minute NFC championship game post.  The New York Giant Bay Area outpost is open for business in Albany, California, consisting entirely of my family.  I don’t dare venture out into the streets until after the Giants have destroyed the 49ers, reaping revenge for the last time these two teams met in the post season in 2002; a wild-card game in which the Giants blew a 24 point lead only to lose 39-38.

Have I mentioned that these west coasters are out of their minds?!  They were already printing their Super Bowl tickets even before they beat the Saints.  Then last Saturday’s mass jubilation after their improbably victory — carrying on like it was the final scene from Hoosiers.  (my world war two metaphor was better, I know.  Sue me!)

The sports radio guys, as usual, were out of control, going on about east coast bias, and the ghosts of Candlestick Park.  

First of all…east coast bias?!  The last time I looked it’s the same no-neck guys who play on both coasts.  Also, as my friend and co-blogging blogger, Jeff Mazzei pointed out, the western teams, with the exception of this year’s 49ers squad, basically suck.

And…the ghosts of Candlestick?!  What ghosts?  John Brodie?!  All those guys from the ’80s are still alive!   Is it possible that Joe Montana has a ghost that we don’t know about?  That guy truly is amazing.

Go Giants!

 

Is it the real Joe Montana, or his ghost?

 

Posted in football | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Of the Saints, 49ers, and Joe Carter.

Posted by keithosaunders on January 16, 2012

It’s been a great playoff season.  Who could have predicted that when the smoke cleared there would be two coaches named Harbaugh in the Championship game, as well as a Giants team who on December 4th had lost four in a row, and at 6-6 looked like an afterthought.  The Patriots success could have been predicted, but on the other hand, they have one of the more porous defenses in NFL history to have advanced this deep into the playoffs.

On Saturday I settled into my living room to watch the 49ers/Saints game.  Living in the Bay Area and being a sports talk-radio devotee, I had spent the previous week being hyped into a frenzy, and by midday Saturday I was frothing at the mouth awaiting the game.

The radio hosts and the callers had confounded me with their near unanimous confidence in the 49ers ability to take down the scoring machine that is the Saints offense.  To me it seemed like homer-ism run amok.  Their team has a mediocre quarterback and had played a soft schedule.

In New York, even when the Giants have great teams, this kind of blanket cockiness never exists.  There is always a healthy dose of skepticism and people more or less expect the worst to happen.

I have a theory about this.  New York has largest Jewish population of any metropolitan area in the world.  Nobody knows suffering like the Jews do, and the feeling of facing insurmountable hardships seeps into the collective psyche of the city.  Every gentile in New York knows a little Yiddish.

The Hebraically challenged Bay Area does not know from such suffering, ergo they are blithely spared such bouts of negative thinking.  They can’t imagine anything bad happening.

Contrarian that I am, I was quietly savoring watching the ‘Friscans being served a generous helping of humble pie.  The game began and you could see immediately that the 49ers defense was all that it was advertised.  Still the Saints defense held their own, shutting down the Niners offense for most of the second and third quarter.

By the fourth quarter two things were painfully apparent:  First, it was going to be a great ending, and second, because of my Saturday night gig, I would have to leave sometime during the fourth quarter.

I left with the 49ers ahead with six minutes to go in the fourth quarter.  By the time I had reached the Bay Bridge the Saints had taken their first lead of the game.  Midway across the bridge the 49ers grabbed the lead back with a brilliant Harbaugh call of an Alex Smith bootleg.

By now I was beginning to do the slow burn, grinding my teeth and muttering the name, Joe Carter under my breath.  (In 1993 I missed the one of the greatest World Series ending of all time — a Joe Carter walk-off home run)

I was over the bridge and driving south on Folsom when the Saints retook the lead on a 66 yard Drew Brees pass to tight end, Jimmy Graham.

“Shit!”

By now I was desperately searching for a bar where I could pull over and watch the final minute and a half of the game.  The sports gods rewarded me with a bar and a parking spot, and I ran in to see the winning 49er drive.  At least I can say I saw the end of what will surely be remembered as one of the greatest playoff games of all time.

I was unprepared for what would happen next.  It was more of a delayed reaction, really, as if the city was on seven second delay.  It was as if the city took a collective deep breath and held it for five minutes.

Then bedlam.  People began streaming out of bars shouting with delight, cars were honking and drunk girls were screaming like banshees.  This went on for two hours.  It was like V-J day.  I realize it was a game for the ages, but come on,  San Francisco, act like you’ve been there before.  It’s not even the championship game!

The thing is, they have been there — THEY’VE WON FIVE SUPER BOWLS!

Now the 49ers will face my team, the Giants.  I have no doubt that every Bay Area resident is rubbing his or her palms together in glee, thinking, “Oh baby, it’s in the bag!”  But unless I miss my guess, I think they’re in for a rude awakening come Sunday.  Talmud, after all, is a dish best served cold.

 

 

Posted in football | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

It’s a dog’s world

Posted by keithosaunders on November 12, 2011

Who would have thought when the season began, that Giants/49ers would end up being a marquee matchup.  That’s the great thing about football — you’ve got the week-long buildup to the event, and the deeper into the season you get, the bigger and better the hype.

I’m a sucker for sports hype, and I love listening to the radio guys talk about Sunday’s game.  The San Francisco sports talk radio hosts are  a surprisingly good listen.  They’re not nearly as vitriolic as the New York hosts, and they have a light-hearted way of infusing humor into the broadcast.  In New York, between the caustic hosts and the hysterical callers, you feel like you’re listening to Wagnerian opera.  Don’t get me wrong, I listened to those New York guys religiously, but sometimes the banter would become too heavy-handed and drone-like. 

On the other hand, it’s funny what upsets the west coast guys.  Early in the week, by way of stirring the pot up for this Sunday’s game, one of the hosts was recalling the end of the 1989 football season.  The Giants needed the 49ers to win in order for them to make the playoffs.  The 49ers, who had already clinched, rested most of their star players and ended up losing, thus ending the Giants season.  Phil Simms, the Giants quarterback, told the press that “the 49ers laid down like dogs!”

Really?  That’s all you got, Frisco media?   

Posted in football | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

For the 11th time: Cardinals

Posted by keithosaunders on October 29, 2011

David Freese is the new Jeter.  I hate him!  (kidding — he seems like a good guy)  What a dream post season he had — how is he ever going to top it, or even equal it?  I guess that’s a good problem to have.

I feel bad for the Rangers, and especially for their fans.  What that must have feel like to have victory snatched from them in that way.  I hope the Rangers have a chance to get back to the Series, but I have a feeling this is going to take a lot out of them, and let’s face it– like Verdun said, their pitching is not that good.  Feliz and Ogando alone cost them the Series, but you also have to look at C.J. Wilson.  Terrible job out of him!  He’ll be gone anyway — good riddance.  I hope he goes to the Yankees. 

Chris Carpenter is indeed a great pitcher — tremendous job out of him on short rest.  He seems like a miserable person, though, as does LaRussa.  That’s why I really wanted the Rangers to win.  The Cards have won enough — 11 Series and 18 pennants.  Still, I must give it up to St Louis.  What a pennant race and playoff run they had.

The Cardinals remind me a little of the 2002 Angels, another offensive-minded club  They’re a team full of gamers that played gutty and hard-nosed ball.  The main difference between the two being the Cards won despite their manager, whereas the Angels had a great manager in Mike Scioscia.  

The thing that makes me mad is that LaRussa’s over-managing style has been vindicated and that we will see much more of the same from all too many clubs in ’12.  It’s fun to watch these games in the postseason, but they are death when it comes to a mid-June A’s-Royals matchup.

So now we must say goodbye to that greatest of sports and turn our attention to football.  Here in the Bay Area the fans and media are crazed with the early season success of the 49ers, who at this writing are 6-1.  One of the radio hosts has them finishing at 13-3!  I don’t know about that, but I do know that I am ready for some football! 

Cmon, trainer, get in the mosh pit!

Posted in baseball | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

The shtetl of college football

Posted by keithosaunders on September 7, 2011

With four weeks to go in the 2011 baseball season we face a September devoid of pennant races.  A coupe of weeks ago it was looking like I would be lucky enough to be residing in one of the few markets — San Francisco — involved in meaningful September baseball.  How wrong I was. 

The end of August saw the Giants three games behind the plucky Diamondbacks.  They were entering an easy part of the schedule, however which featured seven games against baseball’s worst team, the Houston Astros.  The Giants, however, spit the bit, losing four of the seven, while the Dbacks overcame a mini losing streak to rattle off nine straight. 

The Giants could not overcome the myriad of injuries they have suffered all season long.  Furthermore, the magic that journeymen players, Cody Ross, Aubrey Huff, and Pay Burrell delivered last year, did not carry over into the current season.  Their pitching had been brilliant, but now is showing the wear and tear of the stress that comes with having no margin for error.  Even their ace, Tim Lincecum, has looked mortal lately, blowing up during the last two games he has pitched.  

Currently the black and orange are riding a two game winning streak and are sitting six games out.  It’s not hard to imagine them putting together a streak of wins –they will be remain in the west all month — but in order for them to catch up, the Diamondbacks would have to play .350 ball the rest of the year, which seems unlikely given the fact that they will be playing the same mediocre teams as the Giants.

The NFL begins this week, and not a moment too soon.  Let’s hear it for labor settlements!  The trouble is, I’m stuck with the Raiders and 49ers, two teams that can ruin any given Sunday.  

This situation has, improbably, driven me to…college football.  Oy!

At least we have he 6th ranked Stanford Cardinals and their Heisman candidate, quarterback Andrew Luck.  Stanford started off in true early season NCAA form — with a 54 point slaughter of patsy , San Jose St.  This Saturday they will travel to Durham, North Carolina to play Duke, which should be a more competitive game — they’re only three touchdown favorites. 

But wait, there’s more.  I live in a little town in the East Bay called Albany, which is just a few blocks north of Berkeley, and that, as you know, is the home of a certain Cal Bears.  University of Berkeley, baby!  And they’re 1-0, coming off an impressive, if not sloppy victory over Fresno State.  

Having lived in the east for so long, where college football was an afterthought, it feels odd to live just a couple of miles from a bigtime college school.  I’m actually considering going to a game.  Cal doesn’t do that well attendance-wise, so scoring a ticket shouldn’t be difficult. 

In the meantime, tomorrow is Wednesday and the A’s are home.  This combination can only mean one thing:  $2.00 ballgame!  I am so there.  A’s – Royals give it!   

Posted in baseball, football | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Sunday in the NFL featuring the Giants, Eagles, and 49ers.

Posted by keithosaunders on December 21, 2010

I actually have ties to all three of these teams.  I was born in Wilkes Barre, PA, about 100 miles north of Philadelphia, and had I grown up there I almost certainly would have been an Eagles fan.  I lived in New York City for 26 years and, like my father before me, I am an ardent Giants fan.  As of last August I became a resident of the Bay Area, and although I live in Berkeley, CA, which puts me in the middle of Raider country, the 49ers are considered a local team and we are subjected to, I mean, uh, presented with all of their games on television. 

The Giants suffered one of their all-time worst regular season losses, blowing a 21 point 4th quarter lead at home against the Eagles.  It was a game that featured over 100 yards rushing from quarterback Michael Vick, a successful Eagles onside kick, and a 65 yard game-winning punt return from Desean Jackson. 

The Giant punter, Matt Dodge, made a huge mistake by punting the ball directly to Jackson, who initially bobbled it, picked it up, and slashed his way through the Giants punt coverage like a rocket as the game clock expired.  I submit to you, however, that the real culprit is Giants coach Tom Coughlin.  On the Giant’s previous possession Eli Manning had thrown an incomplete pass on third down stopping the clock and setting up the punt.  The Eagles had no timeouts remaining and no way of stopping the clock.  The Giants should have run it on 3rd and even if they didn’t make the first down they could still have let the game clock wind down another 45 seconds before running a 4th down play.  That would have at least assured an overtime.  

This brings us to the 49ers, who in a bizarre twist of events are alive for a playoff spot while sporting a 5-9 record.  If the 49ers win their final two games and Seattle loses one of their final two games they will go into the playoffs as the leagues first sub .500 team.  Right now they are ranked 28th out of 32 teams in the Sagarin ratings yet they would go into the playoffs as the 4th seeded team.  Heck, they would even host a game on wild card weekend.

You’re probably thinking that this next paragraph is going to be about the injustice of the current playoff system and how there has to be changes made during the offseason.  No!  The NFL has gone 90 years without a team with a losing record being in the playoffs.  The chances of this happening on a regular basis are so remote as to be laughable.

I say we embrace the anomaly.  It’s quirky and will make for some intrigue.  So what if a Green Bay, Tampa Bay, or yes, even the Giants are shut out of the playoffs.  They all had their chances.  The Giants, of all teams, have no right to cry.  JUST PROTECT A 3 TOUCHDOWN LEAD!

Desean Jackson

Frank Gore

Posted in football | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

The big game: Raiders vs Chiefs

Posted by keithosaunders on November 7, 2010

Here we are in bizarro world in which the Raiders are meeting the Chiefs with first place at stake in the AFC West.  Believe me, I’m not complaining.  When I moved out here to the Bay Area from New York I didn’t expect to see one meaningful local football game, but here we are midway through the season and the Raiders have clawed their way to respectability. 

The big question is will they sell out?  I mean, finally a Raider game that we actually want to see and there remains the chance it will be blacked out.  The only consolation is that the game they would feed us instead is a very good matchup — Colts vs Eagles. 

In the early games we’re screwed.  At last we don’t have to worry about the 49ers stinking up the 10AM slot since they have a bye, but the other FOX games are putrid matchups.  And my Giants have a late game vs the Seahawks so there’s no way I’ll see them since NFL rules prohibit them from going up against the home town team, which in this case is the Raiders.

Ah, the pitfalls of Bay area football watching.    

Standings implications

Posted in football | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »