Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Brandon Belt Makes San Francisco Giants Opening Day Roster

According to Andrew Baggarly of the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Francisco Giants have decided to add Brandon Belt onto the 2011 Opening Day roster and start him at first base against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday night.

To be honest, this is a shock to everyone and anyone who has been involved in Giants baseball through the last several years.

All signs were pointing to Belt being called up by the earliest May and most definitely by June or July, but obviously the Giants see that this young prospect can make this team that much better.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

San Francisco Giants: Starting Brandon Belt Is An Issue of Money, Not Talent

I don't care if he hits five home runs tomorrow, Brandon Belt is not starting on Opening Day for the San Francisco Giants.

It just doesn't make sense from a Giants' front office perspective.

Sure, Belt is ripping up Spring Training and has all the necessary tools to be a legitimate ballplayer right now.

He could make the Giants' line-up better from top to bottom.

Cody Ross is hurt and this is as good of a time as any for Belt to be entered into the line-up.

Yet, the Giants will not start Belt at first base on Opening Day.

2011 NL West Season Preview & Predictions

Last season, the National League West went from one of the worst divisions in baseball to arguably one of the best.

The San Diego Padres came out of nowhere last season, only to crumble down the stretch and fall to the eventual World Series Champion San Francisco Giants who finished at 92-70.

Still, the Padres finished 2010 at 90-72, and even the Rockies, who finished third in the West, were 83-79, giving the NL West three teams over .500.

2011 may be a different story for the NL West. On paper, the division is much worse than it was last season.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Nastiest Pitch in Baseball for 2011

The 2010 baseball season was the closest we have come to The Year of the Pitcher since 1968, when it was custom to win more than 20 games, and batting averages just barely slid into the .200's.

In 2010, it was crazy how many no-hitters and perfect games were thrown.

We, as fans, are blessed to be witnessing such talents on the mound these days. Not just talent, but young talent.

I'm talking guys like Tim Lincecum, Felix Hernandez, Ubaldo Jimenez, David Price, etc. The list goes on and on.

But what all these pitchers have is what makes them unique. They have that one signature pitch.

It could be the one they rely on to get strike one, or the one they rely on to get strike three.

The bottom line is every one of those signature pitches are straight filthy.

Brian Wilson's Opening Day In Doubt; Is His Beard Okay?

The likelihood of Brian Wilson appearing on Opening Day at Chavez Ravine is doubtful after he was yanked from a bullpen session today.

Reports are he felt a little discomfort and was told to stop.

Is this a setback?

Who are you asking?

According to Wilson, no, but then again this is Brian Wilson, and rarely do we see him stress publicly about anything. Especially something as lowly as a strained oblique. It just doesn't fit his lumberjack persona.

Of course the Giants don't feel that way. Jeremy Affeldt was held out of 23 games last summer for a strained oblique.

But Wilson is better than that, right? Fear the Beard?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

When The Jersey Comes Off, Nobody Cares

Barry Bonds is in trouble. With his perjury trial underway, Bonds faces a maximum of ten years in prison, as well as his public appearance and legacy tarnished. As if it wasn't already.

For three years we have waited for this. The date was March 2011, and everyone in San Francisco and anyone who had grown up with Bonds in their life would remember that date. The day is finally here.

Evidence is stacked up against Bonds. The prosecution has witnesses, trainers, mistresses, everything you can hope to put, as bashed a public figure as there is, away for some time.

Monday, March 21, 2011

San Francisco Giants: Brian Wilson To Miss Opening Day

With Opening Day right around the corner, the San Francisco Giants got the news on Sunday that bearded closer Brian Wilson has a mild oblique strain that could keep him out for Opening Day and then some.

Although Brian Wilson vows to be ready for Opening Day, the reality is an oblique strain is nothing to take lightly, and don't think the Giants don't realize this.

Giants reliever Jeremy Affeldt went throught the exact same thing last summer when he strained is left oblique. Affeldt would be held out of 23 games.

Friday, March 18, 2011

San Francisco Giants: The Competition In Left Field

It's not a bad problem to have, but Bruce Bochy has admitted it, the San Francisco Giants have a competition for the starting spot in left field.

This is something the Giants haven't experienced in some time, what with Barry Bonds being the left fielder in the past.

But the Giants should be happy with this. Bonds is gone, and they have three viable contenders to start in left field with each bringing their own unique pros and cons to the line-up.

For the sake of the argument, I am going to eliminate the Brandon Belt possiblity from the equation.

No matter how hard he tears up Spring Training the rest of the way, all signs point to the Giants starting Belt in AAA-Fresno and not San Francisco, just like they did with Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner, Pablo Sandoval and the rest of the gang.

The system has proven to work. So why change it?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

San Jose Sharks: 3 Questions That Need To Be Answered Before The Playoffs

With only 11 games left in the 2010-11 NHL season, the San Jose Sharks sit in third place in the Western Conference behind the Detroit Red Wings and Vancouver Canucks.

Despite that, the Sharks still do not sit in such a comfortable position. In fact, no team in that conference does, except maybe Vancouver. The Sharks are just eight points away from the 9th spot in the conference and not making the playoffs.

With three weeks to go, the Sharks sit pretty, but not too pretty.

Still, there are questions surrounding this team.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

San Jose Sharks Roll In Big D; Keep Dallas Stars At Bay

Just when you thought the San Jose Sharks were going to take a turn for the worst, they beat down their division rival 6-3 Tuesday night.

It seemed like the perfect time to strike for the Stars. The Sharks had lost three in a row, two of those coming in a shoot-out, including a thrashing by the Chicago blackhawks on Monday night.

Just like that, the Sharks led the Pacific Division by just one point over the Los Angeles Kings.

It seemed like the perfect opportunity for the Stars, right?

Evidently not.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

San Jose Sharks: Top 5 Biggest Goals In the 2010-11 NHL Season (With Video)

The San Jose Sharks are one of the hottest teams in the NHL right now. They currently sit in third place in the ultra-competitive Western Conference and just three points out of the second spot.

But it has taken a lot to get this team going. After a slow start to the season, it has been the big plays and game-winners that has driven this team to the elite of the Western Conference.

It has been the Devin Setoguchi goal February 19th when he split the Avalanche defense, faked the fore-hand and went backhand top-shelf.

It was the Torrey Micthell goal just a few nights ago against Vancouver.

And it was the multiple highlight reel goals by rookie Logan Couture.

But it was the game-winners and game-changers that has this team where they are now.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

San Francisco Giants: 5 Question Marks Heading Into The 2011 Baseball Season

With Spring Training now in full swing, the San Francisco Giants have unofficially began their journey to repeat as World Series Champions.

After their improbable run to become baseball's 2010 World Champions, it is hard to say whether this team has yet to come down from that high.

A pretty mediocre and quiet offseason from the Giants' front office has this team against the odds once again.

Until you look at their pitching staff, when you quickly remember why this team won it all last season.

Still, there are question marks aplenty for this team.

Can they repeat? Will Brian Wilson's beard rule the world? Who is 'The Machine?'

Here are my 5 biggest question marks for the San Francisco Giants heading into the 2011 MLB season:

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

With No Dan Boyle, San Jose Sharks Shaking Things Up On The Power-Play

The San Jose Sharks have the third best power-play percentage in the NHL with a 22.1% success rate behind the dominant Vancouver Canucks and surging Chicago Blackhawks. But this recent drought in goals on the power-play by the Sharks has coach Todd McClellan making changes.

The Sharks have scored just one goal in their last 12 power-play chances, something a top-line of Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Dany Heatley should never do. But it isn't what the top-line isn't doing, but who is lacking on the power-play that has the Sharks reeling.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

San Jose Sharks: Give Antti Niemi A Rest

San Jose Sharks' goalie Antti Niemi made his 21st straight start in net on Saturday, a loss to the Dallas Stars, which snapped the Sharks' 8-game win streak. Niemi was 17-4 during that span of 21 games.

Is it time to get Niemi some rest then?

Not that he needs it. Niemi has been the main reason for the Sharks' surge to the top of the Pacific division and 3rd place in the Western Conference. But isn't it time? It's almost unheard of for a goalie to go 20+ straight starts in the NHL these days.

But why stop someone while he's hot, right? Niemi is 17-4 in his last 21 games, hasn't complained a bit, and still looks agile and alert as if he just had a night off.

The possibility of wearing him out before the playoffs still lingers, and that would be the only reason to give him a night off.

The Sharks have been starting Niemi in so many consecutive starts not because they want to, although if you ask them now they'd agree, but because they have to.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Giants Frustrated, But Zito's Spot Secure

Bruce Jenkins's column in the San Francisco Chronicle this past week has sent waves throughout the San Francisco Giants community. Jenkins' report? Barry Zito may be released. So now an offseason where the team had no distractions and could focus on repeating, now has turned into a game of 'What If?'

The report, bogus in itself, was that the Giants were frustrated with Zito because they only made the playoffs by one game, and it wouldn't have been that close if Zito had given them a just a few better outtings. Huh?

Jenkins is credible and very respected in the industry, but this isn't supposed to be serious, right?

That's baseball, Bruce.

I don't doubt that the Giants are frustrated with Zito. $126 million and barely any production. Plus, he was left off the playoff roster. Yeah, they should be disappointed. He's not quite the investment they were hoping for.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

4 Reasons The 49ers Need To Re-Sign Alex Smith

Yes, I said it. It would be beneficial for the 49ers to re-sign Alex Smith and make him their starting quarterback for the 2011-12 NFL season. I'll go one step further. Smith gives the 49ers the best chance of winning in 2011-12.

Sure, Smith is getting chance number 2, 3, or 4, I've lost count now, but the 49ers need Smith this season more than ever.

Currently, the 49ers have one quarterback signed, and that is David Carr. Based on that logic, the 49ers don't actually plan on starting Carr, right? I sure hope not, and my common sense would tell me no team in the NFL would want to.

So what's the 49ers' plan then? They must sign someone, and the only logical option is Smith.

That last sentence may have sent some 49er fans' heads spinning at the thought of yet another season where #11 is taking the snaps, but hear my out.

Smith is the only option for the 49ers, and I have four reasons to prove it.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Niemi Inks Four More Years In San Jose

"Too legit to quit." That would be the Sharks' answer to why they signed 'hot to the touch' goalie Antti Niemi to a 4-year extension yesterday. He will be property of the Sharks until 2014-15 season.

Maybe a spur of the moment deal, seeing as Niemi went 10-2 in February and has vaulted the Sharks into the 3rd spot in the Western Conference, but is there really anyone disagreeing with this signing? It doesn't hurt, right?

Reports are that Niemi will be getting paid about $3.8 million over the next 4 years (he is getting paid $2 million for this season).

It's an upgrade for Niemi, and, sure, he deserves it. It was shocking to me that a