The Catch II: Remembering it 20 years later

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Can you believe it? Exactly 20 years ago today, The Catch II happened. This remains as one of the greatest playoff moments in San Francisco 49ers history. To me, it is one of the most impossible and unexpected moments in team history.

And for good reason. This 49ers team had been dominating since the 1980s and well into the 90s. But the team’s nemesis since their 1994 Super Bowl win was the Green Bay Packers. They had Brett Favre at the helm winning MVP awards. The Niners just couldn’t beat them. And with a late touchdown to Antonio Freeman, this game seemed to be another loss to the Packers.

I also remember Terrell Owens, the hero of this game. He struggled throughout the game, dropping passes. That stood out to me. But also in the back of my mind I knew that the team was nearing the end of their amazing run. Steve Young and Jerry Rice were getting up there in age. They were still good, but I just had a hard time seeing this team sustain dominance for much longer. And with the Packers being the better team (having gone to consecutive Super Bowls, winning one of them) it just felt that this might have been the last hurrah.

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Oakland A’s early postseason exit isn’t the final chapter

This season wasn’t supposed to be like this for the Oakland Athletics. They were expected to maybe finish in third place at best in the division. The team was supposed to be contending for the postseason in 2019. Maybe 2020. No, they were not supposed to be here.

But they arrived sooner than expected. They got 97 wins and got into the postseason as a wild-card team. That’s how stacked this American League was. Three teams had at least 100 wins and the A’s at 97 wins had to settle for the second wild-card spot.

And that’s what made this season so special. Sure, it sucks that they lost their wild-card game and their postseason dreams were dashed just like that. But what can you do when the rotation was made up of spare parts and a bunch of inexperienced players lead the team to the postseason?

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Mark Canha’s “bat flip” is a dumb debate

On Saturday, Oakland A’s pinch-hitter Mark Canha hit a go-ahead two-run homer vs the Giants. After the swing, he “flipped” his bat, stared at his own dugout before trotting the bases.

People are upset about the flip.

Of course, these “unwritten rules” debates have existed for some time. Some people are upset that Canha shouldn’t show up a pitcher and he should expect to get a pitch thrown at his body the next time up.

Other feel that it’s OK to have emotion during the game and the best way to avoid a bat flip is to not give up a home run. After all, pitchers can show emotions after a strikeout but a batter can’t do it after a big hit?

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Terrell Owens vs the Hall of Fame: The battle of pettiness

Now I agree with many people that Terrell Owens should attend his own Hall of Fame induction ceremony. It is a great honor to be recognized and it would great to hear him speak about his great career.

But of course, this opportunity should have happened two years ago. Owens is one of the greatest wide receivers in NFL history and should have been a first-ballot induction. But he wasn’t. It was due to his reputation off the field that soured the voters which led to the wait.

Owens understandably was not happy about being snubbed because of this. Even though his attitude during his playing days was not great, his skills and stats as a player are worthy of entry in first year.

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The mixed feelings of LeBron James going to the Lakers

I remember the feeling I had when I watched “The Decision” in 2010. It was on my birthday and I sat at my dinner table with my parents. They didn’t really care but I was watching in disgust as the whole televised event played out.

The disgust wasn’t really about the actual decision to join the Heat, but rather it was on LeBron James’ whole attention-seeking act. I still didn’t like the move to Miami, but I understood it.

This time around, there is another disgust about LeBron James leaving Cleveland again. But it wasn’t because of this televised announcement. He didn’t have one. And I don’t fault him for leaving after finally delivering a championship to Cleveland.

No. It’s because he’s joining the Lakers.

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Somehow the A’s are keeping it interesting

Seven games out!

The A’s entered this season with a faint hope of maybe securing that last wild card spot. But after an impressive sweep of Detroit (with some fun comebacks sprinkled in there as well) the A’s are only seven games out of the final wild card spot.

Of course this is still only the halfway point and there are plenty of things that can happen.

But this team is surprising many people. With so many starting pitchers injured and some key players also coming on and off the DL, it’s hard to predict. But we had some bats heat up lately. Jed Lowrie has been tremendous during this stretch and the A’s never say die attitude is giving this team a spark.

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