What it was like covering Alex Smith on the 49ers beat

A photo with me and Alex Smith at a local premiere of “The Taking of Pelham 123” in the Bay Area.

I first started the San Francisco 49ers in 2007. At the time I was just a blogger and gaining access to anything the 49ers did was definitely not on my radar. However, it was exciting for me to cover the team I grew up watching and hoping that the Niners could get back to respectability.

I had a lot of hope in Alex Smith. He as entering his third season with the team and he had a lot of pressure on his shoulders as the top overall pick in 2005. This is where I started focusing a lot of my writing on him and the team. It was some ups and downs in those two years until I finally got credentialed.

Gaining credential access to the 49ers was a big deal for me. The Niners at the time never gave access to online media journalists — the concept was too new and bloggers like myself were an unpredictable unknown. I was just grateful that I worked hard enough and published enough quality content that the team decided that I was worth considering. I was only able to cover a few practices here and there but that was enough for me. That was when I got to interview and meet Alex Smith.

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The coronavirus scare and what’s next in sports

It’s crazy to think that this is a reality. It’s hard to even grasp that this coronavirus pandemic has led to this.

But then again, I haven’t been able to recall a time where something like this has happened here in America. Has a pandemic led to professional sports leagues to suspend or even cancel games?

The initial thought was that it would just be a case where games would be played without fans. But with now players contracting the virus, it is very apparent that there is no reason to play any games until we know what to do next.

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Injuries: A Bay Area playoff story

The Golden State Warriors and San Jose Sharks endured through injuries to key players throughout their playoff runs this year. One team overcame them while another just couldn’t win because of it.

It was a tough time for me as a fan of both teams as I have this unrealistic optimism that my teams can overcome anything.

For the Warriors, it’s a little bit easier to believe in the team’s ability despite injuries. With Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins injured, the Warriors didn’t miss a beat and advanced to their fifth straight NBA Finals appearance. Heck, Andre Iguodala missed the last game with an injury too. Cousins was out for most of the playoffs and Durant was out for essential five and a half games. Yet the Warriors didn’t miss a beat. They fell behind in some of the games but at no point did I believe they would lose.

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That Sharks comeback gave me the good feels again


Last night was amazing! I ran through a roller coaster of emotions with the San Jose Sharks and Golden Knights in their epic Game 7 showdown.

If you haven’t seen it yet, watch the highlight video.

Oh man, what a crazy game! The comeback by the Sharks was impossible and it couldn’t have happened had it not been for that major penalty. It was insane to think that in a 10-minute span I was preparing myself to shave and then at the end of it, the Sharks had the lead and I was losing my mind. How could this have happened?

The amazing comeback of four goals in five minutes started with that. Should it have been a five-minute major penalty? Probably not. After all, the officials didn’t signal a penalty until they saw how badly Joe Pavelski was hurt. So I will give the bitter Knights that. Maybe it shouldn’t have five minutes. But that’s not the reason why the Sharks won. It was because the Knights gave up four goals in that ensuring power play. That penalty kill was atrocious. A good team doesn’t give up four goals in a four-minute span of that penalty. Also, a good team doesn’t blow a 3-0 lead halfway through the third period (and a 3-1 lead in the series).

But this isn’t about the Golden Knights and their inability to hold a lead. This is about the most insane sequence I’ve ever seen in hockey.

You can feel the crazy excitement build in the arena. After the first goal, there was still hope. And because the power play would still continue after the first goal, the realization that it could happen again was possible. And just like that, another one. Then another one. Then another one! And just like that, the lead.

During this game I started to think about the crazy AFC Wild Card game from January 1993 between the Oilers and Bills. The Oilers took a big lead and the Bill shad a furious comeback to take the lead only for the opposition to tie it to force overtime. I kept thinking about the parallels to this game and I was confident (yet still nervous) that the comeback would be complete. It would, but not without me screaming and probably scaring my neighbors in the process.
This isn’t the first time the Sharks have given me so much joy in the playoffs. But every time it has ended in sadness. The Sharks have yet to win the Stanley Cup and I am still hoping that maybe this is the year. And with a game like this, how could I not believe again? How can what seemed impossible be possible now?

I don’t know. But this is the life of living in Sharks Territory. We just can’t get enough.

Wrong reason to be upset over Mariano Rivera’s unanimous selection

Mariano Rivera received 100 percent of the votes for his election to the Baseball Hall of Fame. It was a tremendous achievement as he was the first ever inductee to receive all votes.

And he deserves it.

There has been some outrage from fans complaining about how it’s not fait that Rivera was the first one to receive the honor. They mention inductees like Ken Griffey, Jr., Nolan Ryan and even Babe Ruth who never got to 100 percent.

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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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