Thank you, Carlos Beltran!

Carlos Beltran started his career before the year 2000. He’s been around a while and today he announced his retirement.

We can all talk about his strikeout against the Cardinals in the NLCS but I want to celebrate one of the most impressive things I have ever seen in my lifetime.

Can we just appreciate Beltran’s postsesaon run in 2004 for the Astros?

In 12 games, he had 56 plate appearances. He had 20 hits, scored 21 runs, hit 8 homers and 14 RBI. He also walked 9 times. He was unstoppable. I remember watching that postseason and I remember telling myself that this was one of the greatest mid-season rentals I have ever seen. He nearly carried the Astros to the title. But it wasn’t meant to be. The Cards would win the series and move on to the Fall Classic.

I am happy Beltran finally got his ring. He wasn’t impressive at all this season but looking back at his entire career, he deserves it. He was just a great player to watch.

Thank you for entertaining me all these years. Enjoy retirement!

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Enjoy retirement, Tim Duncan. You are the greatest

I remember when Kobe Bryant started this retirement world tour and everyone started saying how Bryant might be the greatest player of all time. The debate kept going on and on and I kept wondering why people thought that.

Bryant wasn’t even the best player of his own generation. No. That honor belongs to Tim Duncan.

Duncan quietly walked away from the game today. He didn’t have this long retirement tour. Much like his demeanor, he kept it quiet and simple. That’s why people don’t give Duncan all that attention. He doesn’t seek it. But if you look at all he has done, he deserves more.  Continue reading

Memories of Jason Richardson as he retires

I remember when the Warriors drafted Jason Richardson. As a Michigan State fan, I was proud that the Warriors got this guy. I didn’t know if he would be the answer to helping the Warriors end their playoff drought, but he provided many theatrics.

Everyone remember his dunk contest wins and they should. Those were the highlight for a Warriors team that didn’t look too good. But I still believed he can be great for the team because he was so talented. He just needed some help.

I still own a Richardson jersey and he was the star on the team for many years. Even when the Warriors finally made We Believe happened, I was so stoked for him. He was a loyal man to the Bay and I was ecstatic to finally see him taste glory. This is my favorite moment.

Sadly he would be traded and injuries would derail his career. But he will always be a part of the Bay Area. He will always be a fan favorite. He helped us believe. He made me believe.

Thanks, J-Rich!

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Justin Smith: Consistently good

What was expected has now happened.

One of the things I enjoyed about Justin Smith, other than his consistency (played 221 of 224 games) and his lethal attack on the opposing quarterback, was that he didn’t seem like the kind of guy to let fame to get to his head.

He was in discussion for defensive player of the year once. He was praised as the anchor of the 49ers defense. The fame from his success and the team’s success was there. Yet he just seemed like the kind of guy who would go out to the lake and go fishing after practice instead of hanging out at bars or at parties. He was truly a cowboy in every sense of that nickname.

In the locker room, he kept to himself. He didn’t cause any scenes during media time yet he got along well with all teammates. He was all business. The perfect man for the job of being the lead anchor.

Enjoy retirement, Justin. Ride off into the sunset, cowboy.

 

Understanding why NFL players are retiring so early

Patrick Willis retires after eight seasons in the NFL.

I remember when Barry Sanders retired from the NFL. He had been in the league since 1989 and 10 years later, was still a very effective running back. I was selfish when he announced it because he was so close to becoming the all-time leading rusher. But instead, he walked away because he just didn’t have the same passion anymore. I didn’t want to hear it. I wanted him to play longer. I wanted him to have the record. I hated that he left the game like that.

It took me a long while until I started covering the 49ers as a beat writer in 2009 did I started to understand these kinds of decisions fully.

Every day, I saw what these players go through with their bodies. I see the strain it took on some of them and their families. I saw the difficulties they had to maintain as a famous person. Even though the money was great, the stress and the burdens continued to rise daily. There’s the glory of being a famous NFL player, but there is a lot of other baggage that comes along with.

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Thank you, Josh Beckett

With Josh Beckett hanging it up, I will like to reminisce about the now former pitcher. Sure, he’s had some moments that were memorable (no-hitter this year) and some not (fried chicken), but the only moment that really holds any value to me is what you see above.

During that time in 2003, I was a still young baseball fan. I had invested time in watching baseball for about five years now and my disdain for the Yankees was at an all-time high.

The 23-year-old on three days rest threw masterpiece. Manager Jack McKeon was asked about saving Beckett for Game 7. He said he didn’t want to wait for Game 7, he wanted to win the World Series now. He gave this young kid the ball on short rest. And he was magnificent.

This performance is one of the biggest moments I can trace back to my foundation of being a baseball fan. It made me remember and believe that even the underdogs can come out on top.

That team was great. Josh Beckett was magnificent. Thank you for being a huge part of my love for the game. I am lucky to have seen him pitch live in person.

The final answer: Thank you Allen Iverson!