It was a busy weekend in the Bay Area, with the Giants and A’s playing at home, the 49ers and Raiders opening up their seasons, Stanford and San Jose State squaring off, the Cal Bears getting their first win, and the America’s Cup sailing in the beautiful San Francisco Bay. What better can you ask for?
Here is the Bay Area sports week in review:
What started off as just another game for a Giants team sitting in last place and 21.5 games back of first in the NL West became a must-see event that ended in heartbreak.
But that doesn’t mean it won’t earn the top highlight of the week, because Yusmeiro Petit pitched the game of his life, coming oh-so-close to achieving perfection. A 2-2 pitch that just missed the strike zone. A 3-2 get-it-in fastball that was lined to right, falling just inches away from the outstretched glove of a diving Hunter Pence. Inches away, twice. So close, yet so far.
Nevertheless, for the first time in months, it gave Giants fans a legitimate reason to feel that their team was important, and that all eyes around the country were on AT&T Park, nervously watching Petit’s every motion. For a couple innings, the drama, intensity and atmosphere felt like the 2012 postseason all over again, when the Giants were in much happier times.
And Petit, the career journeyman who was playing in the Mexican League two years ago, may have found a permanent home and a spot in a major league starting rotation.
After being abused by Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers’ run game during the playoffs last year, the Packers spent their offseason studying up on ways to stop the read-option. They even tried trash-talking the 49ers, boasting to the media about how they planned to give a good licking to Kaepernick if he tried to run.
As it turns out, they probably should have focused on the passing game. The 49ers barely ran the ball at all on Sunday, with Kaepernick throwing for 412 yards and Anquan Boldin making a big splash in his debut with 208 yards receiving. So all that offseason planning by Mike McCarthy and the Packers was for naught.
Actions speak louder than words, and the 49ers found yet another way to humiliate Green Bay.
Well actually, even if words mattered, the 49ers still got the last laugh, with Kaepernick dishing out this awesome quote to the Packers:
If intimidation is your game plan, I hope you have a better one.
Terrelle Pryor may be telling everyone that he played “awful” on Sunday, but rest assured that no one else thinks that way. Making only his second career start, the youngster completed 19 of 29 passes for 227 yards and made the Raiders’ offense look way more interesting than at any point last season. He also added 112 yards on the ground.
Yes, the Raiders lost to the Colts, but this season, it isn’t necessarily about winning or losing for the Silver and Black. It’s about creating a new identity, developing a raw quarterback, and slowly but surely beginning a true rebuild.
In fact, some might even say that the Raiders should have had the win against the Colts. Oakland led 17-14 in the fourth quarter, but Andrew Luck was able to spring free for a 19-yard touchdown and Pryor made a few costly errors on the final drive.
So what to take out of this game? The fact that the Raiders hung tough and nearly pulled off the upset against a playoff-caliber team speaks volumes, especially considering that many experts across the country dubbed them as having the worst roster in the NFL.
We end the highlights with perhaps one of the highlight-reel plays of the year.
A’s third baseman Josh Donaldson made an incredible, fearless catch last Tuesday.
In the sixth inning of what would be a 5-1 loss to the Rangers, David Murphy lofted a foul ball to the left of third base. As Donaldson ran after it, the ball drifted closer and closer to the tarp that is rolled up right next to the front row seats in foul territory.
Then, in a fearless move, Donaldson dove headfirst into the tarp, stuck his glove up and miraculously caught the ball and hung on to it. Umpire Phil Cuzzi was right there to make the call as Donaldson held his glove up with the ball inside it.
Here is video of the play:
For someone who has been in the spotlight all offseason, Colin Kaepernick sure doesn’t reveal much during his chats with the media. During Wednesday’s meeting with reporters, Kaepernick spoke just 164 words. Compare that to the 434 words in the questions asked to him, and you can tell that there were a lot of short, terse answers (h/t Eric Branch, San Francisco Chronicle).
But when the questions are along the lines of, “Is U.S. soccer player Sydney Leroux your girlfriend?”, good luck trying to get him to talk.
What would you do for $24,000? Lick the sidewalk? Walk naked down Times Square? Go swimming with sharks?
How about giving up your jersey number? That’s what 49ers’ running back Anthony Dixon was offered for No. 24 by Nnamdi Asomugha, who signed with the team as a free agent and has been wearing No. 24 his entire career.
But so has Dixon, apparently, and he would like to keep it. Dixon’s salary is $630,000 this season.
Meanwhile, the rest of us will keep licking sidewalks to earn $5 from a friend.
Terrelle Pryor may have had a pretty good game, but there were some obvious hiccups.
As time goes by, Pryor will need to learn the ins-and-outs of the game. Well-coordinated chest bumps and proper falling-onto-the-sideline etiquette are two crucial facets of being an NFL quarterback, so Pryor will really have to work on perfecting these skills.