<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Bay Area Sports News, Sports Teams, and Scores for the Sharks, 49ers, Raiders,Giants, Bears and More]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.png NBC Bay Area http://www.nbcbayarea.com en-us Thu, 08 Oct 2015 20:08:43 -0700 Thu, 08 Oct 2015 20:08:43 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Lawsuit Filed Against DraftKings, FanDuel]]> Thu, 08 Oct 2015 15:42:10 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/FanDuel.jpg

Fantasy sports betting sites DraftKings and FanDuel have been hit with a federal class action lawsuit.

The suit, which lists the plaintiff as Adam Johnson, alleges DraftKings and FanDuel fraudulently misrepresent contestants’ chances of making money and the fairness of the games, don’t disclose the possibility of employees using inside information to improve their odds of winning jackpots and violate Massachusetts, New York and Kentucky consumer protection laws.

The suit seeks to order the daily fantasy sports sites to reimburse players for “all monies wrongfully obtained” and cease any deceptive advertising.

DraftKings and FanDuel told customers its employees weren't allowed to play on their sites; however, they "omitted the material fact that they were allowed to play on other sites and that other sites' employees were allowed to play on their site," according to the suit, which was filed in New York Thursday.

Wednesday, FanDuel announced it was banning all of its employees from participating on other daily fantasy sports operators' sites for money and the launch of an internal investigation following reports that a DraftKings employee may have had access to valuable data that gave the employee an unfair advantage before winning a $350,000 contest on FanDuel.

Necn’s parent company, Comcast, and sister company NBC Sports Group are among investors in FanDuel. 

Photo Credit: File--AP]]>
<![CDATA[Vin Scully to Miss 2015 Postseason]]> Thu, 08 Oct 2015 18:42:05 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/208*120/Vin+Scully+Out+for+Postseason.png

Just 24 hours away from Game 1 of their National League Division Series against the New York Mets, the Los Angeles Dodgers announced that a key member of their team would miss the entire postseason.

Don't worry, fans, it's not Clayton Kershaw or Zack Greinke. Instead, Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully will miss the postseason after undergoing a medical procedure on Thursday morning.

Scully missed the team's four-game series in San Francisco last week and the team's final three games at Dodger Stadium over the weekend due to an undisclosed illness. We're still not sure what the illness was or the severity of it, but apparently it did require minor surgery.

The team announced that Scully is resting comfortably at this time, and has been advised by his doctors to miss the entire 2015 postseason.

"Everyone in the Dodgers organization wishes Vin the speediest of recoveries," the team said.

Scully will return for his 67th season in 2016, and is looking forward to returning next year said the team.

In Scully's absence, Charley Steiner and Rick Monday will call the games throughout the postseason until the Dodgers are either eliminated, or win their first World Series title in 27 years.

We wish Vin a speedy recovery.

Photo Credit: File - Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA['Let's Goat Cubs': Pittsburgh Building Owners Respond to Cubs Prank]]> Thu, 08 Oct 2015 08:56:04 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/258*120/cubs+prank+thumb.jpg

Looks like the owners of the Pittsburgh building that was pranked by a Cubs fan Wednesday have a sense of humor.

After Chicago fan Steve Mpistolarides walked into an office building across the street from PNC Park and quietly changed a sign that read “Let’s Go Bucs” to “Let’s Go Cubs,” the sign was changed to “Let's Goat Cubs.”

Smith Brothers Agency, an ad agency headquartered in the building, first posted a photo of their prank response on Twitter with the caption “A good prank deserves a good hex. #CurseOfTheBillyGoat #LetsGoBucs #Buctober.”

The goat was a reference to the infamous Billy Goat curse, which dates back to Oct. 6, 1945, when tavern owner Billy Sianis claimed to place a curse on the Cubs to prevent them from ever hosting another World Series at Wrigley Field.

But that didn’t faze the Mpistolarides family, who were later treated to a rooftop party, courtesy of the building’s owners.

"At first we were like I don't know, they might be setting us up for who knows what, but we said, 'Oh well, let's check it out," said Steve Mpistolarides. "Then we ended up at one of the coolest parties probably in all of Pittsburgh. They were really nice though very cordial. We had a good time."

Smith Brothers Agency shared a photo of the owners and the Mpistolarides family at their rooftop tailgate party with the caption “pregaming with the pranksters.”

“They kept telling us we were going to be bad luck,” said Steve Mpistolarides. “We said, ‘We’re the curse busters and we’re not afraid of no goat.’ We’re Greek and we’re getting rid of this curse.”

The Cubs went on to win their first postseason game in 12 years, beating the Pittsburgh Pirates by a score of 4-0.

The Mpistolarides family said the day’s events were unexpected, to say the least.

“We were doing it as a joke between us to send our friends back in Chicago,” Steve Mpistolarides said. “Next thing I know I got all kinds of I don’t know, Facebook messages, tweets and Twitters.”

Since video of the prank was first posted by Mpistolarides' son Travis, it has been viewed more than 140,000 times, he said. 

Photo Credit: Travis Mpistolarides
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<![CDATA[Raiders Will be Tested by Broncos' No. 1 Defense]]> Thu, 08 Oct 2015 14:52:21 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/Brocosdeeeee.jpg

When the Raiders and Broncos meet Sunday at O.co Coliseum, it will be the Raiders with the higher-ranked offense – a huge turnaround from recent seasons.

The Peyton Manning-led Broncos rank 27th in the NFL in yards per game (304). The Raiders are 17th, at 351.5 yards per game.

For the first time in a long while, it’s the Broncos’ defense that is the catalyst to the team’s 4-0 start.

When the 2-2 Raiders’ potentially explosive offense of Derek Carr, Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree and Latavius Murray looks across the line of scrimmage, it will see the NFL’s No. 1 defensive unit.

The Broncos give up just 275.5 yards per game and just 17.2 points per game. They’re also the best team in the league on third down (giving up a conversion just 25 percent of the time), have 18 sacks and 11 takeaways.

The Broncos pass rush is ferocious, so the Oakland offensive line will need to be at the top of its game to give Carr time to throw. Denver pass rushers DeMarcus Ware (25) and Von Miller (24), outside linebackers in the 3-4 scheme, lead the NFL in quarterback pressures. Ware leads the team with 4½ sacks.

Oakland tight end Lee Smith said this week that the Raiders might have success running the ball toward Ware and Miller to mitigate their effectiveness.

“You always try to run the ball at elite pass rushers, try to beat them up a little bit,” Smith told reporters. “You hope that would slow their pass rush down a little bit. But these guys are going to pin their ears back no matter what.”

The Broncos, however, also have been solid against the run, ranking No. 8 in the league. They’re allowing 90 yards per game on the ground. The Raiders, meanwhile, haven’t been able to pound the ball on the ground as well as they’d hoped. They rank No. 22 in the league, averaging 96.2 yards per game.

One thing the Raiders offense will have to do Sunday is contend with the Broncos’ blitzes, a key part of their success. According to ESPN, Denver blitzes on 37 percent of opponents’ dropbacks. In a victory over the Vikings this past week, the Broncos had seven sacks. So, Carr will have to make his reads quickly and get rid of the ball efficiently against the Broncos’ pressure.

It is, however, an area in which Carr has improved this season. As Bill Williamson of ESPN.com noted,  Carr hasn’t been blitzed much this season, but when he has, he’s been very effective, averaging a league-best 11.2 yards per throw.

One advantage the Raiders may have is head coach Jack Del Rio, who was in charge of the Broncos defense the past three seasons. Carr, in fact, says Del Rio has helped him significantly this season in understanding defenses.

“That’s kind of where he’s been huge in my growth,” Carr said on a conference call with reporters this week. “He’ll show me clips and say, ‘Now this is the situation. This is the personnel they are in. This is why they’re doing it. This is the front. This is the stuff they’re doing and this is why.’ My football knowledge has grown from learning from him.”

He'll need all of that knowledge Sunday in a key AFC West game for the Raiders.


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Niners' Ward Playing a Big Role on Defense]]> Thu, 08 Oct 2015 14:52:39 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/191*120/wardjymy.jpg

San Francisco 49ers defensive back Jimmie Ward knows he’ll be tested to his fullest this Sunday against the New York Giants.

More often than not, when Ward is lined up as the 49ers’ nickel cornerback he’ll be paired against Giants standout wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

He knows all about him.

“Oh yes. He’s a very talented wide receiver. He’s on the face of Madden, man,” he said of the popular NFL video game. “It’s going to be fun. Matchups like that are just fun, playing against the superstars.”

Through four games in 2015, Beckham has 24 catches for 307 yards and two touchdowns. As a rookie in 2014, Beckham had 91 catches for 1,305 yards and 12 TDs.

Ward, the team’s No. 1 draft pick in 2014, has become a big part of the 49ers’ defense. A safety in college, Ward gets most of his work now as a defender of slot receivers in the nickel defense, against three-receiver sets.

And, to date, he’s been steadily improving. In last Sunday’s 17-3 loss to the Packers, Ward played 62 of the team’s 73 defensive snaps and did a nice job covering Randall Cobb, perhaps the Packers’ most dangerous receiver, out of the slot. Cobb had five catches, but for just 44 yards – only 8.8 yards per catch.

Ward, known as a hard-hitting safety as a college standout, said he took a physical approach against Cobb early in the game to counteract Cobb’s quickness and speed. Ward said his performance against Cobb and the Packers was perhaps the best of his young career.

Matt Barrows, who covers the 49ers for the Sacramento Bee, noted earlier this week that Ward got better as the game progressed.

“Aaron Rodgers picked on him during the opening drive, but Ward recovered from that point,” Barrows wrote. “He was credited with two tackles and one pass defensed.”

Ward says he’s still not 100 percent healthy after missing much of offseason workouts with a foot injury. But, he says he’s good enough now, and finally able to play a key role in his second NFL season. For now, the hybrid safety-cornerback role he’s playing in the nickel defense is fine with him – though someday he’d like to be a full-time safety because he likes to hit.

“The reason why I like nickel so much is because not everyone can do it,” Ward told reporters this week. “You have some cornerbacks who can cover but can’t hit. You have some safeties who can hit but can’t cover. I feel like I can do it all.”

This Sunday, the Giants and Beckham will test those abilities.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cubs Win Wild-Card Game]]> Wed, 07 Oct 2015 22:45:16 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/202*120/GettyImages-491743510.jpg

For the first time in 12 years, the Chicago Cubs have won a postseason game as they knocked off the Pittsburgh Pirates by a score of 4-0 on Wednesday night. 

Dexter Fowler and Kyle Schwarber both hit home runs, and Jake Arrieta pitched a complete game as the Cubs set up an NLDS showdown with the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday. 

The Cubs got off to a flying start in the game as Dexter Fowler laced a single to center field, and he promptly stole second base. On a 2-2 count, Kyle Schwarber muscled a ball into left field, driving in Fowler and giving Jake Arrieta a 1-0 lead before he even took the mound.

The Pirates got a two-out single from Andrew McCutchen in the bottom of the frame, but Arrieta appeared unfazed as he struck out Starling Marte on an 0-2 pitch to leave the Cubs ahead through the first inning of play.

Both pitchers breezed through the second inning, with Cole only allowing a deep fly ball to Addison Russell and Arrieta conceding a fly ball to Jordy Mercer that Fowler gloved to keep the game at 1-0 in favor of Chicago.

The score remained that way until the third inning, when Schwarber stepped up with Fowler on first base. On an inside pitch, the rookie right fielder turned on the ball and hammered a home run deep over the right field wall to give the Cubs a 3-0 lead through two and a half innings.

Arrieta cruised through the next two innings, and in the top of the fifth inning, he was given another run of support as Fowler went deep. He hammered a home run to right-center field, giving the Cubs a 4-0 cushion as Cole left the game for the Pirates.

Things got interesting in the bottom of the sixth inning as the Pirates loaded the bases with one out, but the Cubs were able to get out of the mess as Marte grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning with the visitors still up four runs.

Things got even more heated in the top of the seventh inning as Tony Watson hit Arrieta with a pitch. The benches cleared as the two teams jawed at one another, but things were eventually settled with only Sean Rodriguez getting ejected after he threw a punch at David Ross in the melee. The inning ended without incident, and the Cubs continued to lead.

The Pirates got a baserunner in the bottom of the eighth inning, but Arrieta continued his dominance as his pitch count exceeded the century mark. He struck out Josh Harrison with two outs and a runner on first to retire the Pirates and put the Cubs three outs away from victory. 

Avoiding all drama, Arrieta cruised through the ninth inning to finish the complete game. He got McCutchen on a slow ground ball back to the mound, and then forced a groundout from Marte for the second out. When Cervelli lined out to second base, the Cubs clinched their first playoff victory in 12 years, and set up a series against the Cardinals beginning on Friday. 

The series begins on Friday afternoon at 5:30 p.m., with Game 1 taking place at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[UCSF Now Endorsing Warriors Mission Bay Arena]]> Wed, 07 Oct 2015 18:13:50 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1007-2015-WarriorsArena.jpg

After months of back and forth over traffic concerns, UCSF is now endorsing the proposed new Golden State Warriors arena in Mission Bay.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and the University of California chancellor issued a joint statement late Tuesday backing the arena.

P.J. Johnson, a spokesman for the Warriors, said the city agreed to spend $40 million from construction fees and taxes on a traffic plan to increase and enhance light rail service and close off selected streets on game days for the exclusive use of hospital employees, patients and local businesses.

In addition, a couple of dozen traffic control officers will also be posted in the area during gamedays.

The city is also committing to $10 million every year from the Warriors revenues to enhance and improve mass transit.

"The Central Subway is set to open in 2018, the same year the Warriors arena is set to open.

Locals said the Mission Bay neighborhood is growing.

"Just about every spot along here is slated for building, so more traffic is coming," resident Steve Stroop said.

Sam Singer, a spokesman for a group of well-funded opponents, is undeterred by the UCSF endorsement.

"We think it's still early in the game and we're going to beat the Warriors and the city," Singer said.

Singer's group, the Mission Bay Alliance, is proposing the Warriors move 11 blocks south to Pier 80.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Jed York's 49ers Ticket Offer Gets Social Media Ridicule]]> Wed, 07 Oct 2015 14:50:45 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/175*120/jedyork1.jpg

When Niners owner Jed York offered free tickets to last Sunday's game on Twitter, social media had some unkind things to say.

"I have a few tickets left for the game Sun.," he posted on Oct. 2, a message that was favorited more than 300 times and retweeted at least 140 times. "Let me know if you can make it #FaithfulFanTix."

NinerFans.com found the resultant replies, largely skewed to negative comments, "entertaining." Among the most popular responses: "I can't give my tickets away either, Jed," "No one cares since you dismantled the team and coaching staff," and "wouldn't take anything from you, cheapskate!!"

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cubs Fan Spells Out Playoff Prank]]> Thu, 08 Oct 2015 06:16:26 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/258*120/cubs+prank+thumb.jpg

A Chicago Cubs fan may have just pulled off the best prank ever.

Hours before the Cubs were set to take on the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League Wild Card Game at PNC Park Wednesday night, a display of hometown pride for the Pirates was transformed into Cubs pride.

Chicago fan Steve Mpistolarides went into an office building across the street from the stadium and changed a sign from “Let’s Go Bucs” to “Let’s Go Cubs," according to the Mpistolarides family. 

For those who didn't know, the Pirates are often referred to as the “Bucs.”

“So we're at a bar right next to PNC and there's an office building that reads lets go bucs,” a Facebook post from Mpistolarides' son Travis read. “My dad goes in the elevator low key to the office and switches it to let's go Cubs. Somehow nobody saw him ‪#‎wearegood‬.” 

The family even sent the photos and video to NBC Chicago to prove it.

The excitement in the air from their hometown fans must have worked for the team, as for the first time in 12 years the Chicago Cubs won a postseason game as they knocked off the Pittsburgh Pirates by a score of 4-0.

Photo Credit: Travis Mpistolarides
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<![CDATA[Fantasy Sports Sites FanDuel, Draft Kings Under Fire]]> Wed, 07 Oct 2015 06:05:57 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/FanDuel.jpg

The multi-billion dollar Fantasy Sports industry is taking a hit.

Two of the most popular sites, FanDuel and Draft Kinds, are under fire after an employee tweeted data that could be used to gain an advantage in drafting fantasy teams. That same employee, who works for Draft Kings, won $350,000 on FanDuel last week.

More than 50 million people play fantasy sports by visiting an online site like FanDuel and add money to a weekly pot. Participants are given a budget, select professional players for their personal team and have an opportunity to win money based on how well their team does.

San Jose-resident Mike Bingham plays on Draft Kings and was considering participating on FanDuel, but not anymore after the recent news.

"I'm definitely not going to invest more money into either site until there more transparency going on for an employee of a competitor to win $350,000," Bingham said. "That's a red flag to me."

FanDuel and Draft Kings on Tuesday defended the employee saying he did nothing wrong. The Fantasy Sports sites also released a joint statement saying their employees are barred from participating in any online Fantasy Sports contests until the industry develops a more detailed policy concerning the use of competitive data.

But the scandal has already prompted lawmakers to question whether Congress needs to look into the industry.

"The answer is yes," said Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada. "And it also should be a warning shot to everybody that online gaming is a really scary thing and we better look at all of it."

Photo Credit: File--AP]]>
<![CDATA[SJ Sharks Season Highlights]]> Wed, 07 Oct 2015 22:40:27 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-491754544_594_screen.jpg Photo highlights from San Jose Sharks' 2015-2016 season.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Giants Player Diagnosed With MRSA]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 14:58:40 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/mrsa+daniel+fells+ny.jpg

The Giants scrubbed down their locker room, meeting areas and training rooms out of an abundance of caution this week after tight end Daniel Fells was diagnosed with MRSA, a potentially deadly antibiotic-resistant staph infection that can be transmitted by skin-to-skin contact or sharing towels, the team confirmed Tuesday.

Fells, a 32-year-old tight end signed by the Giants last year after stints with half a dozen NFL teams, including the Patriots, was placed on injured reserve Monday with an ankle injury. Doctors treating him for that issue discovered the staph infection, which turned out to be MRSA.

MRSA, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is notoriously difficult to treat because it has become resistant to many antibiotics traditionally used to treat staph infections.

While one type of MRSA occurs primarily in hospitalized populations, another form occurs in healthy people -- and can spread easily through cuts and abrasions, skin-to-skin contact and sharing facilities or certain equipment.

The infection may become life-threatening, causing complications in one's bloodstream, lungs, heart, bones and joints. It is diagnosed by checking a tissue sample or nasal secretions for signs of drug-resistant bacteria.

In a statement Tuesday, Giants spokesman Pat Hanlon said, "We are working with infectious disease specialists, and we have defined protocols that we are following in consultation with the Duke Infection Control Outreach Network and local infectious disease specialists. Those protocols are being followed carefully."

Fells caught just six balls for 60 yards in two active games for Big Blue this season. His condition Tuesday wasn't immediately known; he had been hospitalized Monday, though it wasn't clear if he had been discharged.

Though the Jets and Giants share a home stadium, they use different practice facilities and locker rooms so Gang Green wasn't expected to be affected by Fells' diagnosis.

Two years ago, three players with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers contracted MRSA during an outbreak at one of the team's training facilities. One of the players, Carl Nicks, a high-profile guard in the league, had to permanently step away from football because of the illness. The infection also ended the career of Lawrence Tynes, a former Giants kicker who was diagnosed with MRSA during his tenure with the Bucs. The third player affected recovered and remains with the team.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Niners Are Losing Turnover Battle, Too]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 10:11:49 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/esseffturnoverzzz.jpg

After four games, the 49ers have some ugly statistics. It starts, of course, with their 1-3 record and the fact they’ve been outscored 110-48.

San Francisco also is giving up 6.2 yards every time the opponent snaps the ball. Plus, quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been sacked 14 times.

Also, there is this: After four games the 49ers rank 30th in the NFL in turnover differential, at minus-5. San Francisco’s defense has taken the ball away just twice on a pair of interceptions. The 49ers have given up the ball seven times already, five times on Kaepernick interceptions.

In the third game, a 47-7 loss to the Cardinals in Arizona, the 49ers turned the ball over four times, including two interceptions thrown by Kaepernick early in the game that were returned for touchdowns.

With the 49ers offense struggling – San Francisco’s passing game ranks dead last in the NFL – losing the takeaway-giveaway battle every game is putting the team in a huge hole it just can’t escape.

The 49ers defense looked as if it made strides against the Packers, holding Green Bay to just 17 points after being torched in consecutive weeks by the Steelers and Cardinals. Perhaps defensive coordinator Eric Mangini’s unit has turned the corner, and it will again make some strides this Sunday against the New York Giants (5:30 p.m. kickoff).

But the Niners also need the defense to change the momentum. San Francisco’s defense needs to create some turnovers for some easy scores to take the pressure of Kaepernick and the offense. Perhaps that can be the spark that gets the 49ers going again.

Two takeaways in four games against seven giveaways is a trend that can’t continue. It’s just one more thing the 49ers need to work on. Head coach Jim Tomsula said as much this week.

“You don’t go around these things,” Tomsula said. “You go through them. So lock your jaw and keep going.”



<![CDATA[Despite Mistakes, Raiders' Murray Still Has Del Rio's Confidence]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 10:11:09 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*123/EllMooraye.jpg

If the Raiders are to take a big step forward in 2015 and contend for a playoff spot, they’ll need to take advantage of every opportunity that comes their way.

But on Sunday in Chicago, the Raiders let a potential victory slip through their grasp.

In losing to the Bears 22-20, Oakland couldn’t protect a late 20-19 lead, allowing a long, late drive for a field goal.

And twice, the Raiders gave the ball to the Bears defense on first-down plays. As head coach Jack Del Rio noted to the Bay Area media Monday, those turnovers could have been the difference in the game.

One came when starting running back Latavius Murray fumbled a pitch from Derek Carr. The other came when a short Carr pass popped out of Murray’s hands and into the arms of a Bears defender.

“Two real, problem turnovers for us really eliminated first-down plays,” Del Rio said. “How many plays in that drive are you taking away? Six, seven, eight, nine? Who knows? Two drives taken off the board with a first-down turnover and just add that in right there … It (the game) might feel a little different, look a little different.”

Despite Murray’s two errors, Del Rio said the running back remains the team’s No. 1 ballcarrier. Though Roy Helu Jr. was in the Raiders’ backfield on the team’s final drive vs. Chicago Sunday, Del Rio said it was just a case of coaches believing Helu gave the team its best chance in the situation.

Del Rio told reporters he’s certain Murray will rebound this coming Sunday when the Raiders (2-2) play host to the 4-0 Denver Broncos (1:25 p.m. kickoff).

“I remain confident,” Del Rio said of Murray. “None of us are perfect. We all are capable of making mistakes. I think the sooner you own up to mistakes, the quicker you can put them behind you and move forward.”

After Sunday’s loss, that’s exactly what Murray did. He blamed himself for the loss, saying Oakland’s problems started “with turnovers.”

“I was the root of those,” he said. “It’s hard to win like that. I think that’s where it starts.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Fantasy Sports Companies Dispute Allegations of Unfair Betting]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 09:29:37 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/FanDuel.jpg

Two companies in the booming, unregulated world of online fantasy sports issued statements Monday after recent allegations that employees may have access to insider data that could allow unfair, highly profitable bets. 

In the statement posted on FanDuel's website, the company said that despite "recent attention on industry employees," FanDuel — as well as a second sports site, DraftKings — valued "the integrity of the games we offer to our customers."

"Both companies have strong policies in place to ensure that employees do not misuse any information at their disposal and strictly limit access to company data to only those employees who require it to do their jobs," the statement said.

Photo Credit: File--AP]]>
<![CDATA[Yankees' CC Sabathia Checking Into Alcohol Rehab ]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 01:52:53 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sabathia+rehab+center.jpg

Yankees' CC Sabathia is checking into an alcohol rehabilitation center and will miss the postseason, the pitcher said Monday in a statement released by the team.

In the statement, the 35-year-old Sabathia said he was seeking "the professional care and assistance needed to treat my disease."

He said he wanted to thank the Yankees organization for "their encouragement and understanding."

Sabathia's move comes the day before the Yankees take on the Houston Astros in a critical one-and-done AL Wild Card game. It's the team's first postseason appearance since 2012.

“I love baseball and I love my teammates like brothers, and I am also fully aware that I am leaving at a time when we should all be coming together for one last push toward the World Series," the 2007 AL Young Award winner said. "It hurts me deeply to do this now, but I owe it to myself and to my family to get myself right. I want to take control of my disease, and I want to be a better man, father and player."

Sabathia said it was difficult to publicly share his decision, but he didn't want to "run and hide." He also asked for privacy for him and his family.

“Being an adult means being accountable. Being a baseball player means that others look up to you," Sabathia added. I want my kids -- and others who may have become fans of mine over the years -- to know that I am not too big of a man to ask for help. I want to hold my head up high, have a full heart and be the type of person again that I can be proud of. And that’s exactly what I am going to do."

Sabathia was 6-10 with a 4.73 ERA this year, slowed by his surgically repaired right knee. After returning from the disabled list and using a tighter brace, the portly left-hander was 2-1 with a 2.17 ERA in five starts and got the win against Boston that week that clinched the Yankees' return to the postseason following a rare two-year absence.

Sabathia, who helped New York win the 2009 World Series during his first season in the Bronx, is signed through next season. His deal includes a 2017 club option that would become guaranteed if his left shoulder doesn't get hurt.

"I am looking forward to being out on the field with my team next season playing the game that brings me so much happiness," Sabathia said. 

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Niners' Offensive Line is the Root of Offensive Struggles]]> Mon, 05 Oct 2015 09:11:25 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/booneandkapieqb.jpg

After four games, the 49ers offense is in disarray.

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been sacked 14 times, and is coming off a loss to the Packers Sunday in which he was sacked six times and hit on seven more plays. That’s 13 sacks or hits, a huge number considering he had 25 pass attempts Sunday.

In addition, the 49ers’ running game – which looked so strong in the season opener when Carlos Hyde rushed for 168 yards and two touchdowns – has been handcuffed. Since Game 1, Hyde has had rushing games of 43, 51 and 20 yards. Against the Packers, he carried the ball just eight times.

Though Kaepernick looks shaky, the offensive line has so far been the team’s weak link. Center Marcus Martin, right guard Jordan Devy and right tackle Erik Pears have been below-par performers, allowing a constant stream of pressure on Kaepernick. 

As Kevin Lynch of the San Francisco Chronicle noted after Sunday’s 17-3 loss to Green Bay, the 49ers may finally be thinking of making some lineup changes. With 25 percent of the season now gone and San Francisco at 1-3 with Sunday’s game against the Giants coming up, the makeup of the offensive line might be the first place to start.

As left guard Alex Boone told the media after the loss to Green Bay, the 49ers still have no consistency of purpose or execution on offense.

“We are still trying to find our identity and that’s a (expletive) place to be,” said Boone. “Whatever it is, we better figure it out by tomorrow.”

Just three seasons ago, the offensive line was the strength of this offense. Left tackle Joe Staley remains the only holdover from that line still in his current position. Boone was moved from right guard to left guard in training camp. Martin is the starter by default, after the injury and long recovery of Daniel Kilgore. Pears was supposed to be a backup but became the starter when Anthony Davis retired this offseason. And Devey emerged late in training camp when other candidates flopped. Going into Sunday's game, Staley and Boone had positive overall grades from Pro Football Focus for their performance in the first three weeks. But Martin, Devey and Pears all had negative grades. 

To date, only Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (18) has been sacked more often than Kaepernick.

Bay Area News Group columnist Marcus Thompson noted that the Niners’ offense so far has been “hard on the eyes,” adding that “the 49ers offensive line couldn’t block a Twitter follower, let alone an actual defensive player.”

Four games into this season, and the offensive line – a problem in training camp and preseason games – is still a big problem. It may be time for a shakeup in the front five. Devey and Pears, especially, should be vulnerable. If not, the same problems are sure to keep occurring, over and over.

“We have to be able to throw the ball,” said head coach Jim Tomsula. “We have to be able to protect. We’ve got to be able to do those things and stay into an offense that is in rhythm.”


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders Need to Tighten Late-Game Defense]]> Mon, 05 Oct 2015 09:08:17 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/beahrzsakq.jpg

The Raiders would be 3-1 this week, with three consecutive victories, if not for a late defensive lapse Sunday vs. the Bears in Chicago.

The question is, can the defense learn from its mistake so it doesn’t happen again?

The Raiders had just taken a 20-19 lead late in the fourth quarter, thanks to a 41-yard Sebastian Janikowski field goal. After a touchback, the Bears began their next possession at their own 20-yard line with just over 2 minutes remaining in the game.

After Bears running back Matt Forte gained 6 yards on first down, Khalil Mack sacked Jay Cutler on second down for a yard loss, before Cutler’s third-down pass went incomplete. Chicago then faced a fourth-and-5 play from its own 25 with 1:30 left. But Cutler connected with tight end Martellus Bennett for 7 yards and a first down to keep the drive alive.

The Bears then picked their way downfield, moving to the Raiders’ 34 in seven plays to set up Robbie Gould’s game-winning 49-yard field goal in a 22-20 Chicago victory.

After the game, the Raiders knew they had let a victory slip away.

Oakland defensive end Justin Tuck told Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle that it was almost a helpless feeling as Cutler used short, quick drops and passes to avoid the Raiders pressure and keep the drive going.

“You try to get your hands up and bat one (pass) down,” he said. “But they dinked it and dunked it and took the defensive line out of it.”

And, the Bears knew where to go when they needed that crucial fourth-and-5 catch: Bennett.

Through four games, the Raiders have been unable to contain opponents’ tight ends. On Sunday, Bennett had a career-high 11 catches for 83 yards and a touchdown. It’s the fourth straight game in which the Raiders linebackers have been unable to stop the tight end, and it certainly seems apparent that every opposing offensive coordinator knows that going in.

This Sunday, when the Raiders host the 4-0, AFC West-leading Broncos, tight end Owen Daniels – who has 12 catches for 61 yards and a touchdown so far this season – will likely be a big target for Peyton Manning.

Now, Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio knows his team needs to rebound and get better at protecting a lead late in games. He liked his team’s effort in Chicago, but not the result.

“We came in, we played very hard, very gritty,” he told reporters. “We just didn’t make enough plays at the end.”

Especially when it came to covering the tight end on a fourth-and-5 play that could have sealed up victory No. 3.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Top NFL Photos: Week 4]]> Mon, 05 Oct 2015 21:19:04 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-491476626.jpg See the top photos from week 4 of the NFL.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Niners' Offense Goes Flat in Third Straight Defeat]]> Mon, 05 Oct 2015 07:15:40 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/paksakkapinsf.jpg

First-year 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula has a saying: “Own it, fix it, move on.”

He’s uttered it a few times already this season, including in the week leading up to the 49ers’ game Sunday against the Green Bay Packers at Levi’s Stadium.

Certainly there had been a need to address the team’s woes after back-to-back blowout losses to the Steelers and Cardinals in Weeks 2 and 3 of this NFL season.

But as much as the 49ers may be owning their mistakes and moving on to their next challenge, the “fix it” part has been largely ignored.

That was evident Sunday, as the 49ers fell to the undefeated Packers 17-3 and now stand at 1-3, with a cross-country trip next on the agenda to play the New York Giants in Week 5.

Against the Packers, the 49ers’ defense did improve some from the past two weeks. After allowing quarterbacks Ben Roethlisberger and Carson Palmer to carve up the secondary, the Niners’ defense tightened the clamps a little, allowing Aaron Rodgers to throw for "only" 224 yards and a touchdown – though the Eddie Lacy-led running game also did significant damage.

But what definitely hasn’t been fixed is the 49ers’ struggling offense.

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, often under pressure (sacked six times and hit seven times), completed just 13-of-25 throws for 160 yards and was intercepted. Wide receiver Torrey Smith – acquired to give Kaepernick a deep threat and open up other routes – had only two catches. The running game was largely ignored, with Carlos Hyde getting just eight carries.

The offense was plagued by dropped passes, penalties and mistakes. Late in the game, the hometown fans were booing a team that only recently went to three consecutive NFC Championships and was considered one of the NFL’s best organizations.

Matt Barrows, who covers the 49ers for the Sacramento Bee, gave the 49ers offense a grade of D-minus Sunday, noting that “until the end, the play calls were conservative and Kaepernick hardly made any attempts downfield.”

Kaepernick was so inaccurate at times that longtime Bay Area columnist Ray Ratto compared him to former major league pitcher Steve Blass, who had to retire because he could no longer throw the ball over the plate.

Kaepernick’s biggest play of the first half, in fact, was a shovel pass of less than a foot that wound up going for 40 yards.

This week, Tomsula no doubt will again take ownership of the mistakes his team is making. Whether those mistakes can be fixed is still the big question.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders' Defense Can't Hold in 22-20 Loss to Bears]]> Sun, 04 Oct 2015 14:38:33 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/Heluteedeechi.jpg

For the second straight week, it looked as if veteran safety Charles Woodson would be the hero for the Raiders.

After making a late interception a week earlier to preserve a victory in Cleveland, Woodson again came up with a fourth-quarter pick to kill a Bears drive and allow the Raiders to make a long drive for a go-ahead field goal.

It was the 62nd career interception for Woodson, who just recently turned 39.

Sebastian Janikowski’s 41-yard kick with 2:10 remaining gave Oakland a 20-19 lead.

But this time, the Raiders’ defense folded in the clutch.

Bears quarterback Jay Cutler drove his team from its own 20 to the Raiders’ 32 with seven seconds left, from where Robbie Gould connected on a 50-yarder to give Chicago a 22-20 victory.

The big play came on fourth-and-5 from Chicago’s own 25, when Cutler connected with tight end Martellus Bennett for 7 yards.

The Bears – who entered the game winless and as underdogs – walked away with their first win of 2015.

Instead of being 3-1 heading into a showdown with AFC West rival Denver next week, the Raiders will have to settle for being 2-2.

The loss was a disappointment for an Oakland team that again produced offensively, yet fell short of winning consecutive road games for the first time since 2011.

Quarterback Derek Carr completed 20-of-33 throws for 196 yards and two touchdowns, with nine of those receptions picked by the combination of Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper. Cooper and running back Roy Helu Jr. both scored TDs for Oakland.


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[49ers Artifacts on Display at SFO ]]> Wed, 07 Oct 2015 12:25:53 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/49ers+ex+2.jpg

Super Bowl 50 might be months away, but the San Francisco International Airport Museum is already gearing up for the game.

The museum recently acquired memorabilia from the 49ers Museum for a new exhibit titled “The Nation’s Game: The NFL from the Pro Football Hall of Fame,” which will be showing at the airport from Sept. 26 through Feb. 28.

A number of artifacts from the team’s history will be on display, including the now iconic helmet-shaped 49ers Field Vehicle, as well as team memorabilia from the 1960s and 1980s.

Non-49ers football fans will also have something to look at during their visit to the airport, museum officials said in a statement. In an effort to honor the NFL’s 95-year history, mementos from each of the league’s 32 teams will be on display. Fans can see Joe Montana’s home jersey, Terry Bradshaw’s cleats, Jim Brown’s shoulder pads and other items on loan from the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The San Francisco Airport Museum was established by the Airport Commission in 1980 as part of efforts to humanize the airport environment, according to the museum.

Photo Credit: San Francisco 49ers Museum]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders Hunt For Third Straight Victory vs. Struggling Bears]]> Fri, 02 Oct 2015 09:09:53 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/174*120/DeeKarrbearzz.jpg

For more than a decade the Raiders have been one of the NFL’s least successful teams. But as the 2-1 Raiders prepare to play at Chicago Sunday (10 a.m. kickoff), it’s the 0-3 Bears that now appear overmatched.

Chicago, hoping to avoid its first 0-4 start in 15 years – and coming off a 26-0 loss to the Seahawks -- is expected to be without No. 1 quarterback Jay Cutler and receiver Alshon Jeffery, and this week traded defensive end Jared Allen and linebacker Jonathan Bostic.

The Bears’ offense has struggled under backup quarterback Jimmy Clausen and ranks 28th in the league. Clausen was just 9-of-17 for 63 yards last week and has been sacked four times since replacing Cutler in the second game.

Suddenly the Raiders – who broke a long road losing streak last week with a victory in Cleveland – are 3-point favorites on the road and come in with an offense that appears capable of putting up several touchdowns on Chicago, which is giving up a league-worst 35 points per game.

Over the past two games, second-year quarterback Derek Carr has thrown for 665 yards and five touchdowns with just one interception and rookie wide receiver Amari Cooper in that same span has 15 catches for 243 yards. Running back Latavius Murray, too, is on a roll, coming off a game in which he gained 139 yards.

This week, first-year Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said he’s excited about what he’s seen the last couple of weeks from his team, but doesn’t want his players to get complacent.

“There’s a lot of growth in front of us and we absolutely (have) to grind and push and continue to sacrifice, and as coaches we’re going to continue to demand,” he said. “We expect to play a lot better football as we go forward this season, and the only way you can do that is if you put in the work.”

On defense, the Raiders will be tasked with stopping Matt Forte, who gained 141 yards in the season opener against the Packers and is second in the NFL with 276 yards. He’s averaging 4.7 yards per carry and has four runs of 20 or more yards.

Cutler has a hamstring injury and isn’t expected to be ready to play Sunday. But Del Rio said this week he would “be shocked” not to see Cutler back in the lineup.

Certainly, Cutler’s return would give the Bears much more of a chance

“I think there’s a big diference between Jay Cutler and the other guys,” Del Rio said this week, talking about Clausen and No. 3 quarterback David Fales. “That’s not to slight them, but he’s a more accomplished player. Jay’s a good football player. He’s got tremendous arm talent. We want to make sure we’re prepared for him.”

If the Raiders can win Sunday to improve to 3-1, it would mark the first time Oakland has won three straight since 2011. It would also be the first time the Raiders would be over .500 for the first time since 2002 – the last year the franchise reached the postseason.


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Slumping 49ers Face Undefeated Packers Sunday ]]> Fri, 02 Oct 2015 09:08:39 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/sfteamoffvariz.jpg

The 49ers have had good luck against the Green Bay Packers in recent years, and in fact have won the last four games against Aaron Rodgers & Co., including a 23-20 victory in January of 2014 in an NFC wild-card game.

But as the 1-2 49ers get set to host the 3-0 Packers Sunday afternoon (1:25 p.m. kickoff) at Levi’s Stadium, nobody is picking the Niners to come out on top.

Jim Tomsula’s team has been blown out the past two weeks and oddsmakers have made the Pack a whopping 9- to 9½-point favorite.

Right now, with San Francisco’s pass defense providing not much defense at all and quarterback Colin Kaepernick looking totally out of sync, it appears to be one of the week’s biggest NFL mismatches.

The 49ers have been outscored the past two weeks, in losses to Pittsburgh and Arizona, 90-25.

The 49ers defense is ranked 25th overall and 27th against the pass and will be matched against the league’s No. 9 offense and Rodgers, who has a 103.7 passer rating in six starts against San Francisco, including the playoffs.

The 49ers have been working all week to try to patch holes and clean up pass coverages, but Rodgers will be difficult to stop. He moves well in the pocket, buys extra time and is extremely accurate with his throws, even against heavy pressure.

“He’s very efficient,” 49ers defensive coordinator Eric Mangini told the media this week. “It’s one of those things, because even when you disrupt Aaron Rodgers, the plays he can make outside the pocket are different than some other guys.”

The 49ers collapse was a surprise after a season-opening victory over the Minnesota Vikings in which Kaepernick and the offense were efficient, and the defense was aggressive and effective, coming up with five sacks and locking down on opposing receivers.

Mangini this week said he’s been studying tapes of what the 49ers have done defensively in recent meetings with the Packers, in order to pick up ideas about what to do Sunday. He’s also been getting input from Tomsula, the former defensive line coach.

“You look at it from a scheme perspective and then you look at it from a personnel perspective and see where you can do the same things that were done before and where maybe it’s not going to work out quite the same way just because it’s different matchups,” Mangini said. “But you definitely try to draw on that.”

After losing in a big way to the Steelers two weeks ago, the 49ers said they had a lot of work to do – then were crushed in Arizona. This week, they’ve been saying the same things. Is there any reason to believe the 49ers will be a different – and much better – team against the Packers Sunday?

Certainly the NFL oddsmakers don’t think so.



<![CDATA[Golden State Warriors Photos]]> Thu, 01 Oct 2015 21:11:52 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/1001-2015-Warriors04.jpg Photo highlights from the 2015-2016 Golden State Warriors season.

Photo Credit: Ariel Nava]]>
<![CDATA[Warriors' Steve Kerr Taking Leave Because of Back Injury]]> Thu, 01 Oct 2015 13:35:47 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/186*120/473015512_594_screen.jpg

Golden State Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr will take a leave of absence from the team as he continues with rehabilitation and the recovery process of his back, the team announced on Thursday. The length of Kerr’s absence is unknown and will be based on his progress.

Kerr underwent surgery on his back to repair a ruptured disc in late July and a follow-up surgery in early September, the team stated.

“At this point, the most important thing is to make sure Steve is healthy, completely recovered and ready for not only the rigors of a long NBA season, but day-to-day life in general,” Warriors General Manager Bob Myers said in a statement. “We don’t anticipate the recovery process will be long term, but as of today we don’t know the exact timeframe. We’ll evaluate his progress daily and provide updates as necessary.”

Kerr realized he needs more time off.

“After the first two days of training camp, I realized I need to take a step back and focus on my rehabilitation in order to be ready for the grind of another NBA season,” Kerr said in a statement sent out by the team. “As I noted last week, my summer was difficult and no fun due to the multiple back surgeries. At this point, I simply want to get healthy and back to my normal daily routine on and off the court.”

Luke Walton, the team’s lead assistant coach, will serve as interim head coach in Kerr’s absence.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Armstead Beginning to Show Pass-Rushing Skills]]> Thu, 01 Oct 2015 09:35:55 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/172*120/arik1stsakk.jpg

There’s a lot wrong with the 49ers right now, and things may get much worse before they get better.

At 1-2, and coming off two consecutive blowout losses, the Niners’ offense is out of sync and the defense – particularly in pass coverage – is regularly giving up huge chunks of yardage while allowing opposing receivers to run free.

Now, the 49ers have a giant hurdle coming up this Sunday afternoon at Levi’s Stadium against the 3-0 Packers of quarterback Aaron Rodgers – an even better quarterback than Carson Palmer or Ben Roethlisberger, who both shredded San Francisco coverage schemes.

But in the midst of all the negative, there is at least one positive: No. 1 draft pick Arik Armstead appears to be improving at a rapid pace, and his emergence on the defensive line could give a big boost to the pass rush and help the shell-shocked secondary.

Armstead, the 3-4 defensive end from Oregon, is getting more playing time each week. In three games, he played 12 snaps against the Vikings in Game 1, 14 the next week against the Steelers and 18 in the loss to the Cardinals in Week 3.

He collected the first sack of his NFL career vs. Arizona, taking down Palmer, while also notching three pressures and two hurries in 13 pass rushes, according to Pro Football Focus, which gave him a plus-1.7 grade, the highest given to any 49ers defensive lineman in the game.

“I’m just getting more and more comfortaqble,” Armstead said this week. “The more and more I play, I’ll get more comfortable and settled in and able to do my job and try to help my team win.”

Armstead says he’s constantly learning in his first pro season. As a 3-4 defensive end, his job as a pass rusher often is to take the inside route, between the tackle and guard. There isn’t much call for finesse.

“It’s being quick,” he said. “It’s tight spaces when you’re inside. When you’re on the edge, you have a little more time to set up moves and things like that. It’s about being physical, violent and quick in those tight spaces.”

The 49ers certainly need sacks from Armstead – or any other defender, for that matter. Armstead’s sack of Palmer was the team’s sixth this season but first since the season opener, when San Francisco got to Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater five times.

The 49ers rank tied for 12th in the NFL with six sacks. Green Bay, meanwhile, is tied for third in the league, already with 11 sacks.

Kickoff for Sunday’s game is set for 1:25 p.m.


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders Actually Favored This Week on the Road]]> Thu, 01 Oct 2015 09:32:49 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/172*120/jahydeear.jpg

It’s starting to feel like this is a new era for the Oakland Raiders.

After three games, these Raiders of new head coach Jack Del Rio are 2-1 and can equal the team’s number of wins from 2014 this Sunday when they play the Bears in Chicago (10 a.m. kickoff).

It’s the first time the Raiders have a winning record in four seasons.

Plus, the new-look Raiders of Derek Carr, Latavius Murray, Amari Cooper and Khalil Mack are starting to get some love from the national media as a team on the rise.

ESPN’s Power Rankings, in fact, put Oakland at No. 16 in the NFL this week, up five sports from last week after a good win at Cleveland.

Elliot Harrison of ESPN wrote that, “These aren’t your pop’s Raiders. They aren’t your older brother’s Raiders, either.”

After praising the team’s young core of talent, Harrison noted it was a “wonderful team win” against the Browns, with a number of great performances.

“These guys still might not reach nine wins (if they did, it’d be for the first time since 2002), but they ain’t going 6-10, either,” he wrote.

Now, there’s another indication the Raiders’ train is picking up believers.

NFL oddsmakers this week have made Oakland a 3-point favorite to beat the 0-3 Bears. Given the Bears seem to be a mess – and Chicago QB Jay Cutler is still a question mark for the game – that may not seem all that special.

But as Bill Williamson of ESPN.com reported, it breaks a streak of 27 games in which the Raiders have been made underdogs by the oddsmakers. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune wrote that the last time the Raiders were favored on the road was for a Sept. 16, 2012 game at Miami – when the Dolphins crushed the Raiders, 35-13.

But Del Rio cautioned his players this week that they have to keep working hard to improve, and they can’t rest on their laurels or overlook the Bears – or any team, for that matter. Some Raiders fans may already be thinking a third victory is in the bag, but Del Rio isn’t.

“No, no,” Del Rio told reporters this week. “We’ve got way too much work to do. We respect everybody. We fear nobody. Certainly we understand (they have) a lot of talented players and coaches that work real hard. We’re going to do our best each and every week to prepare and put together the best active 46 we can and go compete.”


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Giants Reliever Jeremy Affeldt Will Retire at Season's End]]> Thu, 01 Oct 2015 19:35:54 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/458060404_8.jpg

Jeremy Affeldt has often been the first one to come out to the dugout before games this season, both at home and on the road. He’ll walk out into the dugout, put his knee brace — one of two he needs to wear — in a safe spot, and then sit and sip coffee as teammates stream out onto the field.

It turns out Affleldt has been saying goodbye.

The 36-year-old left-hander announced his retirement Thursday morning. Affeldt is finishing up his 14th and final season and his seventh with the Giants. He served as a fill-in closer at times and now mostly pitches early relief innings, and in between Affeldt has handled — and handled well — just about every job imaginable in a bullpen. He has a 3.07 ERA in 412 appearances for the Giants.

Affeldt’s greatest accomplishments have come in the postseason. From Game 3 of the 2010 World Series through Game 7 of the 2014 World Series, he did not allow a run. The span of 22 scoreless postseason games totals 23 1/3 innings, includes just 11 hits, and finished with Affeldt being named the winning pitcher in Game 7 of last year’s World Series. He threw 2 1/3 scoreless innings that night before Madison Bumgarner took the Giants to the end, extending a streak surpassed only by Mariano Rivera.

This season has been another injury-marred one for Affeldt and he never got on track. He has a 6.09 ERA and injured his good knee in a lake accident, but that day shows a big reason why Affeldt is retiring. The Washington state native had flown home on an off day to spend a few hours with his three young sons and wife. Affeldt also does as much charity work off the field as any player in the Majors, and that surely will be a focus going forward. The Giants said he would discuss all this during a press conference later Thursday morning.

Affeldt’s contributions go beyond the field of play. He is a regular on ESPN’s season-ending list of strangest injuries and has had so many that the phrase “hamburger stabbing” is not out of place in stories about the left-hander. Teammates have good-naturedly made him a punching bag for years and Affeldt dishes it out just as hard.

It’s become a running gag for teammates to take shots at Affeldt when they take the stage at FanFest. This year, Affeldt was asked which teammate he wouldn’t want to share a room with on the road. He paused for a few seconds.

“Probably myself,” he said, smiling.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Kristi Yamaguchi to Be Inducted in CA Hall of Fame]]> Wed, 30 Sep 2015 19:29:25 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Kristi_Yamaguchi_blurb_1.jpg

Olympic and world ice skating champion Kristi Yamaguchi will soon add a new medal to her extensive collection.

Yamaguchi, who grew up in Fremont, will receive a Spirit of California medal when she is inducted into the California Hall of Fame in a ceremony at the California Museum in Sacramento on Oct. 28.

An exhibit featuring Yamaguchi and other inductees opens on Oct. 29, according to the Sacramento Bee

Yamaguchi is scheduled to co-host an ABC special called "Shall We Dance on Ice" alongside "Dancing With the Stars" dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy in December to air in February, according to The Wrap.

Photo Credit: Cindy Barrymore ]]>