All is right in the world again: Baseball is back.
Both local favorites, the San Francisco Giants and Oakland A’s, reported to Spring Training this week to mark the official beginning to baseball season and an all-important step to erasing the game that shall not be mentioned from the minds of the Bay Area.
Most eyes will be fixated on the defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants’ quest to win their third World Series in four years, but that’s not to take anything away from the upstart A’s, either, who made a surprising run to win the AL West last season.
Some of the early local headlines out of Spring Training…
It’s baseball season again, so naturally it’s time for another oh-shoot-Pablo-Sandoval-is-fat-again story. This story occurring is as constant as gravity. We get it, San Francisco’s favorite “panda” is a big dude. But so long as the reigning World Series Most Valuable Player continues to smash baseballs at an alarming rate and blows bubbles while throwing runners out from third base, questions about his not-so-slender frame will quickly fall to the wayside.
“The Haircut,” err, Tim Lincecum took the mound for the first time in a bit to have a bounce-back season after an admittedly mediocre 2012 campaign. He’s already excited at the prospects for this season.
“It’s just the feeling of being on the mound again, being around your teammates again, as opposed to playing catch with a friend in the offseason,” Lincecum told The San Francisco Chronicle’s Henry Shulman. “With that, the intensity just picks up naturally. The adrenaline kind of picks up. When you’re throwing to (Buster) Posey you kind of feel like you’re in a game-type atmosphere anyway.”
Oakland’s mercurial but defensively stalwart right fielder Josh Reddick is taking the early reins on becoming an early candidate as a clubhouse leader for a youthful A’s squad.
“We did lose two guys who had big say-so with the position players,” he told the Chronicle’s Susan Slusser. “At times, I’ve thought if I have to (lead) I will. I’m not going to push the issue, but if it comes around, I will.”
Onto the hardwood…
Although Oakland’s favorite lanky sharpsoother Stephen Curry wasn’t selected to compete in Sunday’s All-Star Game in Houston (much to the chagrin of Charles Barkley), he did compete in Saturday’s three-point shootout.
Unfortunately for Curry, his 17 points weren’t enough to advance him to the final. His dismal 0-for-5 effort on the second rack ultimately doomed the streaky Curry. Second-year point guard Kyrie Irving eventually won the competition.
“I was (disappointed) at first, I mean, you want to win,” Curry told CSNbayarea.com’s Nate Stuhlbarg. “It’s a competition and you want to have a good showing. But 17 was a good number for me. Can’t be mad at that.”
Warriors forward David Lee competed in Sunday’s main event, scoring six points in 13 minutes in his career second all-star appearance.
Golden State (30-22), currently in sixth place in the Western Conference, returns to action on Tuesday at Utah.