Sure, Alex Smith had a mercurial relationship with the Bay Area during his eight-year stint donning the 49ers’ red, but it didn’t take away from the awkward sight of seeing him line up against the 49ers in a different hue of red.
On Friday night, an eventual 15-13 preseason win for the 49ers, Smith faced the only team his NFL career had known before being traded to the Kansas City Chiefs over the offseason.
For a man who was heralded as a franchise savior, then a bust, then reborn only to have his job snatched from his grip by the uber-talented Colin Kaepernick as a result of a concussion, Smith still had nothing but praise to shower on his former employer.
“To be honest, the last two years I really feel like I’ve kind of made my peace with the fans, the organization in general,” Smith told The San Francisco Chronicle. “That’s why the transition this year has really been so great. It’s really kind of been moving forward. Really kind of at peace with my eight years there.”
The 29-year-old still owns a house with his wife in the Bay Area and enjoyed a flourishing relationship under head coach Jim Harbaugh after he took the head-coaching reins two years ago. After struggling through inconsistency, injuries and uncertainties surrounding the coaching staff, Smith finally put it all together with Harbaugh and went 19-5-1 including a trip to the NFC Championship in the 2011 season.
He also supported the Giants to almost a wallet-hurting extent, in spite of his San Diego roots, which was always going to win him points around these parts.
Unfortunately for Smith (but fortunately for the 49ers), he was reminded just how stout his former team’s defense was. He was sacked three times and only completed seven of his 16 passing attempts.
“It felt a lot like going against my brother,” Harbaugh told the Chronicle afterward. “…(Smith) is a one-of-a-kind guy. Just being around him, watching him compete, that was very exciting.”
Scary afternoon at America’s Cup
With minimal fanfare–and competition, for that matter–the opening day of the Louis Vuitton Cup finals of the America’s Cup took off on Saturday.
And while Emirates Team New Zealand enjoyed a comfortable victory after Luna Rossa Challenge forfeited due to technical issues with their boat, it wasn’t without a scare.
Two of the New Zealand team members were thrown overboard as their boat nearly crashed entirely, forcing the team to finish the race shorthanded.
Thankfully, no one was seriously injured.
“To me it didn’t feel like we were ever in jeopardy of tipping over,” skipper Dean Barker told the Chronicle’s Tom FitzGerald. “It’s about as hard as you can push it and get away with it without having more issues.”
Your yes-the-A’s-are-still-kicking-ass update
OK, so the Rangers upended them from their perch atop the AL West, but they remain still on track to make their second consecutive playoff appearance. They sit at 70-53 and a half game behind the Rangers.
After dropping a frustrating series at home to the last-placed Houston Astros, they rebounded to take a series from the resurgent Cleveland Indians.
Chris Young and Alberto Callaspo each hit home runs in the fifth inning to power Oakland to a 7-3 victory in the rubber match.
A boat always in danger of crashing: @seanswaby