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Bay Area Sports Beat: What You Need to Know Right Now

ROMO

Let's see lots of these this year, Sergio Romo. Courtesy of @sfgiants via Instagram. 

In some circles, today is considered a national holiday.

Those who dwell in said circles are typically of the sunflower-seed-chewing, scorebook-keeping variety. Or for local enthusiasts, nighttime habits of choice include dodging late-inning pigeon droppings, half-drunken renditions of “When the Lights Go Down in the City” and rampant overuse of words like “torture.”

Baseball. Is. Back.

OK, Sunday night’s game between the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros marked MLB’s first official game of the season, but today offers an entire slate of action and all day, no less. See? Mondays aren’t so bad, after all.

Of course, all local eyes will be on the defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants and the upstart Oakland A’s. And rightfully so.

The Giants open against They Who Shall Not Be Mentioned at Dodger Stadium (oops) at 1 p.m. If the dude in the cubicle next to yours with donning headphones is screaming seemingly at nothing in lunch’s aftermath, that’s why.

The history and general distaste between the Giants and Dodgers is both well documented and stems back to their days as hated rivals in New York.

But with the Giants doing that whole winning-the-World-Series thing two of the past three years, the Dodgers have spared no expenses in an attempt to catch up to the Giants’ more recent success. As a result, their payroll has bloated to $223 million (!), rivaling even the traditionally financially irresponsible New York Yankees. Meanwhile, the Giants’ payroll is closer to $137 million and Oakland is right around $60,000.

At least the Dodgers’ Scrooge McDuck-like spending has spawned some hilarious anti-Dodgers memes.

As for the baseball itself, hard-throwing and traditional Giants-killer Clayton Kershaw will oppose Mr. Perfect Game, Matt Cain.

The Giants will lean on the offensive prowess of Brandon Belt, who had a stellar spring training with eight home runs and a .410 average and reigning Most Valuable Player Buster Posey, who is still watching the ink dry on his fresh nine-year, $186 million contract that essentially makes him a Giant for life.

“It’s hard to put into words what I feel right now, just an incredible feeling to know that for the next nine years I’ll be a part of this very storied franchise,” Posey said according to the ESPN report. “I’m incredibly humbled to know I’ll be a part of that.”

Ladies of San Francisco: You may now continue to swoon.

The defending AL West champion Oakland A’s play host to Felix Hernandez and the Seattle Mariners at 7:05…

One Last Dancer

It was a great thought, in theory, that No. 1 Stanford would face No. 2 Cal tonight with a trip to the Women’s Final Four on the line. Instead, No. 4 Georgia stood in the way of the Cardinal, who were hoping to lock up a sixth consecutive trip to the Final Four, and upset Stanford 61-59 on Saturday in Spokane.

Cal, on the other hand, is in unprecedented territory after a 73-63 victory over LSU to reach the program’s first ever Elite Eight.

The Bears (31-3) now turn their attention to Georgia for a 6:40 p.m. tipoff with the Final Four on the line.

“This for us is about who we want to be,” Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb told the San Jose Mercury News. “We’re not trying to out-Stanford Stanford.”

Cubicle-yelling is optional: @seanswaby