Headline Sports podcast with Barbara Mason: Kings playing out the string face Pelicans tonight

Houston Rockets’ Austin Rivers (25) passes over Sacramento Kings’ DaQuan Jeffries (19) and Harry Giles III (20) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Aug. 9, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, Pool)

On Headline Sports with Barbara Mason:

#1 Barbara another tough loss for the Sacramento Kings on Sunday this time to the Houston Rockets and they couldn’t hold the lead past the first quarter of play.

#2 The first thing that Kings head coach Luke Walton has to think of when in front of the bench is how he has to shut down the Rockets James Harden not an easy task seeing the Kings came into ESPN World Wide of Sports Arena having lost four of their last five games.

#3 Harden after that weak first quarter lit it up and left that first quarter as just a memory driving to the basket and taking some outside shots that got him 32 points for the game.

#4 The Rockets Austin Rivers had 41 points leading the Rockets and when you get Rivers and Harden with the hot hands the Kings would virtually need their entire line up to contribute on offense to catch up.

#5 The Kings will face their only team they defeated since the re-start of the regular season and that’s Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans on tonight can the Kings do it?

Barbara Mason does Headline Sports each Tuesday night at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Cal Bears report: With California leading in Covid cases in the nation Pac 12 shuts down sports for the fall

Cal Athletics image from calbears.com

By Morris Phillips and Michael Duca

BERKELEY–In what seems like no end in site the Pac 12 group today voted to cancel all fall sports through the end of 2020 and will plan to resume play in the spring. This was given careful consideration after consulting with the Medical Advisory Committee and the athletic directors of each of the Pac 12 schools.

The committee made clear they were very concerned about practices that involved contact sports such as football. The Pac 12 said when they see that the virus has flattened in a safe way and that cases have gone to a safe number the conference will consider returning competitive sports with a target date of Jan 1, 2021.

Student athletes will have their scholarships guaranteed, the Pac 12 also is offering NCAA grant students who already have opted out of sports programs another year of eligibility for this school year. Those students will receive from their universities advisement and tutoring as support from canceled sports programs and their academic education.

University of Oregon president Michael H. Schill said that he along with students, coaches, and staff is disappointed that it had to come to this but Schill said putting safety is job number one, “All of the Pac-12 presidents and chancellors understand the importance of this decision, and the disappointment it will create for our student-athletes, the coaches, support staff and all of our fans,” said Schill. “Ultimately, our decision was guided by science and a deep commitment to the health and welfare of student-athletes. We certainly hope that the Pac-12 will be able to return to competition in the New Year.”

Cal Athletic director Jim Knowlton and Cal Chancellor Carol Christ put out a heartfelt statement knowing that this impacts students athletes who have worked all their school lives to get to this point only to see their season canceled under such pandemic circumstances, “We are aligned in our support for the Pac-12’s decision to postpone fall sports. While the decision was difficult, it is consistent with our shared commitment to the health and well-being of Cal’s student-athletes, coaches and staff. Our hearts go out to the student-athletes who will not have the opportunity to compete this fall. We are incredibly proud of how they have been navigating the disappointments and uncertainties surrounding their athletic pursuits, and we will do all that we can to support them during these difficult times. We look forward to the day when they will be able to, once again, train for and compete in the sports they love. We look forward to the day when we can, together with members of Cal’s extended family, once again cheer them on as they pursue excellence on the field of play.”

Morris Phillips and Michael Duca are beat writers and podcasters for Cal Football at http://www.sportsradioservice.com



That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast: Stadium or not A’s will push lawsuit against Schnitzer and State of California

(Sep 17, 2018 photo from Noah Berger to the SF Chronicle) The proposed site of the Oakland A’s new ball park Howard Terminal where shipping containers sit and where Schnitzer Steel conducts business. The A’s are suing Schnitzer over contamination issues.

On That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary:

#1 The Oakland A’s said regardless whether they get the new park at Howard Terminal at Jack London Square their still suing the State of California Toxic Substances Control because of Schnitzer Steel’s continuous contamination of the soil near the site of the A’s proposed park

#2 The A’s contend that Schnitzer is shredding over 200,000 tons of metal steel that is contaminating the air, water and soil next to the A’s stadium site. The A’s who filed the lawsuit on August 5th in Alameda Superior Court is asking for legal fees and demanding waste hazardous control and that Schnitzer clean up the toxic waste.

#3 The State of California Toxic Substances Control has been named as a defendant in the case because of their failure to enforce Schnitzer to clean up hazardous materials over the last 30 years according to A’s team president David Kaval.

#4 Kaval said that West Oakland has been suffering from high levels of pollution, health problems, asthma, heart disease, and Covid and the A’s are seeking a clean up plan from the Toxic Substances Control. Director of Public Affairs for Schnitzer Steel Colin Kelly said the A’s lawsuit is an attack on Schnitzer Steel saying the company has spent over $30 million in clean up and is a leader in emissions clean up at the Schnitzer Oakland facility.

#5 Kaval said whether or not the A’s get the park built at Howard Terminal the club will pursue the lawsuit against Schnitzer and the state Toxic Substances Control because the A’s offices are located at Jack London Square and it’s a separate issue from the ballpark.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the Oakland A’s Spanish play by play announcer heard on 1010 KIQI San Francisco and does News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com


He was A Giant? Former first baseman Mike Laga feature by Tony the Tiger Hayes

Former San Francisco Giants first baseman Mike Laga is the subject interest of Tony The Tiger’s feature “He Was A Giant?” (photo from pinterest.com)


Mike Laga – 1B – 1989-90 – # 21

By Tony The Tiger Hayes

He was a Giant?

Mike Laga, a persevering big lug from New Jersey whose hapless baseball story could have served as inspiration for any number of Bruce Springsteen blue collar anthems, never could catch a break in an itinerant 13-year professional career.

Despite producing Ruthian minor league numbers and receiving gold stars for his determination, Laga never got an opportunity to play a full season in the majors.

Laga would introduce himself to SF fans with a sizzling debut performance in 1989, but like his stops in Detroit and St. Louis, Laga never received much of an opportunity going forward for the Orange & Black.

In parts of two seasons backing up Will Clark with SF, Laga would appear in 40 games, batting .191 with three HRs.

Why Was He A Giant?

Hall of Fame manager Sparky Anderson once championed Mike Laga by saying of his young Detroit Tigers charge: “He will make you forget about every power hitter who ever lived.”

That verbose prediction never materialized, but Giants manager Roger Craig, a former Tigers coach, remembered Laga fondly and recommended the Giants ink the left-handed hitter as backup 1B and pinch hitter for the 1989 season.

Before and After

Creaming minor league pitching was never Laga’s issue. By the time he received his first big league call up in 1982, he had already slammed 77 home runs in three minor league campaigns. He would go on to sock a total of 255 minor league bombs. In parts of nine big league seasons, Laga would muscle 16 balls out of the park.

At times, Laga was not shy about voicing his big league frustrations. After spending three seasons toiling for Detroit’s Triple-AAA franchise in Evansville, IN, Laga had had enough.

“I hate it in Evansville,” he blurted one spring. “I don’t want to go back!”

He got his wish, but only because unbeknownst to Laga, the Tigers had moved their top minor league affiliation from Evansville to Nashville.

He Never Got His Own Bobblehead. But…

In his debut game with SF, Laga would deliver the kill shot in a remarkable win that was the baseball equivalent of the movie “The Expendables.”

After the Giants fell behind early at Cincinnati (9/4/89), Giants manager Craig began removing most of the starters in favor of backups and September call-ups such as Laga.

In the end, when the Giants had overcome a 8-0 deficit to beat the Reds 9-8, Craig would call the riveting victory: “the biggest game I ever won as a manager.”

“I’ve got a lot of guys. I want to give them a chance to play and boy did they ever play,” crowed Craig. “The Killer B’s (the backups) did a hell of a job, but the Killer C’s (the call-ups) won it.”

Trailing 8-0 heading into the seventh, the Giants were literally situated behind the eight ball when their bats began rumbling to life as Will Clark and Terry Kennedy crashed solo long balls off Reds starter Tim Leary.

But then Craig pulled both Clark and Kennedy, seemingly satisfied that the Giants had at least made a decent effort in what appeared to be an inevitable blow out.

Laga, who subbed for Clark, received his first Giants at bat in the eighth with two outs and infield understudy Ernie Riles on first base.

The burly 1B turned on a Leary fastball and crushed it deep into the Queen City night for a home run to make it an 8-4 game.

The Giants were now officially on a roll and that roll would not be slowed.

Flame -throwing , but wildly erratic reliever Ernie Camacho came on to face the Reds in the eighth and he struck out the side, fanning Mariano Duncan, Ron Oester and Herm Winningham in tidy fashion.

Then the Giants bats went back to work in a furious ninth.

With Norm Charlton now on in relief, super utility-man Greg Litton led off with a pinch single. Pinch hitter Candy Maldonado, scalded a line drive but it was right at Luis Quinones at second for an out.

Next, end-of -the – bench guy, Donnell Nixon slashed a single to center field , with Litton stopping at second. Grizzled pinch hitter Bob Brenly reached first on an error by 3B Chris Sabo to load the bases.

John Franco was then summoned to pitch to gray beard Chris Speier – yet another SF pinch hitter – and the veteran infielder ripped a single to center to make it 8-5.

The Reds flop sweat was now starting to form a puddle on the Riverfront Stadium artificial turf.

Catcher Bill Bathe – baseball’s version of Moses – was next, AND, he singled up the middle to plate two runs – making it 8-7.

Rob Dibble came in to face Riles, and yep, the lithe hitter slapped a knock to center to plate Speier and send pinch runner Scott Garrelts to third.

Down a touchdown and a two point conversion just three innings prior, the surging Giants had boomeranged to tie the flailing Reds 8-8.

It was the star- crossed Laga’s turn next, and with steam virtually pouring from Dibble’s nostrils, the new Giant tattooed a sharp two-hopper between first and second base to plate Garrelts with the go ahead run.

The Reds would go on to load the bases off closer Steve Bedrosian in ninth with one out. But Bedrock would retire Sabo on a pop up and negate Dave Collins on a routine grounder to close out a most miraculous 9-8 victory.

After the game the Giants clubhouse turned into a grand jubilee.

“Everybody was screaming and hollering. I’ve never seen anything like it. I’m hoarse from all the yelling,” said pitcher Jeff Brantley.

“That was just a great win,” said Kennedy. “No matter what happens, this game will have a place in Giants lore.”

Keeping with his untimely history however, the man of the hour was no where to be found when his teammates began the merrymaking with chats of “Lags, Lags, Lags!”

“I was outside doing a radio interview,” a disappointed Laga said. “I don’t know what happened.”

Giant Footprint

Wherever Laga traveled in his Major League career his path was blocked by players with deep Giants ties.

At the time of his first major league call up in 1982, aging ex-Giants Enos Cabell and Mike Ivie we’re sharing the 1B position.

While passing those two veterans was not seemingly insurmountable for 1983. But Cabell repaired his swing and rebounded with a career high .311 campaign in 1983, keeping Laga in the minors.

Cabell soon skipped Motown, signing with his former Houston team.

But instead of turning to Laga, the Tigers aggressively pursued SF slugger Darrell Evans who seemingly found the fountain of youth in 1983 – belting 30 HRs while based at Candlestick Park. The Tigers also made a key trade during spring training acquiring star reliever Willie Hernandez AN ex-Giant, the steady and slick fielding 1B Dave Bergman from Philadelphia.

In 1984, a dominant Tigers team would win the World Series with Evans and Bergman, sharing 1B/DH duties. Again Laga would spend most of ‘84 in the minors.

Laga moved on to St. Louis in 1986, but without the DH in play, he was limited to 1B duty. The only problem was, the former Giants slugger Jack Clark was firmly entrenched at 1B. Clark was gone in 1988, but in a 40 game trial with the Cardinals, Laga did not produce.

By the time he reached SF, Laga was pretty much labeled a 4A player. And with Will Clark in front of him, he had no shot of seeing any meaningful action.

It wasn’t until 1991 when Laga received a shot to play in the majors- however it was the major leagues of Japan.

Laga flourished for the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks of the Pacific League, playing in 124 games and batting .236, 32, 81.

At last there were no former Giants blocking his path – not even ex-Yominuri Giants.


That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: Baseball With or Without Covid There will be Brawls

Oakland A’s outfielder Ron Laureano is intercepted before he can get to Houston Astros coach Alex Cintron in the Astros dugout on Sunday at the Oakland Coliseum (sfgate.com photo)

Baseball With or Without Covid: There will be Brawls

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

As long as athletes are competitive in the game of baseball, brawls will happen. Doesn’t matter if there is a Pandemic. Nobody expected the A’s and Astros players, to put their masks on, and then go and exchange a few punches with the Astros after Ramón Laureano was hit in the back by a pitch by Astros rookie Sunday during a beautiful and warm August afternoon at the Oakland Coliseum.

Ramón Laureano’s 2020 start has been hot, he is hitting well and he is driving in runs for the A’s. This was the second time in Sunday’s game that he was hit and the fifth (5) times that Ramón has been hit during the first two weeks of the season. Laureano charged the Astros dugout after he was taunted by Alex Cintrón from inside the dugout. Then all hell broke loose. Both teams went into battle mode. I remember how mad A’S manager Tony LaRussa used to get every time they hit his slugging first baseman Mark McGwire, which at one time was like the “punching bag” of the team, he was hitting all those home runs and the pitchers did not like it. As simple as that. No need for a great sports psychologist to come over.

Just like when the A’s or other teams hit a walk-off hit, there is a celebration and many times it is not totally contained. I have little doubt that brawls in the game will continue to happen this year, it is human nature. These guys have been trained to be competitive all their lives and in the moment, this is going to happen in the passion of the game, thing happen.

I know some in this culture like to see sort a utopian society behavior, but this is not going to happen, especially in professional sports. The A’s are hot, they have won the last nine games, swept the 3-game series over the reigning divisional champion Houston Astros, a team that is marked after their sign-stealing scandal. A team that in a way is lucky to have escaped much embarrassment returning to the field with no fans during this unique season.

About the brawl Sunday. “That’s one of those things in baseball where you don’t really think about what’s going on with mask-wearing in a pandemic when stuff like that is happening”. Said ex-A’s now Astros right fielder, Josh Reddick who added “You’re looking to get in there and protect your teammates the best you can, and try to minimize a situation that can get out of hand and do something that can keep going the rest of the season that we don’t want to have.

On July 28, Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly threw a ball near Alex Bregman’s head, and then taunted Carlos Correa. That started a benches-clearing incident at Minute Maid Park in Houston, between the two teams. Kelly was suspended for eight (8) games. In a 60 game season an eight game suspension is large, compared to a regular 162 game season.

This weekend we saw photos and videos in the news of lots of people at Dolores Park in San Francisco, not socially distancing, enjoying a sunny day, a lot of them not wearing mask, picnicking, rubbing elbows, throwing Frisbees to their dogs to catch and having a good time. These people were not working, but enjoying some leisure time. In contrast, a brawl happens in the heat of passion when players are working, this is their job to play baseball, and sometimes emotions will run hot and unfortunately are not possible to control.

Because of the Pandemic, Major League Baseball is very strict enforcing suspensions and fines in these types of incidents. Ramón Laureano, has been the best hitter and most consistent player for the Athletics this season, and is sure to get a costly suspension for the team. There will be others suspended on the other side.

Stay well and stay tuned.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the Oakland A’s Spanish radio talent for 1010 KIQI San Francisco and does News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Cal Bears podcast with Michael Duca: Pac 12 Commissioner dismissive on players demands

Pac 12 Commissioner Larry Scott said that he will not meet with Pac 12 players any further regarding stronger safety protection issues and eligibility protection status if they opt out for this season (file photo from mercurynews.com)

On the Cal Bears podcast with Michael:

#1 Pac 12 players have said that in their discussions with Pac 12 Commissioner Larry Scott regarding Covid-19 safety issues and stronger protection status said Scott had not offered any concrete mandates.

#2 Over the weekend Pac 12 players said they will opt out for this season if the following is not instituted out of concern for safety issues, continuous Covid-19 testing and the protection of players eligibility status that choose to opt out due to safety reasons.

#3 In the NFL close to 70 players have already opted out will that be kind of signal for college players that opting out might be the choice to make based on all the safety data and all the latest news

#4 The players had a statement through The Players Tribune which outlined the players needs before the start of the season, the players also said that Scott was “condescending, unprepared and unwilling” to meet with them again and that Scott said the players could go meet with conference’s medical advisory board.

#5 There were a combined number of Cal and Stanford players involved in the negotiations with the Pac 12 up to at least 15 players from both schools but after seeing how Scott handled his last meeting with the players do you see a number of players coming on board to opt out and joining in to be more vocal for their demands?

Join Michael Duca for Giants and Cal Bears podcasts each Monday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com



MLB podcast with Larry Crino: Cardinal players have gone to ER with Covid; How long can SF’s Pence last?; plus more

Tough break for San Francisco Giants left fielder Hunter Pence who lost the ball in the lights to lose a no hitter for pitcher Johnny Cueto in the sixth inning Friday night at Dodgers Stadium (AP photo)

On the MLB podcast with Larry:

#1 Larry three more positive Covid tests for the St Louis Cardinals players on the Cards reportedly have gone to the Emergency Room and their weekend series with the Chicago Cubs cancelled due to the outbreak on the team how much more of this should baseball endure and should they cancel the season?

#2 At what point does MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred have to say that the game has a real pandemic issue, their not playing in a bubble, half the roster of the Miami Marlins are still out on quarantine, the Cardinals might have more than just three players out with Coronavirus.

#3 The San Francisco Giants outfielder Hunter Pence is one of the nicest people in the game you could either meet or interview, fantastic with the fans and a great clubhouse teammate but on the field he’s struggling he went 0-23 to start the season, he’s hitting .063 with just two hits in 32 at bats, and he totally lost a fly ball in left field when Giants pitcher Johnny Cueto was throwing a no hitter in the sixth inning at Dodger Stadium on Saturday night. As hard as it is to say it about Pence, how much longer will the Giants hold onto him?

#4 The Giants lost a tough game to open the series 7-2 and edged the Dodgers in game two 4-3 outside of the Cueto game the Giants are having struggles with the their starting pitching and getting starters to keep runs down and hold leads.

#5 Giant starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija is no exception, Samardzija has pitched in three games and has allowed six homers and gave up three homers on Friday night in the 7-2 loss in LA he’s on the IL with a shoulder inpingement and is expected to miss ten days at least. Samardzija reportedly could have pitched his last game as a Giant.

Join Larry Mondays for the MLB podcasts heard on http://www.sportsradioservice.com


Kings can’t hold lead past first quarter lose to Rockets 129-112

Houston Rockets’ James Harden (13) shoots over Sacramento Kings’ Buddy Hield (24) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Aug. 9, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, Pool)

By Jeremiah Salmonson

It was a bleak outlook coming into Sunday’s game against the Rockets. The Kings fate was no longer in their hands. With a Portland Trailblazers win the Kings would be officially eliminated from my playoff contention. That is just what happened on Sunday night. Midway through the game the Portland Trailblazers won their game and eliminated the Kings hope for a playoff spot.

The game itself was what seemed to be a typical Kings game these days. The Kings got off to a great start out scoring the Rockets 36-23 in the first quarter. The Kings did a good job taking advantage of the Rockets defensive weaknesses to build a lead. However, the game went downhill after that. The Kings were our scored 38-20 in the second to start a string of bad minutes for the Kings. The rest of the way the Kings weren’t able to do much offensively and lost the game 129-112

With the Kings officially eliminated they can turn their focus to next season and hope to give Kings fans something to cheer about.

Up next: The Kings take on the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday night at 6 PM PST.

Pollock and Betts go deep in Dodgers 6-2 win over SF

Los Angeles Dodgers’ A.J. Pollock, left, hits a three-run home run as San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Tyler Rogers, right, watches along with catcher Tyler Heineman, second from right, and home plate umpire Adam Hamari during the seventh inning of a baseball game Sunday, Aug. 9, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

By Jeremy Kahn

Two bad pitches by relievers for the San Francisco Giants gave the game and the series to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

AJ Pollock hit a three-run home run off of Tyler Rogers in the bottom of the seventh inning, as the Dodgers would go on to defeat the Giants 6-2 at Dodger Stadium.

Cody Bellinger hit a single off of starter Kevin Gausman with one out in the inning and then Justin Turner picked up a single off of Rogers. After Rogers struck out max Muncy for the second out of the inning, and then Pollock put a 3-2 offering from Rogers and put it into the left field pavilion.

Just one inning later, Mookie Betts put the game out of reach, as he launched a three-run home run of his own.

Will Smith picked up a leadoff walk and then Enrique Hernandez doubled off of Caleb Baragar, and then Betts picked up his first hit in four at-bats, when took a Baragar pitch and put into the left field pavilion just like Pollocks.

Jake McGee struck out one in his only inning of work to pick up his first win of the season for the Dodgers.

Mike Yastrzemski picked up the Giants first hit of the afternoon, as he singled to center field off of Walker Buehler that scored both Pablo Sandoval and Austin Slater from second and third respectively. Sandoval walked and then Buehler hit Slater, and then after a wild pitch by Buehler, Yastrzemski broke the scoreless tie with a single to centerfield.

Donovan Solano, who leads the major leagues in hitting, extended his hitting streak up to a career-high 14 games, when he singled in the top of the eighth.

Solano is hitting .455 on the season, as he attempts to become the first player since Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox in 1941 to finish the season with over a .400 batting average. That season, Williams, a native of San Diego finished the season with a .406 batting average and won the American League Most Valuable Player Award over San Francisco native Joe DiMaggio of the New York Yankees, who set a major-league record by hitting in 56 consecutive games.

Gausman went 6.1 innings, allowing just one run on three hits, not walking a batter and struck out six, as he did not fare in the decision.

NOTES: Right-handed pitcher Jordan Humphreys was placed on the restricted list for personal reasons and left-hander pitcher Jarlin Garcia was reinstated 60-day injured list.

The Giants acquired outfielder Luis Basabe and he will report to the teams alternate site in Sacramento. Former Oakland As pitcher Trevor Cahill was called up to the taxi squad, while Andrew Suarez was sent to Sacramento and Abiatal Avelino was designated for assignment.

UP NEXT: Lance McCullers, Jr. will open the three-game series for the Houston Astros on Monday night, while the Giants have yet to announce a starter.

Headline Sports podcast with Daniel Dullum: Flyers and Knights top seeds in Stanley Cup; Suns remain undefeated in the bubble; plus more

Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Carter Hart (79) makes a save on Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Alex Killorn (17) during the first period of an NHL hockey playoff game Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020, in Toronto. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)

On Headlines podcast with Daniel:

1 From under the NHL bubbles: Flyers are top seed in the East, Golden Knights are No. 1 in the West

2 Fighting is up in NHL playoffs

3 NBA: Suns are 5-0 in the bubble, T.J. Warren continues scoring binge for Pacers

4 MLB: Giants’ Johnny Cueto — close but no no-hitter; Cubs-Cardinals series postponed after more positive Covid-19 tests

5 NCAA: Mid-American Conference cancels all of its fall sports for 2020

6 If college football season doesn’t happen, NFL might play on Saturdays

Daniel does Headline Sports each Sunday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com