Ron Agostini

July 25, 2014

Ron Agostini: A two-minute look at all things 49ers, Raiders, A’s, MJC and more

It happens every July. While divisional races intensify, NFL camps swing open their doors for another season. Ron Agostini takes a look at the opening of camps, baseball, Modesto Junior College and more in his weekly two-minute drill.

Reading time, two minutes:

• NFL camps opened this week and the mood was upbeat: Freshly mowed grass, the promise of tomorrow, the earth re-awakening ... sorry, got carried away. Wrong sport.
• This is what happens when you’re off for three weeks.
• I’m reminded of the famous George Carlin skit comparing football and baseball: “Baseball is played on a diamond in the park. ... Football is played on a gridiron in a stadium. War Memorial Stadium!”
• Coach Jim Harbaugh of the 49ers said he leads “the least unhappy team I’ve ever been around.” Give the man credit. Vince Lombardi never would have gone there.
• Harbaugh is right. Everyone in the NFL, at base, is unhappy.
• The Ravens’ Ray Rice was suspended two games for knocking his fiancée unconscious. Penalties for pot users start at four games. If I’m a female NFL fan, my face is slapped.
• Count on it: When Rice returns and crosses that goal line, 80,000 will cheer, the commercials will run before and after the kickoff, and the cash register goes cha-ching! Everyone wins.
• Ditto: The 49ers’ Aldon Smith after a sack.
• The Raiders are scaling back expectations. Suddenly, rational thinking from the Silver and Black.
• Then again, “The autumn wind is a Raider, pillaging just for fun ...”
• A beer at Levi’s Stadium will run $10.25. Accordingly, hot dogs will cost body parts.
• The best news in a long time: Dave Ashleigh, the former longtime Modesto Junior College swimming and water polo coach, campaigned through chemotherapy. His cancer is in remission.
• Why outgoing MJC Athletic Director Bill Kaiser smiles: The Pirates’ 21-team program ranked 11th out of 105 California community colleges in overall success in 2012-13 (according to the National Alliance of Two-Year College Athletic Administrators).
• The MJC football team opens Sept. 6 at American River, which was 7-0 before the Pirates scored the upset last fall. Methinks the Beaver sophomores will remember.
• The West Coast is rising again in baseball. How about a Giants-A’s World Series? Or a Dodgers-Angels World Series?
• Among the top five MLB teams in attendance: Dodgers, Giants and Angels.
• Not exactly “Moneyball” strategy: The A’s trade for Jeff Samardzija. Oakland, for once, is going for it.
• Why Samardzija is perfect for the lumber-company A’s: He’s 21-3 when he’s given at least three runs of support.
• Never gets old watching the A’s and their $77 million payroll (fourth-smallest) pounding teams into tiny particles.
• The Sacramento Kings are champions ... of the Las Vegas NBA Summer League.
• Fresno State has lured more than 4,400 new season-ticket holders. Must be that Sept. 13 date vs. Nebraska in the Doghouse.
• Knowledgeable fans nodded when Rory McIlroy won the British Open while, on the same day, ex-fiancée Caroline Wozniacki won a tennis event in Istanbul.
• The Giants’ Tim Lincecum became only the second pitcher to notch a save and a no-hitter in the same season. The first? Sandy Koufax. And he did it more than once.
• Unclear on the concept: Former coach Tony Dungy, who supported Michael Vick, believes Michael Sam would be too much of a distraction.
• Unclear on the concept Part 2: Bash Brother and admitted PED user Mark McGwire, comfy with his baseball job (Dodgers hitting coach), refuses to accept Jose Canseco’s apology.
• The All-Star Game forgot him, but we won’t: The late Tony Gwynn and his singles through the 5.5 hole.
• Barry Bonds turned 50 this week. OK. Next topic.
• Compelling TV from the World Cup: Brazil fans, tears smearing their face paint, in almost painful agony as Germany piles goal atop goal.
• The Ohio State band director was fired for the band’s “sexualized culture.” I’m confused. If you can’t trust the Best Damn Band in the Land, what’s left?
• Yes, we’re gearing for football, which (say it with a growl) depends on throwing bombs, conquering territory and reaching the end zone. In baseball (say it soft and sweet), the object is to go home. Safe at home.
• Rest well, George Carlin.

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