Tuesday, July 31, 2012

49ers' Dixon offers to play dual role as fullback, too

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Anthony Dixon this summer will play two positions, running back and fullback, to give the team more options and allow him a better chance to make the opening-game roster. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/san-francisco-forty-Niners-Dixon-Hoping-He-Can-Contribute-in-a-Dual-Role-164430836.html

Monday, July 30, 2012

Aldon Smith's apology probably a positive sign

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Though Aldon Smith was the victim in a stabbing incident at a party at his home, he apologized to the organization, teammates and fans when he reported for training camp, saying it was a learning experience and that he needs to use better judgment. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Apology-Indicates-49ers-Aldon-Smith-Is-Ready-to-Grow-164268336.html

Chief Noc-A-Homa recalls his days with the Braves

It's been a long time since Levi Walker played the part of Chief Noc-A-Homa with the Atlanta Braves, dressing in American Indian costume and emerging from his teepee in the left-field bleachers to dance for every Atlanta home run. Yet Walker says he loved those days and wishes he could go back for one last game. My story for ESPN.com's Playbook section: http://espn.go.com/blog/playbook/fandom/post/_/id/6743/chief-noc-a-homa-still-dancing#more

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Gymnast John Orozco's journey: from the Bronx to Britain

John Orozco, at age 19, has traveled a long way since watching the Beijing Olympics on TV four years ago from his couch in the Bronx. Now the American teen sensation has a chance to be part of the best U.S. men's gymnastics team since 1984 when the U.S. won team gold in L.A. My story for TeamUSA.org: http://www.teamusa.org/Olympic-Games/2012/Headlines/2012/July/29/John-Orozco-From-the-Bronx-to-Britain-29-July-2012.aspx

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Veterinarians at convention reach out to community

Many of the veterinarians coming to San Diego for the American Veterinary Medical Association's annual national convention will go out into the community while they're here, doing volunteer and benefit work to help organizations doing good work for animals. My story for U-T San Diego's pet page, Scratch & Sniff: http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/jul/27/trading-notes/

Friday, July 27, 2012

49ers' signing of Leonard Davis creates competition

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Former Pro Bowl lineman Leonard Davis signs with the 49ers, creating a battle with Alex Boone for the job at right guard. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Niners-Addition-of-Davis-Creates-a-Battle-for-Right-Guard-Spot-164015916.html

Raiders' McKenzie speaks his mind

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: New Oakland GM Reggie McKenzie candidly talks about the team's defensive breakdowns in 2011 yet says he agrees with quarterback Carson Palmer that the Raiders have the talent to be a playoff team. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Raiders-McKenzie-is-Baffled-by-Defensive-Breakdowns-of-2011-164022476.html

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Can Randy Moss outrun Father Time?

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Wide receiver Randy Moss is 35, which has some questioning whether the 49ers' offseason acquisition still has something left in the tank. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/At-35-Niners-Randy-Moss-is-Trying-to-Outrun-Father-Time-163862536.html

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Will it be Kaepernick or Johnson as 49ers' No. 2 QB?

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Colin Kaepernick is the incumbent backup quarterback to Alex Smith, and a long-term piece of the 49ers future. But will Josh Johnson be a better short-term solution as No. 2 QB this season? http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Kaepernick-Johnson-Will-Battle-for-Job-as-49ers-Backup-Quarterback-163704546.html

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Niners' rookie Jenkins says he's made 'long strides' since minicamp

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Rookie wide receiver A.J. Jenkins says he heard the criticism of his performance during minicamp and says he's now in shape and has made "long strides" going into the start of training camp. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Niners-Rookie-Jenkins-Says-Hes-Made-Long-Strides-Since-Minicamp-163549746.html

Palmer says Raiders are a playoff team

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Quarterback Carson Palmer says he believes the Raiders will be a playoff team in 2012 and can't wait for training camp to start. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Palmer-Says-Raiders-Are-a-Playoff-Team-in-2012-163555366.html

Monday, July 23, 2012

Just how do they time those pregame flyovers so perfectly? For military pilots, it's no big deal

As soon as the final notes come to a close on those pregame flyovers, a jet, chopper or other big military plane will appear over a stadium perfectly on cue. How do they do it? How do planes flying sometimes hundreds or thousands of miles appear overhead just as soon as "... and the home of the brave" is sung? For pilots trained to be over a target at a specific time, it's really no big deal. My story for ESPN.com's Playbook: http://espn.go.com/blog/playbook/fandom/post/_/id/6544/how-flyovers-hit-their-exact-marks-at-games

Raiders' commitment to Branch a commitment to excellence

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Oakland's signing of safety Tyvon Branch to a four-year deal -- in an offseason when several big-name players were shed -- is a sign of the team's commitment to a centerpiece player of a revamped defense. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Raiders-Commitment-to-Branch-is-Commitment-to-Excellence-163413666.html

Super Bowl team or super disappointments?

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Projections are all over the map for 49ers. While one Las Vegas sportsbook has the Niners as Super Bowl favorites, another analytical website says the 49ers won't even win eight games in 2012. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Projections-For-49ers-Season-Are-Up-and-Down-163181456.html

Friday, July 20, 2012

Veteran equestrian O'Connor, at 54, now has 'senior' status

Karen O'Connor at age 54 is now the senior member of the entire 500-plus U.S. athlete delegation for the London Olympics. This will be her fifth Games, but she says she's more excited about these than any other, and doesn't see herself as any type of senior citizen yet. My story on her for the U.S. Olympic site, TeamUSA.org. http://www.teamusa.org/News/2012/July/20/Karen-OConnor-Americas-senior-most-Olympian-20-July-2012.aspx

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Five ways Raiders could improve in 2012

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Nobody's expecting big things from the Raiders in 2012, but it's possible that by making improvements in five key areas, Oakland could be better than anticipated this coming season. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Five-Ways-the-Raiders-Could-be-Better-in-2012-163045866.html

Music store owner seeing things go full circle for business

Ken Kosta has worked in the music business since he was 18. After working at iconic record stores of the past, such as Licorice Pizza and Tower Records, Kosta opened up his own store -- and then watched the technological switch to digital music erode sales. But a funny thing happened on the way to oblivion ... young people started wanting vinyl albums. Now, the future looks much brighter. My story for U-T San Diego's "On the Job" series in the North County: http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/jul/19/tp-what-goes-around-comes-around-for-lifes-work/

Alex Smith became 49ers' Mr. Clutch in 2011

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Quarterback Alex Smith made huge strides last season, especially in the fourth-quarter when he led six comebacks for victories. Can he continue that performance in 2012? http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Niners-Alex-Smith-Proved-He-Can-Be-a-Clutch-Quarterback-163038186.html

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

49ers' Hunter could be a star in waiting

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: The 49ers backfield is a logjam of talent, with Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter, Brandon Jacobs, rookie LaMichael James and Anthony Dixon. But one NFL analyst says Hunter, who had a solid rookie season, may be ready to show the league what he has, an "it" factor that's hard to ignore. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/In-His-Second-Year-Hunter-May-Blossom-for-49ers-162872306.html

Diana Lopez is battle-tested by brotherly bashing

U.S. taekwondo standout Diana Lopez, who won a bronze medal at Beijing four years ago, goes into the London Games with confidence because she knows she has tougher training partners than any other woman in the world -- her Olympic medal-winning brothers. My story for the U.S. Olympic site, TeamUSA.org: http://www.teamusa.org/News/2012/July/18/Diana-Lopez-Family-Tested-18-July-2012.aspx

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

It's brain over brawn for Olympic rower Julie Nichols

Julie Nichols has rowed her way into the London Olympics in the double lightweight sculls class. Though she's fit and strong, the former Cal standout has used her analytical tools as much as her muscle to become one of the world's best -- not a surprise considering she has degrees in chemical engineering and mechanical engineering and hopes to pursue her doctorate. Her story for Team USA.org: http://www.teamusa.org/News/2012/July/17/Nichols-Engineering-a-Route-to-Gold-17-July-2012.aspx

Goldson again will settle for short-term deal with 49ers

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Safety Dashon Goldson and the 49ers failed to come to terms on a long-term agreement, so the Pro Bowler from 2011 will play for a one-year deal of $6.2 million under the team's franchise tag. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Goldson-Again-Will-Play-for-49ers-Without-Long-term-Deal-162722126.html

Monday, July 16, 2012

Offseason is about to end for 49ers

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: As unbelievable as it seems in the middle of summer, rookies are due to report to 49ers training camp Saturday, with the first practice of camp set for Saturday. The first exhibition game is just 23 days away. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Work-to-Begin-in-Earnest-for-49ers-When-Rookies-Report-This-Week-162587526.html

Friday, July 13, 2012

Niners may have NFL's best group of running backs

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: With Frank Gore, Brandon Jacobs, Kendall Hunter, LaMichael James and Anthony Dixon, San Francisco may have the best corps of running backs in the NFL. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Niners-Group-of-Running-Backs-Might-be-NFLs-Best-162350416.html

Athletes aren't shy about trademarking phrases and protecting their 'intellectual property'

No. 1 overall NBA draft pick Anthony Davis recently made news when he decided to register trademarks for "Fear the Brow" and other phrases related to his well-defined unibrow and defensive intensity. But Davis is just the latest athlete (or celebrity) to trademark a phrase, name, nickname, quote or slogan. These days, when athletes build their own brands and look for ways to capitalize on their fame, trademarking is the way to go. Plus, it protects them from the cybersquatters who might want to cash in on their fame. My story for ESPN.com's Playbook section: http://espn.go.com/blog/playbook/fandom/post/_/id/6108/athlete-trademarks-becoming-commonplace

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Raising puppies for others is a bittersweet experience

It's a cycle of joy and sadness for Beth Yturralde, who raises puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. She's on her sixth puppy now, a yellow lab named Brent. Eventually, she'll have to give him up, but she knows he'll make somebody's life better. My story on Yturralde and her group for the U-T San Diego's pet page: http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/jul/11/puppies-in-training/

USOC launches Green Ring program for sustainable resources

To many U.S. Olympic athletes, concerns about the environment and future energy use aren't trivial. So when the USOC launched its Green Ring program for sustainable resource use, athletes not only applauded, but many became involved. My story for the U.S. Olympic site: http://www.teamusa.org/News/2012/July/12/More-action-less-carbon-12-July-2012.aspx

Raiders graded harshly for offseason moves

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Recently, one NFL scout, who writes for ESPN, gave the Raiders a grade of "D" for their offseason moves. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Scout-Gives-Raiders-Offseason-Moves-a-D-162221385.html

Analyst says 49ers have 'turned the corner'

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: It's hard to stay at the top in the NFL. But after a 13-3 season in 2011 and some important offseason moves, one Sports Illustrated analyst sees the Niners as a team that now has a foundation for continued success. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Niners-May-Now-be-Set-Up-For-Long-term-Success-162067335.html

49ers' Ahmad Brooks may be on verge of breakout year

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks, who had his best season in 2011, may be ready for a breakout year in 2012, say some teammates. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Niners-Brooks-May-be-Poised-for-Breakout-Season-162212445.html

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Will Jim Harbaugh actually turn Randy Moss around?

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh is the prince of positive thinking, but if he can truly resurrect Randy Moss to become a team-first, productive leader of the receiving corps, he might be in line for some type of positive-thinking award. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Harbaughs-Positive-Energy-is-Focused-on-Moss-161928525.html

Monday, July 9, 2012

Will Niners' Jenkins be a disappointment?

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: San Francisco's No. 1 draft choice, receiver A.J. Jenkins, had what one reporter called a "rough spring." Many believe Jenkins needs to be in better shape, and stronger, to make an impact this season. Head coach Jim Harbaugh, however, discounts those worries. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Jenkins-Rough-Spring-Spawns-Questions-About-49ers-No-1-Pick-161788795.html

Despite some absences, U.S. men's basketball team in London may be stronger and more versatile than 2008 gold-medal team

Dwight Howard, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh won't be a part of Team USA's men's basketball team at the London Games, but newcomers such as Kevin Love and Blake Griffin might make this 2012 team even more versatile. My story for the U.S. Olympic website, TeamUSA.org: http://www.teamusa.org/News/2012/July/09/New-Look-for-Mens-Basketball-Team-July-9-2012.aspx

Pooches at the park bring out smiles in baseball fans

When the Chicago White Sox decided to try out a Dog Day at New Comiskey Park in the mid-1990s, they had no idea how popular it would be. Soon, other teams in the minors and majors were inviting fans to bring their dogs to a game, too. Now, it's a popular day -- or series of popular days -- for teams throughout baseball. My story for ESPN.com's Playbook section. http://espn.go.com/blog/playbook/fandom/post/_/id/5881/at-baseball-stadiums-the-dog-days-are-here

Friday, July 6, 2012

Alex Boone appears set to start at guard for 49ers

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Former Ohio State standout Alex Boone, who's always played offensive tackle, looks like the frontrunner to start at right guard for the 49ers in 2012. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Boone-Ready-to-Fill-Gap-in-49ers-Offensive-Line-161563985.html

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Raiders' Louis Murphy may be in for a battle

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Louis Murphy two seasons ago was Oakland's No. 1 pass catcher. Now, he's in danger of not making the roster after an off season and the emergence of some young talent. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Emergence-of-Young-Raiders-WRs-May-Put-Murphy-on-Bubble-161445415.html

49ers passing game has made big strides in offseason

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: At the start of last season, the 49ers' passing game was in its infancy after an offseason of labor strife and the introduction of a new coaching staff and playbook. Now, say Alex Smith and offensive coordinator Greg Roman, the passing offense is far more advanced. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/Niners-Passing-Game-Should-Operate-at-Higher-Speed-in-2012-161438115.html

Former Marine pilot in Santee is flying fast

Jim Panknin likes to stay busy, so the former Marine doesn't have just one business card. He has three. The pilot, who operates his own flight company, also has another business and is involved in Santee community activities. My story on Panknin for the On the Job series for Santee Patch: http://santee.patch.com/articles/man-with-many-hats-is-flying-high#c

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Can Raiders' McFadden stay healthy? It's a big question

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website. Darren McFadden may be the most exciting running back in the NFL ... when he's healthy. But can he stay healthy? That's the question. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Raiders-McFadden-Believes-Hell-Be-as-Good-as-Ever-in-2012-161342975.html

In receiver roulette, which Niners should be worried?

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: The 49ers will likely carry six wide receivers in 2012. So which ones are most in jeopardy? Kyle Williams? Ted Ginn Jr.? http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Williams-Ginn-Look-Most-Vulnerable-in-Receiver-Roulette-161340025.html

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

49ers' playoff win over Saints up for ESPY award

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: The Niners' 36-32 comeback win over the Saints in the NFC playoffs last season is one of three games selected for the ESPYs Best Game of the Year award. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Niners-Playoff-Win-Nominated-for-Best-Game-of-Year-161215745.html

Some see stardom for Raiders' Denarius Moore

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Second-year wide receiver Denarius Moore is expected to be a breakout star in 2012 by some NFL observers. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Raiders-Denarius-Moore-Touted-as-Future-Star-in-NFL-161220585.html

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Building a career at Legoland, block by block

Mike Pastor started working at Legoland at age 16, and now has built a career he loves, block by block,   at the Carlsbad amusement park. My story for U-T San Diego's On the Job series: http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/jun/30/tp-legoland-employee-builds-a-career-at-carlsbad/