Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Niners believe receiver Quinton Patton has big upside

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Louisiana Tech wideout Quinton Patton, who shined in Senior Bowl, could be the No. 3 receiver 49ers have been looking for. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Patton-May-Give-49ers-a-Receiver-Worth-Saluting-205407751.html

What does draft of Menelik Watson mean for Raiders' Khalif Barnes?

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: When the Raiders took offensive tackle Menelik Watson in the second round, it cast doubt on veteran Khalif Barnes' status at right tackle. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Raiders-Draft-of-Watson-Leaves-Barnes-Status-in-Doubt-205398101.html

Monday, April 29, 2013

Niners' NFC West foes have become even stronger through draft

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Yes, the 49ers liked their draft. But the drafts of the Rams, Cardinals and Seahawks were strong, too, meaning the NFC West race will be a battle in 2013. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Niners-Foes-Have-Become-More-Formidable-205242041.html

Raiders know AFC West foes have gotten stronger, too

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: The Raiders believe they made big strides in improving their roster through the draft, but also can look around and see the Chargers and Chiefs being much improved, too. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Raiders-Know-Chargers-Chiefs-Made-Big-Strides-205233271.html

Sunday, April 28, 2013

"The Last Battle" tells the little-known story of U.S., German soldiers fighting side-by-side in World War II

In the final days of World War II in Austria, German and American forces teamed up to rescue a group of French prisoners from hard-core elements of the Waffen-SS. My review of Stephen Harding's "The Last Battle" for the San Diego Union-Tribune: http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/apr/28/tp-after-hitlers-death-an-unlikely-alliance/

Selection of Lattimore could be brilliant move for 49ers

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: The 49ers concluded their draft by bringing in more players to compete for jobs in 2013, but the biggest-impact player may be Marcus Lattimore, who may not play until 2014. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Niners-Score-for-Now-and-Later-205035731.html

Saturday, April 27, 2013

McKenzie wraps up Raiders draft that was 'interesting'

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area: Reggie McKenzie made 10 picks in this 2013 draft, some of which seemed odd or unusual. But, there's no doubt his draft was interesting ... and it could have a high upside if he knows what he's doing. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Give-McKenzies-Raiders-Draft-an-I-for-Interesting-205030521.html

Niners' Baalke is brilliant with second-day picks

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: In the first two days of the draft, Niners GM Trent Baalke has already filled three key areas of concern: http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Niners-Fans-Already-Toasting-Baalkes-Draft-204953871.html

For Raiders, McKenzie does an Al Davis imitation in draft

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Reggie McKenzie's first two picks in the 2013 draft may turn out to be stars, but they looked very much like players Al Davis would have chosen. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/McKenzies-Draft-Has-Al-Davis-Like-Flavor-204951151.html

Friday, April 26, 2013

Niners move way up in first round, take safety Eric Floyd

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Niners GM Trent Baalke moves up 13 spots in first round to get safety Eric Floyd of LSU, yet keeps both of his second-round choices. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Niners-Bold-Move-Up-is-Surprising-But-Not-Costly-204792511.html

Raider Nation is a house divided about No. 1 pick Hayden

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Raiders fans loved GM Reggie McKenzie's move to trade down in the first round, but were divided about his pick, cornerback D.J. Hayden. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Raider-Nation-Divided-on-Pick-of-Hayden-204789121.html

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Veteran freeskier Simon Dumont is still flying high and eager to be a part of sport's Olympic debut at Sochi

For years, freeskier Simon Dumont has not only been a trendsetter and medal winner across the globe, but he's lobbied hard and long to see his sport included in the Olympics. Now that it will make its Olympic debut at Sochi in 2014, Dumont wants to do everything he can to be on the U.S. team in Russia. My story for TeamUSA.org: http://www.teamusa.org/Road-to-Sochi-2014/Features/2013/April/24/Simon-Dumont-Flying-High.aspx

Raiders' GM McKenzie getting lots of 'action' for No. 3 pick

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Oakland GM Reggie McKenzie says he's getting many inquiries from other teams about Raiders' No. 3 overall choice. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Raiders-McKenzie-Will-Enjoy-This-Draft-More-Than-First-204496321.html

49ers' Baalke does the unexpected, so maybe he'll stay put

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Often, 49ers GM Trent Baalke does the unexpected. So while the buzz is that he'll trade up in the first round, don't be surprised if he stays put with the picks he has. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Expect-49ers-Baalke-to-do-the-Unexpected-204503491.html

Sometimes, even the greatest of golf's pros hack away like amateurs on a single hole

Billy Casper, John Daly, Tom Weiskopf and Gary McCord have all played like weekend hackers on a single hole, racking up scores in double digits on the PGA Tour or in golf's majors. Sometimes, bad things happen to good golfers. My story on the worst single-hole scores ever, for ESPN.com's Playbook section: http://espn.go.com/blog/playbook/fandom/post/_/id/21248/listed-the-10-worst-holes-in-pga-history

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Russian-Americans campaign for Sochi

To a group of Russian-Americans, the prospect of Sochi becoming the first Olympic host since Moscow in 1980 is exciting. The group is traveling across the U.S. to marathons and running events to educate Americans about the host city and promote the Winter Games of 2014. My story for TeamUSA.org: http://www.teamusa.org/Road-to-Sochi-2014/Features/2013/April/23/The-Path-To-Sochi-2014.aspx

If McKenzie keeps Pick No. 3, look for a smart, safe choice

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: The Raiders have gambled and lost with past first-round picks, but if Oakland keeps its No. 3 overall choice, expect Oakland to take a solid, safe player -- likely a lineman. GM Reggie McKenzie can't afford a mistake. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/McKenzie-Cant-Afford-to-Gamble-with-Top-Pick-204290641.html

Reports indicate 49ers may make bold move in first round

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: More and more analysts are hearing that the 49ers will package picks to move up much higher in the first round for an immediate-impact player. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Buzz-Getting-Louder-About-49ers-Moving-up-in-First-Round-204300501.html

Monday, April 22, 2013

Yes, Kaepernick is fast ... but he wants to be faster

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Colin Kaepernick has been working hard since the end of the season to improve his game, including working with world-class sprinters to refine his running technique. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Kaepernicks-Fast-But-Wants-to-be-Faster-204105251.html

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Each year on Draft Day, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell morphs from Mr. Enforcer to Uncle Huggable

Since taking office, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has taken a hard line on many topics, and has enforced discipline on his subjects. But on Draft Day, the NFL's czar has a hug for everyone. My story for ESPN.com: http://espn.go.com/blog/playbook/fandom/post/_/id/21119/a-brief-history-of-goodells-nfl-hugfest

Friday, April 19, 2013

Olympic gymnast Sam Mikulak of Michigan now focused on a national title for Wolverines

Sam Mikulak has won the NCAA all-around title, been the Big Ten's Gymnast of the Year and also a member of the U.S. Olympic team in London. But what he really wants is an NCAA team title for Michigan, and he and his teammates can get it this weekend at Penn State. My story for TeamUSA.org: http://www.teamusa.org/News/2013/April/19/Sam-Mikulak-Healthy-And-Hungry.aspx

49ers already in great shape for 2014 draft, too

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: The 49ers have 13 picks in this year's draft, yet already have 10 aligned for 2014. And more could be on the way. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Niners-Already-Well-Positioned-for-2014-Draft-Too-203789151.html

Raiders' Pryor says he's ready to fight for QB job

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Terrelle Pryor knows the Raiders have brought in quarterback Matt Flynn this offseason, but says he's eager to compete for the starting job. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Raiders-Pryor-Ready-to-Fight-for-Quarterback-Job-203780931.html

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Niners' Baalke sees Dorsey as versatile, capable

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Defensive lineman Glenn Dorsey may never be the impact player people thought he would be coming out of LSU, but 49ers GM Trent Baalke says he believes Dorsey can be a capable and versatile player with a strong up side. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Niners-See-Dorsey-as-Versatile-Contributor-203618691.html

Rashad Jennings hopes to find past form with Raiders

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: After a knee injury in 2011, Jacksonville running back Rashad Jennings' production in 2012 was significantly worse. Now with the Raiders as Darren McFadden's backup, Jennings say's he's 100 percent again. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Jennings-Gets-Fresh-Start-as-McFaddens-Backup-203608721.html

In wake of tragedy at Boston Marathon, fans in New York and Boston have (temporarily) united

No two sports cities in America likely have a more contentious rivalry than New York and Boston. Fans of the Red Sox and Yankees, Patriots and Jets (or Giants), Celtics and Knicks and Bruins and Rangers usually boo one another (or worse) at games and take joy in their rival fans' disappointments. This week, however, the feeling is much different -- just as it was after 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy. My story for ESPN.com's Playbook section: http://espn.go.com/blog/playbook/fandom/post/_/id/21059/for-now-a-bond-between-boston-and-nyc

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Alex Boone hopes bigger equals better in his 2013 play

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Alex Boone is 6-foot-8 and listed at 300 pounds, but the 49ers right guard says he's added 10 to 15 pounds of muscle to his frame through a rigorous offseason weight-lifting program so that he can better handle larger defensive linemen. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Niners-Boone-Working-to-Become-Even-Better-203404861.html

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

USOC begins campaign to fight child abuse

The U.S. Olympic Committee has kicked off a year-long education and support campaign, aimed at youth sports programs across the country, to help thwart child abuse. http://www.teamusa.org/News/2013/April/16/Making-The-Commitment.aspx

Raiders owner Davis believes in McKenzie's approach

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Mark Davis says he won't be impatient or frustrated by another losing season. He believes change will take time and backs GM Reggie McKenzie. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Mark-Davis-Believes-in-McKenzies-Plan-203212251.html

Garrett Celek gives 49ers depth at tight end

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: The 49ers will be going after another tight end in the upcoming draft, but Garrett Celek may still prove to be an improving player at the position. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Celek-Made-Great-Strides-for-49ers-at-Tight-End-203224711.html

In 1978, Gary Redus was in a league of his own, hitting .462 for Billings -- the highest average ever in professional U.S. baseball

Gary Redus played 13 seasons in the major leagues, hit for the cycle and flashed both power and speed as a starting outfielder for several teams. But nothing he did in the big leagues matched the numbers he put up in 1978 at Billings in the Pioneer League, when he hit .462 in his first summer of professional baseball. It's the highest average ever recorded in professional baseball in the United States. My story for ESPN.com's Playbook section: http://espn.go.com/blog/playbook/fandom/post/_/id/20959/in-78-redus-hit-476-in-season-for-the-ages

Monday, April 15, 2013

Only predictable aspect of 2013 draft is it unpredictability

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: With so few elite QBs at the top of the draft and so many very good but not great players, the 2013 draft is unpredictable for the 49ers (and every other team). http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Only-Expectation-for-49ers-Draft-is-the-Unexpected-203027411.html

Friday, April 12, 2013

Call it the Big Bang Theory of home improvement: It's not always the high-cost projects that yield the best value

Yes, you can remodel your kitchen, add a room, put in a Jacuzzi or completely upgrade all your bathrooms. Those projects certainly will add value to your home. But longtime Realtors know that it's the little things that improve curb appeal and enhance first impressions -- how about a nice coat of paint? -- that pay off the most for home owners. My story for U-T San Diego's Home & Garden section: http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/apr/11/big-bang-theory/

Whitner says 49ers have NFL's best defense

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: The 49ers' defense had its troubles in the NFC Championship Game and Super Bowl, but safety Donte Whitner still believes San Francisco goes into the 2013 with the NFL's best defense. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Whitner-49ers-Have-NFLs-Best-Defense-202706601.html

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Decorated and dedicated U.S. women's goaltender Jessie Vetter continues to learn

Jessie Vetter has been college hockey's player of the year and won NCAA championships, won a silver medal with the U.S. Olympic team in Vancouver and helped the U.S. win gold in the world championships. But she's still learning the game, a fact that hits home with her now that she's also coaching and teaching. My story for USA Hockey: http://womensworlds.usahockey.com/news_article/show/245715?referrer_id=714895

Is 49ers' read-option offense unstoppable?

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website. The NFL's defensive coaches are working this offseason to come up with methods for stopping option attacks that feature running quarterbacks such as Colin Kaepernick, including talking to longtime college coaches who have years of experience against such systems. Yet Alabama coach Lou Saban says the Niners offense is unique among all others. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/NFL-Working-to-Find-a-Way-to-Stop-49ers-Offense-202540841.html

Raiders intrigued by BYU's raw but athletic Ezekiel Ansah

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Going for defensive end Ezekiel Ansah with the No. 3 pick in the draft might be considered a reach, but as the draft nears, the BYU standout is climbing the boards -- and the Raiders have shown interest. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Potential-of-BYU-Pass-Rusher-Has-Caught-Raiders-Interest-202530661.html

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Even if 49ers wait a bit, they can get a high-impact safety

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: According to several NFL analysts, this crop of safeties is deep and talented, meaning San Francisco can be patient and still get a good player. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/With-Deep-Class-of-Safeties-49ers-Have-Options-202342231.html

Does Raiders' Andre Carter still have something left?

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Andre Carter, at 33, has been re-signed by the Raiders for 2013, and Oakland hopes the veteran defensive end can still be a big contributor as a pass-rush specialist. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Raiders-Believe-Carter-Has-Something-Left-202330931.html

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Niners are still in the market for another quarterback

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Even after acquiring Colt McCoy, the 49ers are expected to select a quarterback in the draft with a mid- to low-round pick. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Even-With-McCoy-49ers-are-Expected-to-Draft-a-Quarterback-202142611.html

Cornerback Mike Jenkins seeking redemption with Raiders

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Former Pro Bowl corner Mike Jenkins, just 28, is hoping to kick-start his once-promising career by signing with Raiders. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Raiders-New-Cornerback-Has-Something-to-Prove-202132871.html

In minor league baseball, bacon on the menu is more important than a power-hitting first baseman

What's the most important thing a minor league baseball team can offer its fans? A great park? A good team? Special promotions? How about ... BACON! From Maine to California, teams draw fans with the lure of newer, bigger, badder items loaded down with bacon. It's a sure winner. My story for ESPN.com's Playbook section: http://espn.go.com/blog/playbook/fandom/post/_/id/20692/bacon-takes-minor-league-baseball-by-storm

Monday, April 8, 2013

Bowman not ready to rate Seahawks over 49ers

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Seattle has made big strides in the offseason, but 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman isn't ceding the NFC West to the Seahawks just yet. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Niners-Bowman-Isnt-Ready-to-Cede-Division-to-Seattle-201940771.html

Friday, April 5, 2013

49ers commitment to Davis is commitment to offensive line

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: The Niners' signing of tackle Anthony Davis to a long-term deal reflects a commitment to the team's heart and soul, its offensive line. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Deal-for-Davis-Shows-49ers-Commitment-to-Offensive-Line-201625941.html

Rising marathon star Guor Maker, once a refugee, is determined to make things better in his homeland

Once Guor Maker was a boy without a country. Today, he has two, the United States and South Sudan, where he was born. The rising marathon runner, who went to high school in New Hampshire after escaping a civil war and slavery, is now a U.S. citizen who wants to represent South Sudan on the world stage and bring notice to the people there. My story for ESPN.com's Endurance Sports section: http://espn.go.com/sports/endurance/story/_/id/9112930/marathoner-guor-maker-come-long-way-refugee-roots

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The fall of Roman's empire? It's a likely scenario

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Offensive coordinator Greg Roman had done wondrous things for San Francisco's offense, and is already excited about doing more in 2013. But in 2014, don't expect him to be working for the 49ers any longer. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/This-Season-Could-be-Romans-Last-With-49ers-201461191.html

Raiders' future may be brighter ... after 2013 season

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: After two offseasons of roster purges because of salary-cap woes, it appears the Raiders will be in good shape -- after 2013. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Future-May-Look-Brighter-for-Raiders-After-2013-201449671.html

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Over 116 years, the Boston Marathon has had some crazy moments, including (of course) Rosie Ruiz, train interruptions and a runaway dog

Rosie Ruiz was perhaps the strangest occurrence ever to hit the Boston Marathon, but in 116 years, the race has had some strange, memorable moments. Heading into the 117th race, we take a look at the 10 craziest episodes of America's oldest marathon for ESPN's Endurance Sports section: http://espn.go.com/sports/endurance/story/_/id/9076078/boston-marathon-doug-williams-scans-race-116-years-ids-10-most-memorable-moments

Signing of Asomugah opens door to intense competition

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: The signing of former Pro Bowl cornerback Nnamdi Asomugah means competition for Carlos Rogers, Tarell Brown and Chris Culliver. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Niners-Secondary-May-be-a-Competitive-Place-201264931.html

Tracy Porter needed Raiders as much as they needed him

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Oakland's secondary was short of cornerbacks, and former Saints standout Tracy Porter needed a chance to re-start his career. The marriage of Porter and the Raiders is a plus for both. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Porter-Signing-is-Good-for-Raiders----and-Porter-201255541.html