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Where’s the Giant love?

Went to Barnes & Noble last night for my annual purchase of baseball and NFL draft preview magazines.

I picked up the Athlon Sports baseball mag that had a nice shot of Timmy and Trevor gracing the regionalized cover.

It had the typical dose of East Coast love, predicting deep-pocketed Boston would beat Philadelphia in the World Series. It had the Giants winning the division and losing to Philly in the NLCS. It had A’s finishing third with a very real possibility of winning the fairly weak American League West.

What surprised me, however, was its “15 Things to Watch in 2011” and the No. 1 headline: “Best rotation in history?”

I thought, cool, maybe a mention of this year’s Oakland A’s staff or, most likely, a reference to the Giants Fab Four (Sorry, Zito). As much as I hate to admit it (I’m an A’s fan), the starting rotation of Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner and Jonathan Sanchez could tread on history if it sticks together.

Now, I do think the A’s foursome of Trevor Cahill, Dallas Braden, Gio Gonzalez and Brett Anderson is just as good. If the A’s were on KNBR, and had the 50,000-watt cheerleading machine behind them, maybe their foursome would be lauded as the greatest in the land, let alone the Bay Area.

But, I digress. Back to the magazine.

What team this year did Athlon Sports say has possibly the best rotation in history? That would be the Phillies, who boast Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels.

They’re definitely a formidable four … no doubt about it. And I’ll give them that Halladay, in my book, is the best pitcher in baseball.

But, top to bottom, I’ll take the Giants’ four over Philly. Give the A’s staff another year or two to stick, and it could be the A’s four that lay claim. After all, A’s starters last year had a major-league best ERA of 3.47, which was the lowest since Boston’s starting staff posted a 3.32 in 1990.

Back to the Giants. Off the top of my head, Halladay edges Lincecum, Cain over Lee, Sanchez and Oswalt are a tossup and I’ll take Bumgarner over Hamels.

Do either of these staffs match up to Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz and Avery? How about the early 1970s Oakland staffs led by Catfish Hunter, Vida Blue and Ken Holtzman? What about the O’s Jim Palmer, Dave McNally, Mike Cuellar and Pat Dobson, all 20-game winners in 1971?

Fun topic to discuss, no doubt. But if you’re going to bring up the Philly’s Fab Four, let’s at least acknowledge San Francisco. After all, I do believe it was the Giants’ arms that silenced Philadelphia in the NLCS.

What do you think? Is there another staff out there we’re forgetting? Let me know by leaving a comment.

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Posted by on March 27, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Coffee, American Idol and an Alternative

It’s been about two years since Starbucks took its ball and left Village One Plaza, leaving somewhat of an eyesore-ish vacancy at the shopping center’s northwest corner.

Enter Old Plantation Coffee & Cafe, which is expected to open soon, according to a story in The Bee.

In its former life, Old Plantation was in the shopping center on the northwest corner of Coffee Road and Floyd Avenue. I used to frequent it a lot, usually downing multiple cups of coffee with my bagel and cream cheese while reading a couple of newspapers.

The clientele was great, a mix of educators and retired folks sharing opinion and various other people coming and going. I don’t recall what it sounded like outside of people’s voices and the din of clanking coffee cups and dishes. It was a place to be comfortable. The owners and employees made it that way.

It’s definitely not Starbucks, and that’s not a bad thing. Don’t get me wrong. I like Starbucks. A lot. But have you tried to find a seat in one in Modesto? Floyd and Coffee? Briggsmore and McHenry Avenue? On more than one occasion, I’ve been left to go sit in my car to enjoy my coffee when all I wanted was a place to read and listen to music.

In hindsight, Starbucks was maybe a little too impatient in departing Village One Plaza. Hard not to blame them. The big concern at that plaza, beyond lease prices that no longer were a fit with the economy, is the place went dead after 7 p.m. on weeknights. That was true at one time. But it seems that since last summer, business there is picking up.

Anyway, here’s hoping those in the neighborhood take some of their coffee business to Old Plantation. Beyond good coffee and what’s likely to be a great menu, if offers us Villagers one more reason to stay in the area.

What are your thoughts? Are you looking forward to a return of a coffee house? Do you really care if there’s a coffee place or not in VI Plaza? Is Peet’s inside Raley’s enough to satisfy your coffee needs?

Let me know.

Voiceovers: Lauren or Haley will be the next American Idol contestants to go. At least to me, they seemed a little flat compared to the others on “Motown”. A few of my takeaways from last night? Casey (bearded one) was better than I thought. James Durbin has presence. I love Scotty, but country is his only path, which is fine. Stefano, I have to ask, why would you sing “Hello.” Is it even Motown? Here’s a good story, and video, of both Stefano and David Cook performing “Hello”. I’ve only been watching for three weeks, but last night was the best. … Any Aztec alums out there in the Village? When I was there in the early-to-mid1980s, we had decent basketball teams led by Michael Cage and Anthony Watson. I think we made it as far as the National Invitation Tournament one year, losing in the first round to UC Irvine. If it comes down to guard play, UConn will be impossible to beat. … Lots of Giants fans in the area, so with KNBR, you’re never at a loss for coverage. Fans of East Bay teams (like me) might not know that KTRB-AM (860) in the Bay Area has turned into local sportstalk. If you recall, KTRB used to pipe its 50,000-watt signal from Modesto. It took its tower over the hill, and is the flagship station of the A’s. Recently, though, it added local sportstalk. Ken Dito hosts a show from 9-10 a.m. that features Bay Area sportswriters. It’s good stuff. In the afternoon, you can listen to JJ and the Mouth (ex-49er JJ Stokes and Geoff Sheen), who used to have their show on Modesto’s 970-AM.

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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