Alex.. The Worst 7-1 Quarterback In History…

About Alex Smith, Lowell Cohn’s mantra is “he’s so limited.” Limited, as if Alex were some sort of contest winner plucked from the stands…and who gets to line up behind center as a promotional stunt. I’m getting tired of it. Certainly the 49ers are not seriously thought of as one of the league’s elite teams. Especially not elite is their quarterback. So who’s better than Alex? How about Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Michael Vick, Drew Brees, Cam Newton, Andy Dalton, Sam Bradford, Joe Flacco, Matt Ryan, Ben Roethlisberger, Josh Freeman, Mark Sanchez, Eli Manning, Philip Rivers, Matt Stafford, Tony Romo, Matt Schaub, Colt McCoy… did I forget anyone? No, Alex is at the very bottom of the list. The bottom. We get it. He’s not 6’5”, he’s not strong armed, he’s not a superstar, he’s not a glory hog. Don’t you see, that’s the beauty of it all. If you’re the Eagles, the Lions, The Bucs, The Browns, The Seahawks, The Redskins or The Bengals… you just got beat by a team that has Alex in charge. He’s not anything you like… but he is something you’re not. He’s 7-1.
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November 10, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Tom Nakashima's Blog | No comment

Belichick: A Football Life…

I think the creativity and vision of those at the helm of NFL Films have been, in no small measure, responsible for the skyrocketing popularity of NFL Football in America.  The emotion of Vince Lombardi on the sideline, the booming voice of John Facenda announcing the arrival of the Oakland Raiders, that spiral from Montana to Clark… these moments lovingly captured on film have made a great game even greater.  So when I found out that the producers at NFL Films are behind a new series, A Football Life… well, I wanted you to know about it.  Their first subject is Patriots coach Bill Belichick, the only coach ever wired for sound for an entire NFL season.  By the way, of all the coaches who could have agreed to this kind of access, the last one I would expect would be Mr. Belichick.  Isn’t he the guy under the hoodie who never answers questions?  I mean he makes Jim Harbaugh look like a chatterbox.  So here it comes…  Part I of Bill Belichick:  A Football Life premieres exclusively on the NFL Network tomorrow.

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September 14, 2011 at 11:14 am | Tom Nakashima's Blog | No comment

The Hug…

Alex Smith.. a resurrection?  Too early to tell.  But this was huge for him… seven years of underachieving, and now he wins?  Sure he was only 15 for 20, but what was more significant was what DIDN’T happen:  He didn’t fumble, throw an interception, get sacked…. or run out of time getting a play call in.   It’s only one game, but The Jim Harbaugh Era has begun.. and this means way more than just beating the Seahawks.  Things have changed, and here’s how I know…  It was The Hug. When Alex came to the bench following his touchdown plunge, the coach hugged his quarterback as if he’d just won Dancing With The Stars.  I thought he was gonna French Kiss him.  That moment told me this team has moved on… from the darkness of Singletary-Nolan-Erickson to something resembling hope.  Yeah, Dallas is coming in and we could lose to the Cowboys 45-3… so what?  For the moment, the 49ers are tied for first place.  And after what we’ve seen the last few years, isn’t that worth a hug?

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September 12, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Tom Nakashima's Blog | No comment

Phillies Sweep Giants.. Oh Wait…

You could just feel it…  This was the payback series for the Phillies fans.  How could the Left Coast Misfits steal the thunder from the vaunted Phils last year?  The Giants got lucky, they got all the breaks, they got hot at just the right time…they’re a fluke, and on and on and on.   But not this time, not in the Phillies ballpark.  The Phils pitching is the best in the bigs… their bats will maul you, and they haven’t lost two games in a row at home since April 19.  They’re the big dogs… and they know it.  But things got real quiet yesterday, as sick little Tim Lincecum and the Giants bullpen shut down Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Shane Victorino on the way to taking two of three.  Talk about putting a damper on the festivities…  kind of like that shower in the late innings.  Obviously I still think the Philadelphia Phillies are the team to beat, but on this day… the silence was deafening.  Oh, did I mention… the Phillies hadn’t lost two in a row at home since April 19th?

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July 29, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Tom Nakashima's Blog | No comment

Home Of The Brave.. Jackie Greene…

Okay, so Clayton Kershaw is untouchable.  What else is new?  The Giants lost a heartbreaker (again) yesterday to the mean old Dodgers, so naturally the Faithful were a little down.  But, except for one mistake… Tim Lincecum threw a gem, the home crowd gave a rousing welcome to new arrival Jeff Keppinger,  and Sergio Romo had the shut down performance of the year.  And a lot of fans are still buzzing about The Star Spangled Banner, played by local favorite Jackie Greene. I’ll tell you, it was terrific.  I haven’t seen any video of yesterday’s performance, but I did find his National Anthem from last summer.  Enjoy it here.

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July 21, 2011 at 11:44 am | Tom Nakashima's Blog | No comment

Poker’s November Nine…

What idiot stays up until 3am trying to find out who ultimately makes Poker’s November Nine? Oh, that would be me.  Couldn’t it wait until the next day?  I guess so, but in poker, you have to live in the moment.  The World Series of Poker’s Main Event is now set…. After 8 grueling days of play, a field that began with 6,865 players has been pared down to just nine.  Gary Wise of ESPN.com has an excellent piece on those remaining (representing seven countries) who have a shot at poker immortality…. and the top prize of $8.7 Million.  That’s a lot of glue.  You could win The Masters, The Kentucky Derby and the Daytona 500 in the same year… and not have 8.7 million.  And poker’s ultimate showdown won’t happen until November, so I can finally get some sleep.

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July 20, 2011 at 11:40 am | Tom Nakashima's Blog | No comment

Giants On A Roll…

The Faithful got through the All Star Break… and you’ve got to admit, we’re feeling pretty good.  Ryan Vogelsong was introduced as an All Star (unthinkable in the spring), Panda ripped a solid double to drive in a run, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain got to rest…. and The Beard slammed the door.  Props to Bruce Bochy for runnin’ the show his way.  Oh, and the Giants, even with their impotent offense….. still lead the NL West.  And if you need a little more excitement, don’t forget tonight’s premiere episode of the Giants docudrama “The Franchise” on SHOWTIME.  Get an inside look at some of the young season’s highs…. and lows, including one of the most talked about incidents of the year, the devastating injury to Buster Posey.

July 13, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Tom Nakashima's Blog | No comment

Is .250 The New .300?

Has it really been that long ago that the big hitters hit like men?  I mean didn’t guys in the heart of the lineup have averages like  .317 or .331?  Tappers who were struggling to hit .245 rode the pine or were farmed out to the minors.  Of course I’m probably overreacting because the Giants are so anemic in this critical area.  I know, they’re near the bottom in average, runs scored, runs batted in…. and are nearly impotent with runners in scoring position.  And they’re battling for first place in the division?  Hilarious.  If they didn’t have decent pitching, they’d be six games behind the Padres, who are now in last place.  I don’t have an explanation for this, but I’ve gotta believe that .250 is the new .300.  The Giants actually have starters who are hitting around .200… and worse.  If they could acquire someone who could hit .255, he’d be called a “slugger,” and he’d bat in the four hole.   How about .275?  That’s Hall of Fame material.  I kind of miss Jim Ray Hart

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June 23, 2011 at 10:42 am | Tom Nakashima's Blog | No comment

The Biggest Optical Illusion In Sports…

It’s been part of our viewing pleasure, practically since baseball was first televised.  It’s the centerfield camera shot.  You know… where we get to see the pitcher, the batter, the ump and the strike zone.  At least once a game, I’ll be thinking…. “You’ve gotta be kidding me… Can’t you hit that?”  or.. “Can’t you throw a strike?”  Well, from the pitcher’s perspective, it looks like you ought to be able to get it over the plate.  From the hitter’s perspective, it looks like you should at least make contact.  Neither are true.  I believe if most people stood on the pitcher’s mound, that strike zone would appear to be about the size of a first class stamp.  Yeah, there are plenty of places the ball will go…. that are not in the strike zone.  And I’m very sure that if you stood in the batter’s box, connecting with a 96 mph cutter would be the least of your problems…. ‘cuz I doubt you would even see the ball.  Well, I guess that’s why they call it The Big Leagues…

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June 20, 2011 at 10:46 am | Uncategorized | No comment

Miami Party Canceled…

Jason Whitlock of Fox Sports just called LeBron James “a laughingstock, a late-night punch line.  He’s Charlie Brown.”  Oh man, this is gonna be good.  I have to admit, I kind of enjoyed seeing the Miami arrogance get busted.  And we’ve all seen LeBron promise “Not One, Not Two, Not Three Championships etc.”…   Well, for the moment you’re right.  It’s Not One Championship…. it’s ZERO.  And it’s not all LeBron’s fault, though many will call him a choker.  Dallas simply rose to the occasion… because that’s what good teams do in the NBA Finals.  Yeah, the Heat may get their seven Championships one day…. but for now, the parade’s in Dallas.

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June 13, 2011 at 10:21 am | Tom Nakashima's Blog | No comment

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