Stop Gore, Make Alex Beat You. You Did.. And He Did…

Alex, don’t say anything. Just smile and walk away. Jim Harbaugh… just say, “I’m proud of our guys.”  In the post game after that thriller against Eli Manning and the New York Giants, it’s obvious that Mr. Harbaugh reads every little morsel that’s written about Alex Smith, who’s often referred to as “a game manager” in a tone that suggests that’s something to be ashamed of. And isn’t it about time Lowell Cohn asks Jim Harbaugh “What did you see in Alex Smith?” I wish Jim would say “How many freaking times do I have to answer that? Weren’t you here the other 350 times you asked that question?” As for the New York Giants, a lot of good teams would kill to be 7-2. You’re one of them. As for the 49ers?  Eight. And. One. Who’s Got It Better Than Us?
Monica’s dad photo

November 14, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Tom Nakashima's Blog | No comment

Poker is King Tonight

It’s all over tonight. In a few hours, we’ll know the holder of the most prestigious poker title in the world.. when the Main Event Champion for 2011 is crowned in the World Series of Poker. A field of more than 6800 players, each laying out $10,000 to compete in poker’s biggest championship… is now down to three. The chip leader is Pius Heinz, a 22 year old from Germany (107,800,000 chips). Then it’s American superstar Ben Lamb (55,400,000). And finally, Martin Staszko of the Czech Republic (42,700,000). Of course, the prize pool is off the scale. The “disappointed” third place finisher collects about 4 million dollars… for second place, it’s  around 5.4 million. And to the Main Event Champion… 8.7 million fisheroos. You could win the Masters, The Kentucky Derby and the Daytona 500 in the same year…. and not have $8.7 Million.  Yikes. Catch the Final Table action tonight on ESPN.
larrykang photo

November 8, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Tom Nakashima's Blog | No comment

49ers Bandwagon Is Getting Crowded…

The 49ers have been so irrelevant the past ten years or so… I knew it would take a while for their 6-1 start to gain some traction. Being under the radar for weeks was great for Jim Harbaugh. But, inevitably, the “experts” are starting to take notice. Matt Barrows wrote that no less than NFL film guru Greg Cosell says Harbaugh is attacking with formations and calling plays he has never seen in the National Football League… and Greg has been paying attention to this stuff for three decades. I think you know what’s coming next… especially if the 49ers continue to play well. The high profile pundits will bring their satellite trucks to Santa Clara.. and want precious time with Harbaugh. If it were up to me,  I’d say stay on the East Coast and keep fawning over the NY Giants, the Steelers, the Eagles and the Jets. Oh, and get off our lawn! Sorry…
Anee.baba photo

November 4, 2011 at 11:46 am | Tom Nakashima's Blog | No comment

Please Keep Ignoring The 49ers…

This doesn’t surprise the Faithful who follow the Niners. After last week’s NFL action, most of the pundits couldn’t stop talking about the Philadelphia Eagles or the New York Giants… Oh look at the Pittsburgh Steelers, Rex Ryan’s Jets… How ‘bout the New England Patriots and yeah, the Detroit Lions are back! The 49ers get nary a mention, and I suppose that’s just what Jim Harbaugh wants… to stay completely under the radar, to be an afterthought. That’s fine. But I heard a couple of sportscasters struggle through the 49er-Cleveland highlights.. and one guy says  “that’s Isaac SOPO-GO-AH…” You idiot… that’s Isaac SOPO-AGA. But what do you care? Way to do your homework.

Xoque photo

November 2, 2011 at 10:27 am | Tom Nakashima's Blog | No comment

“Who’s Got It Better Than Us?”…

I love hearing Jim Harbaugh exhorting his team in the locker room, “Who’s got it better than us?”  And they yell back.. “Nooo-bodyyyy!”  The new 49ers head coach is driven, intense, competitive… and he’s as tough as nails.  But the genesis of this celebration goes back to his childhood.  I heard Jim tell the story in Andrea Kremer’s excellent piece on HBO’s Real Sports last summer.  It was his dad, the patriarch of the football family and long time college coach Jack Harbaugh who used to ask his young boys, John and Jim…”Who’s got it better than us?”  They would holler from the back seat… “Nooo-bodyyy!”  When Jack Harbaugh, now 72, speaks of how proud he is of his sons, there are tears in his eyes.  And I know he’s now watching these locker room exchanges, which were born in their tiny house a generation ago.   When he hears “Who’s got it better than us?”…  I can only imagine the pride that fills his heart.

monica’sdad photo

October 28, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Tom Nakashima's Blog | No comment

49ers.. On An Unlikely Roll…

After The Bee’s Vic Contreras pointed out that, for the 49ers, this season feels a little like 1981..  how can you not get excited?  30 years ago, the Niners had come off a 6-10 season… after missing the playoffs for the eighth consecutive time.  This year, the 49ers are coming off a 6-10 season… after missing the playoffs for, uh… the eighth consecutive time.  We all know what happened in 1981.  The Bill Walsh-led Cinderella team went all the way to the Super Bowl… and won it.  I know, it’s way too early to think about anything beyond the next game.  But no one expected Jim Harbaugh’s guys to be 5-1 at this point.  Most of the “experts” picked the Rams to win the West.  And no, we don’t have Joe Montana.  But 1981 was long before Jerry Rice.  Their running back that year was Lenvil Elliott… and the tight end was Charle Young.  They were underdogs to the very end.  That’s the way we like it.  So whatever happens….at least 49er football is fun again.  I know we didn’t say that very much last year.

xoque photo

October 26, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Tom Nakashima's Blog | No comment

La Russa.. “What Are You Doing Here?”…

The whole game was sort of bizarre… a series of botched moves, misplays and lack of clutch hitting.  At least on the part of the St. Louis Cardinals.  But what everybody’s talking about is Tony La Russa’s failure to bring in closer Jason Motte in a critical moment.  Was this actually because of a miscommunication between the dugout and the bullpen?   The wrong guy comes out to pitch?  I suppose that’s possible, but doesn’t that sound kinda fishy?  Dave Sheinin of the Washington Post thinks there’s something missing from the story, and he explains here. Maybe the manager is covering for somebody… maybe Motte wasn’t ready.   Perhaps we’ll never know.  But that’s a big loss for the Cards, and they’re up against it now.  The only thing weirder… would have been a call to the bullpen, and out trots…  Charlie Sheen.

Keithallison photo

October 25, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Tom Nakashima's Blog | No comment

Alex Smith.. At Last…

I just want good things to happen to this guy.  No, I didn’t expect him to return to the 49ers this season.  He’s been vilified, spit on, virtually tarred and feathered… and blamed for everything including the Lindbergh kidnapping.  To say his first six seasons were a little rocky is the understatement of the year.  But look what’s happened.  Sports Illustrated’s Jim Trotter says Alex is “reborn.”  With Jim Harbaugh on board… and with essentially the same roster as last year… the Niners are 5-1.  I thought if Alex Smith was just decent this year, it would be a confidence boost for him.  He’s been better than that.  And this humble kid (who’s the same age as Tim Lincecum), still gives credit to his teammates.  And his guys love him back.  The other day, Frank Gore said “Number 11’s coming!  You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”  If Alex keeps this up, he’ll be more than the Comeback Player of the Year… he’ll be Comeback Player of The Decade.  No, Alex Smith is not Joe Montana.  The good news is…. he doesn’t have to be.  In this week’s SI, Peter King suggests that Alex Smith vs. Aaron Rodgers in the NFC title game is not impossible.  Yes, this is the same Peter King who picked the Rams to win the West.

monica’sdad photo

October 21, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Tom Nakashima's Blog | No comment

Bryant Gumbel.. What Were You Thinking?

One of my favorite shows is Real Sports on HBO, which seems to pop up once a month.  Investigative pieces, player profiles, behind the scenes stories.. they’re always top notch, and well worth finding.  But this month’s commentary by Bryant Gumbel on the status of the NBA lockout is what’s drawing a lot of heat.  He made reference to NBA Commissioner David Stern as “a modern day plantation overseer.”  Yikes.  Are you kidding?  A slavery reference?  You obviously knew that would light a fire.  Well, if you just wanted to get Real Sports some attention… you certainly got your wish.  I don’t suppose this discussion will die down anytime soon.  Shaun Powell of ESPNNewYork.com writes, “You can disagree with his tactics and his strategy and his idea of what makes for a financially stable NBA.  But you can’t, under any circumstances, compare the most progressive commissioner in sports to a slave owner.”

otterman56 photo

October 20, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Tom Nakashima's Blog | No comment

The Handshake = The Season…

I know, you’ve heard about the overblown Harbaugh-Schwartz incident a hundred times this week.  But I realized that the Handshake and ensuing melee, which took all of about 12 seconds… is a microcosm of what the 49ers have done to most of their opponents this season.  They get under your skin, and there’s nothing you can do about it.  Getting beat by a bunch of no-names is so humiliating that afterward you chase them across the field and yell, “You ruined my day!”  They not only refuse to apologize.. they’re laughing all the way to the locker room.

xoque photo

October 19, 2011 at 10:54 am | Tom Nakashima's Blog | No comment

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