DLD 1.10.11 - Quack, Quack, Quack

First, some A's news:

The A's swapped minor league pitchers with the Rangers over the weekend.

Catching prospect Max Stassi is putting on a fundraiser in his hometown of Yuba City.

San Jose is selling off land to buy the property needed for the potential A's ballpark.

The plan comes even as doubts about the agency's future continue to mount, following revelations last fall that plunging property tax assessments decimated the agency's budget. And last week, reports surfaced that Gov. Jerry Brown might eliminate all redevelopment agencies statewide to free up money for schools and other programs.

Said Mayor Chuck Reed: "A lot of people have been wondering how we're going to put together the transaction to do the land for a baseball stadium. I think this is an answer. And it's a message for Major League Baseball -- just in case they had any questions.''

In an interview with the Mercury News, Mavrogenes acknowledged that the governor's proposal to eliminate redevelopment agencies could throw a wrench in the city's plan to acquire the land for the ballpark.

He and the mayor said Friday that the agency's land-sale plan has been in the works for at least a month. Reed added that the memo about the plan was prepared in advance of a discussion he has been trying to have with MLB Commissioner Bud Selig about "how we can finish the land deal.''

From the fanshot section:

Gaijin Matt Murton thrived in Japan this past season

In Japanese baseball, each player typically has his own, individual cheer designed by the fans. In this case, the crowd's collective voice blended into a sing-song crescendo of "Mur-ton!" and "Get a hit!" in Japanese.

Before the third pitch, Murton exited the box for two practice swings. He stepped back in, adjusted his grip, reaffixed his right batting glove, tapped his bat on the plate and leaned back and then forward in his stance. The 6-foot-1 redhead motioned through one more swing and then stood, poised and ready, as a high fastball came toward him.

The sound of his bat connecting (a ground ball single into center field) was barely heard before the crowd erupted into a deafening cheer that lasted several minutes. The hit was Murton's 211th and set a new single-season hits record in Japan, a title perhaps more important because of its reigning champion. Ichiro Suzuki had set the single-season mark of 210 hits in 1994; Murton had now replaced Ichiro.

The Tigers' mascot ran toward first base holding a bouquet of yellow roses. He bowed to Murton, who returned the bow before accepting the flowers. Murton tipped his helmet to the still-standing crowd, offered a wave of appreciation, handed the flowers to the Tigers first-base coach and stood at the bag, ready for the next play.


Keeping with the Japan theme, the A's apparently outbid the Twins on Iwakuma by $11.4 million.

Raiders CB Nnamdi Asomugha is now a free agent, after his contract was voided not by Al Davis or Asomugha, but the contract itself.

The four-time Pro Bowler didn't reach "likely to meet" incentives in an injury-plagued season, thus voiding the last year of his three-year, $45.3 million contract.

Asomugha missed two games with an ankle injury and played hurt in others. According to an NFL Players Association document, he could have triggered his 2011 option by playing in more plays than last season or improving upon his interception, fumble-recovery or sack totals.


Apparently the comments have been fixed:


RT @SBNProductTeam: Comment tracking has been re-enabled. You will be able to see new vs. read comments, etc. Thanks for your patience. via TweetDeck

Tonight is also the BCS National Championship game - No. 1 Auburn vs. No. 2 Oregon.

ESPN compares the two schools

Some Auburn links:

What kind of legacy will QB Cam Newton leave?

- ESPN asks the same question about the guy who will probably be the best player on the field tonight.

"He's got the ability, once he gets in the huddle, that all eyes are on him, and whatever he says, they're going to do," Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn said.

Yet a year ago, none of his teammates even knew him. Newton had just joined the team. There is no Heisman for team leadership. There is no award for recognizing how a player can come in off the street, unpack his gear and almost immediately get a team to not only accept him, but follow him. Maybe there should be.

- Even if Oregon gets a comfortable lead, it may not be safe against Auburn.

Rarely has a team come from behind to win a title after facing the double-digit deficits to good teams that the Tigers have faced. Down 17-0 to Clemson, 20-7 to South Carolina, 21-7 to Georgia, and 24-0 to Alabama, it would have been easy for the Tigers to wilt under the pressure. Instead, Auburn has stormed back to win all four ballgames after trailing by double digits.




Some Oregon links:

- The Ducks try to do one thing - wear their opponents out by playing quickly.

Asper, who is 25 and served a two-year Mormon mission before starting college, is among several Oregon players who told me that opponents sometimes beg them to slow down. "A guy from Tennessee said to me, ‘If you keep running plays that fast, I’m going to throw up.’ I just said, ‘Sorry, but Coach will get mad at us if we slow down.’ I mean, what else are you going to say? But I admit that I’ve messed with guys’ heads. One defensive lineman started complaining to me in the first half, and I said: ‘This ain’t nothing yet. Wait till you see how fast we go in the second half.’ "

- Oh, right, the play cards.

"It’s not, ‘OK, I have to add the top square and the bottom square.’ We’re not dividing matrices out there. And you can immediately see what’s there, as opposed to going through the dance of all the formations.’’

The more clever and memorable, the better. 

Offensive line coach Steve Greatwood might come to the meeting with a new snap count, and it has to be something that can easily stick in the mind of a distracted, fatigued player.

"The code word for going on two might be, you know, "Mickelson,’’ because he always comes in second – stuff like that,’’ Asper said, referring to the golfer currently near the top of the Masters leaderboard. "So if the quarterback says Mickelson, it means we’re going on two. It’s usually funny, to help you remember it.’’

You might have heard of one of the school's most famous alumni

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