Al Davis

Let’s hope for different talking points in 2010

Got the NFL RedZone channel yesterday in a fit of fantasy football paranoia, and I couldn’t be happier. $5 a month on Comcast, who knew?!?!

I probably would have paid about $50 to avoid the pair of football games we non-DirecTV NFL Package people had forced upon us yesterday. Raiders/Browns, followed by Niners/Lions. Add that to Cowboys/Redskins in the evening, and yesterday provided perhaps the weakest case to spend a Sunday inside since Peyton Manning invented television.

I’m not getting paid for this, so I’ll stop in a second, but NFL RedZone was eye-opening. I’ve checked it out for a half hour here or there at other people’s houses, but I’ve never been fully immersed in six hours of commercial free football, especially with the disorienting experience of getting sent from the Fox Robot to Jim Nantz talking about the next episode of Big Bang Theory. And yes, I said NO COMMERCIALS. It’s like the opposite of everything the NFL is usually known for being.

I may go by the name of Bay Area Sports Guy, but I have my limits. There was no way I was going to watch a Raiders/Browns game that had no fantasy relevance whatsoever on “Fantasy Super Bowl Weekend.” And the Niners game, with the singular storyline of, “Can Alex Smith assert himself as a useful NFL starter,” wasn’t much more tempting.

This Smith thing is getting exhausting, isn’t it? It’s one of the 2,000 “talking points” (You may have noticed I’ve spent much less time poking our friend Tim “That’s not true” Kawakami lately — it’s because the new guy at my work used to work at the Mercury News and said that Kawakami’s actually a really cool guy. Mark Purdy, not so much. Skip Bayless,  even douchier than you imagined.) we’re all sick of, subjects that hopefully will get replaced by newer, better topics like “Can Pablo beat out Pujols for NL MVP,” or “Wow, the rest of the NFL is copying Jimmy Raye’s revolutionary offensive schemes,” or “This new baseball stadium in downtown Oakland sure is beautiful,” or “I can’t believe the Warriors just traded all their expiring contracts for Chris Paul.”

Instead we’ll probably sail into the New Year obsessing over things like this, for yet another year:

– Why can’t Smith look dominant for an entire game? Is he progressing too slowly? Is he progressing at all? We’re making too many excuses for him, but he DOES play behind a crappy offensive line and owns 200 49er playbooks.

– Will Al Davis sell the team?

– Will Chris Cohan sell the team?

– The Giants can’t hit.

– The Sharks can’t win in the playoffs.

– The Raiders can’t draw at home.

– The A’s can’t keep their good players.

– The Warriors can’t defend.

– The Niners can’t do anything right on third down.

– Are Warriors PR people really going on local message boards to stick up for the team? (Actually, that is one of the storylines from 2009 that I still find fairly amusing, along with anything having to do with JaMarcus Russell.)

Update: Since I should probably touch on the Mark DeRosa signing, I’ll say this: it was the most inevitable signing Brian Sabean has ever made. Even more than Moises Alou, Reggie Sanders, Edgardo Alfonzo or Steve Finley. The best part about getting DeRosa? Pablo Sandoval gets to play first base. Third base is a fun place to have a power hitter you don’t care about losing after seven years to injury, but Sandoval’s a legit .330 hitter. The last thing we need is for him to become the next Scott Rolen or Troy Glaus.

And nice win by the Warriors, who are taking advantage of the period of the NBA season where the elite teams look around and say, “Man, this season is long. Maybe trying so hard every game isn’t the best idea.” Still, Monta Ellis’ 15-for-26 shooting night along with only 3 turnovers was pretty incredible, but not as amazing as the play he made to save Vlad Radmanovic’s Phillip Rivers-esque inbounds pass with 2 seconds to go. Andris Biedrins didn’t do a hell of a lot tonight in his first game back, but Ronny Turiaf looks even better than he was last year. Interesting that Stephen Curry was deemed ineffective in the first half and only played 10 minutes, 3 less than Biedrins.

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