Jun 24, 2013, 5:20 PM PDT
There’s always a lot going on during the weekend. If you weren’t lucky enough to spend the past two days on the couch, you can catch up on the top five sports items you may have missed here.
No. 1: Zito’s start with a heavy heart: After the death of his father Joseph on Wednesday, no one would have blamed Barry Zito if he went on the bereavement list and took some time to clear his head. Instead, he stayed with the team and took the mound on Saturday, delivering a gritty performance against the Miami Marlins amidst personal tragedy.
Zito lasted seven innings and allowed just one run. The Giants ended up winning the game in walk-off fashion 2-1. His effort left an impression on his manager and teammates. Here’s what Hunter Pence told CSNBayArea.com’s Rael Enteen:
“Obviously baseball is extremely important, but there’s perspective,” Pence said of Zito. “For him to come out and pitch the way he did and be there for us…we’re a family too playing as a team, and we’re all here for him. He went out and pitched outstanding.”
No. 2: Grand fashion statement: Daredevil Nik Wallenda’s 1,400-foot long tightrope walk across the Grand Canyon was the most athletic thing to happen in blue jeans since Brett Favre’s Wrangler commercial.
Wallenda and his jeans spent 22 minutes and 54 seconds on a tight rope 1,500 feet in the air before he arrived safely on the other side of the canyon. With a paramedic stationed below (because safety is important, guys), Wallenda walked the tight rope and thanked Jesus 61 times, the Discovery Channel once, and never, ever, mentioned why he chose to perform this unbelievably death-defying stunt in a t-shirt and blue jeans.
No. 3: This is 40?: According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Bartolo Colon is the first pitcher in Major League history to win each of his first six starts in his forties. Colon is now 10-2 with a 2.93 ERA. He started on Friday. Unfortunately for the A’s, they didn’t have a similar measure of success over the weekend. They lost both of the weekend games against the Seattle Mariners and made history in the process.
According to our own baseball historian, David Feldman, the A’s allowed a pinch-hit walk-off home run in extra innings for the first time in Oakland Athletics history, when Kendrys Morales took Grant Balfour deep in the 11th inning of Sunday’s 6-3 loss.
No. 4: Napa know how: Isn’t it fitting that the guy driving the NAPA car won the race in wine country this weekend? NASCAR driver Martin Truex Jr. was winless in his previous 218 races before hoisting the wine-themed trophy of the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway. He even held off Vallejo native Jeff Gordon to win the race. While Truex Jr.’s car is sponsored by NAPA, an auto parts company (not the city of Napa), and the race was actually in Sonoma County (not Napa County), we’ll still allow it.
No. 5: Niemi’s patriotic protection: It’s a mask that pro airbrush artist and custom mask painter David Gunnarsson says he’ll remember for the rest of his life. Sharks goalie Antti Niemi won’t need his facial protection for a while, but he’s already geared up with a newly designed mask.
The mask has the San Jose Sharks logo on the front, and an inclusive historical representation of Finland, Niemi’s home county, everywhere else. Here’s how the mask designer describes the work.
The upper part of the mask is created as a map of Finland, and the lower parts opens up and the Sharks theme comes out. You find it all here. The amazing Finnish soldiers on one side skiing in their white winter uniforms. The Finnish chief commander Gustaf Mannerheim that later became the Finnish President is also a part of the design… You also find the map of Finland, the Finnish lion, and also the Winter War Campaign Medal of 1939-1940 that was awarded to Finnish soldiers for fighting the invading Soviet Russian armies.
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