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A case of the Mondays: The Giants are still alive, Cruz takes a parting shot at the A’s

Aug 5, 2013, 9:32 AM PST

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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: Joe Maddon thinks the Giants aren’t dead… yet: Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon went looking for our Giants Insider Andrew Baggarly at Tropicana Field over the weekend. He apparently had a burning question.

He asked me a question: “Do those guys think they’re out of it?” Well, the Giants are 10 games back, I responded. They’re in last place. Nobody was saying the words, and the effort doesn’t seem to lack in games. They aren’t giving up. But they know the odds.

“Well, good,” he said. “Because they shouldn’t think they’re out of it.” Maddon reminded me that in 2011, his Rays were nine games out of the wild card as late as Sept. 4. They clinched it on the final day of the regular season.

Maddon and the Rays then proceeded to dig the Giants into a deeper hole by winning the weekend series.

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No. 2: Nelson Cruz takes a parting shot at the A’s: Once again, MLB commissioner Bud Selig’s snail pace burned the A’s. While the baseball world collectively waited for the Biogenesis suspension hammer to drop, the A’s and Rangers engaged in a pivotal weekend series. Rangers slugger Nelson Cruz hit two home runs and drove in three runs. The Rangers ended up taking two of three from the division-leading A’s. Texas’ lineup is far less potent without Cruz, who reportedly accepted a 50-game suspension this afternoon.

No. 3: 49ers now have too many toys: For a while, it seemed like the 49ers were dropping like flies. Now they have too many toys to play with. After signing Austin Collie and former Cal standout Lavelle Hawkins over the weekend, there are now too many wideouts at 4949 Centennial Way. Couple that with the facts that tight end Vernon Davis is taking snaps at wide receiver, and receivers A.J. Jenkins and Kyle Williams returned to the practice field, and the 49ers are starting to look like they may be able to absorb the blow of losing Michael Crabtree for most of the season.  Speaking of toys, the team is also having fun playing with their electronic playbooks.

No. 4: Raiders newest kicker?: The Oakland Raiders may have found the only kicker in the Bay Area with a bigger boot than Sebastian Janikowski’s. Earthquakes forward and Golden Boot-winner Chris Wondolowski stopped by Raiders camp on Sunday. The Danville native returned to the Earthquakes on Saturday and scored two goals. He spent the previous month away from the team helping the U.S. win the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

No. 5: It’s all in good fun until someone slips a disc: I can only imagine the panicked thoughts that must have been going through Broncos vice president John Elway’s mind as his 37-year-old franchise quarterback went sliding headfirst on the wet grass at Mile High Stadium in Denver. Peyton Manning and his teammates decided to risk bodily harm and act like they were slip ‘N sliding on the field after a rainy practice. Unfortunately for Raiders fans, they all escaped unscathed.

Bonus : An A’s prospect struck out on one pitch: So, apparently you CAN strike out on just one pitch. A’s minor leaguer Vinnie Catricala found that out the hard way on Friday night. Catricala, who plays for the Midland Rock Hounds (double-A), was rung up by home plate umpire Ron Teague while standing in the batter’s box.  Check out the video:

Three to see:

The home plate umpire apparently has the right to do this under MLB Rule 6.02 (c). Our friends at Yahoo! Sports have an explanation of the rule.

If you’ve made it this far, clearly you have some time on your hands. Here are three stories that you simply must see:

The Raiders are too banged up to practice.

This young fan’s letter to a ballplayer is the cutest thing ever.

All mascots aren’t created equal (Oh, and a Vogelsong update). 

Baggs is right. That Stingray is pretty friggin’ cool.

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