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Field of Links: ‘Encouragement’ is the word of the day for the Bay Area’s sports teams

Jul 30, 2013, 9:46 AM PDT


The leader of the free world still thinks the San Francisco Giants have a chance to contend. That has to count for something right? President Obama met with the current Giants roster at the White House on Monday to honor their 2012 World Series Championship. The face time with the president couldn’t have come at a better time, as the Giants have slipped 10 games behind in their division and are 12 games under .500.

According to our Giants Insider Andrew Baggarly, Obama offered some encouraging words to the team’s front office behind the scenes.

“One of the things the president said was, ‘I’ve been following you guys and you’re a second half team, and I expect you to be a second-half team this go-around,’” Giants CEO Larry Baer said. “So we like the enthusiasm.”

Major League Baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline is Wednesday, and the Giants will have some big decisions to make in the next 24 hours (if they haven’t been made already), and President Obama will be watching.

These White House visits always have some researched and well-thought-out quips. Here are some of the president’s highlights as documented by Baggs.

President Obama saluted Giants manager Bruce Bochy on his 1,500th victory, proclaimed the “Say Hey Kid” looks younger every time he sees him, referenced Sergio Romo’s beard, Buster Posey’s comeback season, Matt Cain’s perfect game, Pablo Sandoval’s historic three-homer performance, and of course, Tim Lincecum’s haircut.

“Where’s Tim?” said Obama, scanning the risers behind him to laughter from the dignitaries on hand. “There he is. See, you don’t even recognize him anymore.”

Encouraging? You bet. In fact, encouragement seemed to be the theme of the day for the Bay Area’s sports teams. You’d have to look no further than the Oakland Athletics for proof. The A’s clobbered the Jays on Monday and now sit a season-high 20 games over .500 and lead the American League West by six games. They’ve managed to achieve this high watermark with several key players struggling, and those guys all busted out of their slumps at once.

– Yoenis Cespedes crushed a home run to end a career-worst 25-game homer-less drought.

– Seth Smith went 2 for 3 to snap out of an 0 for 30 skid.

– Josh Donaldson snapped an 0 for 16 slump.

Cespedes has registered back-to-back three-hit games and has driven in seven runs over that span. If he starts heating up again, the A’s could be exchanging pleasantries with President Obama at this time next year.

In other encouraging news:

The San Jose Sharks have signed Joe Pavelski to a five-year contract extension. According to our Sharks Insider Kevin Kurz, Pavelski’s deal matches the five-year, $30 million extension Couture agreed to in June. Our Raiders Insider Scott Bair says first round pick D.J. Hayden is ready to rip off his non-contact red jersey. And our 49ers Insider Matt Maiocco says outside line backer Aldon Smith is healthy and ready to challenge the NFL’s all-time single-season sack record. Yup, encouraging.

Field of Links: 

— With the trade deadline looming, Royals pitcher Ervin Santana decided to blow up the roster in advance.


The newest Raiders linebacker went from couch-mode to sack-mode in less than a day.

Ravens players got giddy when an ice cream truck showed up at practice. 

— The nerd movement in Oakland keeps getting, well, nerdier.


Clayton Kershaw’s great grandfather apparently discovered Pluto.

This Bay Area sports fan has an unbelievable tattoo.

— Brett Lawrie broke out his ballerina moves in Oakland last night.

— For Guillermo Moscoso, timing is everything.

Could the Dodgers really be the frontrunners to acquire Brian Wilson?

At 42, Jason Giambi is the oldest player in MLB history to hit a walk-off home run. 

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