Urban: All-Star Game musts


Urban: All-Star Game musts

July 12, 2011


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PROGRAMMING NOTE: Live All-Star Game Chat with Mychael Urban at 5:30 p.m.

Mychael Urban

PHOENIX -- As the countdown continues to Tuesday evening's MLB All-Star Game at Chase Field, here are five things at least one seasoned veteran of many a Midsummer Classic is hoping to see in this year's showcase of (most of) the biggest names in the game.1) Gio Gonzalez pitching to Pablo Sandoval: It's the only way possible we'll see two Bay Area All-Stars squaring off, and it'd be only fitting because the Athletics lefty and the Giants' third baseman are cut from the same cloth. A couple of big kids out there, thrilled and feeling incredibly blessed, having the time of their lives.URBAN: A's Gonzalez all smiles at first All-Star Game
2) Jose Bautista going deep -- twice: Toronto's classy slugger hears PED whispers everywhere he goes, but he handles the innuendo with grace and aplomb. Hard not to like him. He appeared a tad nervous in the Home Run Derby. A couple of long balls tonight would give the country a look at what they've been missing.3) Justin Upton having a big night: As the unofficial host of the event, the Diamondbacks' outfielder is surely a little gassed by now. Here's hoping he can summon enough energy to come off the bench and put his dizzying array of all-around skills to productive use in front of the home crowd.4) Ryan Vogelsong in the game: Even if it's just for a batter or two. It would give Fox an opportunity to tell more of his story to an audience that likely doesn't know it, and put a nice big bow on the whole experience for the Giants' unsung righty.URBAN: Overseas to All-Star, Vogelsong
5) Brian Wilson striking out the side: In the most gaudy cleats humanly possible, of course. The Giants' closer loves a big stage, and this is as big as it gets before the playoffs. Don't think he's not dying to hold court in the middle of the spotlight.

Kings adamantly disagree with perplexing foul call at end of loss to Rockets

Kings adamantly disagree with perplexing foul call at end of loss to Rockets

SACRAMENTO -- Every time the Houston Rockets tried to pull away, the Sacramento Kings answered Wednesday night in the team’s home opener. It was a heavyweight contender throwing body blows at a 100-to-1 underdog riding a huge home crowd advantage.

And then the ref called the fight.

With the Kings trailing 98-95 with 26 seconds remaining, the Rockets attempted to inbounds the ball and George Hill made a play. From the video replay, it appeared that the ball tipped off the fingertips of Houston's Eric Gordon and the nearest official called Kings ball.

Hill and teammate Garrett Temple celebrated the turnover and the sold out crowd went crazy.

The play went under review and not only was the call overturned, but Hill was assessed a personal foul. Gordon went to the line and hit two freebies to give the Rockets a 100-95 lead and effectively ended Sacramento’s chances.

In the confusion of the moment, it turns out that an official on the opposite side of the court called a personal foul and the replay wasn’t to check on possession, but to determine which Kings player would be assessed a personal foul.  

The Kings can’t call shenanigans on the officials, the league has stiff penalties for that. But they seemed just as confused as everyone else in the building when asked about the call during postgame interviews.

“I could have swore that the refs pointed out of bounds, our ball, but they said they called a foul, so it is, what it is,” Hill said following the game.

Hill avoided digging himself a hole with the league and a potential fine as reporters tried to dig deeper. 

Head coach Dave Joerger gave an account of what the officials said following the call, but he too seemed perplexed by the play.

“That was a foul,” Joerger said of what the officials told him on the sidelines. “I adamantly disagreed. They said they called it at the time, which I didn’t see. So that was more my argument than whether it was a foul or not.”

Sacramento continued to compete in the final seconds, but they were forced to foul intentionally down the stretch and the Rockets were able to hold them at bay to come away with the 105-100 victory.

Report: Gordon Hayward 'unlikely to return' this season


Report: Gordon Hayward 'unlikely to return' this season

Despite the severity of Gordon Hayward's injury, there was a small bit of hope that he might be able to return this season.

It appears that won't happen.

Hayward underwent surgery Wednesday night and is "unlikely to return this season," his agent Mark Bartelstein told ESPN.

"We expect him to make a full recovery and return to his All-Star form," Bartelstein told ESPN.

The Celtics' prized offseason acquisition suffered the terrifying ankle injury just five minutes into his Boston debut on Tuesday night. He was diagnosed with a dislocated left ankle and broken tibia.

After playing in Cleveland on Tuesday, the Celtics returned to Boston for their home opener on Wednesday against the Bucks. Prior to the game, a 30-second video message from Hayward to the fans was played in the arena.

“What’s up, everybody? Just wanted to say thank you to everyone who’s had me in their thoughts and prayers,” Hayward said. “I’m going to be all right. It’s hurting me that I can’t be there for the home opener. I want nothing more than to be with my teammates and walk out on that floor tonight. But I’ll be supporting you guys from here, and wishing you the best of luck. Kill it tonight.”