Urban: My First (And Surely Only) Standing Ovation


Urban: My First (And Surely Only) Standing Ovation

Sept. 22, 2010

CHICAGO -- Ever wonder what it feels like to have a stadium full of people going nuts as you walk off a baseball field?I got to experience it Tuesday night.Granted, the wild cheering from the fans at Wrigley Field as I climbed the steps of the Giants dugout and stepped onto the field wasnt exactly directed at me. In fact, it wasnt directed at me at all. But that didnt stop me from turning it into one of the more amusing moments of my 20-year career in sports journalism.It all happened because the game was delayed by rain, so CSN Bay Area had some time to fill on the air back home. They called me in the press box and asked me to head down to the dugout for a quick live hit with the SportsNet Central anchors. I have to admit it was a little awkward at first; about 20 Giants were in the extremely narrow visitors dugout at Wrigley, and I had to do the hit from the end of the dugout. Its one thing to be in the clubhouse a couple hours before the game, quite another to be in the dugout potentially minutes before one.The guys were cool about it, though. They understood I was just doing my job. And as soon as I was done doing my job, I rewarded their tolerance with a little impromptu comedy.You see, while I was doing my thing in the dugout, the rain stopped, and by the time I was finished and ready to bounce out of the dugout, out bounced the Cubs grounds crew to remove the tarp.Thats when the crowd went nuts -- right when my left foot hit the dirt in front of the dugout. The timing of it was too perfect to ignore, so I did what any self-respecting class clown would do under such circumstances.I pimped it. Big-time.As I walked in front of the Giants dugout, past all of the players and toward the swinging gate that leads to the lower-bowl stairs you have to climb on your way to the press box, I raised both arms in acknowledgment of the roar. I nodded emphatically, a non-verbal, Damn right, Im all that!I even pointed to the upper deck down the left-field line, then did a 180 and pointed to the upper deck down the right-field line.A good number of the players saw it, knew exactly what I was doing and howled in delight. A couple good-naturedly heckled me: Thats not for you!Of course it wasnt. But I sold that bad boy like you wouldnt believe, and some of the many Giants fans whod scored seats in the lower bowl helped me sell it when I worked my way up the steps by meeting me in the aisle with high-fives.By the time I got to the top row of the lower bowl, I could feel the eyes of every Cubs fans in the vicinity squarely on me, likely thinking one of two things: (1) Who the hell is that? (2) What a jackass!You think I cared? I laughed the whole way to the press box.What's on your mind? Email Mychael and let him know. He may use it in his Mailbag.

DeRozan fined by NBA for comments made after Raptors' loss to Warriors


DeRozan fined by NBA for comments made after Raptors' loss to Warriors

Following Toronto's 127-125 loss to the Warriors on Saturday night, Raptors shooting guard DeMar DeRozan wasn't happy.

His team had almost erased a 27-point deficit and he felt like the officials were helping the Warriors.

"It's frustrating being out there feeling like you're playing 5-on-8. Some of those calls were terrible, period," DeRozan told reporters after the game.

As you might imagine, the NBA wasn't thrilled with thoses comments and fined DeRozan $15,000 on Tuesday for public criticism of the officiating.

DeRozan's incident is the latest in a long list of greivances between the players and the officials. The two sides met face-to-face in late December and plan to meet again during All-Star weekend in February to discuss the growing tension.

Who is now the Warriors' biggest rival?


Who is now the Warriors' biggest rival?

Earlier we discussed how the Golden State Warriors have seemingly moved beyond hating on NBA officials (three technical fouls in 18 days is a stunning reversal of their formerly disputatious form), but we may have forgotten one new reason why they have found a more Buddhist approach to the cutthroat world of American competitive sport.

They lack someone new to hate.

Their much-chewed-upon rivalry with the Los Angeles Clippers actually lasted two years, and now the Clippers are busy trying to prevent military incursions into their locker room from the Houston Rockets. Their even more famous archrivalry with the Cleveland Cavaliers seems to be imploding – with the total connivance of the Cavs themselves – before our eyes. Even cutting off their hot water made them laugh when two years ago not letting the Warriors' wives get to the game on time torqued them mightily.

And since we know that you locals desperately need a bête noire for your heroes (even though their biggest foe is actually their own attention spans), let us consider the new candidates.


The Rockets have been among the Warriors’ most persistent contender/pretenders, having faced them in both the first round of the 2017 postseason and the conference finals in 2015. Both ended in 4-1 Warrior wins as part of a greater piece – Golden State is 19-4 against the Rockets in the Warriors’ bad-ass era, 10-2 at home and 9-2 on the road, and has finished an aggregate 59.5 games ahead of the Rockets in the past three and a half years.

Hateable players for Warrior fans include James Harden and Chris Paul, while Rockets fans loathe Draymond Green and Kevin Durant and work their way down from there.

RIVALRY RATING (out of 32,353): 19. The Rockets need to win a playoff series before even matching the Clippers, who as we all know came and went in a moment.


The previous platinum standard in Western Conference basketball, the Spurs have never really gone away, though they have aged. Their pedigree is not in dispute, and Steve Kerr has essentially become the next generation of Gregg Popovich. It is hard to create a rivalry out of such shamelessly mutual admiration.

Hateable players for Warrior fans include . . . uhh, maybe Kawhi Leonard for winning two Defensive Player Of The Year Awards instead of Draymond Green, though that’s not much to go on, frankly. Spurs fans hate Zaza Pachulia for stepping beneath Leonard and ending last year’s series before it started.

RIVALRY RATING (out of 23): 1. If they didn’t have to play against each other, I suspect these two teams would date.


The Thunder’s 3-1 collapse in 2016 is all but ignored now because the Warriors did the same thing one series later, but lifting Kevin Durant was quite the consolation prize for Golden State, and the definitive finger in the eye for the Thunder, who turned their team over completely to Russell Westbrook, for good and ill. Even with the additions of Paul George and Carmelo Anthony are still trying to relocate their stride.

Hateable players for Warrior fans include Westbrook and Anthony for defining the I-need-the-ball-in-my-hands-to-function generation, and owner Clay Bennett for Seattle SuperSonics nostalgics. Thunder frans hate Durant, followed by Durant, Durant, Kim Jong-un, Durant, leprosy, Draymond Green’s foot, and Durant.

RIVALRY RATING (out of 440): 220. Westbrook is a human lightning rod, Anthony is the antithesis of what Warriors now regard basketball (they’d have loved him a quarter-century ago), and Stephen Adams for getting his goolies in the way of Green’s foot. Plus, some savvy Warrior fans can blame OKC for extending their heroes to seven games, thus making the final against Cleveland that much more difficult. This could work, at least in the short term.


Damian Lillard is a much-beloved local. Plus, the Blazers have never interfered in the Warriors’ universe save their 1-8 postseason record. There are no truly hateable players on either side, though Stephen Curry threw his first mouthpiece in Portland, and Green is a perennial.

RIVALRY RATING (out of 1): 0.


The new pretender to throne, with the Eastern Conference’s version of Kerr in Brad Stevens. Even better since taking advantage of Kyrie Irving’s weariness with LeBron James, and until proven otherwise the team the Warriors should most concern themselves with.

Hateable players for Warrior fans include Irving, who made the only shot in the last five minutes of Game 7 of the 2016 Finals, while Celtics fans hate Durant for not signing with them.

RIVALRY RATING (out of 67.7): 26, though this will rise if the two teams meet in the Finals. The last time they did, Bill Russell owned basketball.


Still too remote to adequately quantify, though Toronto, Miami and Milwaukee are clearly difficult matches for the Warriors. If you put them together, Kyle Lowry, Demar DeRozan, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Hassan Whiteside with Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe coming off the bench, coached by either Eric Spoelstra or Jason Kidd, would make a fun team for the Warriors to play against. Probably not functional, but fun.

And finally:


Some decade the two teams’ geographical proximity will matter, but for now, they remain essentially two full professional leagues away from each other. We just mentioned them so Kings fans wouldn’t feel any more slighted than they already do.