Alex Didion

Raiders' Antonio Brown dances with students at De La Salle football game


Raiders' Antonio Brown dances with students at De La Salle football game

It’s like trying to find the elusive Waldo from the “Where’s Waldo” book series.

One day Antonio Brown is at practice, wearing an approved helmet and smiling with teammates. Another day, he’s off fighting the NFL trying to receive a grievance allowing to wear the same helmet he's had for the past decade.

Friday night, however, AB was in Concord checking out the nationally ranked football matchup between Florida’s St. Thomas Aquinas High School and De La Salle High School.

Brown is from the South Florida area, but did not play at the highly-regarded St. Thomas Aquinas program.

The Raiders won their third preseason game Thursday night in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada against the Packers, although the All-Pro receiver did not suit up.

He even jumped in on the ESPNU broadcast of the high school game, answering some questions as the first half wound down.

The man knows how to find attention, as he has been far and away the biggest storyline throughout training camp with the Silver and Black. To add to the drama, HBO’s “Hard Knocks” crew has been following AB everywhere and capturing every moment. 

[RELATED: Source: Raiders' Antonio Brown has second helmet grievance heard]

Raiders fans will have to wait to see No. 84 in uniform, as he will almost certainly be held out of the team’s final preseason game next week in Seattle.

Why A's Marcus Semien attributes his breakout season to switching bat

Why A's Marcus Semien attributes his breakout season to switching bat

Who knew a few ounces could make such a difference?

Marcus Semien has been having his best season as a pro, on pace to set career-highs in batting average (.273), on-base percentage (.359), and wins above replacement (5.7).

What has been the key to Semien’s breakout season? He made a switch in the weight of the bat he uses at the plate. He recently explained the changes to Marcus Thompson of The Athletic: 

Part of Semien’s improvement at the plate is credited to a bat switch. Last season, Semien used a 34-inch bat. But this spring, he switched to 33.5 inches. He said the smaller bat made his hands feel quicker.

Then, on June 7 in Arlington, Texas, he got a lighter version of the new bat, dropping down to 31.5 ounces. That night, Semien went 4 for 5 with two home runs and drove in four of the A’s runs in a 5-4 win over Texas.

Since that day in early-June, Semien is hitting .287 with 15 home runs and 33 runs batted in. 

“The first game I used it,” Semien told Thompson. “I was like, ‘I’m sticking with this bat.'”

The former Cal baseball standout has also focused on his launch angle and exit velocity, allowing him to improve his power numbers.

“If you’re pulling it down the line,” he explained, “all you’ve got to do is hit it 95 (miles per hour) with a 27 (degree launch angle) and it’s a home run. Because I don’t hit the ball like (Aaron) Judge or them dudes that hit it 115 (mph)."

“I can’t hit it that hard. But if you hit it at the right angle, a home run is a home run.”

Semien’s defense has also dramatically improved. After playing the majority of his career at third base with the White Sox, Semien took over as primarily a shortstop in 2015 after being included in the Jeff Samardzija trade. 

Semien proceeded to lead the league in errors with 35 in 2015, posting a fielding percentage of just .947. He’s made major strides since then -- posting a career-high of .980 so far in 2019 -- placing him above the league-average of .970 for shortstops.

[RELATED: Tanner Roark continues to pay off for A's, stymies Yankees in 5-3 win]

“This is a self-made guy,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “Once he took off with (former third base coach) Ron Washington and found the work ethic and fundamentals of the position, it’s been him. He’s had quite a few guys working with him. But his understanding of what he needs to do and how he can better is unlike anybody I’ve ever been around.”

The A’s are hoping those fundamentals can help them secure a playoff spot in the AL, where they currently sit in a tie for the second wild-card spot. 

49ers vs. Chiefs live stream: How to watch NFL preseason game online


49ers vs. Chiefs live stream: How to watch NFL preseason game online

Every human has a place or venue that brings back painful memories or nightmares. It might be school, a place where someone got dumped, or maybe a particular street or highway where someone gets into an accident.

For Jimmy Garoppolo, that place might just be Arrowhead Stadium. The last time he stepped on the turf in Kansas City -- Garoppolo tore his ACL on a scramble while trying to cut back -- ending his 2018 campaign.

And yet, that is where he and the 49ers are headed Saturday as they take on the Kansas City Chiefs for each team's third preseason game. Jimmy G is expected to get the start, although head coach Kyle Shanahan has been coy about how much playing time will be had for the quarterback.

Garoppolo had a dreadful preseason debut Monday, completing just one of six passes for zero yards and throwing an interception against the Denver Broncos.

Reigning NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes III will start for the Chiefs, who lost 17-7 to the Steelers in their most recent preseason appearance.

[RELATED: Jimmy Garoppolo's struggles don't faze 49ers' Richard Sherman, NFL scouts]

Here's how you can watch 49ers-Chiefs: 

Start time: Saturday, Aug. 24, at 5 p.m. PT
TV channel: CBS (KPIX) 
49ers live stream: fuboTV -- Get a free trial