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Darren Baker returning to Cal after not being picked in 2020 MLB Draft

Darren Baker returning to Cal after not being picked in 2020 MLB Draft

Darren Baker was supposed to celebrate during the 2020 MLB Draft.

Going into his junior season at Cal, Baker was expected to be called somewhere in the top 10 rounds. But with the draft being shortened from 40 rounds to five this year, Baker, like many other hopeful prospects, didn't have his name called. Instead of signing an undrafted free-agent contract for up to $20,000, Baker posted a tweet Friday of four bear emojis, indicating he will return to Cal for his senior season. 

Baker confirmed to The Athletic's Andrew Baggarly that he will be staying in college for one more season. 

“I was extremely disappointed yesterday, along with many players," Baker said to Baggarly. "But things happen for a reason. There are always some positives in every situation, and I couldn’t be more excited to head back to school.”

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Baker, who became famous at just three years old when he was the Giants' batboy in the 2002 World Series as his father, Dusty, managed the team, had high expectations going into his junior year. He hit .306 and stole 21 bases as a sophomore, and then really impressed scouts in the Cape Cod League. 

The 21-year-old second baseman hit .347 with 12 stolen bases for the Wareham Gatemen and was named an All-Star for the most prestigious college summer league in the country. 

But Cal struggled before the season was shut down due to the coronavirus. They were just 5-11, and Baker was batting .286. He did lead the team in hits (18) and runs scored (15). It certainly wasn't the start he hoped for, though. 

[RELATED: What Zaidi said to Bart after the Giants drafted Bailey]

With the season cut short, Baker proved once again he's a leader at a young age. Baker announced on April 1 he donated 100 meals through Feeding America to help those in need during the pandemic. 

Cal coach Mike Neu told NBC Sports Bay Area before the season that Baker is a "big-time leader." That clearly includes on and off the field. 

While it wasn't what Baker hoped for, he has another shot to lead the Bears and another shot to prove himself to scouts before next year's draft.

Why these four moments belong on Bay Area sports' Mount Rushmore

Why these four moments belong on Bay Area sports' Mount Rushmore

Let's get this over with right away: Read the rules, understand the fine print. 

On Friday, 95.7 The Game came up with their four greatest Bay Area sports moments. Here's what they came up with. 

This got us thinking, if we were to make a Mount Rushmore of the greatest moments in Bay Area sports history, would these be the four? First, back to the rules and fine print.

This is about the greatest moments, not the greatest teams, so just saying a championship or run of championships doesn't count. We also are talking about plays and/or moments that happened during games on the field or court. 

If we were talking more about the grander scheme of things in a broader sense, the 1989 World Series obviously would be added for the Loma Prieta earthquake. On the field, though, the A's swept the Giants and the games mostly are forgettable. Colin Kaepernick first kneeling during the national anthem in a 2016 preseason game certainly would deserve a spot as well. Take a look around at the world right now, and you'll know why.

So, as far as greatest sports moments go, the 95.7 The Game crew almost nailed it. They were right on three out of four, dropping the ball just once. Which brings us to how it should have gone. 

The Catch 

This list can't start any other way. From the play to the situation to the iconic photo and the nickname, "The Catch" has it all.

With 58 seconds left against the Dallas Cowboys in the 1981 NFC Championship Game, Clark stretched out his arms to snag Joe Montana's pass in the end zone, tying the game at 27 points apiece before an extra-point gave the 49ers the lead and the eventual win. San Francisco went on to beat the Cincinnati Bengals, 26-21, in Super Bowl XVI to win their first of five championships.

"The Catch" not only is one of the most iconic plays in 49ers and Bay Area history, it also is one of the most memorable moments in NFL and sports history as a whole. 


The Play

Just like "The Catch," this is a moment that lives on in sports history. Close your eyes and you can see it happening. Actually, you can hear it happening as well. 

"The band is out on the field!" It's an iconic call in a wild scene that will be played until the end of time.

Cal came into the game 6-4 and Stanford was just 5-5. The stakes obviously weren't high, but in a rivalry game, records go out the window. This moment had to make the list. 

Madison Bumgarner, Game 7

This one wasn't easy. There were multiple times where I came close to making a change. What about Travis Ishikawa's walk-off home run in the 2014 NLCS? Or Edgar Renteria's go-ahead homer in Game 5 of the 2010 World Series? Or even just the final out out the 2010 World Series? 

During the Giants' dynasty of winning three titles in five years, from 2010 to 2014, there were plenty of iconic moments. None are like Bumgarner coming out of the bullpen in Game 7 of the 2014 World Series.

Bumgarner had just thrown a 119-pitch shutout in Game 5. That didn't matter to him, he wanted the ball. So in Game 7, he threw 68 pitches over five shutout innings out of the bullpen to hold off the Royals. MadBum was a rockstar.

The iconic performance lowered his World Series ERA to 1.03 that year, and he was named MVP of the Fall Classic.

Game 6 Klay

Finally, we disagree. Let's let Steve Kerr explain. 

When the Warriors coach was asked Friday by 95.7 The Game what Steph Curry's defining moment is, he answered with three words: "All of them." 

Game 5 of the 2015 NBA Finals certainly is one of them. Curry scored 12 of the Warriors' final 13 points to give Golden State a three-games-to-two lead over the Cleveland Cavaliers. His 37 points put the Warriors within one win of their first title in 40 years.

That performance was one among a long list that Curry has given Warriors fans. The same goes for his "Bang! Bang!" game-winner in 2016 against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and others -- including Baron Davis' dunk over Andrei Kirilenko in the 2007 Western Conference semifinals -- have given Dub Nation unforgettable moments. In this case, we're listening to Kerr once again.

"I've watched that game several times since, and it's almost impossible to fathom what Klay did and what he was able to do individually in that game to pull the game for us," Kerr said on 95.7 The Game while arguing Thompson's performance in Game 6 of the 2016 Western Conference finals. "It was just an amazing performance."

With the Warriors on the verge of elimination after a record-breaking 73-win season, Thompson set a single-game NBA playoff record 11 3-pointers in Golden State's 108-101 win. He finished with 41 points and had every Warriors fan glued to their TVs as he quieted Chesapeake Energy Arena. 

"Game 6 Klay" was born and never will be forgotten.

Snubs

The list is too long. Yell at me on Twitter. @DaltonJ_Johnson

Cal grad Ryan Murphy pushes car as part of Olympic swimming training

ryanmurphygetty.jpg
Getty

Cal grad Ryan Murphy pushes car as part of Olympic swimming training

Ryan Murphy won three gold medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics, setting a world record in the process. After that, he returned to Cal only to add to a historical career.

As the timeline approaches three weeks until what would have been the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Murphy understood he, along with other athletes, had to do their part in order to maintain safety during the coronavirus pandemic. 

“It was really challenging to have that maturity to realize that it’s not all about sports and we’ve got to protect our communities,” Murphy told Mike Tirico on NBC Sports’ Lunch Talk Live.

That doesn’t mean he’s not training, of course.

Murphy credited doing pull-ups on trees, running up hills and even pushing cars in order to stay in shape during a time like this as he preps for 2021. 

No, seriously:

The 2017 Cal grad finished his collegiate career becoming the fourth man in NCAA history to sweep both distances of one stroke all four years (the 100- and 200-yard backstroke).

He remains in Berkeley where he continues to train.