Urban: Giants Fans Take Over at PETCO


Urban: Giants Fans Take Over at PETCO

Sept. 9, 2010


SAN DIEGO -- Are you sure this is Southern California? Petco Park?Felt an awful lot like AT&T on Thursday while the Giants pantsed the Padres in front of what was supposed to be a San Diego home crowd.Granted, San Diegos fans didnt have much to cheer about. Andres Torres put them on silent mode like a cell phone with his leadoff triple in the top of the first; Freddy Sanchez gave Matt Cain a quick 1-0 lead by following Torres rocket with a bullet single up the middle; and a steady stream of home runs made Cains dominance, which would have been enough to mute even the most vociferous Yankee Stadium crowd, almost seem like overkill.But good Lord, did the Orange and Black Faithful come strong. So one-sided was the crowd noise in San Franciscos favor that you had to wonder if (a) there are a lot more Bay Area transplants down here than you can possibly imagine, or (b) Giants fans travel as well as the football fans at Wisconsin, University of Texas and Penn State combined.There were indications even before the game that the Giants were going to enjoy a neutral-site vibe at worst. The rows behind the visitors dugout were absolutely jammed with men, women and children offering impassioned support for their boys in grey, begging Tim Lincecum for autographs (he obliged), begging Pablo Sandoval to snap out of his road funk (he didnt) and generally making it clear that their collection of voices would be heard all night.And heard they were. Virtually every 10 minutes or so there was a big hit, a nice defensive play or a pitch from Cain so dirty it should have come with a tub of baby wipes. A fine and very loud time was had by all.If the intention was to set a tone, consider it done. Well done.

Manchester City, Kevin De Bruyne bury Arsenal with dominant first half

Manchester City, Kevin De Bruyne bury Arsenal with dominant first half

Arsenal interim coach Freddie Ljungberg's job just got harder. 

The struggling Gunners fell 3-0 to reigning English Premier League champions Manchester City, with Kevin De Bruyne leading City with a dominant first-half display. 

The Belgian midfielder scored in the second minute, City forward Gabriel Jesus cut the ball back to De Bruyne, and he rocketed his right-footed shot into the roof of Arsenal's net.

Raheem Sterling doubled City's lead nearly a quarter-hour later, off an assist from De Bruyne. 

De Bruyne was not done. In the 40th minute, he curled a left-footed shot from outside the box past Arsenal keeper Bernd Leno to give City a 3-0 lead. 

The first half was a tidy summary of De Bruyne's impact since joining City four years ago, as Opta noted.

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Entering Sunday, Arsenal had won just twice since the start of October. The Gunners came back to beat London rivals West Ham on Monday, but beating the league's highest-scoring side proved to be another matter entirely. 

Hosting Man City has been a very difficult proposition for Arsenal lately. The Gunners have now lost three straight home games to City -- under three different managers. 

Ljungberg won one of his first four matches in charge of Arsenal, going 1-2-1 since taking over for the sacked Unai Emery. The Swede told the BBC last week that he has "been told to work on a game-by-game basis," and Sunday's loss won't keep the eyes of Arsenal's board from wandering toward other coaching candidates. 

NFL rumors: 49ers' George Kittle expected to reset right-end market


NFL rumors: 49ers' George Kittle expected to reset right-end market

George Kittle, entering the final season of his four-year rookie contract, is in line for a big payday when he eventually signs a contract extension with the 49ers. But the tight end reportedly is one of a handful of players expected to reset the market at the positon this offseason. 

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Sunday morning that "[multiple] sources around the [NFL]" think Kittle, Atlanta Falcons tight end Austin Hooper (a pending free agent) and Philadelphia Eagles star Zach Ertz (one year, $6.4 million left on his contract) are set to "redefine the value" of tight ends with big paydays this summer. 

Kittle set the NFL single-season record for receiving yards by a tight end last year, and he leads the 49ers with 60 receptions for 754 yards. He is in the top five among tight ends in both categories, despite missing two games with -- and subsequently playing through -- a serious ankle injury. 

Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph ($9.35 million) was the highest-paid player at the position not on a rookie deal this season, and Kittle's reported likelihood to set precedent for tight ends drives home the 49ers' financial realities this offseason. DeForest Buckner is also eligible for an extension, while breakout defensive tackle Arik Armstead is eligible for free agency. 

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Over The Cap projects the 49ers having just over $24 million in salary-cap space next season, which would make it difficult to extend all three players, especially if the final year  Kittle's -- and/or Buckner's -- deal is restructured. The 49ers can free up space by cutting players such as running back Jerick McKinnon and wide receiver Marquise Goodwin, and NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco wrote Saturday that he can't see McKinnon playing on his 49ers deal as is in 2020 or Goodwin playing for San Francisco at all. 

The 49ers likely will prioritize re-signing Kittle and Buckner. Based on Kittle's career and Schefter's reporting, they know the tight end won't come cheap.