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Thursday 17th Aug 2017

Quite a breathtaking weekend for bay area sports, it was.

Well, OK, discounting the Cal Bears being throttled by USC 27-7, but, well, we hope for the Bears, and we want for the Bears, but we try not to be too disappointed by the Bears. I mean, at least they had Tony Gonzalez and Marshawn Lynch, right?

But, as I write, the Raiders and Steelers are locked in a 31-31 duel with 2:00 left, and I find no matter how hard I try to extricate myself from my childhood love of the Silver and Black, some things are easier said than done. And, well, if nothing else, the Raiders are local, and it is always so much more fun when local teams play well.

As it stands I have Denarius Moore an Carson Palmer cranking up points in a good way, helping I hope all my teams. I do indeed have Palmer in a number of leagues, as I was anticipating a nice comeback from him this year, and so far this season, so good.

The truth is all my teams look to be in pretty good shape going into the Sunday night game, so let's skip back over to baseball, where yesterday the gamut of emotions were worked through between the Giants clinching the National League West, and Oakland losing a rugged nail-biter to the Yankees. That was over 14 innings and 5:43 of play, along with 18 pitchers and one of those improbable comebacks by the Pinstripes after the Athletics blasted a troika of homers in the 13th to take a four-run lead.

Diane, who had been watching with me since the sixth inning noted almost nonchalantly that there was no way New York would come back from that, and I cautioned her of how easily it is to put the jinx on a baseball game, and "it ain't over till it's over" rules. Of course Diane chuckled for last week, as I shut off my laptop, disgruntled at how the Bears were being dismantled by the Packers, she had words of wisdom.

"But," Di needled me, "I was sitting on the lucky couch, holding my lucky pillow. How could they lose?"

Such is sports, in particular baseball where in truth you never do know.

I do have to say how grueling that Oakland game was, with both teams bringing out ineffective starting pitching, with New York pulling ahead, and with tenacious Oakland pulling back even. They did this Friday night showing if nothing else the Athletics have the mettle, for after those two tough games, Oakland was indeed able to pull the equally tight Sunday game out of their magical 2012 hat, 5-4.

This further confuses the American League playoff picture, for with the Orioles losing, the Yankees now have 88 wins and first place in the AL East, while the O's have 87 wins and hold of the first Wild Card slot, followed by Oakland with 86, the Angels with 84, and then Tampa at 83. Mind you this does not include the White Sox (81 wins) and Tigers (80 wins) who are too busy duking it out for the AL Central to worry about the Wild Card right now.

I mean, how much fun is that? Better, who knew when the extra Wild Card slot was announced that both the trade deadline, and subsequent battle for that last coveted spot would prove to be so much fun, let alone so intense.

Personally, after this run of Oakland/New York games, followed on the heels of the pair's last spectacular series in Oakland last July, where the A's beat the Bombers the first three games by one run in each game, I had thought the New York extra inning victory Saturday would be a back breaker for the young Athletics. But, back they were with the victory on Sunday, showing that Bay Area spunk.

That would be the same spunk the Giants displayed later that night as the Giants clinched the National League West crown for the second time in three years, pushing the Orange and Black to post season once again.

Improbably, in the midst of all this craziness the Niners--the one team who appeared to be more in charge of their future than any of the four Bay Area football and baseball squads--dropped a loss to the Vikings.

Ideally, they will bounce back, like the Athletics.

Oh yeah, and those Raiders and Carson Palmer, who wound up sticking it to the Steelers in the end, 34-31.

As I said, these things run deep. As far as I am concerned, this is just one more instance of getting even from the Immaculate Reception.

Go A's! In fact, go Raiders, Niners, and Giants. Somehow we have to offset the Cal Bears somewhere!

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