• Lincecum’s resurgence: In the midst of the Giants’ recent slump, including a 2-8 homestand, Tim Lincecum followed up his no-hitter the previous week with an eight-inning shutout and another strong performance Sunday against the anemic-hitting Padres – the same victims of his no-hitter. If he truly is on to something here, the Giants might not need another starter after all.
• Howard’s heroics: Anyone know much about Everton? Now we know plenty about Tim Howard. After his epic performance against Belgium, albeit in a losing effort, the 35-year-old goalkeeper returns to the English Premier League with a many more fans. His 16 mostly-spectacular saves in the round of 16 – body blocks, leaping one-hand rejections, two-handed swats, etc. – showed off his athleticism, timing, anticipation and instinct. His powerful defensive gymnastics reminded me of a combination of Bill Russell, Hakeem Olajuwon and Alonzo Mourning.
• A’s on a roll: Give it up for the A’s, who had six players named to the American League All-Star roster, the most for the franchise in 38 years. They’ve had a busy week. First, the A’s owners reached a tentative agreement on a 10-year lease at the Coliseum, and then Billy Beane mad a monster trade and acquired pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel for a number of his assets, foremost among them highly-regarded shortstop prospect Addison Russell. I’m hearing Lew Wolff feels the calendar ticking – he is 80 years old – and wants to know what it’s like to win a World Series. My, how times change ...
• WNBA’s high-flier: Brittney Griner, who dunked twice in her WNBA debut a year ago, threw down an emphatic slam in the Phoenix Mercury’s victory over the Los Angeles Sparks on Sunday. So why not more? The dunk comes with automatic fan appeal and news value – note the replays on ESPN’s highlight show. One of the Kings executives offered a familiar suggestion: Lower the rims so the dunk could be incorporated as a major element of the game. Or at least, why not experiment by lowering the rim during preseason?
• LeBron’s dance: Whether or not LeBron James remains in Miami, at least he is not subjecting Heat fans to the free agency debacle of four years ago. Remember Cavs fans? The poor Cavs fans. They had to endure a one-hour television show to learn that the game’s best player was moving to South Beach. But how crazy would it be if LeBron returns to his hometown? Clevelanders have had four years to overcome their separation anxiety. They might recover from the shock, though, if their native son decides to re-sign with his first team.
Call The Bee’s Ailene Voisin, (916) 321-1208.