Leading Off

49ers-Raiders buzz mostly away from field


Reading time, two minutes ...

▪ The 49ers and Raiders are playing Sunday, which should be enough to create additional excitement. But instead of what might happen on the field, most of the buzz has been about 49ers owner Jed York’s apology to fans via Twitter, general manger Trent Baalke’s daughter’s tweet telling offensive coordinator Greg Roman to “take a hike,” coach Jim Harbaugh’s public vote of confidence for Roman and the online reports that Harbaugh might be traded to the Raiders or Jets. There’s plenty of angst for Raiders fans, too, especially after the team was crushed Sunday by the Rams after beating the Chiefs for their first victory. Should rookie quarterback Derek Carr be benched? When will the Raiders fire general manager Reggie McKenzie and interim coach Tony Sparano? Can Mark Davis lure Harbaugh across the bay – or perhaps to L.A.?

▪ Speaking of Harbaugh, his name is popping up in most reports after Michigan fired coach Brady Hoke on Tuesday, even though Harbaugh reportedly has said he’s not interested. Harbaugh played quarterback at Michigan and coached at San Diego and Stanford before being hired by the 49ers, but why would such a successful NFL coach consider going back to college? If Harbaugh has trouble getting along with Baalke and York, imagine how he would deal with boosers’ demands, the NCAA and an athletic department in disarray. After taking the 49ers to three consecutive NFC Championship Games, Harbaugh will have much better options.

▪ The past week or so has been rough for baseball fans, too. Just days after Pablo Sandoval left the Giants for the Boston Red Sox, the A’s traded Josh Donaldson, their best and probably most popular player, to the Toronto Blue Jays for four players general manager Billy Beane said “fill a need.” We don’t have Beane’s credentials or record of success, but we’d rather have Donaldson at third base than Brett Lawrie. And across the bay, the Giants will struggle to replace Sandoval’s hitting and fielding – and his personality.

– Tom Couzens


What to watch

College basketball,

Montana at Cal, 7 p.m., PAC12BA: Look for Cal to continue its quick start and improve to 6-1.