Best Local Sports Heroes - 2008
Man, does the Bay Area have some crappy teams or what? It's not easy to assemble a list of bests for some of the worst teams in professional sports. This is what we came up with.
Tim "The Enchanter" Lincecum is perhaps the first Major League player ever handed a nickname derived from Monty Python. With his youthful looks and a baggy uniform billowing off his 5-foot-11, 160ish-pound frame, you can't help but think, "They're starting the batboy!" as the 23-year-old bounds to the mound. And then he throws. To generate enough torque to blast a 100 mph fastball past a hitter, the lanky pitcher employs a contorted, twisting windup reminiscent of the great Sandy Koufax. It is a wonder and a terror to behold. It also provides a dull beacon of hope for frustrated Giants fans.
Who do you think is the better quarterback: Joe Montana or Alex Smith? Amazingly enough, we'll take Smith — but it's close. Remember, Montana is 51 now. The San Francisco 49ers are so bad that it may not even shock you that Joe Nedney — yes, the kicker — is the team's most outstanding representative. The lefty made 17 of 19 field goal attempts (missing only a pair from more than 50 yards) and nailed all 22 extra points (a pathetically low number, but, again, that ain't his fault). His 73 points were more than twice as many as any other Niner, and represent exactly one-third of the team's 2007 scoring total.
In a weirdly disappointing year in which the improved but still too-three-point-happy Warriors frustrated us with their streakiness and inability to hit critical free throws, Nellie usually made all the right moves. We even liked it when he benched Baron Davis for the second half of that late-season game at Phoenix. Okay, so bringing back Chris Webber wasn't genius, but let's face it: Without Nelson as their coach, the Warriors wouldn't be nearly as much fun.
Best Roller Derby Diva
Annie Agony, San Francisco ShEvil Dead
Okay, so maybe we're reaching here. But we're damned if we're gonna put a Raider on this list. So ... what can we say about Annie? She's one of the Bay Area Derby Girls, the 60-member flat-track roller derby league with teams that rep San Francisco, Oakland, and Richmond. As their monikers suggest, everybody in Roller Derby is a diva with attitude, including (our other faves) Lusty Malice, Chesty Gillespie, Taxi Scab, and Messy Jessie. But, hey, as anyone who's seen Annie knows, this ShEvil Dead bad girl has one mean hip-check. What else would you expect from someone who, on the team Web site, lists her weapon of choice as her ass, and describes herself as "5-9 of kick yer ass"? We bet she could kick Joe Nedney's ass. Maybe the Niners should sign her.