Something we can add to Alex Smith's list of excuses: his endorsement deal with a certain vitamin-fortified "water" supplier.
Pretty impressive, Alex Smith organizing minicamps during the NFL lockout. Remember, this is the same guy who was booed during parts of nearly every half of football he played at home during the 2010 season. A guy who famously wore a Padres cap while using a hand truck (a HAND TRUCK**, I tell you) to carry the belongings from his locker after the season was over. Smith was gone, and the fans were (mostly) happy to be rid of him.
** The reason why that story is so ridiculous is because we all know that the other name for a hand truck is a "dolly," and the idea of Alex wheeling a "dolly" into the lockerroom and to carry all that pink Vitamin Water*** out to his car is a sad, yet funny image.
*** Have you seen the list of players who were sponsored Vitamin Water back then? Click on the link to the photo and take a gander (I'll wait) ...
Tracy McGrady: Yes, he's still in the NBA.
Gilbert Arenas: The highlight of his Magic tenure: planking with Dwight Howard.
Tony Parker: Least Valuable "wingman" in the league.
Josh Howard: I'm starting to think Vitamin Water might be laced with arsenic.
Chauncey Billups: "Melo trade filler" probably isn't where he saw his career going in 2011.
Shawn Marion: In the last six months completely pulled himself out of the Vitamin Water black hole of suckage. Good for The Matrix.
- Alex Smith: At least his Padres hat led to a fun caption contest.
Elton Brand: He's always moved like a guy at least 10 years older than he actually is.
Ray Allen: I got nothing here, Allen's obviously immune to the Vitamin Water curse. I imagine Allen's closet probably contains at least 200 suits worth at least $5,000. I'm probably underestimating.
- Daniel Briere: There are probably 20 hockey players who'd sell more sugar water, but whatever.
- Kirk Herbstreit: "Aw man, I just drank the same wannabe sports drink recommended by the guy who sits next to Lee Corso!"
David Wright: Apparently homoerotic training with The Situation turns you into a strikeout machine.
Wait, where was I? Ah yes, the land of orange slices, hikes along the river and ghost stories around the campfire.
Really, though ... Camp Alex? Camp Alex 2? It's great that Smith is taking on this kind of workload without a contract (unless he gets injured, or you're one of the thousands who believe the 49ers should have let Smith go after six years of excuses and mediocre football), but can't we call these recent player-organized minicamps by a different name? Perhaps one that doesn't make it seem like after running pass routes, they all go to back to the bunkhouse to listen to Justin Bieber on Alex's iPod?
"Mom, I wanna go to Camp Alex! I heard they have Snack Packs, and Kool-Aid, and Jimmy told me everyone gets an iPad, and Mom I wanna go please please please please please!"
Yes, I know Alex Smith didn't name this camp after himself. Yes, I am aware that the very fact that all the beat writers and call these workouts "Camp Alex" and "Camp Alex 2" pretty much shows the ridiculousness of this whole process and how, in a way, everyone's mocking Smith for his earnest desire to be a good Niner after everyone thought he'd bail.
But seriously, CAMP ALEX???? I think the 49ers -- if they're going to go all the way with this-- need to do it 100%. Wear CAMP ALEX t-shirts. Get their eyebrows did. Study for the Wonderlic between plays. And don't forget to hydrate with plenty of Vita...
To trade or not to trade...
-- Wait, are you talking about the Giants trading pitchers? Get outta here...
-- There are plenty of people who want the Giants to try to trade Jonathan Sanchez or some relief pitcher for hitters they can't even think of, even though hitters are just as hard to count on as pitchers (perhaps even more so these days). Yeah, that's not going to happen. Forget what you've seen with the Giants this season, where the only injuries pitchers sustain are lucky injuries to guys who need time to decompress (Barry Zito) or fake injuries to guys who need to decompress (Jonathan Sanchez). Yes, the Giants have are without Buster Posey, Freddy Sanchez and Brandon Belt, and lost Pablo Sandoval for weeks. But pitchers get hurt all the time, and there isn't a team in the Majors who can destroy good pitching in four out of seven games.
-- Put it this way: the A's have scored 9 runs in their last six games (they went 2-4), and nobody says a peep. And even though they're in last place in the AL West (6 games back after Tuesday's games), only a fool would count them out with their pitching, even without Dallas Braden and Brett Anderson.
-- Jemile Weeks watch: since last time I stayed up late writing this column, Weeks fell from .362/.400/.574 to .306/.351/.458. If his walk rates catch up to what he was doing in the Minors anytime soon, he'll end up as an AL Rookie of the Year contender.
-- The Giants are 12 games over .500 through Tuesday with a +5 run differential. Either baseball makes no sense or Bruce Bochy knows what he's doing.
-- The Sacramento Kings went for box office revenue in Jimmer Fredette, while the Warriors stuck with what they know in Klay Thompson (sons of former NBA almost-stars with unlimited range). I say the Warriors should have gone with Kawhi Leonard (or Chris Singleton), and several Warriors fans believe Thompson was the best player available. Guess we'll all find out in 2012 (if we're lucky).