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Top 5 mlb storylines for 2014 Spring. It totally sprung all over us today. Which would explain the hayfever. But it’s hard to be mad when the birds are chirping, the sun is shining, the air is redolent of fresh-cut grass, and the A’s and Giants are playing split-squad games in the Valley of the Sun. That’s right, baseball is back, baby. Here are our top five story lines surrounding the national pastime entering 2014. 1. The Derek Jeter Farewell Tour — He has been the shortstop, the best hitter, and the captain of the Evil Empire for so long, we don’t quite know how to act thinking about old No. 2 not wearing pinstripes. We will say this, though. The timing is good. Get out before your face covers your entire head, Derek.

2. Expanded Replay — We’ve heard all the arguments. It’s going to make games longer. Fans will lose interest. It erodes the sanctity of the game. Well. You know what erodes the sanctity of the game? When Angel Hernandez adamantly defends a game-changing call he knows he got wrong, just because he is arrogant and stubborn. So bring on the reviews, we say. Here’s a novel way to maintain the sanctity of the game: Get the calls right.

3. Expanded Replay, redux — Is there any way we can have replay AND still have screaming, hollering, dirt-kicking, base-tossing hissy fits from managers who have been wronged by the umps? Because we love listening to baseball announcers try to pronounce “apoplexy,” and watching grown men act like 3-year olds.

Say What? “When I saw (San Ramon Valley’s early) lead, I laughed. We’ve been down this road. All we had to do was turn up our defense.”

Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune/MCT/ZUMAPRESS.com

4. (No more) Crash Davis — Another rule change from MLB established a limited no-collision edict on plays at the plate. The Buster Rule, if you will, says that catchers can’t block the plate without the ball, and runners can’t deviate from their path to initiate contact with the catcher. We’re kinda gonna miss those bang-bang BANG plays at the plate, where the mask and the glove and the helmet and — was that a tooth? — all go flying. 5. Whodat and the Whatshisnames? — What are the chances the Oakland A’s can, once again, trot out a bottom-dollar bunch of no-name grinders and somehow pull off another AL West title? We dunno. We do know they’re projected to have the fifthlowest payroll in MLB, and most of their commercials feature Bob Melvin, Curt Young, and Mike Gallego — and they’re all coaches. Sheesh. Even the ad campaign is low-budget. On the bright side, they do have some really snappy new alternate jerseys. Apparently they’re dumping all of their cash into laundry.

—Ebby Calvin Kolb

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Number of basketball teams with a 7 seed or greater to reach the CIF Northern Regional semifinals. Two are 7 seeds (Grant-Sacramento boys and Monte Vista-Danville girls). One is a 9 seed (Sir Francis Drake-San Anselmo boys). One is an 11 seed (Pleasant Grove-Elk Grove girls), and one is a 12 seed (Miramonte-Orinda boys). Miramonte, which actually played No. 9 Drake in the Div. III semifinal on March 18, was the lowest seed in the entire field.

McClymonds boys basketball coach Edgar Jackson, in a comment to Bay Area News Group reporter Stephanie Hammon following the Warriors 57-48 CIF Northern Regional quarterfinals upset at San Ramon Valley. McClymonds saw a number of big deficits early in the season as it was forced to regroup when Jackson took over the program once the previous coach was let go by the Oakland school just seven games into the season.

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March 20, 2014

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SJ Issue 82, March 26, 2014  

Sac-Joaquin Issue 82, March 26, 2014

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