Who woulda thunk? The same Jerome Williams who wilted in the pressure of his only playoff appearance last year came back from two months on the DL and threw cool cucumbers at the Pod-Rays. More than anything, staying calm under fire impresses me. Baseball is a slow-twitch game -- muscles have to be loose, minds have to be clear. Nervousness will wreak havoc with a pitcher's small-motor skills, the fine muscle control and subtle finger pressure that allows him to throw a rough-surfaced orb at 90 MPH consistently to a zone the height and width of a Rubik's Cube. Try that when your ass cheeks are clenched as tight as clam shells.

From now on, you'll watch Greg Maddux and only be able to think, "Hey, loose ass cheeks!"

* Bondsian stat of the day (from ESPN's Jayson Stark): "Lee Sinins estimates that a team comprised of all Barry Bondses would have averaged more than 23 runs a game this year."

Which begs the question: how many intentional walks would a team of all Barry Bondses draw?

* Bondsian insight of the day: Skip Bayless, who apparently has skipped out of San Jose and into the arms of ESPN, writes that Barry is motivated to greatness by everyone hating him. Interesting how much of Bayless's argument focuses on how much more money Barry could make from endorsements if he just kissed a little more ass. This is the corollary to the recent Joe Buck column in which Buck said Bonds needs to suck up to the media to get more respect.

* Embarrassing stat of the day: attendance for the Oakland-Seattle series at the Coliseum, with Ichiro chasing the hits record and the A's battling for the division title, was 17,199, 18,583, 28,556, 19,201.

It's not embarrassing for me; I don't give a flying foam finger about the A's, unless they're playing the Dodgers. OK, if it were the A's vs most NL teams in the World Series, I'd root for the A's. But I don't go for this Bay Area pride, split-hat crap.

The A's are a young, fun team; what's wrong with those people across the Bay?

Don't tell me it's the stadium. Even at Candlestick, which was far worse than the Mt. Davisized Net-Ass Coliseum, the Giants would draw big crowds for pennant races. It's not the transport: BART is easy to use. There's plenty of parking.

Any ideas?


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