A’S FAIL IN BIG APPLE: Ah, it was a tremendously entertaining season. The win-or-go-home format is indeed a Wild Card. The A’s travelled to Yankee Stadium and fell 7-2 on Wednesday night. Yes, they had their chances in the fourth and fifth innings. However, they uncharacteristically could not get the big hit that had blessed them all season. Two big blasts by Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton spelled Oakland’s fate. However, this team seems to have bright future and surely brought many brilliant moments to Northern California this season.

FAREWELL TO HUNTER PENCE: As he led the team out of the dugout, everyone realized this would be his last time in a Giants uniform. With the tip of his cap, he began his final Sab Francisco appearance. Pence arrived on July 31, 2012. He laid claim to two World Championships. In 2013, he won the Willie Mac Award followed by a 2014 All-Star appearance. His 93 home runs, 787 hits, 387 runs, 406 RBI’s, and 135 doubles allowed him to lay claim to an incredible legacy. Forever a Giant, his contributions both on the field and in the clubhouse were simply outstanding.

LIVING LARGE: It was the battle of 5-0 teams, a barometer on what the season might bring for both squads. However, after a challenging first half in which the Bear River Bruins stumbled, they came back and posted a very impressive 16-7 win over the difficult Center Cougars. The 7-3 deficit after two quarters was parlayed into brilliant dominance for the final two frames. Center was shutout in the third and fourth quarters while Bear River posted a 128 yard passing performance from Calder Kunde and 151 rushing yards by Tre Maronic. Boasting a 22-man roster, they play both ways as well as special teams and win.

HILLMEN PUNISH MINERS: “We have stepping stones of getting better, but we still have a long ways to go,” says head coach Brad Sparks. Nevada Union goes to Auburn and loses 63-12. Placer High School shows off their highly talented squad that is probably destined to win it all. The bright spot? Dawson Fay is again incredible with 179 yards on the ground. This game may not serve as evidence, but the Miners are slowly improving. After their escape from the Sierra Foothill League, they will make their mark and improve as the season progresses.

READY TO ROLL: The San Jose Sharks are at a firm crossroads. It all started Wednesday night for the Men in Teal. Arguably there has never been a year of so much promise. The defense is the most solid in the league. General Manager Doug Wilson made key additions. A good core offense is in place. Now, perhaps more than ever before, they need to execute. Some have already tagged them for a deep run in the playoffs. However, even with the pieces to the puzzle in place, it is now time to perform and show their prowess.

OT THRILLER: The Raiders are losers no more. They best the Cleveland Browns 45-42 in overtime. They score 20 straight points in the second half. Behind 42-34 in regulation with less than 2 minutes to play, the Browns come up short after a replay as Oakland goes on to win and break their losing streak. Relief for Jon Gruden in a game where Browns Baker Mayfield became the 30th QB since 1999 for Cleveland.

49ERS FAIL: In a game where San Francisco had, at times, a hard time moving the ball and missed multiple tackles, the Los Angeles Chargers ran out the clock. To his credit, C.J. Beathard had a good game with two touchdowns. However, it was complemented by two interceptions, one of which was with a little more than 3 minutes to play. Robbie Gould continued to shine. It is a gut-wrenching 29-27 loss. Much work to do with difficult weeks ahead.

DRAMA IN SEATTLE: Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas held out over the summer. He was hoping to get a better contract from the team. It never came. He is a Hall of Fame player who deserved a better fate. However, on Sunday he broke his leg in the game vs. the Arizona Cardinals. As he was being carted off the field, he gave his sidelines his middle finger. The emotions took over and he will probably regret it, but he now realizes that the longer, more lucrative deal is a thing of the past.

ERIC REID BACK WITH PANTHERS: He is back. On Friday, Reid signs a deal with the Carolina Panthers. Appearing before the media, he spoke of his support for the dissidence that had seemingly kept him out of the game. He donned a T-Shirt in support of Colin Kaepernick. He claimed he has not made up his mind about future protests. However, he is back in the game after offers from the 49ers and Carolina.

HELP IS ON ITS WAY: The Pittsburgh Steelers have experienced a lethargic performance so far in the NFL season. Running back Le’Veon Bell reports that he will be back during the Week 7 bye. It could not come too soon as the Steelers sit at 1-2-1. He is the franchise player. Yet, Bell wants a longer term, more lucrative contract. However, Pittsburgh seemingly will be without his services for the next two weeks. There is no doubt they need him. He may arrive too late to be their salvation.

USA CLAIMS WORLD CUP: Perhaps the hardest thing to do in all of sport is to beat the USA Women’s basketball team. Last Sunday they dominated Australia in route to a 73-56 win in Spain to capture the World Cup of Wowmen’s Basketball. They extended their advantage to 18-0 vs. Australia. It was the third straight crown. Sue Bird, at 38, claimed her fourth Gold Medal. Brittney Griner and Laura Taurasi were team leaders in points. An excellent result for an extraordinary team.

Jim Adams is a regular contributor to The Union. He can be reached at

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