OAKLAND, Calif. — Joe Smith made a blind, backward, over-the-head free throw that Stephen Curry couldn't match. Then the Angels reliever stymied the reigning NBA MVP on a left-handed 3-pointer and had suddenly beaten arguably the world's best basketball player at a good-natured game of PIG.
"That was fun. I loved it," a giddy Smith said. "I'm not that bad. I ain't that good, either. Sometimes a little bit of luck, a lot bit of luck."
Whether Curry brought his absolute best stuff to the post-practice contest, we'll never know. It sure made Smith's day to walk away a winner from the defending champion Warriors' practice. Smith, INF Cliff Pennington and sluggers Albert Pujols and Mike Trout attended practice Tuesday before their night game against the Athletics some 10 minutes down the freeway at the Coliseum.
Smith took his win in stride. He received handshakes and hugs from Curry.
"Well, you don't go into something expecting you're going to lose, that ain't how you become a professional athlete," Smith said. "Everything you do you want to win. But that was pretty cool. Like I told him, we positioned everybody the right way. I just got lucky, I was in front of him and there were four guys. All of his tough shots, everybody else missed. We knew somebody had to beat him. We couldn't walk out of here without a win, you know? That's not making ESPN."
OBITUARY: Former Astros and Giants GM H.B. "Spec" Richardson died Tuesday in Columbus, Ga. He was 93. Mr. Richardson was general manager of Houston from 1967-75 and San Francisco from 1976-80. He was MLB's executive of the year in 1978.
ROBINSON SCHOLARSHIPS: Major League Baseball will fund 30 four-year Jackie Robinson Foundation scholarships, one for each of the sport's teams, and will contribute $1 million to the project to build a Robinson museum in New York. MLB said Robinson scholars will mentor people in the sport's youth and community programs with Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities, MLB Urban Youth Academies and Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
SUSPENSIONS: Braves RHP Alger Hodgson was suspended 72 games under baseball's minor-league drug program, and Giants RHP David Graybill was banned 50 games.
PIRATES: LHP Francisco Liriano was scratched from tonight's start because of discomfort in his right hamstring. RHP Ryan Vogelsong will make a spot start.
TIGERS: C James McCann has a Grade 2 sprain on his right ankle, an MRI exam revealed, and he's expected to miss two to four weeks.
YANKEES: Minor-league reliever Nick Rumbelow has a torn elbow ligament and needs Tommy John surgery that will sideline him until next year. The right-hander, 24, was injured Sunday while pitching for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.