Just Win, Baby

Tejada's big dilemma

TUE 4/1

Miggy, don’t go. There, it’s been said. Two weeks ago, the frugal Oakland Athletics‘ owner Steve Schott made an unusual announcement: He wouldn’t offer MVP shortstop Miguel Tejada a contract beyond this season (said he couldn’t afford it) and yet he also had no plans to trade him, either. Schott said if the young and affordable A’s were going to win the World Series, it would have to be this season, while Miggy was still an employee at Hegenberger Road. After that, the owner pondered, Tejada’s future with the team was uncertain.A’s fans are now plenty familiar with watching homegrown talent blossom into full-fledged stars, and then standing by in grief while Schott ticks off the reasons why he can’t pony up the cash to keep them around. But his declaration on Tejada had the air of being both heartwarming and disingenuous. Word around the Coliseum’s executive offices says general manager Billy Beane isn’t so high on Tejada in the long run, and that letting him get away wouldn’t leave a gaping hole, either in his heart or in the team’s lineup. Despite hitting for power and average, Tejada’s glove failed him, and his team, at the most inopportune moments in 2002, suggesting the 28-year-old Dominican suffered from a case of the jitters. Who can forget his Meltdown in Minnesota during the playoffs, when he overthrew his cubicle-mate, third baseman Eric Chavez, by a good ten feet?

Still, Tejada’s head can only get stronger, and he’s told reporters if he had his way, he’d stay in Oakland’s small market and forgo the bright lights and big pressures of the upmarket — even if one of those teams wanted him. As everyone in baseball already knows, the young A’s have locked up the league’s best starting pitching rotation for the next half decade in Barry Zito, Mark Mulder, and Tim Hudson. And this season, with southpaws Ted Lilly and John Halama, the rotation is stocked with four lefties, a bizarre and unsettling dilemma for any opposing team.

With all this in mind, Schott’s salvo left Miggy with a love-us-or-leave-us ultimatum: Stay with us for a bargain price, and you’re assured of getting within sniffing distance of the playoffs for the next few years, or take the big money elsewhere and land where you may — cellar be damned. Rest assured, fans at the Coliseum love rooting for the affable shortstop, and they’d be disgruntled if this season turned out to be his farewell tour (the season opens Tuesday, April 1 against Seattle). Last year’s ninth-inning Tejada home-run heroics blazed his name into the all-time baseball highlights reel — the kind Bob Costas likes to marvel over — but indeed, they occurred last year. So win now, Miggy. Then stick around for the after-party. — Justin Berton

THU 3/27

Splat!

Go to extremes

What possesses extreme sports fanatics to hurl their bodies off cliffs, down snow-packed mountainsides, bouncing off boulders, etc.? They’re not like you and me, they’re a Force of Nature — which happens to be the name of Summit Side Productions’ latest multisport film, premiering Thursday, March 27 (7 p.m.) at Any Mountain in Berkeley. Call it World’s Wackiest Amateur Broken-Neck Videos: a parade of skiing, motocross, snowboarding, base-jumping, and other stunts. The show is free. 2777 Shattuck Ave., 510-665-3939. — Kelly Vance

SAT 3/29

Youth on the March

It’s opening for week for kids’ baseball, too. This Saturday at 11 a.m., former Cal baseball coach Bob Milano — the Bears’ winningest coach ever — leads the 48th annual Opening Day Youth Baseball Parade down Solano Avenue in Albany to officially start the Albany Little League and Albany-Berkeley Girls’ Softball seasons. The players and coaches will be accompanied by the California Repercussions, a marching band that plays rock ‘n’ roll. For more info, call 510-525-1771. — By Kelly Vance

WED 3/26

A Woman’s World

Women need adventure, too. Visit the “Nepal of the West” — Copper Canyon in Northern New Mexico, home of the Tarahumara people. Backpack the Grand Canyon. Climb Half Dome in Yosemite Valley. Take a six-day hike on the John Muir Trail. See the wildlife of Alaska’s Denali National Park. Or simply relax with a day of yoga, hot springs, and spa in Napa Valley. These are just a few of the outings organized by Call of the Wild, a Berkeley-based company that has been sponsoring adventure travel for women for 25 years. From now through fall there are many trips scheduled, from Tahoe to Mesa Verde to the Lost Coast. To learn more, visit www.callwild.com, or phone 510-644-3811. — By Kelly Vance

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