Jim Harbaugh shakes hands too hard — right, Jim Schwartz? — wears “dad pants” on the sidelines and is known for being a bit prickly with the media after practices and games.
But the San Francisco 49ers coach also is a fantastic storyteller when he’s in the mood. Case in point: Harbaugh’s recent interview with columnist Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News.
In an article about Harbaugh’s friendship with Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin, Harbaugh reveals one of the funniest wetting-your-pants stories since the old farm woman’s in “Billy Madison.”
Harbaugh said the incident happened at a Cleveland Indians game when he was 5 years old while he and his older brother, Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh, waited in line to meet one of the players.
“It was one of those games where there was maybe a thousand, 700 people left when it was over. I think the lights had gone out during the game, the old Municipal Stadium,” Harbaugh recalled. “But you could meet a player after the game. And there was — I think it was a first baseman named McGraw. Might’ve been a third baseman.
“Anyway, I know we entered the field from the first-base side, just to get a picture with him. ... And I had to go to the bathroom really bad. So I had to make a decision: Me and my brother were like 20 people from actually being able to go on to the field and take a picture with (the player) right by the first-base bag.
“And it was either go to the bathroom and not get a picture, or do it right there in my pants. So I chose to go in my pants, and my parents have this picture of a big ring right here (points to an obvious place on the front of his pants).
“I just want that picture for some reason. I really want that picture.”
Kawakami’s piece also outed Harbaugh as a foul-ball fanatic who still brings his glove when he attends baseball games. Harbaugh said he has caught 20 foul balls in his lifetime.
“Yeah, I don’t count those other ones,” Harbaugh said. “It’s got to be in play, during a game, not batting practice. Not the kind where the third baseman runs off and tosses it into the stands. Legit.”
■ SOD FRAUD — A large section of turf at Levi’s Stadium was replaced Thursday, only four days after the 49ers’ $1.3 billion stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., hosted its first NFL game.
The new turf is expected to be ready by Sunday when the 49sers host the Chargers, but a prep football doubleheader next Friday was canceled, 49ers team officials announced. One of the games involved Concord (Calif.) De La Salle, the school featured in the recently released movie “When the Game Stands Tall.” More than 6,000 tickets had to be refunded.
This is the first instance Leftovers is aware of that they’ve struggled to grow grass in Northern California.
■ GOOD QUESTION — New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham was fined $30,000 for twice dunking the ball over the crossbar during last week’s preseason win over Tennessee.
Graham, who went through a lengthy battle over whether he is classified as a tight end or a wide receiver for the purposes of the NFL’s franchise tag, had his signature touchdown celebration banned by the league during the offseason.
From @PeytonsHead on Twitter: “So, how much would Jimmy Graham have got fined if he was a WR?”
COMPILED BY DAVID SCHOEN LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL