LaMichael James has eye on World Series

LONDON -- It's not easy following the World Series here.

The games start after 1 a.m. and baseball isn't a big deal in England. However, for 49ers running back LaMichael James, following the Fall Classic is a must.

James' high school teammate, Will Middlebrooks, is the third baseman for the Boston Red Sox. Middlebrooks was the quarterback and James the running back at Liberty-Eylau High School in Texarkana, Texas.

The San Francisco 49ers are playing the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday at Wembley Stadium.

James is also friends with Middlebrooks' World Series adversary, St. Louis pitcher Michael Wacha, Thursday's starter. He attended rival high school Pleasant Grove in Texarkana and is two years younger than Middlebrooks and James.

"Wacha's my guy too, but I have to go with Will," James said. "He's my guy."

James said he and Middlebrooks are in contact, often through Twitter, on a daily basis.

James said he played baseball with Middlebrooks but never got serious about the game. The reason?

"I'm scared of the ball," James said. "I'm not joking. I'm terrified of that ball coming at me like that."

Let's get this straight. James, a 5-foot-9, 194-pound speedster, can handle returning a kick with 11 men coming at him like a herd of buffalo with bad intentions, but he's frightened by the idea of baseball whizzing at him.

"Yes," James said. "I can handle the football stuff, but not that ball."