In a crazy bit of timing, the San Francisco Giants, winners of their divisional series last night, will be travelling to St. Louis today. If they planned it any better, they could share their plane with the 49ers, who are travelling to St. Louis for a Monday night matchup with the Rams. They could also possibly rub shoulders with them to get a sense of how a real team is supposed to act. All baseball season, all you heard about was the Dodgers and their ace pitchers, their ginormous payroll, and their Cuban psycho player Yasiuel Puig. Or the Nationals and their superstar players, pitcher Ryan Strassburg and major-league douche-bag Bryce Harper. Or the A’s and their scrappy play, or the Angels and their enormous payroll, Yankees, Red Sox, blah blah blah.
The Giants? No one had them on the map. Even after their hot start. They didn’t complain about their myriad injuries that threatened to derail their season, their anemic (for months) hitting, and their lot in life as they went from 21 games over .500 and a 10 game lead in early June to 5 games over .500 and 6.5 games back in late August. They just kept battling as new pieces were picked up from the scrap heap, and untested rookies stepped up and contributed huge. No one getting arrested, no fights, no front office turmoil (self-generated or otherwise) no crazy distracting antics, and no headline-grabbing bullshit. Just playing the next game on the schedule.
The Giants mantra was, just get in. Play October baseball. Reach the playoffs and everyone has a 0-0 record. A new season. A new beginning. In one short week they have knocked off the favored wild card Pittsburgh Pirates, and the best team in the National League Washington Nationals. The Giants did it through strong pitching, solid defense, and a bullpen tough as nails. They may not reach the promised land and win it all, but a lot of people are going broke betting against these guys.
Jed York, Trent Baalke, and Jim Harbaugh can learn a lot from this Giants team. They need to stick to the business at hand and neither create, nor flame, any distractions that could derail what they are trying to accomplish. Ignore the tornado of bullshit flying around the HQ and just play football.
Truth is, the 49ers ARE on a bit of a roll. Much like the Giants, they struggle mightily to score, but play solid defense, and are slowly minimizing the God-awful penalties that plagued them the first couple games. If this team eventually figures out that what works between the 20s can work in the red zone, they just might be on to something. PLEASE ditch the trick plays and just play sound football.