Baseball playoffs on both sides of the Bay
Before I get to the Bay Area’s Major League Baseball teams and the playoffs, let’s put aside any notion that the San Francisco 49ers are ripe for a big let-down, starting with their recent road loss to the Minnesota Vikings after impressive wins over Green Bay and Detroit, and would continue on the East Coast Sunday against the New York Jets.
The 49ers proved they had just a hiccup of an off day in the NFL, which can happen to the best of teams, by dominating and shutting down the Jets 34-0 with a total team effort, and I do mean team.
Nine different Niners rushed for 245 yards and three touchdowns, including backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who scored his first NFL touchdown and was established, by head coach Jim Harbaugh, as another offensive threat, not just with his legs, but also with his strong passing arm – his incomplete long end-zone pass providing proof.
While starting quarterback Alex Smith ran the offensive show, with team depth demonstrated again as wide-receiver Mario Manningham flashed his talent catching the ball and running with it, the 49er defense provided proof that it didn’t lose its mojo in Minnesota and is still one of the top forces in the league.
As for the Oakland Raiders, inconsistency continues to be their downfall – a rousing win over the Pittsburg Steelers, followed by a deflating road loss to the Denver Broncos.
The Raiders have talent and a solid young head coach, but their chemistry is still diluted by mistakes on both sides of the ball, which makes each week a guessing game of which Oakland team is going to show up.
Now, turning to baseball, it’s a playoff bonanza on both sides of the Bay with the San Francisco Giants winning the National League West and seeking a second World Series championship in three years, and another successfully re-tooled Oakland team is letting the American League know they have plans of joining their Bay Area neighbors in the fall classic.
Billy Beane has, again, made the right moves to put the A’s in not only the playoffs, but still – as of presstime – in contention for the AL West title as they stay hot on the front-running Texas Rangers’ tails.
Hopefully, if a “Moneyball II” is filmed, the manager will get his due, because what Bob Melvin has done in the present as a shrewd baseball mind and leader of the pack, Art Howe did in the past for Oakland, which you would never know by watching “Moneyball I.”
As for the amazing – and National League most valuable player as a league-leading-hitter and all-star catcher – Buster Posey sparked San Francisco Giants, they’re ready to face any team in the playoffs with confidence and momentum.
The Giants have hitters up and down the lineup – I’ll take extra-base hits in any form, and not just as homers – a deep and proven pitching staff, and their playing rock-solid defense, which all adds up to a strong playoff run to the World Series.
So, while we’re at it, why not have another “Bay Bridge Series.”