One Giant Leap For Competiveness

Not a lot of positive things going on with active teams in this area.  Yes, the Angels are surprisingly competitive at this juncture, and this week’s Freeway Series with the slumping Dodgers may open a few more eyes.  But the biggest reason the Dodgers are in freefall at the moment is squarely laid at the feet of their arch-rival from the North, who continued their renaissance last night with a thrilling come-from-behind win.  As Maria Guardado of MLB. com recounted:

With seven rookies on their active roster, the Giants are in the midst of a youth movement, but it was their third-longest-tenured player who stole the show on Monday night.

Mike Yastrzemski launched two home runs, including a game-winning, three-run blast off left-hander Ray Kerr in the 10th inning, to lift the Giants to a 7-4 walk-off win over the Padres at Oracle Park and extend the club’s winning streak to eight games.

Yastrzemski homered off Padres right-hander Michael Wacha to bring the Giants within two in the sixth inning and then scored the game-tying run on Patrick Bailey’s sacrifice fly to cap a two-run rally in the bottom of the ninth and force extra innings.

Yaz, of course, is the beloved grandson of Red Sox all-time great Carl, now in his mid-eighties but still a name associated with greatness.  He, of course, inherited a legacy passed on to him when he effectively replaced Ted Williams as a rookie.  And now it is Mike who is a de facto elder statesman who is leading a whole lot of newbies.

In Los Angeles, these young Jints humiliated the Dodgers by a 29-8 run total in sweeping a crucial Chavez Ravine series punctuated by a very controversial Pride Night.  And as Evan Webeck of the MERCURY-NEWS added, they have now returned to Oracle Park rejuvenated and opening up opportunities for still more new stories:

Camilo Doval pitched a scoreless top of the 10th, stranding the automatic runner, to set up the game-winning rally in the bottom half and earn the win. Although Keaton Winn, who took down five innings in relief in his first-ever game at Oracle Park, had just as much of a claim.

“I’ve heard stories about the nightclub in here,” Winn said of the clubhouse afterward, which featured the usual fog machine and bumping playlist. “That was really cool to get to experience, especially off that walk-off splash. That was so cool.”

There certainly has been even less for NoCal sports fans to glom onto until recently than elsewhere in the state. The Niners’ season, with whatever healthy quarterback they can find who isn’t named Garropolo, is still months away.  The Dubs–don’t ask, and certainly don’t ask Draymond Green.  The Sharks were the second-worst NHL team.  Stanford’s baseball team was eliminated from the College World Series yesterday.  Cal’s basketball team went 3-29.  The A’s, well, viva Las Vegas.–say hi to the Raiders and Jimmy G when you get there.

A win like this against a Padres team that has fallen on even harder times than the Dodgers is especially significant.  As Peter Alexis of Clutch Points reported, it actually has produced some excitement in a city where the overwhelming attitude toward getting back to normal is as muted as anywhere else in the country:

The Giants’ twitter account was so pumped, they dubbed it the “Mike Yastrzemski game” because of all of his contributions.  One Bay Area reporter summed up everything that Yastrzemski did on Monday night, calling him “100% DAWG” after his multi-HR performance.

The Red Sox’ magical summer of 1967 paralled San Francisco’s “Summer of Love”.  The theme song in Boston that Papa Carl and company strutted to was from the Broadway hit of the time, the Man of La Mancha.  To dream…the impossible dream…to fight…the unbeatable foe…

Well, those worlds have seemingly converged.  And I suspect if this keeps up, the Giants will be drawing way more attention from people who actually do desire to leave their homes and work in their offices.

Judging by the scene last night, at least more of them are filling the stands at Oracle., and that’s likely to continue through this homestand.   And that’s reason enough to me to wish them well.



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