Imagine how much everyone would ignore all the other local teams if the Giants were playing well.
What happened over the last week? What didn't happen? Okay, nothing for the college teams, but people care more about EBAL football around here than they do about the Pac-10. The pro teams were all in the news for wildly different reasons, and they all had a day or two of headlines, but only the Giants seemed to dominate all week long. And right now the Giants are pretty mediocre ... check that, the Giants are pretty terrible right now -- even taking into account their 7-6 10th inning win over the Mets on Tuesday night.
The Giants are a team of walking World Series rings right now, and not much else. The pitching is still there, but it's been overshadowed by shoddy fielding and baserunning. That, and the fact that the Giants work the count about as well as I do when playing video game baseball. But the rings talk. The streets (in San Francisco anyway) are still littered with Giants hats and jackets. No one's seen a 49ers jacket in the City in over six months. Well, a clean one anyway. In the Tenderloin, dirty Niners jackets are still an integral fashion accessory.
After so long between titles for any local team, it hasn't been anywhere near long enough yet for the parade smoke to clear (and of course that's meant literally). So regardless of what happens to the other teams in the region, the cries throughout the online spheres are littered with worries about Pablo Sandoval's hamate bone and the Giants' recent propensity to get shut out by mediocre pitching. It makes some sense: the 49ers and Raiders made draft picks, but nobody knows when and if the regular season will start in 2011; the Warriors haven't shown anyone a reason to believe things will get better anytime in the near future, and nobody knows when the NBA will start their next regular season either; the A's are the A's; the Sharks play hockey in a region that rarely freezes.
The 49ers are a sleeping giant, and people here love basketball as much as anywhere else in the country, but neither team has been good in years and both of their leagues are looking at long work stoppages. How much longer the Giants will dominate the media landscape, and how much longer the fans will demand that to be the case? Probably until the end of this season and Major League Baseball has a work stoppage of its own.
One last thing about the kings of SF, then some stuff about the Kings
- Mychael Urban reported that the Giants have talked about trading for Jose Reyes in order to add some much needed speed and shortstop respectability to San Francisco. For Brian Sabean, why not do this deal? At his age, he's not going to be around by the time Zach Wheeler hits the Majors ... wait, hold on. Sabean's only 54? Even though he's the longest-tenured GM in baseball, he could still surround great young pitching with ancient middle infielders for another decade? This trade isn't happening.
- The Sacramento Kings are staying, and Phil Jackson wrote a letter apologizing to the Maloof brothers for comparing them to the McCourts. I don't know which part of that last sentence is more noteworthy.
- The 49ers drafted a pass rusher in Aldon Smith, a quarterback in Colin Kaepernick, and a DB in Chris Culliver. Then their draft got interesting. Kendall Hunter is a completely different running back than they have on their roster, great for 3rd downs and one would assume has an easier time staying on his feet than Anthony Dixon. But Ronald Johnson may be my favorite pick the Niners made. He already runs better routes than the talented yet inconsistent -- and alligator-armed -- Josh Morgan (here's a highlight package that proves it, although you'll probably want to turn down the volume). And since Johnson played for USC, you know Jim Harbaugh thinks he can make better use of him than Pete Carroll or Lane Kiffin did. Plus, he can return punts, like pretty much everyone else the 49ers picked. Heck, Aldon and Colin could probably return a punt or two if the Niners were desperate.
- Al Davis drafted Steve Wisniewski's son Stefen in the second round (as you know, they didn't have a first rounder because of the Richard Seymour trade), and then went DB/OL/DB in his next three picks. Of course the DB, Demarcus Van Dyke, was the combine 40-yd champ with a time of 4.28 seconds. The Raiders took RB Taiwan Jones in round 4, 12 picks after the 49ers took Hunter. Davis will brag for a while if his new 6'0" runner outperforms Hunter, who's 5 inches shorter but weighs the same as Jones.
- Trevor Cahill has been the best pitcher on either the Oakland A's or the Giants, and it isn't really that close. If it weren't for Jared Weaver and Dan Haren, Cahill would probably have to be considered the best pitcher in the entire American League.
- The A's entire pitching staff has been incredible. In the sabermetric world we live in this isn't exactly the coolest stat to reference, but 77 earned runs over 30 games? Absolutely filthy. They also lead the Majors in unearned runs allowed with 23, which shows that while both the Giants and A's are pretty bad at catching and hitting the ball so far, the Athletics are a tad worse at both. Their pitching has more than made up for it, however.
- The Sharks are playing incredibly well. I won't pretend to know how or why, but the amount of stars on that team is alarming. We're all curious how much the bandwagon will swell once the Sharks finally make it to the Stanley Cup Finals and/or (gasp) win the Cup. Kind of feeling like we may find out sooner rather than later (and the NHL isn't facing a labor stoppage after the playoffs are over).