While watching “High Heat” on MLB Television Wednesday morning, I listened as host Christopher Russo discussed the upcoming wild card game, between the San Francisco Giants and the Pittsburgh Pirates, with MLB columnist Richard Justice. Russo thought the Pirates had the edge, but Justice was not so certain. Whereas Justice admitted that he was not sure the Giants were going to win the game, he said he trusted the Giants.
I was intrigued. Trust a team? Trust it to do what? I wondered. I listened as Justice elaborated. He had been discussing the strength of the Pirates’ rotation when he stopped and said,
“Everything’s clicking for the Pirates. Now that doesn’t mean they’re going to win tonight because if you like one starting pitcher-I know you know this better than I-you’re going to like Madison Bumgarner in a big game…”
Then Russo continued on with his commentary of the upcoming game, saying to Justice,
“Ishikawa (Travis Ishikawa) plays left field tonight. That’s odd. Do you have a problem with that?” Justice responded,
“Well, no, this is the kind of stuff that Bruce Bochy does. Bochy just called him [Ishikawa] in and asked him how he would feel about it, and he [Bochy] felt good about the matchup with Ishikawa out there in left field.”
Bruce Bochy has the trust of his players, and it allows him to make the necessary moves to give his team the best chance to win. Photo Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Russo went on, “I think the Pirates are a better matchup, competitive wise, with the Washington Nationals than the Giants are. What’s your take on that?”
“Well, I trust the Giants, Chris, and from the beginning of spring training, scouts and people who were involved in baseball, would say to me, ‘Do not overlook the Giants…they have the best manager in baseball and a great general manager [Brian Sabean]…they have a core of guys who have won championships. And when you do that, you have an inner confidence.’”
Justice went on to add, “I asked Hunter Pence. It just doesn’t seem fair. You play for nine months and it’s one and done.” Pence just laughed and said,
“That’s the beauty of it; if you are a competitor, you want to be out here with a shot to keep it going.”
“So I trust the Giants. I don’t know that they’re going to win,
I trust the Giants. I don’t know that they’re going to win. But I trust them.
but I trust the Giants,” Justice concluded.
I trust the Giants too. I trust them for the same reason that Richard Justice trusts them: The Giants have been to the playoffs before, under the most extreme duress, and have achieved success-twice. I also don’t know that they’re going to win tonight, but I trust them to compete as a unit and to have each others’ back.
This is a formula for success that has proven itself and should not be discounted, not if we want to hear Tony Bennett sing “I left my heart in San Francisco” at AT&T Park again this season.
Underneath the arcade at AT&T Park between Right Field and McCovey Cove, the San Francisco Giants have a new, secret club…The Gotham Club. Mandatory Credit: Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports