San Francisco Giants: What’s luck got to do with it? Not much…


If you read Neal Gabler’s “Luck replaces grit in baseball playoffs, just like in real life,” (October 10th), you will find that the article forms the dubious conclusion that because they are lucky, the inferior San Francisco Giants were able to defeat the Washington Nationals. Gobler wrote,

“What there is are teams like the Royals and Giants getting lucky-which, in a best-of-five series isn’t all that unusual and in the best-of-one wild-card game is essentially a throw of the dice. A ball takes a bad hop, a pitching ace has one bad outing, an umpire expands the strike zone. And just like that, luck turns into victory-and an inferior team beats a superior one that has proven to be better over that long season.”

The author’s statement is categorically wrong.

The author’s premise, that the Giants are simply lucky,  is emphatically wrong.

If a pitching ace has a bad outing, that is inferior baseball, not bad luck; conversely, I might rebut by saying that a staff ace, such as

Madison Bumgarner

, who has a dominating outing, presents an example of superior baseball.

Photo by Denise Walos 7/4/14

If an umpire calls an expanded strike zone, he calls it for both teams and it is up to the players to adjust. Luck does not factor into the equation.  And if Brandon Crawford hits a grand slam in a best-of-one wild-card game, that is skill-pure and unadulterated-and has nothing to do with luck.

Furthermore, to form the conclusion that a team is inferior because its season-long record is not as good as the first-place team, is simply ludicrous. A team engages in a marathon, with injuries and slumps affecting the win/loss record. No one should argue, however, that a team that cannot play clutch playoff baseball, should still be considered the better team.

It simply does not compute, because the playoffs, including the world series, ratchet up the pressure; the strong teams advance and the weak ones go home. A bad hop may impact a game dramatically, but a team that puts itself in the position of having to snivel about a bad hop, is a poor excuse for a champion team in the first place.

No, many like what Tim Lincecum said, after the 2012 World Series, when he described the team as all pulling on the same rope and believing in one another.

Fans also might like what Wayne Sadler had to say on the subject, “Luck has nothing to do with playing in October. Sometimes it looks like it in the playoffs but individual skills and mental errors masquerade as good and bad luck.”

Wayne is not especially partial to the Giants, being an ardent Los Angeles Dodgers fan, which makes his statement all the more believable.

Lucky teams advance? And fat umpires fly. It makes about the same amount of sense.

Tim Lincecum with his French Bulldog, Cy.