Enter the Warzone, dropping cares like autumn leaves.
• Aside from Madison Bumgarner’s magnificence, the Giants are one victory from their third World Series title in five years because of their hitters’ unwavering approach.
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Only Hunter Pence and Pablo Sandoval take big swings, and seldom with two strikes. Everyone else in the lineup, Buster Posey included, uses a compact stroke. Forget swinging for the fences. These guys just try to split the middle infielders.
Brandon Belt even bunted against the shift, for McGraw’s sake.
• The unhittable Wade Davis had Juan Perez down 0-2. Perez worked the count to 3-2 before taking a short but forceful swing at a 96-mph fastball, center cut, reaching the tippy top of the center-field fence and knocking in two huge runs.
Juan freaking Perez. What a moment.
• Picked the Giants in six a week ago. No reason to change now.
• The Fresno Grizzlies are trying to move on. Everyone from the managing general partner to the head groundskeeper wore crisp blue polos to a media event welcoming visiting dignitaries from the Houston Astros.
While fans keep calling to inquire about the possibility of World Series replica rings.
• The Astros folks, including president Reid Ryan and director of player development Quinton McCracken, were friendly and down to earth. Said the right things. Didn’t say the wrong ones.
The Astros will send Fresno a Triple-A team stocked from one of baseball’s best farm systems. McCracken even suggested there could be a couple players here who finished last season in the majors.
But does anyone show up on nights without fireworks or $2 beers?
• Fresno State finally did it. The Bulldogs spent the bye week breaking in a new starting quarterback before publicly handing the reins to Zack Greenlee.
Coach Tim DeRuyter explained several reasons for the switch, and boosting ticket sales for Saturday’s game against Wyoming wasn’t among of them. But it certainly won’t hurt.
• The question now is how many interceptions it’ll take before Bulldogs fans who have been screaming for Brian Burrell’s head turn their fangs on Greenlee.
Set the over-under at 2½. Unless Greenlee replicates Burrell’s flip-to-the-wrong-guy-in-the-red-zone against UNLV. Then 1½.
• If the quarterback can be benched, linebackers who continuously flow the wrong way can’t be far behind.
Even senior linebackers.
• Tuesday evening, the College Football Playoff committee will release its first set off rankings.
And Condoleezza Rice thought outrage from Democrats was bad. Just wait till the ear-splitting she gets from SEC honks if two of their teams aren’t in the top four.
• Then again, any committee that releases rankings in October that don’t mean squat until December does so at its own peril.
• The Pac-12 Conference passed a series of “sweeping reforms” for the benefit of student-athletes ... and to make itself look good.
• Cal and Auburn scheduled a home-and-home series. Only in that great sociological experiment known as football.
• Alan Autry on what it’s like watching son Austin get leveled while playing quarterback for Clovis North High: “I thought being mayor would give me ulcers.”
• Tim Duncan took less money; Kobe Bryant did not. Duncan has a great supporting cast; Bryant does not. Duncan is still winning championships; Bryant is not.
Explain the Lakers’ current predicament (and Bryant’s role in shaping it) using any narrative you wish. Just don’t choose the facts.
• For no particular reason: Orlando Huff
• The Fresno State men’s basketball season starts up pretty soon. This season, you can actually look forward to that.
• Less than a week after being arrested for shoplifting a two pack of Polo underwear, Cowboys running back Joseph Randle signed an endorsement deal with a company called MeUndies.
You might say his brand allegiance is brief.