OK, I can't help it. I simply have to write at least once more about the Bay Area's baseball teams. Yes, I know I did that last week and I know there is plenty about them on the sports pages of this paper.
But both teams provided us with such an unbelievable week that it seemed appropriate to visit them one more time. The truth is that both teams have taught some valuable lessons to anyone paying attention.
After all, last weekend was a disaster for fans on both sides of the Bay. As Monday rolled round the Grim Reaper was sharpening his scythe as the teams sat on the brink of elimination. Each would have to win three straight games to advance to the next round. The Giants would have to do it on the road in a place where the home team had not lost three in row all year.
As it turned out, the Giants did what no team had done before and the A's came close to the miraculous as well. It took the best pitcher in baseball to stop them.
The details have been -- and will continue to be -- well-discussed and analyzed on our sports pages both in print and online.
Instead of rehashing it, I want to consider some of the object lessons the teams modeled for us. Things such as tenacity, perseverance, enthusiasm, teamwork and quiet confidence.
I have long operated under the thesis that participation in sports at nearly all levels can offer substantial life instruction to those willing to learn. I don't mean just the so-called
It is why I was a youth sports coach. Sure, part of the reason I coached was a bit selfish in that I wanted to spend more time with my kids (hardly a bad thing). But I also believed then, and do now, that sporting activities were a vital part of my kids' education, as it was for each of their teammates. I wanted to make sure that education was delivered as constructively as possible and to as many as possible.
My three kids are all in college now (yes, at the same time; obviously, doing practical math was never a strong suit), but I know that the lessons they learned on the playing fields of the East Bay remain with them today. I see it in their work ethic, their commitment to team, their tenacity and their interaction with others.
Aside from one of them being a New York Yankees fan, which I blame on genetic mutation, they are three fine young adults.
Certainly, sports is not entirely responsible for that, but I believe it contributed.
That is why I hope anyone who is part of a team -- be they young athletes, coaches or adults in the workplace -- was watching this season because both the Giants and the A's demonstrated some exceptional examples of behavior that should inform us all.
While the two teams are different in many ways, they have a few things in common that make me proud to root for them. And, yes, I do root for both of them. For the purists among you who don't like that, well, too bad.
Both have overcome tremendous adversity during the season, not the least of which was losing key players who tested positive for steroid use. As testament to their internal makeup, both squads played better after the cheaters were exposed and removed from the team.
In the era of the "it's-all-about-me" athlete, these two teams have modeled the value of each team member doing his job. No trash talk. Each player on each team was there for a reason. It seemed both teams had a different hero in every win.
But to me the overarching shared virtue is class. They have won with class and they have lost with class. The best example of the latter occurred Thursday night when obviously disappointed A's outfielder Josh Reddick, who is in his first full season in the league, came out of the deflated A's dugout after they had lost to the Detroit Tigers and removed his hat as he pointed to the sellout crowd as a classy gesture of thanks and respect.
I hope my kids saw that. I hope yours did too.
I also hope A's managing partner Lew Wolff and owner John Fisher were watching too, so they could see that all that is needed for a viable franchise in Oakland is a credible team. The fan base is there. If you build it, they will come.
Dan Hatfield is the editorial page editor of the Oakland Tribune and the Contra Costa Times.