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It was a holiday, and the Giants were playing a day game. What that usually means is that I'll try to get some work done while the game is on TV. That's what a holiday means to me: a day I can catch up on work without the pressure of phones and faxes and specific expectations. I knew what I wanted to do today, and I did it.

Unfortunately, while I was working the Giants were squandering a 4-0 first-inning lead, and by the time they got out of the sixth, they trailed the Diamondbacks, 7-4. Ugh. Did I turn the game off in frustration? No, I did not. I never do that. But I did turn the sound off and played an audiobook while I was sitting back in the recliner, semi-dozing. Last night was one of those nights.

As the innings went by, I was losing track of the audiobook, because the Giants were getting closer and closer. When all appears lost and a miracle comeback is in the works, my mind starts a-buzzing. I watched the bottom of the ninth, when they tied and almost won it, and then went back to my book until. . .

Well, until the next time there was a chance for the Giants to win it. They got their leadoff hitter on in the tenth and used a couple of outs to work him around to third. I was almost ready to go back to my book when Marco Scutaro (love that guy), who had started the tying rally in the ninth, laced a single to left to drive in the winning run, 9-8.

Of all the factors that go into making a good team, none might be more important than the belief, day in and day out, that they can win, no matter what the circumstances. You can't actually come from behind unless (a) you fall behind, and (2) you believe you're going to pull it out. And the only way you get that belief is by doing it, day in and day out.

That doesn't mean you have to win every game. The best teams in history have lost more than 50 games in a season. A team these days can win barely more than half its games and still make it to the World Series, with a little luck at the right time of the year. But the Giants are a team without a lineup full of superstars.

Unlike the Dodgers, they didn't go out at the last minute and buy a bunch of expensive players. The players they did pick up during the season are, like Marco Scutaro, professional ballplayers who quietly play their roles and do their jobs. Today his job was to win the game.

Real teammates help each other succeed however they can. When the Giants got Scutaro from the Rockies a couple of months ago, he was asked to fill in temporarily at third base, a position he hadn't played in several years. He not only played it well, he played well enough that when the time came, the team had to find a way to keep him in the everyday lineup. They would not be solidly in first place without him.


One result of the big comeback win is that I'm going to have to reread (or re-listen-to) the last chapter or two of that audiobook. I probably should have known better. I should have known where my attention would be focused.

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