The Morning Column: October 12, 2021

It took me 165 games and seven months to come to the realization that has been clear to anyone else not watching games this season through blue-colored glasses – the Giants are a damn good team.

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OK, let’s get to it!

1. Dodgers on brink of elimination

Gavin Lux reacts after a fly out at the outfield wall during the ninth inning in game three of the 2021 NLDS against the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

I didn’t want to believe it.

Even after 162 regular season games where the Dodgers won a franchise-tying best 106 games only to lose the NL West to the 107-win San Francisco Giants.

I didn’t want to believe it.

Even after Max Scherzer pitched a gem in Game 3 of the NLDS; striking out 10 and giving up just one earned run on three hits, only to lose, 1-0, to the Giants.

I didn’t want to believe it.

I simply refused to believe that a Giants team that was projected to finish near the bottom of the league with an over/under win total of 73.5 before the season began was really this good. They were supposed to hit a wall at some point. Bang their head on their low ceiling and come back down to Earth. There was no way this team was better than the defending World Series champion Dodgers, right?


The Giants are that good. It took me 165 games and seven months to come to the realization that has been clear to anyone else not watching games this season through blue-colored glasses. Not only did the Giants prove to be the best team in baseball during the regular season but on a windy night at Dodger Stadium that felt more like Candlestick Park, they showed they are also the best in the postseason.

I’m not the only one outside of the Bay Area that has been late to the Giants’ party. The oddsmakers that had begrudgingly made the Giants the favorites to win the division just last month but kept the Dodgers as World Series favorites, are finally having to admit what’s been happening the past seven months isn’t a fluke even if it’s going to cost them millions. For the first time this season, the Giants are now favored to win the National League and play the Houston Astros in the World Series, in what would be the worst nightmare match-up for Dodgers fans.

The Dodgers’ season isn’t over, of course. Walker Buehler will pitch on short rest in Game 4 with Julio Urias ready to go in a decisive Game 5 in San Francisco. The Dodgers could still come back and win the series but for the first time this season, they aren’t favored to do so as Dodgers fans and bookmakers alike have finally come to the realization that the Giants are really that good, whether they want to believe it or not.  

2. Jon Gruden out as Raiders coach

Moments before the start of the Dodgers-Giants NLDS Game 3, news of Jon Gruden being out as the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders began to spread around Dodger Stadium.  

Gruden’s ouster came on the heels of a New York Times story that outlined Gruden’s use of racist, anti-gay and misogynistic language in a series of emails. Gruden officially resigned but the Raiders would have been forced to fire him if he hadn’t tendered his resignation after the story was posted.

If you haven’t read the story, you should do so to understand why Gruden’s career in the NFL – and likely as a public figure representing any reputable company – was over. He called NFL commissioner Roger Goodell a “faggot” and a “clueless anti football pussy” and called Michael Sam, a gay football player drafted by the Rams, a “queer.” He also called DeMaurice Smith, the executive director of the NFL Players Association, “Dumboriss Smith” and said he “has lips the size of michellin tires.”

It’s disgusting, abhorrent and has no place in society, let alone the NFL. The emails were sent to Bruce Allen, the former president of the Washington Football Team and others, and came to light during an investigation into workplace misconduct in Washington. Gruden’s NFL career is over but he’s not alone in expressing these bigoted remarks. You’re only comfortable sending the emails Gruden sent while you’re talkin to people who agree with you. It’s important that the NFL realizes that this isn’t an isolated incident and represents a bigger issue with the league and those that are in positions of power.    

3. Song of the Day

4. Photo of the Day

Kris Bryant and Mike Yastrzemski of the San Francisco Giants chase a foul ball by AJ Pollock #11 of the Los Angeles Dodgers during the ninth inning in game 3 of the National League Division Series at Dodger Stadium on October 11, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

5. Odds and Ends Powered by Bovada
Here are some odds on Bovada if you’re thinking about placing a wager today:

6. Oct. 12, 1979: Magic Johnson makes NBA debut

On this day in 1979, Earvin “Magic” Johnson made his NBA debut with a 103-102 win over the San Diego Clippers. Magic had 26 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists but it was his celebration and bearhug of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar after Kareem’s game-winning skyhook that is the most memorable moment of the game. Kareem would later say that he had to calm down the rookie when they got back into the locker room.  “He was so happy it was like he had won the NCAA championship again,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “He was going nuts and jumping on me. We got in the locker room and I said, ‘Earvin, we have 81 more games.’”

7. Happy Birthday Bob Miller

Happy birthday to Bob Miller. The longtime Los Angeles Kings play-by-play announcer is turning 81 today. Miller was the voice of the Kings from 1973 to 2017 and teamed up with Jim Fox for the final 27 seasons, which included two Stanley Cups. Miller is immortalized with a statue outside of Staples Center next to his dear friend Chick Hearn and the press box at Staples Center is named after him. He was also honored by the Hockey Hall of Fame and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

8. Ticket Time Powered by StubHub

Here are the “get in” prices for tickets if you’re thinking about going to a game this week.

San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers – $70

9. On The Air

6 p.m. – San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers – TBS

10. The Arash Markazi Show 

On Monday’s show, we broke down a big sports weekend in Las Vegas and also talked about the Chargers' big win over the Cleveland Browns at SoFi Stadium.

Listen to The Arash Markazi Show on The Mightier 1090 Monday-Friday from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m., following The Rich Eisen Show. The Mightier 1090 has the second strongest radio signal in North America and can be heard from “Baja to the Canadian Rockies.” You can also listen to the show on SpotifyApple PodcastsGoogle Play and Stitcher.

And please click below to subscribe to The Morning Column at Substack. Please also consider supporting my colleagues at Substack (and former colleagues at ESPN and SI): Marc SteinHenry AbbottChad Ford and Ethan Sherwood Strauss on the NBA, Molly Knight and Joe Posnanski on MLB, Ariel Helwani on MMA, Dan Rafael on boxing, Grant Wahl and Leander Schaerlaeckens on soccer, Chris Peters on the NHL and Peter Bodo on tennis.

That’s it for today. Talk to you tomorrow!