SAN FRANCISCO -- 49ers quarterback Alex Smith's approval rating in the Bay Area is strong, to quite strong. The latest indicator: He is throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at the San Francisco Giants' playoff-opener Saturday night against the Cincinnati Reds.
Nearly two years ago to the day, Smith became so reviled by 49ers fans they chanted "We Want Carr," a nutty plea to have Smith replaced by undistinguished backup David Carr during a 27-24 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on an Oct. 10, 2010 game.
Since then, Smith's life has been on the uptick. Last year, he started every game for the NFC West-champion 49ers en route to the NFC Championship game. He and his wife Elizabeth also became first-time parents.
On Sunday, Smith will lead the 49ers (3-1) up against the Buffalo Bills (2-2) to start a three-game homestand, in baseball parlance.
His only pass Saturday night will travel about 20 yards without any chance of an interception -- and that's pretty much his recipe for career-saving success under coach Jim Harbaugh.
Smith's affection for the Giants is well documented, particularly with his desire to wear a Giants cap, which he did after games last season but can not this season or he'll face a $15,000 fine from the sponsor-conscious NFL.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy has been a staunch Smith supporter since that cap-fine story emerged last month. A couple hours before Smith's 20-yard-6-inch pitch, Bochy told
Also attending the Giants' playoff opener is 49ers CEO Jed York, along with his wife Danielle, who's expecting the couple's first child. Earlier Saturday, Jed York tweeted: "Can you think of a better date w/ your 39 week pregnant wife than @SFGiants playoff baseball? Can't wait for 1st pitch #HerIdea #BornFan"