Most readers come to these pages expecting to find writings on the political events of the day. And, usually, they find just that. Whether it be Dan Borenstein's latest disturbing discovery, opinions about presidential debates or critical ballot issues, they are here. Those things are our bread and butter.
But every once in a while, something happens in the Bay Area that diverts our focus away from such topics, at least for a moment.
Having both the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland A's back into Major League Baseball's postseason playoffs in the same year is just such a moment for me.
The Athletics winning the American League West championship in historic fashion was nothing short of stunning, while the Giants' exceptional bounce-back season from a disastrous 2011 campaign was remarkable in its own way. I found inspiration in both efforts.
By the time you read this, the A's and Giants likely will have already played their first game of the playoffs. The A's are in Detroit against the Tigers and the Giants are at home against the Cincinnati Reds, led by their former manager, Dusty Baker.
The "experts" tell us these could be tough series for both Bay Area teams.
Pardon me if I choose not to bow at their feet.
That's what they said in 2010 about the Giants' chances.
Many of those same "experts" told us at the beginning of this season that those very Detroit Tigers and the Los Angeles Angels -- both
Hmm ... let's see how that worked. The A's won their division, finished seven games better than the Tigers and the highly compensated Angels did not even make the playoffs.
The experts also told us that Giants catcher Buster Posey's devastating leg injury in 2011 would not allow him to perform as he had in the past and that there was no way he could continue as the team's primary catcher.
Well, he caught 111 games -- primary by most definitions of a catcher -- and, oh yeah, he just won the batting title, the first National League catcher to do so in decades.
So much for "expert" opinion.
Instead of listening to the supposed wisdom of experts about the future, I am choosing to revel in the thrill of the Bay Area being back on the baseball map. I admit to being caught up in the moment. I find it exciting to have postseason baseball on both sides of the bay in the same year. It creates a positive energy that is palpable, just as the autumn weather begins to break. It just feels good.
But, for me, the fun of both teams was not so much the winning, but how they won and how they carried themselves when things didn't go their way.
Both teams had to overcome significant and even life-threatening injury. Both squads had to cope with the scandal of having key players disqualified for testing positive for using performance-enhancing drugs. The Giants actually had it happen twice during the year, once at the beginning and once in the middle of the season.
But the A's and Giants defied all odds and actually performed better after the offending key players were suspended. To me, their performances demonstrated the very essence of team sports. It vividly illustrated the value of unity. It is a concept I have tried to employ in my working life and drive home as a parent and a coach: When things get tough, a true team comes together. Check your ego at the door and let's get this done.
Both of these Bay Area squads have their fair share of goofy, fun-loving characters, but what is far more important to me is that they also have great team character. That is what makes them so fun to watch and so very easy to cheer for.
Yes, there is still a chance that they could meet in the World Series. The last time that happened, the Earth moved. As much as we would like to see another Bay Bridge Series, I think we'd all like to try it without the earthquake excitement.
Dan Hatfield is editorial page editor of the Contra Costa Times and Oakland Tribune. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.