MODESTO — Reading time, two minutes:
Not in his entire career, from Pitman High to Nevada to the 49ers, had Colin Kaepernick felt the slings and arrows like this week after the Indy loss.
For that reason alone, he maturated in a big way Thursday night at St. Louis.
Another thing that became crystal-clear: Kaepernick still has steps to take.
Still his strongest asset and one that will help him during tough times his work ethic.
What makes zero sense: Thinking the 49ers should have kept Alex Smith over Kaepernick. Smith's only advantage is experience nothing else.
The late Larry Shimel's constant companion: His peace of mind.
Nearly a decade in the minors and maybe The Call comes in 2014: Relief pitcher Justin Friend (East Union High, Oklahoma State), who finished this season with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, the Phillies' Triple-A team.
Regarding the Dodger fan killed several blocks from AT&T Park, we remember the words of the late Grace Davis coach Dan Gonsalves: "It's only a game." Wish more people would get it.
Do the owners get it? Apparently not the Jacksonville Jaguars who in lieu of a competent team peddle free beer to ticket buyers.
Hardly a week goes by without a DUI charge somewhere around the NFL, and a team gives away beer to its customers. Tone-deaf message.
The NFL offers free rides, with a single phone call, to any player at any time. Yes, the league knows about its issues with alcohol.
Peyton Manning lacks his old arm strength, which makes his slicing and dicing of defenses these days even more remarkable.
Jerry Rice hasn't caught an NFL pass since 2004, yet he sprinted from goal line to goal line last week at Candlestick Park. In a suit. Looking fast.
It seemed preposterous to think last spring that the Angels ($142.1 million payroll) could be boatraced by the Athletics($68.5 million).
If new Kings minority owner Shaquille O'Neal is smart, he'll avoid these words to his new fan-base: "I cost you an NBA title."
We have Job 1 for Shaq: Somehow, someway, teaching DeMarcus Cousins how to be a pro.
A sure sign that the Red Wave is rolling again at Fresno State: Heisman Trophy talk surrounding Derek Carr.
Brian Wilson argued with Giants CEO Larry Baer after the last Giants-Dodgers game. Surely, it couldn't have been because Wilson wanted to draw attention to himself. That's so unlike him.
Why Barry Zito was worth every dime: About five people in the nation thought he could win Game 5 of the 2012 NLCS and extend the Giants' season. Then he whipped Justin Verlander in Game 1 of the World Series. All after he went 15-8.
No guilty feelings, Giants fans, about cursing Zito over the years. Life often was rocky on the Planet Zito.
Critics dismissed the America's Cup as rich men racing their boats. What makes that so different from the NFL, Major League Baseball or the NBA?
The Giants will regret not signing Tim Lincecum when they see the small army of teams throwing money at him.
From another angle: Let Lincecum go and keep Yusmeiro Petit?
Kaepernick absorbed his first grilling from fans-media-etc. while most veterans sat back and probably mused, "Welcome to the real world, kid."
Bee staff writer Ron Agostini can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2302. Follow Ron via Twitter, @modbeesports.