Ron Agostini

Ron Agostini’s Reading Time: Wouldn’t be October without Giants-Cardinals in NLCS

Reading time, two minutes:

• The leaves fall, Halloween looms and it’s time for Cardinals-Giants. Over and over again.

• Uncomfortable feeling: The Giants are at home beating more talented teams. But the Cards look just like them.

• The Dodgers’ Don Mattingly benches slumping Yasiel Puig and loses. The Giants’ Bruce Bochy stays with slumping Gregor Blanco and wins.

• Conclusion: Go with your guys in the playoffs.

• What we learned about the Nationals: Doug Fister (Merced) still loves to pitch at AT&T Park, Bryce Harper has arrived as a star, and Matt Williams has more to learn as a manager.

• Book it for 2015: A Giants pitcher will drill Harper. For his act, not the homers.

• Credit Modesto Junior College football coach Sam Young for keeping his sense of humor during a tough season. After the Pirates’ special-teams breakdown at City College of S.F.: “I’m the special teams coordinator. I’d fire myself if I could.”

• If anyone predicted this in August, ask him about Wall Street trends: Manteca and Oakdale will decide the immediate future of the Valley Oak League race today at high noon at Levi’s Stadium.

• Historic, memorable, and downright cool: Kyoto vs. Modesto in exhibition baseball today at 11 a.m. at Thurman Field.

• Why the Dodgers are pulling their hair out this week: The Cardinals hit eight home runs off lefties during the regular season, then belted five off lefties against L.A.

• This just in: It’s hot at Levi’s on the sunny side – at least 25 degrees warmer than Candlestick. Everyone runs for cover at halftime.

• The Yorks sent the 49ers into a decade-long tailspin by firing a winning coach (Steve Mariucci). Seems like they’re determined to repeat that error.

• Here’s what John Madden would do regarding Jim Harbaugh: “If you have a winning coach that doesn’t get along with the general manager, dump the general manager every time.”

• Spoken like a former head coach.

• The Warriors dumped a winning coach (Mark Jackson) last season. Déjà vu?

• USC is 3-2 and loses to Arizona State on a Hail Mary. The Trojans blame Lane Kiffin.

• Alabama is upset by Ole Miss. The Crimson Tide blames Lane Kiffin.

• Typical out-of-kilter NFL: The Broncos’ Julius Thomas is fined $8,268 for his chop block that sidelines the Cardinals’ Calais Campbell for at least three weeks. The 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick (Turlock) is fined $10,000 for wearing Beats by Dre headphones at his post-game presser.

• The message: The NFL preaches player safety but cares more for its sponsors.

• Alex Smith’s longest completion against the 49ers last week went for 18 yards. Kaepernick topped that three times. More evidence why the 49ers opted for Kaepernick.

• Seven of the current top 10 in college football come from the South. Same goes for all but two of the national champions since 1998.

• Top billing for the first time if the teams keep winning: The Egg Bowl (Ole Miss vs. Mississippi State on Nov. 29).

• Interim Raiders coach Tony Sparano buried a football to forget the team’s 0-4 start. Is there a hole large enough to bury a decade?

• Cal (4-1) averages 50 points per game, No. 2 in the nation. You’re tempted to take the Bears seriously until you watch that defense.

• The drumbeat again has started toward Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao. Super news if we can all jump onto a time machine back to 2009.

• That Geico commercial with Ickey Woods (”Gonna get some cold cuts today!”) works only if you’re 40 and older.

• The Giants have finished Buc-tober and Nat-ober. They’ll need something from Señor Octubre – Pablo Sandoval – to reach the World Series.

• Warning for Giants fans: More torture ahead.