SAN FRANCISCO -- Having both grown up in the Bay Area, Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford and Cardinals second baseman Daniel Descalso often crossed each other's paths on fields of play, which does not come as a surprise. What is unexpected is that the competing National League Championship Series infielders' first encounter wasn't on a diamond, but on a pitch -- as in, soccer field. "Yeah, we were teammates when we were like 5 years old," said Crawford, adding that their positions were "everything. At that age, you kinda rotate positions. It was like T-ball in baseball.
"That was a long time ago and, no, I didn't remember. But when I ended up playing against him, like 10 years later in Babe Ruth Baseball and an AAU championship, my dad reminded me." Between the 25-year-olds, Descalso is slightly older -- he will turn 26 during this NLCS, in fact. Descalso also is more accessorized, having already earned a ring with the Cardinals last October. The two are remarkably similar, right down to the oddity of being lefty-hitting middle infielders, which require being right-handed throwers. So when Crawford describes his old soccer teammate, he could be describing himself. "He's a great player," Crawford said. "Scrappy. He kind of defines the Cardinals and how they play, just grinds out hits, has power and plays good defense."