Hate is such a strong word. Growing up, many of us were probably taught by our parents not to use it very often. Saying something like, “I hate broccoli” or “I hate my math teacher,” might have resulted in that speech from mom or dad about how we shouldn’t use that word. It is, after all, a word that rings with contempt, and disgust. Indeed, it should be sparingly used, and reserved only for the most appropriate situations.
With all that said, I hate the Giants.
I’m sure many Dodgers fans would echo my feelings with an “Amen,” but some may believe that type of thinking might be a little harsh. It’s only a game, right?
Yes, it is only a game. But it’s a game that many fans are very passionate about. We all have our “hated rivals” and 99.9% of the time it’s all in good fun. The other .01% of the time are when people take their feelings too far (and there’s certainly been examples of that in the Dodgers-Giants rivalry.) But those people can’t really appreciate the sport, and probably aren’t true fans anyway.
There’s nothing wrong with a good ol’ fashion love/hate relationship between ballclubs. It’s simply part of the game. When the Dodgers clinched the NL West last year at AT&T Park, there was no better place to celebrate, other than Dodgers Stadium. That’s just sports. You hope your team does well, especially at your rival’s expense.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t respect your opponent either. On the contrary, most real rivalries share some sort of mutual respect with one another. The Dodgers-Giants rivalry is no different. You could easily make the case that it could be the greatest rivalry in baseball (but good luck telling that to a Yankees or Red Sox fan.)
Most fans are very familiar with the storied competition between the teams. It goes back over 100 years, when both clubs played in New York, and it continued when they moved out to the West Coast in the late 1950’s. There are memorable moments aplenty for each fan base, with both franchises having similar success.
Since the move out to California, however, the rivalry seemed one-sided for a while, as the Dodgers had won 5 World Series Championships compared to the Giants’ big fat goose egg. That was until 2010, when San Francisco finally got their Championship, and since then, have added two more World Series titles. And although the Dodgers have won three straight division crowns, they’ve failed to advance far in the playoffs each of those years. Good rivalries have fairly balanced results, and the Giants have definitely evened things out a bit in the last few years.
Today will kick off another year of Dodgers-Giants baseball, and both teams are predicted to be at the top of the division yet again. And it’s only fitting. Since division play started in 1969, the Dodgers and Giants are #1 & #2 in division titles, with L.A claiming 14 NL West crowns and SF 8. Some experts are picking the Arizona Diamondbacks as the sleeper team in the West this year, but let’s just hope the Snakes don’t get in the way. Having a Dodgers-Giants showdown for the division just feels right.
Coming into the 2016 season, both clubs seem poised for a run. The Dodgers are looking for a 4th straight division title, and in order to achieve that, they will need to overcome some early injuries. They will also need their new additions to make an impact, particularly in the starting rotation. Some believe the Dodgers may have actually regressed in the off-season (at least on paper.) Nevertheless, they’ll be returning much of the same lineup that won them the division last year, and still have the best pitcher on the planet, a dominate closer, a ROY candidate, and a top farm system. Depth is also a key attribute for this year’s Dodgers (at least it was before the injury bug came along.)
Meanwhile, the Giants bolstered their starting rotation this year by adding guys like Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija. They also have a young group of players like Joe Panik, Matt Duffy, and Brandon Belt, who they’re hoping can continue to develop and improve. That Bumgarner-Posey combo remains pretty good as well. Additionally, this is an even numbered year, so that means– um… absolutely nothing. But it is funny to hear people use that as a legitimate cause for anything.
Sports rivalries are fun, especially for fans. I don’t really enjoy celebrating Halloween very much, simply because I have to see so much black and orange around. I’m sure many Giants fans will never forgive Randy Newman for making that darn “I Love L.A” song. We all have our particular preferences. But one thing I think both Dodgers and Giants fans can agree on: the rivalry between the teams is something to appreciate, indeed.
Just like the Dodgers, the Giants are a great franchise. I can respect them. I can admire them. But boy, do I hate them.