Giants/Dodgers Series Preview

The worst question, asked by the worst humans, is some variation of "Is there still a Giants/Dodgers rivalry?" As in, the Dodgers have all sorts of problems right now, so why should they or their fans care about the Giants? It's supposed to go in reverse, too. The Giants are the team that won the World Series last year, they're the ones with the new ballpark that's selling out every game, so why should they or their fans care about the Dodgers?

Come on, now.

Think about why you like the Giants. There are a bunch of specific reasons, I'm sure. Your grampapa took you to a game and gave you cotton candy and Twizzlers or some crap, and Kevin Mitchell hit two home runs. Something like that. Maybe your dad continued to follow them even though he never left the shadow of the Polo Grounds, but the team did. Maybe you just looked in a mirror and realized you looked like Fred Breining, and that's all you needed.

Whatever the reason, your choice in teams is totally arbitrary. It is. It's because you live in a certain area, or because your parents did, and that's because someone somewhere thought that moving for a job was the best thing for their family. Or if you were a Will Clark guy as a kid, and you grew up a lonely Giants fan in Iowa, you root for your team because the Brewers really liked B.J. Surhoff with that #1 pick in 1985.

It's all meaningless! Everything! Sports! Your rooting interests! Life! Everything is meaningless!

So now that you've stared into that abyss, step back and embrace it. Because if rooting for a team is meaningless, hating another team because of history or geography is especially meaningless. And it's beautiful. It's the reason we follow sports. It's so natural to hate someone or something based on tradition, but usually that impulse is channelled into political or ethnic nastiness. Sports is the one area where it can be healthy and fun to hate something for no good reason. Well, until horrible people take it too far, of course, but for 99.9999% of us, it's fun and harmless to hate the Dodgers, and it's fun for Dodgers fans to hate the Giants.

Also the Dodgers are evil and awful and evil. It's an empirical fact and everything. Scientifically provable. That helps the rivalry out.

But I feel bad for teams that don't have a real rivalry. Padres fans split their loathing equally between the Dodgers and Giants, and the Dodgers and Giants half-care. Remember the breathless do-the-Rockies-and-Giants-have-a-rivalry articles from earlier this year? That crap ends just as one of the two teams slips below .500. Other rivalries come and go with the success of different teams, but in the end there's always Giants/Dodgers. Other teams can try to wedge in there, but they'll be harmless flings in the history books.

When the Giants were awful in the post-Bonds era, the Giants/Dodgers rivalry was still a reason to pace around before a series. Heck, the Giants weren't going anywhere, but Giants/Dodgers. Even better was if the Dodgers were contending, and the Giants could be the dirty diaper slipped into their spin cycle. The whole season would be a disaster, but if the Giants could somehow ruin the Dodgers' season too, well, things wouldn't be so bad after all.

That's not going to go away because the Dodgers' owner can't make payroll, or whatever. That just adds to it. Haven't been following the story, but I'm assuming that Angela's Ashes II: The Phoenix Paradox didn't do well at the box office, and that's why Andre Ethier's knee is hurt, which is why Don Mattingly had to keep playing, which also reminds me that Don Mattingly is hilariously inept and over his head. Forgot what we were talking about. Oh, that's right...

Hitter to watch
E-u-gen-i-o. The man, the myth, the pickoff. Dude's 0-for-31, and that interests me more than Giants games these days. The Giants could keep him hitless, and the march towards history would continue. Or he could have a 4-for-4 game and crush the Giants because, hey, baseball.

Or, he could sit for the entire series because he's 0-for-31, which is usually something managers frown upon.

Pitcher to watch
Clayton Kershaw just set down the side in order, finishing Aaron Rowand off with a strikeout. This is notable because the game hasn't started and Rowand isn't on the team, and ... wait, he just struck out Tejada too. Now Pill's coming up. He should get things started.

Prediction
Someone in the bleachers will imbibe alcohol and yell untoward things at people who have different rooting interests.

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