Have you ever had a bad thought? Just, like, a really bad, hateful thought? Because over the weekend, I had one. The thought was this:
I hope the Dodgers clinch this weekend so they don't celebrate at AT&T Park
This was a bad thing to think and I'm a bad person for thinking it. But as the weekend dragged on, and it became inevitable that the Dodgers would come to San Francisco without having clinched the division, I started to think about the error of my ways. Here's why it's not that big of a deal:
It's not about the team that clinches
I've been to two games at which the Giants were eliminated from the playoffs. One of them was the Salomon Torres game, which I mostly like to mention in Giants circles for the street cred. The other was the game in 1999 when the Diamondbacks clinched in San Francisco. For those of you who've forgotten or never knew, the race in 1999 was not a close one. Barry Bonds had been hurt for a lot of the year, the Giants never got their pitching going, and Arizona clinched with nine games remaining. The Diamondbacks were simply a better team, and that not-especially-close game was a pretty good summary of a not-especially-close division race.
The problem wasn't that the game was boring – though it was – or that I hated the Diamondbacks – I did, which was pretty impressive considering they were less than two years old. The problem was that it was a bad result for the Giants. I want the Giants to win the World Series. The Giants are probably not going to win the World Series. On the day it becomes official, we can throw a Dancer in the Dark-themed party, but it'll be about the Giants, not the Dodgers.
If the Dodgers clinch in San Francisco, the reason it'll be a bad day isn't that something good happened to the Dodgers. It'll be a bad day because the door shut on that good thing happening to the Giants. I root for bad things to happen to the Dodgers because an accident of geography makes me look for reasons to justify my sports fandom, but it's more important to me to see good things happen to my team than bad things happen to my team's rival. Don't get me wrong: I want Tommy Lasorda to be sad because he is a bad person who deserves it, but Giants-related emotions always trump Dodgers-related ones.
If the Dodgers do something jackassish, it'll just be a reason to hate them more
Now, all that being said, man, it is fun to hate the Dodgers. There is a giddiness that comes with thinking about Brian Wilson in a Dodgers uniform or Ned Colletti in a Dodgers front office or Clayton Kershaw in a Dodgers playoff game that is just delightful. And the potential for having A New Thing that we can point to and roll our eyes about and bury deep inside ourselves, in the place where grudges shadowbox to keep strong, is a fine consolation prize for a minor annoyance.
Here's another way to look at it: remember football? Like, there's a sport called football that people used to like? I haven't heard too much about it lately, but it's probably the off-season. Well, San Francisco has its own team, kind of, and last year, they lost on Thanksgiving to their rivals, some of whom proceeded to bring a table out onto the field in San Francisco, kind of, and eat Thanksgiving dinner. Man, was that a dick move. It was fun to hate them. And the next time the San Francisco team beats their rivals, which science says is possible, kind of, remembering that moment will make it so much sweeter.
Who knows what the Dodgers might do? In 2013, when they clinched in Arizona, a bunch of players jumped in the pool (and maybe peed in it!) and the Diamondbacks got all butthurt about it, a situation that's funny enough that Giants fans still make jokes about it, even though it happened two years ago and had nothing to do with us. Like, I'm not remotely offended by any of that. If I could get away with it, I'd totally pee in that pool. But if the Dodgers did it? Screw them. Immature jerks. I root for the good guys!
Disrespecting the field is not a real thing
There will by no psychic scars at AT&T if the Dodgers celebrate there. They will not get license to bury a cursed amulet under the third base dugout, though considering the injury problems the Giants have had this year, maybe Larry Baer should dig up the ground there just to ensure that hasn't already happened. If they clinch, they'll simply jump around on the infield a bunch, spray champagne on each other, and maybe go fertilize the organic garden. The building will be fine. The team will be fine. This is just what happens when a team is injury-plagued and another team got most of their injury vaccines. The fact they're celebrating is bad, but the fact that they're doing it in San Franciso isn't. Watching that celebration, however, is. Which brings me to my final point:
It's not like I'm going to watch
After every Giants loss, I have developed an advanced Greg Papa avoidance technique called "turning that shit off." It works beautifully, and I am fully prepared to bring this strategy to bear on yet another Giants loss. Like the saying goes, if the Dodgers have a party and it's not on your TV, does it make a difference? Philosophers have been debating that issue for centuries. Perhaps someday they'll come to a consensus, but for now, it's an open question.
Look, I don't want the Dodgers to clinch, at all, ever. It is overwhelmingly likely that they will, and it'll probably happen at some point in the next few days. The clinching is the bad part because of what it means for the Giants, but if it happens on the Giants' field, it's not that big of a deal.
That said, it would be better if the Dodgers did not clinch by Thursday, and the Giants should endeavor to prevent them from doing that. Thank you for your time.