Maybe you knew this already and had forgotten it, but the Giants will be playing the Dodgers 10 times in the first 33 calendar days of the season. 10 of their first 29 games. That’s intense. That’s too much blue, I’m afraid. Too much Kershaw. Nay — THREE much Kershaw. As in, the Giants will be facing Clayton Kershaw thrice in a month.
GAZE INTO THE MADNESS (* indicates likely Kershaw starts)
I went back 60 seasons — because it sounds really dramatic to end a sentence with “in sixty years!” and the Giants started playing baseball in San Francisco in 1958 — and the Giants have never played a team 10 times in the 33 days of the season. The most they’ve ever played the Dodgers in a month is 7 times, and that’s happened 7 times since 1987. They did open the 1958 season with 6 consecutive games against the Dodgers (3 in San Francisco and 3 in LA). In 1984 and 1985, they played the Reds 8 times in the opening month. And in 1980, they played the Padres 8 times as well. Which... no. Never again. Never let that happen again, Major League Baseball. They’ve also played the Diamondbacks a lot in the first month of the season, too, but let’s not get into that, because what’s important here is that the Giants have not played a team 10 times within the first month of the regular season in sixty years!
And, actually, if we’re being generous, and allowing MLB and the Angels to control the narrative of, you know, reality, then the Giants actually play a team from Los Angeles 13 of their first 29 games. As someone who lives in Los Angeles and likes it a great deal, despite what I was taught my entire childhood in Northern California, even I find this overkill and, frankly, exhausting. And it’s not because Los Angeles is a nightmarish hellscape of borderline personalities and feature film franchises.
This is clearly the result of starting the season a little bit earlier to fit in more rest days. I’m all for the players staying healthy. However, there are quirks of the schedule and then there are grand designs. The Zuckerbergian algorithm behind the MLB schedule has failed to take into account that rivalries are supposed to run hot — but not too hot. To a machine or inhuman marketing department, a relentless rivalry schedule looks amazing on paper. The practical reality of it is that both teams are going to get sick of each other and the fans will become acclimated to the heat or simply burn out on the whole idea. Giants-Dodgers is supposed to mean something, dammit. But the whole dynamic has been appropriated by the Comic Book Movie Every Month monoculture and, well, this dude cannot abide.
It’s because Los Angeles has Kershaw and Trout and Trout and Kershaw and Seager and Bellinger and Trout and Upton and Ohtani and Trout (reminder that Mike Trout is only 26 years old!!!!) ... what am I supposed to do with that? What are any of us supposed to do with that? Watch and be amazed by all the baseball talent on display? I guess.
That’s 13 recaps of talking about how the Giants either got killed or got lucky, which I suppose is in some way a metaphor for life, but come on. I don’t know what a “normal” number of games against a single opponent or single reason should be, but I sure don’t feel that 13 out of 29 games to start a new season is in any way even a little bit normal.
On the other hand... if I’m forced to think of how this could actually be Good and Fun... I suppose we could all find joy in the fact that they have to see the Giants that many times, too. The Dodgers might lose because of Kelby Tomlinson or Pablo Sandoval — more than once! Dodgers fans will only be able to lord over Giants fans the National League pennant and not a World Series. Angels fan might be have 2002 queued up, but a teen Giants fan could counter-roast with, “I wasn’t even born yet”.
How you choose to handle the Giants’ situation in the opening month of the season will be entirely up to you. I recommend conjuring deep sighs... deep from within your soul.