The first weekend home series for the Giants this year was the Dodgers, and the Giants marketed it with the 60th anniversary of the teams’ move to California, celebrating 60 years of the rivalry. The video was filled with players on both teams, looking angry and yelling, rushing the field and taking swings, and Tommy Lasorda sitting there looking Lasordaly, and occasionally players of either team celebrating.
So...why do I feel so...meh...about this weekend series?
It’s not like these are not two good teams, and haven’t been competing this decade. I don’t need to remind you that the Giants came out of nowhere to win the World Series in 2010 with a group of misfits and castoffs. Nor that the Giants played like a team on the edge in the 2012 playoffs, winning five games in which they were facing elimination and going on to sweep the Tigers in a World Series result that only one man saw coming. I also do not need to bring up the 2014 Madison Bumgarner Series win that featured a guy from a small town in North Carolina basically demolish everything in his patch, demoralize small-market baseball teams and demonstrate that Even Year Magic (or Prime Year Magic?) is a reality baseball must face.
The Dodgers, too, have been good. They have won the division title for five straight years. Last year they even earned World Series Participation Rings. Don’t laugh, you know A’s fans would love to even dream of reaching that level.
So the Giants and Dodgers face each other again, and for some reason, I’m just not feeling the fire that I think I’m supposed to. In the previous six game, the Giants and Dodgers have split them with three wins a piece. The Giants (11-13) are a half-game behind the Dodgers (11-12) in the standings as everyone waits for Arizona’s inevitable collapse and scoffs at seeing the Rockies in second place before ignoring their existence. This is a big series for both teams as the players with cold starts finally begin to hit their stride.
So why am I not fired up for a big series?
Maybe I should blame the schedule makers. Sure, let’s open the season against our rivals, that makes sense. But three series in one month? The two teams will meet again in LA in June, and then again in LA in August. And finally to end the season in SF. It seems odd that when the Giants are competing for the division title in September, they won’t face a pennant race crowd in LA. Starting the season against a rival is a great welcome back to baseball, but a late April game doesn’t really motivate any standings-rivalry. No one believes that where teams are now are any indication of the rest of the year. I mean, the Rockies are in second! Maybe that August series will have drama, but even that’s early.
And yes, I should feel fired up because I do believe the Giants are contenders! I’m the resident optimist here on McCovey Chronicles. I believe things will keep getting better. Longoria and McCutchen will heat up. Stratton’s been amazing. And in another month, Bumgarner will come back and the Giants can get Derek Holland out of the rotation. But I also believe the Dodgers are the team to beat. Five straight division titles. The Diamondbacks are a strong team, and they are scary, but it’s the Dodgers the Giants need to really pass in the standings.
Maybe I just don’t have the passion to hate most of the Dodgers players. I mean, Yasiel Puig is still Puig-like. But I can’t hate Clayton Kershaw. He’s a hell of a pitcher. He chose his number because of his admiration to Will Clark. How can you hate that? Matt Kemp is a hell of a human being, and his story coming back to L.A. and performing well is a great one, one that many Giants fans wish their older outfielders would have done in years past. I work with the brother of one Dodger, and I like the guy. I’m glad he was one of the few Dodgers who did not choke as they lost the World Series.
It’s just strange. For instance, this week the Dodgers announced that they are working on a Gondola system that will connect Dodger Stadium and Union Station.
Today plans were unveiled for an aerial transit system that would get fans from Union Station to @Dodgers Stadium in 5 min, allowing fans to fly over LA traffic! I'm excited to support @aerialtransitla and @MayorOfLA to help make this project a reality. https://t.co/bOIIWMYYZA pic.twitter.com/8X7njUNaCc— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) April 26, 2018
And…my reaction is just that, this is a good idea. Dodger Stadium desperately need a mass(ish) transportation connection, and on the mountainside, that make sense. It makes a hell of a lot more sense than the A’s building one from a stadium Howard Terminal to…I’m still not sure where to. A BART station?
If I want to be snarky, my only response is asking why don’t the Giants set up a gondola system. No, not the “Aerial Rapid Transit” that the Dodgers are doing (how rapid can it be?), but Venice style, boats rowed from the Ferry building down to AT&T Park, docking in McCovey Cove. Who wins in a battle of gondolas and kayaks?
Or maybe I’m just getting old and mellow. I’ll still sit in the bleachers once in a while, but not with the same fire. Maybe I can’t become old and crotchety and yell at kids to get off my lawn like the stereotype is because who the hell can afford a lawn in the Bay Area these days?
So, help me out. Tell me why I should hate the Dodgers like I used to. Help me light the fires I had with Candlestick…or did I just have that fire to keep warm? Use that comment system, the bleacher seats of the internet.
Tell me why and how to hate the Dodgers.