Nature of Dodger-Giant rivalry is changing

March, 31, 2011
3/31/11
7:01
AM PT
Here's the difference between how Dodger fans and Giants fans feel about the rivalry between the two teams ...

When the Giants are in the Dodgers' rear-view mirror, they're forgotten. When the Dodgers are in San Francisco's rear-view mirror, Giants fans never seem to stop looking back.

Obviously this comes with the disclaimer that not all fans of a team are the same, but you get the sense from up north that, for a great many people, the most important thing about the Giants winning the World Series is that the Dodgers didn't. And I have to say, I just find it bizarre.

In my four decades of personally watching the Dodgers win division titles, National League pennants and World Series, I can assure you that once the Giants were out of it, I never gave them a single thought, not when I was 6 or 10, not when I was 20 or 40. And yes, I certainly consider them the Dodgers' No. 1 rival. But in Los Angeles, the winning alone has always brought complete satisfaction, and the Giants have nothing to do with it.

Up north, strangely, either winning isn't enough, unless the ones who are satisfied are having their voices drowned out. All winter long, I've seen taunts from Giant fans who, now that they're finally having their day in the sun, can't stop poking the guy in the next lounge chair instead of simply basking.

The latest evidence:
  • A group of Giants fans has apparently put together more than $8,000 to fly a banner over Dodger Stadium during three games this week, including Opening Day, to taunt Dodger fans over San Francisco winning the World Series last year.
  • My guess is, had the Dodgers won the World Series, no one would have thought the reverse was worth doing.

That doesn't mean that, as a Dodger fan, I've forgotten the past. The Miracle on Coogan's Bluff, the Marichal-Roseboro incident, the near riots at Candlestick Park during that 1988 doubleheader (Chapter 50). Morgan at the end of '82, Piazza at the end of '93, Finley at the end of '04. It doesn't get more intense. And so, when the Giants and Dodgers meet Thursday for Opening Day, I completely expect the stands will be as friendly as two airline passengers fighting over the same overhead bin. But there should be a limit.

The rivalry is a big part of Dodger baseball, but it's never been the biggest. I hope it stays that way. The Dodgers are winners, regardless of what's going on in the short term of the franchise's history, and I hope Dodger fans never let what's going on with San Francisco become their barometer.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Clayton Kershaw
WINS ERA SO IP
20 1.80 228 190
OTHER LEADERS
BAY. Puig .298
HRA. Gonzalez 25
RBIA. Gonzalez 112
RD. Gordon 90
OPSY. Puig .867
ERAC. Kershaw 1.80
SOC. Kershaw 228