Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford will lead San Francisco into battle against the Dodgers in a decisive Game 5 of the NLDS Thursday. (Courtesy of the San Francisco Giants)

Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford will lead San Francisco into battle against the Dodgers in a decisive Game 5 of the NLDS Thursday. (Courtesy of the San Francisco Giants)

What the Giants and Dodgers mean to Californians

Readers weigh in on the best rivalry in baseball

By Soumya Karlamangla

New York Times

It’s on. The Los Angeles Dodgers beat the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday night, 7-2, leaving the teams tied in the National League Division Series.

The final, winner-take-all game in this historic postseason matchup is scheduled for Thursday at 6 p.m. at Oracle Park. The victor will move on to face the Atlanta Braves to play for a World Series berth.

The San Francisco and Los Angeles rivalry is older than sliced bread, but it has reached a fever pitch this week as the teams, with the most wins in all of baseball this season, fight to stave off elimination.

Over the past few days, you’ve been telling me your (very strong) feelings about the competition. As one Dodgers hater wrote: “I am not normally a vengeful or bitter person, but in this case I make an exception.”

And yet — perhaps this is sacrilege to diehard fans — there was something lovely about many of the memories you shared of matchups past, even those of your team losing.

It’s clear that Dodgers vs. Giants games, whether heard on the radio, watched on TV or seen in a stadium, are an essential part of being a Californian for so many: a space to find community, fall in love, feel wonder, and connect with family and friends.

Stan Coleite, a reader who lives in Los Angeles, told me he’ll cheer for the Giants if they make it to the World Series, even though he’s a longtime Dodgers supporter.

“I root for the home team,” he said. “Home is California.”

Among the best memories sent in:

“I met my husband at a Dodgers-Giants game in 1983 at Dodger Stadium. I was attending with a bunch of guys from work. He was there on a date! We moved to the Bay Area and became Giants fans.” — Lindy Kennedy, Aromas

“In 1960, on Labor Day weekend, my dad took me to my first-ever professional baseball game. The setting was a brand-new Candlestick Park, and on the mound were Dodger great Sandy Koufax and for San Francisco, Mike McCormick. It was a beautiful fall day, and it was magic to see the men I so admired square off against one another.” — Bart O’Brien, Colfax

“When I was in high school, the Dodgers offered two pairs of free tickets to summer games for students who kept an A (3.6) grade-point average. My parents didn’t care about my grades, and actively discouraged me, a girl, from going to college. But after graduating high school, I was on my way to college with a scholarship paying the way. I have no investment in who wins or loses this historical postseason matchup, but I will always be grateful to the Dodgers.” — Sheila Green, Sacramento

“I’m a native Angeleno, but college brought me to Northern California where I settled down with an SF Giants-loving guy and raised two girls. Tried as I could to convert the girls to the Dodgers fan base. No luck. So where do I fall now on the Dodger-Giant spectrum? Well, I can’t shake my pride for Dodger blue and a smile for every hit. But orange and black look good on me.” — Martha Mathias Jacoby, Meadow Vista

“As a kid, my dad had Dodgers season tickets. My favorite memory was a roasted peanut vendor named Roger Owen who could throw a bag of peanuts from five rows away and hit you perfectly. I saved a bag of peanuts that he signed — until recently when I gifted it to a young nephew who is a Dodgers fan.” — Gail Benjamin, Pacifica

“My favorite memory of the Giants-Dodgers rivalry was the 1962 pennant race. Up to that point, the Giants were always bridesmaids to the champion Dodgers led by Koufax and (Don) Drysdale. I can still recall listening to the voice of Russ Hodges on my transistor radio excitedly describing the Giants’ rally in the late innings of the regular season’s final game, which would punch their ticket to the World Series.” — Stan Lathrop, Nevada City

“My family and I immigrated to the United States from India in 1966, and we settled in San Jose. A few months later, a group of my new third-grade buddies invited me to walk to a neighborhood grocery store to buy baseball cards — a pack for a nickel. The cards seemed odd to me, but I was very happy with the bubble gum stick that came in my pack. My friends, on the other hand, were soon shocked and excited when they found that my pack included a beautiful Don Drysdale card, showing the great pitcher in a pitching motion and Dodger Stadium in the background. My friends then schooled me: We live in the Bay Area and, therefore, we are all Giants fans. I dutifully dumped the now-valuable card and, for the past 55 years, I’ve remained a passionate fan of the San Francisco Giants.” — Thomas Varghese, Alameda

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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