Don’t defend it, you’ll be doing it’s history a disservice. And as much as I hate saying how great things once were, the Giants-Dodgers rivalry ain’t what it used to be.
Remember the tension, the genuine passion these two teams brought out in one another. From Juan Marichal and Johnny Roseboro all the way to Orel Hershiser and Mike Krukow, there was an electricity when these two teams were in the same city.
I know there’ve been a couple of leftover moments that have kept the idea of the rivalry alive — Brian Johnson’s home run in 1997 certainly was a big one, and Tommy Lasorda served as a convenient lightning rod for what was left of this city’s dislike of its Southern California counterpart.
For me, Brett Butler going to the Dodgers in the early ’90s was a big nail in the rivalry’s coffin, and Hershiser coming to the Giants was officially the end of the angst these two teams once had for one another.
And it’s really nobody’s fault, really. The evolution of baseball into today’s business is probably the biggest reason for the rivalry’s decline. There’s no replacing the muttering we used to do at a winning Dodgers box score.
Sure, it’s fun for Giants fans to boo Jeff Kent, but what do Rafael Furcal or Nomar Garciaparra have against the Giants? Same goes for Moises Alou and Shea Hillenbrand. Besides, they may have a future employer over there.
Hey, I’m not knocking Kenny Lofton, he’s got a right to work. Besides, I still have a good feeling about him for that NLCS-clinching single he contributed to the Giants’ highlight reel. Kent also gave Giants fans plenty of moments to remember.
Now, is Dusty Baker a former Dodger? Or a former Giant?
See my point?
The fact that players move around so much today, from a fan’s perspective, yesterday’s villan could be today’s hero. And while that allows teams to claim they can transform themselves overnight, it muddles up the whole thing that goes with rooting for your favorite team. Rooting against the Dodgers. </p>
Today’s free-agent carousel, where Johnny Damon can play for the Red Sox one day, the Yankees the next, simply doesn’t allow the baseball fan to settle into the nice, honest hatred he or she once could only muster. Who really gets fired up these days when Roger Clemens shows up in a town? Where is he again?
Don Drysdale was a Dodger forever, so were Steve Garvey, Ron Cey, Davey Lopes and Bill Russell. Over the years, we got good at hating them. There was a consistency to the feeling.
Our list of reasons for hating the Dodgers had time to mature, to become completely irrational, bringing us to a point where we couldn’t speak to a Dodgers fan without losing our marbles.
Those were the days.
WHILE I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION: I can’t figure out what to make of Floyd Landis and the whole Tour de France thing. They say he cheated, and the evidence is pretty damning. But the whole thing doesn’t make sense.
Landis says he was tested seven times during the race, and only one came up postitive. And every expert tells us that testosterone the night before doesn’t transform an athlete into Superman.
But that’s only the controversy. What’s with this national tour? He’s on every network’s national morning show. Even Jay Leno had him as a guest. The guy is becoming
sport’s Paris Hilton. We can’t remember why either one is a celebrity.
Paris became a celebrity for a sex video, Landis for being erased from the Tour de France. What do you have to do these days to be ashamed?
Tim Liotta hosts the weekend edition of “Sportsphone 680” on KNBR (680 AM).