In the twisted DNA of the Dodgers-Giants’ heated and hated rivalry, one team should always have the opportunity to mutate, mangle or mame the other’s chances of clinching a playoff spot at least one series every September.
As it has played itself out for 2013, the Dodgers’ opportunity to count down what remains of any magic number combination and lock up the NL West isn’t likely to happen in front of the visiting Giants, last season’s World Series champions.
These Giants, simply fighting to stay out of the NL West basement, are set against allowing it to happen. They’ve said so.
Just as Dodgers wouldn’t have any part of it 20 years ago, when rookie Mike Piazza pounded two home runs in a 12-1 win over San Francisco on the last day of the season to thorougly thwart the Giants’ attempt to catch Atlanta for the NL West title.
That particular triumph, for what it was worth, evened the Dodgers’ season at a crisp 81-81.
“That was our playoff game,” said Tim Wallach, the Dodgers’ third baseman that day, after the current Dodgers’ third base coach hit fungos to Mark McGwire’s kids next to the batting cage during Saturday’s batting practice. “That was our season.”
If it’s happened once, it’s happened a thousand times. Or, at least it’s seemed that way.
Really, the Dodgers and Giants have bashed each others brains out – sometimes as closer to literal as possible – nearly 1,000 times since planting their West Coast business beachheads some 55 years ago, after both found it financially appealing to pull up stakes in New York and promote expansion.
Saturday’s Dodgers-Giants meeting at Dodger Stadium was No. 978. With the 2014 schedule already posted, the 1,000th meeting will occur, barring any rain out, earthquake or rhubarb, on Sept. 23, a Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium, taking place with only four more games remaining on the Dodgers’ regular-season schedule after that.
Joe Konte has already done the math. And based on history, chemistry and physics, he expects nothing but something explosive to take place on that day. Continue reading