Dodgers and Giants Face Off at Oracle Park
One of the longest and best rivalries in sports is back.,
On May 3, 1890, the New York Giants and the Brooklyn Bridegrooms met in their first regular-season game. Brooklyn won, 7-3.
Thus began a coast-to-coast rivalry that has been one of the longest and most storied matchups in all of sports.
The teams now known as the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers have played 2,535 times since that day in 1890, according to Elias Sports Bureau. Through all that time, however, they have never met in the postseason. (While the teams have previously met in playoffs to decide the regular season, those games don’t count as the postseason.)
That will change at 6:30 this evening when the teams face off at Oracle Park for Game 1 of a National League division series.
The 131-year-old Giants-Dodgers rivalry has been full of epic moments, like Bobby Thomson’s 1951 home run — the shot heard round the world — that defeated the Dodgers and won the Giants the National League pennant. Or Steve Finley’s walk-off grand slam in 2004 that won the Dodgers the National League West. There have also been low points, like a 1965 pennant race whose memory is marred by one of the ugliest incidents in baseball history: an August game where Giants pitcher Juan Marichal hit Dodgers catcher John Roseboro over the head with a bat.
This year was arguably the best race yet. The teams stayed neck and neck the entire season, and finished with 107 wins (Giants) and 106 (Dodgers). It’s become a cliche of the 2021 postseason to say it always had to be this way. But it did always have to be this way.
Below, Conor Dougherty, a Times economics reporter and Giants fan, and Jim Tankersley, a Times White House correspondent and Dodgers fan, talked about their feelings going into the series.
Conor Dougherty: Jim, are we ready for this?
Jim Tankersley: On one level, it’s long overdue; it seems weird that I had much more childhood October anxiety about Jack Clark (on the ’85 Cardinals) than Will Clark (the sweet Giant slugger). But maybe the oddities of geography and winning cycles that kept our teams from facing each other in the playoffs until now was actually for our own good. I’m not sure my heart could have handled something like the ’04 Yankees-Red Sox series. But here we are.
CD: This rivalry might have begun in New York, but it feels very tied up in NorCal vs. SoCal. I love Southern California and lived in L.A. and San Diego for eight years, but I’m NorCal born and bred (and currently live in Oakland). So for me Giants fandom is mostly an expression of regional pride.
So, my question is: If the Giants should prevail, could you root for them?
JT: I hate the thought of losing to the Giants in a playoff series, but if the Giants win, I want them to win the Series this year. It would hurt less to know they were an actual Team of Destiny — and not just another spoiler of a great Dodgers season.
CD: Something about this year has really rekindled my Dodgers hate. In 2017 the Giants were so pitiful. I didn’t have it in me to care about a rivalry when we had the worst record in baseball. But now that we have the best record, I think if we lost, I’d be too bitter to root for the Dodgers, though that could change, particularly if it is Dodgers-Astros again.
Either way, these next games could be great baseball. I mean, if this were the World Series pundits would be calling it one of the greatest matchups ever. And it’s only the first round!
JT: I’m expecting magic. In the ’88 World Series, when the Dodgers beat a Bay Area team, Vin Scully famously said their M.V.P. all year had been Tinker Bell. I have a real feeling we’re going to see a lot of her in this series. I’m just not sure what jersey she’ll be wearing.
Tell us about your favorite Dodgers vs. Giants matchups or share what the teams mean to you at CAtoday@nytimes.com.
If you read one story, make it this
This house was a picture of California’s suburban past. Now it’s a projection of a denser future.
The rest of the news
Arson spree: A California criminology professor has been charged with setting a patch of Sierra Nevada forest ablaze.
Tesla relocation: In a blow to California, Elon Musk revealed on Thursday that Tesla would move its headquarters to Austin, Texas.
Investigation: California chronically undercounts the death toll of extreme heat by as much as sixfold, The Los Angeles Times reports.
Too much turnover: Roughly a quarter of University of California lecturers don’t return each year, far higher than the rate for other education workers, CalMatters reports.
Tennis tournament: BNP Paribas Open has returned to Indian Wells, headlined by the 18-year-old tennis star Emma Raducanu.
The job hunt: College seniors and graduates are again in demand as companies revive recruiting.
“Stealthing” law: Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed a bill making it illegal to remove a condom during intercourse without consent, making California the first state to pass such legislation, according to The Associated Press.
Secret settlement ban: An existing law prohibiting secret settlements for sexual assault or discrimination cases was expanded to include other types of discrimination cases, such as those involving race, religion or gender, The Associated Press reports.
Cleaning house: Thrift shops are booming amid a flurry of pandemic decluttering.
Football season: Explore every team’s path to the N.F.L. playoffs using our interactive calculator.
Oil spill: Video of the ruptured pipeline shows a thin crack along the top that could indicate a slow leak that was initially difficult to detect, The Associated Press reports.
Rapid coronavirus tests: A new Southern California-made at-home test is on the way, ABC7 reports.
Weather warning: Snow is expected on Friday in Yosemite National Park above 7,000 feet.
The last fluent speaker of Wukchumni: For many years, Marie Wilcox was the guardian of one of several Indigenous languages that were once common in Central California but have nearly or completely disappeared. She died at 87.
Drought: A state law coming into effect will limit the use of aquifers. For farmers who rely on the underground water supply, the consequences could be significant, NPR reports.
Weather warning: There will be critical fire conditions Monday and Tuesday throughout much of the state, including the East Bay and North Bay, the Sacramento region and Lake, Mendocino and Trinity Counties.
Lifting mask rules: As coronavirus cases fall, San Francisco officials announced on Thursday that people would be permitted to remove their masks in offices, gyms and more if everyone present was vaccinated.
The Zodiac Killer: A team of private investigators say they have identified the notorious serial killer, but F.B.I. and police officials say the Zodiac case remains unsolved, The San Francisco Chronicle reports.
What we’re eating
Caramelized cauliflower stars in this vegetarian version of chicken adobo, the national dish of the Philippines.
Where we’re traveling
Today’s travel tip comes from Barbara Grob, a reader who lives in San Francisco:
Crissy Field is one of the most beautiful urban hikes in San Francisco. The wetlands in the historic Presidio were restored over the past 20 years. The easy hike from the Marina Green to Fort Point at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge is stunning, especially as the sun sets. Plus lots of happy dogs.
And before you go, some good news
One lucky Californian is about to become a millionaire.
The winning ticket for the $700 million Powerball jackpot announced this week was sold at a grocery store in Morro Bay, The Associated Press reports.
The prize is the seventh largest in U.S. lottery history.
Thanks for reading. I’ll be back on Monday. Enjoy your weekend. — Soumya
P.S. Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: If you live in this sort of house, you shouldn’t throw stones (5 letters).
Steven Moity, Shivani Gonzalez and Mariel Wamsley contributed to California Today. You can reach the team at CAtoday@nytimes.com.