Dodger Chad Billingsley takes a swing and a miss.
With Spring Training firing up this week, some of the Super Bowl sting is beginning to fade in San Francisco. It's time to look forward to the Giants defending another World Series title—right? Not if you're San Francisco intern Jeremy Dorn, a lifelong Dodgers fan stuck in the heart of Giants country and trying to finagle his way to the ultimate baseball dream job in the MLB Fan Cave this season. Richard Dyer is the operator of the popular “The Giants Cove” blog, and according to the bio on the site, is "proven by severe medical probe testing to eat, breath, and exude Giants baseball." So what happens when the two butt heads as Opening Day nears? We've got the conversation below:
JD: Pardon my bluntness, Richard, but World Series championship aside, I don't think the Giants were the best team in the Major Leagues last year, let alone in the National League. So be completely realistic with me here—do the Giants get lucky down the stretch again and repeat in 2013?
RD: First off, they didn’t get lucky last year. Secondly, it won’t be a matter of luck because the Giants franchise has built a really solid team around pitching, defense, and just enough hitting to make the playoffs. They will make the playoffs after winning the division…again.
JD: At Giants Fan Fest last weekend, first baseman Brandon Belt said, "You can't buy chemistry," when asked about the Dodgers free-spending ways. Needless to say, this ticked off the Dodger fan base, especially given the source of the smack talk. Belt's 16 career homers are cute and all, but isn't that the equivalent of Juan Uribe zinging the Giants? How do you feel about his comments?
RD: You know, that’s the comment of a young player. But if the Dodgers are trying to buy chemistry they really misspent their money. I think they were just trying to buy a bunch of good players and I’m not sure they quite succeeded. Brandon Belt will learn to keep those comments to himself. You don’t fire up your number one rival in the NL West.
JD: It's my belief—and I know I'm not alone here—that Giants vs. Dodgers is the greatest rivalry in sports history. Even greater than the Yankees vs. Red Sox. But despite recent success, the Giants still only have a pair of World Series titles to their name since moving to California in 1958. The Dodgers, since moving to Los Angeles, have five. Why did it take so long for the Giants to win their first two, and how long will it take to catch up?
RD: I’ll keep this brief. I hate to use the word “dynasty,” but what if the Giants win the World Series again in 2013? Who’s the last team to win three out of four World Series? The Yankees, I guess. The Giants aren't going anywhere; they will be playoff contenders for several more years, which means they will have several chances to go to the World Series and win again. They have a better chance now than they ever had in the history of the rivalry on the West Coast. It won’t be easy, because the best team in baseball doesn’t always win the World Series. Just look at the Dodgers, who have the highest payroll in baseball to start 2013.
JD: Yeah, let's look at them. The Dodgers signed Zack Greinke to bolster the rotation, and will have a full season with the four big-name bats in the middle of the lineup. On a scale of one to ten, how do you rank the fear of the Dodgers as a threat to your Giants in 2013? One = As boring as a Matt Cain interview. Ten = As scary as a Hunter Pence pep talk in a dark alley.
RD: I would say this year is probably a seven. The Giants are more concerned with the other teams in the National League that they will meet in the playoffs like Washington, Atlanta, and St. Louis. Those are the their main competitors. San Francisco won 94 games last year and the Dodgers only won 86. I think the Dodgers are good for about 88 this year, which means they will be paying $44.5 million for each of their two extra wins.
JD: Despite the bad blood between these two franchises, the Dodgers and Giants seem to swap players quite often. We've had enough with Jason Schmidt, Jeff Kent, and Uribe coming our way in recent years. But if Brian Sabean must continue plucking former Dodgers away to earn titles, so be it. If you are the GM for one day and absolutely must sign one player from the Dodgers not named Matt Kemp or Clayton Kershaw, who do you take?
RD: I’d probably take either Adrian Gonzalez or Greinke. The Giants need more offense, which Gonzalez brings, and Greinke is a quality pitcher. The problem with the Dodgers this year is after Kemp and Kershaw, the drop off is pretty steep. Mark Ellis is leading off? What is he? 48, 49 years old?
JD: AT&T Park is a beautiful venue. But I once wandered into it, thinking it was a new waterfront mall. I'll take the bleachers with a Dodger Dog in my hand any day. Defend your fancy ball park!
RD: I’m okay with the sushi and $20, six-ounce beers because they are in the business of making money. With money, the Giants can get better players and improve the farm system. It’s America, Jeremy; it’s good that everybody can get what they want! I’ll take my beer and sushi. I’m sure those Dodger Dogs have their fair amount of rat hairs if they are served at Dodger Stadium.
JD: I've had multiple Giants fans tell me that legendary Dodgers voice Vin Scully is "boring," because he "only talks about the game." As I recover from the staggering ignorance, can you make a case for Mike Krukow and Glen Kuiper over Scully?
RD: I love the Giants announcers. But, I absolutely love listening to Vin Scully. MLB.TV shows Dodgers games and I love the fact that Vin does the TV game alone. No color guy. I love listening to him. You hear this ongoing narrative about the game. I love Scully. He’s a treasure.
JD: Alright, thanks for that. I have one more question for you. Even though we both know the Dodgers are the probable champs this year, what is your prediction for both teams?
RD: I think the competition for Wild Card spots is a little over the Dodgers’ heads. I don’t think they win the Wild Card or the division. I don’t think they make the playoffs. The Giants take the West! In a funny way, I’m looking forward to the Dodgers improving. The rivalry only works if both teams are good.
Check out Richard's blog, The Giants Cove, in its fourth year of existence. He's been good luck for the Giants so far!