Bleeding Dodger blue, for 3 games
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
My rooting allegiances were compromised last week. (Forgive me, my fellow San Francisco Giants fans, for what I’m about to type.)
The Los Angeles Dodgers-Chicago Cubs matchup in the National League Division Series ” now over and done with ” presented quite the quandary.
Root against the intrastate nemesis and deep-rooted rival of my Giants (the hated Dodgers) or the team I’ve grown to loathe during the last decade or so (the Cubbies)?
What to do?
Unfortunately, there was no way for both teams to lose, so I had to make some sort of decision.
The mere thought of Tommy Lasorda ” the face of Dodgers’ past ” curdles my blood.
Memories of packing in amongst more than 60,000 rowdy fans in the midst of a tight 1997 National League West race at good old Candlestick Park burn strong in my mind. I remember watching light-armed Kirk Rueter twirl a four-hit gem in that September thriller that brought the Giants closer to the division title they’d eventually take (by two games over those hated Dodgers).
I also remember the time those loathsome men in blue, well out of contention in the 1993 NL West race, pummeled rookie Salomon Torres and the Giants right out of the playoffs on the final day of the regular season.
The teams have such a wonderful, rich history of bad blood, the kind that accompanies one of the greater rivalries in sports. A diehard Giants fan, I grew up resenting that team from down south.
And then there are the Cubs.
I never really had a problem with these guys until I packed my bags and headed to Indiana University, also known as Chicago Cub Fan Central (Bloomington’s probably a four-hour drive from Chicago).
It didn’t take long for baseball worlds to collide.
That very year ” 1998 ” the Giants and Cubs tangled in a down-to-the-wire wild-card playoff race. That meant that every day I had to deal with the obnoxious Cubs fans that littered the dorms, squawking away about how The Curse would finally end … blah, blah, blah.
Despite the Giants’ best efforts to sneak into the playoffs, the teams finished tied at the end of the regular season and had to play an extra game to resolve matters.
The Cubs won (before promptly getting swept right out of the playoffs by the Atlanta Braves).
I found out during the whole mess that many a Cubs fan remained bitter over Will Clark and the Giants’ shelling of the Cubs in the 1989 National League Championship Series.
You get where I’m going with this.
Years and years of trading jabs with the legions of Cubs fans I met in college drove my hatred for the supposedly love-able franchise.
The 2003 Steve Bartman incident ” and the subsequent whining of Cub nation (despite the fact that, Bartman’s intervention aside, the Cubs absolutely imploded after the kid’s fateful reach for a foul ball) ” only augmented my disdain for the sorry franchise.
Fast forward to the 2008 NLDS. Who the heck do I root for?
It took only until James Loney’s fifth-inning grand slam to settle on a temporary allegiance. I secretly enjoyed Cub Nation’s pain as, from that point on, its club got pummeled.
I couldn’t help it. Loney made up my mind for me.
Sacrilege as it may have been, I was rooting for the Dodgers. Fellow Giants fans: I’m sorry and I hope you’ll forgive me.
I hope this makes it all better: Go Phillies!
Contact Jeff Caspersen: 384-9123
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