Were the Giants Lucky? Are the Dodgers Cursed? A Semi-Civilized Spring Training Debate

The following is an interview conducted by Jeremy Dorn, an Editorial Intern at San Francisco Magazine and an experienced sports blogger with a number of great credits (and several disturbing ones).

Through no fault of his own, Jeremy was born in the Bay Area but was raised a Los Angeles Dodger fan. Perhaps it was due to an unhealthy mix of Cap'n Crunch cereal and that white paste they used in grade school as glue.

Read Jeremy Dorn's compelling sports blog Jam Shots, and be sure to consult an attorney before agreeing to talk with him either in person or on the phone.

The interview
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 Magazine 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 writer/editor of the popular “The Giants Cove” blog, and according to the bio on the site, is "proven by severe medical probe testing to eat, breathe, and exude Giants baseball." 

So what happens when the two butt heads as Opening Day nears? Although they may actually not be butt-heads, we've got their conversation below:

Jeremy Dorn: 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?

Richard Dyer: First off, pal, they didn’t get lucky last year. Secondly, it's not 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. In 2013 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, those are the comments of a young player. But if the Dodgers are trying to buy team 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. As for Brandon Belt, he will learn to keep those comments to himself and off twitter– 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 them to catch up with LA?

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? Which team was the last to win three out of four World Series titles? The Yankees, I guess. The Giants just won 2 of the last 3 Series, and they aren't going anywhere.

Because of the commitment of this franchise, the Giants will be playoff contenders for at least several more years and beyond . Which means they will have a number of chances to go to the World Series and win again. San Francisco was not consistently a modern and well-run franchise until the Peter Magowan group bought the team in  1993.

They have a better chance now to make the Series, thanks to the current ownership group and management, than they've had in the entire history of their rivalry with the Dodgers 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 will have the highest payroll in baseball to start the 2013 season at $213 million. And even that doesn't guarentee a trip to the playoffs next October.
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 should be more concerned with the other teams in the National League that they will actually meet in the playoffs, like Washington, Atlanta, and St. Louis. Those are really the their main competitors in 2013.

San Francisco won 94 games last year and the Dodgers only won 86. I'm going with 95 wins for the Giants and I think the Dodgers are good for about 88 this year. Since they added $95 million to their 2012 payroll, that means LA will be paying $47.5 million each for their two extra wins this season.
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 always seems to need more offense, which Gonzalez brings; and Greinke is just a quality pitcher. The problem with the Dodgers this year is after Kemp and Kershaw, the drop can be pretty steep. I mean, Carl Crawford, Hanley Ramirez? And I don't think Luis Cruz is the long-term solution at third base.

And they have Mark Ellis 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 there, with a Dodger Dog in my hand, any day. Defend your fancy ball park!

RD: I’m okay with the sushi and the $20 six-ounce Steam Beer because they're in the business of making money. With that money the Giants front office can get better players and improve their farm system.

This is America, Jeremy; I think it’s good that everybody can get what they want! I’ll take my beer and sushi, and I hope you enjoy those Farmer John Dogs from LA that feature the acceptable federal level of rat hairs in every bite.

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 Duane Kuiper over Scully?

RD: I love the Giants announcers– Kruk and Kuip are wide-ranging at times but so smart and colorful. And Jon Miller and Dave Flemming may be the best in the game. But, I absolutely love listening to Vin Scully.

MLB.TV shows Dodgers games and I get to watch Vinnie spin his magic. I love the fact that Vin does the TV games alone– no color guy. I love listening to him. You hear this spellbinding, ongoing narrative about the game that is amazing. I love Scully, he’s a treasure.
JD: All right, 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 may be just 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 in the coming years. The rivalry with San Francisco only works if both teams are good and playing well.

Have feedback for Jeremy? Email him at, and follow him on Twitter @sanfranmag.

Richard Dyer

About Richard Dyer

Writer, bass player, carrot juice wrangler. His Twitter following is limited to one person at a time. "My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music." --Vladimir Nabokov