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Cat Bites: Classic rivalry reheats for playoffs

Nicholas Woodard

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Nick Woodard

There’s a good number of Dodger fans in Chico, and I love it. At least this time of year anyways.

The rivalry between the boys in blue and good ol’ Giants fans like me is always heated, but never more so than in playoff times. It’s all in good fun, but somebody always gets the last laugh.

This year, it was me.

At first, though, it was anyone but me. For the majority of this season, times were tough for the orange and black. The Giants were 43-21 at one point in the season, with a huge lead in the National League West Division. Life was good. But a three-game sweep at the hands of the Colorado Rockies sent my team in a downward spiral, and the Dodgers took over for good.

Of course I heard the shit talking. Friends eagerly reminded me of the free fall that this team decided to take. My roommate handed me playful jabs about the poor — at times pathetic — play of the Giants. I could do nothing but take it in stride and shrug it off with, “I guess it’s not their year.”

Then, rock bottom. The Giants fell 17–0 to the Dodgers in early September, and the floodgates were unleashed. All over social media, references to a complete beat down of a seemingly lesser team popped up. I would have tried to make a comeback to these posts, but there was none. The team was dreadful.

A short time later, the Dodgers clinched the division. The very next day, a Los Angeles fan spotted me on campus sporting my hat, stopped in his tracks and pivoted to share some words with me.

“What happened bro?!” he said. “Division champs baby!”

Now that’s all good and well. As a fan, I live for the playful jabs made at each other’s teams; it keeps rivalries alive in every one of us. But for what it’s worth, here’s a little something that my “bro” might have overlooked.

History likes to repeat itself. The Dodgers haven’t been to the World Series since 1988. Entering the 2014 postseason, the Giants had been twice in the last four years, winning both. So when San Francisco edged Pittsburgh to win the wild card game and make the playoffs, all bets were off.

As I watched the St. Louis Cardinals render Clayton Kershaw, a Giant killer in the regular season, essentially ineffective, I couldn’t help but break into a smirk of a smile. The Giants were wrapping things up against the Washington Nationals, and baseball showed once again its humor.

The titan Dodgers had fallen after an incredible run in the regular season. The Giants crept into the playoffs, but summoned up some of that every-other-year magic. All was right in the world.

The day after Travis Ishikawa sent San Francisco to the World Series with his game-winning homer, I was back on campus wearing a Giants cap. A man in a Dodgers capped passed me. He noticed my hat, I noticed his, and we both smiled. There was nothing to say but quietly acknowledge the season that was.

Throughout the season, through the division collapse, the 17-0 loss and whatever other blunders the Giants managed to make, Dodger fans everywhere rejoiced. I accepted it, embracing the fact that the boys in Dodger blue made a great run at things. But it’s October now. This is our time.

Nicholas Woodard can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_sports on Twitter.

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Cat Bites: Classic rivalry reheats for playoffs