For years, it felt like whenever we met the Dodgers, we were the bad-bounce boys, we were the ones with the short end of the stick. The first gut-punch, ballsack-punt of bad mojo for many of us was the last game of the 1993 season, the last great pennant race.
To put this in context, there were only two divisions in the leagues then, East and West. The National League West consisted of seven teams: Atlanta, SF, the Astros, the Dodgers, the Reds, the Rockies and the Padres. There were no divisional play-in series or wild card games. We all played for one thing: the league pennant. Then we rooted for our league to win the World Series. It was the best. Every change MLB has made since has lessened the joy for me as an NL fan.
The Braves were back-to-back defending NL champs and were at the dawn of a dynastic period led by their power trio of pitchers Glavine, Smoltz and Maddux. The Giants were the first legitimate threat to them. We had Bonds, Will the Thrill, Robby Thompson, Willie McGee, Matt Williams. We had two 20+ game winning starters, the 22-game winning John Burkett and the 21-game winner Bill Swift. All we had to do was beat the Bums, a sub-.500 team, one more time. sigh.
From This Great Game’s story (linked above):
“The Braves took the first two games of their final series—a three-game home stand against the expansion Colorado Rockies—while San Francisco kept pace with three road wins at Los Angeles against its hated rivals, the Dodgers. That left both teams with identical records of 103-58 entering the season’s final day.”
The Dodgers beat us 12 – 1.
It felt to me, as a fan, we lost something else to the Dodgers that day and it wasn’t until 2010 that it felt like we got it back. Sure, we had good wins against the nemesis, but it felt – for years – like when we went up against the Dodgers in a game that really mattered, some little thing would go against us, some 50/50 ball or bad call or bad-bounce error or worse, an off-day.
*UNPOPULAR OPINION* I blame Dusty Baker for a lot of that. I’ll never forgive him for 2002. Which is why I never write or talk about ’02 – trying to live the adage, “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”
But weird losses to the Dodgers had something more than that. It was mojo. They seemed like the team with swagger, and we, the challengers. (I’ve heard Red Sox fans describe their relationship with the Yankees before winning in ’04 in similar terms).
That fat, ugly, disrespectful Tommy LaSorda – thank all that’s right he’s finally gone from this earth – reveled in it. He rubbed our faces in it. Candlestick was the only park where the opposing team had no tunnel to their dugout, so the opponent walked across the diamond in front of us to get there. That man walked across the field in front of us and basically flipped us off. He flipped me off.
And we went home heads hanging so often. It went like that for years.
Last night, in 2021, that was Dodger fans. We have the mojo.
The whole world can know that in the top of the ninth, in a 3-1 game with two outs, the ump called a ball to Ruf from Jansen a strike, and that he then missed the check-swing strike as a make-good. It doesn’t matter. If they call the check-swing, the game is over, Dodgers win. But guess what, Bums? WE HAVE THE MOJO NOW.
That missed check-swing strike will now and forever be an RBI Walk that tied the game 3-3. La Monte Wade, Jr.’s single that gave the Giants the win? We have the mojo now.
Unbelievable ninth inning. Kenley Jansen just got shaken to pieces by the Giants and the umps on consecutive nights and the Giants stole back-to-back comeback wins to fend off the Dodgers and extend the NL West division lead to three games.
LaMonte Wade Jr., was amazing last night. The Giants first run was, as Jon Miller put it, “kind of a LaMonte Wade, Jr. production.” He slapped the first pitch of the game into right-center field and churned it into a double. He stole third and then he came home on a sac fly by Yaz. Dodgers – nothing, LaMonte Wade, Jr., – one.
Wade, Jr. bookended the game by knocking in the winning runs in the ninth! I LOVE this guy. Tommy LaStella better be hella better than LaMonte Wade, Jr. when he comes off the IL, ’cause right now the job is LaMonte’s not LaStella’s.
GOOD JOB, JAKE McGEE, GETTING THE SAVE.
The Giants went 4 – 3 on the road trip, losing the series in St. Louis 1-2, and – unbelievably – winning the series in LA, 3-1. The Giants went down to Los Angeles twice this year, and took three of four on both trips. Last night’s was the last game in LA. No more Chavez Ravine. The season series is now 7-6 Dodgers, with two more series to be played at Oracle. The first of those is next week. Giants Baseball Corner will be at Oracle Thursday for the daygame, last game of the set. Beat LA.
But first ….
The Bucs are in town and this is a perfect trap series to fail stupidly and lose. The Giants need to stay sharp to beat the Pirates who played them to a 2-2 draw in Pittsburgh back in May.
No rest. Back home. Quick turnaround. Rest on Monday.
Let’s Go Giants!
Beat the Bucs!
We have the mojo now.
[ed. note: if anyone tells you this is a stupid article, look them right in the eye and say, “We have the mojo now.”]