Having been a lifelong Sooner fan, I know a little of rivalries. There may be rivalries as intense, but none more so than that between Oklahoma and Texas. Yankees/Red Sox? Not even close to the passions both North and South of the Red River on a crisp weekend in October, much less in the Cotton Bowl or on the State Fair of Texas fairgrounds.
Indeed baseball rivalries simply don’t compare to those in college football. Perhaps it is because it is a professional sport; or maybe because teams play each other so often. There would probably be fatalities if OU-Texas (or as the bad guys call it, Texas-OU) happened more than once a year. The pandemonium is barely controlled as it is.
I grew up despising the Dodgers. I really didn’t know why, I just had a pronounced dislike for anything wearing Blue. It wasn’t until years later that it occurred to me that I had been raised a Giant fan by my father, who grew up in New Jersey following the then New York Giants and died in San Francisco having passed on his passion to his seven year old son.
Irrational hatreds trouble that son, who is now almost as old as his father was then and has a son and grandson of his own. Passing on such a thing…is worrisome. It is the same process by which racism, sexism, anti-Semitism and a whole host of other isms are passed. On the other hand, rivalries may be cathartic and allow us to vent and manage necessary and natural emotions that would otherwise be expressed in negative ways.
Or perhaps that is a Dodge(r).
Editor’s Note: No, you’re not seeing double. I inadvertantly posted this in all the excitement last week. It obviously chronologically belongs during rivalry week, so I’m moving it here. I immediately trailed it with this morning’s post so as not to unfairly bump anyone from the Recently Updated List.
Well, they are finally underway in the Bronx. I love this interleague rivalry. It’s like a House of Mirrors with all the New York logos. And in the spirit of reflection, we are midway through the season. My, oh my, where does the time go? Seems like only yesterday we were dreaming of spring… — Michael Norton
Los Angeles. San Francisco. With the names of these cities you would think it would be a holy war, and you would be right, except both of these franchises were New York’s, with storied histories which stretched back longer than Babe Ruth held the home run record. Before there was The Babe and the New York Yankees, there was John McGraw and the New York Giants. One of the legacies of Ruth was the exodus of the senior circuit of America’s largest city. The Babe was big enough **** all the air out of a city as large as New York City.
Neither the Dodgers nor the Giants could draw like the Yankees, and both were having difficulties negotiating with the city for new stadiums. Walter O’Malley, owner of the Dodgers, was offered a city financed and owned stadium in Flushing Meadows, Queens: the current location of Shea Stadium. What happened next depends on who you talk to. O’Malley, a real estate magnate who wanted a piece of the stadium deal, would claim New York politicians forced him to move. Others believe O’Malley manipulated the situation to take advantage of the business opportunities offered by the wide open baseball market on the west coast. In either case O’Malley needed a team to play against, and he convinced archrival New York Giants owner Horace Stoneham to join the Dodgers moving west. On April 18, 1958, the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the San Francisco Giants at the Coliseum.
Dodger Stadium was the last publicly financed stadium for forty years as cities, shocked by the example of the Dodgers and Giants, caved to the demands of owners for new stadiums. Ironically San Francisco refused to subsidize a new stadium for the Giants to replace Candlestick, so Peter Macgowan privately financed Pac Bell (now AT&T) Park. To pull it off, he needed a superstar to pack the seats. Thus begins the saga of Barry Bonds. — Michael Norton