The Giants, like every other team in baseball, had one clear goal when they entered the 2021 season: win the World Series.
But Giants fans always enter the season with another goal in mind: Beat the Dodgers.
On Thursday night, in the winner-take-all Game 5 of the National League Division Series at Oracle Park, the Giants could be one step closer to their goal by helping fans complete their goals.
“That’s why you play,” Giants catcher Buster Posey said.
Yes, when it comes to big games, it’s the best of the best.
The weight of this game 5 is too much. The bet is that one of the best two teams in baseball in 2021 will see the end of its season in a cold and abrupt fashion – some might even say that would be unfair.
But with a rivalry like the Giants-Dodgers, there’s more going on.
After all, these two teams have been playing each other since 1890, when the Dodgers were known as the Grooms.
And they are the two most efficient teams in the history of the National League. The Dodgers have 24 pennants, the Giants 23.
That means Thursday will be the biggest game in this rivalry since Bobby Thompson hit “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” in 1951. The only thing close was the 1962 tiebreaker, and it’s not that close.
No, when it comes to anticipation and pregame significance, this Game 5 stacks up with the biggest games in recent Giants history: Game 7 in the 2002 and 2014 World Series.
A sport this important – this overwhelming – is why I never understood the Giants fans who rooted for the path of least resistance this postseason. Yes, there were people who were more inclined to play the Cardinals instead of the Dodgers in this division-series matchup.
Where’s the fun in that?
Achievement comes from challenge.
And my, the Dodgers are a challenge.
What a win it would be for the Giants to finally eliminate them on Thursday. If that happens, the celebration will be unique. Frustration if San Francisco Fails? next level.
But these are the extreme feelings that tell you that you are really living – what is happening is something special.
These two great teams have struggled throughout the season. The Giants stunned the baseball world after finishing first in the National League West on May 31. He then held the lead over the Dodgers for all but one day (September 1), regularly ending the season with franchise-record numbers. -Season win and one more win than their rivals.
In Thursday’s winner-take-all showdown, both teams have 109 wins in the season.
Games like Thursday are the stage on which legends are built.
The Legend of Madison Bumgarner was created in Game 7 of the 2014 World Series. For which he is always remembered. Pitching on two days’ rest – half of his usual allotment – Bumgarner made five shutout innings from the bullpen at Kansas City to keep the Royals at bay and claim the Giants’ third title in five years.
It was one of the greatest performances in baseball history.
The Giants no longer have a Bumgarner, but Thursday is someone else’s opportunity to create their own bit of baseball immortality.
Above all, these two teams are the most deserving opponents—the two best teams in baseball—and while they may seem premature when meeting up, there’s no question that this is the best game ever.
Along those same lines, as I’ve been talking to people around baseball about this series and this Game 5 that seemed destined by the baseball gods, a phrase keeps coming up:
“It’s great for the game.”
Fans are the reason Major League Baseball and its teams are billion-dollar enterprises, and rivalries are the lifeblood of that support—feelings of love are very close to feelings of hate.
But such a deep rivalry, with this landmark being played at a level of excellence that no other team in baseball can match?
Well, this is as good as it gets.