Giants-Dodgers rivalry reaches fever pitch in 14-inning thriller as McCutchen rocks SF

EMBED </>More Videos

There are few rivalries in sports history as enduring as the Giants-Dodgers feud. Passionate fans have come and gone over the decades, bringing both physical and verbal hatred, and at times screams of joy to ballgames from L.A. to S.F. (KGO-TV)

There are few rivalries in sports history as enduring as the Giants-Dodgers feud. Passionate fans have come and gone over the decades, bringing both physical and verbal hatred, and at times screams of joy to ballgames from L.A. to S.F.

And on a fateful afternoon in the city by the Bay, Andrew McCutchen ignited his new home with one of the most iconic moments during one of the most iconic games in recent Giants history.

But before we get to that, we have to go back in time to where this heated rivalry began.

For those of you who don't pay attention to baseball, or have been living under a rock for the past, I don't know, 100 years, let's take a look back at where the rivalry began.

PART I: HISTORY

Did you know that both the Dodgers and the Giants were based in New York City? Yeah, that was a thing. The Dodgers were in Brooklyn, and the Giants played in Manhattan.

In 1957, Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley had had enough of the cold weather and moved them to Los Angeles. In all the chaos of the Dodgers moving, Giants owner Horace Stoneham decided to high-tail it to California, too, landing where we know and love them -- in San Francisco.

Baseball fans in New York were bummed, but California proved to be the perfect place to pit the two teams against one another.

Prior to the big move, countless things had happened to fuel the head-to-head rivalry between the two ballclubs: The 1951 Pennant Race; the beginning of Willie Mays' legendary career; and Bobby Thomson's "Shot Heard 'Round the World" among them.

After the move, the 1965 brawl between Giants pitcher Juan Marichal and Dodgers catcher John Roseboro pretty much sums up the last 50 years of this rivalry for the players and for the fans.

If I listed all of the things that make this rivalry epic we'd be here for another 100 years. I don't have that much time, do you?

Let's get back to rainy 2018.

PART II: THE RIVALRY ACCORDING TO THE FANS

Rain sidelined the hope for a win over the Dodgers for most loyal Giants fans on Friday evening, but Saturday, oh Saturday...

Saturday brought a new hope for another piece of history to be made. Any win against the dreaded Dodgers is a win worth celebrating.

"They're losers," said one fan as he and his wife walked to their seats behind home plate.

Water puddled up on the streets in front of AT&T Park, which undoubtedly looks best dressed in sunlight. A pushed back start-time from 1:05 p.m. to 3:05 p.m. didn't bother fans like Jodi Alton from Santa Rosa who wore a smile on her face -- Giants pride beaming from every part of her Orange and Black spirit.

"The fire took out some people but it did not take out our spirit," Alton said, her smile beaming under a Giants cap.

RELATED: McClutch! Andrew McCutchen's homer in the 14th lifts Giants over Dodgers

She told me about the hardships she and many others experienced during the North Bay fires.

She works for the city of Santa Rosa and was heavily involved in keeping people informed and helping residents through the unimaginable. She and dozens of other Giants fans took a bus to the game from the North Bay, all smiles, all cheers, and all ready to see a Giants win.

Walking toward the ballpark near Lefty O'Doul bridge, I spotted another Giants fan. "Hey! Can you describe the Dodgers in one word?"

"Yeah, let me think about it," he said looking toward AT&T Park as if it were some mythical, far-off place.

"Smurfs."

It's easy to get a Giants fan to say something mean or even comical about the Dodgers but what about getting them to say something nice?

"You know the MLB brings us together. No matter what team you like or don't like," Alton added. "We all love each other no matter what."

Entering AT&T Park on a Giants-Dodgers gameday is like entering the Roman Coliseum. Everyone is wearing their war paint ready to bleed orange or bleed blue, seemingly huffing and panting at the sight of someone in an opposing color.

Some playfully shout jeers of "you stink" or "Go back to L.A." while others just walk by, greeting the emerging Bay Area sun with a smile and a squint.

Devin Ochoa has been a Dodgers fan for his whole life, and says the team is ingrained in him. "We're diehard Dodgers fans," he said. "My dad grew up in L.A. He was born there. It just got handed down."

Giants fans young and old passed us by giving looks of disapproval. One even smiled.

PART III: THE GAME

On this day in San Francisco, the rain let up for an afternoon of baseball under cloudy skies. Despite the diehard nature of the rivalry, the stands were full of Dodger fans, parting the sea of orange, infusing it with blue. But most of the sellout crowd was rooting for the home team.

A chorus of boos flew from the mouths of Giants fans young and old as the starting lineup for the Dodgers was announced.

"CHASE UTLEY, 2ND BASE."

"BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO."

Slugger Yasiel Puig ranked high on the BOO-meter too.

Of course, the newly refreshed Giants lineup was met with screams and cheers, especially for Joe Panik, the unlikely hero of this young 2018 season. He already has three clutch home runs under his belt. Two dingers actually enabled the team to beat the Dodgers twice at home to kick things off.

By the time the first pitch snapped into Buster Posey's glove, everyone was ready for a showdown.

Before everyone knew it, Puig hit a double-play ball that ended the first half-inning with the Giants poised for a big day.

And of course Joe Panik kept hitting, sending a scorching single over the head of shortstop Corey Seager, and then Andrew McCutchen's bat woke up from its brief slumber to send the ball screaming into right field,driving Panik in. And that was just the first inning.

Now, that's what these Giants fans came here for, excitement and a chance to scream so loudly that people on neighboring ships in the Bay could hear them.

But then, the Dodgers tied it up 1-1 in the top of the third and things got serious.

Roaring "Let's go Giants" cheers erupted from the stands.

"We're not playing around today," said one fan to another, putting his popcorn down and raising both fists in the air like he had just won some pro-wrestling title.

"I think this is one of the best rivalries in baseball," said Marc Roberts, from Pinole, celebrating a 2-run homer from Buster Posey.

He says his first memory of the Giants as a 25-year fan was of Mark Gardner, a former Giants pitcher turned coach.

His colorful disposition was only matched by the cacophony of orange gear he was wearing.

Hits and home runs were exchanged between teams like peanuts between fans in the stands. By the bottom of the 7th inning it was 4-4 and tensions were high, not Marichal-Roseboro-bat-to-the-head high, but you get what I'm saying.

Austin Jackson kicked off the ninth inning with a single right up the middle, renewing the Giants fervor to beat the Dodgers late in the game. It was up to Joe Panik to get the job done.

With a little nubber to the catcher, Panik moved Jackson to second, but he got stranded.

A scoreless 10th went by. Then, a scoreless 11th. Then a scoreless 12th. Then a scoreless 13th.

Some fans got up and left, but the majority wanted to see this day game turn into a nightside affair and it did.

In the end, fresh relief pitcher Roberto Gomez gave up three hits and a run to give the Dodgers a 5-4 lead in the top of the 14th. A lot of fans sighed in their seats, rocking back, dreading a Dodgers win. You could feel the air get sucked out of the stadium.

But the Orange and Black couldn't be stopped. Two words: Andrew. McCutchen.

He fought like a gladiator facing off against a lion and he jacked a three-run-walk-off homer. It made every nail-biting moment of this showdown worth it. The Giants won 7-5.

It was unlike any other baseball game I've ever seen.

But just like any other baseball game, there were hits and strikeouts, good plays and bad, fans eating Ghirardelli sundaes, and children waiting eagerly to slide down the Coca-Cola bottle out past left field.

Both in blue and orange, fans cheered together in the stands, stood in line for food and souvenirs, and enjoyed the beautiful Bay Area weather.

No matter how many years the Giants and Dodgers have been feuding on the field, no matter how vicious or petty things get between fans -- one thing is clear: They all love the game of baseball.

The snap of the glove when a strike hits the mit, the crack of the bat, the smell of fresh-made popcorn, and the hope that this year will be the year they win it all -- those are the things baseball fans live for, dream of, and get the privilege of experiencing whether their team wins or loses.

I guess Jodi from Santa Rosa was right. No matter what team you root for, no matter how many games they win, no matter if they're from L.A. or S.F., the MLB brings people together.

And on this day in San Francisco, win or lose after 14 innings, that's just fine.

Of course, Giants fans prefer to win.
Click here for more stories, photos, and video on the San Francisco Giants.
Related Topics:
sportsSan Francisco GiantsMLBrainLos Angeles DodgersbaseballSan FranciscoAT&T Park
(Copyright ©2018 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)