Is it time to welcome our new San Francisco Giants overlords? Probably not

Without a doubt, the San Francisco Giants have, much to the surprise of most baseball observers, become one of the more dominant teams in baseball. The Giants sweep of the Tigers in the World Series gave San Francisco its second world championship in three years.

Meanwhile, down in Los Angeles, Dodgers fans had high hopes from a good start to the season, only to see the overachieving team from April and May to start achieving at more expected level. And then, when the Dodgers made big trades to bolster a weak offensive attack, the offense got worse.

Up in San Francisco, the Giants made only one trade of note, acquiring infielder Marco Scutaro, who ended up: 1) driving in the game-winning runs in a game that eliminated the Dodgers from playoff contention, 2) was named MVP of the NLCS, hitting .500 and 3) drove in the winning run in the 10th inning of Game 4 of the World Series.

So are the Dodgers headed for an extended period of inferiority to their Bay Area rivals? Probably not. This has not kept the L.A. Times most prominent alarmist/troll/ESPN shouter Bill Plaschke from writing a column bemoaning the sad sack nature of the Dodgers.

Plaschke uses the Giants edge in alltime National League pennants as evidence of that franchise's superiority. The Giants have appeared in the World Series 19 times and the Dodgers 18 times.

(This does not count the 19th Century meeting between the two franchises when the Dodgers, then the Brooklyn Bridegrooms, won the American Association, the second major league of the time in 1889. The Giants won the National League title. The Giants won a postseason series that year that lasted nine games. If you count the 19th Century, the Dodgers and Giants have both won their league 22 times. The Giants also won the National League pennant in 1904, but refused to play a World Series that year. The Dodgers won a pennant in 1900, when no World Series was played either.)

It is unlikely that the Dodgers and Giants have become a negative image of the rivalry (such as it is) between the Lakers and Warriors. The Dodgers-Giants rivalry has been cyclical in nature and the teams have only been in direct contention with each other infrequently. (They have finished 1-2 in the standings in the league or division just 12 times.)

The Giants, under John McGraw, were the dominant National League franchise for much of the first 25 years of the 20th Century. The Giants won pennants in 1904, 1905, 1911, 1913, 1917, 1921, 1922, 1923, and 1924. They were only able to convert that into three World Series wins. During that same time, the Dodgers won just two NL pennants, in 1916 and 1920.

The Dodgers glory years started with a pennant in 1941 and then the franchise went on its dominant run from 1947 through 1966, winning 10 NL pennants in 20 years, including four World Series wins. The Giants won just three pennants in that stretch, twice beating the Dodgers in tiebreaker playoffs.

After the switch to divisional play, the Giants won an NL West title before the Dodgers did (in 1971), but after that the Dodgers won six NL West titles, four NL pennants, and a World Series, before the Giants made the playoffs again in 1987.

Since the Dodgers World Series win in 1988, the Giants have had the upper hand, making the World Series four times. The Giants edge during this time can be attributed to numerous factors: 1) having the game's best offensive player for a long time in Barry Bonds, 2) achieving financial stability after moving into picturesque (and transit-friendly) AT&T Park out of the horrible Candlestick Park (which has far worse access than Dodger Stadium.) The Giants have had stable ownership and a stable front office. The Dodgers ... have had ... a lot of different people sitting in a lot of different offices since Peter O'Malley sold the team. (In Plaschke's column, he complains about Dodger Stadium's condition, a remarkable change from when he thought it was the most beautiful place in Los Angeles to have lunch.)

The Dodgers new ownership group seems willing to spend just about any or all of its money in order to win. The biggest story of the year was the acquisition of four Boston Red Sox players with enormous contracts. The two most important pieces in the deal were first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who replaced the light-hitting James Loney, and outfielder Carl Crawford, who was injured and did not play for the Dodgers in 2012. If Crawford, a major disappointment in Boston, can come anywhere near his production in his Tampa Bay seasons (a very big if), the Dodgers offense should be improved.

But what is more important is that the Dodgers are trying to become major players in the international market as well as trying to stock up the farm system (despite sending some top prospects to Boston in the persons of Jerry Sands and Rubby De La Rosa.)

What the Dodgers also need to work on is improving the team's depth. In 2012, the Dodgers were beset by injuries, including fairly major ones to Matt Kemp (hamstring and shoulder). Dave Cameron of Fangraphs wrote about how the Giants depth trumped the Tigers star power of Miguel Cabrera, Justin Verlander, and Prince Fielder.

Still, will the Giants be the better team for the foreseeable future? No one knows. The Giants will be bringing back nearly all of their key players. Scutaro will be a free agent, who will presumably be trying to cash in on his postseason success for one last big pay check at age 37. The Giants managed to avoid major injuries during the season, although they did lose outfielder Melky Cabrera to a suspension for steroid use. However, the Giants played better without Cabrera in the lineup.

Will the cycle of good fortune ever swing back in the Dodgers favor? It probably will. That's just the nature of sports.

For an example, you should read a 2001 column by Bill Plaschke. In it, he declares UCLA to be the preeminent college football power in Los Angeles.

For most of the last six years, those helmeted kids from a basketball school have improbably bullied opponents, wowed fans and impressed voters nationwide.

But now the UCLA football team has done the impossible.

It has won the neighborhood.

When it comes to college football, Los Angeles clearly belongs to the Bruins.

Since that article appeared on October 25, 2001, UCLA has gone 62-69. USC, discounting NCAA penalties, has had a 119-23 record.

The Dodgers and Giants likely won't have that dramatic of a change in their fortunes. But, we can dream.



More by Bob Timmermann:
"It's Time for Everton Football"
UCLA starting to make Omaha a regular destination
LACMA mounts an exhibition that may be the best thing hardly anyone sees
Baseball's International Final Four comes to California
UCLA stumbles, falls, wanders around, and wins the Pac-12
Previous Native Intelligence story: CA Sketchbook: Prop. 36

Next Native Intelligence story: Crowds line up to see Endeavour

New at LA Observed
Follow us on Twitter

On the Media Page
Go to Media
On the Politics Page
Go to Politics

LA Biz Observed
Arts and culture

Sign up for daily email from LA Observed

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner


Advertisement
LA Observed on Twitter and Facebook