Is the Dodgers-Giants Rivalry Dead or Just Il

Ray Ratto of the San Francisco Chronicle says the Giant-Dodger rivalry has lost most of it's steam. It is one thing to listen to the Giants when they are betraying everything we knew about them --but for those of you who listen to every game, you get to hear not the Dodgers' announcers gloating over the Giants' failings, but commiserating indirectly about the Giants' difficulties.

There was nothing overt about it, not from Vin Scully, Charley Steiner or Rick Monday, and in truth, they spent more time gushing about the Dodgers and Opening Day and all the other traditional memos from the marketing department, but just as Randy Johnson was being removed after walking James Loney to load the bases in the fourth, Monday said, You know the Giants' starting pitchers are too good for this to go on all year.

This is a paraphrase, as the California Highway Patrol reminds you not to take dictation while driving up Interstate 280, but Monday's tone was sympathetic rather than acidic, as though he actually were working for both teams. Scully didn't use the hate angle either, and Steiner's contribution to the rivalry was to note that in the last 20 games, the two teams were 10-10 and had each scored 77 runs. Death-rage attacks they weren't.

And you know how sympathy from a Dodger hits Giants fans.

Hint: It's frontal, and it's painful.

It is a reminder that this rivalry, once so overheated, has lost a good deal of its reciprocal steam over the years because the Dodgers regard their northward brethren with barely more virulence than they do the Padres. It's as if the Dodgers long ago left such trivial concerns for larger vistas, and the Giants have been left to fan a flame that blows only one way.

This is worth mentioning only because Giants fans will be in full froth about the way their starters have undermined the master plan, but they will save some room to fulminate about the Dodgers, because they always have. It is the same hatred of all things south of the Grapevine that the Sharks would stoke in their fans for this week's opening-round Stanley Cup series against Anaheim.

The loathing still dies well short of mutual, which will grate at the Giants fans' delicates all the more, because the only thing worse than an archrival is an archrival who won't act like one.

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