David White: Dodgers, Giants setting up baseball season for epic finish

Special to The BeeJuly 5, 2014 

San Francisco's Pablo Sandoval salutes teammates after a three-run home run April 5 while Los Angeles catcher A.J. Ellis seems to sum up the feelings of Dodger fans everywhere. The two teams, after the Giants burst out to a big early-season lead, are running neck and neck in the National League West.

ALEX GALLARDO — ASSOCIATED PRESS

The columnist has been pretty busy lately, running church camps, selling fireworks, watching teams not score in the World Cup, so it's been tough to keep up with my first-place Giants.

Good thing we've got parishioners, and cousins, and a wife, who keep up with such things. Thus, this very important news flash came my way last week via Friend of the Column Jeff Akin.

"Great news, Pastor!" and, no, he didn't just sell the $500 fireworks box at our church fundraiser booth.

The Dodgers are in first place, he said, as I wonder if things like this are the real reason Martin Luther hung his 95 Theses to the church parsonage door.

The unspoken reference, of course, is the Giants are in second place. So we've heard. Over and over again.

Because, after a wonderful spring of silence -- and nothing says "shhh" like a 7-game lead in May-- every Blue Crew ideologue from here to Chavez Ravine is giving every one of us Giants fans from Porterville to China Basin up-to-the-minute reports on the current state of the National League West.

"We're passing your Giants," texted my cousin Mando Alvarado, which is why I'm never really sure how to take it when people say they'll treat me like family.

Know what it's like when your own wife -- who in a tragic childhood development became a Dodger fan -- asks you who won the Giants game when she full well knows the answer?

Ever get out of an evening church service and have a text message alerting you to a Clayton Kershaw no-hitter, as if eyes lacked sufficient reason to bleed?

Ever wonder why the Dodger fans on your Facebook feed only post pro-Dodger news in ALL-CAPS WITH LOTS OF EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!

Ever conclude that 50 Dodger fans at the bottom of the ocean is, among other things, a very good start?

Truth is, the Giants and Dodgers at the top of the standings makes for great rivalry. The second half of the season is worth watching. The scoreboard watching actually matters, and not just to see the Dodgers lost as we all share a good laugh.

I like all the fan noise, and all the foam-finger pointing, and matching your Kershaw no-hitter with Tim Lincecum's own no-no, and chanting "Beat L.A." whether the teams are playing or not.

There's no sports joy like the joy of ending all discussions with the phrase "two rings in three years." Or reminding my 41-year-old cousin what grade he was in when Kirk Gibson saved the day (10th). Or matching the taunt "Solomon Torres" with my own "Pitch to Clark."

"Eat your heart out Giants," wrote Facebook pal Matt Holt, as I spit-shined my replica 2012 World Series ring in the study.

If we're lucky, this chase to the pennant won't end on the last day of the regular season. This foot race will go into the playoffs for the very first time.

In 20 years of wild-card playoffs, the Giants and Dodgers have never entered the same postseason. They've finished 1-2 in the NL West six times, but never has the runner-up gotten the wild-card spot.

This is the year that finally changes. The All-Star Break approaches. Half a game separates the two in the West standings. Dodgers-Giants is setting up as the main event of the 2014 season's second act, giving this rivalry more teeth than Yankees-Red Sox for everyone living west of the Hudson.

So, grab a Dodger dog and some Gilroy garlic fries, and root, root, root for shared office space in the National League Championship Series.

You know, just so you and your friends in the other camp have more reason to treat each other like family.

The columnist can be reached at bydw@sbcglobal.net or @bydavidwhite on Twitter.

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