SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — The San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers have been rivals dating back to their New York days in the late 1800s — Giants in Manhattan and Dodgers in Brooklyn.
The two teams first met on May 3, 1890, according to ESPN.
After nearly 70 years in New York, both the Giants and Dodgers decided to move to California in 1958 — Giants in San Francisco and Dodgers in Los Angeles.
The two have not only been side by side geographically but also in terms of all-time success.
San Francisco has won eight World Series titles and 23 National League pennants in 26 playoff appearances, according to Baseball Reference.
Los Angeles has won seven World Series titles and 25 National League pennants in 34 playoff appearances.
Despite the rivals having numerous meetings dating back to 1890, the Giants facing the Dodgers in the postseason did not come to fruition until 2021 — 131 years later.
That’s why the series ending in a winner-take-all Game 5 on Thursday at Oracle Park carries so much significance in the eyes of these two franchises and their fans — aside from a date with the Atlanta Braves in the National League Championship Series.
Even during this past regular season, the Giants and Dodgers were nip and tuck all year.
The Giants won the regular-season series 10-9 with an average margin of about three runs each game between the two teams.
In recent history, the two asserted themselves as two of the more successful franchises in the sport.
Since 2010, the Dodgers won last year’s World Series, three National League pennants, and eight straight NL West titles until the Giants broke that streak this year.
In that same span, the Giants won three NL West titles but more importantly won three World Series championships.
A (sometimes extreme) rivalry exists between fans
There were instances in which the players’ on-field confrontations made their way to the fans.
The most notable one was back in 2011 when Giants fan Bryan Stow was viciously beaten at the Dodger Stadium parking lot.
Another incident occurred in 2013 at Dodger Stadium where Giants fan Jonathan Denver was stabbed to death by Dodger fans, according to the Associated Press.
Of course, isolated incidents like this are not a reflection of either fanbase.
Sometimes fans get carried away, and the intense rivalry between fans results in unwarranted violent encounters.
The Clayton Kershaw versus Madison Bumgarner postseason matchup that never happened
A chunk of the 2010s was centered around each of the franchises’ aces: Bumgarner and the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw.
Kershaw is considered one of the greatest regular-season pitchers of all time but never seemed to dominate the same way in the postseason.
Bumgarner is considered one of the greatest postseason pitchers of all time but is considered to be a decent regular-season pitcher.
It seemed the aces were destined to face off in the postseason and settle the debate on the field of who was the superior pitcher when it mattered most.
The Dodgers had a chance in 2014 to make that matchup happen but fell to the St. Louis Cardinals who ended up losing to the Giants in the NLCS.
The Giants had a chance in 2016 but fell to the eventual champion Chicago Cubs who beat the Dodgers in that year’s NLCS.
As a result, Bumgarner versus Kershaw at their peaks in the postseason never happened and likely never will.
Bumgarner, 32, is now an Arizona Diamondback, and Kershaw, 33, suffered a season-ending injury that will sideline him for the rest of the Dodgers’ 2021 playoff run.