Every Dodger Fan knows instinctively to despise the San Francisco Giants. The Dodgers/Giants rivalry is part of baseball’s DNA and has provided the sport with some of its more colorful characters and legendary moments. But, there is another storied National League franchise that might be responsible for breaking more Blue-Bleeding hearts over the past century than any other, and that team is the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Dodgers have played in more end-of-season tie-breaking games than any other franchise in baseball history. Sure, we all remember 1951 and Bobby Thomson’s “Shot Heard ‘Round The World,” but what may have been even more devastating to Dodger Fans was the first-ever NL tie-breaker played in 1946. The Bums dropped the first three-game playoff played to the, yes, dreaded St. Louis Cardinals. Since that day, the Cardinals have foiled more Dodger championship plans than any other opponent.
Remember 1985? I do. I can’t say the words “Tom Niedenfuer” or “Jack Clark” without getting a nosebleed. How about 2013? Or maybe 2014? I’ll bet Clayton Kershaw remembers. Who could blame the young, naive Yasiel Puig for thinking the Dodgers’ greatest rival was the Cards? I know Mike Krukow and Giants fans got all butt-hurt when #66 made those comments, but it was a reasonable assumption for him to make.
The Cardinals have always brought pain to the Dodger Faithful. Back in the Brooklyn days, Dodger fans anointed St. Louis slugger, Stan Musial, with his famous nickname by bemoaning “That Man’s” appearance at the plate. Stan “The Man” used to moiderlize us! When Brooklyn looked to improve their fortunes, it was the Cardinal’s legendary GM, Branch Rickey, that came to Ebbetts Field and put together The Boys Of Summer and made history by signing Number 42. The connections between the two organizations run deep. The two teams have been sparring since 1890 … and the scuffle continues tonight at Dodger Stadium with Clayton Kershaw attempting to exorcise some of those playoff ghosts. He’s got some history to overcome and a nemesis to conquer. And this foe has a landmark arch, not a bridge.