Juan Marichal vs. John Roseboro, exhibit "A" in the Greatest Baseball Rivalry of All Time (Vinny said so!)
Opening Day, SBC Park: Giants 4, Dodgers 2. Jeff Kent booed into the Bay by Giant fan. Despite some early offense-- like Cesar Izturis's first at-bat of the season dinger-- a throwing error from Giovanni Carrara and a fielding error by whipping boy du jour Jose Valentin lead to fourth loss of early lead by the Dodgers in a row (counting the weekend exhibition sweep by the Angels). Los Angeles Times sports writer Bill Plaschke is beside himself with glee. DePodesta is an red-faced idiot, he screams! The defense has more holes than a 10-year-old screen door, he shouts! The bats have gone back to sleep, he hollers! Plaschke publishes a column the next day that is one big "I told you so," full of assumptions, what-might-have-beens and the usual logical stumblings that manages to regurgitate yet again every tired theme he's harped on since that black day in late August last year when DePodesta dismantled a team Plaschke never liked in the first place.
Wednesday, game two: Jose Valentin responds by nearly batting for the cycle, coming up only a double short (and he was in the batter's box at the last out), but dishing out a huge three-run homer, part of a 10-4 stomping of the Hated Ones that was made even more sweet by the outstanding, yes, almost Cora-esque defense of one Jeff Kent, who was visibly tickled by his ability to give it back to Giant fan in a somewhat more significant way. The giddiness of the win was tempered only by the ineffectiveness of Yhency Brazoban, who gave up 3 runs and had two or three more ready to come in before Kent scooped up the final out, tossed it to first and stopped the bleeding.
Thursday, game three: All Jeff Weaver does is pitch eight innings of shut-out ball, and the Dodger bats sing sweet music again, leaving boisterous Giant fan with a lump in his/her throat and moist eyes that might only be dried by the Return of BalcoMan. Final: 6-0.
All that, and the Blue's first dramatic comeback win of the season tonight (they did it a mere 52 times last year) against Shawn Green and the retooled-with-actual-major-league-players Arizona Diamondbacks. Down 7-4, they mount an awe-inspiring ninth-inning surge, capped by Jose Valentin (!!), whose 2-out, 0-2, two-run homer in the top of the ninth brought the score to 8-7, where it would remain after solid outfield defense helped Yhency Brazoban redeem himself with a perfect ninth and snare the season's first save.
I'm going to bed very happy tonight, and ready for more tomorrow.