Books And Brews: The Rivalry Heard 'Round The World - The Dodgers-Giants Feud from Coast to Coast


Author: Joe Konte
Book: The Rivalry Heard 'Round The World
What it's about: Hatred and baseball. In that order.
Brew of the week: Maredsous 6
Where it's from: Belgium

I love hating the Dodgers slightly less than I love my girlfriend, which I guess I’m obligated to say considering she loves the Dodgers (probably) a little more than she loves me. I most definitely loved hating the Dodgers more than I loved any of my previous women of interest, and that hatred has grown 20-fold in the last two weeks as I’ve been reading The Rivalry Heard 'Round The World by Joe Konte. The previous two sentences, of course, can lend themselves to assumptions about how good Konte’s book is and/or how awesome Natalie is.

Ed sent this book to me a couple of months ago, and I couldn’t wait to dive into the history of the most important sports rivalry to me and my family. While both the Raiders and Lakers (and USC, I guess) have some heavy, deep-rooted that hatred that inveigle fits of anger, the Dodgers bring out the worst of my antipathy, which makes my current relationship the strangest that I’ve had.


Last spring, my nephew, who was four at the time of his first game, played tee ball for the first time. This was one of the best days of my life. My parents divorced when I was 13, and while they’ve been cordial with each other since the separation, nothing has really brought my immediate family together like this kid.

He has all of the charisma my sister has, and looks just like her. Not quite sure if he’s inherited some of the athletic chops of predeceasing Barnett men, but he was on the field playing the sport my father and I loved before him.

As inconsequential as it was, he was lined up at shortstop for the first inning, and at second base the next. Four years old and already a middle infielder. I couldn’t be prouder.

At the plate, the kid knocked in two home runs. Unconventional, but home runs nonetheless.

He squared up the tee, swung the bat and KNOCK. The kid sprinted to second base with everything he had. Took a right turn toward the first base bag after hearing my sister's beckoning.

The odyssey continued as he pivoted from first and sprinted across the infield to third base and turned home as he slid across the plate for his first career inside the infield home run.

I was near the plate as he popped up after his slide. He ran toward me and exclaimed, “I just hit the greatest home run ever!”

Damn straight.

But what does this have to do with the rivalry between the Giants and the Dodgers? Everything.

You see, the Rockies are some scumbag baseball team in the NL West that plays both teams about 20 times a season. I hate the Rockies, but not enough to where I wouldn’t support my nephew — and my dad felt the same.

The team he played against? The Dodgers. Following the game dad told my sister and nephew, “you’re lucky you didn’t play for the Dodgers or I wouldn’t have come to watch you play.”

While dad was joking, there’s a little truth in every joke.


The Rivalry Heard 'Round The World chronicles, with great detail, all of the seasons in which the Giants and Dodgers competed, the names and people involved, and the respective fan bases. The rivalry is rich with great athletes, great organizations, great personalities, and great moments.

The cover is split with the top half featuring Willie Mays sharing a smile with Duke Snyder, because only The Say Hey Kid could take a second for a brief moment of truce between the clubs. The bottom half? Eric Gagne is being held back while flipping the bird at Ray Durham — which is kind of ironic considering the majority of the on-field altercations between the two teams came during my father’s era more than mine.

Steve Dilbeck wrote the foreword for the book, and the fourth sentence read:

"I hate the San Francisco Giants."

After that, only nine pages into the book, is the first instance when the Dodgers keep the Giants from winning the pennant. The more I read, the more I hated, and the more I hated, the more my love for the Giants grew.

The book is both an euphoric and stressful journey through the teams' collective history no matter the side of the rivalry you fall on, which is the beauty of not just the book. Rivalry reminds you why the Giants and Dodgers share one of the most special competitions in sports -- but it's one that's starting to hit a little too close to home.

Rivalry is over 300 pages of information about the never-ending battle for California supremacy. There are no words, however, on how to deal with summers when your lady wear's the opposing team's colors.

I went to about 12 games at Dodgers Stadium last season, nine of which were with Natalie who sat with me wearing Dodger blue. As much as I like this woman, I'll forever be disgusted with her choice in baseball team. The rivalry heard around the world has always been important, but now, it's just a little more real.

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