San Francisco Giants

Here’s why Giants-Dodgers is baseball’s best rivalry (yes, a study was actually done)

Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Eric Gagne, third from right, is held by teammate Adrian Beltre and San Francisco Giants' Ray Durham as Dodgers catcher Paul LoDuca holds San Francisco Giants' Michael Tucker in the eighth inning on June 24, 2004, in San Francisco. Tucker rushed the mound after being knocked down by a pitch from Gagne causing a bench-clearing brawl. Giants won, 9-3.
Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Eric Gagne, third from right, is held by teammate Adrian Beltre and San Francisco Giants' Ray Durham as Dodgers catcher Paul LoDuca holds San Francisco Giants' Michael Tucker in the eighth inning on June 24, 2004, in San Francisco. Tucker rushed the mound after being knocked down by a pitch from Gagne causing a bench-clearing brawl. Giants won, 9-3. AP file

When the Giants take on the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday, fans watching in person and on TV will be watching Major League Baseball’s best rivalry, according to findings from a recent research project.

The project, called Know Rivalry, collected data and concluded that Giants-Dodgers is the best rivalry in the MLB. The team’s leaders, B. David Tyler and Joe B. Cobbs, also surveyed fans in the NFL, NHL, NBA and college football.

To assign a numerical value to the strength of each rivalry, the researchers went to fan message boards in 2015-16 for each team and gave a survey. They gave responders 100 “rivalry points” to assign to opponents of their favorite team.

The project’s website explained how the system worked: “For instance, if John’s favorite team is the Springfield Isotopes, he may choose to allocate 60 points to the Shelbyvillians, whom he considers to be the Isotopes’s strongest rival, 30 points to the Norsemen, another opposing team he considers to be a rival of the Isotopes, and 10 points to the Woodchucks, a third opponent. Maria is another Isotopes fan, and she chooses to allocate all 100 points to the Norsemen, the only team she considers to be a rival.”

To get an aggregate rivalry score, researchers added up the rivalry points allocated by fans of both teams.

The Giants-Dodgers aggregate rivalry score was 152.65, which was about ten points higher than Boston Red Sox-New York Yankees and nearly 40 points higher than another historic MLB rivalry: Chicago Cubs-St. Louis Cardinals.

Rivalry

Aggregate Rivalry Score

Giants-Dodgers

152.65

Red Sox-Yankees

142.96

Cubs-Cardinals

114.42

Nationals-Braves

91.81

Indians-Tigers

82.93

On average, Giants fans allocated 84.79 of their rivalry points towards the Dodgers, while Dodgers fans allocated about 67.85 of their rivalry points towards the Giants. San Francisco fans allocated the second-most points to the A’s, but it was only a paltry 5.18 points, on average.

How Giants fans voted

Team

Rivalry Points

Los Angeles Dodgers

84.79

Oakland Athletics

5.18

St. Louis Cardinals

3.97

San Diego Padres

1.65

Arizona Diamondbacks

1.50

Colorado Rockies

1.18

The Giants were also part of the fifth most unbalanced rivalry in the MLB. Colorado Rockies fans allocated 40.96 rivalry points to the Giants, which made the Giants Colorado’s top rival. Giants fans only allocated 1.18 of their rivalry points to the Rockies.

Interestingly, the A’s listed the Giants second with 32.64 rivalry points. The Los Angeles Angels were the A’s top rival with 32.68 rivalry points.

The Giants and Dodgers have been playing each other since the late 1800s and have played nearly 2,500 games. The Giants have an overall 1,238-1,204 record against the Dodgers, according to Baseball Reference.

The rivalry has had its ugly moments, both on and off the field. In 1965, there was a benches-clearing brawl after Juan Marichal bashed his bat over the head of Dodgers catcher Johnny Roseboro, after Roseboro fired a return throw near Marichal’s ear, according to CBS Sports.

And in 2011, two men assaulted Giants fan Bryan Stow outside Dodger Stadium, which left Stow brain damaged and disabled. In 2014, a judge sentenced Louie Sanchez and Marvin Norwood, to eight and four years in prison, respectively, according to ESPN.

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