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Murphy: AT&T Park has become ‘Candlestick-ian’

© Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports


It’s back to the future, Giants fans.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday at AT&T Park, the ghosts of Candlestick Park swirl. Can you, the current fan base, make sure they stay alive for three die-hard games?

See, back before 2010 and 2012 and 2014, the Giants-Dodgers rivalry in San Francisco had a decidedly blue hue. Or, should I say, a disgustingly blue hue.

Yes, 1962 — the year the Giants closed a four-game gap in the National League in the game’s final week, then beat the Dodgers in a three-game playoff — was a brilliant splash of orange. But other than that, Dodgers World Series titles in 1959, 1963, 1965, 1981* (strike-shortened) and 1988 had made the “rivalry” a nauseatingly one-sided affair in terms of glory.

All we had, the currently 45-years-old-and-over Giants fans, was one mission in life: Knock the Dodgers out, by any means necessary.

It happened, gloriously, in 1982. Ask your grandparents about it.

Now, here we are: the Giants ship has run aground. The franchise is in a two-and-a-half year skid, and heads are rolling. The glories of the earlier part of the decade are gone. Tim Lincecum is out of baseball. Matt Cain is retired. Jeremy Affeldt and Javier Lopez are in the broadcast booth. Ryan Vogelsong is a roving instructor. The future of the Giants remains unclear.

As Tim Flannery told us this morning on the show: “They need to get younger players, but I don’t know where those players are.”

Gulp.

And the last crowd at AT&T Park, in Wednesday night’s loss to the Padres on a cold and windy night, was described by all who saw it with one word:

Candlestick-ian.

But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Gobs of empty seats, but with a diehard vibe. The kind of crowd that, while barely registering five figures, still stood and roared when Kelby Tomlinson came up with two on and two out in a 3-2 game.

He struck out.

Tonight, Saturday and Sunday, is like one long Kelby Tomlinson at-bat in a meaningless game. Meaning, it’s time to summon the old ghosts, with no October glory in sight. It’s time to turn tranquil AT&T into a den of diehards, with the ultimate goal: knock the Dodgers out of the playoffs.

It’s going to take a lot. The Dodgers have seven players with 20 or more home runs. The Giants have none. The Dodgers have everything in the world to play for. The Giants have nothing. The Dodgers are trying to win their sixth consecutive NL West title. The Giants are trying to improve from 98 losses last year to 86 this year.

In other words, only the spirit of Candlestick can survive. For far too long now, AT&T Park’s glories have sedated Giants fans into one, long, serene $14 IPA buzz. It’s time to get back to the hardiness of the few, the hearty few, the band of brothers who have nothing to play for except to wreck some Dodgers dreams.

 

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