Political Metaphor Alert: World Series Edition and the Plight of a Democratic Dodger Fan

Nancy Pelosi v. George W. Bush in the World Series? Maybe.

As a lifelong hater of the Evil Empire, I’m never inclined to write off the Yankees.  But with the Rangers crushing them for a third time in a row, and taking a commanding lead in the American League Championship Series, the smart money is on Texas.

Over in the National League, things are far more up in the air, but the Giants are in an excellent position, leading the series 2-1.

So if present trends continue, the World Series will be San Francisco v. Texas.  You couldn’t ask for a better political metaphor. 

 Ever since my grandpa told me about dodging trolleys outside Ebbets Field to watch the Brooklyn Robins, and then took me to Oldtimers Day 1972 at Dodger Stadium, when they retired the numbers of Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, and Sandy Koufax, I’ve been a confirmed Dodger fan. (Okay — when the Prince of Darkness owned the team for a few years, I switched to the Red Sox, and still like them.  But that’s over with now.).

What’s a Democratic Dodger fan to do?  Texas is impossible, but….the Giants?

Answer: Yes, the Giants.  Actually, the real hatred in today’s Dodger-Giant rivalry only heads one way — south.  San Franciscans hate Los Angeles with an unreal passion: I once asked a Giant fan whom he would root for if it was the Dodgers v. Al Qaeda.  He said he just wouldn’t watch.  Angelenos, on the other hand, think of San Francisco as a pleasant enough little town, good for a romantic weekend or a place to take the kids, maybe a way to get out of the summer heat.  Not really a city, mind you, but a nice enough place.

Go Giants!

Author: Jonathan Zasloff

Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic - Land Use, the Environment and Local Government. He grew up and still lives in the San Fernando Valley, about which he remains immensely proud (to the mystification of his friends and colleagues). After graduating from Yale Law School, and while clerking for a federal appeals court judge in Boston, he decided to return to Los Angeles shortly after the January 1994 Northridge earthquake, reasoning that he would gladly risk tremors in order to avoid the average New England wind chill temperature of negative 55 degrees. Professor Zasloff has a keen interest in world politics; he holds a PhD in the history of American foreign policy from Harvard and an M.Phil. in International Relations from Cambridge University. Much of his recent work concerns the influence of lawyers and legalism in US external relations, and has published articles on these subjects in the New York University Law Review and the Yale Law Journal. More generally, his recent interests focus on the response of public institutions to social problems, and the role of ideology in framing policy responses. Professor Zasloff has long been active in state and local politics and policy. He recently co-authored an article discussing the relationship of Proposition 13 (California's landmark tax limitation initiative) and school finance reform, and served for several years as a senior policy advisor to the Speaker of California Assembly. His practice background reflects these interests: for two years, he represented welfare recipients attempting to obtain child care benefits and microbusinesses in low income areas. He then practiced for two more years at one of Los Angeles' leading public interest environmental and land use firms, challenging poorly planned development and working to expand the network of the city's urban park system. He currently serves as a member of the boards of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (a state agency charged with purchasing and protecting open space), the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice (the leading legal service firm for low-income clients in east Los Angeles), and Friends of Israel's Environment. Professor Zasloff's other major activity consists in explaining the Triangle Offense to his very patient wife, Kathy.

16 thoughts on “Political Metaphor Alert: World Series Edition and the Plight of a Democratic Dodger Fan”

  1. For an Angeleno to pretend to discriminate what is and isn't a city is like Sharron Angle offering to sort Asians from Latinos.

    Anyway, just because two things have the same name doesn't make them the same thing, and the team you root for is not the Dodgers. The Dodgers' hat has a white B on the front and always will.

    Same for the Giants, though as I didn't care about the real Giants back in the day I don't mind too much what they call the SF NL team.

  2. Your post is so funny. Having spent the first 18 years of my life in San Francisco, I am inclined to agree with your Giants-loving, Dodgers-hating friend. Why such hatred? Well, having lived in LA for the last three years (just finished my combined MPP-MBA at UCLA!), I believe I can answer confidently: LA lacks everything we want and embodies everything we hate in a city: It is a sprawling, urban wasteland, few decent neighborhoods with miles of nothingness in-between, horrendous traffic at anytime between 4am and 2am, and a culture dominated and defined by the shallowness and greed of Hollywood. There's a reason they call it 80 suburbs in search of a city: no urban core, no thriving culture created by density, no endless supply of highly walkable communities of restaurants, shops, and (non-velvet rope) nightlife. Nice weather though; a good place to hit the beach. Not really a city mind you, but…well…

    Incidentally, your post is (intentionally?) ironic given that your anti-SF screed is precisely why we hate LA so much. New Yorkers have perhaps too much pride, but that city is superlative enough in all the right ways that they can have this pride while simultaneously admitting NYC's superlative problems in other areas. But LA natives: you seem to believe that LA is the model American city, when this could not be further from the truth…

  3. SF v. Texas? You whippersnapper! The franchises originated in Manhattan and DC, respectively. Any World Series would only be a reprise of the 1924 or 1933 World Series: Senators v. Giants. The old ways are the best ways.

  4. Oh yawn, yawn, yawn: you poor bitter San Franciscans. Stop being so jealous. It's okay. You really have a nice little place up there, if you like small town life.

    Joe S. — Not quite. Remember that the Senators who became the Rangers were an expansion team, created in 1961. Your argument would be more accurate if the Twins were in the Series, which I actually would be delighted about.

  5. Yes, us N. Cal folks have this little quirk. My wife will never (hardly ever) go down to LA, I am somewhat more broad-minded; I can imagine going to some of the good art museums down there, but I never do. Actually, if the state broke up along the San Andreas fault, LA would sink into the waves; we would perhaps shed a tear for Santa Cruz and Monterey, which would share the same fate, but we would wave good-bye to old LA. After all San Jose would remain (but is is only 10% the size of LA.

  6. Zasloff, you traitor! The Giants??! Never, ever, ever, ever root for the Giants. EVER. You knew very well in 1972 the rules, and you can't just pretend that the rules are suspended because of the unique times we are living in.

    That said, I think the real venom is from San Francisco. Most Angelenos I know like San Fran, it's a nice weekend retreat, and is close enough to wine country. However, the comment about Los Angeles being devoid of culture is ludicrous. Los Angeles is exhibit A that you don't need high density to create culture. And if you think that LA is devoid of culture because of the lack of it in Westwood or Santa Monica, well you've obviously been looking in the wrong place. Have you been to Los Feliz/Echo Park/Silverlake? And sure there are plenty of velvet ropes in Hollywood, but there's plenty of nightlife that is sans said rope. Have you ever stepped foot at the California Water Court Plaza during is Grand Performances? How about the performances at Pershing Square? And before you forget, Amoeba Music, the be-all-end-all of independent music stores, with regular free performances from small time and big time rock bands is located in Hollywood (and yes also located in San Fran).

    And for all the ballyhoo about public transit in San Fran and how its residents use it, according to Google Maps, San Francisco rush hour still looks like a microcosm of Los Angeles. Then again, even if San Francisco was comparable to all 492 sq miles of Los Angeles' jurisdiction, I'm so sure that they would decide to build their homes right up against one another for the sake of creating walkable communities.

  7. This ex-Northern Californian went on a mini speaking trip last year & combined it with some vacation. One of my stops was in Ventura and not having gone south much, I looked forward to the time down there. I ended up spending my time by the ocean, because I couldn't stand going inland. My 2¢.

  8. As a confirmed East Bay DIY Dirtbag I can tell you exactly why SF throws venom southward. The Bay Area hasn't gotten over the memory of the late 60's, and it's produced a strange mind warp in which we're always facing straight back in time, trying to recapture the momentum and promise of mystical liberalism. We've become so comfortable in our view of the hierarchy of Cities (SF stands alone as a member of the world stage on the West Coast due to our Superior Vision, Seattle's our beloved little brother, and LA is the living example of everything that can go wrong, ever) that anything hinting outside that hierarchy is heresy on the level of S&M play without a safe word.

    What pisses me off is that if we got off our high horses, let our minds and hands work, and stopped being so damn defensive we might get some of that momentum back. Fortunately Oakland's still there to serve as a reservoir of hungry, talented, non-deluded people, if we don't drown in our own bullets, booze, and trash. The view's better from the other side of the Bay anyway.

    Also, fortunately, it seems like LA and Austin are starting to get their cultural butts in gear and are making some changes. The report from a friend of mine who just spent a car free weekend in LA is that there's a vibrant bike/transit culture growing down there. I'd love to see SF lead the way again, but all I really care is that somebody somewhere keeps pushing new cultural forms and ideas. From what I've seen lately we might just have to follow LA for a while.

  9. Dr. Buzzsaw,

    Please don't mistake the SFBay Guardian for San Francisco.

    Besides, I thought we hate LA for stealing our water?

  10. As an Easterner, if I had a discretionary trip to the Left Coast, it would be SFO over LA in a heartbeat. SFO has Ferlinghetti, LA has the La Brea tar pits and Gary Busey.

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