San Francisco Giants at The Cincinnati Reds, Game 3, NL Division Series 2012

That Giants-Reds game today was amazing baseball. The Giants headed off into the postseason and drew the very hungry Cincinnati Reds as a Division Series opponent, but by today’s Game 3 (of 5) the Giants finally elevated their game to the Reds’ level. Until Game 3, the Giants looked like a deer in headlights, surprised by the Reds’ team-wide Postseason-caliber intensity. It’s the Postseason, guys! Welcome back.

It was a tight game, both teams trying find a lucky break. Reds sent ex-Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton to pitch in the 10th. He throws hard, a little wild, but predictably. Just the break the Giants needed. However, Giants may have lost a key player to a Broxton pitch that ricocheted off of his bat.

For Dodgers fans, Broxton in Game 3 was a bizarre sight. And they knew all about him, how this was the Giants’ biggest break of the game. For two seasons, the Dodgers lived by Broxton’s closing fireball pitching and died by it. By the end of his years with the team, they were more often than not died by it. His last great moment as a Dodger was getting to close for the NL all-star team in 2010 (or was it 2009).

Manager Dusty Baker of the Reds is also an ex-Dodger. He was part of the Tommy Lasorda clubs of the mid 70s that ended the run of none other than The Big Red Machine! That was the nickname of the Cincinnati Reds in the 1970s playing under legendary manager Sparky Anderson. That was back when the Dodgers and Reds shared a division and engaged memorable pennant races. The Giants were also in the division of course but during those years occupied the cellar. However, if you checked out a Giants game back then, you might have caught the mighty legend Willie McCovey still pitching a game on a windy sunny Sunday in Candlestick.

Guess what player helped pull the Giants out of that cellar, bringing them to the top of the division by the early 80s? Dusty Baker, still a player, now a Giant after the Dodgers let him go. The Dodgers entered the free agency era of baseball tending not to retain their players when they qualified for free agency.

Lots of history.

With Dusty Baker on the edge of the dugout and Jonathan Broxton on the mound, it was the Dodgers vs. The Giants again in the 10th inning of game 3. The Giants of 2012 had been Dodger killers all season. And so it would be again. The Giants in this spectacular game 3 rose to the challenge by a team in heroic fashion to get their first Postseason win of 2012, against the Dusty Baker-led Reds, owners of 2012’s 2nd best record in the Major Leagues.

And that’s the story West Coast Baseball.

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