SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – With both the both NBA and NHL playoffs ongoing between Bay Area ball clubs and their Southern California rivals, we are seeing a lot of tweets, memes and other online jabs tagged ‘Beat LA.’ We couldn’t agree more. But what were the most satisfying victories over LA teams in Bay Area history?
We took a crack at listing our favorites. As you might expect, Sharks-Kings and Warriors-Clippers aren’t tops on the list which includes baseball’s best rivalry (that’s right Boston and New York, we said it).
1962 – Giants Oust Dodgers In 3-game playoff
The bi-coastal rivals ended the regular season with identical 101-61 records, totals that would easily land both teams in the playoffs in the current wildcard format. But these were the good old days, when the Mets would be eliminated by game 70. Only one team would win the pennant in the league’s last ever 3-game tiebreaker. This time no Bobby Thompson homer was needed for the Giants to win the pennant after scoring four runs in the 9th to seal the 6-4 win. Sadly the Giants would soon face their own heartbreak, losing to the Yankees in a seven-game World Series.
2007 – Stanford Stuns USC
One of the biggest upsets in Bay Area sports history also put the Stanford football program back on the map for years to come. SC hadn’t lost at home in the better part of a decade and was favored by a whopping 41 points. With a 9-0 halftime lead, USC probably expected to coast in the second half, but newbie QB Tavita Pritchard and coach Jim Harbaugh had other plans; plans which included a 17 point fourth quarter en route to a stunning 24-23 win.
1997 – Journeyman Brian Johnson Becomes Giants Legend
The post-strike 90’s were some of the more forgettable years for the Giants. The Will Clark era was over and the 1996 team had cut it way too close to 100 losses. They were playing in a football stadium and at risk of missing the playoffs for a eight consecutive year in 1997. That was until September 18th, when the desperate Giants needed a sweep to catch the Dodgers and have a shot at the playoffs. They got it. It seemed nobody would score as the game dragged into the 12th inning, but Johnson, a Stanford alum, sent everyone home happy with a blast over the left field fence that changed the season for the two teams and created a landmark for Giants fans – the Brian Johnson game. Behold:
The Jumbo Slide
Hard to deny that the Kings have left the playoffs with one of those shiny rings in recent years while the equally-talented Sharks have not. But one thing they don’t have is a good feeling about this video of Sharks Captain ‘Jumbo’ Joe Thornton sliding across Los Angeles ice celebrating eliminating the Kings from the 2010-2011 playoffs with an overtime goal in game six, setting of one of the NHL’s best current rivalries:
1990 NFC Championship Game
The intensity of the 49ers-Rams rivalry has ebbed and flowed over the years, but this game looked like a real chance for the upstart Rams to unseat the NFC powerhouse 49ers, especially after they jumped out to an early lead and were driving to score again. It didn’t happen. A Ronnie Lott deflection turned the tide, and the 49ers unloaded with 21 second quarter points before easing off the gas and finishing the 30-3 whooping en route to another Super Bowl.
The California Clásico
For those of you who have long shrugged off MLS, you’ve been missing a nice little rivalry brewing on the soccer pitch. The LA Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes have more in common than a history of direct-depositing paychecks to Landon Donovan’s bank account. The shared success of the two franchises has drawn some American football-sized crowds to their futbol games of late, making each game one to highlight on the league’s schedule. That’s why last June’s stunning Earthquakes comeback was so satisfying for local fans. The game was basically over, but the Quakes scored not once but twice in stoppage time (92nd, 93rd minutes) to take a 3-2 win despite losing a player to a red card. It was the first time the feat had ever been pulled off in MLS. Here are the highlights (warning – lots of shirtless celebrating):
We probably missed something, and would love you to leave a comment and tell us what. We know LA natives can probably come up with a similar list, we don’t want to hear it – it already haunts our dreams.