Dubon, Kapler embracing fun of Giants-Dodgers rivalry

Mauricio Dubon

Mauricio Dubon arrived to Dodger Stadium on Sunday with his orange and black Nikes laced and a white No. 3 Los Angeles Knights jersey over his black pregame T-shirt.

Filling in for Brandon Crawford at shortstop, Dubon wanted to do his best Calvin Cambridge impersonation and "Be Like Brandon." In the top of the first inning, he did just that, providing instant power in the Giants' 5-4 series-clinching win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. 

On the first pitch he saw from Clayton Kershaw, Dubon drilled a 92-mph fastball down the left-field line. He paused in the batter's box, waiting to see if the ball would hook foul or stay fair. It hit high off the foul pole, giving the Giants an early 3-0 lead.

And then the fun really began. 

Crossing home plate, Dubon tapped his chest, pointed to the sky and then perfectly pulled off Trevor Bauer's sword celebration, the same one the reigning NL Cy Young winner did to Alex Dickerson and the Giants just nine days ago. 

"Those guys are having fun and I want to have fun, too," Dubon said to Greg Papa and Randy Winn on Giants Postgame Live after the win. 

Off the bat, Dubon didn't think it would stay fair. No way. 

Actually, more than anything, he was angry as he watched it soar through the sunny Southern California sky. 


"No, I didn't. I didn't," Dubon said when asked if he thought his homer would stay fair. "Lately I've been hitting the ball really hard and they're going foul. I hit it and I was a little upset ... I thought it was going to keep going foul, and it ended up hitting the foul pole.

"It was pretty crazy." 

The long ball was only Dubon's third homer of the year. But if he got a hold of one against the Dodgers, he knew exactly what he would do next. 

"Oh yeah, oh yeah," Dubon said when asked if he planned the sword celebration. "Those guys are having fun, we're having fun. It's baseball. He did it over there and I did it over here. Like I said, it's fun.

"It's something that I was thinking, I told the guys I was gonna do it. It's baseball."

Dubon grew up a Giants fans ever since he moved from Honduras to Sacramento at 15 years old. He idolized Brandon Crawford. Now he shares the same field as him. 

He now has appeared in 20 games against the Dodgers, finding himself in the thick of a heated rivalry. One that he used to watch as a fan, and now one that he gets to be engulfed by as a player. 

Watch Dubon take the field day in and day out and one part of his game will remain the same -- his smile. Sure, he feels the ups and downs of baseball, just as everybody else does. It's a frustrating game. It's set up for failure as a hitter. Even after going 2-for-3 on Sunday against the Dodgers, Dubon still is only batting .239. 

Erase the numbers for a second. Dubon is his living his dream every day. He's having a whole lot of fun doing just that, and his manager loves it. 

"I think across the game, across the industry right now, we're seeing that both players and fans are really appreciating emotion that players are showing," Gabe Kapler said. "It was Dubon's way of having fun and keeping things light and really enjoying himself on the field, and I think we're seeing that as a consistent trend across baseball."

"I'm a fan of players being playful on the baseball field. I'm a fan of them getting excited when something good happens. I think we've heard enough from players now for the last couple of years that they want it as part of the baseball game.

"As long as it's all in good fun and all meant to show emotion on the baseball field in appropriate moments of appreciation in an appropriate way, I think it's good for the sport."

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More than anybody else, Dubon has embraced the Giants' underdog role even prior to last season. He has vouched for his teammates, begging the outsiders to keep doubting them. 

Now he finds himself in the thick of a rivalry and a wild NL West race, with a smile on his face and a chip on his shoulder. 


"We're a pretty good team," Dubon said. "We're a pretty good team. Whoever's out there, whoever comes to play against us -- we're a pretty good team trying to win every game.

"We've got great guys over here."

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