SAN FRANCISCO -- Since sweeping the Giants over the season's final weekend, the Dodgers have spent three weeks turning a rival fan base into supporters of random teams.
It was easy for Giants fans to root on the Rockies in the chase for the NL West title, but #Rocktober fell short. The Braves and the Brewers came with some issues -- the “chop” and Josh Hader’s Twitter history, mostly -- but Giants fans seemed to jump on board with Ronald Acuña Jr., Christian Yelich and the rest in the weeks leading up to the World Series.
The final round, which opens Tuesday night at Fenway Park, presents a different set of problems. Unless you live in New England, you likely never root for a Boston team. The city has won a lot over the past two decades and lets others know it -- and it’s not like a region that has the Patriots and an emerging Celtics powerhouse needs another parade. The Red Sox, after decades of anguish, have joined the Yankees as East Coast teams that other fan bases love to hate.
But … they’re facing the Dodgers.
It will be an easy decision for Giants fans, but if you're at all squeamish about rooting for the Red Sox in the World Series, here are some ways to make it more palatable …
1. Eduardo Nuñez
Nuney, as Bruce Bochy always called him, played parts of two seasons with the Giants, batting .293 with a .749 OPS, eight homers and 31 stolen bases. He was a pretty solid utility guy, popular in the clubhouse and gave Giants fans ongoing entertainment by never managing to keep his helmet on his head.
Most importantly, the Nuñez trade to the Red Sox brought Shaun Anderson to the Giants, and he might be their best pitching prospect.
2. They’re playing the Dodgers
3. Pablo Sandoval’s contract
The Giants are in a world of payroll hurt, but imagine how bad it would be if they had been the team to give Pablo Sandoval his big contract after the 2014 season?
The Red Sox swooped in and handed Sandoval $95 million, then cut him in the middle of the 2017 season. For the past year and a half, they have been on the hook for all but the MLB minimum, meaning the Giants have paid a nice bench player the same amount that they would pay a Triple-A call-up.
Sandoval should be on the 2019 Giants, with the Red Sox, who kept San Francisco from making a big mistake in 2014, paying just about every dollar of his $18 million salary.
4. They’re playing the Dodgers
5. Heath Hembree
Before Hunter Strickland, Reyes Moronta and Ray Black, Hembree was the hard-throwing right-hander coming through the Giants' system. A 2010 draft pick, he went to the Red Sox in the Jake Peavy trade, which helped the Giants win the 2014 World Series.
Now Hembree, like Nuñez, could get a ring.
6. They’re playing the Dodgers
7. Ron Bumgarner
You have no idea who he is, but the Red Sox list him as a senior VP of ticketing, and his last name is Bumgarner. So, technically, you can root for a Bumgarner to get an Even Year ring.
8. They’re playing the Dodgers
9. Steph Curry
Yes, he has been seen in Giants and A’s hats in recent years, but the Bay Area’s biggest star really is a Red Sox fan.
And congrats to the WORLD SERIES CHAMPS @RedSox!!! Proud fan— Stephen Curry (@StephenCurry30) October 31, 2013
“Growing up, the closest team geographically was the Braves,” Curry told WEEI in 2015. “But my brother (Seth) chose the Yankees when we were 6 or 7. I had to choose the opposite team. I chose the Red Sox, and I’ve stuck with them ever since. It’s a pretty cool thing between me and my brother.”
Curry supported this current run on his Instagram story, going nuts after a game-saving catch in the ALCS. So if you’re with the Red Sox, you’re with Steph Curry, as you usually are. (Oh, and NBA Finals nemesis LeBron James showed up to his Lakers home opener wearing a Dodgers hat.)
10. They’re playing the Dodgers