After yet another dominating pitching performance by Clayton Kershaw against the San Francisco Giants on Opening Day, he very well could have cemented himself as public enemy No. 1 in the eyes of the Giants' fan base.
In years past, players such as A.J. Pierzynski, Casey Blake, Nyjer Morgan and Mat Latos were never popular among the fans.
After trading for Pierzynski in 2003, he turned out to be a cancer in the clubhouse and was gone only a year later. To make matters worse, the Giants traded Joe Nathan and Francisco Liriano in return for Pierzynski, who went on to have productive years with the Minnesota Twins.
Blake turned out to be an unpopular player when he mocked Brian Wilson's post-game celebration, which was a symbol of his faith, as well as a tribute to his late father.
Morgan made a name for himself one night when he decided to provoke the entire left-field bleachers during a night game at AT&T Park, which can be seen here.
Lastly, Latos has made his hatred of the Giants' organization well-known throughout the past few years, which is chronicled here.
One new name that could be added to that list of players is Kershaw. After throwing a shutout, as well as hitting the game-winning home run in the bottom of the eighth, there is no bigger thorn in the Giants' side than Kershaw at the moment.
Kershaw was flawless against the Giants on Opening Day. He surrendered only four hits and had seven strikeouts. Pablo Sandoval had two hard singles, and Hunter Pence and Buster Posey hit the ball hard a couple of times, but that was all the noise the Giants could make against Kershaw. And most impressively, he needed only 94 pitches to get through nine innings of work.
However, one thing that does differentiate Kershaw from this list of players is that he did nothing to irritate the Giants' fan base off the field unlike Pierzynski, Blake, Morgan and Latos. Kershaw has simply dominated the Giants on the mound—and now with the bat—throughout his career, and it's a trend that doesn't look to change anytime soon.
Kershaw now has three complete-game shutouts against the Giants in his young career, and he owns an ERA of 1.28. He even beat Tim Lincecum four times head-to-head in 2011, which was the first sign of the changing of the guard as the top pitcher in the NL West.
At only 25, Kershaw is still ascending and hasn't entered the prime years of his career. And to make matters worse for Giants fans, the Dodgers are trying to lock him up with a contract that could exceed $200 million.
By all accounts, Kershaw is a down-to-earth guy who would do nothing to warrant any kind of hatred for actions off the baseball field. However, in the eyes of the Giants fans who will have to watch him dominate their team for maybe the next decade, Kershaw could be the most disliked player for years to come.
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