<
>

Die-hard Giants fan Jared Goff is warming up to the Dodgers

IRVINE, Calif. -- On June 6, 2016, Jared Goff, a Northern California native and lifelong San Francisco Giants fan, stood on the field at Dodger Stadium to throw out a ceremonial first pitch. Wearing a Los Angeles Dodgers cap and jersey, he waved for the video board, then walked to the pitching rubber and fired a baseball to Yasiel Puig, the Dodgers outfielder Goff once derided on Twitter.

How did his Bay Area friends take it?

"Oh, not good," Goff said. "It was brutal, man."

Fourteen months have passed since then, and a lot has changed. Goff, the 2016 No. 1 overall pick and the Los Angeles Rams' starting quarterback, is now part of the fabric of Southern California sports. And the Dodgers are really good, with 85 wins in their first 119 games and a real chance to capture their first World Series title since 1988. Goff's Giants, champions after three of the previous seven seasons, have faded into the background.

Goff is starting to warm up to the local team.

"I've somewhat adopted them as my second team now, as hard as that is to say," Goff said of the Dodgers after a recent practice. "It's really hard to say."

Goff returns home Saturday to face the Oakland Raiders in a preseason game that begins at 7 p.m. PT. He grew up in Novato, California, roughly 30 miles north of Oakland. He expects "a bunch of my friends" to attend the game, several of whom are displeased with his latest baseball loyalties. He wants to make one thing clear.

"Any time the Giants are playing, I'm rooting for them," Goff said. "But yeah, the year the Dodgers have had has been exciting for the entire city of L.A. There are a couple guys on the team that I am friends with. I'm rooting for them. If their team wins, I'm excited."

Goff has become friends with Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson. Goff's father, Jerry, spent parts of six seasons in the major leagues as a catcher, so Goff grew up with the sport. He played it up until his senior year of high school, before he graduated early to attend Cal. So, yes, Goff kinda, sorta likes the Dodgers now. If it's Giants-Dodgers, he's still rooting for the Giants. But he keeps tabs on the Dodgers and wants to see them win it all, blasphemous as that may sound.

One problem: He, like so many others in the L.A. area, can't watch their games.

"I have DirecTV, so I don't get it," Goff said. "I don't have Time Warner."