Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to announce that the Los Angeles Dodgers have won the NL West. If I recall correctly, this happy moment occurred shortly after I sent in my column last week, but even though I may be a week late in today’s hectic news cycle, I am unrepentant.
Evidently the Dodgers are unrepentant as well. After they clinched the division in Phoenix, the Arizona Diamondbacks forbade the Dodgers to celebrate on their field, so the Dodgers started celebrating in the pool right next to the field.
Needless to say, the Diamondbacks were outraged, and I’ve been told by various friends that I follow the wrong team. Senator John McCain took to Twitter to call out the suddenly aptly named Bums: “No-class act by a bunch of overpaid, immature, arrogant, spoiled brats!”
To a certain extent, McCain spoke correctly. I cannot speak as to whether the Dodgers are spoiled, but you could definitely say that MLB players are overpaid. Immature is fair; I can definitely imagine McCain, grizzled war vet that he is, thinking “Act like you’ve been there before.” When you are as accomplished as John McCain, there’s a lot of things you can justly sniff at.
And arrogance. To a sportswriter, the sin of sins.
I’m pretty much expected to excoriate the Dodgers right now, right? I should go on the standard spiel about how players ought to be classier and how they should treat their opponents with more respect and how baseball isn’t what it used to be. Especially when working on a deadline, getting a situation like this is manna from heaven to a columnist.
To be honest, though, I can’t get worked up about this.
The Dodgers didn’t celebrate with class. That’s a fact. The Diamondbacks don’t care for the Dodgers, and it’s rather ungentlemanly of them to bar the Dodgers from celebrating on their field, but if they’ve asked the Dodgers to keep the champagne in the locker room, it’s their right to do so. The Dodgers shouldn’t have headed for the pool, and their doing so is disingenuous loop holing on their part—a clear and deliberate attempt to rub it in.
Let’s be clear on this fact. This is not an isolated incident. In fact, it may well have been calculated. The Diamondbacks and Dodgers do not like each other.
To a certain extent, this is because the Dodgers are the traditional power of the West—the first MLB team on the Pacific Coast, five-time World Series champions since moving to LA, and by far the biggest of the Western big-market teams.
More importantly, there’s been bad blood in recent years between the two teams. In 2011, Arizona’s Gerardo Parra showboated after hitting a home run, and the next day Clayton Kershaw drilled Parra on the elbow. The next time Kershaw pitched against the Diamondbacks, Ian Kennedy attempted to hit him twice—Kershaw being a tall guy, it must be rather embarrassing for Kennedy that he never actually managed to plunk the Dodger ace.
Then Kennedy started headhunting and nearly concussed Zack Greinke. Why go after Greinke? Only Kennedy knows. But you’re not supposed to go after innocent pitchers. What did Greinke do? Kick Kennedy’s dog?
Anyway, the two teams started brawling. Viewed in this light, I have no issue with the Dodgers’ deliberate insult. It also explains in large part Senator McCain’s irritation.
No follower of the Dodgers can deny that the 2013 squad has the most attitude in recent memory. Yasiel Puig, of course, is the greatest showman to grace Southern California since Shaquille O’Neal.
Zack Greinke showed some attitude when he hit the well-hit Carlos Quentin, and when Quentin broke Greinke’s collarbone Matt Kemp proceeded to mock Quentin’s institution of higher education. (No points for guessing what school that was.) The Dodgers are shameless about buying players, to the point where I’m surprised they haven’t offered Kershaw $30 million a year.
But the Dodgers have made the playoffs; their arrogance is actually in celebration of something worth celebrating. Much as the Dodgers may be grating to other teams, I really can’t get that mad. If the Dodgers crash out of the playoffs and still showboat, perhaps then they may need a reality check.
Winston Shi is disappointed in the Stanford police’s reaction to his plunge into MemAud fountain to celebrate the Dodgers’ clinching. To give Winston advice on lawyers, email him at wshi94 ‘at’ stanford.edu.