The Padres/Dodgers rivalry is real

Credit: USA Today Sports

Credit: A.P. Photo

The San Diego Padres and the Los Angeles Dodgers are rivals, whether you like it or not.

The two teams may not have the history of the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers, but that does not mean they cannot be rivals. The proximity of Los Angeles and San Diego, combined with the emergence of the Padres in recent seasons, dictate that times are certainly changing.

Is it possible to have more than one rival? Sure. Nobody can argue the fact that the Giants/Dodgers rivalry isn’t one of the deepest in all professional sports. It is still alive and well to this day, as both franchises have hoisted a World Series title in recent years. The hatred between the organizations will not end any time soon.

In recent years, the Padres have surely done well to make themselves relevant in a difficult division. For over 50 seasons, the franchise was an afterthought, but now the Major League Baseball community is talking about the Padres. It is an exciting time in San Diego.

For over a decade, the Dodgers have dominated the N.L. West. But times appear to be changing. Or at least you’d like to think they are different if you are from San Diego. The Dodgers have always represented as the rival for the Padres. Los Angeles paid little attention to the city down south, as there has never been a major sports championship won in America’s Finest City. The Padres had moments of glory, but they were few and far between.

Last season’s playoff series victory over Los Angeles put a stamp on the Padres’ recent relevance and was very sweet for San Diego. Los Angeles had won 111 games in the 2022 season and seemed destined for a World Series appearance at the very least. They demolished the Padres during the regular season, beating them in 14 of 19 games. Nothing could stop L.A. Or at least that’s what most believed, as the two teams were set to play in a five-game series.

Ultimately, the Padres got hot at the right time and were able to ride the momentum of beating the Mets in the N.L. Wild Card Series into a surprise victory against the Dodgers in four games. It shocked Los Angeles and got the attention of baseball fans everywhere. For Padres fans, it gave them a reason to stick out their chests in pride. For Dodger fans, it gave them a reason to hate the Padres.

Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

There is no doubt the Dodgers are the reigning N.L. West champions and the best team in the division. Even after a rough offseason which saw Los Angeles lose Trea Turner, Cody Bellinger, and Justin Turner, the Dodgers are still the cream of the N.L. West. There is something about their player development and the value they get from unheralded players. The Dodgers will get tremendous value from veteran players who revamp their careers in Los Angeles. It is going to happen. Can the Padres survive these emerging players and capitalize on their talented roster? Only time will tell.

The Padres are making noise, but unless you win it all or at least a division title, it is just noise. Signing free agents will only take you so far. As a team, you need to prove it on the field. Baseball is a team sport, and you need a complete roster to win it all.

Times appear to be changing as far as the Dodgers’ dominance in the N.L. West. Every good thing comes to an end, and the reign of the Los Angeles Dodgers may be coming to an end fairly soon. If it does happen, you can be certain that the San Diego Padres will be one of the teams knocking them off the pedestal. Peter Seidler came from the Dodger organization, and he is not shy about fielding one of the best teams in all of baseball. The Padres’ spending will not cease. They are here for the long haul, and they are creative in the front office.

Dodger fans do not want to admit the fact the Padres are a fun team to root for. The roster is made up of multiple cultures, and the swag the team brings to the ballpark is infectious. Baseball is about staying grounded and not getting too high or too low. The Padres struggle in keeping their energy consistent, and that may be why they had trouble winning for the whole 162-game season.

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The two teams are built differently. Consistency may win over a whole season, but it is difficult to rally in the playoffs and beat a team that is playing loose.

The definition of the word rivalry is a person or thing competing with another for the same objective or for superiority in the same field of activity.

These two powerhouses are certainly vying for the same hardware, and it goes way beyond who wins the National League West in 2023. A World Series title is the lone objective of both franchises. Nothing less will be deemed a success for the 2023 season.

These rivals are set to battle it out this year. This will be fun.

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