Six weeks have passed since the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrated their NL West division championship by jumping the fence and swimming in the pool at Chase Field. For Arizona Diamondbacks managing general partner Ken Kendrick, though, it feels like it only happened yesterday.
Or at least that’s the vibe you might get based on Kendrick's comments to MLB.com when discussing Arizona’s season-opening series against the Dodgers in Australia.
Kendrick: I think it's going to be a lot of fun. Australia has never hosted the beginning of a Major League season. I think games were played there, from what I've read, 100 years ago. I wasn't around then, albeit some would think that I might have been. So to go there where baseball is really growing, to go to a country that is very sports-minded and to have the season open against the Dodgers, is all the more exciting.
MLB.com: Your rivalry with the Dodgers, I'm sure, has increased over the last year.
Kendrick: It has, and you know, we owe those guys. I think to get the opportunity to begin the payback for them winning the division the very first day of the season is a great opportunity for us.
On the surface, not exactly controversial or even fighting words, but you could easily read more into them. The Diamondbacks know they can't truly pay the Dodgers back for the division championship with one or two wins in late March. That would have to come over the long haul of a 162-game schedule. However, they could 'pay them back' for a few things they didn’t really appreciate about the 2013 season in a pitch or two.
If they wanted to, that is.
This isn’t to suggest they’ll come out of the gate head-hunting, but six weeks or six months won't be enough time for the hard feelings to subside. And remember, the tension goes well beyond the swimming pool incident. In June, the two teams were also involved in a wild bench-clearing melee that resulted in eight suspensions. "We owe those guys" can be taken many ways, and if something a little questionable were to happen early on in a game... well.
We'll just say there are going to be multiple combustible elements involved when the Dodgers and Diamondbacks meet in spring training, then again in Australia, and then again back stateside during the regular season. At that point, all it takes is a spark, and sometimes a spark comes from just a few misinterpreted words.
BLS H/N: Hardball Talk
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