Hating the Dodgers and a mea culpa

Stephen Dunn

Sorry. Really, just ... sorry.

Hello. My name is Grant, and I'm a moron.

This isn't breaking news, but rather reinforcement of what you've long suspected. In particular, I'd like to recall a moronic column from 2011, when the Dodgers were at their lowest point. Remember when the Dodgers were at their lowest point? They had about one interesting prospect, Rubby De La Rosa, and he exploded. They had an owner who was negligent at best, evil at worst. They had no hope, no cash, and one Joc.

Poor, poor Dodgers.

Earlier that year, I wrote about the rivalry. It was also stupid.

If baseball takes over for the Dodgers and runs them into the ground, Expos-style, the schadenfreude will only nourish us for so long. That kind of enjoyment is the equivalent to empty calories -- at some point, you need something with substance. If the Dodgers turned into the Pirates, the rivalry would get boring. It wouldn’t die, but it would get boring.

For the last three years, some malcontents on Twitter and on this site have never stopped giving me crap for those articles. Don't worry about specific names, you wouldn't recognize them. Just know that they were right, and I was wrong.

They were right. I was wrong.

I used to think that the ideal Giants/Dodgers rivalry was one of constant struggle. The Giants winning 93 games every year and the Dodgers winning 92 would be the perfect balance, then, a way to maintain the meaning and passion of of the games, while making sure the bad people were punished for the bad things they did and the bad choices they made.

That's not really the wrong part. If you could guarantee the balance, and make sure the Dodgers never had a single moment of postseason joy, everything would be golden. The Dodgers would be a combination of the '60s Giants and the Washington Generals, existing only to frustrate and amuse.

The wrong, moronic part was where I indicated that schadenfreude wouldn't nourish us for long. It seemed like a plausible thing to write at the time, when the Dodgers were down, but now that the Dodgers are up, it's a horrible conclusion. You know how I know this? Because I can't stand the Padres, and it still nourishes me when they fail. The Padres. They don't have anything. Their career leader in home runs is Nate Colbert. You could build an all-time team of greats from the hitters they've frittered away.

The Padres have never even hit for the cycle. Forget the dearth of no-hitters in franchise history -- also hilarious -- but they don't even have a novelty accomplishment that's the baseball equivalent of meeting a woman named April May June.  The Padres are Tony Gwynn and a series of comic adventures and nothing else. They had to watch Bruce Bochy win a World Series twice. Twice.

Yet the schadenfreude still nourishes me. Throw some almonds and dried cranberries in there, and you have some killer trail mix. When the Padres do stupid things, I laugh at the stupid things the Padres did.

And I care about the Padres about a tenth of as much as I care about the Dodgers. So if that low-grade loathing can still be entertaining, just think of how long it would be fun to watch the Dodgers flail around.

Imagine the Dodgers as the butt of all those Astros GIFs, with enterprising baseball wonks on constant lookout for videos of Dodgers running into each other.

Imagine the Dodgers signing Kevin Correia to a multi-year deal for their big move of the offseason.

Imagine the Dodgers being awful forever and ever, from now until the end of baseball.

We can't, now. Because they're good. They're rich. They have a development pipeline. They have players in place that should help them sustain continued success. This is much, much worse than if they were simply awful.

I look back on the way I was then: a young, stupid kid who wrote those terrible articles. I want to talk to him. I want to try to talk some sense to him, tell him the way things are. But I can't. That kid's long gone, and this old man is all that's left. I got to live with that.

The Giants can help, though, by beating this obnoxious team more often than not. Let's just look at how the rotation matches up and ... dammit, dammit so much. But the Giants can still win. The '97 Giants were, in retrospect, surprisingly lousy, but they still won. And the Giants need to keep winning against the Dodgers to make those stupid thoughts from 2011 seem less stupid.

One thing is true from those sentiments expressed in 2011, though: It would be more fun to see the Dodgers fail yearly with raised expectations. The only catch is they have to fail. Don't screw this up, Giants.

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