The Dodgers played the Padres over the weekend. I had a nice little email chat with my friend Q. He is a Dodgers fan who lives in Texas. We have been in a fantasy league together since 2001. We see each other once a year for our draft. He has 3 championships and I have one. The year I won, I had Matt Kemp and he hit a homerun that pushed me over Q in the final. We’re still cool.
NICHOLAS MCCANN: Friday April 24th 9:35am PST
I’m writing you because I want to stay grounded. You’re a Dodgers fan and I am a Padres fan. Within this context, I should hate you. However, deep down I know you’re one of the good ones.
The Padres are good this year and after the first round through the NL West, the team is facing your Dodgers back at Petco Park. The central figure in the rivalry is Matt Kemp. He has been a revelation so far. More than anything I want to see him destroy the Dodgers this weekend and send your kind back up the interstate 5 with their Manny Dreads in knots. Dodgers fans love to come down to our park and ruin our home field advantage. Sadly, it has worked in recent years. I feel like I can talk to you because you are in Texas.
How do you feel about the current state of the rivalry?
How do you feel about seeing Matt Kemp in our uniform?
Is Kershaw broken from last postseason?
P.S. I hope the fact that we are playing each other this week in our fantasy league doesn’t effect our discussion too dramatically. I mean, I’m winning right now, so that’s cool.
Q: April 24th 2:45pm PST
I am grateful for the opportunity to discuss the Dodgers and your little team down there.
First some advice: Dude, forget staying grounded. You’re a life long San Diego sports fan. Grounded is all you know. You can wriggle in the dirt afraid to get your hopes up, but that’s no way to live. It’s still April, the Pads are playing well. Puff you chest up while you can. It is better to have loved and lost (because you suddenly realize your hitters are totally right handed and my goodness your outfield defense will likely be breathtakingly bad which is not an ideal build for playoff baseball) than not to have loved at all.
You are certainly in the honeymoon phase with Matt Kemp. And why not? He’s playing angry and it’s working. I’ve seen enough of Matt Kemp to know that it likely won’t last. Kemp isn’t a bull in a china shop; he’s a bull MADE of china and he will break. This we know because we lived it. We, too, have stood outside Matt Kemp’s window, in the rain, without an umbrella (ella-ella-ella) with our tears mixing with the raindrops lamenting what might have been.
To me, this matchup is more intriguing: Preller vs. Friedman.
Preller, the riverboat gambler, pushing all-in on the tournament’s first hand. Friedman, the small-market numbers genius, who after scraping himself through cash games, finds himself with an endless bankroll. Preller’s moves seem like no-brainers; on the surface, the Padres have “won” every trade they made in the off season. Friedman’s are more curious. Jimmy Rollins at the end of his career? Brett Anderson? xFIP hero and #twittergamelothario Brandon McCarthy?
Here’s the thing: assuming Preller is a genius sort of assumes that everyone else he’s trading with is stupid. Derek Norris has been good–but do you think Billy Beane is stupid? Upton here/Upton here/Kimbrel there. Do you think John Hart is stupid? Wil Myers, top prospect…..who has now been traded twice in 3 years. Do you think there might be a reason?
And Kemp. Does getting a former (should have been) MVP seem like a good deal for a semi-disgraced catcher who may never realize his potential? Yes.
But isn’t it a little too good? Do you think we’re stupid? Well…..do you?
In closing, I think it’s really precious what y’all are doing down there to try to jump up into the upper division. But there is no rivalry. Sorry. We hate the Fresno Grizzlies more than we hate you (and we just got swept by them, so there’s that). Take ten years, make the playoffs a few times and we’ll talk. Until then we’re Mr. Incredible and you are Buddy. You are dreaming of the playoffs. We take it for granted (but then we get anxious as hell).
And look who opens the series for us:
Breaking our collarbone only makes us stronger. Greinke will eat your heart and smile.
The Dodgers beat the Padres 3-0.
NICHOLAS MCCANN April 25th 3:34pm PST
I need to think AJ Preller is a genius. I don’t have a choice. However, I think Billy Beane is overrated and the Dodgers have made stupid rich kid moves all over the place for the last few years. You guys bailed out the Red Sox on the Crawford/AGonz/Beckett nightmare, and it’s a complete reflection of your fan base’s stupidity. It kinda worked out, but only because you are insanely rich and Carl Crawford is walking right now (Hooray!). This is the problem with most rich people: You think you have everything because you’re smart. Dodgers fans think they are great fans because a couple billionaires bailed them out of the same hell Padres fans were dealing with.
I understand your sentiment. AJ Preller is “The Rock Star GM” and he is the cool kid at the moment. I understand the conventional belief that you need to build a team and not microwave it up. But we just want relevant games. That’s happening and it happened without writing a bunch of stupid checks.
Last night was a great baseball game. Zack Greinke is a great pitcher and he’s great in the exact way you want a pitcher to be great. He is smart and can paint with the ball. That said, I hate him. He looks exactly like the poster boy for Hitler’s ideal race. The Cobra Kai jokes are there for the taking every time he takes the mound.
But hey, we got smoked. Well played
The Dodgers beat the Padres 11-8
Q April 26th 9:21am PST
First I was “one of the good ones.” Today I’m part of a “stupid fan base.” You’re angry, I get it.
A few things:
- Average Annual Value of A Gonzalez, Crawford, and Beckett: $48 million.
Average Annual Value of Uptons and Kimbrel: $33.5 million.
I’m not saying it’s the same, but let’s not pretend John Hart isn’t sending Xmas cards to you guys for quite a while. And by the way, we needed that $20 million for our once-in-a-generation HOMEGROWN pitcher, so thanks for “winning” that Kemp trade for us.
- Which is stupider: thinking you’re smart for rooting for rich guys that spend money to win or thinking you’re smart for rooting for rich guys who don’t care about winning because they know the fans have low expectations and won’t do anything about it?
I’m on record as saying on this very website that I left the Dodgers when we had a crummy owner. So did a lot of us “stupid” fans. And, lo and behold, he’s gone. Maybe you should try it.
- But you won’t because here’s the bottom line: I think you liked being a small market team because it’s a built in excuse to fail. Of course the Dodgers win with all their money. How can wee little SD compete with that? Let’s just pretend we don’t envy them and pretend that the Doyers thugs represent the entire fan base instead of a loud horrible minority. Let’s pretend it’s impossible for a small market team to win and close our eyes when Royals, Athletics, Pirates, and Braves buck that trend.
When the Dodgers got smacked down in the playoffs the last two years, I have no excuses. We got handled. We have to face that failure. Well, guess what? You’re here now, too. No more hiding. The excitement you feel at being “relevant ” (you guys have less self esteem than The Offspring) comes at a price. When you don’t win the division this year, it’s going to hurt. The higher you rise, the harder the fall is. We know.
We can beat you in a pitchers duel–make all the Greinke Aryan jokes you want, we all saw the hate crime Cashner put on Puig’s knee in the 1st, think that would’ve happened to someone sharing his deer blind?–and we can beat you in a slugfest. How bout y’all decide on Sunday’s game? Dealer’s choice. After all, it is your house.
NICHOLAS MCCANN April 26th 10:23am PST
You make some excellent points. I read over our exchange and I think I’m just a crazy person. This series is a bigger deal to my fan base than it is to yours and I want that to be different. I want you to hate us like you hate San Francisco and that, at least in the foreseeable future, isn’t going to happen.
Maybe the honeymoon is over with Preller’s crew. If the Padres lose today, they will be a 500 baseball team, and after the offseason, and the fun start, that will be a rough pill to swallow.
But hey, it’s only April. Thanks for walking me through this.
PS. If the Padres win today, disregard this email
The Padres won 3-1.
Q: April 26th 431pm PST
Congrats on your win. You beat our spot starter and the B squad, but hey that’s what you’re supposed to do.
Draft well for a few years, sign Justin Upton, and keep at it. You can be with us at the top for the next 10 years.
At least in odd years. Even years the Giants win. Despite having literally one good player. Shrug.
The Dodgers won the series 2-1. My fantasy team, The University Heights Armada, beat Q’s team 332 to 312.