Daily Distractions: ‘Analyzing’ the Dodgers-Diamondbacks ‘rivalry.’

The rivalry between the Dodgers and Giants has coasted for more than a century on a steady undercurrent of organic circumstances. There have been personal grudges (Wilbert Robinson vs. John McGraw), geographical allegiances (Manhattan vs. Brooklyn; San Francisco vs. Los Angeles), beanballs and brushbacks (Juan Marichal vs. John Roseboro). The fan violence is beyond unhealthy but there it is, holding up the ugliest corner of the narrative. It’s raw. It’s real.

And really, what says “raw” and “real” more than this:

The Arizona Diamondbacks have a pool to protect when the big, bad, overpaid Dodgers invade Chase Field for three games starting Friday. You know, when they “renew a rivalry” that has already been renewed three times in spring training and twice in Sydney. To protect the pool, the good people of Phoenix deployed their finest … mermaid, flanked by another woman dressed as the Jolly Green Giant and a dude wearing a Neptune costume. We can only hope that Arizona Sen. John McCain approves.

How seriously can we take a “rivalry” symbolized by a woman wearing a dolphin’s tail?

Seriously enough that MLB.com ran with the headline “Dodgers, D-backs return to ‘pool party’ scene.” The topic will probably get some airtime on Phoenix sports-talk radio. Maybe in Los Angeles too, unless the Lakers decide to “relieve Mike D’Antoni of his coaching duties” (or however someone gets fired these days … do coaches still get fired?).

Here’s a better storyline: Who wants these games more, a 3-8 Diamondbacks team that has been outscored 67-45, or a 6-4 Dodgers team that just split a pair of 10-inning burners against arguably the most talented club in the American League? It’s early April, not an important juncture in the baseball season. Though, for what it’s worth, no team is farther out of first place in any division than Arizona (four games).

Maybe that matters. Maybe it doesn’t. Until someone drops a shark in the pool, let’s not dwell on the pool.

In the meantime, here is the Diamondbacks’ PR director doing some kind of shoulder-shake dance. Or something:

 

Some bullet points for a Siblings Day:

• Outfielder Mike Baxter cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Albuquerque.

• You think the Dodgers had it bad last night? Thirteenth inning, none out, bases loaded, third baseman pitching for the Inland Empire 66ers against the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. The Dodgers’ Single-A affiliate couldn’t score (Brandon Dixon grounded into a forceout, James Baldwin struck out, Robbie Garvey lined out) then lost 4-3 in 14 innings.

• Also in that game: Corey Seager went 4 for 6 with two RBI doubles. Julio Urias was knocked out after 1 ⅔ innings. Five of the 10 batters he faced reached base, and the 17-year-old left-hander threw two wild pitches.

• There was even tougher luck in Double-A Chattanooga: Four fielding errors led to three unearned runs in a 3-1 loss to Tennessee. Carlos Frias didn’t allow an earned run in six innings and still lost.

On March 5 I wrote about what it would take for Stephen Fife to make his way back to the majors with the Dodgers. That was before he gave up five runs in his first Triple-A start, and seven runs in his second start, and was carrying a 14.73 ERA on April 10.

Nobody watched the Astros’ game in Houston.

• Happy birthday to Andre Ethier (32), Alberto Reyes (43), Mike Devereaux (47) and Lee Lacy (66).

Jackie Robinson signed his first contract with the Dodgers on this day in 1947.

• On this day in 1962, the Dodgers lost the first game at Dodger Stadium.

Baseball America went to the Dominican Republic to chronicle the new rules of scouting.

Check out what author Michael Lewis (“Moneyball”) is reading.

• Jimmy Fallon and Anne Hathaway attempted to perform some Broadway versions of hip-hop classics:

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