Say this for the Diamondbacks: they simply don’t give up in their blatant attempts to stoke the fires of their so-called “rivalry” with the Dodgers — a rivalry that if it does actually exist benefits them far more at the box office than it does the Dodgers because, let’s face it, the Diamondbacks need all the help they can get at the box office.
The latest poke at the Dodgers came from Diamondbacks manager and long-ago Dodgers World Series hero Kirk Gibson, who in an interview with azcentral.com (that’s the web site for the Arizona Republic) earlier this week referred to the Dodgers as “the other team” in an apparent refusal to even say their name and ripped them for not sending anyone on this week’s goodwill trip to Sydney.
Only one small problem with that: the Dodgers DID send someone to Sydney. Catcher A.J. Ellis was there as part of what was essentially an advance publicity tour to promote the season-opening, two-game series between the two clubs next March, and Ellis could be seen in several promotional photos with Diamondbacks pitcher Patrick Corbin, along with a small group of team executives — apparently, the so-called Dodgers-Diamondbacks rivalry doesn’t extend to Ellis and Corbin, who appeared in the photos to be getting along swimmingly. So Gibson either doesn’t know what he is talking about or doesn’t care.
Gibson says in the same quote that the Diamondbacks are “committed to doing the right thing,” and asks rhetorically of the team that shall not be named, “Are they too (expletive) good (for the goodwill trip to Sydney)? Honestly?”
Look, we get it. The Diamondbacks need something, ANYTHING, to get their fan base fired up. As a Phoenix resident, I have always gotten a strong sense that they are the third-most popular Major League Baseball team in their own city, behind the Cubs and the Dodgers. They have trouble getting people to come to their home games. And so they look for things to drum up. The Diamondbacks need a straw man, and right now, the Dodgers are the most convenient one. If the Diamondbacks need to give their fans something to hate in order to gain their love, fine.
But Gibson — who from his playing days to now has never been shy about letting reporters know when he isn’t happy with something they ask or something they write — needs to learn to get his facts straight before he makes inflammatory statements like this. When this week’s goodwill trip to Sydney was going on, you didn’t have to look very hard to see publicity photos of Ellis and Corbin. They were all over both teams’ Twitter timelines.
Apparently, Gibson just didn’t look hard enough.