Rivalries—they’re one of the most important parts of the game. In baseball, rivalries are as real as Cody Bellinger‘s rookie home run record. They are the bat flip of all bat flips. They are the homers heard ’round the world.
They are, simply, baseball.
Here are the Dodgers‘ biggest all-time rivals, and the rivals that they’ll face this season.
When it comes to rivalries in this game, really only two make the most noise; the New York Yankees vs. the Boston Red Sox, and the Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Francisco Giants.
1. The San Francisco Giants
Seventy years ago, all four of the previously mentioned teams played on the Eastern-seaboard within 230 miles of each other. Now, an entire country and about 26 teams separate the two pairs of historic rivals.
That doesn’t change anything, though. The Yankees are still hated in Boston, and the Giants and Dodgers are still the strongest sports rivalry in California, if not every state west of the Mississippi.
Madison Bumgarner vs. Clayton Kershaw will always be an epic matchup. Yasiel Puig, and his reputation with Giants fans will not soon be forgotten.
The Giants and Dodgers have a rich history and a strong rivalry, one that tells it’s own story and it will get a new chapter come March 29th.
When looking at the Dodgers’ all-time rivals, the Giants easily make the top of the list. That probably won’t ever change, and, in all likelihood, neither will the teams that follow them. Below the Giants stand the New York Yankees. Now, the Dodgers-Yankee’s rivalry is nothing compared to the ever-growing tension between the Bronx Bombers and the BoSox, but these two teams have a history.
2. The New York Yankees
The Dodgers and the Yankees are rivals because of one, ongoing battle, and that is the battle for prestige.
The Dodgers and the Yankees have met in the World Series 11 times over the course of four decades. They’ve played in three different stadiums and three different cities.
That’s not the part that incited the rivalry, though. The rivalry, in all its greatness, is due to the record. Of the 11 matchups between the Dodgers and Yankees in the World Series, New York emerged victoriously in eight of those. The Brooklyn Dodgers won one; the Los Angeles Dodgers have won two.
Here’s the thing about the Dodgers/Yankee’s rivalry—there’s some respect there. Though said respect may be a recent addition to the rivalry, it’s there. It’s nearly impossible to look at the feats of Bellinger, and not look at, and respect, those of his American League counterpart, Aaron Judge.
The two rivals could meet up in the World Series at some point in the next decade, potentially even this year.
What we do know, however, is that the Dodgers will be facing each and every other one of their rivals this season, starting with the Angels.
3. The Anaheim Angels
The Dodgers and the Yankees may no longer be neighbors, but the Angels and the Dodgers are. The city of Los Angeles, as intricate and complicated as it is, tends to bleed blue. Angels fans, though, make themselves known. Angel Stadium is just 31 miles south of Dodger Stadium, down the I-5. Though the two towns are wildly different, the two teams are often linked as one.
The Dodgers and the Angels are not rivals because of certain events, but rather because of location.
I grew up believing that L.A. belongs to the Dodgers. Then, the Angels started to make themselves known and I started to change my tune. Los Angeles is, in fact, a house divided when it comes to baseball. It’s a city that is big enough to be home to two major league clubs.
It’s the New York of the West Coast.
Fellow Think Blue Planning Committee writer, Ben Kirst, recently wrote about the growing intrigue, and the recent revival of the rivalry between the two teams, due to Anaheim’s signing of Shohei Ohtani. It’s an aspect of L.A. baseball that has become impossible to ignore, and Dodger fans don’t want to anymore. Los Angeles had a chance, though slim, to sign Ohtani, and they didn’t. It wasn’t because they didn’t want to, or didn’t have the money, but rather because Ohtani probably already had his mind made up when he met with Friedman and the Dodgers.
Some may call it a missed opportunity, but most will probably agree with Clayton Kershaw and call the whole thing “a waste of time.”
It’s okay, the rivalry between the SoCal ballclubs is still alive, and it’s not going anywhere.
Then there are the clubs, and the rivals, that the Dodgers have to face this year. I didn’t include the Giants on this list, merely because it’s one of the core beliefs of Dodger Nation; the Giants always have been, and always will be, our rivals. For some fans, including yours truly, even the mention of the Giants makes us flinch and jump into a monologue about the teams’ long history.
It doesn’t matter who I’m talking to, I will break down why the Dodgers are better than the Giants and have no control over how much baseball-specific terminology I use.
That brings us to the other teams; the teams the Dodgers will face in games where more than just the score is on the line.
1.) The Chicago Cubs
Cubs fans haven’t forgotten 2017, and Dodger fans have yet to forget 2016. For the past two years, these teams have fought it out for the NL pennant. Adding salt to the wound, the Cubs recently signed former Dodgers Yu Darvish and Brandon Morrow. Game 5 in 2017 wasn’t the end of this rivalry, in fact I think it’s just beginning, and the question isn’t if the Cubs and the Dodgers will meet in the NLCS, it’s when, and who will win it this time?
2.) The Arizona Diamondbacks
When looking at the NL West, the Giants and the Dodgers easily have the most apparent rivalry, but after the 2017 NLDS, the Dodgers and D-Backs will be facing off and attempt to overcome some bad blood. The Dodgers swept their division rival in three games last season. Justin Turner began the barrage with the homer in the first inning of Game 1, and the Dodgers didn’t slow down after that. The D-backs are looking for redemption, will they find it?
3.) The Houston Astros
Last summer, I liked the Astros. I admired them and was excited for the Dodgers to play them in the World Series. Now? Now I find myself looking forward to the weekend of August 3rd, in which the Dodgers and the Astros will face off at Dodger Stadium for the first time since the heartbreaking World Series. Game 7 still hurts, a lot, and I’m sure there are many other Dodger fans out there who agree with me.
To quote Billy Beane in “Moneyball”; “I don’t get over these things, ever.”
Neither do I, and something tells me the Dodgers don’t, either.
(FOLLOW SARAH ON TWITTER: @SARAHMANINGER)