The Los Angeles Dodgers clinched the National League West regular season championship last night by beating their divisional rivals, the Arizona Diamondbacks. Traditionally, when such moments occur away from the winner’s home park, they are celebrated with a happy mob scene around the pitcher’s mound and then a retreat to the clubhouse, where campaign and revelry reign.
But not in the case of the 2013 Dodgers. Seeing the inviting swimming pool that is a unique center field feature of Chase Field, the giddy Dodger team jumped the fence and splashed into the pool to celebrate. The Arizona Republic, in an editorial today, accurately expressed the reaction of the Diamondback fans and community:
“In the interests of good sportsmanship, here’s to the 2013 National League West Division champs.Congratulations are in order. Even to a bunch as classless as the Los Angeles Dodgers, the first players not wearing Diamondbacks uniforms to celebrate a championship by diving into the Chase Field pool. Informally, the Arizona Diamondbacks management had asked their Dodgers counterparts, should their lads clinch the division at Chase Field, to kindly celebrate in the clubhouse until the fans cleared out. For safety’s sake. Well, the Diamondbacks got their answer. Effectively: We got some “safety,” for you. Right here….”
The LA Times was quick to rush to its team’s defense, with sportswriter Steve Dilbeck snidely responding,
“Listen, the Dodgers earned the right to celebrate. Win and you party. Wherever you are. They climbed the outfield wall, jumped in the pool and acted like a bunch of 12-year-olds. I thought it was great. Is that pool some kind of hallowed Diamondbacks ground — or water? If the Diamondbacks are really going to get their panties in a bunch over this, then I have two suggestions: 1) Don’t build a pool in your ballpark, and 2) don’t let the other team clinch on your field.”
Translation: “Nyah, nyah, nyah! Stuff it, losers!”
When did sportsmanship go out of style in LA? How about the Golden Rule? I’ve been in a ball park watching my team walk off the field defeated as the enemy rejoices. There are worse feelings, but not many. Why would any athletes try to prolong the agony of thousands of baseball fans and a whole community, when it is so unnecessary, with an unrestrained and private celebration just a short walk away? Well, because they are unmannered, self-centered, rude and yes, classless boors, that’s why. A brief on-field celebration is natural and unavoidable, but a visiting team appropriating a feature of the host park for an “in-your-face, Arizona!” splash-fest is a breach of etiquette, sportsmanship, and just plain wrong.
Dilbeck’s solution? The Diamondbacks can be rude to L.A. if they ever clinch a title in Dodger Stadium—you know, Tit-for-Tat. An eye for an eye. Revenge.
That’s Los Angeles ethics, I guess.
It explains a lot.