An MLB passion piece with the Dodgers and Padres as the catalyst
If there is one common argument among young baseball fans and those who don’t dedicate their life to the game, it’s this: baseball is a dying, boring sport.
When the Padres hosted the Dodgers for a weekend series in Petco Park, mediocre baseball fans may have retracted their opinion about the sport.
The series was everything from exhilarating to exciting to dramatic. The Padres dropped the first two games and put up a fight to avoid a three-game sweep against the reigning World Series Champions.
The matchup featured, arguably, two of the best and most talked about teams this season. Following the World Series last season, the Dodgers made some powerful roster moves to help rebuild their bullpen and lineup. The Padres locked in on Fernando Tatís Jr., the league’s young superstar, with a 14-year, $330 million contract.
The Padres avoided the sweep with a 5-2 victory on Sunday, but that was the lesser of the highlights over the weekend.
Saturday’s game featured Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw calling out the Padres’ tenured hitter Jurickson Profar for having a “bull(bleep) swing,” which Profar retaliated with a “Shut the (bleep) up!”
— Bally Sports San Diego (@BallySportsSD) April 18, 2021
Trevor Bauer signed autographs and posed for pictures with fans in the stands, something that has been frowned upon since the beginning of the pandemic and the return of sports.
Tatís went 1-for-13 all weekend for his first return from the injured list, struck out six times and committed two errors in the weekend series, making fans raise an eyebrow at their multi-million-dollar superstar.
Mookie Betts displayed why he is the Dodgers’ $300-million player when he ran 53 feet in three seconds, diving to make the game-ending catch in the outfield, then pounding his chest after in celebration.
Mookie Betts saves the day for the Dodgers! pic.twitter.com/lNkcfFYVis
— USA TODAY Sports (@usatodaysports) April 18, 2021
Padres starter Blake Snell faced the Dodgers for the first time since getting pulled out of Game 6 of last year’s World Series Championship, and he called out Trevor Bauer for digging too deep of a hole on the pitching mound, causing Snell to lose his pitching groove.
The weekend series was the creation of a new rivalry, similar to that of Cubs-Cardinals and Yankees-Red Sox. The Padres have a long history of chasing after a dream of taking down the Dodgers and this year may be their year, but the Dodgers are off to a 13-3 start, the best of a defending World Series champion.
If this weekend gave baseball fans anything other than a new rivalry to watch, it reignited the flame many have lost that is the enjoyment of watching the game. In a league that punishes players for celebrating, taunting, or chirping other players, seeing two teams putting so much personality and passion back into the game gave some life back to the “dying” sport.