This past weekend series was more than just a little disappointing.
Sure, it's only May 2nd, but I really thought the Dodgers were better than this.
The Padres had only won 9 games going into last Friday's opener, and the sight of the Dodgers hovering around second and the Padres in the cellar was a little disarming.
The Padres' problem seemed to be lack of offense. They have catalysts (Cameron Maybin comes to mind), but don't really have that knockout punch.
And I had seen this personally only a week before. I went to a Padres game when I had a little SoCal vacation for the Easter weekend. Beautiful stadium, beautiful location, wonderful, friendly staff. For a game that happened on College Night, with wine tasting going on throughout the game AND the Phillies in town, all stereotypes pointed towards a rowdy night. Yet, it really wasn't, at least I didn't notice it from our seats (Section 133, row 25), which reminded me of a double-header at Dodger Stadium involving the Padres from a couple of decades ago, where we were in Row JJ of the Reserve Level. The Ricardo-Montalban-Falling-Over-the-Wall section (You might get that story somepoint over the course of the year, Inside The Dodgers frequenters have probably seen it around a few times already). Section 133 was closer to the action, though, and the Padres fans were into the game though the 9th inning, moreso than their team.
What a great atmosphere, and it was nice seeing Phillies fans cheering on someone else's turf for once. Yet for all the explosive power of the Philly bats, the other Clayton (Richard) held Philadelphia to 2 runs over a quick 9 innings. Great ballpark, but I still like Dodger Stadium better... though if they'd only focus on baseball instead of distractions...
Sad to say, the Padres don't feel as much of a rival now that I've lived in NorCal for a decade, where the love from the Giants fans far outweighs any fuzzy feelings the Padres faithful have for the Dodgers.
But that doesn't mean I like 'em. I hate 'em the same I did as a kid, when my Padre-loving uncle told me that he hated my favorite Dodger (Steve Sax), to which I replied I hated his favorite Padre (Benito Santiago, whom I've had the pleasure of "respecting" as a rival for well over a decade later).
Same as when I caught that September game in the 90's, where all the Dodgers had to do was win one game of the series and the division was theirs, only the Dodgers couldn't even win one measly game against the Padres.
Same as the year they went to the World Series against the Yankees, making a World Series matchup somehow less watchable to this Dodgers fan than the two ATL-NYY contests of that decade.
But one thing I can say about the franchise, I respect Tony Gwynn, the only reason I had dislike for him was that I was hoping we'd see a gamechanger like him coming up in blue.
They're forever that team that the Dodgers should beat, but don't.
Here come the Cubbies...