Plaschke: The ‘Adorable Little Padres?’ Dodger fans should know there is plenty to hate

There’s a significant problem with this lively, frothy, fearsome rivalry between the Dodgers and the San Diego Padres.

It’s not a rivalry.

A rivalry requires dueling emotions from two teams, two fan bases, two cities… and that only affects one.

The Padres fans feel sorry for the Dodgers. The Dodgers fans shrug.

The Padres fans see the Dodgers and immediately erupt in passionate boos. The Dodgers fans see the Padres and immediately think: Hey, we should plan our next weekend trip to Del Mar!

San Diego thinks Los Angeles is evil. Los Angeles thinks San Diego is cute.

The Padres are rivals to the Dodgers like a hiker is a rival to a mountain. The Padres stare at them and despise them and try to scale them every year while the Dodgers hardly know they are there.

“You’re the dragon on the highway that we’re trying to kill,” Padres owner Peter Seidler told ESPN this summer.

The collective reaction from the Dodgers was something like, huh?

I’ve had the odd fortune of being a beat reporter covering both teams in both cities, and the culture clash is clear.

If the people of San Diego see Los Angeles as this giant mythical reptile casting a 130-mile shadow, the people of Los Angeles see San Diego as a quaint little lizard scurrying harmlessly around the porch.

That was one of the reasons the Chargers were so unwelcome when they moved to Los Angeles five years ago. Angelenos said how could the NFL do this to sweet little San Diego?

The disparity in perception has bled onto the diamond. At the Padres’ clubhouse, every run against the Dodgers is the biggest of the season. In the Dodgers’ clubhouse, each series against the Padres consists of just three more games.

The Dodgers have much bigger battles to fight. The Dodgers devote all their energy to their true rivals. Now all together. giant suck!

Sure, the Dodgers and Padres had hot moments on the field, especially early last season with dramatic performances from Fernando Tatis Jr. and Trevor Bauer, but remember how that saga ended? It always seems to end like this. The Padres disbanded and the Dodgers won their last six games against them in September.

The dominance has continued this year, with the Dodgers winning 14 of 19 games. The dominance has continued throughout history, with the Dodgers holding a 511-415 lead over them in the regular season. The dominance was present even in the playoffs, when the Dodgers defeated the Padres in three games in their only postseason meeting.

All of which brings this story into this week’s National League Division Series and makes this column challenging.

Dodgers fans must somehow, somehow, develop a loud dislike for a Padres team that could steal your season. Dodgers fans, you’ve got to come up with a reason to cheer furiously, cheer fearfully, cheer intensely enough to do justice to the noise and inspiration that’s sure to come from two hours south.

As crazy as it sounds, as hard as it is, over the next six days Dodgers fans must learn to hate the adorable little Padres as much as they hate the Giants.

Here are some helpful pointers on how.

The San Diego Padres players celebrate after defeating the New York Mets in Game 3 of the NL Wildcard Playoff Series.

San Diego Padres third baseman Manny Machado and shortstop Ha-Seong Kim (7) celebrate with catcher Austin Nola (26) and left fielder Jurickson Profar (10) after the Padres defeated the New York Mets in Game 3 of a National League wildcard Playoff series on Sunday in New York.

(Frank Franklin II / Associated Press)

Her big dog was the biggest dog in the Dodgers

Buhr further out Manny Machado. He has become Dodger Stadium’s most despised guest player and deserves every mockery. I saw him refuse to work for the Dodgers in the 2018 postseason. There’s no cheering in the press box, but I booed him.

Their ace was the Dodgers’ wild card

Yu Darvish was certainly cheated by the Houston Astros, but that doesn’t fully explain how he cheated fans in Game 7 of the 2017 World Series. The people here seem to have forgiven, but how can they forget?

Green behind the ears?

Joe Musgrove, one of the Padres’ starters, literally got his ear pierced in the sixth inning of Sunday’s wild-card eliminator game against the New York Mets while examining the umpires. The umps acted on Mets manager Buck Showalter’s suspicion that a sticky substance was increasing Musgrove’s spin rate.

No substance was found and Musgrove continued to fight his way to victory, but you can bet he’ll think about it this week. So will the Dodgers.

The San Diego Fraud

Tatis is serving a suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs, so you won’t see him, but you can still picture him rocking the Dodgers while he’s juiced, and doesn’t that just boil your blood?

Petco, Shmetco

On Friday night, the Padres will host their first playoff game in 16 years, and the national television show is sure to get poetic about the wonders of Petco Park.

Keep in mind that almost every time the Dodgers have visited, Dodgers fans have owned the place.

Sour Blakes

Before fielding for the Padres, Blake Snell played for the Tampa Bay Rays against the Dodgers in Game 6 of the 2020 World Series. He was infamously pulled by manager Kevin Cash with an out in the sixth inning despite leading 1-0 and giving up just two hits in 73 pitches. The Dodgers quickly scored two goals against reliever Nick Anderson, eventually winning the game and series.

“I was lost…I was like, ‘We really just handed them the World Series,'” Snell later told the wrestler.

gave it to them, yes?


The Padres are owned by the nephew of the Dodgers’ great former owner, Peter O’Malley. Their director of player staff is former Dodgers manager Logan White. A special assistant is former beloved Dodgers catcher AJ Ellis. Another special assistant is historic Dodgers pitcher Hideo Nomo. And a special advisor is former Dodgers pitcher Chan Ho Park.

Get your own front office!

You diss Doc

In the winter of 2015, Dave Roberts was hoping to be promoted from the Padres’ coaching staff to the vacant managerial position. The Padres didn’t even want to interview him. The rest is Dodgers history.

Just shhh

The Padres have made many lavish purchases over the years and boasted about the lasting impact of each one.

They traded for Darvish and now they’re real! They signed Machado and now pay attention! They gave Tatis $340 million because they mean business! They traded for Juan Soto and now they’re a contender!

They’ve always been on the verge of greatness if you listen to them, but they’ve never really arrived, and the fantastical stories of their journey become as tedious as Friday night traffic on the 5 South.

So, yes, good luck in this series, little brother.

And boo. Plaschke: The ‘Adorable Little Padres?’ Dodger fans should know there is plenty to hate

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