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Dan Bickley

D-backs represent Valley’s best chance yet at getting revenge on Los Angeles

Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal, left, yells at Arizona Diamondbacks' Steven Souza Jr., right, after Souza collided with third baseman Max Muncy while attempting to steal third during the fifth inning of a baseball game, while Arizona third base coach Tony Perezchica separates the two in Los Angeles, Tuesday, May 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

Los Angeles is the worst kind of big brother. Condescending. Better looking. Twice our size. Unthreatened by our presence.

It’s nice to have their attention.

The Diamondbacks must’ve known this was coming. Their decision to troll the Dodgers on Twitter was a bold move, inciting an epic exchange of insults, christening a stretch run on social media.

The relationship has been percolating for some time. One of L.A.’s sporting icons – Kirk Gibson – was manager of the Diamondbacks during a bench-clearing skirmish in 2013. Later that season, the division-winning Dodgers partied in the Chase Field pool, a disrespectful stunt that drew too much laughter and not enough scorn. Valley fans were actually shamed for overreacting, for being dumb enough to put a pool inside their ballpark.

The story changed in 2017. The Dodgers were earmarked for greatness, only to be defied and temporarily derailed by little brother.

The Dodgers won a playoff series and the games that mattered most. But the Diamondbacks strung together 11 consecutive regular-season victories from 2017-18, showing no respect for the Dodgers’ pedigree and their payroll, always double what the Diamondbacks can afford.

The Diamondbacks were tied with the Dodgers atop the division standings entering Monday’s game, inspiring this passage from a L.A. Times columnist:

Remember the Diamondbacks?

You know, the insecure little team in the desert that guards its stadium pool to prevent the Dodgers from celebrating their inevitable triumphs with a swim. The franchise with the whiny owner who blows a gasket when paying customers in the suite behind home plate wear the merchandise of another team.

Yeah them.

They’re suddenly relevant again, not because they’re great, but because the Dodgers aren’t.

Los Angeles is the luckiest sports market on the planet, a magnet for superstars yearning for beachfront property, unparalleled climate and an HOV lane to Hollywood. Their fans have been blessed with high-wattage talent. A small army of statues stand outside the Staples Center. They’ve luxuriated in the voice of Vin Scully, the most treasured play-by-play man in sports history. They have iconic stadiums. They saved the Olympics and might do it again in the near future. They will be home to many Super Bowls in the future, likely at our expense.

They are also the rich guy who mistakes wealth for wisdom. They are not great sports fans. Their superiority complex is a big-screen illusion. Their success comes from their location on the map, not their passion or their lungs. They have no reason to brag.

Gibson’s legendary home run in the World Series was also a condemnation of Dodgers fans, those stuck in the parking lot attempting a quick getaway. They landed LeBron James in free agency and have twice vandalized a mural in his honor. They went two decades without a NFL franchise. They haven’t won a World Series in 30 years. If championships are all that matters, their team has nothing on the Diamondbacks.

At least not in this century.

For decades, L.A. has served as our sworn enemy. Raja Bell became a cult hero for nearly decapitating Kobe Bryant. The Coyotes’ only magical season in Arizona ended with an embarrassing sweep to the Kings.

L.A. fans cheered the Wayne Gretzky who lit up the NHL while Valley fans endured his disastrous tenure as head coach. They rode the coattails of Kareem-Abdul Jabbar, a player the Suns lost in a coin flip. We ended up with Matt Leinart. Our NFL team once made fun of the Rams. Until they moved to L.A. and promptly won the division.

The Diamondbacks are our best shot at revenge and redemption. After raising the volume and the stakes on social media, this much is certain:

They better prove worthy of the challenge ahead.

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Dan Bickley bio
Dan Bickley is the most influential sports media member in Arizona sports history, having spent over 20 years as the award-winning lead sports columnist for The Arizona Republic and AZCentral.com and almost two decades as a Valley sports radio talk show host. In spring 2018, Bickley made the decision to leave the newspaper to join the Arizona Sports team as host of the entertaining and informative midday show Bickley and Marotta, as well as bring his opinionated and provocative column exclusively to ArizonaSports.com.
Bickley’s journalism career began in his hometown of Chicago, where he was part of a star-studded staff at the Chicago Sun-Times. He chronicled Michael Jordan’s six NBA championships; covered the Olympics in eight different countries and attended 14 Super Bowls; spent three weeks in an Indianapolis courthouse writing about Mike Tyson’s rape trial; and once left his laptop in an Edmonton bar after the Blackhawks reached the Stanley Cup Finals.
He has won multiple awards, written two books, formed a rock band, fathered three children, and once turned down an offer to work at the New York Times.  His passions include sports, music, the alphabet, good beer and great radio. After joining Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, he couldn’t be happier