The Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers ignited a rivalry this past year, with several on-the-field incidents sparking a speculated feud.
D-backs owner Ken Kendrick has found himself involved with some of these incidents, including inciting L.A. media with comments made earlier this month regarding how the D-backs “owed” the Dodgers when they play that opening series.
“I made comments about being excited to go to Australia and that it was really ironic we were playing the Dodgers because we really owed them,” Kendrick told Arizona Sports 620’s Bickley with Marotta Friday. “What I was communicating is we owed them because they kicked our butts this year and it’s a chance to begin a brand new season playing the team we’re going to need to beat.”
According to Kendrick, his statement was taken out of context, and made it clear he was not trying to threaten the Dodgers or anyone else in Los Angeles.
“That wasn’t what I was saying and that’s not how I feel,” Kendrick added.
Kendrick did embrace the rivalry between the two teams, and reinforced he had issues with the handling of the Dodgers clinching the NL West title at Chase Field. The D-backs took offense when Los Angeles players celebrated in the stadium’s pool in right field.
“My view of sports in general is you should win with class and lose with dignity, and I’m responsible here as Derrick and others are with our side of that,” Kendrick said, before adding, “I think it’s great to have an intense competitiveness on the field.”
The two teams were instructed by the league office to be on their best behavior while in Australia, as the goal of the trip, for Major League Baseball anyway, is to increase the interest of baseball within the country.
“I think we all realize we need to go down there and be good citizens for the game, and we need to treat each other with respect in order to make sure that that happens,” Kendrick said.
Finally, Kendrick addressed the large gap in payrolls between Los Angeles and Arizona, something that clearly fuels the rivalry at least on the D-backs’ end. Kendrick explained while his club might never approach the Dodgers’ spending, they’re continuing to invest more money in the product.
“We’re at a place now where this year’s payroll is likely to be at or maybe above the highest amount of money ever spent on a Diamondback team in its history,” Kendrick added. “We need to be smarter than the guy that spends more money than we, and, over time, we have been.
“We’ve had some success with much more modest payroll than we’re going to have now and are going to have going forward.”