DAN BICKLEY

Bickley: Dodgers’ Ohtani signing a response to D-backs’ success

Dec 13, 2023, 3:55 PM

Rejoice, Diamondbacks fans. Our baseball team was good enough to lose the World Series in 2023. And somehow, we remain the official underdogs of Major League Baseball.

That’s because we share a division with the Dodgers, a franchise suddenly accused of gluttony, lust and unsportsmanlike conduct. The Dodgers not only gave Shohei Ohtani a $700 million contract. They deferred most of the money so they could buy more players and the pitching they so badly require. They are a checkbook dynasty inserting dollars into every loophole, intent on overwhelming their enemies.

The Dodgers are spending with lust and vengeance, to the point of obscenity, and many fans believe Major League Baseball needs to stage an intervention.

Best of all, the Diamondbacks made them do this.

Fact: Our baseball team didn’t just eliminate the Dodgers in 2023. They embarrassed a proud franchise that has dominated the National League West for two decades.

The Diamondbacks dealt Clayton Kershaw the most embarrassing loss of his Hall of Fame career, a delightful and disastrous outing in Dodger Stadium that featured six earned runs, one retired batter and an ERA of 162.00. They outscored the Dodgers 19-6 in a three-game sweep that was never in doubt. They hit four home runs in the fourth inning of the raucous clinching game at Chase Field, including a monstrous performance from Gabriel Moreno.

In one of the greatest flexes in Valley sports history, Moreno had a home run overturned by video review, only to go deep on the very next pitch, easily clearing the fence on the other side of the field. The dismissive treatment of the Dodgers was both unexpected and exhilarating, and one of our finest moments.

But clearly not for them. And in response, the Dodgers have put a target on our backs.

Bring it on.

Bottom line: Our future as a baseball town will always look like this. The Dodgers are a major metropolis and the beneficiaries of a great baseball market. They will always have inherent, profound, economic advantages. The Diamondbacks will always have to beat them on the field and in the margins.

After reaching the World Series for the very first time as a majority owner, Ken Kendrick is doing his part. The Diamondbacks have acquired a mashing third baseman and great clubhouse guy in Eugenio Suarez, even if he strikes out a bunch. They have signed a very good starting pitcher (Eduardo Rodriguez) to slot behind Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly in the rotation. They intend to sign another big bat, maybe two. And if ownership is feeling especially generous, maybe even another starting pitcher.

Either way, the Diamondbacks are in a good position. They have great leadership. Their general manager is a hardcore Bostonian who accepts no excuses. The manager will provide the vibe and the party. And their perceived disadvantages will make beating L.A. that much sweeter.

Just like it was in October.

Reach Bickley at dbickley@arizonasports.com. Listen to Bickley & Marotta mornings from 6-10 a.m. on Arizona Sports 98.7.

Dan Bickley

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