Dodgers eager to deny rivalry with Padres, so they must be worried

The San Diego Padres' Fernando Tatis Jr. celebrates with teammate Wil Myers (5) after scoring on a fourth-inning RBI single by Manny Machado against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on Thursday, April 22, 2021 in Los Angeles. (Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
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Nick Canepa The San Diego Union-Tribune (TNS)

Sez Me …

The Dodgers are pretty good at playing baseball games. But mind games? Not so much — even though they live in Tinseltown, a legendary land of fantasy, rumor, splendid acting, and the song and dance.

They are transparent to the point where you can use them to keep food fresh in the refrigerator.

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Their rivalry with the Padres is real. Maybe that’s why they refuse to admit it, having lived in their own make-believe world for so long.

The Dodgers go out of their way — as do their fans — to openly deny it. But their actions matter. Their book is open now, and denial makes them seem foolish to those among us who know fools when we see them.

They are damn good, but the emperors, desperately clinging to their territorial rights, can’t imagine their new clothes being worn by the peasants to the south.

So what do they do? They grab aspersions and cast them. They pull the cheat card.

You don’t need Tony Gwynn-vision to see they hate the Padres, hate their sudden dash to popularity in a region that has been their own, hate their flair and derring-do, hate that they’ve spent so much money to compete, hate that they have the audacity to stand up to the bullies.

It basically has been true for 50 years, that the rivalry was one-sided, that the Padres were nothing but bugs on L.A’s 5.5 million windshields.

But, as we have seen in the teams’ two meetings thus far — the most intense April Padres baseball I can recall — the weather has changed from predictable to Santa Ana heat. Enough to light a cigar without a match.

The exalted Dodgers — and their media — wondered aloud if Fernando Tatis Jr. peeked at a sign before hitting an outside Trevor Bauer pitch a long way in the opposite direction. The only signs Tatis stole in L.A. were from Padres fans in the bleachers signaling him to hit one their way.

A nervous excuse. People have watched film of every homer Tatis has hit. No sign stealing.

Big deal, anyway. Signs have been stolen since Abner Doubleday didn’t invent the game. Trying to turn this into Astros chicanery is insane. If you’re worried about it, have your catcher cover up his signals.

The Dodgers are the only team in the history of any sport never to do anything untoward. Arrogant snobs.

Stupidity travels. While the Padres were running up seven straight hits off French pastry pitches in Phoenix on Wednesday night, Arizona broadcaster/former manager Bob Brenly wondered if the Pads might be stealing signs.

Then why didn’t they do it the night before, when they scored one run, or all the other times they’ve been pathetic with runners in scoring position?

If you’re going to cheat, cheat well. If they’ve been cheating, they’ve been lousy at it.

What the Padres have to do is stop reading their press clippings — are there such things anymore? — and play better against teams not named Dodgers.

Meanwhile, to the Dodgers and all the L.A. conspiracy theorists — and, as Jayce Tingler calls them, “internet detectives:” Here’s hoping the next time you visit Petco the Padres bang trash cans in the dugout. …

Dodger Dogs, other than their stadium the only good thing about them I enjoy, are gone. A shame. How many times did Vin Scully say: “The easternmost in quality, the westernmost in flavor.”?

No one of this earth knows, but the Judases’ first two draft picks seemed to be need without risk. Don’t think they could have improved it. …

I like what Doug Gottlieb said. If the 49ers draft Mac Jones, they’re idiots. The Patriots draft him, they’re geniuses. …

Judging by this Alabama draft, we’ll have to see how Jones does with less talent. …

I keep hearing: How did Bill Belichick know Jones would fall to him? Answer: He didn’t. If you’re at 15 and know without fear what everyone in front of you is doing, you get to the facility walking across a lake. …

Scouts no longer can base college QB evaluations on ability to read defenses. There are few defenses to read. …

Carolina may have drafted the best quarterback. Sam Darnold. …

Jerry Jones says Micah Parsons was the highest-rated defender on the Cowboys’ board. He would have been highest if they drafted 32nd. …

USC and Michigan have had players selected in a record 83 straight drafts. Same number Alabama had taken in this one. …

USC now? One pick in top 100. …

Tim Tebow has worked out for the Jags. As a tight end, where he remains inaccurate. …

If Travis Etienne was “secretly rooting” for Jacksonville to draft him, he’s the first player in history to do so. …

Two sentences Jon Gruden can’t utter: “I don’t know how to trade down. I know what I’m doing.” …

Now here’s a politically smart kid. When Justin Fields was asked which Chicago baseball team he’ll root for, he said: “White Cubs.” …

Do NFL teams still have territorial picks? …

NCAA boss Mark Emmert has had his contract extended to 2025. Only consolation is there won’t be an NCAA in 2025. …

Conor McGregor has sold his majority interest in Proper No. 12 Irish whiskey for $600 mil. Ain’t that a kick in the head? …

They did it with poor Pluto, and it stunk. You can’t just say the PGA no longer is a major. So all the golfers who have won the PGA won’t be major winners? We must start finding constructive things to do. …

Stink O’ The Week Sezment: People who get the first vaccine but not the second. This is medical prevent defense nursing a small lead. Why? …

Stink II: Home Run Derby instead of extra innings. Why have extras become Yoko Ono? …

I don’t want to hear anti-maskers’ crap about “Your body, your choice.” It’s not just your body. It’s mine. It’s the bodies of others you can infect. Stay home. …

Masks? Vanderbilt study: Hospitalization for children with respiratory issues are down 62 percent. …

They’re now saying mushrooms are closer to humans than plants. So now even mushrooms can be stupid. …

“The more society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it.” — Orwell …

Antonio Brown signs a new deal with the Bucs possibly worth $6.2 mil shortly after settling his rape and sexual assault case. Now, if he wore the wrong socks, the NFL would do something about it. …

Bicycle Mayor II kicked off Virtual Bike Month. Should have held it on the damage the Ham & Eggers have done to Fifth Avenue. …

The Oscars’ entertainment value was below-zero. As Tank Younger would say: “Horrible. Terrible.” Bob Hope must be spinning like a drunk’s bedroom. …

Adding to a near-total lack of hilarity, Elon Musk will host SNL. …

Every so often I get upset we never bought Greenland. …

Doesn’t appear Washington, D.C., will become a state. State of Confusion will have to do for now. …

A generational talent is not a generational talent until his generation is up.

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