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Mariners, Padres To Remain Rivals

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goes way back
goes way back

That's sort of an eye-catching headline, as it suggests that, for a time, it wasn't certain that the Mariners and Padres would continue to be rivals. But I don't think it was ever in doubt, so this headline and post effectively make a story out of nothing. It would be like a headline reading Brother, Brother To Remain Brothers, or Larch Tree To Remain Deciduous. Well of course they will remain that way!

Jayson Stark writes that there are schedule changes upcoming, and that some teams will "share" rivals. The Rangers and the Astros, for example, will share the Diamondbacks and the Rockies. The Rangers and the Astros used to be obvious interleague rivals, but come 2013 they will no longer be interleague opponents, so new rivalries had to be created out of thin air. The rivalry between the Mariners and the Padres, however, will continue forward without intrusion. There will be no sharing of the Mariners or the Padres by the Mariners or the Padres. This is a monogamous rivalry. A monogamous, intimate rivalry.

The assignment has long been fodder for jokes, because of course where "rivalry" implies hatred and venom or at the very least mutual disfavor, there's none of that between the Mariners and the Padres. Speaking for myself, I actually have kind of a soft spot for the Padres. Nobody on either side hates the other team. As a matter of fact, I don't think anybody hates the Mariners or the Padres, in general. Who could actually hate either team? Who could get whipped into a frenzy by the Mariners or the Padres?

But if you forget about the word "rival" and replace it with "designated opponent", it's fine, really. Seattle and San Diego make some real sense as a pair. There are a ton of Seattleites in southern California, and there are a ton of San Diegans in the Pacific Northwest. The teams have similar ballparks, and at least presently they have similar outlooks. Both sides are pretty casual, in that nobody treats Mariners baseball like life or death, and nobody treats Padres baseball like life or death. And of course, they're both out west, where the Giants have the A's right there and the Dodgers have the Angels right there. Maybe it's just because I've flown back and forth a few dozen times but Seattle and San Diego really do fit well together.

There's room here to talk about should-be rivals. If the Mariners were to have an actual National League rival, who would it be? It wouldn't be the Padres, because nobody actually minds the Padres. Some candidates:

  • Braves. Remember when they tried to sign Ken Griffey Jr.? Remember when they tried to trade for Ken Griffey Jr.?
  • Reds. Remember when they traded for Ken Griffey Jr.?
  • Pirates. As was pointed out to me on Twitter not too long ago, what is a pirate but a belligerent mariner?
  • Marlins. There's the fisherman aspect here, and there's also the aspect where people who mean to type "Marlins" might type "Mariners" and people who mean to type "Mariners" might type "Marlins". ugh that's so annoying
  • Diamondbacks. ahhh, snakes!

In a perfect world, the Mariners and the Pirates would be rivals, and they'd actually care about being rivals too. And the Red Sox and White Sox would be intraleague rivals because if you mix them together all you get are pink socks in the end. And everyone would be rivals with the Tigers because, oh my god, tigers, run away, run away before they get you and eat you. In today's post we literally interpret baseball team nicknames. Sorry guys, just trying to get my brain going for the week.