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When Dodgers are the topic, Diamondbacks need to stuff a towel in it

October 09, 2013|By Bill Plaschke
  • The Dodgers' celebration in the Diamondbacks' pool is just one of the incidents that didn't sit well with some in the Arizona organization.
The Dodgers' celebration in the Diamondbacks' pool is just… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)

The silly swimming pool incident isn't even dry yet and, still, the Arizona Diamondbacks recklessly insist on jumping back into the deep end with the Dodgers. 

This time, it's Diamondbacks General Manager Kevin Towers essentially saying that his pitchers should have thrown at the Dodgers this past season, and intimated they will be punished if they don't retaliate next year.

Towers told Arizona Sports 620 on Tuesday that he was so angry when the Dodgers were playfully eating bananas in their dugout during a Sept. 9 Dodger victory at Dodger Stadium, he wanted to hit them with baseballs himself. 

"I was sitting behind home plate that game, and when it showed up on the Diamondvision of stuffing bananas down their throats, I felt like we were a punching bag,'' he told the radio station. "Literally, if I would have had a carton of baseballs, I would have fired them into the dugout from where I was sitting behind home plate...that's not who we are as Diamondbacks.... I mean, it's a reflection on [Manager Kirk Gibson], on myself, on our entire organization. They slapped us around, and we took it."

Towers said he scolded the coaching staff later for not retaliating, then became angry again later in September when the Dodgers hit Diamondbacks slugger Paul Goldschmidt and the Diamondback pitchers again didn't retaliate. By then, of course, both teams were fighting for playoff positioning, and nobody was getting hit intentionally, and another brawl would have been just stupid, and the players knew that.

"If Goldy's getting hit, it's an eye for an eye,'' Towers said. "Somebody's going down, or somebody's going to get jacknifed.''

These comments should eventually result in a fat suspension and hefty fine from a league office that shouldn't look kindly on a team official advocating the use of a baseball thrown in excess of 90 mph to inflict bodily harm and possibly endanger lives.

But for now, one can only look at Towers' classless, playground-bully words with pity.

Pity, first, Kirk Gibson, one of the toughest players in the modern era, for working for a guy who just publicly accused him of not being tough enough. How do Gibson and Towers even share the same meeting rooms after this? How does Gibson maintain the respect of his team after being so blatantly disrespected by his boss?

Pity, second, the Diamondback organization, which once again comes across as insecure and Dodger-phobic. Why do they feel a need to continually throw rocks at the Dodgers as if Arizona is David and Los Angeles is Goliath? The Diamondbacks are better than that. Their organization might be one of the most fan-friendly in all of baseball. Attending a game at spacious and spotless Chase Field is a joy. They have a true connection with their ticketholders that is unmatched throughout much of pro sports.

So why, when it comes to the Dodgers, do they act like such whiny children? It was bad enough when their organization's CEO Derrick Hall, a former Dodger employee, publicly ripped the Dodgers for celebrating their West Division-title clinching in the Diamondbacks' swimming pool even though the stands were empty and nobody was taunted or hurt. For the record, the Dodgers never apologized, and never will, and good for them. 

What Towers said, however, is far worse, because lives are involved here. Somebody could get hurt. That somebody, of course, would not be Towers, because he won't have to walk to home plate with a bat. Here's hoping major-league baseball knocks him on his butt, and the Diamondbacks regain their pride in just being the Diamondbacks without continually attacking the Dodgers.

Meanwhile, when the two teams travel to Sydney, Australia, in spring to open the 2014 season, they should meet and bond at one of the many places where the Aussies celebrate their favorite recreational sport. They should all go swimming.


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