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Sen. John McCain throws a damper on Dodgers' pool party

DODGERS

Dodgers take exception after Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) calls them 'arrogant' and 'immature' for jumping in ballpark pool to celebrate NL West title.

September 20, 2013|By Bill Shaikin
  • Clayton Kershaw and his Dodgers teammates celebrate clinching the National League West title with a dip in the Arizona Diamondbacks pool, a move criticized by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz) among others.
Clayton Kershaw and his Dodgers teammates celebrate clinching the National… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)

SAN DIEGO — Jon Stewart really needs to be the one writing this column. Ladies and gentlemen, and baseball fans of all ages, we present to you: The Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Sen. John McCain.

No spoof.

The issue that gripped America on Friday: Did the Dodgers commit a breach of etiquette by jumping in the Arizona Diamondbacks' pool to celebrate the National League West championship?

Was this truly a matter of great importance in these United States? Must have been, because the senior senator from Arizona took to Twitter to let his position be known, in no uncertain terms.

"No-class act by a bunch of overpaid, immature, arrogant, spoiled brats!" The tweet included a link to an Arizona Republic column with this headline: "The Dodgers are idiots."

It is common for elected officials to let a staff member mind their Twitter accounts. We immediately wondered whether an over-eager intern and frustrated Diamondbacks fan sent out the tweet in McCain's name.

Nope.

"His tweets are all him," McCain spokesman Brian Rogers said.

That this is even an issue is beyond ridiculous. In 2004, the St. Louis Cardinals clinched the NL Central in Milwaukee, then celebrated by taking turns going down Bernie Brewer's slide. The Brewers did not throw a fit. Also, Twitter and MLB Network did not exist to dispense outrage at warp speed.

What the Dodgers did on Thursday was not akin to clinching in San Francisco, then defacing the statue of Willie Mays. The Dodgers did not deface, destroy or damage anything. They did not plant their flag on Arizona's field.

They jumped into a pool, to which the Diamondbacks sell tickets for fans to enter every day. The Dodgers did not bring lounge chairs and beach balls with them. The Diamondbacks had nothing to clean up but a few drops of water on a pool deck, and a few wounded egos in their clubhouse.

Oh, and they had to retrieve a stray blue belt, the one Scott Van Slyke took off before he jumped in, then forgot to pick up on the way out.

The San Diego Padres do not have a pool beyond right field. They do have a beach beyond center field.

"If we won it here, would the Padres be mad if we jumped the fence and made sand castles?" Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly said.

On the day after the splash heard 'round the world, the Dodgers insisted they did not act with malice or disrespect. Michael Young called the pool party "harmless," Nick Punto called it "fun," and J.P. Howell compared it to "egging someone's house."

So, at worst, a silly prank.

"You get caught up in the moment," Andre Ethier said. "You do dumb things. We won the West, and that is getting overlooked."

That is true, sadly, but that is not the most unfortunate outcome.

The most unfortunate outcome is that the Dodgers players appeared to keep a more level head than the senior senator from Arizona.

Not on Twitter, where Brian Wilson responded in kind.

"Senator McComplain knows a thing or two about coming in second and watching someone take a plunge in the pool (I mean poll)," Wilson tweeted.

However, in the Dodgers clubhouse Friday, there was more offense taken to what McCain said than to what any of the Arizona players said.

"I'm going to assume he was speaking as a fan and not as a public servant," Young said.

Ethier said it was one thing to criticize the act of jumping in the pool — "Maybe some of his constituents were complaining to him, wondering if he could do something," Ethier said — quite another to label the players as overpaid, immature, arrogant and spoiled.

"That's over the line," said Ethier, who lives in Arizona.

"It is absolutely absurd that he would even comment on that," said Mark Ellis, who also lives in Arizona. "I would have thought he would know better than that. He doesn't know any of us. The whole thing is absolutely ridiculous.

"To call us overpaid? Come on. Coming from a politician?"

Young said he would welcome the chance to meet with McCain, to explain how players are heavily involved in charities in the cities in which they play, and in their hometowns.

"I'd like to change his tune that we're spoiled," Young said. "I've never had the pleasure of meeting him. I'd love to."

The rest of the Dodgers would just as soon return to taking on baseball teams, not senior senators.

bill.shaikin@latimes.com

Twitter: @BillShaikin

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