Breaking Down the Rivalry Between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | It's not a secret. The Arizona Diamondbacks and the Los Angeles Dodgers don't get along.

The bad blood began well before the benches-clearing brawl on June 11 that sent Twitter into a twister.

While the two teams won't play each other again until September, they'll be battling nonetheless for the National League West title.

Here are three reasons why the D-Backs and the Dodgers make a good rivalry:

Payroll

The Dodgers and D-Backs sit on opposite sides of the payroll spectrum.

The Dodgers are spending money like there's no tomorrow, more than doubling the D-Backs' payroll. Big spending has given the Dodgers a number of household names, and their players have made a total of 19 All-Star game appearances, including two Cy Young Award winners. The D-Backs' players, on the other hand, have only made seven All-Star games, and three of those were by Heath Bell -- who isn't exactly in his prime.

The difference in payroll is reminiscent of the David-versus-Goliath feeling baseball fans get when watching the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox play the Tampa Bay Rays. It's an added element to an already heated exchange.

The Brawl

The June 11 donnybrook at Dodgers Stadium certainly fueled the fire.

Fingers continue to be pointed. Unwritten rules continue to be debated. And no one can seem to forget about Ian Kennedy's hard-thrown headshots.

When the Dodgers visited the D-Backs at Chase Field last week -- the first game between the two teams since the skirmish -- the tension was tighter than Mark McGwire's grip on Matt Williams' jersey. There was almost a palpable hue, where every fastball could quickly turn to fisticuffs.

It will take a while for either team -- or its fans -- to forget the mayhem from a month ago.

Yasiel Puig

Yasiel Puig has been on a tear since making his big-league debut. Like him or not, the kid from Cuba can hit.

But he has also been rubbing the D-Backs the wrong way. Ian Kennedy has not been shy about his thoughts on Puig, saying he plays with a sense of arrogance. Miguel Montero, the patriarch of the D-Backs' dugout, similarly called out Puig for "doing the stupid things that he's doing" and creating a bad reputation around the league. Montero's Mutombo-esque finger wag says it all.

The National League West division will be fun to watch, thanks in large part to heated rivalry between the D-Backs and Dodgers.

Justin Bray has followed the Arizona Diamondbacks since Andy Benes' first pitch at the BOB in 1998. He was an original member of the Andy Fox Fan Club and even risked his life for a Dan Plesac autograph.

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