COMMENTARY | Nick Punto started with a canon ball. Yasiel Puig followed with a belly flop. Adrian Gonzalez lounged in the hot tub. The pool party was underway.
Shortly after the Los Angeles Dodgers punched their ticket to the postseason for the first time since 2009 with a 7-6 road victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday afternoon, several Dodgers players made another splash at Chase Field by climbing over the right field wall and going for a dip in the stadium's famous swimming pool.
While the Dodgers were having a great time celebrating their magical turnaround of a season, not everyone in the vicinity was smiling. Arizona veteran Willie Bloomquist called the Dodgers' actions "classless" and the Diamondbacks' president/CEO Derrick Hall expressed his feelings in a statement to the Arizona Republic: "I could call it disrespectful and classless, but they don't have a beautiful pool at their old park and must have really wanted to see what one was like."
It's true. There is no pool at Dodger Stadium. However, most players on the Dodgers are millionaires that have probably spent their share of offseason vacation time in beautiful swimming pools. There must have been other reasons for why this group of players decided to literally soak in the fruits of victory.
Prior to the series between the two teams, the Diamondbacks knew there was a strong possibility that Los Angeles could clinch the National League West in their home ballpark. That's right, the same team that they once led by 9.5 games on June 21 had somehow turned the tables and was now leading them by that same margin with less than two weeks to go in the season. So Arizona requested - for "security reasons" - that the Dodgers refrain from celebrating on the field and instead keep all hooting and hollering down in the clubhouse where nobody could see or hear them.
When the Dodgers eventually did clinch on Thursday afternoon, there was absolutely no way they were going to comply with Arizona's orders. Not only was the victory the culmination of one of the greatest second half performances in baseball history, it came at Chase Field against the Diamondbacks.
Chase Field was the same place where a group of Dodgers fans sitting behind home plate in April were told to either put on Diamondbacks jerseys or move to different seats. The Diamondbacks were the same team that in June started one of the biggest brawls ever at Dodger Stadium by hitting Puig and Zack Greinke with pitches.
The Dodgers remembered those games. They remembered how the Diamondbacks disrespected the fans that had paid good money for tickets to their stadium. The Dodgers remembered the Diamondbacks' classlessness when they broke one of baseball's unwritten rules by throwing up and in at their pitcher. When the Dodgers clinched the division Thursday in Arizona, they were going to party and they were going to party hard. After the final out was recorded, the team rushed the field and formed a joyous scrum for all of the Diamondbacks fans to witness. The Boys in Blue then took the festivities downstairs to the visitors' clubhouse where they danced, sang and popped bottles of champagne.
But the fun wasn't over yet, just like their season wasn't over in mid-June even though they were 12 games under .500 and in last place. No, these Dodgers wanted to leave a lasting impression in Arizona. So they came back onto the grass and raced toward right field, just like they had raced past the competition this summer, winning 58 of their previous 81 games.
They scaled the fence and hopped in the pool, with the Diamondbacks' logo beneath their feet as they splashed around.
Nick Ostiller was born and raised in Los Angeles and currently lives in Santa Clara. He is the editor-in-chief at The Santa Clara and contributes content for Sidelines. He has also worked for Outlook Newspapers and KNBC. Follow him on Twitter @nicko229.
- Sports & Recreation
- Los Angeles Dodgers
- Arizona Diamondbacks