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Mets/Dodgers - is there a rivalry?


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You know, in all of sports, there are some rivalries that are well known (Yankees/Red Sox, Cardinals/Cubs, for example), and then there are those that are just as great, but not as well recognized.

So, with that said, here is one that most aren't paying attention to: The New York Mets/Los Angeles Dodgers.

I think it is epic in that it links both of NYC's past and present baseball traditions, and these guys, they just love to hate each other. :D

What do you all think? Agree or disagree?

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Also Mets paid tribute to Dodgers (blue), Giants (orange) and Yankees (pinstripes).  Did I miss another element?  And they were never interstate rivals since Dodgers moved to LA and Mets came out in, what, 1962?

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there really isn't a rivalry. now, could there be in years to come? it's possible, because the mets are poised to become the east coast version of the dodgers now that steve cohen owns the team. but outside of the '88 NLCS (and it's really only that one series, because the mets beat the dodgers in 11 of their 12 meetings in that regular season), there's nothing there.

 

the mets' biggest on-field rivalry vacillates between the NL east team that happens to be good at the same time (the cardinals between '84-'88, the braves between '97-'01, the phillies between '07-'08, the nationals between '15-'16, and now, the braves again) and then there's, of course, the yankees thing, which is really more of an off-the-field thing between fan bases.

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15 hours ago, TrueYankee26 said:

Only old boomers and silent generation in NYC are still Dodgers fans

 

Some of us boomers like the Giants.  (I am a "young" boomer, from the tail end of that generation. So I did not see the New York Giants. But when I started learning my history as a kid, which was about 15 years after the move, I became enamoured of the Giants.)

 

 

12 hours ago, sayahh said:

Also Mets paid tribute to Dodgers (blue), Giants (orange) and Yankees (pinstripes). 

 

The Mets' uniforms paid tribute to the departed Giants and Dodgers by means of their team colours.  There was no tribute to the Yankees, as the Yankees hadn't moved away.  The Mets' use of pinstripes is just an example of a standard uniform feature used by many teams.

 

 

As to the question: there is currently no special rivalry between the Mets and either the Giants or the Dodgers.  Though in the first few years of the Mets' existence, the visits by either of those teams tended to be very big deals.   Indeed, in the Giants' first trip back to their old ballpark in the Mets' first season of 1962, there were on-field introductions of the players — only the Giants' players!  

 

 

 

In these introductions, one of the biggest hands goes to Willie McCovey, who never played in New York.  This shows that, at that time, there were still plenty of New York fans who remained interested in the Giants, and who were very excited to see the team's young star.

 

One might assume that Willie Mays would get the biggest reaction.  He sure got a good hand.  But this was mitigated by the fact that, only a few weeks before, in a game between the two teams in San Francisco, Mays had initiated a brawl with the Mets by punching Mets' second baseman Elio Chacon after a pickoff play at second.

Anyway, this game was on June 1.  It was so early in the Mets' existence that even the team's initial identity as lovable losers had not fully been formed.  By the next season, fans rooting for the Mets would easily outnumber fans supporting the visiting Giants or Dodgers.  And there has never been a reason to rekindle any rivalry between the Mets and either the Giants or the Dodgers.  As @Brian E points out, the only postseason meeting between the Mets and either of those teams (1988 NLCS vs. the Dodgers) didn't really change that, as the Mets had a hot rivalry going with the Cardinals at that point.

It is the Yankees who have sense of rivalry with the Dodgers, based on the history of so many World Series matchups in the 1940s and 1950s, and continuing after the move into the prime years for me as a young boomer, 1977, 1978, and 1981.  

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13 minutes ago, TrueYankee26 said:

Yankees dominance helped run the Giants and Dodgers out of town too, along with MLB wanting teams in fast growing California

 

The world doesn't revolve around the Yankees.  There's myriad reasons the Dodgers and Giants moved.  "Yankee dominance" is near the bottom of those, if even one at all.

 

Back to rivalries - at this point, 90% of rivalries are between fans only.  The players move from team-to-team all the time, share agents, socialize together both on and off the field (when I was a kid, socializing with an opposing player on the field would have been an act of treason.)  The players are all on the same team - the union.  Hell, I'd bet a good number of Eagles are from Texas and grew up rooting for the Cowboys, and some of the Cowboys all-time greats are from the Phila area, so I doubt they hate each other.

 

It's super easy for fans of NYM, PHI, and WAS to maintain rivalries because it's so damn cheap and easy to get to each other's parks and back in the same night (or at least to/from PHL since it's in the middle... maybe NY to WAS is a little much, but NYY/BOS is easy to do.  But players don't care.

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42 minutes ago, TrueYankee26 said:

Yankees dominance helped run the Giants and Dodgers out of town too, along with MLB wanting teams in fast growing California

Please show us one contemporaneous quote validating that statement.

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It is not true guys, but it is interesting that they high tailed out of town during the 50s when the Yankees were owning MLB for the last 30+ years. Jeez.

 

It would be interesting if they had stuck around for another decade while the Yankees had their lean CBS years.

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4 minutes ago, Sec19Row53 said:

Please show us one contemporaneous quote validating that statement.

 

Whatever it is, the counterpoint is the Mets. 

Really, it is true three teams in NYC may be too many, but two NL teams on their own couldn't survive. They just decided to move at the same time.

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47 minutes ago, TrueYankee26 said:

Yankees dominance helped run the Giants and Dodgers out of town too, along with MLB wanting teams in fast growing California

 

What drove the Dodgers out of town was the intransigence of Robert Moses.

The team wanted to build a new stadium (at its own expense) at the site of where the Nets' arena now stands.  What the Dodgers needed from the City was the consolidation of the many plots of land that would make up the proposed stadium's footprint, and the utilisation of condemnation to get those plots from the current owners (the latter being the same mechamism that the Los Angeles city government used in order to obtain Chavez Ravine for the park that the Dodgers would actually build).

However, power in the City was was concentrated in one man, Moses, who held many titles in both the City and State governments.  Moses actually wielded an unimaginable degree of power, greater than that of any elected official.  And, while some of Moses's projects are still enjoyable (notably Jones Beach), his implementation was extremely arrogant, and the overall impact of his works has been largely negative, in terms of siting highways in many of the wrong places.  (I am fortunate that my childhood neighbourhood, which was slated to be destroyed by yet another of Moses's ill-considered projects, was saved by community opposition and by the eventual fading of his longstanding power.)

Moses simply turned away repeated entreaties by the Dodgers' owner Walter O'Malley regarding the proposed new stadium.  O'Malley eventually tired of this futile game, and looked elsewhere.  By the time anyone else New York City's government understood what the unaccountable Moses had done, it was too late.  By that time, O'Malley had already reached agreements with the very accommodating city government of Los Angeles, agreements he was not about to break.  Also, all that the New York people could offer at that point was a site in Flushing Meadow Park, the eventual location of Shea Stadium.

 

The popular twisting of history says that O'Malley abandoned Brooklyn.  Reality is that Moses kicked O'Malley out of Brooklyn.

The detailed history of this period is documented beautifully in the book The Dodgers Move West by Neil Sullivan.
 

 

27 minutes ago, BBTV said:

The world doesn't revolve around the Yankees.  There's myriad reasons the Dodgers and Giants moved.  "Yankee dominance" is near the bottom of those, if even one at all.

 

This is largely true as it pertains to the Dodgers.  The Dodgers could easily have stayed, and could have thrived, if only the bum Moses had not given O'Malley the back of his hand. 

Also, Yankee fans and Dodger fans were two distinct groups.  Nowadays (and going back to my time in the 1970s and probably a bit earlier), fans of the Yankees and the Mets can be found all over the City. (I was a Yankee fan in Queens.) But in the 1950s and before, the Dodgers appealed mainly to Brooklyn.  This is not to say that the Dodgers didn't have fans in the suburbs, too.  They certainly did.  In fact, the need to cater to those suburban fans, both with parking and with LIRR access, was the main reason that O'Malley sought to move the Dodgers from Ebbetts Field to a new stadium right at the Atlantic Avenue LIRR terminal.  But within the City, Dodger fans were found overwhelmingly in Brooklyn.  So the success of the Yankees had very little effect on the Dodgers.

With the Giants it is a different story.  The Giants had been the primary team in New York, right up until Babe Ruth seized control and propelled the Yankees to the forefront of all baseball.  No one hated this more than John McGraw, the Giants' manager (and part owner), who as a player and manager had been the foremost exemplar of the style of play that predominated before Ruth and the lively ball.  The Giants remained a big deal into the 1930s; but the team's profile steadily shrank as the Yankees produced dynasty after dynasty.  Newer generations of Giant fans were just not being produced, as New York's kids (outside of Brooklyn) were mostly lured by the Yankees' glory and greatness.  So the magnitude of the Yankees did indeed have a lot to do with the Giants' need to leave New York.

By the way, the Giants were prepared to move to Minneapolis, the site of their top farm club.  It was only after the O'Malley concluded that talking to the City (in the person of Moses) was pointless that he conferred with Giants owner Horace Stoneham to float the idea of both teams moving together to California.  Stoneham liked the idea, and found San Francisco officials very receptive.  (He also wound up really enjoying the cosmpolitan feel of that city.)  A very good book about the Giants, covering Stoneham's entire ownership through 1976, is Forty Years a Giant by Steven Treder.
 

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36 minutes ago, TrueYankee26 said:

It is not true guys, but it is interesting that they high tailed out of town during the 50s when the Yankees were owning MLB for the last 30+ years. Jeez.

 

It would be interesting if they had stuck around for another decade while the Yankees had their lean CBS years.

If it isn't true, and I knew it wasn't, why did you say it as a statement of fact?

 

Put another way - why shouldn't I just put you on ignore if you knowingly are just gonna spout things you know aren't true?

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Just now, Sec19Row53 said:

If it isn't true, and I knew it wasn't, why did you say it as a statement of fact?

 

Put another way - why shouldn't I just put you on ignore if you knowingly are just gonna spout things you know aren't true?

Well just do it. Put me on ignore lol. I take it you are not from the wrong side of the tracks. Where people just actually do it rather than talk about it.

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from my experience as a Mets fan, I think there's more of a mutual respect than anything. most Twitter interactions between Mets and Dodgers fans I've seen this season have been along the lines of "see you in the NLCS bro" "hell yeah bro can't wait."

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On 7/14/2022 at 11:10 PM, sayahh said:

Also Mets paid tribute to Dodgers (blue), Giants (orange) and Yankees (pinstripes).  Did I miss another element?  And they were never interstate rivals since Dodgers moved to LA and Mets came out in, what, 1962?

Coincindentally, the Mets colors are also the colors of NYC's city flag.

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Ralph Fiennes is starring in a play about Robert Moses called Straight Line Crazy. I think some service is streaming it for those of us not within the service area of the MTA, which, were it up to Moses, would be everywhere.

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