Justin Turner: All NL West Opponents Are Dodgers’ Rival

Throughout their rich history the Los Angeles Dodgers have long been linked to rivalries with the San Francisco Giants and New York Yankees. But over recent years — and in particular this season — there has been talk of the San Diego Padres having emerged as a rival.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts refuted that notion during Spring Training, citing a lack of postseason history with the Padres. “When you’re talking about those types of rivalries, that’s more generational and withstood the test of time,” Roberts said of Dodgers and Giants, and Yankees and Boston Red Sox.

“Right now, I think there’s more to a rivalry than just geography.”

As the Dodgers and Padres were playing seven thrilling head-to-head matchups, Fernando Tatis Jr. deemed it the “biggest rivalry in baseball.” That sentiment is in line with what Justin Turner expressed on a recent “Holding Kourt Podcast” episode, explaining his belief every National League West opponent is considered a rival for the Dodgers:

“It’s so funny. Everyone wants to talk about rivalry, rivalry, rivalry. I feel like in your division, in the NL West, there’s five teams and we play all those teams 19 times. Every game against those guys is essentially, in some shape or form, a rivalry. Because we play each other so much.

“The Giants-Dodgers obviously has the most history, goes way back and that’s a deep-rooted rivalry, almost more between the fans than the players. The way today’s game is, there’s just not that much animosity between players anymore. Everyone kind of gets along, except we did clear benches twice (against the Padres) — I mean, we didn’t do anything.

“So, I don’t know. Every team in our division is a rival and all those games are equally important. The Padre games aren’t any more important than the Giant games or the Diamondback games or the Rockie games. It’s fun for the fans, I understand that. It’s fun for them to get into it and root on their favorite team, whether that be the Dodgers, the Padres, and that’s fine. That’s what makes baseball fun. You put on your team color, cheer and get after it.

“But for us, every game is equally as important. No matter who we’re playing.”

The Dodgers have long held every divisional matchup carries significance, and though Turner identified every NL West opponent as a de facto rival, doing such also removes any one team or matchup as having added significance.

The Dodgers oddly are yet to see much of their division outside of the Colorado Rockies and Padres, with the current series against the Arizona Diamondbacks marking their first meeting of the season. To follow this weekend is the first series of the year between the Dodgers and Giants.

Seager downplays Dodgers, Padres

When the Dodgers faced the Padres at Petco Park last month, Corey Seager also downplayed the specific matchup in favor of all NL West series being key.

“I think it’s just another division series. All division series are important,” he said. You’re trying to go out there and win a series, win tonight, and that’s kind of where it ends. … Every series is important, every game is important.

“That’s kind of what we preach, is winning series. So every series you’re going out there and trying to win. That’s kind of the mindset we have, it’s the mindset we’ve had for a while now and we’re just trying to continue it.”

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