No major league grudges for Down Under openers

Wed Mar 19, 2014 6:31am EDT
 
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By Nick Mulvenney

SYDNEY (Reuters) - The Arizona Diamondbacks are not planning to reignite their feud with the Los Angeles Dodgers in this weekend's Major League season-openers in Australia but if a volatile situation arises, there will be no backing down.

Three separate incidents over the last three seasons, including a celebratory dip in a swimming pool after their last meeting, have made the rivalry between the National League West contenders one of the most talked about in baseball.

Arizona coach Kirk Gibson was one of those ejected after the second, a bench-clearing brawl last June, and said such incidents were not scripted, not personal and more akin to fighting between brothers.

"Our focus is on winning the game, it's not like we're sitting here planning, 'we're going to do this, we're going to do that,' it doesn't work that way," he told reporters at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Wednesday.

"That was a very volatile situation, you don't usually pre-meditate those situations. They're the Western Division champs, we owe their ass. When the Giants won the World Series, we owed them, we took them down.

"Our focus is on taking these guys down, and the other teams in our division so we can get back into the playoffs and try and win a world championship.

"Along the way, whatever comes along, we have to be up to it. If that happens, we just have to deal with it. And they're going to do the same."

Last June's spat, like another in 2011 that led to the ejection of Dodger Clayton Kershaw, came about when a pitcher struck a batter with the ball.   Continued...

 
Arizona Diamondbacks center fielder A.J. Pollock dives but cannot make the catch of a ball hit by Los Angeles Dodgers' Michael Young during the eighth inning of their MLB National League baseball game in Phoenix, Arizona, September 17, 2013. REUTERS/Ralph D. Freso