Despite roster turnover, pitching injuries, and reliance on "the kids," the Dodgers don't seem to be tripped up by any of the same pitfalls the Yankees have encountered recently, still winning massive lump sums of games annually.
In the postseason? The Dodgers look comparatively feeble, taking home only the 2020 World Series over the past 30 years, despite becoming the class of MLB around 2013. But that rolls off Betts' back, too. Imagine if the 111-win Red Sox or Yankees had lost in the Division Series last year?
Betts has now been involved in two of the game's massive rivalries. Yankees-Red Sox remains the class of MLB's offering, no matter how the two teams are currently constructed. Despite America's protests, those games are guaranteed Sunday Night Baseball slots multiple times annually. And while it seems unlikely Betts will ever sniff Cardinals-Cubs, he has gotten the chance to be involved in a developing war between the Padres and Dodgers.
It's been fun! The fans certainly don't like each other. The Padres spend like the Yankees, but win like the ... well, the modern Yankees, 2022 NLDS triumph aside. But ... the clash isn't in the same class. Say what you will about Boston, but they probably wouldn't play a Crying Aaron Judge meme on the scoreboard after taking the first of three at Fenway.
Luckily, when given the chance to pick between the two rivalries, Betts tried to hesitate until he was off the field and wouldn't have to give an answer, then gave the correct one.
Dodgers-Padres isn't the same as Yankees-Red Sox. Appreciate you, Mookie Betts.
Dodgers-Padres is getting there. It's nice. But Yankees-Red Sox is actively more hostile on both sides, which Betts pinpointed properly.
After all, the Dodgers and Padres will never be the sole focus in their California paradises. The Los Angeles Lakers are still the top pressure cooker in LA, and San Diego is far too beautiful for a rough Padres series loss in May to make a dent in the local mood.
But Yankees-Sox? If New York enters a road series in Boston with an awful roster, and everybody acknowledges the roster is awful, then proceeds to lose that road series, all hell will still break loose on WFAN. Same with the Sox. "Why aren't our bad players PLAYING WITH PRIDE?!?"
Until the Dodgers and Padres pack up and move to Worcester and Brooklyn, they'll never reach their full rivalry potential.