2020 NLDS: Have the Padres Become the Dodgers Main Rival?

SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 14: Trent Grisham #2 of the San Diego Padres is congratulated by Fernando Tatis Jr. #23 after hitting a solo home run during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Petco Park on September 14, 2020 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 14: Trent Grisham #2 of the San Diego Padres is congratulated by Fernando Tatis Jr. #23 after hitting a solo home run during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Petco Park on September 14, 2020 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images) /

The San Diego Padres did the unthinkable to end the 1996 MLB season.

The first on-field missive in this rivalry was sent 24 years ago. The Padres and Dodgers played a memorable three-game series to close out the 1996 season. It was pretty simple what was at stake, the Padres needed just one win at Dodger Stadium to clinch a playoff berth. However, if they could sweep the series, then the Friars would capture the franchise’s second-ever NL West title.

Easier said than done as the Dodgers were playing the best baseball in the majors down the stretch run. In typical fashion of the Padres team’s from that era, they did the unthinkable and swept the Dodgers to win the division. It was the usual suspects (Tony Gwynn, Ken Caminiti and Steve Finley) that came through in the clutch. But, it was another Gwynn that brought San Diego to its feet. Chris Gwynn drove the third pitch of his at-bat to the gap in right-center that scored Finley and Caminiti in the 11th inning for a Padres 4-2 win.

Suddenly, the gap between the two franchises closed significantly with this victory.

The brawl changed the tone in the rivalry between the Dodgers and the Padres.

It was Fight Night at Petco Park in April 2013. The Carlos Quentin and Zack Greinke fight is an important moment in this rivalry. It was one of the more involved baseball brawls in recent times and set the tone between the Padres and Dodgers moving forward.

There had been a history between Quentin and Greinke as the quirky righthander came high and tight on the slugger in a 2009 game. Old habits are hard to break, but the Dodger starter didn’t expect Quentin’s reaction after being hit in the shoulder. The results were the Padres outfielder charging the mound and fracturing Greinke’s collarbone upon impact.

The dispute continued in the player’s enclosed parking area at Petco Park following the game. Dodgers Matt Kemp wanted to confront Quentin about his actions toward his teammate, but the two were quickly separated. Collectively, the Padres were tired of the Dodgers being the ruling class in their own ballpark.

Did Greinke throw intentionally inside to Quentin? We can all speculate, but only he knows and Greinke isn’t about to share that information with us anytime soon.