Dodger Stadium, under construction, Jan. 8, 2013.
Major League Baseball’s season kicks off Sunday night, with the two Texas teams going at it, but the rivalry most worth watching in 2013 could just be the one in our own backyards between the Dodgers and Angels.
Both teams have been on a spending spree lately. The Angel’s signed left-fielder Josh Hamilton to a six-year $125-million contract during the off season, and not to be outdone, the Dodgers enlisted the services of Korean pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu and Cuban outfielder Yasiel Puig, neither of whom have played in MLB at the cost of over $100 million.
"I think our guys are in a good spot and that they know what's at stake, they know that the ownership has gone beyond the norm to make this franchise as great as it has been in the past to revitalize it. I think that they pay attention to that and they know that," said Dodgers' General Manager Ned Colletti. "Does that mean that they're going to be able to do more than they've typically done? What we have to do is keep it steady, keep our focus on what you can do, what you can control and who you are."
Despite an arms race that seems equally matched, the Dodgers are leading in the rhetoric department. Club co-owner Magic Johnson recently told the media that if the Dodgers don’t make it to the World Series it will be considered a bad year at the club. Big money, big expectations.
"I think we're going to have ourselves a good season," said Colletti. "I don't predict how you're going to finish, or how many games you're going to win or this or that. That's for people who don't have any skin in the game or don't have a true bearing on it.
History has shown that big spending doesn’t necessitate World Series wins, so what other changes are being made that will transform the Dodgers into a trophy winning side? Do the Dodgers have the depth and leadership to compete? Will the hype and pressure inspire or distract?
Ned Colletti, general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers