Are Angels gaining on Dodgers in LA rivalry?

Are Angels gaining on Dodgers in LA rivalry?

Are Angels gaining on Dodgers in LA rivalry?
TEMPE, Ariz. -- With the Angels signing two marquee players this offseason, and the Dodgers still trying to sift through their ownership situation, the question beckons: Does Southern California still belong to the Dodgers?

Prompted about that on Tuesday, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said his team still rules the Southland.

"It's like the Mets and the Yankees," Mattingly said. "The Yankees are the team. I'm not badmouthing the Angels at all and Mr. [Arte] Moreno and Mike [Scioscia] do a great job and had a great run, but we're the Dodgers and that's not going to change."

The Dodgers, formerly of Brooklyn, certainly have the edge in history.

The Angels are the last Southern California team to win a World Series (in 2002), but since the franchise's start in 1961, they've been beaten out by the Dodgers in basically every aspect -- playoff appearances (16-9), pennants (8-1), championships (4-1) and, for every season until 2011, overall attendance.

"I know what he's trying to say because there's a lot of history there," said second baseman Howie Kendrick, who has spent his entire career with the Angels. "[The Dodgers] have a lot of fans -- L.A., Hollywood area. But at the same time, with all we've done this year, I'd say there's a lot of Angels fans, too."

In many ways, the Dodgers' standing as the most popular team in Los Angeles may never change, especially since the Angels reside in Anaheim. But now, with Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson on board with the Angels, and an ongoing bankruptcy sale impacting the Dodgers' payroll, perhaps things can start swaying in the Angels' direction.

Mattingly, whose playing days coincided with his Yankees on a dry spell and the Mets winning the 1986 World Series, doesn't think so.

"At the end of the day," he said, "the Dodgers are the Dodgers."

But right-hander Dan Haren kind of disagrees, saying Dodgers-Angels is "kind of closer" than Yankees-Mets.

"I guess it's kind of the same situation like with the Lakers, and now the Clippers are a better team -- but I think our tradition is a little better than the Clippers'," Haren said. "[The Dodgers and Angels] draw so many fans on the field and they usually put a good product out on the field. There are, it seems like, just as many passionate Angels fans now as Dodgers fans. It's just, we're more located east of L.A., the Orange County area."