Major League Baseball rivalries
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Rivalries in the Major League Baseball have occurred between many teams and cities. Rivalries have arisen for many different reasons, the primary ones including geographic proximity, familiarity with opponents, various incidents, and cultural, linguistic, or national pride.
- 1 Background
- 2 American League
- 3 National League
- 3.1 National League East
- 3.2 National League Central
- 3.3 National League West
- 4 Interleague
- 4.1 Background
- 4.2 Battle of the Beltways: Baltimore Orioles vs. Washington Nationals
- 4.3 Crosstown Classic: Chicago White Sox vs. Chicago Cubs
- 4.4 Battle of Ohio: Cincinnati Reds vs. Cleveland Indians
- 4.5 Show-Me Series: Kansas City Royals vs. St. Louis Cardinals
- 4.6 Freeway Series: Los Angeles Angels vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
- 4.7 Subway Series: New York Mets vs. New York Yankees
- 4.8 Bay Bridge Series: Oakland Athletics vs. San Francisco Giants
- 4.9 Citrus Series: Miami Marlins vs. Tampa Bay Rays
- 5 Historical
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
In the "Original 16" era (1901–60), there were eight teams in each league and teams in each league played each other 22 times a season. With the second American League incarnation of the Washington Senators (now the Texas Rangers) and the Los Angeles Angels entering play as expansion teams in 1961, MLB increased the total number of games American League teams played to 162, which meant teams would play each other 18 times a season. The National League did not implement this until the following year when the New York Mets and Houston Colt .45s (now the Houston Astros) entered play.
In 1969, with the San Diego Padres, Seattle Pilots, Kansas City Royals, and Montreal Expos entering play as expansion teams, MLB split both leagues into two divisions with six teams each. Teams played a total of 90 intra-divisional games, playing teams within the division 18 times each and 72 inter-divisional games, playing each team in the other division 12 times. However, in 1977, the addition of the Seattle Mariners and Toronto Blue Jays reduced the number of intra-divisional games American League teams played to 78, as each team would play each team within the division 13 times. However, they still played each team in the other division 12 times, but the total number of inter-divisional games increased to 84. The National League did not institute this until 1993, when the Florida Marlins and Colorado Rockies entered play.
In 1994, MLB split each league into three divisions, but kept the 1993 format in scheduling. In 1997, with the MLB adopting interleague play, the schedules were changed. The schedule for interleague play comprised 84 three-game series, namely six series (18 games) for each of fourteen AL teams and as many as six for each of 16 NL teams.
MLB changed its scheduling format in 2001, further intensifying division matchups throughout the league. The new "unbalanced schedule" allowed for additional games in each season between divisional rivals, replacing additional series with teams outside the division. Due to the change, division rivals now played each other 17 or more times each season. The scheduling drew criticism both when it was enacted and after the fact, with some analysts even positing that the unbalanced schedule hurt intra-divisional play.
With the Astros moving to the American League West in 2013, MLB changed its scheduling formula as a result of each division having five teams. Teams play a total of 76 intra-divisional games, playing teams within the division 19 times each, and six or seven games against other teams in their leagues and 20 interleague games. The move of the Astros led to interleague play throughout the season. The number of interleague games against natural rivals was reduced from six to four.
American League EastEdit
Boston Red Sox vs. New York YankeesEdit
The Red Sox–Yankees rivalry is one of the oldest, most famous and fiercest rivalries in American sports. For more than 100 years, the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees have been intense rivals.
The rivalry is often a heated subject of conversation in the Northeastern United States. Since the inception of the wild card team and an added Division Series, the AL East rivals have squared off in the American League Championship Series three times, with the Yankees winning in 1999 and 2003 and the Sox winning in 2004. In addition, the teams have twice met in the last regular-season series of a season to decide the league title, in 1904 (when the Red Sox won) and 1949 (when the Yankees won).
The teams also finished tied for first in 1978, when the Yankees won a high-profile one-game playoff for the division title. The 1978 division race is memorable for the Red Sox having held a 14-game lead over the Yankees more than halfway through the season. Similarly, the 2004 ALCS is famous for the Yankees leading 3–0 and ultimately losing a best-of-7 series. The Red Sox comeback is the only time in baseball history to date that a team has come back from a 3–0 deficit to win a series.
The rivalry is often termed the "greatest rivalry in all of sports." Games between the two teams often generate a great deal of interest and get extensive media coverage, including being broadcast on national television. In the stands it is very common for Yankees fans and Red Sox fans to taunt each other and more than occasionally get into fistfights, so security at both Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park is heavy when either team comes to town.
Boston Red Sox vs. Tampa Bay RaysEdit
The Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays have a rivalry that has been the focus of memorable incidents over the years, despite the fact that, as of 2019, the Rays have only existed for 21 years. The two teams met in the 2008 ALCS with the Rays winning the series en route to their first World Series appearance. The two teams have had many notable incidents over the years, including:
- August 29, 2000: The Devil Rays' (as they were then known) Gerald Williams is hit by a pitch thrown by the Red Sox' Pedro Martínez. Williams charges the mound and lands a right hook on Martinez, and the benches clear (by the end of the game, multiple Rays hitters had been ejected).
- September 29, 2000: Rays closer Roberto Hernandez strikes out the Red Sox' Trot Nixon, eliminating the Sox from playoff contention; Hernandez sarcastically waves goodbye to the Red Sox team as the Rays celebrate on the mound.
- May 5, 2002: Nixon throws his bat at Rays pitcher Ryan Rupe, who had hit the Sox' Nomar Garciaparra and Shea Hillenbrand earlier in the game. Red Sox pitcher Frank Castillo dove into the ensuing melee, and was suspended for five games (as was Nixon, for four). Rupe got away with a fine.
- April 24, 2005: The third game of a Rays/Red Sox series saw Bronson Arroyo hit Aubrey Huff; Rays starter Lance Carter retaliates by throwing at Manny Ramirez. Ramirez subsequently hit a home run off Carter, who then drilled David Ortiz, causing a melee in which six players were ejected.
- March 27, 2006: Red Sox' Julián Tavárez is suspended for 10 games following a brawl at the plate against Joey Gathright.
- June 5, 2008: James Shields of the Rays throws at the Sox' Coco Crisp (in retaliation for an earlier play in which Crisp had slid hard into Akinori Iwamura at second base). Crisp charges the mound and brawls with Shields, and both benches clear.
- May 25, 2012: Dustin Pedroia is hit by a pitch thrown by the Rays' Burke Badenhop; Franklin Morales retaliates by hitting Luke Scott. Benches clear, but no punches were thrown (although the Rays' B.J. Upton later exchanges harsh words with a Sox fan in the Fenway Park stands).
- June 10, 2013: Matt Joyce of the Rays hits a home run off of the Red Sox' John Lackey. In Joyce's next at-bat, he almost hits another home run, but is eventually thrown out at first base; Lackey has some choice words for Joyce as the two teams walk off the field. Lackey then hits Joyce with a pitch, prompting a bench-clearing brawl. The acrimony even spilled over onto Twitter, where the two teams regularly traded barbs.
- July 29, 2013: Umpire Jerry Meals incorrectly ruled Daniel Nava of the Red Sox out at home plate in the eighth inning against the Rays which would have tied the game. The Rays eventually held on for a 2-1 victory. Red Sox manager John Farrell was ejected for arguing the call, in which Meals later admitted was incorrect.
- May 25, 2014: Yunel Escobar, who had just doubled home two runs to give the Rays an 8-3 lead, takes third base on defensive indifference. Red Sox catcher David Ross, in the Boston dugout, trades barbs with Escobar; Escobar retaliates and is then shoved by Red Sox left fielder Jonny Gomes, a former Ray, and the benches clear. Gomes, Escobar and Sean Rodriguez are all ejected.
- May 30, 2014: In the first inning, David Price hits David Ortiz with a pitch; manager John Farrell comes out to argue and is quickly ejected. Three innings later, Price drills Mike Carp but is not ejected, and both benches clear. Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo, who had taken over for Farrell, is ejected, replaced by third base coach Brian Butterfield. In the top of the sixth inning, Sox reliever Brandon Workman throws behind Evan Longoria and is immediately ejected, as was Butterfield.
- July 27, 2014: David Ortiz hits a home run in the 3rd inning at Tropicana Field, unleashing a bat flip towards the Red Sox dugout in the process. Rays pitchers David Price and Chris Archer take exception to Ortiz' actions, accusing him of showboating and thinking that he is "bigger than the game of baseball." Ortiz retorts that Archer is "not the right guy to be saying that" and defends his own actions, saying that "It's pretty much what I do."
American League WestEdit
Lone Star Series: Texas Rangers vs. Houston AstrosEdit
The Lone Star Series (also, Silver Boot Series) is a Major League Baseball rivalry featuring Texas' two major league franchises, the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros. It is an outgrowth of the "natural rivalry" established by MLB as part of interleague play as the Rangers are a member of the American League and the Astros were a member of the National League until 2012.
During interleague play, the winner of the 6-game series was awarded the Silver Boot. A 30-inch (760 mm) tall display of a size-15 cowboy boot cast in silver, complete with a custom, handmade spur. If the series was split (3-to-3), the winner was the club which scored the most runs over the course of the series.
In 2013, the Astros joined the American League West with the Rangers and changed their rivalry from an interleague to an intra-division rivalry, the Astros played their first game in the American League against the Rangers on Sunday Night Baseball that season. In 2015, both teams made the playoffs and were in a tight division race during most of the season.
Los Angeles Angels vs. Texas RangersEdit
The Rangers and Angels rivalry has developed in recent years due to the amount of former players from each team playing for the division rival. Angels players such as Mike Napoli, Darren Oliver, Vladimir Guerrero, Bengie Molina, Kevin Jepsen, Bartolo Colón, and Texas players Josh Hamilton, C. J. Wilson, Ian Kinsler, David Murphy, and Yorvit Torrealba are all acquisitions the two division rivals made of former rival players. In 2012 C. J. Wilson played a joke on former teammate Mike Napoli in tweeting his phone number, causing Napoli to exchange words with Wilson. The feuds go back to Angels Adam Kennedy and Rangers Gerald Laird arguing leading to punches being thrown multiple times causing small fights between the teams in the past.
National League EastEdit
Atlanta Braves vs. New York MetsEdit
The Braves–Mets rivalry is a rivalry between the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets. Both clubs are members of Major League Baseball's National League (NL) East division. The rivalry between the two clubs was particularly fierce during the late 1990s and early 2000s. as both teams competed for postseason berths and, most notably, met in the 1999 NLCS.
New York Mets vs. Philadelphia PhilliesEdit
The Mets–Phillies rivalry is a rivalry between the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies. Both clubs are members of MLB's National League (NL) East division. The rivalry between the two clubs is said to be among the most fiercely contested in the NL. The two NL East divisional rivals have met each other recently in playoff, division, and Wild Card races.
Aside from several brawls in the 1980s, the rivalry remained relatively low-key before the 2006 season, as the teams had seldom been equally good at the same time. A notable moment in their early meetings was Jim Bunning's perfect game on Father's Day of 1964, the first perfect game in Phillies history, which happened when the Mets were on a losing streak. The Phillies were near the bottom of the NL East when the Mets won the 1969 World Series and the National League pennant in 1973, while the Mets did not enjoy success in the late 1970s when the Phillies won three straight division championships. Although both teams each won a World Series in the 1980s, the Mets were not serious contenders in the Phillies' playoff years (1980, 1981, and 1983), nor did the Phillies seriously contend in the Mets' playoff years (1986 and 1988). The Mets were the Majors' worst team when the Phillies won the NL pennant in 1993, and the Phillies could not post a winning record in either of the Mets' wild-card-winning seasons of 1999 or 2000, when the Mets faced the New York Yankees in the 2000 World Series.
As the rivalry has intensified in recent years, the teams have battled more often for playoff position. The Mets won the division in 2006, while the Phillies won five consecutive division titles from 2007 to 2011. The Phillies' 2007 championship was won on the last day of the season as the Mets lost a seven-game lead with 17 games remaining. The Phillies broke the Curse of Billy Penn to win the 2008 World Series, while the Mets' last title came in the 1986 World Series.
In 2015, the Mets won the National League Championship Series for their fifth pennant while the Phillies entered a rebuild phase. The Mets beat the Phillies 14 times and lost 5 for a lopsided season series. The season still provided contentious moments such as, Mets pitcher Matt Harvey drilling Phillies 2nd baseman Chase Utley in retaliation for Mets players getting hit by Phillies pitchers, a benches clearing argument between Phillies coach Larry Bowa in regards to a quick pitch by Hansel Robles and a bat flip by Daniel Murphy.
National League CentralEdit
I-94 Series: Chicago Cubs vs. Milwaukee BrewersEdit
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The Brewers–Cubs rivalry (also known as the I-94 rivalry due to two ballparks being 83.3 miles from each other off Interstate 94) refers to games between the Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs.
Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis CardinalsEdit
The Cardinals–Cubs rivalry refers to games between the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs. The Cubs lead the series 1,091–1,044 through 2010, while the Cardinals lead in National League pennants with 19 against 17 for the Cubs. However, the Cardinals have a clear edge when it comes to World Series successes, having won 11 championships, while the Cubs have only won 3. Cardinals-Cubs games see numerous visiting fans in either St. Louis' Busch Stadium or Chicago's Wrigley Field. When the National League split into two, and then three divisions, the Cardinals and Cubs remained together. They had 3 pennant races in 1930, 1935, and 1945. The two teams met in the World Series of the nineteenth century when the Cardinals, then known as the Browns, were part of the American Association. The teams tied in 1885 and St. Louis won in 1886. St. Louis, however, has officially vacated their history from the AA. The first modern postseason meeting between the two teams was the 2015 NLDS, which the Cubs won 3 games to 1 before losing the 2015 NLCS to the New York Mets. The Cubs would go on to win the World Series over the Cleveland Indians the following year. Ben Zobrist, who grew up a Cardinals fan in the Peoria area, was named the World Series MVP for the Cubs.
National League WestEdit
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Francisco GiantsEdit
The Dodgers–Giants rivalry began in the late 19th century when both clubs were based in New York City, with the Dodgers playing in Brooklyn and the Giants playing at the Polo Grounds in Manhattan. After the 1957 season, Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley decided to move the team to Los Angeles for financial reasons, among others. Along the way, he managed to convince Giants owner Horace Stoneham (who was considering moving his team to Minnesota) to preserve the rivalry by bringing his team to California as well. New York baseball fans were stunned and heartbroken by the move. Given that the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco have long been competitors in economic, cultural, and political arenas, the new venue in California became fertile ground for its transplantation.
Each team's ability to have endured for over a century while leaping across an entire continent, as well as the rivalry's growth from a cross-city to a cross-state engagement, have led to the rivalry being considered one of the greatest in sports history.
Unlike many other historic baseball match-ups in which one team remains dominant for most of their history, the Dodgers–Giants rivalry has exhibited a persistent balance in the respective successes of the two teams. While the Giants have more wins, National League pennants and World Series titles in franchise history, the Dodgers have won the National League West twelve times compared to the Giants' eight. The 2014 World Series was the Giants' third championship since moving to California, while the Dodgers' have won five, the most recent in the 1988 World Series.
Early discussions about interleague playEdit
Interleague or interconference matchups have long been the norm in other professional sports leagues such as the National Football League. Regular-season interleague play was discussed for baseball's major leagues as early as the 1930s. In December 1956, Major League owners considered a proposal by Cleveland general manager and minority-owner Hank Greenberg to implement limited interleague play beginning in 1958.
Under Greenberg's proposal, each team would continue to play 154-games in the season, 126 of which would be within the league, and 28 against the 8 clubs in the other league. The interleague games would all be played during a period immediately following the All-Star Game. Notably, under Greenberg's proposal, all results would count in regular season game standings and league statistics. While this proposal was not adopted, the current system shares many elements. Bill Veeck predicted in 1963 that Major League Baseball would someday have interleague play. The concept did not take hold until the 1990s (at least in part as an effort to renew the public's interest in MLB following the 1994 players' strike).
First Interleague gamesEdit
MLB's first regular season interleague game took place on June 12, 1997, when the Texas Rangers hosted the San Francisco Giants at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. There were four interleague games on the schedule that night, but the other three were played on the West Coast, so the Giants–Rangers matchup started a few hours earlier than the others. Texas' Darren Oliver threw the game's first pitch and San Francisco outfielder Glenallen Hill was the first designated hitter used in a regular-season game by a National League team. San Francisco's Stan Javier hit the first home run in interleague play, and the Giants won the game 4–3.
For the first five seasons of Interleague Play, each division played against the same division from the other league (NL East vs. AL East, NL Central vs. AL Central and NL West vs. AL West), typically scheduled to alternate between home and away in consecutive years. However, in 2002, a new format to Interleague Play was instituted where teams play Interleague games against various divisions. Matchups which had been of particular interest prior to this format—mainly geographic rivals—were preserved. This is expected to be the continuing format of the interleague schedule. Corresponding divisions however, were skipped once when this rotation began, but were put back in the rotation in 2006.
From 2002–12, all interleague games were played prior to the All-Star Game. Most games were played in June, though May games have been scheduled since 2005. Among the 224 interleague pairs of teams, 11 played six games every year, which were scheduled in two three-game series "home and home", or one at each home ballpark. Five of these matches feature two teams in the same city or in neighboring cities, where they wholly or partly share territorial rights. Six are regional matches at greater distance, four of which are in the same state.
Battle of the Beltways: Baltimore Orioles vs. Washington NationalsEdit
Known as the Beltway Battle and as the Battle of the Beltways, after Washington's Capital Beltway (I-95/I-495) and Baltimore's Baltimore Beltway (I-695). The two teams first met in 2006, one year after the Montreal Expos relocated from Montreal to Washington, D.C., to become the Washington Nationals. Much of this rivalry is dominated by off-the field issues. Baltimore owner Peter Angelos publicly opposed relocating the Expos to Washington, which he believed was a part of his territorial rights after the departure of the second incarnation of the Washington Senators after the 1971 season. There are also controversies surrounding the value of the Nationals' television rights and their coverage on the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network.
Crosstown Classic: Chicago White Sox vs. Chicago CubsEdit
The White Sox-Cubs rivalry (also known as the BP Crosstown Cup, Crosstown Classic, The Windy City Showdown, Red Line Series, City Series, Crosstown Series, Crosstown Cup or Crosstown Showdown) refers to the rivalry between two Major League Baseball teams that play their home games in Chicago, Illinois. The Chicago Cubs of the NL play their home games at Wrigley Field located on the city's North side, while the Chicago White Sox of the AL play their home games at Guaranteed Rate Field on the city's South side. The terms "North Siders" and "South Siders" are synonymous with the respective teams and their fans, setting up an enduring rivalry. The Chicago Transit Authority's Red Line runs north-south through Chicago's neighborhoods, stopping at Wrigley Field on Addison Street and Guaranteed Rate Field on 35th Street.
Notably this rivalry actually predates the Interleague Play Era, with the only postseason meeting occurring in the 1906 World Series. It was the first World Series between teams from the same city. The White Sox won the series 4 games to 2, over the highly favored Cubs who had won a record 116 games during the regular season. The rivalry continued through of exhibition games, culminating in the Crosstown Classic from 1985–1995, in which the White Sox were undefeated at 10–0–2. The White Sox currently lead the regular season series 49–44. There have been eight series sweeps since interleague play began: five by the Cubs in 1998, 2004, 2007, 2008 and 2013, and three by the White Sox in 1999, 2008 and 2012.
Battle of Ohio: Cincinnati Reds vs. Cleveland IndiansEdit
The Ohio Cup is between the Cincinnati Reds of the National League, and the Cleveland Indians of the American League. Both teams' cities are about 250 miles away via I-71. As of the end of the 2019 season, the Indians are ahead of the Reds by 7 with an all time rivalry record 60-53.
Show-Me Series: Kansas City Royals vs. St. Louis CardinalsEdit
The rivalry between the St. Louis Cardinals of the National League and Kansas City Royals of the American League is a Major League Baseball series sometimes known as the I-70 Series or the Show-Me Series. This rivalry is so called because the two cities are located in the state of Missouri, whose nickname is the "Show Me State", and both cities are located along Interstate 70. They played each other for the first time in the 1985 World Series, which the Royals won in seven games. Owing to their geographical proximity, the teams face each other every regular season in interleague play.
This prominent rivalry began with Royals' successes in the early '80's and fueled by the Royals' victory over the Cardinals in the 1985 World Series. The series is still a source of contention among fans, notably the controversial call in the bottom of the ninth of game 6 in which Jorge Orta was called safe on a play that replays later showed him out. A Royals rally let them tie and later win the game and then later the series.
Freeway Series: Los Angeles Angels vs. Los Angeles DodgersEdit
The term Freeway Series refers to a series of baseball games played between Major League Baseball's Los Angeles Angels of the American League and Los Angeles Dodgers of the National League. The series takes its name from the massive freeway system in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area, the home of both teams; one could travel from one team's stadium to the other simply by traveling along Interstate 5. The Freeway series is extremely popular in Los Angeles and normally sells out their games due to the close proximity of both teams and their fans.
Subway Series: New York Mets vs. New York YankeesEdit
The Mets–Yankees rivalry is the latest incarnation of the Subway Series, the competition between New York City's Major League Baseball teams, the AL Yankees and NL Mets. Until Interleague play started, the two teams had only met in exhibition games. Since the inception of interleague play the teams have met in every season since 1997 and faced off in the 2000 World Series.
Bay Bridge Series: Oakland Athletics vs. San Francisco GiantsEdit
The Bay Bridge Series is the name of the games played between—and rivalry of—the Oakland Athletics of the AL and San Francisco Giants of the NL. The series takes its name from the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge which links the cities of Oakland and San Francisco. Although competitive, the regional rivalry between the A's and Giants is considered a friendly one with mostly mutual companionship between the fans, as opposed to Cubs–White Sox, or Mets–Yankees games where animosity runs high. While many fans have a very strong dislike for the other team, some others actually like both. Bay Area baseball fans tend to disagree with each other on this topic.
The series is also occasionally referred to as the "BART Series" for the Bay Area Rapid Transit system that links Oakland to San Francisco. However, the name "BART Series" has never been popular beyond a small selection of history books and national broadcasters and has fallen out of favor. Bay Area locals almost exclusively refer to the rivalry as the "Bay Bridge Series".
Originally, the term described a series of exhibition games played between the two clubs after the conclusion of spring training, immediately prior to the start of the regular season. It was first used to refer to the 1989 World Series in which the Athletics won their most recent championship and the first time both teams had met since they moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. Today, it also refers to games played between the teams during the regular season since the commencement of interleague play in 1997. Through August 2015, the A's have won 53 games, and the Giants have won 50.
Citrus Series: Miami Marlins vs. Tampa Bay RaysEdit
The Citrus Series is the name given to the interleague series between the Miami Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays in Major League Baseball. The Marlins broke into the league in 1993 as the Florida Marlins, while the Rays had their first season in 1998 as the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. The first meeting between the two teams took place on June 22, 1998 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida during the Rays' inaugural season. Beginning with the 2012 season, when the Marlins are the home team, games are played at Marlins Park. From 1998 to 2011, the games were played at the NFL's Miami Dolphins' Hard Rock Stadium (as it is currently named), though it has been known by several names in its existence. Overall, The Rays lead the series with 55 wins and the Marlins currently trail with 52 wins.
Cincinnati Reds vs. Los Angeles DodgersEdit
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The Dodgers–Reds rivalry was one of the most intense during the 1970s and '80s. They often competed for the NL West division title. From 1970–90, they had eleven 1–v2 finishes in the standings, with seven of them being within 5½ games or fewer. Both teams also played in numerous championships during this span, combining to win 10 NL Pennants and 5 World Series titles from 1970–1990. Reds manager Sparky Anderson once said, "I don't think there's a rivalry like ours in either league. The Giants are supposed to be the Dodgers' natural rivals, but I don't think the feeling is there anymore. It's not there the way it is with us and the Dodgers." The rivalry ended when division realignment moved the Reds to the NL Central. However, they did face one another in the 1995 NLDS.
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. New York YankeesEdit
The Dodgers–Yankees rivalry is one of the most well-known rivalries in Major League Baseball. The two teams have met 11 times in the World Series, more times than any other pair of teams from the American and National Leagues. The initial significance was embodied in the two teams' proximity in New York City, when the Dodgers initially played in Brooklyn. After the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles in 1958, the rivalry retained its significance as the two teams represented the dominant cities on each coast of the United States, and since the 1980s, the two largest cities in the United States.
New York Yankees vs. San Francisco GiantsEdit
The rivalry between the New York Giants and New York Yankees was intense as both teams not only inhabited New York City but also, for a time, the same ballpark. During that era the opportunities for them to meet could only have been in a World Series. Both teams kicked off the first Subway Series between the NL and AL in 1921.
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Pittsburgh PiratesEdit
The rivalry between the Philadelphia Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates was considered by some to be one of the best rivalries in the NL. The rivalry started when the Pittsburgh Pirates entered play in 1887, four years after the Phillies.
The Phillies and Pirates remained together after the National League split into two divisions in 1969. During the period of two-division play (1969–1993), the two National League East division rivals won the two highest numbers of division championships, the Pirates 9, the Phillies 6; together, the two teams' 15 championships accounted for more than half of the 25 NL East championships during that span.
However, after the Pirates moved to the National League Central in 1994, the rivalry ended. The teams have since faced each other only in two series per year and the rivalry has effectively died in the years since the Pirates moved out of the NL East.
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Oakland AthleticsEdit
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The rivalry between the Philadelphia Phillies and Oakland Athletics, also known as the Philadelphia City Series was at its most intense from 1901-1955, when the Oakland Athletics played in Philadelphia. The rivalry was significant not only because both teams played in Philadelphia, but because of the strong competition between the National and American Leagues. The competition between the leagues was so strong that the A's and Phillies did not play at all from 1901–02 because of legal warring between the two parties. Related to growing tensions between the rival leagues, superstar Nap Lajoie had played for several years on the Phillies, but was displeased with the salary cap of $2,400 placed by the National League. When the American League was formed in 1901 and the A's joined it, Lajoie was offered a contract by Frank Hough of the Athletics on behalf of A's manager Connie Mack. When asked by a reporter what motivated him to leave, he responded "[Frank] Hough offered me $24,000 ($682,656 in current dollar terms) for four years. You can bet I signed in a hurry!" As a result, the Phillies filed a lawsuit to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court banning Lajoie from playing for any professional team. However, the decree only applied to teams in Pennsylvania, so Lajoie signed with the Cleveland Bronchos. When the decree expired, the Phillies chose not to file it again, and Lajoie left Cleveland to sign with the A's.
When the National League and American League merged in 1903, the rivalry became more friendly. Games between the two teams were played in many different stadiums throughout Philadelphia as older ones fell into disrepair and newer ones were built. Stadiums included Shibe Park, Philadelphia Park, as well as others. The final City Series game was played in 1954. In 1955, the Athletics moved to Kansas City after another dismal season in Philadelphia. The rivalry continued in spring training games until the Athletics moved to their permanent spring training facility in Mesa, Arizona. The rivalry has effectively died since then.
Toronto Blue Jays vs. Montreal ExposEdit
Being the only two Canadian baseball teams in the major leagues, a rivalry between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Montreal Expos was inevitable. This rivalry was assisted by the presence of the Pearson Cup, an award that was given to the winner of a special midseason match (later incorporated into the MLB interleague schedule). However, this rivalry was subdued, as the two teams played in different leagues. In 2004, the rivalry came to an end when the Expos moved to Washington to become the Washington Nationals.
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With the Astros moving from the National League to the American, there will be interleague play all season long. Also, games between natural rivals in different leagues,...have been reduced from six per year to four...In the new format, teams will play 19 games against division opponents, six or seven against the other teams in their leagues and 20 interleague games.
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