Thursday, June 12, 2008

Don't Call it a Rivarly

There is nothing in sports quite like a rivalry. A history of battles between two teams that make every game between them seem that much more important. Pride, integrity, and bragging rights become so much more important in each victory than where it will put you in the standings. You'll witness a number of incredible games in any given season, but every game between rivals automatically becomes a classic.

In Wisconsin, we have our fair share of rivalries. Packers/Bears. Packers/Vikings. Brewers/Cubs. Wisconsin/Big Ten. What do all these rivalries have in common? It's a bitter history between the two sides, aided by their geographical proximity. It's a key component to nearly every good rivalry. Yet, as much as the MLB you like you believe it, the upcoming Brewers/Twins series is not a rivalry.

Let me just state, for the record, that I love interleague play. I also love the fact that the MLB makes sure to match up teams in similar areas on a year to year basis. No matter what the schedule says, you will always see White Sox/Cubs, Yankees/Mets, Orioles/Nationals, Angels/Dogders, Giants/A's and so on every given year. As a fan, it's a great opportunity to see your home team play without having to travel too far.

There are many feelings of hatred between teams from Wisconsin and Minnesota, but the Brewers/Twins have never been one of them. I've made the trip to the Metrodome for this series a few years ago, and besides the typical boneheaded fans of any team, the crowd was relatively friendly. I imagine a Miller Park crowd to be the same when the Twins come to town. Unlike the other rivalries I've mentioned, I feel the Brewers and the Cubs have a greater respect for one another. We used to play in the same division, but that was a generation ago. In the time since, we've learned to appreciate the other for being a small-market team trying to compete, as our franchises aren't all that different (besides the Twins success in the World Series of course).

Think about it. We both hate a team from Chicago more than we can put into words. We've both been in the area for relatively the same amount of time (the Twins coming from the Washington Senators in the 60's, and the Brewers coming from the Seattle Pilots in 1970). The Twins lost Santana because they couldn't afford him, the Brewers are likely to do the same with Sheets. The Brewers were never close to contraction, but that's because Bud Selig was our owner. But we have both shared the wonder that is Paul Molitor.

As our teams embark on the first three of six games we'll play this year, you can bet there will be some tense times from the first pitch from the final out. But, win or lose, we'll still have respect for the fans sitting next to us. After a Brewers/Cubs game, I'm out in the parking lot looking for someone to punch in the face. After a Brewers/Twins game? You can bet we're looking for each other in the parking lot, but only to do some extra tailgating together, and perhaps share a beer.

That's why this isn't a rivarly.

Unless, of course, the Brewers lose.

4 comments:

b2 said...

before you go and tailgate with these guys, remember that come fall they're vikings fans.

Anonymous said...

Twins alum. Torii Hunter recently commented on the Twins/Brewers rivalry, saying that it was nothing compared to the Dodgers/Angels. He was referring more to the interaction between fans. Hunter said that Twins & Brewer fans are drinking, hugging, & making new friends amongst each other. Meanwhile Dodger & Halos fans are getting into fights.

I read that in either the most recent Sporting News or SI, I forget which.

There's a bit of truth to that.

Brewers fans respect the Twins for their winning history & Twins fans respect Brewer fans for not talking s--t about their craptacular stadium. Everybody wins.

Anonymous said...

"not talking s--t" ... to their faces, that is

Anonymous said...

It could also be the difference between the Midwestern people and those who live elsewhere. I live in Wisconsin, I have Brewers season tickets, and I have no interest in getting into a fight with anyone over a baseball game.

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