As rivalry week continues on across the SB Nation network, we ponder our favorite personal rivalries. As a Cubs fan, Cubs-Cardinals is obviously on the list. The funny thing is, I remember growing up a big fan of Mark McGwire amidst the 1998 home run chase, regardless of the fact he was a Cardinal. As a 10-year-old, I wasn’t caught up in rivalries like that yet.
At that time I was going to Reds games and just getting into baseball and sports as a whole. To date, the only Cubs game I’ve been to at Wrigley Field occurred in 2001, when the Cubs beat the Cardinals 4-3. The late Darryl Kile pitched for the Cardinals, and tragically died under a year later in the very city of Chicago. At that game on that July 27 day, I was there to see guys like McGwire and Sosa, who both went hitless. Future Cub killer, and rookie Albert Pujols that day also went hitless.
Though the Cubs were often horrible, the tide obviously changed, and the Cardinals seemingly died, the night of Oct. 13, 2015 when Kyle Shcwarber deposited a baseball out of Wrigley and onto the scoreboard in right field as the Cubs eliminated the Cards in four games in the NLDS.
It was that defining moment in the rivalry that saw the underdog Cubs finally do to the Cardinals what the Cardinals had long done to the Cubs. It was also the first playoff series between the two clubs all-time. Checkmate.
Prior to 2015, the two franchises last met in the playoffs in the 1885 and then 1886 World Series. In 1885, they were the St. Louis Browns and Chicago White Stockings and the series ended in a 3-3-1 tie. Both teams disputed the result and just split the prize money. In 1886 the Browns won the series 4-2.
All-time between the clubs, the Cubs ironically hold the series edge with a mark of 1239-1181.
I was always into the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry growing up. My uncle is a Yankees fan so I closely followed them as well. My interest was also during the height of the Columbus Clippers affiliation with New York: The Drew Henson days.
New York holds the all-time series lead 1203-996 and this one was also a one-sided affair up until 2004. The defining moment probably goes back to when Jason Varitek and Alex Rodriguez got into it.
But of course the real defining moment, for Boston, came down 0-3 in the ALCS that season. The Yankees won Game 3 in the series 19-8 and just couldn’t get one more win. Boston has the lead in World Series competition, 4-1, since 2004 and have some postseason heroics between the teams in the times since.
Personally, the 90s Yankees teams were the most fun to watch during the Joe Torre and core-four years years. I was supposed to be going to Jeter’s Cooperstown induction this month but that’s moved to next year now.
I wrote about Blue Jackets - Capitals last week. I never really minded the Penguins (PD covered this one) until the two teams were formed together into the Metropolitan Division. And I also know a Penguins fan which added salt to the wound starting around 2014.
Here’s a great Torts line:
Similar to the head-to-head matchups against the Red Wings, which Rachel wrote about, and Predators that Seeds talked about, if the Jackets were still in the Central Division, the Blackhawks - Blue Jackets could be fun. It already is on my end with the Chicago connection I have. But then also how much more interesting the games would be as both teams have been more competitive overall.
When both were in the Central, it was essentially a battle of cellar-dwellers. The Jackets are 34-41-2-10 all-time against Chicago.
Of course the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry is on the list. Some of the earlier moments start with John Cooper, the seemingly inability to defeat Michigan during my elementary years — imagine that? I remember how fun those Friday’s at school were in anticipation for the noon kickoff the next day.
And in the years since, we’ve seen some great games, including the 2006 game, a 42-39 win over the Wolverines at the Horse Shoe that sent OSU to the National Championship game. The game featured two undefeated teams, #1 vs #2 and was billed as Game of the Century. OSU is now on an eight-game winning streak as Michigan has two wins in the series since 2001. All-Time That Team Up North holds the edge all-time 58-51-6.
What's your favorite rivalry across all of sports?