Sunday, May 03, 2009

Forbes: Baseball's Most Intense Rivalries

And she calls herself a Dodgers fan......

I am not sure if you heard about this, I barely did, but anyways, apparently Forbes (don't ask, I don't know why they did it) made a list of the most intense baseball rivalries. According to the article, their formula was...

"To calculate our list, we looked at every season since 1950 and tabulated how many times the two clubs had finished first and second in their division and how often they'd finished the season within five games of one another. Weighted equally with those two stats in our methodology is how much the meetings matter to fans--in other words, how much extra money people are willing to pay for a ticket."

Anywho, there are some surprises in my opinion, and I am not talking about the Red Sox vs. Yankees not coming it a #1, but I may be talking a certain team that appears at 3 and 4. Here is the list...

10.) Oakland Athletics & Chicago White Sox
9.) New York Mets & Atlanta Braves
8.) Houston Astros & St. Louis Cardinals
7.) New York Mets & Philadelphia Phillies
6.) Chicago Cubs & St. Louis Cardinals
5.) Pittsburgh Pirates & Philadelphia Phillies
4.) Chicago White Sox & Cleveland Indians
3.) Detroit Tigers & Cleveland Indians
2.) New York Yankees & Boston Red Sox
1.) San Fransisco Giants & Los Angles Dodgers

As for its brief explanations...

3. Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians

One-two divisional finishes: one
Close season finishes (five games or less): 15
Current ticket markup: 15%

Until the American League broke apart into divisions, these two were almost always overshadowed by the specter of the Yankees and Red Sox. The Tigers' World Series appearance in 2006 and the pennant race between the Tigers and the Indians the following year stoked the rivalry a bit, but it's a large step down from the first two rivalries on our list. While the teams finished within five games of each other 15 times from 1950 to 2008, they've only finished first and second once.

4. Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Indians

One-two divisional finishes: eight
Close season finishes (five games or less): 10
Current ticket markup: zero

This rivalry's best moments likely came in the fictional Major League films, in which Willie Mays Hayes (Wesley Snipes) and Rick Vaughn (Charlie Sheen) led the Indians into the playoffs against the vilified White Sox, who they then defeated in the sequel. Life imitated art during the mid-1990s as the two teams duked it out atop the American League Central, though neither ever went on to win a World Series during the rivalry of the 1990s. The commissioner threw a monkey wrench in this rivalry in 1969 when he moved the Sox to the American League West, where they'd stay until 1994.

The article also has a quote from 1 major leaguer, and for whatever reason, they chose this guy...

"No matter how bad a season it is for the Cubs, Cardinals, Giants, Dodgers, Yankees or Red Sox, these teams' fans turn out in high volume for divisional contests. For less celebrated rivalries, like the Indians and Tigers, local and national fans often don't take as much notice unless a coveted October appearance is at stake.

"If you're in L.A., Chicago or New York, you get the constant bombardment about the match-ups, and many more people are interested in those games because they have established a connection with them," says the Cleveland Indians' Jensen Lewis, a set-up reliever now in his third Major League Season. "For a mid- to small-market team, the rivalries are most intense when you're in a pennant race."

Lewis cites the 2007 showdown between the Indians and the Detroit Tigers, when Detroit were the defending American League champs and Cleveland held a small lead late in the season. "We had our biggest crowds of the season for that three-game series," says Lewis. The Indians won the series and went on to win the division."

(To view the actual list, you have to click on the "In Depth" link)

So anyways, I just thought I would share that. I am not sure I completley agree, and maybe they are right that the media over hypes some things, it still feels like some of those rivalries are a little bigger than the Indians. I also think the Indians and Yankees is worth mentioning, but A.) it was probably bigger before the divisions changed formats and B.) for the same reason that the Cardinals and Cubs got bumped down, for the most part, its been pretty one-sided, though I think the 2007 playoff series was a pretty classic example of whatever rivalry exists there.

P.S. I am starting to get worried about this 2009 ballclub.