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Braden: Top 5 Biggest Rivalries in Baseball. In this lesson, we’re going to look at the top 5 biggest rivalries in baseball.
Ann: That’s right! First, you’ll learn about the Athletics, and the Angels, and then the Phillies, and the Mets.
Braden: Next, you’ll hear about the Cardinals v. Cubs, and the Yankees and the Red Socks.
Ann: Last of all, we’ll talk about the biggest rivalry in baseball, which is it?
Braden: Let’s keep that a secret. You’ll find out in a few minutes.
Ann: Ok, so our number five biggest rivalry in baseball is the Athletics versus the Angels. This rivalry is not of the storybook kind.
Braden: It doesn't have any outright good guys or bad guys nor is it one that has lasted for decades on end.
Ann: In fact, this rivalry is between two relatively minor teams. What makes this such an excellent rivalry is how evenly matched these 2 teams are.
Braden: That’s right. Usually, each game is only won by a single point and often in extra innings.
Ann: Over the past several years, they have competed again and again with the Athletics winning one game, and the Angels winning the next.
Braden: Since both teams are in California, the rivalry also becomes a local rivalry between the fans.
Ann: And more often than not, one of these 2 teams wins their division.
Braden: Our number four biggest rivalry in baseball is the Phillies versus the Mets.
Ann: This rivalry is a longer-term rivalry than the Athletics and Angels.
Braden: The Mets are one of the best teams in baseball.
Ann: However, in recent years, the Mets haven't been doing very well. A good example rivalry game happened in July 2012.
Braden: After 5 seasons of nearly constant losses to the Phillies, the Mets were able to beat the Phillies in a 6 to 5 victory.
Ann: The Phillies were down the entire game but always close.
Braden: In the 9th inning David Wright hit a the game winning point to win the game for the Mets.
Ann: Ok, our number three biggest rivalry in baseball is the Cardinals versus the cubs. This rivalry is one of the older rivalries in baseball. Depending on who you ask, the rivalry goes back as far as 1875 but the first real battle was in 1885.
Braden: And, no matter how you look at it, a very long time ago.
Ann: Since then the two teams have exchanged "dominance." The Cubs seemed to beat the Cardinals nearly every game for nearly a decade only to have the Cardinals win a game, and then keep winning for years.
Braden: That’s right. The rivalry between the Cardinals and the Cubs is often credited as having helped to revive the sport.
Ann: A nearly year-long players strike in the early 1990s caused American interest in baseball to reach an all time low.
Braden: However, Mark McGwire (of the Cardinals) and Sammy Sosa (of the Cubs) battled in a race to break the home run record.
Ann: The record was tied and broken first by Mark McGwire.
Braden: Classically, this happened during two games between the Cardinals and the Cubs in 1998.
Ann: Our number two biggest rivalry in baseball is the Yankees and the Red Socks.
Braden: Currently, this is one of the most entertaining rivalries in baseball.
Ann: Especially when you ask a journalist or someone who covers baseball, the Yankees - Red Socks rivalry seems almost to be the only rivalry in baseball worth talking about.
Braden: That isn't true as you'll see in our next topic, however, this is a very good rivalry. Part if why it is so good is because it's so old.
Ann: The Yankee/Red Sock rivalry started around 100 years ago during the Babe Ruth era.
Braden: The other part is because it's emotional.
Ann: To be realistic, the Yankees are, by far, a consistently better team.
Braden: That’s right. Since the rivalry began, the Yankees have amassed 26 World Series titles while the Red Socks have only 1.
Ann: The Red Socks are like the upstarts always fighting against the bully Yankees.
Braden: And between selling players to the "enemy," to desertions, to incredible comebacks, this rivalry is entertaining, heated, and full of on-field violence.
Ann: Our number one biggest rivalry in baseball is the Dodgers versus the Giants.
Braden: Ok, so for many people, the rivalry between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants is considered the greatest baseball rivalry of all time.
Ann: Some stats I pulled from MLB.com show that the two teams have played each other over 2300 times since the late 1800s when the teams started playing each other.
Braden: Now, the cool part is that even after so many games, they are evenly matched at 51% of the games were won by giants and 49% were won by the Dodgers.
Ann: My favorite example was in 2001.
Braden: At the end of the season, the Giants Barry Bonds hit his record setting 73rd home run in a game that the Dodgers eventually won.
Ann: Fantastic play and record for Bonds of the Giants, but the win went to the Dodgers.
Braden: Really interesting how they balance all the time. That just about does it for today. Thanks for listening!
Ann: Have a great day!