Ranking MLB's Interleague Rivalries

Ally WilliamsCorrespondent IJune 23, 2012

Ranking MLB's Interleague Rivalries

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    Rivalries. They make up some of the best moments in sports. They add fire to competition, create diehard fan bases and add more fun to a series.

    Interleague rivalries stand apart from those created through division races. Not all teams have an interleague rival. Of those that do, many are natural rivalries, formed as a result of two teams' proximity to the other. Fans choose a side and continue their loyalty year in and year out.

    Each rivalry differs from the next, be it a result of history, geography or the two teams' current playoff chances. For those reasons, here is a rank of the interleague matchups.

11. Mariners vs. Padres

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    The Mariners and Padres don’t have the hate toward one another that you usually see during a rivalry series. Their biggest argument is probably over where they each get to put their equipment at the Peoria facility they share during spring training.

    Neither Seattle nor San Diego have been consistently competitive in recent years, so games between them rarely mean much in terms of standings and playoff hopes. Thus, their rivalry is not as fun.

10. Twins vs. Brewers

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    The rivalry between the Minnesota Twins and Milwaukee Brewers cooled down once the Brew Crew left the American League Central for the National League. The fans travel well to this series, but it seems to be less a huge matchup and more just another interleague game.

    The games are still entertaining, but each side now has a bigger rival with a team in their respective leagues.

9. Rangers vs. Astros

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    This is the last year the Rangers and Astros will be interleague rivals.

    The Lone Star Series between these two Texas teams has never been all that even—since 2001, the Rangers have won nine series meetings to the Astros’ three. This series is hardly even with the Rangers’ recent success and Houston’s…lack thereof.

    When the Astros move to the American League West next season, the two teams will go from interleague rivals to division rivals, and Houston will have to meet up with the Rangers even more frequently.

8. Nationals vs. Orioles

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    The Beltway series is a very new rivalry, but fans of both the Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles already feel strongly about their opponent. Mix that with the fact that both teams are actually doing quite well this season, and you have an intriguing matchup.

    This rivalry is newer, so it doesn’t have the historical appeal of other matchups quite yet. Now that the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area once again has two MLB franchises, the competitive spirit is beginning to thrive and should grow over the next few years.

7. Reds vs. Indians

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    The Ohio Cup began before interleague play was officially established, and the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians have been meeting since 1989’s single-game exhibition.

    The rivalry between these two Ohioan teams doesn’t receive the same recognition that is given to larger-market teams.

    Still, the competition is always exciting, ending with a trophy awarded to the winner of the series each season.

6. Marlins vs. Rays

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    The Miami Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays have each had success but are now competitive at the same time. The Marlins have two World Series championships, but the Rays have been more successful recently, making postseason appearances three times in the last four years.

    The Marlins’ move to Miami and acquisition of big players gives them a good shot at a division title.

    Tampa Bay is once again competing for a spot at the top of their division as well. Both teams have a legitimate chance at the playoffs, and that makes their geographic rivalry all the more fun.

5. Royals vs. Cardinals

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    Another natural rivalry between teams in the same state, the Show-Me Series or 1-70 Series goes back to the 1985 World Series. The Kansas City Royals took the title that year and would not meet the St. Louis Cardinals again until 1997.

    The Royals had some success when interleague play was first established, but now the Cardinals tend to dominate the series.

4. Dodgers vs. Angels

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    The Freeway series is creating a lot of excitement in Los Angeles this season.

    The Angels are fighting for the top of the American League West, while the Dodgers lead the National League West.

    The rivalry has gone from exhibition games in 1962 to unrest over the Angels' decision to include “Los Angeles” in their name. Now, both teams have a great chance at the postseason, and the stakes are even higher.

3. Giants vs. Athletics

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    The San Francisco Giants and Oakland A’s play 30 minutes away from each other. There were a few years where both teams had big names and stars, but in recent years, Oakland has struggled.

    They’re fighting this season, and the Giants are trying to move to the top spot in the National League West.

    San Francisco has had more success as of late, winning the 2010 World Series. However, Athletics fans will always have 1989 on their side.

2. Yankees vs. Mets

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    The Chicago Cubs vs. White Sox series and New York Yankees vs. Mets series may be the immediate thought when one thinks of interleague rivalries.

    The Subway Series has been dominated by the Yankees, with the biggest matchup occurring during the 2000 World Series when the Yankees won four games to the Mets’ one.

    This season, both teams are competitive—the Yankees currently lead the American League East, while the Mets are a few games back in the Eastern division of the National League.

    The rivalry began with the creation of the New York Mets and stays as competitive as ever today.

1. Cubs vs. White Sox

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    The crosstown rivalry between the Cubs and White Sox has many nicknames, but regardless of what you call it, this classic is one of the best.

    We won’t be seeing the Cubs in the playoffs this season. The White Sox are close to the American League Central lead, but their fans aren’t exactly rushing to the ballpark.

    The mix between those two issues means the rivalry may have hit a lull, but its history keeps it going. The series itself has been quite evenly matched, and whether you’re a north- or south-sider, you can jump on the Red Line to stop at either Wrigley or Cellular Field and catch the Crosstown Classic.

     

    Ally Williams is an MLB Featured Columnist and video contributor for Bleacher Report. Follow her on Twitter to get in contact.