MLB's Top-Five Division Rivalries and Five Budding Rivalries
With the arrival of August comes the final full two months of baseball season.
Division races continue to heat up like the record-high temperatures around the nation, particularly the northeast.
The New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays battle for first in the AL East, while the Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals go back-and-forth in the NL Central.
Though many rivalries keep their spark despite teams' records, five new ones have begun to develop because of recent success.
Here are the top-five division rivalries, plus five budding rivalries that could become just as good.
No. 1 Yankees vs. Red Sox
These two teams have been rivals for more than a century.
While Boston struggled with the Curse of the Bambino for decades, New York went on to win World Series after World Series.
Since the Wild Card's inception, the Yankees and Red Sox have played each other in the ALCS three times. Twice they have met in the final regular-season series to decide the AL East.
Anytime they play, the game finds its way onto national television. The AL East has been a dead end for teams such as Toronto and Baltimore for years.
It also doesn't hurt that Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park play host to the top-tier baseball.
Legendary moments and players take center stage and make people care.
No. 2 Giants vs. Dodgers
This past week while attending a game at AT&T Park, shirts were being sold that read "Beat LA." The jumobtron advertised tickets to the storied rivalry.
Since the two organizations' days in New York City, the Giants and Dodgers have found each other to be rivals.
After both teams moved to California, it remains in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Though the Giants have won more games, the Dodgers have one more World Series victory (6-5).
In a tough NL West, the two teams are vying for the top spot with the surprise San Diego Padres.
Things heated up when Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw was suspended five game for intentionally throwing at Aaron Rowand in July.
No. 3 Cubs vs. Cardinals
In recent years, the fans continue to come out to games at Wrigley Field and Busch Stadium, but the teams seem to be headed in different directions.
Led by Albert Pujols, the St. Louis Cardinals remain near the top of the NL Central. Meanwhile, the Chicago Cubs seem to be struggling to find an identity 12 games below .500.
The I-55 Series has seen its fair share of highlight moments, and one of the most iconic was the Sammy Sosa/Mark McGwire home run chase.
When it comes to World Series wins, the Lovable Losers' drought proves to hold them back.
St. Louis holds a 10-2 advantage.
No. 4 Braves vs. Mets
Leave it to John Rocker to reignite a rivalry.
Oh, and Chipper Jones named his son, Shea, because of the success he had at the ball park.
Rocker's derogatory comments about New York led to fans throwing debris at him and his teammates toward the end of the 20th century.
In the 1990s, the Atlanta Braves had the top pitching staff with Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and John Smoltz. The New York Mets hoped for division glory, but were unsuccessful as the Braves won 14 straight titles.
With the emergence of the Philadelphia Phillies as an NL-East powerhouse, there's now a new team brewing up hatred.
No. 5 Mets vs. Phillies
Things picked up during the 2006 season when the New York Mets won the NL East.
But since then, the Philadelphia Phillies have taken the division.
Until these last few seasons, neither team found success during the same time period.
In 2007 when the Phillies won the World Series, it was thanks to a Mets meltdown.
They lost a seven-game lead with 17 games remaining, and Philadelphia took the division on the final day.
Both teams have passionate fan bases that draw large crowds and fanatical behavior.
At the moment, Philadelphia and New York trail the Atlanta Braves in the division.
No. 6 Rays vs. Marlins
For years, the Sunshine state teams have been mocked for their low payrolls and losing seasons.
But the Florida Marlins have won the World Series twice since 1997 and the Tampa Bay Rays reached the end of October two seasons ago.
Both teams play in arguably the toughest baseball divisions, and hold their own.
When they face each other, the top young talent the sport has to offer takes the field and battles for citrus series honors.
Look for this rivalry to develop as the organizations continue to gain more national respect.
No. 7 Tigers vs. Twins
This goes on the list for last year's meltdown.
With Detroit holding a seven-game lead in the AL Central on Sept. 9, 2009, Minnesota managed to force a one-game playoff to decide the division winner.
In order for the scenario to work out, the Twins needed to sweep Kansas City and have the Chicago White Sox win two of three against the Tigers.
It happened, and the Twins would go on to win the elimination game.
This season, the Tigers trail the White Sox by a half game, while the Tigers remain six games back.
Could payback be on the horizon? Detroit hosts Minnesota during its final homestand.
No. 8 Yankees vs. Rays
This weekend, the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays are fighting for first place in the AL East.
The Boston Red Sox sit 7.5 games back and don't show the same life that they have in the past.
But the Yanks and Rays, on the other hand, offer an intriguing rivalry.
It's the highest payroll against one of the lowest. It's David versus Goliath. Storied franchise against one of the youngest.
And has it been entertaining. Robinson Cano's homer in the ninth on Saturday night tied the series.
With Tampa here to stay as an elite team, this rivalry will continue to grow.
No. 9 Reds vs. Cardinals
Who would've predicted that the Cincinnati Reds would be giving the St. Louis Cardinals a run for the pennant with August upon us?
Only half a game separates the teams in the NL Central.
Joey Votto is making a case to beat out always-a-favorite Albert Pujols for NL MVP. Scott Rolen has resurrected his career in Cincinnati. There's history between Reds CEO Bob Castellini and the Cardinals.
In an otherwise dull division, these teams make for a great, budding rivalry.
No. 10 Mets vs. Marlins
Many call Miami the sixth borough because of all the New York City transplants.
Home games at Sun Life Stadium find upwards of 30,000 people, but the majority are Mets fans.
In consecutive seasons, the Florida Marlins helped eliminate the Mets from playoff contention. The Philadelphia Phillies won the NL East instead.
Some guys who have come and gone, like Carlos Delgado and Paul Lo Duca, played for both teams.
Then there's the battle of the shortstops: Jose Reyes vs. Hanley Ramirez.
As the two remain neck-in-neck in the tight-knit NL East, the stakes remain high.