The best rivalry in baseball right now is not the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. It’s not the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants. It’s not even the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs.
The best rivalry in baseball is the Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers.
How is that even possible?
They’re two teams which play in separate divisions. They aren’t a geographical rivalry like the Yankees and New York Mets. The two teams don’t even have a long history of hating each other.
With all of that said, the upcoming American League Division Series between these two teams may be one of the most anticipated match ups in baseball over the last number of years.
Last season these two teams had an up and down five game series in the ALDS which ended in incredible fashion.
If you don’t remember, here’s the bat flip heard ’round the world:
That bat flip lead to a discussion of baseball’s unwritten rules.
When is it okay for a huge bat flip such as Jose Bautista’s? If the Rangers thought the bat flip was unnecessary, how will the team get its payback? Can payback be carried over from one season to the next?
Here was the Rangers’ answer to all of those questions on baseball’s unwritten rules:
What you didn’t see in the video is Bautista getting drilled by a pitch to put him on first base. That was the Rangers’ payback for the bat flip.
It could have ended there, but Bautista took the hit by pitch personal and decided to go in hard to second base. The rest, as they say, is history.
A push leads to a punch; a punch leads to the benches being clear; and benches being cleared leads to a scrum and good television ratings.
That scrum was the last time these two teams played each other. If there is bad blood between these two teams, which there certainly is, it has been brewing all season long.
Throw in the hatred for each other, with the fact that it’s the playoffs, tension will be high on Thursday during game one of the ALDS.
How carried away will this series get? No matter how much these two teams hate each other, there is still a series to win and neither team can let the rivalry get in the way of that.
It’s going to be the most intriguing series of the postseason. Major league baseball hasn’t seen a series between two teams which genuinely hate each other since the last time the Red Sox and Yankees played each other in the ALCS in 2004.