Re: Who is the Reds biggest rival?
First, I think the "biggest rival" has to be a division rival, like the Dodgers were in the 70's. So that eliminates the Indians immediately. (I live in an area where most people are Indians fans, and they are amazed that I don't get "fired up" for the Reds-Indians games or respond to their taunts before the games (and after, if the Tribe win). I just think of them as another team, and each game as just another game, and it ticks them off!
Unfortunately, the Dodgers are also out, since the Reds now play them only six times a season.
It would be nice to call the Cardinals and/or the Cubs our biggest rival, but they have so much history with each other that they don't view the Reds in that vein. So they are both out.
The Brewers are an intriguing possibility, but they are still rather new to the NL. (Frankly, I still find myself thinking of the Brew Crew as an AL team with Robin Yount, Paul Molitor, Cecil Cooper, and Gorman Thomas.) Also, due to their close proximity to Chicago (many people are not aware that Milwaukee is on Lake Michigan), they desperately want a rivalry with the Cubs. There's also the Busch-vs.-Miller thing with the Cardinals, as well as memories of the 1982 World Series.
The Astros are the only team in the Reds' division that has always been in the Reds' division. There is a lot of history there, and despite the distance problem, they are a team this is easy to "get up for" as a fan, since there are years of familiarity to them. However, even when the Reds and Astros were in the old NL West, I never saw them as a true rival, but just a divisional foe.
The Pirates would be a natural choice now that they are in the same division as the Reds. They have a lot of history with the Reds from the old days, even though they were in the opposite division, because of their epic NLCS battles. Also, their relatively close proximity would lend itself to fueling the flames of a true rivalry. I have seen the Pirates play more times than any team except the Reds. I will be at the game against the Bucs Friday night, and it will be the eleventh time I have seen the Reds and Pirates play each other, though only the fourth time in Cincinnati. I have seen them play in Pittsburgh seven times. To me, a rivalry gains significance when you become familiar with and feel comfortable in the other team's home ball park. Also, the Reds opened PNC Park, and the Pirates opened GAB. Of course, it would help if the Pirates would become more competitive, but they get my vote for "biggest rival", albeit a friendly one. ( I have said on more than one occasion that if I hadn't been a Reds fan, I would probably be a Pirates fan.)
Of course, any time the Reds compete with any of their divisional rivals for the NL Central crown, there will be an added taste of rivalry, and if they compete with the same team over and over again, year-in and year-out, then that team will become a big rival. Let's face it--the only reason the Dodgers were such a big rival in the 70's was because the Reds and Dodgers were butting heads every year for the NL West title. (And it didn't hurt that both teams were chock-full of great personalities.)
Last edited by Big Klu; 06-25-2004 at 02:15 AM.