Editor’s note: Amanda Lawson is a lifelong Green Bay Packers fan who is getting into baseball for the first time this year. After much deliberation and counsel, Amanda settled on the Minnesota Twins as her team. With “Beginning Baseball” Amanda is documenting her first season of baseball fandom.
It doesn’t matter what sport you are talking about, games against your team’s biggest rival are the ones that get you pumped up the most. Whether the team is awesome that particular season or not, rival games bring out the best trash talk and have a make-or-break atmosphere that keep you coming back for more.
As a new baseball fan, I was excited to find out who the Twins biggest rival was. I never really asked who the Twins’ greatest rival was, but just learned from the smack talk and defensive comments I got from certain fans.
Until one day there was a comment on Twitter that made me think twice about my initial perception.
The Brewers are the Twins’ greatest rival? WHAT?
I am from Wisconsin, and while I may not have paid close attention to baseball, I am 99% sure I never heard much Twins-Brewers smack talk. But I am also new to baseball and the Twins.
I decided to investigate. I asked my followers on Twitter who they thought was the Twins’ biggest rival. I got a lot of responses and many agreed with my initial thought, but I still found people naming a few other teams. So I dug deeper.
Here’s my analysis on the teams in regards to their rivalry with the Twins.
The name just tastes bad when it rolls off the tongue.
The White Sox are in the same division as the Twins. Most years the Sox and the Twins compete for higher rank in the AL Central. This year, they both started out with their feet dragging behind them.
The White Sox are also one of the closest teams in their division to the Twins, allowing the great Midwestern rivalry to run from Chicago, through Illinois, into Iowa, and up to the Twin Cities.
New York Yankees
While the Yankees are in the AL with the Twins, they don’t play in the same division. However, there is a strong tension between Yankees and Twins fans because of last year’s playoff series that has left some fans bitter.
I think Twins fans find some tension with the Yankees because they are spending lots of dollar bills to get big talent. Twins fans take pride in the way the organization raises their own talent. Some Twins fans call it unfair; maybe even stretch it to “cheating”. I wouldn’t go that far, but I definitely have more respect for the Twins overall because they don’t buy out their players. And you can feel the tension.
Whoa! Like I said, this idea puzzled me.
Growing up in Wisconsin, Brewers and Cubs fans were always hashing it out, trying to decide who was going to lose more games. The Brewers originally started in the American League, but in 1994 they were realigned into the NL Central. Yes, the Brewers are a Midwestern team similar to the Twins. However, they don’t have the same contending history that the Twins do, making them less of a threat. And since the Brewers no longer play in the same league, it’s hard to line them up as the Twins top rival.
Besides these three teams, I was told to also look into a rivalry with the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers are in the same division as the Twins, but they don’t consistently compete from year to year with the Twins for the top spot in AL Central.
I was also told to watch out for the Kansas City Royals. In my search for rivals, I found that more Royals fans found a rival in the Twins, than the Twins found in them. They are in the same division, and while the Royals started off this year strong, they’re slowly slipping—aka, I’m not scared.
My Final Decision
After looking at each team and how they compare to the Twins, I definitely find the most tension and rivalry behavior between Twins and White Sox fans. I have noticed their never ending trash talk (some of which I may, or may have not, have instigated myself) about how much better they are than the Twins this year. Now the Twins might not be smoking this year, but we didn’t almost just lose a series to the Cubs either.
Funny thing about your team’s biggest rival—I find the best rivalries are between two teams that play each other often and hate to lose to the other, yet they still respect the other team. That is something I CAN say about the White Sox. I may talk a lot of trash to the fans, but it doesn’t mean that the team isn’t good or won’t beat my favorite team. I just hope that doesn’t happen, so that my trash talk can be validated.
I am looking forward to watching the Twins take out the White Sox yet again in July! I’ll be at the Saturday game, ready to cheer the Twins on. My fellow MSF writer, Drew Lange, stated earlier, “I feel bad for whoever you have to sit by.”
I feel bad for that poor White Sox fan, too. It sucks getting a loss rubbed in your face.