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The Best Rivalry You’ve Never Heard Of


Since the the late 1990s, ESPN started becoming even bigger than before, and subsequently, the hype regarding the Red Sox-Yankees American League rivalry began to heat up as well. The media coverage accelerated each season and nearly every New York-Boston game was televised on ESPN during prime time. You can call it the East Coast Bias if you want, but whatever it is, it has helped to make the New York-Boston rivalry bigger than ever before.

While it’s certainly one of the biggest rivalries in sports, ESPN’s dedication to the Yankees and Red Sox has skewed coverage from baseball’s other major rivalries. The Cardinals-Cubs rivalry, the Dodgers-Giants rivalry, and the Braves-Mets rivalry, have all been largely ignored by the

Eastern Sports Programming Network

ESPN, despite the fact that the players and fans of these respective teams carry the same animosity toward each other as do the folks in the snowbealt. However, the folks in Bristol have decided that it’s more important to replay seven angles of Pedro assault on Don Zimmer, Jason Varitek’s attack on A-Rod, and especially Curt Schilling’s bloody sock episode.

Much like these other major baseball rivalries, the Angels-Athletics series has been largely ignored by the mainstream media, despite the fact that it’s been one of the baseball’s best since 2002. While the rivalry doesn’t produce two many brawls or full-blown fights that make great for television, no rivalry has been more competitive than this one. Since 2002, the Halos and A’s have played a total of 125 games against each other with 63 wins for LA and 62 wins for Oakland. In this six year span, the Halos have won three division titals and the A’s have captured three as well. It doesn’t get any more competitive than this, as the A.L. West is on the line every single time these teams face off.

It’s sad to see that just because the Angels-A’s rivalry doesn’t have the made for T.V. brawls that ESPN chooses to ignore the series entirely. The players and fans may not appear to have any strong animosity toward each other on the surface, deep down inside they truly dislike each other.

For the players, this rivalry is purely on baseball terms, which is how most rivalries should and always will be. With the numerous one-run games that have occurred between the teams, the players’ competitive nature is always exercised in their attempt to win the game and capture the division crown. The rivalry would largely be non-existent if these teams were to swap places with the Mariners and Rangers, who have dowelled in the basement of the A.L. West over the past few seasons. But because the A.L. West is always at stake when these teams face off, the rivalry has been able to became far greater, as the teams look to advance into October.

Much like the disdain that New Yorkers and Bostanians have for each other, there is also a running hatred that Nouthern California residents have towards the SoCal fans, which carries over to this Left Coast showdown. The majority of A’s fans reside in Oakland, which is a fairly blue collar town with a high crime rate, and many of them are jealous of the affluent, suburban Orange County where the Angels call home. It may not be important to the players, but the NorCal folks have seemed to resent the folks in the OC, who on the surface seem to have the better lifestyle with the beaches and celebrities just outside of their large, grandeious homes. On the flip side, Angels fans eem to have this arrogance when referring to A’s fans. For the most part members of the Halo Nation tend to view A’s fans either as Sabermatrics freaks and Billy Beane lovers or as thugs (have you seen Oakland’s crime rate lately?).

While I am not trying to argue that the A’s-Angels showdown is the best rivalry i all of baseball, but it is deserving of far greater coverage than it has received over the past seasons. The stats prove that this is baseball’s most competitive rivalry, and while it hasn’t produce too many bench clearing brawls, every game between the clubs means something.