By Gary Hill
Interleague play is in full force as the Natural Rivals square off. In honor of the Mariners tangling with the hated San Diego Padres here is are the rankings of interleague natural rival matchups:
1. Chicago Cubs vs. Chicago White Sox. The Crosstown pits North Siders against South Siders. Bad blood has brewed between the two franchises since the moment Charles Comiskey moved his Saint Paul Saints to Chicago. In 1906, the Cubs (who won 116 games) lost in the World Series to the White Sox. The teams also engaged in a viscous brawl in 2006. White Sox own the all-time series 49-42.
2. San Francisco Giants vs. Oakland Athletics. The New York Giants and Philadelphia Athletics met in the 1905, 1911 and 1913 World Series. They would meet for the first time in the Bay during the 1989 World Series. The A’s swept the series, but it was Game 3 that will never be forgotten. Moments before the first pitch on Oct. 17, 1989, a 7.1 earthquake devastated the San Francisco Bay area. The Bay Bridge Series is led by Oakland 48-45.
3. New York Yankees vs. New York Mets. The most unique circumstance of The Subway Series came on July 8, 2000. The Yankees took both ends of a day-night doubleheader that took the teams to Shea Stadium for Game 1 and to Yankee Stadium for the nightcap. Former Mets pitcher Dwight Gooden won Game 1. The Yankees and Mets fought for the World Series at the end of the same season. The Yanks took the series in five games. At one point during the series, Roger Clemens threw the remains of a broken bat in the direction of Mike Piazza. The Yankees own the series 54-37.
4. St. Louis Cardinals vs. Kansas City Royals. The I-70 series began when the two teams from Missouri met in the 1985 World Series. Kansas City won the title, but the series is best remembered for a blown call from Don Denkinger in Game 6. It is the only World Series the Royals have ever won. The Cards lead the series 43-30.
5. Cleveland Indians vs Cincinnati Reds. The Ohio Cup was given to the winner of a single spring training game between the Reds and Indians from 1989-1996. The game was always played in Columbus, Ohio, which is halfway between Cincinnati and Cleveland. The Cup has now been revived and handed to the winner of the interleague series. Cleveland has a narrow 42-40 edge.
6. Baltimore Orioles vs Washington Nationals. The Battle of the Beltways is taken very personally by fans of the Nationals. Orioles owner Peter Angelos fought the move of the Montreal Expos to Washington, claiming it would hurt his franchise. The Orioles lead 23-19 since the move to Washington for the Nationals.
7. Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Los Angeles Angels. This rivalry has been fierce off the field thanks to the Angels adding Los Angeles to their franchise name and the no-limits spending spree between the two. The Angels have had their way in the series (54-39).
8. Atlanta Braves vs. Toronto Blue Jays. The Blue Jays vanquished the Braves in the 1992 World Series. Toronto has the series lead 16-15.
9. Philadelphia Phillies vs. Boston Red Sox. Boston beat the Phillies 4-1 in the 1915 World Series. The Phillies would not return to the World Series until 1950 and they would not win one until 1980. Babe Ruth went 0-1 for the series and did not appear on the mound. The Red Sox lead the renewed rivalry 30-20.
10. Minnesota Twins vs. Milwaukee Brewers. The most familiar game of the bunch thanks to the long association of the Brewers with the American League. The Twins lead the series 227-215.
11. Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Detroit Tigers. Ty Cobb was not enough to keep the Pittsburgh Pirates from prevailing in seven games over the Tigers in the 1909 World Series. Honus Wagner hit .333 for Pittsburgh in the series. Detroit leads the series 19-15.
12. Seattle Mariners vs. San Diego Padres. Kids in Seattle grow up hating Tony Gwynn. Kids in San Diego are raised to despise Edgar Martinez. Seattle leads 46-41.
13. Miami Marlins vs. Tampa Bay Rays. The two teams are in the same state. Tied 43-43.
14. Texas Rangers vs. Arizona Diamondbacks. One of the results of placing Houston in the AL West is the Rangers vs. the Diamondbacks. Texas leads 17-10.
15. Colorado Rockies vs. Houston Astros. This does not quite feel interleague yet. Houston leads 81-79.