Even without baseball so far this year, one thing remains constant among baseball fans: Everybody hates their rival. It is almost as fun to cheer for your team’s rival to lose as it is to cheer for your team to win itself. Baseball rivalries are eternal.
They are, however, dynamic and ever-changing. Sometimes, a team’s rival can ebb and flow; sometimes, circumstances dictate the rival. So, today, we take a look at each team’s most hated rival right now. And what’s interesting is that a team’s main rival isn’t always mutual.
And just to make sure we spread all the anger around: We’ll even give each team a runner up.
AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST
Blue Jays -- Orioles
The two teams are both building for a better future in a brutal division. The Blue Jays are further along, but they’re also more concerned with winning now than the Orioles are.
Orioles -- Yankees
If you’ve been to Camden Yards recently to watch the Yankees play, and seen as many Yanks fans as O's fans, this is an easy one to figure. The Orioles will start to know that conditions are improving when that ratio begins turning the other way.
Runner-up: Blue Jays
Rays -- Red Sox
The Rays and Red Sox always seem on the verge of having some sort of on-field scuffle. It’s funny how those seem to happen more when both teams are good.
Red Sox – Yankees
This will be a white-hot battle that'll last until the sun burns out, extinguishing all life on this planet.
Yankees -- Red Sox
The only disappointment here was how quick and sort-of lame their last postseason matchup was in 2018. That’ll change next time they meet, no doubt.
AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL
Indians -- Twins
This was probably the Tigers for a long time, but of late these have clearly been the best two teams in the division.
Royals -- Cardinals
The team on the other side of the state gets all the attention and has all the history, but as their fans are happy to remind you, the Royals have won a championship more recently.
Tigers -- Indians
They’re logical geographic rivals, but the Tigers need to be a little bit more relevant to get back to true top-tier status.
Twins -- Yankees
The pain the Yankees have caused this team in the postseason, seemingly forever, makes them the easy choice here.
AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST
Angels -- Dodgers
The Dodgers’ success, despite the Angels having the best player in baseball for nearly a decade now, chafes even more these days.
Astros -- Rangers
It’s possible at this point that the Astros’ biggest rival is “baseball fans.”
Athletics -- Astros
It’s a tough call between the defending AL champs and their Bay Area brethren, but current vitriol has to win out here.
Mariners -- Angels
There may be no team in baseball with a less obvious rival than the Mariners.
Rangers -- Astros
The Rangers were hating the Astros before it was cool to hate the Astros.
NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST
Braves -- Nationals
The Mets are the historic rival, but the Nationals are the team that won the World Series last year even though the Braves won the division.
Marlins -- Mets
No logical one here, and we’re not going to try to talk us into some sort of Derek Jeter feud, either. One wishes the Rays and Marlins could hate each other more.
Mets -- Yankees
Remember: You can go to a Mets-Braves game and, at some point, a “Yankees Suck!” chant is going to break out.
Nationals – Phillies
The Bryce Harper move is the main reason for this one, though a World Series title tends to be a balm for old wounds.
Phillies – Mets
It’s not quite as heated as it was a decade ago, but it will be when these two top the division again.
NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL
Brewers -- Cubs
Cubs fans aren’t exactly taking over Miller Park like they used to anymore.
Cardinals -- Cubs
You can make an argument the Cubs have been responsible for every major move the Cardinals have made over the last half-decade ... and many they didn’t.
Cubs -- Cardinals
They might not fight each other in the streets like Red Sox and Yankees fans, but don’t think this Midwestern rivalry is any less heated -- particularly these days.
Pirates -- Cardinals
They’re in a dry spell right now, but the last time the Pirates were legitimate contenders, it’s the Cardinals who broke their hearts in the 2013 NL Division Series.
Reds -- Cardinals
So much of what the Reds are building right now seems patterned on what the Cardinals have been doing. At the very least, they’re tired of watching the Cardinals be what they want to be.
NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST
D-backs -- Dodgers
You’ll find a rather consistent rival in this division for everyone. Seven straight titles will do that.
Dodgers -- Giants
The Dodgers may own this division, but the Giants, as they will gleefully remind you, are the team with three rings this century, while the Dodgers are in the midst of a 32-year title drought.
Giants -- Dodgers
It ranges back more than a half-century when both teams occupied New York, but they’ve always been natural fits as rivals on the West Coast, too.
Padres -- Dodgers
They’re the only game in town in San Diego anymore, but they still feel like little brothers to their fellow Southern Californians.
Rockies -- Dodgers
The Dodgers are the white rabbit all these greyhounds are perpetually chasing.