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Start a War

June 20, 2013

There’s something weird going on in Pittsburgh right now. Pirates fans are taking to the internet in droves to declare that the Pirates and Reds are hated rivals.

This is the part where I beg to differ.

  • The Reds and the Cardinals — that’s a rivalry.
  • The Reds and the Cubs — that’s a rivalry.
  • The Reds and the Indians — while I don’t get excited for those series, many people consider that a rivalry.

Beyond that, any team the Reds play is just a series.

I don’t think you’ll find many people in Cincinnati with an avid hatred for the Milwaukee Brewers, and I doubt that many Reds fans have a major problem with the Pittsburgh Pirates. So why are Pirates fans so insistent on turning this series into some kind of rivalry?

I mean, other than the fact that they live in Pittsburgh and they’re looking for something to do.

While the Reds haven’t had a ton of success in the last 20 years, at least they’ve had at least one season with a winning record, which is more than the Pirates can say. The last couple of years, the Pirates were a pretty solid ballclub in the first half of the season, only to fall apart in the second half. Once again, the Pirates are playing good baseball in the first half, and now we’re supposed to think things will be different this year. Maybe they will.

As of Thursday morning, the Reds are in second place, ahead of the third place Pirates by 1.5 games. If the Pirates were in first place and the Reds were in second, then people would get fired up for the series. But I still wouldn’t call it rivalry (outside of the fact that we play in the same division).

Am I saying the Pirates aren’t a threat to the Reds? Of course not. What I’m saying is that I don’t think Reds fans get all that fired up for a Pirates series. Don’t tell that to the Pirates fans, though, because they think Reds fans are losing sleep over what the third-place team is doing. No, Reds fans are losing sleep over what the first-place team is doing.

Hitting a couple of batters does not a rivalry make. Year-in and year-out competitive play from both teams makes a rivalry.

And complaining about the smoke from the fireworks getting in your eyes. That makes a rivalry, too.

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