This week’s trivia question is from frequent commenter [and San Francisco Giants fan] Mike Schilling, and comes in time for the World Series. Mike will be offering daily clues as we flounder about trying to figure out the answer.
The 2013 Major League Baseball schedule came out recently. It’s different from all the previous ones, since, with the move of the Astros to the American League, there is now an odd number of teams in both leagues, necessitating inter-league play every day. Each team plays:
- 19 games against the 4 other teams in its division, for a total of 76
- 6 or 7 games against the 10 teams in its league’s other divisions, for a total of 66
- 16 games again the 5 teams in one designated division in the other league, for a total of 16. This year, the NL West plays the AL East, the NL East plays the AL Central, and the NL Central plays the AL West.
Presumably, this last feature will follow the obvious 3-year cycle.
That covers 158 of the 162 games in a season, and it’s pretty logical and close to fair. Now we come to the part that reminds us that Bud Selig is still commissioner. Each team has a designated “natural rival” in the other league, which it will play 4 games against. The rivals (in descending order of sanity) are:
Same city rivals:
- New York Yankees vs. New York Mets
- Chicago Cubs vs. Chicago White Sox
- Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (And no, I am not making that up)
Metropolitan area rivals:
- Baltimore Orioles vs. Washington Nationals
- San Francisco Giants vs. Oakland A’s
Same state rivals:
- Miami Marlins vs. Tampa Bay Rays
- St. Louis Cardinals vs. Kansas City Royals
- Cleveland Indians vs. Cincinnati Reds
Adjacent state rivals:
- Minnesota Twins vs. Milwaukee Brewers
No earthly reason except that everybody needs to have one rival for the system to work:
- Philadelphia Phillies vs. Boston Red Sox
- San Diego Padres vs. Seattle Mariners
- Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Detroit Tigers
- Colorado Rockies vs. Houston Astros
- Texas Rangers vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
- Atlanta Braves vs. Toronto Blue Jays
Not only is this unfair, with the Giants having to play the usually tough A’s while their division rivals the Rockies play the dreadful Astros, almost half of the pairings make little or no sense.
Now to the question: there is one team that has two other “natural rivals”; neither pairing is in the list above. They are rivals for the same reason. What are the three teams, and what is the reason?