Monday Trivia, No. 81

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?

Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering litigator. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Recovering Former Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.


    • Not the answer I’m thinking of, but you’re headed in then right direction.

      • Mets and the Dodgers and the Giants. The Mets’ team colors are a combination of Dodger Blue and Giants orange.

  1. The Braves used to play in both Boston and Milwaukee, though Milwaukee is now part of the NL so that’s not it. Pretty sure Cain has it.

    Regarding the format, there is something screwy…. 16 games against 5 teams in an opposite league division = 80, not 16. Obviously, the total number they play is 16 so I’m assuming it is 3 games against 4 teams and 4 against the 5th?

    • I’m assuming it is 3 games against 4 teams and 4 against the 5th?


    • Or Phillies and Royals vs. the As. Is this criteria exclusive? As in, is there only one set of baseball teams that this could possibly apply to?

  2. The Giants natural rivals are the Dodgers and the Yankees, because each was a New York team during the golden era.

  3. Each team has a designated “natural rival” in the other league, which it will play 4 games against.

    Does “Other League” apply to this trivia question?

  4. Washington Nationals and the Rangers/Twins. Both of those teams were once the Washington Senators.

    • Might fail Mike’s uniqueness criterion. Today’s Orioles and Braves were both Milwaukee teams, although you have to go back a long way in the case of the Orioles (played as the Milwaukee Brewers in 1901 before moving to St. Louis). Google is your friend — or enemy, depending on whether you have things you should actually be working on.

  5. An answer to the general question: the solution is unique.

  6. Pittsburgh actually has three “adjacent state” “natural rivals,” none of which appear on the list: Cleveland, Baltimore, and the Yankees.

  7. Seattle used to play in either Milwaukee or Minnesota, if memory serves.

    • Almost — the Brewers began in 1969 as the Seattle Pilots, but moved to Milwaukee the next year. Fortunately, Jim Bouton played for the Pilots, so we have Ball Four as a record of that that team was like.

      • Though the original Brewers moved to St. Louis and became the Browns and then moved to Baltimore and became the Orioles. This was after the original Orioles moved to NY and became the Highlanders before becoming the Yankees.

  8. The Mariners, Rangers, and Yankees have all been subject to the ARod circus!

  9. The Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox, and Baltimore Orioles were all once owned by Bill Veeck (The Orioles when they were the St. Louis Browns).

  10. Many good answers so far, some very close. In fact,

    Tuesday hint: All the facts needed to solve the puzzle have been mentioned in the comments.

  11. Cubs vs. Cardinals and Brewers both named for Interstate rivalries I-55 series for the Cards and Brewers is the I-94 series.

  12. Yankees (who used to be the Orioles), the Orioles (who used to be the Brewers), and the Brewers. Stop the chain there because, while the Brewers used to be in Seattle, their name was the Pilots, not the Mariners.

      • Boy, talk about “inside baseball”!

        And by the way, Mike, for the next couple weeks you are dead to me. Go Tigers!

        • JamesH when his team isn’t in the Series:

          The redeeming quality of baseball is that, like most things, it’s a good excuse to sit on your a** and drink beer.

          Apparently my comment read as praising baseball? I need to work on my delivery.

          I’d call you a fair-weather fan if I didn’t think you’d have a plausible-sounding reason why that’s completely rational behavior.

          • I’m not quite a true fair-weather fan. I went to two Tigers’ games this year and had to endure a rain delay for each one (in a drought year, no less!). Fortunately, Comerica Park has the redeeming quality of beer.

            But you’re not too far off base. I don’t find baseball exciting enough to watch regularly, but I do keep an eye on the standings, and enjoy catching the last few innings of a close game. The divisional race and the playoffs add the excitement necessary to enable me to watch more than seven innings. I certainly won’t pretend I stack up to you as a fan, but then I think this trivia question proved you’re certifiably insane.

            And I do like to mock baseball, but only because it’s slow and its hard core fans (I’m lookin’ at you, George Will), take it so damned seriously.

  13. But the Yankees can be rivals with everybody because everybody hates the Yankees. Well, except for Yankees fans, but they seem more than pleased to reciprocate.

    • I suspect they’re actually filled with self-loathing, because nobody could actually be that evil.

      • Depends on the Yankees fan. The minority of Yankees fans who are also Jets fans are, indeed, filled with self-loathing. Decades of observations in the field indicate that this subset of Yankees fans are that way because of a desperate need to counter the inferiority complex associated with being a Jets fan.

        But the majority who are both Yankees and Giants fans? Pure evil.

      • Here’s a bit of baseball advocacy you and I can agree on, my man.

  14. To sum up:

    The team with two natural rivals is the current Baltimore Orioles (former Milwaukee Brewers). Their rivals are the current New York Yankees (former Baltimore Orioles) and current Milwaukee Brewers.

    Michael Cain is the winner, for knowing what it’s all about. Honorable mention to Mo, for presenting the relevant information. Thanks, everybody, for playing.

  15. Congratulations are in order to the SF Giants and their fans tonight. Winning the World Series is no small matter.

    • Very gracious of you, Burt. Last time, I was just grateful to have this experience once in my lifetime. I am completely unprepared for them to make a habit of it. Once again, this year’s team seems (as far as you can tell these things) to be a terrific group of guys, and I can be happy for them unreservedly.

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