Chicago Cubs: Will their rivalry with the Brewers hit their peak in 2018?
Since joining the National League in 1998, the Milwaukee Brewers have shared the same division with the Chicago Cubs. They have had several years when the teams clashed in a race, but this coming year begins an all-time great race between them.
The Milwaukee Brewers made headlines Thursday night with the acquiring of Christian Yelich from the Marlins and signing Lorenzo Cain. These moves tell the baseball world they are serious about contending in 2018. They had a surprising year in 2017 as they spent a chunk of the summer in first place before the Chicago Cubs overtook them. They finished with 86 wins in a year they were expected to win around 75.
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Not fooling around, the gap between the Cubs and Brewers may be tightening up. The Cubs and Brewers are preparing to duke it out for the NL Central crown before the season even starts. It is not often the two teams are predicted to be contending at the same time.
Usually, the Cubs main focus is the St. Louis Cardinals in the division, but right now a lot of attention is being paid up north. Of all the years the Cubs and Brewers have been chasing the crown, could 2018 be the peak of the rivalry? It very well could be.
A history of Cubs vs. Brewers
From 1998-2006, there was not much of a rivalry in terms of chasing the division. The Cubs had some big moments against the Brewers though, including Sammy Sosa hitting home runs 60, 61 and 61 in 1998 on September 12th and 13th. Though, Brewers fans probably enjoyed Brant Brown dropping the ball greatly on September 23rd, 1998.
Enter 2007-2008. The Brewers and Cubs chased down the playoffs in both those years and that is when the rivalry turned up. Arguably the biggest series in Brewers-Cubs history to that point took place at Miller Park from July 28th-31st of 2008.
The Cubs swept and basically put the NL Central race to bed, though the Brewers still won the wild card that year. It was a time when the fanbases went at each other during the fierce battle, and plenty of nastiness was exchanged. Yet, it died out quickly. The Cubs did not contend for the Central from 2010-2014 with the Brewers winning one division title in 2011.
When the Cubs got good in 2015 and won it all in 2016, the Brewers were well below .500. Until they surprised everyone in 2017, Milwaukee was not on the Cubs radar of concerns. That has drastically changed since.
The tension is being felt already. Cubs fans and Brewers fans are already arguing over which team will win the central. It seems like right now the Cardinals are being forgotten about, even though they’ll be in the mix. Heck, the Cubs and Brewers twitter accounts are going at it! Just causing more fan-conflict.
Since most years (outside of 2008) the two teams were chasing the division at the same time came as a surprise, the hype was not there during pre-season. Now there is the hype. The teams will play in spring training and then they’ll meet at Miller Park the third series of the season. If both teams are in a tight race, the rivalry will be intense all year long. It may even reach near Bears-Packers level!
Next: Cubs have talent, still could be challenged
The Cubs still are the team to beat in the Central, but the Brewers will fight really hard to take the crown away. Both teams will have pressure on them to win the division and emotions will certainly fly high. Get ready for an epic battle between the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers.