Over the past two seasons, the rivalry between the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers has seemed alive and well, as the two have battled it out in the race for the National League Central. But Cole Hamels thinks differently about the so-called rivalry.
After another dominant outing, this time against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park, Chicago Cubs left-hander Cole Hamels had some strong words to say about the so-called rivalry with the Brewers. Obviously, it’s heated up over the past two years as the Brewers improved and the Cubs worked to stave them off.
"“When you have the majority of Cubs fans in the stands, I don’t know if that’s a rivalry,” Hamels said, according to multiple reports."
Hamels’ comment came after a 4-3 Cubs loss, as a bases-loaded fielder’s choice groundout from Christian Yelich sent the Brewers home with a walk-off win. Still, Hamels continued to pitch brilliantly in the loss, earning a no-decision for his six innings of two-run ball in which he struck out five and allowed five hits.
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He’s not wrong
While they may rub Brewers fans the wrong way, Hamels’ comments about the rivalry are not necessarily inaccurate. Throughout the game, it was evident that Miller Park, often referred to as “Wrigley North” due to its close proximity to Chicago, was packed with plenty of Cubs fans.
The Brewers have tried every trick in the book to bring in more Brewers fans and fewer Cubs fans. Prior to this season, they held a Wisconsin resident only presale for tickets to all Brewers vs. Cubs games at Miller Park.
Despite their efforts, though, the ballpark still seemed dominated by Cubs fans on Monday afternoon—and you could hear them after Anthony Rizzo hit a clutch eighth-inning home run off Josh Hader (the first Hader has allowed to a lefty in his big league career) that gave the Cubs the lead for a short time.
The rivalry is on its way
As a recent newcomer to the supposed Cubs/Brewers rivalry, Hamels does provide an interesting perspective on the concept of what constitutes a rivalry. As a member of the Texas Rangers, he experienced the in-state rivalry with the Houston Astros, and he played in other rivalries with the Philadelphia Phillies. Based on the dedication of the fans, he may be correct right now.
But if you’re looking at on-field competition, the Cubs/Brewers rivalry certainly seems alive and well. Remember the final series at Miller Park in 2017, in which the Cubs took three of four games from the Brewers? That series was nothing short of a playoff atmosphere.
This season, the Brewers are even better, adding pieces leading up to both trade deadlines and constantly pushing the Cubs down the stretch in the race for the NL Central. And while the Brewers may seem like a pesky group that Cubs fans just want to disappear, it doesn’t seem like they’re going away any time soon.
And maybe that’s a good thing. Rivalries like this growing one between the Cubs and Brewers are what make baseball exciting, even if as a fan, you might feel like it’s taking some years off your life in the process.
Hamels may be right for the time being, and his comments will certainly do a lot to fire up Cubs and Brewers fans alike. But overall, it seems like this rivalry between the Cubs and Brewers will only continue to grow going forward, making for even more exciting NL Central battles down the road.