Cubs News: Taking a look at the history of three close rivals
For the Cubs, it’s a new season. But the Brewers rivalry has picked up right where it left off.
They call Miller Park, “Wrigley Field North,” and if you’ve ever been to a game there or spoken to die-hard Brewers fans–they hate it. I mean, who wouldn’t? It’d be pretty annoying to have your home stadium filled with fans of the enemy. The Cubs and Brewers rivalry is relatively young, but there have been some great matchups in the past, present, and it looks like there will be plenty in the future.
These two teams first met in interleague play in 1997 and would become division foes the following season when the Brewers moved to the NL Central. It took a while, but both teams began playing at a high level during the 2007 and 2008 seasons. The Brewers, led by a young Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder, challenged the north siders in some memorable matchups, but ultimately it was Cubs who won the division both seasons while Milwaukee finished in second place each time.
It would be a few years for both teams to become contenders again, but the rivalry was reignited in 2017 when the Brewers challenged the defending champion Cubs for the division title. The Cubs managed to hang on to their central crown that season but were dethroned the following year when Milwaukee, now with MVP Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain caught the Cubs in a late-season surge. The Brewers won 20 of their final 26 games, including a tie-breaking game 163 against the Cubs to steal the 2018 NL Central Division title.
Both squads had continued to compete at a high-level, leading to moments like earlier this season when Willson Contreras and Javier Baez were hit by pitches and voiced their displeasure to the Brewers. Since there are no fans in attendance, both sides were able to hear everything being said, and the benches cleared, though no physical altercations occurred.
As of Friday, the Cubs (16-8) sit in first place in the division while the Brewers (11-12) are 4.5 games back with the teams set to meet just three more times September 11-13. The stakes will be higher, and once again, we may be reminded why both of these rivals do not like one another.