The 60-game 2020 season will put a much larger emphasis on divisional games, as teams won’t play outside their region. For this year, that means the Cubs will see the Cardinals, Brewers and White Sox for a large percentage of those 60 games.
In conjunction with that, this week’s SB Nation Reacts survey asked baseball fans who they saw as their favorite team’s biggest rival. Some MLB teams got that sort of attention across the entire league. (The Marlins, Padres and Royals are the small words in the middle, teams that aren’t felt to be a big rival of anyone.)
Cubs fans in our survey overwhelmingly said the team’s biggest rival is the St. Louis Cardinals, followed by the Brewers, White Sox, Dodgers and Nationals. (Nationals? Where did that come from? Although, as you see, it’s a very small number, only about one percent of survey respondents.)
There are many different kinds of rivalries. For some teams, that rivalry includes begrudging respect. That respect, however, is not universal. When fans were asked what team they disliked the most, the results were not unexpected. Here’s another word cloud, and as you might have guessed, the Yankees are the most disliked team across the league. (The tiny little words in the middle, the least disliked teams, are the Rockies, Reds and Padres.)
Cubs fans felt a little differently when it comes to which teams they dislike the most. While the Cardinals were still the top choice, the Astros and Yankees have earned their own attention. It was a bit surprising that the White Sox came in after those teams, though.
Many different things can contribute to the creation of a rivalry. But when it comes to what most fans dislike about their rival, the answer is clear.
SB Nation Reacts is a survey of fans across MLB. Each week, we send out questions to the most plugged in Cubs fans as well as fans of the other 29 MLB teams. Sign up here to join Reacts.