HomeTeamsRaysWho Are The Rays Rivals?

Who Are The Rays Rivals?

Sports rivals are healthy for the game. Games against rival motivate and spark a higher level of competition. In baseball, it is no different and some rivalries stretch back a hundred years. How are rivalries created? Is it by geography? Is it by a specific event or series of events?

If rivalries are created by geography that would make sense. The Dodgers-Giants and Dodgers-Yankees rivalry support this theory with their proximity in the Brooklyn/New York area. Only 11 miles separate the Athletics and Giants. By using this theory, the Miami Marlins would be the Rays’ rivals. These two franchises played 90 games. Stats on aiscore.com show the Rays lead the head-to-head series with 55 wins and the Marlins winning 35. In addition to their 61% winning percentage, the Rays win 67% of games at home and 55% in Miami. Also, the Rays outscore the Marlins in total runs, 382-316. This carries over to average runs per game, home and away. It seems like the Rays are superior to their neighbors 204 miles south. Are they rivals? Next closest team is the Atlanta Braves 437 miles north.

Could an event ignite a rivalry? An event like adding or losing a player could change the entire course of a franchise. When the Red Sox sold George Herman “Babe” Ruth to the Yankees it had an epic impact to both franchises and baseball history. Other trades that changed franchise courses are Lou Brock to the Cardinals, Nolan Ryan to the Angels, and John Smoltz to the Braves. The Rays have not been involved in a major trade to cause a rivalry. The Rays did trade their franchise player, Evan Longoria, to the Giants in 2017. No bad blood was created, plus they only crossed paths 18 times during the interleague play. The series is tied 9-9. No rivalry here.

Could an action on the field spark a rivalry? Timely home runs can propel a rivalry to its apex. An epic home run from Kirk Gibson during game one of the 1988 World Series is one example. Famous homers from Bucky Dent and Aaron Boone kept the Yankees-Red Sox hatred alive. For the Rays, the most historical homer in the franchise occurred in the last game of the 2011 season. It is referred to as “The 162-game.” In the last game of the regular season the Rays came back from a 7-0 deficit, versus the Yankees, on Evan Longoria’s home run in the 12th inning. The win knocked the Red Sox out of a playoff spot.

When I ask, who are the Rays rivals, some say the Yankees and others tell me the Red Sox. Google refers to both teams. Using the same website from before (aiscore.com), the Yankees and Rays played 299 times with the Yankees leading the series 155-143. The Yankees have a slightly higher winning percentage of 52%. The Red Sox played the Rays 300 times. One more than the Yankees. The Rays have a slight edge in the overall record with 151-147. Winning percentages for home and road games are separated by less than one percent. Stats covering runs per game, runs per home and road games are nearly identical, it is uncanny.

It makes sense to have rivals in the same division. The Rays play the Red Sox and Yankees 13 times this season. But there are two other teams in the mighty American League East: Blue Jays and Orioles. Why are they not rivals with the Rays? Why are they left out?

Now for one final question. Do the Red Sox or Yankees consider the Rays their rivals?


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