As the 2014 season approaches, the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals‘ seasons are headed down opposite roads, per the usual. The Cubs are destined for the basement of the National League Central division as they continue to rebuild and the stacked Cardinals have their sights set on another division title.
Since the new millennium, the Cubs have won six playoff games and advanced to the NLCS just once. The Cardinals on the other hand have won 60 playoff games as well as well as two World Series titles. So with that type of disparity between the two teams, can they really still be considered rivals?
Well, the short answer is yes, they can be. Rivalries aren’t completely determined by the competitiveness between the two teams at the same time. Certainly, rivalries are strengthened when both teams are competitive and the games mean something to both franchises, but a rivalry isn’t solely dependent on that.
Rivalries are also dependent on the fact that teams know each other well. That’s certainly the case with the Cubs and Cardinals. Even though compared to the rest of the league, the teams are far apart; when they play each other, they are generally relatively equal.
Sure, the rivalry is less intense for now, but all rivalries go through a lull at some point or another. When the Cubs’ rebuild has the team on track in a couple of seasons, then this rivalry and other inner-divisional rivalries will be strengthened.
Based on their history and their competitiveness with each other, there’s no way to say that the Cubs and Cardinals aren’t still rivals; they always will be. That rivalry might be less intense at the moment, but it’s likely that in the next couple of years the two teams will re-kindle their old flame.