It has been 16 seasons since the Milwaukee Brewers joined the NL Central division. Since that time, the Brewers have developed a friendly rivalry with the Chicago Cubs. It is known as the I-94 series with the two stadiums separated by just 83 miles. With the two teams competing within the same division, there really has not been any bad blood between the two clubs in the first 15 years. However, Matt Garza could be looking to shake all of that up during the 2014 season.
Milwaukee acquired the right-handed pitcher during the winter to help bolster the Brewers’ rotation. Garza was previously a member of the Cubs from 2011 up until a trade-deadline deal with the Texas Rangers in 2013. While at times battling injuries, Garza brought a competitive nature to the Cubs’ rotation. While his win-loss record is not intimidating, his aggressive mindset is, and he will look to bring that same fire to the Brewers this season as well.
Recently in an interview, Garza sounded off with the first notable trash talk this Midwest rivalry has seen. While he does wish his former teammates the best, he also added that he will “try to kick their teeth in every time he gets a chance.” Saying that he was just a pawn during his stay in Chicago. While Garza’s time with the Cubs was not always filled with sunshine and success, the comments also speak to the competitive, fierce nature that makes up his composure.
Garza also has a track record of getting into dugout battles during his time with the Tampa Bay Rays, and also Twitter wars with opponents such as Eric Sogard from the Oakland A’s. When hearing about the comments, Cub players such as Jeff Samardzija and Carlos Villanueva simply shrugged them off while also adding where they would like to “kick” Garza when given the opportunity.
Unfortunately for these two teams, this rivalry figures to not provide a ton of playoff implications for this season, so the shouting matches could pack just enough punch to get fans of the I-94 series through 2014. While Cub fans view Miller Park as Wrigley Field North, and often pack the place more than Brewer fans, it is the Brewers who do lead the 15-year battle 131-123.
Time will tell if these comments ultimately lead to more throughout the season. But suddenly this friendly rivalry has a little spice added to it. The first meeting between the Cubs and Brewers is scheduled for April 25 at Wrigley Field North, aka Miller Park. Will Garza be involved in that initial series? He may not be the only one who suddenly has these games circled this season.
Nick Schaeflein is a Chicago Cubs writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ptchr2424 or add him to your network on Google.