MLB Interleague Play Births New Rivalries


Jerry Lai/US Presswire

"Hey Ozzie, what do you think about @SweetLouPinizzy for my Twitter account?"

Baseball fans get their first taste of interleague play this week as 28 MLB teams are scheduled for a three-game series against the opposing league starting Friday. The Braves and Pirates were selected to sit this one out, as the NL has 16 teams compared to the AL's 14. This could be MLB's gift to Pittsburgh, as the AL has dominated the NL over the past five years of interleague play with a record of 713-546.

Many clubs will battle for state supremacy this week: Yankees versus Mets, Orioles versus Nationals (OK, area supremacy), Reds versus Indians and Giants versus A's. But MLB rivalries aren't limited to interstate feuds -- there are many other budding rivalries sports fans need to get acquainted with.

Pulp War

Tampa Bay Rays @ Houston Astros

Tampa Bay may own the best record in baseball (30-11) and Houston the worst (14-27), but when it comes to juice, throw away the records. The Rays play their home games at Tropicana Field while the Astros call Minute Maid Park their home. With Florida claiming orange juice as its official state beverage in 1967, you'd have to say the pressure is squarely on the Rays to win.

What's at stake: The losing team has to sell the winning team's juice products at its stadium for the rest of the season.

Film Festival Feud

Toronto Blue Jays @ Arizona Diamondbacks

The Blue Jays have the Toronto International Film Festival, while the D-Backs have the Arizona International Film Festival. Don't laugh; it's Arizona's longest-running and largest festival (19 years). The TIFF is a bit more prestigious, with Oscar winners like "Slumdog Millionaire" debuting there, but it's always fun to root for the underdog.

What's at Stake: The losing team is required to submit a 30-minute short film about Big League Chew at the other city's 2011 festival.

The Battle of Paul Molitor

Milwaukee Brewers @ Minnesota Twins

Paul Molitor played the bulk of his career with Milwaukee (1978-1992), had his No. 4 retired by the club, and went into the Hall of Fame in 2004 as a member of the Brew-Crew. But the Land of 10,000 Lakes can also stake claim to Molly. Molitor was born and raised in St. Paul Minnesota, recorded his 3,000 hit with the Twins and snagged the 1998 Branch Rickey Award for exceptional community service while playing in Minnesota.

What's At Stake: The losing team has to recall all its Paul Molitor merchandise from fans.

The Birth of a Nation Battle

Boston Red Sox @ Philadelphia Phillies

Which historic city better represents the birthplace of America? Boston has Paul Revere, the Boston Tea Party and the Pilgrims (they must have taken a trip to Boston from nearby Plymouth for extra grub, right?), while Philly has the Liberty Bell, the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.

What's at Stake: If Boston wins, it adds another crack to the Liberty Bell. If Philly wins, it dumps more tea into Boston Harbor.