The Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers have been embroiled in a bitter rivalry since their first meeting 21 years ago, but one ace pitcher who just joined the rivalry doesn't see it that way.
Cole Hamels, whom the Cubs acquired at the trade deadline, noticed the large wave of Chicago fans that filled up Miller Park in Milwaukee during their clash on Monday. Because of this, Hamels believes there isn't a real rivalry between the two NL Central clubs.
"When you have the majority of Cubs fans in the stands, I don't know if that's a rivalry," Hamels said, via Jesse Rogers of ESPN.com. "They aren't going to like me for the comment, but look at the ticket sales. When they start to get a little closer and their fans sell out, then I think that's kind of the understanding [of a rivalry]. But Cubs fans travel well."
The Cubs were previously 6-0 in games Hamels started, but Monday marked the first time they didn't win with him on the mound, a 4-3 walk-off victory for Milwaukee. Still, Hamels tuned in an excellent performance with eight strikeouts and no earned runs in six innings pitched.
Per Rogers, the Brewers "offered tickets to their home games against the Cubs for Wisconsin residents only." Nonetheless, the Cubs fans that are known for their excellent support during road games managed to pack up Miller Park, an ongoing trend with no end in sight, unless Brewer fans want to start getting their hands on those tickets first.
Entering play on Tuesday, the Cubs held a four-game lead over the Brewers for the NL Central lead. Milwaukee held a 1.5-game lead on the St. Louis Cardinals for the first Wild Card spot, and they're 2.5 clear of the outside-looking-in Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Cubs are running away with the top record in the NL, which means they're more than likely to host the Wild Card Game winner. If the Brewers manage to qualify and win the single-game knockout, Brewer fans will get the chance to counter Hamels' argument during the NLDS.