Rivalries of the JAL
Rivalries are great. Rivalries, however, are hard to come by. In order for one to exist between teams there needs to be history and good storylines that raise the stakes. Today in the JAL it seems apparent that there aren't really any matchups foaming with opposition, but there have been in the past and there could be in the near future. Let's take a look...
Cobras vs Bison
In the beggining, Cobras vs Bison was THE rivalry without dispute. Both teams were vying for control as the leagues top team. Over a five tournament period (JAL IV - JAL VIII) the Cobras and Bison were the only teams to win the WWCD Cup. What also amplified the stakes of the matchup was the father-son relationship. At the time, the Bison were owned by Kevin Johnson and the Cobras by Brock Johnson.
At about JAL IX the rivalry died down, as both Brock and Kevin gave up ownership of their teams. Taking their places were James French (Bison) and Erika Halverson (Cobras). With that transition, both franchises lost their dominance. Since JAL VIII, neither team has won a championship.
Currently, the Cobras are ranked #3 and the Bison #5, but because of the history that exists between these clubs the rivialry would easily become renewed if both can get good again.
Lynx vs ?
Toutle is, and has been for the last three tournaments, the most distinguished team in the league. The sad thing is that they don't have a true rival. There are a few teams that you could make the case for though, and here's why...
Lynx vs Rapids?: The reason you can consider this matchup is because of 1. The pitching duel between Ty Johnson and Jordan Halverson (the league's two best pitchers) 2. The team's faced in the WWCD Cup of JAL X . The second reason is a stretch at best when you consider that Rapids missed the playoffs in the tournament before and after, so there isn't a lot of history outside of that one game.
Lynx vs Cobras?: Why? Another family relationship. The Lynx are owned by JoLynn McCully, and the Cobras by her daughter Erika Halverson. If that wasn't enough you can throw in the fact that the Lynx players (Jordan Halverson and Stephen Todd) are Erika's younger brothers. Both teams faced in the WWCD Cup of JAL IX as well. The only problem with this potential rivalry is that the Lynx own the Cobras (3-0 all-time). It's hard to have a rivialry when one team is undefeated against the other.
Lynx vs Fog?: Of all the teams, the Fog are best fit to become the Lynx true rival. Both teams are the newest expansion teams to the league, both are good, and history between the two has definitely begun to develop. In the regular season of JAL X the Lynx and Fog met for the first time and the Fog won. Later in the tournament they met again, this time in the semifinals and the Lynx won. Then in JAL XI the teams played eachother again for all the marbles in the WWCD Cup and the Fog came out on top.
Another reason this matchup could make for a great rivalry is the fact that both teams play a similar style. Jordan is better than Jacob at pitcher, but both pitch the same way: Make the batters swing by avoiding throwing balls. In the field Darren is better than Stephen, but again, both are known for making more hustle plays than anyone else. On offense, neither team is steller, but they don't swing outside the zone and Jordan and Jacob each can occasionally make big plays.
Give it another tournament or so, and hopefully Lynx vs Fog will become the new 'Bison vs Cobras' for this era of the JAL.
underdogs vs Rapids
This has been a long article, so we'll cut right to the case with this matchup. underdogs vs Rapids is a rivalry and has been since the beggining for two reasons: 1. These are historically the two worst teams in the league (underdogs 10-23 all-time, Rapids 10-20 all-time) and 2. It's another mother vs daughter ownership contest (Cathy Woodruff and Julie Johnson). The all-time series record is 3-3, but right now the Rapids have the last laugh because of their championship in JAL X.