On Monday, the Brewers edged the Cubs in Miller Park (MIL 4, CHC 3) and pulled to within four games of the NL Central lead. Even though the Cubs fell in this one, veteran lefty and deadline acquisition Cole Hamels pitched well once again for Chicago, allowing two runs in six innings. Afterward, Hamels had this to say about the divisional rivalry of note ...
Hamels on first taste of Cubs-Brewers at Miller Park:— Tony Andracki (@TonyAndracki23) September 3, 2018
"When you have a majority Cubs fans in the stands, I don't know if that's a rivalry yet. I've been in rivalries. They're not gonna like me for the comment but you can look at the ticket sales."
Shade! As noted in the tweet, this is the first time Hamels has faced the Brewers in Milwaukee as a member of the Cubs. As such, it may have surprised him to see and hear how many Cubs partisans were in the seats. Wrigley is just about a 90-minute drive from Miller Park, and the Cubs are of course a team with a national following that hails from the third-biggest city in the country. The Brewers, meantime, toil in MLB's smallest media market. Given that the Cubs are a fairly ascendant brand right now, it makes sense that their fans would show up in droves for a fairly important stretch-drive contest a short haul away.
Overall, the Brewers have no cause for shame when it comes to attendance. This season, they rank 10th in MLB in total attendance and 10th in per-game attendance. The Cubs rank higher in both measures and sell a higher percentage of available seats, but, again, that's to be expected given the market size (and to an extent the ballpark size). Even so, Cub fans' typical turnout in Miller Park is a sore spot for Brewers fans, and Hamels has, shall we say, picked at the scab just a bit.
So is it a rivalry? Sure. They share the same division (and the same freeway), their states border one another, and they're both contending teams. Besides, rivalries can be fluid depending upon the standings. It's more about that than how the attendance breaks down in a given game, but credit to Hamels for trolling 'em where it hurts.