You may remember last week in Arkansas Times when Travelers CEO Bill Valentine bah-humbugged the idea of a rivalry with the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. Well, today in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette sports section, Travs GM Pete Laven sings a different tune: "We love it. It's great for both teams. The thing that will create the rivalry, initially, will be the fans. It will be left up to the fans whether they make the trips, and I think they will. Once that happens, that will translate down to the field."
That's more like it. Arkansas Times must have caught Valentine on a bad day, because there is no doubt this is going to be a rivalry the fans get into, and Pete got it right that once the fans get into it, it will translate on the field. What do you think drives the Yankees-Red Sox feud? With all that is going on with the University of Arkansas athletic department shifting the program to more of a regional focus than a statewide base, this rivalry has a lot of potential for emotions from other sources to spill into this series.
About that article in the Democrat-Gazette: As another Travs fan pointed out in the thread below, yes, it is somewhat insulting for a Travs fan to read. What is a story about the Naturals with a Springdale dateline doing on the front page of the city edition while the Travs are relegated to page 5C? Central Arkansas readers don't need to be told on the front page of the sports section who is in the North Division of the Texas League. We also don't need the Naturals schedule for next season in our edition of the paper. The Texas League just released the 2008 schedule, so I would have preferred one for the Travs. Take my word for it, it's a sign of things to come both in the paper (thanks to all the stories coming from the northwest paper war) and on KARK's Fayetteville-based sportscast.