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State of the Rivalry

Robbie Carpentier, Guest Writer

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In the history of man, there have been remarkable feuds and rivalries; Pepsi vs Coke, Bill Gates vs Steve Jobs, McDonald’s vs Burger King, and even Socialism vs Democracy.  However, no rivalry has affected more people than Red Sox vs Yankees.  Hall of Fame Commissioner Bud Selig once said, “You can talk about the Dodgers and Giants, the Cardinals and Cubs, the Packers and the Bears, Ohio State-Michigan, but there’s nothing like the Red Sox and the Yankees.”

Look, I could give you a history lesson on how the duel initiated, but that would be a waste of our time.  All you need to know is that the greatest talent in the history of America’s Pastime was traded from Sox to Yanks for a mere $125,000.  And that lead to a curse, allowing the Yankees to capture 26 World Series Titles, while the divisional foe Red Sox waited 86 years to win their first since the trade.  The total stands at 27 (Yankees), to 8 (Red Sox).

Although the Red Sox suffered nearly 90 years of crushing defeat, the gap has certainly closed.  The Red Sox have won the division the last two seasons, however, the Yankees finished one game short of the World Series this past year. The Red Sox started to compete with the Yankees around the year 2000, and ultimately captured the title in 2004.  When describing the miracle of 2004, a Boston Globe Writer, Bob Ryan, said, “Every once in a while an Oscar winner gets up there and wings an acceptance speech because “I never thought I’d win, so I didn’t prepare anything.””

The fun of the rivalry in those days was built upon the parody of the league where the Red Sox, the loveable losers, somehow managed to defeat the Yankees, the evil empire.  The difference today, neither club is sneaking up anymore, as both are predicted (and expected) to be one of the top teams in the league. Their payrolls mirror each other, and their rosters are both stacked with talent.  So the question is raised, does the fact that both teams are good help or hurt the rivalry? And where is the rivalry today?

Although neither New Yorkers, nor Bostonians would admit this, they are very similar in nature.  They are hardworking, passionate, and blunt people who really care about their sports teams. Anytime you have that combination associated with a divisional opponent, you will always have some sort of rivalry.  

The current state of the rivalry would seem mundane compared to the war zones of 2001-2006 (Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park).  Nonetheless, I am predicting that the inter-club tug of war will experience a rejuvenation in the upcoming years. Here’s why…

The Yankees hired a new manager by the name of Aaron Boone, who hit a legendary walk-off homerun against the Red Sox in game 7 of the 2003 American League Championship.  He is one of the most hated Yankees (by Red Sox fans) of all time. Secondly, the Yankees will feature a lineup practically unequalled in the entire game. With Aaron Judge, 52 home runs, Giancarlo Stanton, 59 home runs, and Gary Sanchez, 33 home runs, the Bronx Bombers will score plenty of runs via the long ball.  

On the other hand, you have the Red Sox, who also hired a first year manager, Alex Cora.  Cora played for the Red Sox from 2005-2008, meaning he has first hand experience on what it means to participate in a Boston vs New York series.  In contrast to the powerful Yankees, the Red Sox finished dead last in the American League in home runs, yet still managed to capture the division title.  The Red Sox addressed this issue, by acquiring JD Martinez, who smacked 45 long balls last season.

With both teams taking place in the AL East arms race, this is shaping up to be an exciting season.  Former Red Sox player Tim Naehring said, “It’s a different environment — Red Sox-Yankees. People live it and breathe it,” and I am expecting that feeling to become relevant again.

So, for those of you who have lived under a rock for the majority of your lifetime, I hope that I have enlightened you, and you are feeling the same way that Curt Schilling felt when he signed with the Red Sox and said “I guess I hate the Yankees now.”

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State of the Rivalry