Yankees-Red Sox Rivalry Needs to Reignite


Over the past decade, the New York Yankees’ historic rivalry with the Boston Red Sox has been as good as dead. In 2016, however, they both seem like contenders and could re-spark one of the greatest rivalries in sports. 

When I say Yankees vs Red Sox, what comes to mind?

Maybe you think of 1919 when Boston infamously sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees, creating the “Curse of the Bambino,” and the start of a storied rivalry. Or maybe you think of Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams, or the “Boston Massacre,” followed by the Bucky Dent home run.

I still replay Aaron Boone‘s home run over and over again in my head, and Sox fans are the same about the 2004 ALCS. And you can’t forget about the brawls ranging from the ’70s fights, to Pedro Martinez throwing Don Zimmer down, and Alex Rodriguez getting sucker punched by Jason Varitek.

Today, the only things about the rivalry that remains a constant is the extra price for a ticket, and the games being about 24-hours long (seriously, they take forever). Though we have had some memorable moments over the past few years, like A-Rod getting plunked by Ryan Dempster during his suspension appeal in 2013, and A-Rod’s walk-off home run in the 15th inning of a game in 2009, but the rivalry doesn’t have the hype it did in 2004 and the years preceding it.

Why has this rivalry taken a shot? Maybe it’s because they haven’t faced each other in the playoffs since the 2004 ALCS, but it also has to do with the players not hating each other with a passion like they used to. It’s hard to maintain a hatred when you aren’t playing meaningful baseball against each other.

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  • Both teams have been mediocre at best. For the Yankees, the days of the core four are gone and it’s nearly impossible to replicate the legends that dominated in the Bronx for years, but it has taken a toll on the rivalry with Boston. For the Red Sox, gone are the days where Manny was being Manny, and Nomar Garciaparra, Varitek, Pedro among others dominated in beantown. And a key component of the rivalry, David Oritz, will call it quits after 2016.

    Boston won the World Series in 2013, but they have finished last in the division 3 of the last 4 seasons. The Yankees have only played one Wild Card game since 2012 and the on field talent has been comical. Their lack of success over this recent span has taken a toll on the rivalry, and fans won’t see two dismal teams square off, rivalry or not.

    It’s been tough for both fan bases to truly hate each other. Yeah, you have the lack of big games, but are there really anybody to HATE on either team?

    From a Red Sox perspective, who are you going to hate besides A-Rod? Didi Gregorious? Brett Gardner? No, you can’t. For the Yankees, you can’t hate on Dustin Pedroia, as he has played baseball the right way all his life. And New York is literally having a retirement ceremony for Ortiz when he comes to the Bronx for the last time. So no, they don’t hate him either.

    When Red Sox outfielder Johnny Damon signed with New York in 2006, it added to the heat of the rivalry as he went from Jesus (his looks certainly fit the part) to Judas. Fast forward to 2014, Jacoby Ellsbury hung up his red socks for navy pinstripes and it was just considered “business.”

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    It’s really hard to hate a guy who got $153 million to hit .265, but he was never even booed at Fenway Park upon his return, or even considered to be a “traitor.” There’s a huge problem here, folks.

    In 2016, however, this mindset has the potential to get back on course as each team has groomed a new core group.

    Promising young players such as Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Blake Swihart, Jackie Bradley Jr, Rusney Castillo, and Henry Owens will be making contributions for the Red Sox this season, while Dellin Betances, Luis Severino, Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez are young stars coming from the Yankees farm system.

    These young players will be clashing for years to come, just like the good old days, and hopefully these groups won’t be too fond about each other. Both teams have also improved their teams significantly this off season, with Boston acquiring David Price and Craig Kimbrel while the Yankees brought Aroldis Chapman and Starlin Castro to New York.

    The rivalry is currently on life support, but could be saved with two competitive teams and some up and in chin music.

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    The fans want it, the players want it (after all, it’s what brought A-Rod to the Yankees), the media wants it, and baseball is better when the Yankees and Red Sox take center stage.