Yankees and the AL East: 25 years as baseball’s best division

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) /

Yankees/Red Sox Vol. II

The teams had both made changes by 2003, the Red Sox adding both David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez. In fact, when Manny Ramirez signed with the Sox before the 2001 season, he famously quipped he was doing so because “I’m just tired of seeing New York always win.”

The Yankees had gone through significant changes of their own and, by the time the two teams met again in the 2003 ALCS, both were vastly different. And both had reason to be confident going into that series, although the Yankees seemed a bit worse than the ’99 version, while the Sox were just entering their prime.

The Yankees won again, and in the process helped create a classic. This series featured brawls, both the police and paramedics, wild momentum swings, and one of the greatest comebacks in postseason history. And it featured baseball played at a high level, with both teams leaving everything out on the field.

When it was over, one team stood victorious, while the other could barely stand.

Truth is Stranger Than Fiction

The first two games saw the teams exchange comfortable wins, taking small early leads that were never relinquished. Game three, however, provided spectacle and the greatest coming attractions since God spoke to Noah.

The game featured Boston’s former ace, Roger Clemens, and its current one, Pedro Martinez. By the time they met, Clemens had won six Cy Young awards, although PED use has been strongly suggested.

Pedro had already won all three he would ever win, his most recent coming in 2000; Clemens won it in 2001.

But this is a short synopsis, and those citations are far from telling the whole story. By October 2003, Martinez had already established himself as perhaps the best right handed pitcher in the modern era.

Clemens had established that he was struggling with some mysterious rage issues. The image of him picking up a splintered bat and throwing it at Mets catcher and bat splintered Mike Piazza in the 2000 World Series is as hilarious as it is indelible.