Outside of Duke-North Carolina, the Yankee-Red Sox rivalry is the best in sports. We’ll say the existence of the rivalry is coming up on its 100th birthday (2018) and even games that have very little meaning are a must-watch.
Years like this year, 2012, and many others during the 98 year period have seen one of the two teams being irrelevant, yet those six to seven series we get each year are beyond intense.
It all started when the Pinstripes bought the Sox’s best player and then called our stadium the house that he built (my friend Smallz calls him Baby Ruth). We then proceeded to win over 20 championships in that building before they won one.
The Yanks walked off in extra innings of Game 7 to win the pennant and then in the very next season they beat us in four straight elimination games to accomplish the same feat. The history of this rivalry is second to none.
Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams almost being traded for each other, Pedro and Don Zimmer, Pedro calling the Yanks his daddy, A-Rod knocking the ball out of Bronson’s glove, Jeter making the catch “and dives into the stands,” there’s never a dull moment with these two franchises. Let us not forget that A-Rod was almost part of the enemy (turns out that would have been okay, but can’t change history).
The best part about this rivalry is that us spoiled twenty-something year olds got to witness the golden era. They have played each other three times in the playoffs, and we’ve gotten to see all of them.
It’s fair to say that since the mid 1990’s this has been the best era for both teams at the same time in the past 100 years. Since 1996, eight of the 20 championships have been won by these two teams and they’ve represented the American League in half of those 20 championships.
It’s truly remarkable what these two franchises have been able to accomplish over the past 20 years. How, over a 20-year period, can two teams consistently be so good?
It starts at the top, with the guys making the baseball decisions. Whether you want to admit it or not, Brian Cashman is a top GM in baseball, and for a good portion of the twenty years, Theo Epstein was the best. Look at the results at this year’s All-Star game. Five Cub players and four Red Sox players were in the starting lineup. That has a lot to do with that Theo guy.
Of course, great teams aren’t great without the leader in the clubhouse. Terry Francona, Joe Torre, Bobby Valentine (LOL just kidding), Joe Girardi, and John Farrell all have at least one championship on their resume. It takes a special kind of person to lead a group of men to a championship, and these two franchises have made the right decisions time after time with the men they hire to be their managers.
I don’t have the time to name the ridiculous amount of players who will be Hall of Famers from these two teams over the past twenty seasons. They have put on some of the best performances night after night against each other, battling past midnight on the East Coast countless number of times.
It’s been a treat getting to watch these two historic franchises battle it out on a cold night in April, a blistering Saturday afternoon in July, and frigid, tense nights in October. All these games helped me, and I’m sure many of you fall in love with the game of baseball.
My personal favorite part of this rivalry, those Pesky Red Sox fans. Look, don’t get me wrong, I’m from New York, we are programmed at birth to dislike that group of people and their teams, but as I’ve grown up, I have the utmost respect for that group up in Massachusetts.
They are some of the most loyal, passionate, and knowledgeable sport fans we have. Us New Yorkers aren’t too shabby either, but I’m not going to sit here and deny that fan base the respect they have earned and deserve.
Fans truly add to this rivalry, don’t let anyone tell you we don’t. With Big Papi retiring this 20-year period kind of comes to an end. There are no more Red Sox from that 2004 team, there are no more Yankees from the 2003 team.
It’s a new era with a great group of young, talented, athletic players on both sides of the field. The best part is, we get to sit back, relax and enjoy it all.