Hypegram : Yankees-Red Sox Games in London Next June Could Be Home Run Derbies ARTICLE 155688338 Yankees-Red Sox Games in London Next June Could Be Home Run Derbies english ARTICLE Major League Baseball’s first games in Europe will be June 29 and 30, 2019, at the Olympic stadium in London. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/08/sports/baseball/yankees-red-sox-london.html?partner=rss&emc=rss /itemImage/155688338 Tue May 08 2018 21:51:48 GMT+0000 (UTC) baseballboston red soxnew york yankeesmajor league baseballlondon englandnewseurope {}

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Yankees-Red Sox Games in London Next June Could Be Home Run Derbies

New York Times
136 d ago

baseball boston red sox new york yankees major league baseball london england news europe

Major League Baseball’s first games in Europe will be June 29 and 30, 2019, at the Olympic stadium in London.
View Full Article On New York Times


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Boston’s lead in the AL East has been whittled down to one game due to New York’s monster tear in recent weeks. The Red Sox hit a 2-5 slump after starting the season off on a 17-2 run, but have since started putting things together again with a 6-2 record over their last eight games.
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For maybe the first time ever, the Red Sox and Yankees are on equal footing
Finally, the New York-Boston rivalry has some parity, and some teeth.
The Red Sox and Yankees have one of the most storied rivalries in sports, but there’s a dirty secret attached to it that doesn’t get enough mention: The rivalry was, at least on the field, never much of a rivalry at all. This was true for decades upon decades.
It seems hard to remember, but yes, the Red Sox were the underdogs once. Really. From 1919 through 2003, the Red Sox did not win a World Series; in that time, the Yankees won 26 of them. This was a time when baseball fans who did not root for the Red Sox (or Yankees) felt sympathy for Boston and its sports fans, because the Red Sox had been hapless for so long. Sure, the Red Sox were a pain in the Yankees’ ass from time to time over the years, but in the same way that an insect is aggravating until it’s swatted.
Now, it seems impossible that nearly 90 years of something could be forgotten so quickly, but then again, these are Boston sports fans we’re talking about.
Here, a meme:
Between their fans becoming monsters who won’t settle for anything less than a World Series, the actual World Series titles that Boston has won in the last 14 years, and incessant spending from the ownership group in Boston, the Red Sox have had an ascension of sorts: They’re on equal footing with the Yankees for the first time in a century, perhaps ever. Now, finally, we have a rivalry.
Red Sox history prior to 2004 was a history of both failure and spectacular collapses. From the time the Red Sox traded Babe Ruth to the Yankees, every interaction between Boston and New York involved the former rising up against its most hated enemy, briefly, only to see that effort squashed almost immediately. Here’s a brief history:
The Yankees won their first World Series in 1923, five seasons after acquiring Ruth, then won three more of them through 1932 with Ruth on the roster. The Red Sox, meanwhile, finished in last place of the American League in eight of those 10 seasons.
When, in 1946, Boston finally made it to the World Series for the first time since trading Ruth, New York had already won 10 titles. But Ted Williams’ Red Sox failed to win, and then it was back to regularly scheduled programming.
Boston wouldn’t sniff the World Series again until 1967, while the Yankees won another 10 World Series in that stretch. Carl Yastrzemski’s club would go on to lose to the Cardinals in seven games.
The rivalry got punchier in the ‘70s — sometimes literally — but the Red Sox then failed to defeat the Reds in the 1975 World Series, while New York added two more trophies in 1977 and 1978. The Red Sox finished in second both those seasons, the latter of which included Bucky “Fucking” Dent’s homer in game 163 to seal Boston’s collapse.
In the ‘90s, the Red Sox made it to the postseason four times, which would be laudable if the Yankees didn’t win four titles in five years to close the decade. Perhaps the Red Sox’ greatest postseason triumph of the decade was knocking former Boston ace Roger Clemens out of an American League Championship Series game after just two innings at Fenway Park while he pitched for the Yankees.
Mark Johnson/Stringer
Believe me when I say that was as pathetic to read as it was to both live, and type.
There’s a pattern here, and it’s the Red Sox getting the better of the Yankees every now and again, but never in a meaningful way. In Marvel’s The Avengers, villain (and literal space god) Loki justifies his surprise war against a world that didn’t know he existed by saying that, “An ant has no quarrel with a boot.” In the case of the Red Sox — the ant in this scenario — it was more like the boot had no quarrel with the ant, but was going to squash it to death because the ant would not stop biting the guy wearing it. Once crushed underfoot, the ant-like Red Sox were never given another thought by the boot’s owner (ahem, the Yankees), at least until another ant thought they had a real shot at them. There was like, 100 years of stretched ant metaphors and being crushed underfoot, so you can see how even the Red Sox were a sympathetic figure for one brief moment in sports history.
Fast-forward to 2003. The Red Sox pushed the Yankees to Game 7 in the American League Championship Series, and while New York won in the end and made it to yet another World Series for Derek Jeter and Co., this time felt different, even if Bucky “Fucking” Dent was replaced by Aaron “Fucking” Boone for a new generation of fans as well as those old (and unfortunate) enough to have seen both in one lifetime. Boston was close, and they’d prove it the next season by coming back from down three games to none in the 2004 ALCS to become the first team to ever win a series despite that deficit. The Red Sox would then sweep the Cardinals in the World Series, ending 86 years of ant-meets-boot ... for a moment, at least.
You see, one World Series was never going to put the Red Sox and Yankees on equal footing, especially not as the years became decades and the decades became half centuries and that half century came real, real close to becoming a full century without a World Series title to Boston’s credit. No, the 2004 World Series just proved the Red Sox could win, that they weren’t cosmically or karmically unable to do so. It was winning in 2007, and again in 2013, that finally moved the scales back toward even, especially as the Yankees “only” won one single World Series in that time, in 2009.
We’ve discussed the Red Sox a lot to this point, because it takes a lot of time to go through almost nine decades of absolutely shitting the bed at every opportunity. The Yankees had their own problems, though, and they showed themselves in the aughts. The roster, once young and flexible and containing a powerhouse in the ‘90s, was now older and expensive, and despite the addition of star after star, was vulnerable when a challenger like the Red Sox would appear. The Red Sox appeared, and did not go away, and then even the upstart Rays got in on the AL East action after a ton of trades worked out for them and vaulted them into relevance.
The Yankees would win the World Series in 2009 after remaking their roster enough to compensate for its issues, but that was the last time New York won a championship. The 2010s featured playoff appearances, but even more roster bloat, and for the first time, the concept of rebuilding got serious consideration in New York.
This is the Yankees, though, so they rebuilt like only they and one other team you’re reading about right now could. They shifted disappointing money around the league, rebuilt the farm system through the draft and trades, and continued adding payroll for stars like Masahiro Tanaka. When veterans like Tanaka and CC Sabathia and Brett Gardner and Aroldis Chapman coalesced with a young group of talent including Luis Severino, Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge, and Didi Gregorious, the Yankees’ rebuild was over as quickly as it began. They won an AL Wild Card in 2017, then the AL Wild Card Game, then found themselves close to a World Series berth but ran into the Astros.
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images
Still, the Yankees went from thinking about rebuilding to winning with the core they had plus a few kids who all just happened to pan out at their 90th percentile projections at the same time.
This is the story of the Yankees, seemingly forever and always . Even when they weren’t good, they were merely waiting to be good again. Everything worked out partly because of good management and partly because they always had a shitload of money to spend. But it worked out all the same, and last year, again, it was going to plan, and ahead of schedule.
The difference from this time and the rest of the post-Ruth years is that the Red Sox were right there with them, and with a very similar plan in place.
The Red Sox won the division in 2016 and 2017, the first time they had ever won it in back-to-back years. This was no accident, either; it wasn’t a happy-to-be-here roster like some of their past successes. They spent, both in dollars and prospects, and built a team meant to reach the postseason — and it did. The Yankees won for years and years by trading away kids to fill holes with talented players and by spending big on free agency, and if it was good enough for New York, it was now good enough for Boston.
In came Hanley Ramirez (four years, $88 million) and David Price (seven years, $217 million) via free agency. There was a five-year extension for Rick Porcello after he was acquired for Yoenis Cespedes in a trade of expiring deals, and a trade of a fireballing young pitching prospect for Drew Pomeranz, and then even more prospects shipped out for super closer Craig Kimbrel. Top prospect Yoan Moncada and more went to the White Sox for another ace in Chris Sale before 2017, and J.D. Martinez rounded out the field this past offseason on a five-year, $110 million contract.
This bunch, over a few years’ time, was added to a group of homegrown talent that rivals what the Yankees have put together. Mookie Betts is one of the best in the game — he’s batting .355/.434/.818 with 13 homers in 2018 — and he’s just 25 years old. Xander Bogaerts (149 OPS+ in ‘18) seems to finally be reaching the levels heralded by his prospect status, and he’s also just 25. Andrew Benintendi was the runner-up for the 2017 AL Rookie of the Year award — he’s 23. Rafael Devers is all of 21 years old, with less than a year of MLB experience behind him, and he’s been an above-average bat in that time. Jackie Bradley is the old man among these position players at 28, and while his bat is far too literally hit-or-miss, his defense is among the league’s best.
This is a tremendous group of talented players, assembled from free agency, from trades, through the draft and international signings. There’s a reason the Red Sox enter play against the Yankees in early May leading the AL East with a 25-9 record. The thing is, the Yankees are 24-10, one game back of the Red Sox, and it’s because they’ve put together just as terrifying a lineup.
Benintendi lost the 2017 Rookie of the Year race to Aaron Judge (26 years old), who led the AL with 52 homers and batted .284/.422/.627 in his first full season in the bigs. While Bogaerts is finally thriving at short, Didi Gregorius (28) is doing him one better after seemingly learning plate discipline that’s brought him a .311/.399/.664 line over the season’s first month-plus. Miguel Andujar is the slightly older answer to Devers at third. Aaron Hicks is one of the “old” men in New York, but unlike with Bradley, this 28-year-old is much more hit than miss. The Red Sox do not have an answer to Gary Sanchez and his prodigious power, no matter how good Christian Vazquez’s defense might be.
The Red Sox signing J.D. Martinez this past winter, while not a direct response, became much more necessary after the Yankees went out and traded for 2017’s MLB home run leader, Giancarlo Stanton. There is an arms race here, and there is no end in sight. The Red Sox opened 2018 with a league-leading $233 million payroll, while the only reason the Yankees find themselves down at $166 million is because they’re likely saving room for the next expensive weapon available to help them in this fight, whether it be Bryce Harper or Clayton Kershaw, both of whom could be free agents in the coming offseason.
The Red Sox might not have 27 championships in their history like New York, but in the last 20 years, it’s a tight race: The Yankees have four to their three. They’re both financial juggernauts no one else in the American League can touch. They’re both in possession of cores that are as young as they are talented, complemented by expensive veterans that, when put together with the kids, mean that both teams will be making runs at the top of the division for the foreseeable future.
The Red Sox learned how to open up their wallets from the Yankees, and from the success of the homegrown core of the ‘90s Yanks. New York, after pushing off anything resembling a rebuild for years, finally focused on the farm and remaking the big-league roster after seeing Boston successfully combining kids with veterans.
These two franchises, once as dissimilar as they were linked, are now one and the same. The rivalry, so long an annoyance for the Yankees and their fans while meaning everything in the world to Red Sox fans, is turning into something new before our eyes, something we haven’t seen in over a century. They’re the most significant threats in the American League and to the American League, and while that’s not new, the fact we know both are here to stay, that neither is simply a nuisance to be swatted or squashed, means everything is different this time around.
Here, another meme:
SB Nation
136 d ago
The Yankees-Red Sox rivalry is back: The Red Sox perspective
The Red Sox thought they’d have the run of the AL East for a bit, but then the Yankees rebuilt in a hurry.
I can only speak from a Red Sox fan’s perspective, but it’s been a little while since I’ve really cared about the Red Sox/ Yankees rivalry in more than just a token way. Obviously, there’s always going to be some animosity towards the team in the Bronx. Being born in Boston, it’s basically part of my DNA, and we’re raised to always at least give bit of a side-eye towards anything pinstripes-related.
That being said, the timelines of the two franchises for the better part of the last 10-15 years haven’t really lined up, and the rivalry has been on the back-burner, simply trying to keep temperature rather than really heating up. In fact, at least for a few years, the Rays unexpectedly took the mantle as the most hated American League East rival for the Red Sox, though, that period has subsided in a big way.
With the Yankees “rebuild” being accelerated in somewhat unexpected fashion and the Red Sox being firmly in the middle of a strong World Series window, the best rivalry in sports is back in the form that it should be, heating all the way up and boiling over. The world order is back to normal and, frankly, it feels amazing to be a part of this once again.
From a pure baseball perspective, in terms of the talent on the rosters, it’s not hard to see why the rivalry is back. These are two of the very best teams in baseball, and it’s not just that they’ll be competing for division titles but they have a similar makeup as they do so. Both squads are led by first-year managers. Both sides have electric aces. Both teams are led by young superstars in right field. Both teams have young shortstops experiencing breakouts and becoming true superstars. Both front offices improved their rosters by adding arguably the two best sluggers in the game. In this new baseball world with an eroding middle class and superteams vs. tanking teams, the Red Sox and Yankees are each firmly in the first tier, and they both figure to be for a long time.
Being a fan of the Red Sox, there’s an added new wrinkle to this newest edition of the rivalry that makes it even sweeter. It seems, at least for now, that the two sides have changed their positions in the standing of this matchup. Obviously, the Yankees had the upper hand for the vast majority of the history between these two sides, what with the Red Sox going a better part of a century without a championship and all that. Now, though, Boston seemingly has the upper-hand coming off two straight division titles and being more firmly established in their current window than the Yankees.
For the first time that I can remember, it feels as if the Red Sox are the old guard (despite being led by a core of young position players including a 25-year-old superstar who looks poised for a potential MVP run this season) while the Yankees are the new, up-and-coming franchise. It’s a strange and new feeling, and frankly it’s a fun one to embrace.
Neutral fans always have a natural tendency to side towards the team perceived to be the up-and-comer and the challenger, and it led to what was really the boiling point for Red Sox fans over the last year or so. Most of the 2017 divisional race, while certainly fun and closely contested, didn’t quite feel like the rivalry was back. It was more of your typical battle between two outstanding teams than something on a higher plane of existence where this matchup always has potential to be.
As the season went on, however, and the playoffs started to get going, there were stories about how likable the Yankees were becoming, and that’s where Red Sox fans started to feel the hatred again. The worst part is that those stories weren’t even really wrong. Guys like Didi Gregorius , Aaron Judge , Luis Severino , and Aaron Hicks , among others, should be some of my favorite players in the game. The Yankees have always had ostensibly likable players on their roster, though. What’s kept them from being truly likable is that they’re Yankees! Even though they surprisingly stayed in contention until the ALCS last year as a “rebuilding” team, the uniforms haven’t changed. Yankees can’t be likable, especially when the Red Sox never got that tag with the ball of joy that is Mookie Betts roaming their outfield. It’s just not fair, dammit.
So, between the positive stories on the other side and Yankee fans getting their mojo back after last season’s postseason run, the feeling in Boston about the rivalry was as passionate as ever, and it came to a head in the two teams’ first meeting of 2018. The fight between Joe Kelly and Tyler Austin was the highlight, of course, but even before that the buildup to the series was unlike anything we’ve seen possibly since 2004. April series just aren’t supposed to really be on the radar, particularly with the Celtics and Bruins in the postseason and the Patriots preparing for the NFL draft . Sox/Yanks dominated the sports news cycle, though, and more than anything that was the biggest sign this rivalry is back to the status it deserves.
After the fireworks that ensued once the two sides actually got on the field, we are guaranteed an even bigger buildup for this upcoming matchup between the two sides. The fan bases are going to be loud and chirping at each other all game, and whichever side is in first place on any given day is going to be sure to let the other one know about it. Standings in the beginning of May don’t really mean anything, unless of course you’re rubbing it in the face of your biggest rival.
People always say you don’t really know how much you’ll miss something until it’s gone, but in this case we didn’t really know how much we missed it until it came back. I, and seemingly most Red Sox and Yankees fans, were content to let the bygone days of the matchup be gone and go about our lives without this particular excitement. The rivalry came roaring back in overwhelming fashion, though, and it appears it should be back for a long, long time. And I’m again realizing that I wouldn’t have it any other way.
SB Nation
136 d ago
The Yankees-Red Sox rivalry is back: The Yankees perspective
The Red Sox and Yankees saw their rivalry die out, but it’s back, it’s talented, and it’s got punches.
As a Yankees fan, it seems like I’ve spent the better part of the decade living in the Upside Down. The last six years forced me to question everything I thought I knew about baseball. They even challenged the most basic principle of the game: The Yankees and Red Sox , bitter rivals since the dawn of time, are perennial postseason foes. Instead of another October showdown between the age-old enemies, we had ... the A’s vs. the Royals .
Thankfully, order has been restored to the baseball universe. The Royals now reside by the American League’s cellar, while the A’s continue to do whatever it is they do. Meanwhile, the Yankees and Red Sox have reignited their rivalry, and it just feels right.
The bad blood, however, didn’t reemerge overnight. The feelings surfaced in phases. Since it’s not just about the destination, but the journey, it makes sense to talk about the three key stages from a Yankees fan’s perspective. They each had their moments and deserve savoring.
The story began, oddly enough, with hope. Take the offseason for example. Giancarlo Stanton fell into the Yankees’ lap. A few months later, the Red Sox signed J.D. Martinez . Did that signal a knee-jerk reaction on Dave Dombrowski’s part? Was this their answer to Stanton? No, the Sox planned on injecting power into their lineup well before the Marlins and Yankees hooked up for a trade. Still, I wanted to believe.
The last few years conditioned me to automatically respond to winter moves with rational, clear thinking. Just because Boston traded for Chris Sale doesn’t mean Brian Cashman will have a counter-move. He did not, because these teams no longer operated under such competitive circumstances. How boring is that?
Maybe this winter was different, though. The Yankees and Red Sox both made the playoffs last year, marking the first time they participated in the same postseason since 2010. Plus, the division went down to the wire in 2017. While the in-your-face nature of the contempt remained beneath the surface, something was there. You could feel it with each winter transaction. Fans counted down the days, dreaming of iconic showdowns between the AL East’s two mega-teams. Besides, what else is there to do during the offseason?
“Be careful what you wish for,” the rivalry jeered back at Yankees fans. Soon enough the season started, and it did not go according to plan. Day one turned out fine, as Stanton swatted two home runs en route to a Yankees’ victory. At the same time, Alex Cora never summoned Craig Kimbrel and the Red Sox fell to the Rays . Great start!
Then things got real annoying as Boston rattled off 17 wins over their next 19 games. One of those losses came at the hands of the Yankees, but we’ll get to that later. The Bombers, on the other hand, stumbled out of the gate. Aaron Boone ’s squad struggled to play .500 baseball. Fans turned on Boone and Stanton. Boos echoed throughout Yankee Stadium and things got ugly in the Bronx real quick.
Having your team fall on its face is one thing, but watching a rival soar adds insult to injury. Phase two definitely gets labeled as the annoying portion of the reignited hostilities. Few things in baseball stand out as more insufferable than scoreboard watching in April. “Will they ever lose again?” I asked myself day in and day out for the early part of the season.
The Yankees did beat the Red Sox April 12, in a game that signaled the full arrival of the hostilities of old. To borrow a phrase from one of the great philosophers of our age, this represented the exact moment I realized the Red Sox had to “ get these hands .” It started, innocuously enough, with a Tyler Austin slide into second base. Brock Holt had a problem with it, arguing Austin’s spikes were too high and the slide too aggressive. They exchanged words, the benches cleared, but cooler heads prevailed.
At least until the seventh inning. That’s when Joe Kelly decided to exact vengeance on Austin and the Yankees by engaging in beanball. Kelly threw at Austin a couple of times before finally drilling him, sparking a full-fledged brawl.
Benches clear, punches thrown in Yankees-Red Sox after Tyler Austin is hit by a pitch from Joe Kelly. pic.twitter.com/wvqoak8QMV
— MLB (@MLB) April 12, 2018
Much has been written about the fiasco, so I won’t overdeliver the point. The Red Sox transformed from pesky rivals to villains in this showing. Prior to the fight, I was annoyed Boston refused to lose, all the while maintaining their scrappy underdog persona. Here, though, they started a battle that conjured up a decade’s worth of rage. For the first time since 2010 or 2011, I loathed the Red Sox.
The Red Sox’ reaction to the altercation — namely the presence of several of the larger Yankees on the roster — proved remarkably entertaining. Per Michael Hurley of CBS Boston , Brock Holt had no desire to scrap with the Bombers. “We’re not trying to fight those guys over there,” he explained. “They’re big.” They sure are, and they’ve cut that lead in the AL East down to one game, too.
In recent years, I found myself less enthused by Yankees-Red Sox games. Maybe the absurd number of times they play each other had to do with it. Or perhaps the absence of relevance on one side of the equation. I even wondered if the Astros represented the new rivals for this incarnation of the Yankees. However, a return to normalcy occurred, and these two teams are back at each other’s throats.
It wasn’t easy or particularly fast, but the Red Sox and Yankees have once again climbed to the top of baseball relevance, exchanging blows all along the way. As a Yankees fan, I moved from optimistic that a clash would someday come, to frustrated by Boston’s unending success, before finding myself downright infuriated. The Yankees and Red Sox, equal and hostile in 2018. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
136 d ago
How to explain Yankees-Red Sox rivalry to foreigners
The most intense rivalry in Major League Baseball will come to London in 2019. Here's what you need to know.
SB Nation
136 d ago
The Red Sox and Yankees will play a 2-game London series in 2019
MLB confirmed reports of the series on Tuesday.
Confirming reports that first surfaced last week, MLB announced today the Red Sox and Yankees will be taking their rivalry show on the road in 2019 with a two-game series in London on June 29 and 30.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred and London mayor Sadiq Khan jointly announced the series , which adds to the list of countries where MLB will hold series in order to expand the game. This past weekend the Dodgers and Padres played a series in Mexico, and there are also planned games in Japan and the Dominican Republic over the next few years.
The London series was rumored to be between the Sox and Yankees when reports of various international trips first arose . It will be MLB’s first games held in Europe and the league is “committed to playing in London in 2020” as well with the “intention ... to establish a long-term footprint in the city.”
Last week Yankees manager Aaron Boone said of the series ,
“I’ve never been to London, so I’m looking forward to that. [The trip] can grow our game, obviously, in Europe and hopefully getting two big teams out there will be a great thing for the sport.”
The series is set to be played at London Stadium — originally built to host events during the 2012 Olympics and currently the home field for the Premier League’s West Ham United. It will have a 55,000-fan capacity for baseball games.
The news comes as the Red Sox and Yankees hold the top two spots in the American League and are set to face off in a three-game series starting Tuesday night in New York.
SB Nation
135 d ago
The Yankees-Red Sox rivalry went from hatred to RE2PECT and back
The Yankees and Red Sox went to some dark, hateful places. Then the rivalry went to some darker, RE2PECTful places.
Before the Yankees and Red Sox brawled on the field at Fenway in their first series this season, it had been a long time since the rivalry had seen a moment that heated. By the 2013 season, the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry had lost the majority of its oomph. The Red Sox were pitiful in 2012 and New York’s victorious 2009 team had aged into a group either already enjoying retirement or privately contemplating how much longer they could stave off the inevitable.
Fans of both teams fell into a resting heart rate of “we do not like this team” rather than “it feels as though this team murdered my dog and family and I will display my hatred accordingly alongside a stadium of like-minded people.” Players from the the rivalry’s most recent peak in the aughts — the Papis and the Jeters and the Riveras of it all — seemed to feel the same about where the rivalry stood. The constant vitriol between players petered out for no other reason than that the passage of time comes for every rivalry eventually. The fire was gone.
One of the most storied rivalries in the sport going from 100 to 0 in only a few seasons would have seemed unlikely at the turn of the decade. Especially to those who weren’t old enough to remember the last lull in the rivalry in the early- to mid-90s. The 2000’s were full of resentment and anger and players throwing 72-year-old men to the ground .
You remember all those big moments. There was Aaron Boone ’s home run, the Pedro Martinez-Don Zimmer fight, the Varitek vs. A-Rod fight, the 2004 ALCS comeback, multiple championships for the Yankees sandwiching multiple championships for the Red Sox. The smaller moments all meant something too — buying a Yankee Hater hat ( which were an absurd design at the time and should be remembered that way), going to the opposing team’s stadium and starting something in the bleachers (intentional or … yeah it was usually intentional), walking past a fan of the other team on a normal day in a random setting except that both of you are wearing your chosen hats and you throw side eye so emphatically it’s as if Andy Pettitte cutter’s came to life as a stare.
It all added up to a level of nativism and tribalism that seemed hard to break free from overnight.
In the summer of 2009 I lost my grandmother, a through-and-through New Jersey Italian who loved few things in the world more than Bob Barker and Derek Jeter . Growing up a Boston fan made it difficult to see eye-to-eye with her about The Captain or anybody else who happened to be clean-shaven and wearing pinstripes. But we had fun with it every year, rooting against each other and bonding.
As the Yankees progressed further into the postseason that year, there was a push from my family to root for them on behalf of Gram, that it would mean more if they won for her. After the Yankees won the series I could admit that it felt like a cosmically well-timed gesture from her favorite team, but at no point during the playoffs could I bring myself to root for them on her behalf. The built-in animosity was that strong. I still think she would appreciate my commitment.
The dissipation of that animosity didn’t feel as abrupt as it now seems looking back, but as the decade flipped over, so did the relationship between these two teams. The usual instigators mellowed out, and both teams took turns being far better than the other several seasons in a row.
Those 2011, 2012, and 2013 seasons were the nadir of the rivalry. In 2011 the Red Sox had the most drastic September collapse in baseball history, fired their manager, smeared that once-beloved manager in the press with rumors of a prescription painkiller addiction, and then spent most of the offseason unpacking what the hell just happened . When one attempted defense is that players only drank beer in the clubhouse but not the dugout during games you know things are a true mess.
For most of the rivalry’s history things were decidedly lopsided and there still managed to be some heat. It turns out one team being so pathetic as to have an entire season dubbed the “fried chicken and beer season” that led to a disgraceful collapse is the line too sad to cross for the sake of rivalry fun.
2012 saw Boston finishing last in the AL East while the Yankees finished first. The next year they swapped, with Boston in first and New York in fourth, with that 2013 New York team the first Yankees squad to miss the playoffs since 2008.
They were so disappointing that when they were finally mathematically eliminated from the postseason the New York Post’s lede was “The Yankees finally were put out of their misery Wednesday night.” Which provokes imagery closer to that of a wounded animal finally being put down than a team missing the playoffs for only the second time in 19 years.
How do you put any energy into mocking your arch rival when that rival is so down and out that you’d actually feel bad lobbing insults? Or when they’re playing for something bigger than the game and it would feel wrong to engage in the normal ribbing? They weren’t even in each other’s orbits competition-wise in those years, and on top of that the old guard was giving its last gasps.
The players on the 2009 rosters were scattered by 2013. Jeter was recovering from his ankle injury, a year away from retiring. Jacoby Ellsbury was a year away from switching to pinstripes. A-Rod was as enjoyably petulant as ever, but a year out from being suspended for a full season, with his once-sparring partner Jason Varitek already having retired the season before. Andy Pettitte retired with Varitek, and a long procession of Mariano Rivera retirement ceremonies took place the next year. Former Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis publically squashed his years-long feud with Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain before signing with New York that year, then played 28 games in pinstripes and retired. Even the human fireworks accident known as Jonathan Papelbon was out of Boston.
Watching both sides give lavish retirement gifts to their supposed enemies was the ultimate tip-off that the rivalry wasn’t what it once was.
Jeter played the final game of his career at Fenway against a last-place, prospect-filled Red Sox team. Boston presented him with a piece of the Green Monster , spelled out “WITH RESPECT 2 DEREK JETER” on the scoreboard, and even gave him a pair of Yankees-themed L.L. Bean boots. Legendary Boston athletes from all sports bid his career adieu and the entire team signed a piece of the Green Monster that had “RE2PECT” printed on it. Any one of those things would have made a 2008 fan wretch, all three together would have been practically sacrilegious if you time traveled and tried to explain it to them.
But by 2014 it felt … fine. Two seasons after Jeter’s ceremony at Fenway the Yankees gave David Ortiz a book of letters and a painting of him in Yankee Stadium, personally presented by Mariano Rivera. It was a lovely moment. Rivera’s gifts included his number 42 from the Fenway scoreboard and the visiting bullpen’s pitching rubber as tribute. During that ceremony, the Red Sox also lightly roasted him by including a video looking back at his performance in the 2004 ALCS, when Rivera infamously blew the Game 4 save in the ninth inning to let the Red Sox back into the series — but the video felt like cheeky fun , not out-and-out nasty. ( Not every New York fan saw it that way. )
During Rivera’s retirement fete, he once again noted that the rivalry was always more for the fans than the players, and that makes sense. However being “for the fans” doesn’t mean the rivalry didn’t mean anything. Sometimes it was all in good fun, sometimes it got more serious than it should, but it always made things more interesting and elevated what would otherwise be a routine April or May series to something filled with tension and possibility.
As the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry died down, the rivalry between Boston and Tampa Bay crescendoed. Boston’s other AL East rival had been a needle in its side since the turn of the millennium, but always in second place to the more ardent rivalry in the Northeast. If rivalries are for the fans then the Rays gave the fans what they wanted. Where Pedro Martinez and Jason Varitek and Manny Ramirez were the leaders in inciting animosity in the past, this rivalry belonged to Dustin Pedroia and Luke Scott and David Ortiz and future Red Sox pitcher, David Price .
It wasn’t built to last forever, but the Rays stepped in for a while and provided a healthy dose of brawls and public sniping. Once their window closed and they stopped contending (“future Red Sox pitcher David Price ” is only one example of the Rays’ top players leaving town) that rivalry turned back into a pumpkin. And of course the Yankees had the Orioles to mess with, another lower key rivalry that still has heat to it.
So it’s not like either team was suddenly above torturing another team or being pestered by their success. They just didn’t do so against each other for a few years.
The rivalry the fans love best returned partially because of an influx of fresh blood, but also because fierce dislike is a cyclical beast. And the break actually did the rivalry some good.
Today, both teams have young, fun players with overactive bats who aren’t afraid to chirp and fight if the situation calls for it. The “Red Sox as underdogs, Yankees as ravaging conquerors” storyline has played out, setting a new stage for fresh personal vendettas. Neither team has won anything since 2013, so everyone is hungry and it’s a true chase again.
The Baby Bombers vs. The Artist Formerly Known As Win Dance Repeat pays homage to their previous rivalry peaks. Boston still has a little of the old scrappy, come-from-behind mentality against the machine-like brutality of the New York offense, but they’re both now operating at the same level of financial abandon . There’s no throwing stones at New York being able to afford Giancarlo Stanton when you live in a glass house made of J.D. Martinez ’s signing.
Even managers Alex Cora and Aaron Boone are getting in on the action — with a little in-game shouting and some “we did nothing wrong” interviews — having both witnessed things firsthand in the mid-aughts trenches and seen how much fun a full-bore rivalry can be.
That last “rivalry era” lasted for more than a decade and this could be the start of another glorious stretch of the Yankees and Red Sox engaging in fisticuffs once or twice a year before meeting in the postseason, especially considering all of the young players involved who, if we’re lucky, have many years filled with potential pettiness ahead of them.
It might be greedy to ask for all that from a rivalry that is only just being resuscitated, but that just shows how exciting these teams are right now and how high this rivalry was at its peaks. Not having this feeling for the foreseeable future would be unacceptable. We lived through the lull. It was only natural that it occurred in the long run, but it was a lull nonetheless.
With any luck, this stretch of the rivalry will be just as intoxicating as the last.
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