The days of brawls, harsh words, and hatred seem to be a thing of the past between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. Images of Pedro Martinez throwing down 72 year old, Don Zimmer by the head and Jason Varitek picking up A-Rod still run vividly through my mind. The animosity between these two clubs was something that I could never forget. But as time goes on it seems like sports’ greatest rivalry has come and gone. So the question begs; will the rivalry ever be renewed?
Baseball’s glory days date back to the early 2000s, when steroid infused juice-heads ran rampant across the MLB. The product on the field was sexier. Home runs were at an all-time high and games could switch in an instant. During this period, baseball saw its greatest rivalry come to the forefront. The Boston Red Sox, struggled year in and year out to take down baseball’s greatest team, the New York Yankees. The Yankees finished first in the American League East, beating out the Red Sox who came in second for 7 consecutive years, from 1997-2004. The two teams battled back and forth as baseballs unwritten rules would be broken time and time again. Hard slides, brush back pitches, and relentless jeers from the fans made these games like no other. Just the way baseball should be played.
Unfortunately for the MLB and the fans, the rivalry between the two organizations has become nonexistent. Both teams have struggled to stay atop an extremely competitive division, making some of the games between the two clubs seem unimportant. In the early 2000s when the rivalry was at its peak, each game was vital. A four game series at Yankee Stadium in late August could either win or lose you the division. Each pitch you would sit on the edge of your seat as you would watch Rodger Clemens and Pedro Martinez duel it out on the mound. Neither pitcher being afraid to put one under the chin of an opposing hitter.
But things are looking up. The Red Sox recently just acquired Chris Sale who clearly puts them as the favorites out of the America League East. Immediately after the signing of Sale, the Yankees took a huge splash into the free agent pool, signing Cuban fire-baller, Aroldis Chapman. The Yankees were one of the best teams during the second half of the year in 2016. With the acquisition of Chapman, the Yankees have become a powerhouse in the American League as well. When the Red Sox and Yankees are at the top of their division, baseball flourishes. It is a real possibility that this rivalry can be rejuvenated.
Like I mentioned before, Clemens and Martinez were never afraid to get into their opponent’s head. Their competitive nature was apparent and it wore off on their teammates as well. Looking at the rosters of both the Yankees and Red Sox, I can see similar characteristics. Chris Sale, David Price and Rick Porcello have all been in multiple conflicts with opposing teams, displaying their competitive nature. The Yankees have players like that as well. Chapman has been known to brush back hitters with his 100 MPH fastball and Chase Headley has gotten into an altercation with Red Sox pitcher, Rick Porcello.
The possibility that these two teams could fight for a division title may create a spark that the MLB needs. I’m looking for fights, fans screaming, and good baseball. We haven’t seen much of this for the past years but it seems like this rivalry may no longer be a thing of the past.