Few rivalries in sports equal that of the Boston Red Sox versus New York Yankees. From Babe Ruth to today’s mega-stars, there is literally no way to support both teams without coming across like a circus freak.
Of course, you can always refuse to support either team, or point out the absurdities behind this overrated and much over-hyped “war”. Even fans in the trenches, such as myself (Red Sox fan for life), can get sick of hearing about Yanks and Sox, Sox and Yanks. For everyone’s sake, it’s time to take a breather.
10. Division Rivalries are EVERYWHERE
At its most basic, the Sox/Yankees rivalry is due to their being in the same division. It happens; both teams are geometrically close to each other, so they get lumped together in the same group. So to act like one team from your division is a bigger deal than the others is just ridiculous. Realistically, us Red Sox fans (or you Yankees fans) should be just as fired up when the Baltimore Orioles, Tampa Bay Rays, or Toronto Blue Jays come to town as we are when our hated rivals show up. Unless, of course, one of those teams are 45 games out of first place and only win when half the opposing squad comes down with a sudden case of malaria.
9. Nobody Outside of MA or NY Cares
A major wake-up call for any Yankee or Sox fan outside of their respective cities: not too many people care about the rivalry. In fact, a huge chunk of the nation is sick to death of hearing about it, as they feel ignored and slighted even when their team is doing well. If a smaller underdog knocks either team out of the playoffs, there is mass rejoicing. Even people who don’t care about the other team root for them just because they’re not the Yankees or the Sox.
8. It’s Getting Violent
Violence is never the answer, and this goes octuple times infinity when the question is, “which sports team is better?” Sadly, more than a few fans, on both sides of the Sox/Yanks fence, have taken their baseball differences to the streets. Fans have been pummeled for wearing Sox jerseys to Yankee Stadium, and vice-versa. A man was attacked with a bat, in front of his children, simply because he was in Cape Cod with a New York license plate. He could’ve been a Mets fan, or preferred hockey, or might not have cared about sports at all. And the less attention we give the Yankee fan who ran over Sox fans with her car, killing one and injuring others, because they screamed YANKEES SUCK at her, the better.
7. It’s Clogging Up the Court System
Our courts are overwhelmed enough, between the constant robberies, thug violence, and people contesting traffic tickets because they were clearly going 34mph in a 35 zone. We don’t need Yankee/Sox stuff clogging it up further. So when a Sox fan sues Yankee Stadium because drunken Yankee fans beat him up, most judges just reach for the Advil and whiskey, preparing for an extra-long day on the bench.
Even celebrities are getting into the act. Jay-Z, a Yankee fan (in case his songs’ constant Brooklyn references weren’t hint enough), has filed suit against Sox slugger David Ortiz. Ortiz opened up a nightclub in the Dominican called 40/40, and Jay-Z claims the name was stolen from HIS 40/40 club, and that Ortiz should pay him $5 million. One must assume Jay-Z wouldn’t have bothered if Ortiz was a Kansas City Royal.
6. It Spawned “The Curse”
One of the dumber ideas sports fans have come up with is the curse: a supernatural conspiracy being the reason a team constantly loses, as opposed to crappy players or awful front-office decisions. Here, we have the Curse Of the Bambino, a theory made popular by a Boston journalist trying to get a book deal (naturally). Basically, Babe Ruth was on the Sox, got traded to the Yankees, and curses the Sox to never win again. You would think he’d have rescinded the curse after winning multiple titles with the Yanks and becoming the most famous athlete of all time, but perhaps he didn’t read that far into the Curse Cookbook before forgetting about the whole thing.
5. Both Teams Have Won Recently
Part of the allure behind this rivalry was that the Yanks kept winning while the Sox hadn’t done a thing for almost 90 years. In 2004, this changed, as the Sox finally won a World Series. Then, three years later, they did it again. Fair or not, when a huge chunk of a rivalry was based around one side never winning, then a lot of luster becomes lost once they do. It’s difficult for a Sox fan to get fired up over conquering the Yankees when they can go to Fenway and pose with two shiny World Series trophies at the same time.
4. The “27-7” Thing Means Nothing
Yankee fans love to rub their 27 World Series victories in Red Sox fans’ faces, since the Sox have only won seven, and five of them were before 1919. The problem here is that a very large portion of those 27 Yankee wins occurred a long time ago, before most of the people going nuts over this rivalry were even born. Many of you reading this are in your 20’s or early 30’s. For you, the Yankees likely won jack-squat until 1996, which makes the score 5-2. Yankees still have more wins, but it suddenly doesn’t look like anything that a fan could rub in another fan’s face.
Slightly older fans witnessed a couple Yankee wins in the 70’s, making the score 7-2. Still not a blowout. After that, you need to be pushing sixty to run the score up any higher but, if you’re sixty, you’re probably past acting indignant over a team who isn’t from your city. Hopefully, anyways.
3. The Wild-Card System Waters it Down
Up until 1995, the only baseball teams that made it in the playoffs were the division winners. That made every division game a huge deal; since the advent of the wild-card berth though, the drama has lessened. Now, if the Yankees win the division, the Sox can take solace, knowing they can still get into the playoffs if they’re better than the other divisions’ second-place finishers. It’s difficult to build up a rivalry as some kind of ultimate struggle when both sides could win simultaneously.
The drama may be cheapened moreso at any time as well. Bud Selig, the commissioner of MLB, has been giving serious consideration to adding two MORE wild-card teams, thereby inching closer to that awful point where more than half the teams in a league make the playoffs. The next step down will be handing out participation trophies to everyone and forcing them to line up and slap everybody’s hands while muttering “good game, good game”.
2. They’re Basically the Same Team Now, Anyway
For a long while, the Red Sox were plucky underdogs, the working-class idiots fighting tooth-and-nail against the bloated, corporate, over-spending Yankees. Or at least, that’s what they advertised. Truth is, they’re not too dissimilar anymore. They have had the two highest payrolls in baseball for awhile, eclipsing virtually every other team. Both make tons of money through mass merchandising, and their ticket prices are among the highest in the league. To drive the point home, the Sox once paid a Japanese baseball club $50 million just to TALK with one of their players. They eventually signed him for an exorbitant amount of money, and he’s done very little since to earn it. But the Sox quickly made their money back and then some, so it’s OK.
1. The Players Will Rarely Play Into the Rivalry
Some fans love to think the players on the Sox and Yanks care deeply about this rivalry. The thought of them licking their chops come game time, eager to sink their teeth into the other team’s hide, is nice, but the simple fact is they could not care less. These players are, by and large, professional businessmen and approach each game like they did the last, regardless of who they’re playing. It would make no sense for them to hold back or look past other teams while saving their competitive fire for the next time one “hated” rival comes to town. The only part of this rivalry the players care about is the part where more fans come to the ballpark, buy merchandise, watch the game on TV, and make them money. Anything else is just silly fan-boy talk.
by Jason Iannone