Is The N.Y. Yankee/ Boston Red Sox Rivalry Dying?

***The blog below was originally posted on 2/18/13 on: http://sportsnuthub.com/   The site is no longer up so I am re-posting on my personal blog.

Yankees-Red-SoxHi, my name is Jeff Schubert; I am a lifelong New York Yankee fan, Boston Red Sox hater. (I feel like some sort of support group should over enthusiastically respond, HI JEFF!). Maybe it’s because I’m over 30.  Okay over 35, but the rivalry just doesn’t seem to have the bite it used to.  And we all should have seen it coming.

Thurman Munson & Carlton Fisk

Thurman Munson & Carlton Fisk

Firstly, kudos to the national sports media for keeping it alive as long as it has.  The truth is, since the advent of free agency and players changing teams, the rivalry hit and past its peak in the Thurman Munson / Carlton Fisk days of the 1970’s.

Sure it got a nice spike when Major League Baseball added the wildcard round and we got to see them go head to head in the playoffs.  Yes, I reveled in delight in the Yankees lighting up Pedro Martinez in game seven in the 2003 ALCS.  And yes, I shriveled into a ball in the corner and wept after Boston came back from an unprecedented three games to none hole to beat the Yanks in game seven in the 2004 ALCS .

But the Red Sox winning the World Series was yet another nail in the coffin of the over hyped rivalry.

Winning not one, but two WS last decade, had Red Sox fans deservedly feeling pretty good about themselves.  It went a long way towards soothing their inferiority complex.  And with the fun of being able to chant, “1918”, gone (1918 was last time Boston won a World Series prior to 2004), Yankee fans just went back to rooting for more championships.

The Yanks and Sox compete in the same division and with their history of course the rivalry will never be dead.  However, aside from free agency and the Red Sox finally winning, here are more reasons it is not the same:

  • Former Yankee and Red Sox managers, Joe Torre and Terry Francona, respectively, ushered in a new era of class and respectability from the teams towards each other.
  • They are no longer the only financial bullies on the block.  More teams are generating bigger revenues and spending more.
  • There are more good teams with marquee players and story lines so the media doesn’t spend as much time on the Yankees / Sox as they used to.
  • More competition within the American League East from teams like Tampa, Toronto and Baltimore means spreading the hate a little.
  • Both teams have a combination of internal issues and questions that detract from caring as much about what the other is up to.
  • They play each other so much and the media replays the same stories over and over (Jason Varitek and Alex Rodriguez getting into, Pedro Martinez and Don Zimmer etc) it is just getting old.  And the new players get along too well to spice it up.
Boston Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek gets into it with Alex Rodriguez after Arod gets hit by a pitch by Bronson Arroyo

Boston Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek gets into it with Alex Rodriguez after Arod gets hit by a pitch by Bronson Arroyo

Bobby Valentine had some potential to juice things up.  But while he is a very good baseball analyst, he became kind of a caricature of his asinine managerial self with the Red Sox.  He imploded before he could be any good to the rivalry, or the Sox, and was fired after one season .

Don’t get me wrong, when the two teams play each other it isn’t like playing any other team.  And while the national media may not be devoting as much attention to the rivalry, the local scribes and talking heads still try to instigate and milk it for all it is worth (See Kevin Youklis’ recent harmless comments.)

A major difference today is it used to be that the rivalry was authentic and built from the inside out. The players not liking each other, and the fans and media reacting to that.

Today, the rivalry gets perpetuated, yes from some diehard fans, but mostly from a media infusion that keeps it alive because it is good business to do so.  I choose to not being so easily manipulated by them.

So, Yankees / Red Sox is not dead, it might not even be dying, but it is not the same.  What do you think?

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About The Author:

Jeff Schubert

Formally the host/executive producer of the live web show Filmnut, http://thestream.tv/filmnut, Jeff Schubert now turns his research and writing abilities to sports. In the last couple of years, Schubert started a sports blog on Yahoo and WordPress.  Schubert grew up in New York City where he became a fan of the empire (N.Y Yankees) at an early age. The New York Football Giants would soon become his favorite team lead by his favorite athlete, Phil Simms. His favorite sports are Pro football, baseball, basketball, and tennis. As a blogger, Schubert is no homer. Nor does he just stick to writing about players and teams. Like many other fan of sports, the arrogance the blowhards on TV and radio display gets on his nerves. They think they know more then they really do and they need to be held accountable… And then God said let there be a blogosphere!

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