Outside of being 2 of the top 5 fan bases and brands in baseball, there is a rivalry here that is unlike any other in professional sports. And it all started on December 26th 1919… Thanks Harry Frazee. You collected $125,000 for the most iconic, loved, and hated baseball player of all time. It gave one franchise a great home run hitting pitcher, who later moved to the outfield. George Herman Ruth had a persona larger than baseball, which fit the New York swag perfectly. On the other side of this was a team that was cursed for 86 years of downright misery, thanks again Bill Buckner. The “Curse of the Bambino” helped that poorly hit ball by Mookie Wilson dribble through the glove of Buckner, and it floated that knuckleball right in front of Aaron Boone in 2003.
But then… Down 4-3 in game 4 of the ALCS after being handled in game 3 19-8 by the Yankees, Kevin Millar walked. Enter Dave Roberts. Everyone in the world knew he was going to steal, and on the first pitch, steal he did. Bill Mueller then lines one up the middle and Roberts scores, 4-4. Yes it was tied, but this was the first time the greatest closer of all time, Mariano Rivera, had blown a postseason save. After trading ups and downs for a few innings, Manny Ramirez singled, and then David “Big Papi” Ortiz changed history. The Red Sox went on the win the next 3, and sweep the Cardinals in the World Series.
This rivalry sparks a flame for the sport of baseball. Heartbreak, love, hate, brilliance, and passion. There are no other rivalries like it in sports. The closest we can get is North Carolina and Duke, in my opinion, two competitive juggernauts trading haymakers all season long. That history isn’t as rich, bloody, or full of moments of passion like the Red Sox and Yankees is. From Babe Ruth to Ted Williams, and Mickey Mantle to Carl Yastrzemski, and the hundreds between Derek Jeter and David Ortiz, the field is littered with legends, hall of famers, knuckle ball smashers, and curse breakers. The hatred is real, the love is real, and the passion is real. The 2 most storied baseball teams and the biggest rivalry in sports begins another chapter tonight. Hopefully, it is full of moments of brilliance and heartbreak. Baseball enthusiast, casual fan, or just the guy on the subway that wears the NY hat but can’t name a player on the team, tune in tonight at 7:32 and watch 2 left handed studs in Chris Sale and JA Happ duel it out in front of a ruckus Fenway crowd.
-Contributing Journalist: Richie Benson