You will never meet a more passionate person on this planet than a “diehard” sports fan. This is someone who eats, sleeps, and breathes the team they follow and root for. They’re constantly refreshing internet pages and social media outlets for any news relating to “their” team and will fight you until the end of civilization if you so much as dare to speak of their team in a negative way. That fiery passion leads to rivalries.
Rivalries are great for professional sports. They boost ratings, sell merchandise, and have fans of two different teams constantly at each other’s throats. In the NHL, there’s the infamous Boston Bruins/Montreal Canadiens rivalry, while in the NBA, you have the Boston Celtics/Los Angeles Lakers rivalry. While these rivalries have overwhelmingly rich histories, they pale in comparison to the greatest rivalry in American sports history; the rivalry between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees of Major League Baseball.
We all know this heated rivalry’s history, from the Curse of the Bambino to the 2004 ALCS comeback, and every bench-clearing brawl and ejection in between. These teams and their respective fans absolutely hate each other with a passion. As a Mets fan who loves the game of baseball, I’ve always appreciated this great rivalry, but over the past few years, I’ve noticed that it hasn’t been as fierce as usual. That will change this upcoming season.
The Yankees, who haven’t been as good in recent years, finally started regaining their old glory behind the might of “The Baby Bombers,” led by Rookie of the Year slugger Aaron Judge. Behind Judge, Gary Sanchez, and a killer bullpen, this Yankees team came within one game of a World Series appearance.
Meanwhile, up in Boston, the Red Sox have had their own struggles, which included a couple of sub-.500 seasons and early playoff exits. Despite that, their roster is as talented as ever coming into the season, headlined by the likes of Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, and ace starting pitcher Chris Sale.
Last season was a prelude to the revival of this great rivalry. While the Yankees won the season series 11 games to 8, the Red Sox still took the division. That fiery competitiveness that had been lacking in recent years was finally starting to show again. It’s amazing what an infusion of new young talent can do.
2018 is a new year for the Yankees and the Red Sox. They will both enter the season with rookie managers at the helm, along with some new weapons. The Yankees made the most “Yankees” move ever this offseason when they acquired reigning NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton from the Miami Marlins, while the Sox (finally) added slugger J.D. Martinez via free agency. With these additions, both lineups are looking deadly, with the Yankees lineup being compared to the famous “Murderers Row” of their 1927 team.
While both teams still have room for improvement in some areas, they will both be heavy favorites to win both the AL East and the AL pennant. Whenever these two clash in 2018, home runs will be flying out of Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park left and right in a metaphorical “Space Race.” We may even see a bench-clearing brawl or two. One can hope, right?
I’m all-in on the revival of the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry this season. When these two teams are both playing well and hating each other, it’s great for the game of baseball. Their first showdown of the 2018 season is on Tuesday, April 10 at Fenway Park. Stay tuned folks, and have your popcorn ready.
*Photo: Surviving Grady