A signature moment of the Sox-Yankees rivalry, the Varitek-A-Rod fight is just one of many moments that keep Sox fans hating the Yankees.
The rivalry between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees has seemingly cooled in recent years. Both teams have won championships in the last five years, both enjoy huge financial advantages over most other MLB teams and the teams play each other so much that it has taken some of the luster out of the meetings on the field.
Even so, however, any loyal Sox fan will tell you that he or she unquestionably still hates the Yankees.
While the two franchises have grown increasingly similar in the ways in which they’re run in recent years, significant differences still exist. These are the key factors that fans focus in on and point to when asked to justify why they so loathe the Bronx Bombers.
The teams have met a staggering 2118 times in their history, according to Baseball Reference, and this type of familiarity lends itself to a number of grievances on both sides. He are five reasons why Sox fans continue to despise the Yankees:
After taking 10 of the first 12 games in 2011, the Sox have gone into a tailspin against the Yankees. Their record against New York since then is 7-17, with the Sox allowing double-digit runs in five of those games.
Last season’s 5-13 mark was particularly discouraging, as the Yankees proved adept at hammering home just how terrible their Boston counterpart was.
First there was the epic April 21 comeback, where the Yankees scored 15 unanswered runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings to turn a 9-0 Sox lead into an embarrassing 15-9 loss. The indignities continued all the way to the season-ending sweep in New York, where instead of eliminating their rivals from the playoffs the Sox went down in all three games by a collective score of 28-7.
While getting trounced is familiar territory for Sox fans, it doesn’t sit well. They will be eager for 2013 to start and the team to redeem themselves for their recent performance.
Is there a more loathsome character in MLB than Alex Rodriguez?
If you ask Sox fans, the answer is a resounding “no.”
A-Rod will not be despised around Boston merely for his association with the Yankees; many current and former Yankees have earned the fans’ begrudging respect. Instead, his actions while wearing the uniform are what make him such a villain and so easy to detest.
His slap of Bronson Arroyo’s glove in the 2004 ALCS reflected everything Sox fans hate about A-Rod and the Yankees. It represented a desperate team willing to flout the rules of the game in order to win, regardless of how it looked.
That kind of brazen disrespect for their opponent and the spirit of the rules of the game offends Sox fans, who take a measure of pride in the game’s and their team’s tradition.
Nobody would question that the two teams essentially compete on the same plane when it comes to free agency. While Sox owner John Henry claimed in 2009 that the Yankees had “gone so insanely far beyond the resources of all the other teams,” that simply has not been the case in recent years.
However, that hasn’t stopped fans from feeling like there is a difference between the two.
When Johnny Damon elected to sign with the Yankees for more money following the 2005 season, Sox fans were reeling. With their deep pockets and reckless spending, the Yankees had screwed the Sox over just because they could. It happened again a couple years later, when the Sox were poised to land future franchise cornerstone Mark Teixeira.
The resentment over these free agency moves only continues to grow. Sox fans are sick of being outbid, and love a player that much more when he comes to Boston for less money.
This might actually be the No. 1 reason why Sox fans will always hate the Yankees.
Their fans are the absolute worst.
They are loud, inappropriate, fickle even with their star players, entitled, irrational and have horrifically annoying accents.
I would be remiss if I did not point out that one could just as easily apply the previous paragraph to Red Sox fans, who despite their many differences share a ton of characteristics in common with their New York counterparts.
And really, this is what sustains the vitriol between the two cities. These outspoken fan bases who live and die with their team are so ideologically similar that they can’t help but hate each other.
They may just be rooting for clothes (as Jerry Seinfeld once pointed out), but this loyalty to their teams will keep the rivalry going forever.
Any child who has grown up a Sox fan has been educated in the history of pain and suffering the Yankees have caused.
All lessons start with Babe Ruth, but in reality that is just one minor piece in this seemingly endless cycle of gut-wrenching moments.
Every generation of fans has had their signature moment of Yankee-induced heartbreak. For those who grew to love the Impossible Dream team, there was Bill Lee ruining his shoulder in 1976 and Bucky Dent in 1978. In 2003, Aaron Boone reminded a whole new crop of fans what it felt like to have one’s heart ripped out.
The Sox’s retribution in 2004 flipped the rivalry for a time, but with so few of the players from that memorable series still active, it’s hard for many Sox fans to even remember what it was like to have the upper hand over their “big brother.”