In a few hours, Clay Buchholz will toe the rubber at Fenway Park to kick off the first of eighteen matchups between the Boston Red Sox and their bitter rival, the New York Yankees.
In the past 10 years, these two teams have combined to win 10 American League East Division Championships, seven American League championships, and five World Series titles.
So why is nobody making a big deal out of this series?
Well to start off, the two teams are only a handful of games into the season. These games do not have the intensity of a matchup in September that will decide playoff positioning.
A sweep by either team will surely give them an early advantage, but so much can happen over the next 150 or so games that will decide who will win the American League East.
A second reason is that these two teams no longer have veteran All-Stars at every position to make the series entertaining.
Sure, the Yankees still have Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Alex Rodriguez, Johnny Damon, Andy Petitte, and Mariano Rivera. Heck, the Red Sox even have Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, Jason Varitek, Josh Beckett, J.D. Drew, and Curt Schilling(injured).
However, the past few years brought an influx of young talent that has not been around the rivalry too long, although Joba Chamberlain made an impact pretty quick, (See: Youkilis, head-hunting).
The rivalry is undergoing change. As these veteran All-Stars go off into the sunset, the Red Sox and Yankees are reloading with promising young stars.
And that includes Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester, Jonathan Papelbon, Robinson Cano, Melky Cabrera, Philip Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, and Ian Kennedy. While there are some All-Stars in that group, they are not quite the big names the rivalry has seen in the past few years.
These reasons are all legitimate, but the biggest reason the rivalry is not grabbing much attention this weekend is because for the first time in a long time, the Yankees come into the series as an underdog.
This is all due to the fact that the Red Sox have won two out of the last four World Series and for the first time since 1995, finished ahead of the Yankees in the division last year.
Let's face it, the momentum this rivalry had was mostly from the Red Sox fans that wanted so badly to overtake New York. When 2004 happened, Red Sox fans were bragging, but still had a little chip on their shoulders like they still needed to prove something.
With last year's World Series title, that chip has fallen off. Red Sox fans now view New York as an inferior, a team with a $200 million dollar payroll that has not won a title in seven years.
So for those Red Sox fans that have given the rivalry its wheels for the past decade, there is nothing left to prove. They are the favorite and New York is the underdog.
Will we still watch? Sure we will, but something will be missing.
Then again, it is only April.
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