Few rivalries in sports attract as much attention as Yanks/Sox. Only two major ones come to mind, Ohio State/Michigan and Duke/North Carolina. Some may add Auburn/Alabama, Harvard/Yale, Army/Navy, but I don't think that these gets the national attention like the first two I mention do.
So if we take those three rivalries, (Yankees/Red Sox, Ohio State/Michigan, Duke/UNC) you'll notice two are college ones. College as a whole has a much more passionate fan base. No matter how good or bad each team is, to win THAT one game each year allows you to have bragging rights for the year to come.
In pro sports, most rivalries we think of, Lakers vs. Celtics of the 80's, Bulls vs. Knicks of the 90's, Patriots vs. Colts of the 2000's, just to name a few, are all based on both teams being good at the time. Lakers vs. Celtics was no longer a big deal in the 90's, once Michael Jordan retired and the Knicks of the 90's disbanded, those games were not as fun anymore. As for Patriots/Colts, this may continue for a few more years, but once both fall back into mediocrity when Brady and Manning retire, those games will not get the media hype either.
With that being said, taking a closer look at Yankees/Red Sox, it almost seems like this is the only true pro sports rivalry, and almost has a college type element to it. These two fan bases truly hate the other team, regardless where each is in the standings.
So, this past weekend, I noticed so many sports fans on message boards that I visit claiming they will be avoiding ESPN at all costs because of all the coverage the Yankees/Red Sox match up will be getting. This seems very odd to me.
I am a Penn State alum and die hard football fan. I look forward to the weekend of the Ohio State/Michigan game, despite them being two of my most hated teams. I feel that match up represents what sports is all about. The passion, the pride, the excitement leading up to the game is almost, if not more fun then the game it self. I envy what Ohio State and Michigan fans get to experience that weekend every year. I do not get that with Penn State as they do not have that one hated rival, ever since joining the Big Ten in 1993. Do all these fans who will be avoiding ESPN during Yankees/Red Sox series' envy that feeling as well?
In my opinion, a baseball fan should embrace the weekends that see the Red Sox matched up against the Yankees. Those are the ultimate baseball weekends, and sports weekend as a whole, for all fans.