Red Sox—Yankees...Is the rivalry back on?

Eddie JackmanCorrespondent IJuly 16, 2008

After Jonathon Papelbon's comments before the All-Star game about closing the game were inappropriately snipped and splashed on the back page of the NY Post, the Red Sox closer "got the business" last night in the All-Star game from the crowd. 

In fact, all the Sox players were resoundingly booed last night by the All-Star crowd which was pure Yankee-faithful.

This sequence of events has led some to believe that the upcoming series in both teams ballparks are going to see some retribution amongst the players for the inappropriate treatment during the All-Star game. 

As much as I love a good bench clearing brawl, the facts lead me to believe otherwise.

During batting and fielding practice, during the Home Run derby, in the dugout, and on the field during the game the players from both teams displayed nothing but friendliness and professional admiration for one another.

By winning two World Series in the past four years, the Red Sox players have been relieved of 86 years of built up fan angst they were carrying around on their shoulders with them.  

Boston pro athletes have accumulated six titles in seven years—so it is obvious that everyone is fat and happy right now in Beantown.  

Conversely, the Yankees haven't won a world series in a while and have dumped the "We are the unbeatable kings of the baseball world" crap that used to be the big ego maniacal chip on their shoulders. 

And the players see each other 18-plus times a year now with the current division they know each other better.  So, as far as the players are concerned the tension has clearly loosened up between the two teams. 

But this cooling off of the Red Sox—Yankee rivalry in the last couple of seasons has done nothing more than piss of each teams fan-base as we obviously still hate one another.  

On the other hand, a lot of Boston fans have complained that its just too hard to hate the Yankees 18 times a year.  Some feel the need to be able to concentrate our venom to less frequent yet more vitriolic the good old days.

So recent All-Star off field static may cause the fans in New York and Boston to be juiced a bit for the upcoming series' in each park, but I don't think we're going to see Varitek feeding any Yankees with a leather spoon again. 

I am not saying the rivalry can't get juiced up if the division stays tight as the season stretches toward completion...I mean the Yankees do still have A-Rod.

Throw in a few more un-classy acts by A-Rod such as shouting "MINE" on the base paths as a third basemen tries to catch a fly ball, or A-Rod swatting with his Hamburger helper mitt at a first baseman tagging him out...

Or maybe a Yankee base runner clearly sliding away from the bag with his spikes knee high towards a second baseman trying to turn a double play...

Or maybe throw in some skittish Red Sox pitchers dinging multiple Yankees on purpose to brush them off the plate. 

If that stuff happens: All bets are off.