Red Sox vs. Yankees: Will Latest Version of Rivalry Survive Boston's Purge?
The Red Sox/Yankees rivalry is one of the oldest ones in sports, but now things are starting to change.
The Red Sox are becoming more and more like the Evil Empire the Yankees supposedly are. They're spending loads of money, winning more times than they lose and their management makes the Bronx Zoo look tame.
For once, the Yankees are starting to look like the good guys in this rivalry, and that might cause the rivalry to change.
Now the fans and teams will always dislike each other, but will the rivalry take a new turn now that the Red Sox are becoming more like the Yankees?
What the Boston Fans Think About Their Team
Current state of affairs have Boston fans loathing their team.
It started with the September collapse when fans could visibly see the team start to give up. Then it got worse when the Red Sox management started cleaning house but not in a good way.
The fans hate the players who didn't try hard, or didn't try at all, not to mention all the players involved with the beer and fried chicken fiascos.
They also don't like the Red Sox management's anti-Francona campaign. Quite frankly, the fans probably just want all of this to end and gear up for the next season.
Bill Simmon's article on Grantland sums up the fan's perspective on all this.
Basically, the fans know what the Red Sox management does every time someone leaves and are getting sick of it, but eventually this whole thing will boil over.
Why the Boston Fans Will Still Care About Their Team
The Red Sox still have a strong foundation going into next season. There will be some changes made most likely, but for the most part, the Red Sox's core will be intact.
Right now, that core is headed by Jacoby Ellsbury, the team's MVP for the season. He's the one guy that didn't falter down the stretch and did everything he possibly could those last few games to keep his team alive.
Him, Jon Lester and Dustin Pedroia are the most likely players the fans will rally around. If anyone will be able to win the fans back, it'll be these guys.
Jason Varitek lost his role as a leader by not responding to the collapse. David Ortiz is probably on his way out and the Yankees are a team he hasn't eliminated from his possible destinations if he should leave.
Boston still has a good team and once next season starts, the fans will remember that.
What the Yankee Fans Think About Their Team
All things considered, the Yankees had a pretty good year.
They won the division and had the best record in the American League when no one expected them to.
Derek Jeter got his 3,000th hit, and Mariano Rivera became the all-time saves leader.
Not to mention there's none of that drama that usually follows a New York Yankees' offseason (yet).
Fans are naturally disappointed the team didn't reach the World Series, but they aren't ripping apart players (except for maybe Alex Rodriguez) or yelling at the Yankees' management.
Adding to that, their rivals are still experiencing the effects of their epic collapse, and Yankee fans are enjoying it—maybe even enjoying this change of the rivalry's dynamic.
Why the Yankee Fans Will Still Care About Their Team
It's not like Yankee fans have given up on their team to the extent Red Sox fans have.
There are some fans, however, who believe this current team isn't World Series caliber.
In fact, at the beginning of this season, many experts didn't believe the Yankees could win the division title. So much for being an expert.
Then there's talk of CC Sabathia possibly opting out. Then there's Jeter and Alex Rodriguez who aren't the same players they were, and their best hitters are known as choke artists in the playoffs.
Like the Red Sox, the Yankees have a silver lining in their so-called "failed" team: Robinson Cano.
He's finally starting to come into his own as a player, and other teams are starting to fear him more than Jeter or A-Rod.
Of course, Cano has help from Curtis Granderson, Ivan Nova and Jesus Montero as to why Yankee fans will be invested in this team come next year.
The Anti-Francona Campaign
Personal issues from Terry Francona's life, whether true or not, were made public.
Now it's not exactly known who leaked this information. John Henry, the Red Sox's owner, denies the information came from the Red Sox management.
It should be noted that this kind of thing happened to Manny Ramirez when he left, and Nomar Garciaparra, and Pedro Martinez, and Johnny Damon. So let's just say somebody has to be telling someone to leak all of this information.
It's no coincidence that this happens every time someone of importance leaves, and Boston fans are getting sick of it.
Theo Epstein Leaving for the Cubs
Theo Epstein left for the Chicago Cubs on his own terms. The Red Sox didn't fire him—they just let him leave. At the same time, they didn't do anything to keep him.
Epstein may have seen something on the inside to indicate that staying in Boston would not have been beneficial to his career.
Now this isn't the first time Epstein tried to leave, but the situation must have been worse this time for him to really leave.
Fans are angry about him giving the contracts he did to John Lackey and Carl Crawford, but they are grateful for the two championship teams he built.
The question is who will replace Epstein and will he be able to make a team that won't collapse.
How the Rivalry Will Survive
The current rivalry is changing, but the fans will continue to hate the other team, and the media will always find a way to stir up the rivalry even more.
After all, that's what's most important: the fans' perception of the rivalry. With the sudden role reversal, regular baseball fans, those who don't follow the Red Sox or Yankees, will most likely still see the rivalry as it's always been.
The average baseball fan, even the average sports fan, knows the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry as one where the Red Sox will never catch up to the Yankees no matter what.
Why the Rivalry Won't Survive
There'll always be a rivalry between Boston and New York, the only things that will change is the current format of the rivalry and how fans outside of it view it.
One reason why is that people outside of the rivalry just won't care about it anymore.
Just like the Red Sox fans are sick of how management treats people who leave, the national sports audience could become sick of the Red Sox/Yankee rivalry.
The Yankees are supposed to be the hated team for being the winners and spending so much more than everyone.
However, the Red Sox have recently been doing the same thing as the Yankees: winning (minus the month of September), spending ridiculous amounts of money (see Crawford, Carl) and a rift between management and personnel (take your pick).
Now it seems like the rivalry is between two spoiled, rich franchises, and no one wants to see that.
Why the Rivalry Will Survive
The Red Sox/Yankees rivalry is one of the oldest in all of sports. It's hard to imagine it disappearing or changing drastically from what it's always been.
The Yankees have long been baseball's, even the sports' world's, hated team. That's not going to change easily unless the Red Sox offer the Green Monster as a sacrifice to ensure 30 straight championships.
Even fans outside of the rivalry have their opinions on it, and that won't change easily either.
The Yankees are still seen as the Evil Empire despite the Red Sox imitating them rather closely.
My Prediction: The Rivalry Will Survive
How could the Red Sox/Yankee rivalry ever change?
The Yankees still have 27 championships, and let's just say the Red Sox have a lot of catching up to do.
The negative image surrounding the Red Sox now will die down as it did with Manny Ramirez, and Nomar Garciaparra, and Pedro Martinez, and Johnny Damon.
The fans will always hate each other, and the country will always root against the Yankees.
The only difference is now the Red Sox are a dysfunctional team again, and that's what made them work before.