United We Stand: Thoughts on the New York Yankees Tribute to Boston

Jess Lander@@jesslanderContributor IIIApril 17, 2013

Image via @Yankees
Image via @Yankees

Over the last several years, the famous Red Sox and Yankees rivalry has been said to be dead, or at the very least, diminished. But no matter where the rivalry stands today it remains—and has always been—one of the greatest, longest-standing rivalries in sports.

So when I heard that the Yankees would be playing Sweet Caroline following the third inning of their game Tuesday as a tribute to Boston—their most hated, deeply-seated rival—I was moved.

Of all the amazing stories that have come out of the Boston Marathon tragedy, I was especially touched to see such a compassionate action, however small, come from "the enemy."

Admittedly, along with many Red Sox fans, I have loosely thrown that term around at the Yankees for years. But suddenly, it seems so horribly wrong.

New York and the Yankees aren't the enemy. Whoever inflicted such immense pain on the city of Boston, the victims and their families of the Boston Marathon, is the enemy.

If there was ever a time to put aside the rivalry, whether it's strong or weak, it's now. What transpired yesterday is so much bigger than baseball. The fact is, it wasn't just Boston that was attacked. America was attacked and it's a tragedy that no city knows better than New York.

A gesture as simple as a song is everything coming from them.

Think about picking on your little brother. You might do it all the time. But as soon as a school bully starts to pick on your little brother, that bully has a new problem and its name is You.

Nobody picks on your little brother but you.

Sure, New York and Boston have their differences. But New York and Boston, the Red Sox and Yankees, are still brothers. They come from the same genetic material that makes up the United States of America.

It's in times like these that we see the bigger picture. As hard as it can be for diehard fans to admit it, it's a reminder that some things, like life and freedom and justice, truly are more important than sports.

Yet at the same time, sports provide a vein through which we can begin to cope and heal. Like each player wore No. 42 on Monday, each team wears the same colors—red, white and blue—today (at heart).

As a dedicated Yankees hater, I am so grateful and appreciative of the support that the Yankees and the city of New York are, in the words of Neil Diamond, "reachin' out" to Boston with the playing of Sweet Caroline.

Like New York in 2001, Boston will remain strong through these trying times.

For nobody picks on Boston, unless you're the New York Yankees.


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