The Boston Red Sox/New York Yankee rivalry no longer fizzes. It is boring, dead, gone.
The glory days of Aaron Boone hitting a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 11th inning, Pedro Martinez pushing Don Zimmer out of the way in a Red Sox/Yankee brawl and David Ortiz coming to bat and holding the fate of the game in his capable hands—those days sadly are over.
Part of the reason there is no rivalry between the two most storied franchises in history is the lack of bad blood between the teams. Who could forget Alex Rodriguez and Jason Varitek fighting after the star Yankee third baseman got plunked by Bronson Arroyo?
That same year, 2004, the Red Sox came back from a 3-0 deficit against the Yankees in the American League Championship Series, eventually winning the World Series. Many consider Varitek’s scrape with A-Rod a season-changer for the Red Sox, catapulting them to taste greatness.
The bitter divide between the Yankees and the Red Sox seemed to fade when Red Sox fans watched in horror as Johnny Damon put on a Yankee pinstripe uniform in 2005. With a clean-shaven face, Damon wasn’t Damon anymore.
The hatred between the Red Sox and the Yankees wasn’t there. David Ortiz even did a commercial with Jorge Posada. Occurrence after occurrence made fans realize that these teams were starting to be so much alike that they were no longer distinguishable.
All goods things must come to an end, and that’s what happened to this rivalry. The core components of the team kept leaving. Johnny Damon went to New York, Manny Ramirez left. Bill Mueller retired and Dave Roberts left. Hideki Matsui decided to go to Anaheim. Players had no loyalty and fans had no one to cheer for.
In addition to the teams being depleted of their stars, the remaining Yankees and Red Sox players who we were accustomed to see hitting a walk-off started to show signs of decay. Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz are not what they were five years ago. No one has filled the shoes of those players, but one can only hope.
In 2003, Red Sox nation was starting to worry that the curse of the Bambino might actually be true. After they lost in seven games to the Yankees in the American League Championship Series, the world collapsed for many weary Red Sox fans.
The next year, the Red Sox got revenge, coming back in a fashion suitable for legendary foes. The Red Sox became the first baseball team to come back from a 3-0 deficit in a playoff series. Since that fateful matchup, the two teams have never met in the playoffs.
The Red Sox and Yankees used to be the two powerhouses of baseball. Since 2005, no one team has won the World Series twice. This shows how much parity there is in baseball. There are other rivalries starting to form such as the Phillies versus the Braves or the Cardinals and the Reds.
For the Red Sox of the past, being comrades was everything. The team of 2004 had a “Cowboy Up” rallying cry and were known as “The Idiots." Most of the Red Sox players looked disheveled with beards and long hair, as opposed to the clean-cut Yankees. The fans could relate to both teams.
Now, there are no idiosyncrasies. Just plain players.
Each year, the Red Sox and Yankees play each other 18 times—too much. The games lose their appeal because they take place so often. The reason Ohio State vs. Michigan is such a big deal is that they meet only once.
Since the Red Sox won the World Series in 2007, the Yankees/Red Sox regular-season games have lost their charm. The number of close wins by a single run has declined over the years, with seven one-run games in 2007, six in 2004, four in 2008, three in 2009 and three in 2010. So far this year, only one game has been decided by one run.
You either love them or you hate them. That can be said for both the Red Sox and Yankees and it can also be said about one particular person: George Steinbrenner.
Steinbrenner’s death in 2010 closed the book on the already inevitable end to this legendary feud. Steinbrenner was a reporter’s ally, providing quotes left and right. He also turned the Yankees organization around.
Another historic Yankee who left the team is long-time manager Joe Torre, who was practically shoved out in 2007 and replaced by Joe Girardi.
The Yankees and the Red Sox have provided a raft of memories for fans throughout the world, but they haven’t provided much to look back on lately.
There is no Curt Schilling bloody sock, no magical pitching and dreadful losses by Pedro Martinez, no Manny being Manny, no Trot Nixon thanking the Lord, no Clemens and Petitte dominating hitters, no Mussina with a near-perfect game against the Red Sox and no clutch players like Derek Jeter and Hideki Matsui.
The rivalry is dead.