MLB Legendary Rivalries: NY Yankees vs Boston Red Sox
Rivalries are everything when it comes to sports. They're exciting. They make players up their game. And they get fans fired up. When it comes to baseball, there's no bigger rivalry than the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. The history – and feud – between these two teams goes back over 100 years and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. When the Red Sox come to town, Yankees ticket prices skyrocket, and vice versa. In fact, when the Red Sox play at Yankee Stadium, even cheap NY Yankees tickets aren’t all that affordable – the telltale sign of a great rivalry.
The Trade That Started it All
While these two were always destined to become rivals thanks to their proximity, the teams also are forever linked because of one fateful move. Following the 1919 season, Red Sox owner Harry Frazee made the terrible mistake of selling Babe Ruth to the Yankees. Ruth had modest success during his time in Boston, helping the Red Sox win three World Series titles. But as soon as he was traded to the Yankees, his career took off. He blossomed into one of the greatest home run hitters of all time and helped the Yankees win their first four World Series titles in franchise history.
The trade came to be known as the Curse of the Bambino. Fans believed that the foolhardy trade by Boston was the reason the Red Sox went on to suffer through an 86-year championship drought. It didn’t help matters that the Yankees would go to win 26 World Series titles during that 86-year period, becoming the pre-eminent team in baseball, in large part thanks to Ruth and a slew of other stars.
A Comeback To End the Curse
The rivalry between the Red Sox and Yankees took a dramatic turn in 2004, the year the Red Sox ended the curse. The teams met in the ALCS, one year after a dramatic win by New York over Boston in Game 7 of the ALCS to send the Yankees to the World Series. It was a devastating loss that year, especially at the hands of their rivals, and some didn’t know if the Red Sox would ever recover from it.
But a year later, the teams met again in the ALCS. The Yankees swiftly took a 3-0 series lead, capped by a 19-8 blowout in Game 3. For all intents and purposes, the series was over and the Yankees were on their way to another World Series at the expense of the Red Sox. But then the Red Sox did the impossible, winning the next four games and becoming the first team in baseball history to win a series after trailing 3-0.
After the comeback over the Yankees, the Red Sox swept the Cardinals in the World Series to officially end the curse and capture their first World Series title since 1918. They’ve since gone on to win three more World Series championships while the Yankees have just one title since 2000. Whatever inferiority complex the Red Sox may have harbored was gone, and with the Yankees having to deal with watching their rivals win championships for the first time in decades, it added fuel to the rivalry.
The Petty and the Absurd
Like any good rivalry, the Yankees and Red Sox feud has occasionally gone beyond the field over the years. During the construction of the New Yankee Stadium, a worker buried a Red Sox David Ortiz jersey in concrete being used for the stadium in hopes that it would lead to a curse on the Yankees’ new home. The jersey was eventually extracted and auctioned off for charity. Meanwhile, the Yankees won the World Series in their first season at their new stadium, ending any thought of the place being cursed.
Politicians have also found their way into the middle of the rivalry from time to time. In 2007, former New York City Mayor and noted Yankees fan Rudy Giuliani said at a campaign event in New Hampshire that he would be rooting for the Red Sox over the Rockies in that year’s World Series. The New York papers hammered him in the headlines, calling him a traitor. Current New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has also taken criticism for being a longtime Red Sox fan and remaining loyal to the team despite being the leader of the rival city.
Sadly, there have been several incidents of violence between fans of the two teams stemming from arguments over the rivalry. While dustups in sports bars are typically no big deal, there have been a few occasions in which people have been seriously hurt or killed because someone’s rage and passion for the rivalry went too far. While rivalries are supposed to be intense and bitter, it’s always important for fans to remember that even a rivalry like the one between the Yankees and Red Sox isn’t worth anybody getting hurt over.
Let's keep it all in good fun, people. Onward and upward!