From our blessedly endless series
Leave it to the redoubtable Wall Street Journal columnist (and Massachusetts native) Jason Gay to nail the New! Improved! Boston Red Sox/New York Yankees basebrawl rivalry.
Gay’s latest piece begins in his usual leisurely style.
The Yankees-Red Sox Rivalry Is Back
Well, baseball, you’ve had a nice run lately—but it’s over.
You’ve been so likable! Baseball’s been new, exciting, delightful—even open to change. The Cubs and the Astros won the last two World Series. The Cubs and the Astros! One club’s first title since 1908—and the other club’s first title since, well, ever.
There’s been thrilling, upstart talent, none bigger than the Angels newcomer Shohei Ohtani, the Japanese phenom who’s a brilliant two-fer—a world-class pitcher, and, it appears, a world-class home run slugger.
This has all been fantastic for baseball. It’s impossible to not enjoy.
But now it’s over. Kaput. Finished. Because they’re back.
That would be the Red Sox and the Yankees.
And that would be where Jason Gay shifts into high gear.
Ugh. It’s brutal. If you hate Boston or New York—or both—it’s time to flee the country. Or at least follow hockey and basketball. Baseball’s most oxygen-sucking rivalry is about to suck all of the oxygen out of the sport again.
Why the revival? That’s easy: the hate is percolating. For the first time in a while, Red Sox and the Yankees A) are simultaneously stacked, and, far more importantly, B) don’t want to snuggle. On Wednesday night at Fenway, the teams got into a zesty, bench-clearing brawl—pushing, shoving, and taking swings like old, Pedro vs. Zimmer times.
You need to read the entire piece if only for lines like this: ” I think a photo of Jason Varitek mashing his catcher’s mitt into A-Rod’s face should be printed on $20 bills.”
Except . . .
It’s only going to get worse. If you think it’s obnoxious now, wait until this rivalry gets back to the Bronx in May. Wait until that series right before the Fourth of July. It’s gonna be hot and bonkers.
But likable? Not really. Boston vs. New York is back. Sorry, baseball.
But thanks, Jason.