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A Stunning Realization

It just hit me: where's the fire when we play the Yankees?

They are ahead of us in the standings. They are still wearing the pinstripes. They still have the same players that I hate. But playing the Yankees right now, feels a lot different than when we were playing them last season.

It's a sunday night with a game on ESPN against the Yankees in the Bronx. I see Derek Jeter just standing in the dugout, and, for some reason, the realization just hits me smack in the face. And to tell you the truth, it hurts.

Don't get me wrong: this is still the best rivalry in sports. But at this moment, with it being May and only a half game behind the second-place Yankees, it doesn't feel the same.

If it was September, then the adrenaline would definitely be pumping at 110%. If the Yankees were in first place, and we were fighting for first in the East, then it would be the same old, same old. But it just seems like a normal game against a team that Red Sox Nation hates.

What can we say caused this? Maybe it was winning the World Series. I mean, we've always hated the Yankees because they win and we never did, right? I know it's more than that, and it goes deeper than that, but that's one of the reasons we hate the Yankees. Now we have won, and we are the top-dog. Would that cause the loss of fire? Maybe, maybe not.

You know what we might need? I know it's not very sportsman-like, but maybe we need a brawl, with a few hit batsmen preceding that. It may sound vicious, but brawls are a part of baseball, and brawls are how gasoline are poured on fires. It's a way of baseball, and that will never change. The Sox and Yanks have classic brawls -- with July 24th, 2004 coming to mind -- and to kick start it, we may just need to see a high inside fastball at David Ortiz (and of course, it won't hit him).

It could be the fact that we've played them so many times so early in the season. As Boston Globe journalist Bob Ryan said, "it's like having ice cream before dinner." I don't want to see these two teams play 9 times in the first two months of the season. That's just horrible. And it's exactly what Ryan said. Give me 7 games with two weeks left in the season and the AL East crown on the line! That's what I want! That's what I need! I don't want to play the Yankees in May. It's like singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during batting practice.

The fire is not lost, though. The fire is always there, and is just being contained at this moment in time. It will come back soon, and it will definitely be back at the end of September, when we finish the season with three games against the Evil Empire.

Grab the gasoline, guys.