It’s pretty amazing that this has been 14 years in the making.
The Red Sox and the Yankees are clashing in October for the first time since 2004, when they met in the ALCS for the second straight year. As we all know, the Sox came back from down three-games-to-none to win the series — the only time that’s ever happened in Major League Baseball — en route to finally snapping the 86-year-old “Curse of the Bambino.”
We can pretty much guarantee that this 2018 ALDS between Boston and New York won’t measure up to the 2004 series, at least not from a drama standpoint. But the fact of the matter is, the Red Sox and Yankees are still playing in a postseason series, and that is something special.
As Red Sox fans, even though it’s going to be a stressful and worrisome week, we need to try to enjoy this series. Facing your arch rival in a postseason series is a rare opportunity in sports, and especially in baseball. But the Red Sox and Yankees aren’t just any old rivals; they make up the greatest, fiercest rivalry in all of sports.
Even when these two clubs get together in the regular season, it feels like the playoffs. It feels like that every year, but in 2018, that feeling was amplified. Even though Boston won 108 games opposed to New York’s 100, these two teams have been pretty evenly matched when they’ve gone head-to-head. The Red Sox just barely outdueled the Yankees this year, winning the season series 10-9.
Back in April, we even got a full-fledged brawl at Fenway Park in which Joe Kelly beat up Tyler Austin so badly that the Yankees had to trade him away. That night sent us all back in time to the vicious days of the ‘70s, when the Sox and Yanks could barely get through an entire game without some kind of altercation. It also sent us back to times like 2003, when Manny Ramirez became enraged after Roger Clemens threw the ball within a mile of his head, and when 80-year-old bench coaches thought it was a good idea to charge at Pedro Martinez just to be thrown to the ground. It even brought us back to July 2004, when Alex Rodriguez and Jason Varitek got tangled up in one of the most famous baseball brawls of all time.
Those are the things that make this rivalry special, and now these teams are going to meet once again in October. Will this series give us another memorable fight (or two)? Will someone, like J.D. Martinez for example, step up to 2004 David Ortiz-like proportions? Will someone from the Yankees stick a dagger in our hearts the way Aaron Boone did in 2003?
It’s hard to predict what’s going to happen. All we know is that we’re going to witness a pretty amazing baseball series. It’s going to be stressful, no doubt, because the Yankees are a great team with sluggers galore. The Red Sox are far from a lock to win.
But it’s Red Sox-Yankees. Who knows how long it will be before we get to experience this again? That’s why, above everything else, we need to try and take the time to enjoy this.