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The Astros Have Done The Impossible And United Yankees And Red Sox Fans

In New York, at least.

MLB: Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

I’ve always been under the impression, as a born-and-bred Red Sox fan but longtime Greater New York resident, that Boston (where I’ve never lived) is far worse toward Yankees fans than New York is to Sox fans.

This makes sense. The whole point of New York is that there are a lot of people from everywhere — like, everywhere — and while there are loads Yankees fans, there are far more non-Yankees-or-baseball-whatsoever fans; in Boston, there aren’t a ton of people and they all love the Sox, so the imbalance is understandable. When the two teams were the best in the sport, everything got ratcheted to 11 and tempers ran high from city to city, but recently that dynamic has been shelved nearly entirely in New York.

Yankees fans hate the Astros now. They also hate the Red Sox, don’t get me wrong, but they hate the Astros more. A lot of them truly believe that they’d have beaten the Astros if not for the cheating scandal, and the Astros have become their target of ridicule. At a local, extremely stereotypical Yankees bar, there are anti-Astros signs all over the bar and nothing about the Sox to be seen.

Just look at these poor Yankees fans after they beat the Guardians, summoning their executioners:

To Yankees fans, the Red Sox can never be the Yankees, even temporarily, so this could never happen for Boston. If the Sox were arguably the best team in the American League six years running, Yankees fans would still look down on us. It’s the natural order of things. The entire relationship hinges on the axis that the Red Sox can tautologically never be as good as the Yankees no matter how hard or long they try — which, insofar as they have tried, has largely turned out great for us.

What isn’t in the natural order of things is the Houston Astros plainly establishing themselves as the class of the American League. At the same time, they’ve humiliated the Yankees and beaten them in a series that has become an inflection point in online baseball media. This Jomboy tweet went as far toward circumscribing the modern baseball media landscape as anything I can remember:

What’s annoyed me most about this video since sometime just after 3:18 p.m. on November 12, 2019, is the use of “upsetting,” over and over. Whatever else professional sports are, it’s a bunch of psychos trying to win. To feel personally aggrieved because of an objectively hilarious scandal is to build up a sad-sack brand, which is exactly what Jomboy did. My dentist likes him. Take that as you will.

I didn’t care about the Astros cheating until they were colossal dipshits about it during the abbreviated 2020 Spring Training, and I think I’m in the majority on that. It’s the cover-up, stupid. Except for Yankees fans it wasn’t. The second Jomboy’s tweet hit the tubes, the hate was branded into them in a way we just can’t reach, at least not at the moment.

That wound is still incredibly fresh to them, and because of it, the Sox are a second-order Yankees fan concern . . . fixing to become a third-order one behind the Mets if Steve Cohen does Steve Cohen things. All of which is to say the Astros have accomplished the for-a-while-near-impossible, which is giving Sox and Yankees fans something more obviously in common than usual. I don’t expect as much in Boston, where the whole point is the Yankees can fuck off at all times. Which they can. But I’m just saying. This is a rare time of comity.

(They can fuck off, tho.)