Rivalry? How can anyone call the Yankees-Red Sox a rivalry when it’s so one-sided? A rivalry implies that things even out from time to time, like Ohio State–Michigan, or Celtics–Lakers, or Dodgers–Giants. Red Sox? Hello? You’ve won once in the last 87 years! Yankees? Say hello to my little friend, and 26 world championships. And every one of those was won between the time the Red Sox won their next-to-last one, in 1918, and that lucky one in 2004. Two years ago? That championship still remains just your guys’ sixth. Since 1903! What are you, the Bruins?
ENTER SANDMAN: Among others, Mariano Rivera has given Yankee fans a lot to boast about over the years
That is why we Yankee fans have little use for the Red Sox, now or ever. Oftentimes they’ll provide us with some good tune-ups during the regular season and playoffs, and their visits always fill up the Stadium, but as far as feared opponents go, the Sox aren’t that high up on the list. Boston fans always get themselves in a tizzy whenever the Bombers come to down, as if it’s some season–turning showdown; for us, your Sox are just another team coming to the Bronx, and even if they do beat us in some meaningless regular-season match-ups, it’s fairly easy to speculate that come the post-season — should the two teams meet up again — the results will be fairly predictable.
I know, I know, 2004 was a nice story for youse guys. Our guys choked after building a three-games-to-none lead in the ALCS and your Red Sox went on to claim the world title. Let me ask you something, though; would that championship have happened at all if Tony Clark’s double in the ninth inning of Game Five doesn’t take that weird bounce off the right-field wall and go into the stands – making for a ground-rule double instead of scoring Ruben Sierra with the go-ahead run? If Sierra scores there, then Big Papi never gets the chance to become a hero for the second straight night, and the Yankees win in five games. And what about the inches that Dave Roberts was safe by in that steal of second in the ninth inning of Game Four? If he’s called out, then the Sox are swept in four straight! There are a whole lotta “ifs” in those last four games that could have turned the tables on Boston and prevented them from advancing to the World Series. And if we’d got even one lousy break during those last few games, we’d be havin’ a totally different conversation now, wouldn’t we?
Don’t forget the bulk of your “illustrious” history, now, Sox fans. Remember 1978? On July 19th, the Sox sat on top of the AL East with a record of 62-28, and the Yanks were only 48-42. They were 14 freakin’ games back! Race over, right? Not when it comes to the Yankees, it’s not. The rest of the way, the Sox went just 37-35, while our guys tore up the league and went 51-21. And if not for Boston winning their last eight games of the regular season, they wouldn’t have even qualified for that one-game playoff game at Fenway on October 2nd that broke the tie! I don’t like to call any team “chokers,” but I tell ya, that Boston team had that pennant in the bag that year.
And don’t start talking about Bucky Dent being lucky to hit that three-run homer in the playoff game that Monday, or about Sweet Lou Piniella being fortunate to grab that screamer to right field even though the sun was in his eyes. Champions make plays, and that’s what the Yankees did that day, and all season, and especially in the World Series that should have been Boston’s.
Now I know all about some of the down times we had after 1978, and some of the embarrassing things owner George Steinbrenner did as far as Billy Martin and the other managers went. Still, by then we already had 22 world titles while you guys were still stuck on five, and ebbs and flows are part of any team’s championship history (except the Red Sox’). For example, after we won six championships in eight years in the late ’30s and early ’40s, we lost some guys to the WWII effort, too, and didn’t win another title until 1947, which kicked off a streak of six championships in seven years. Hell, we lost more World Series in the ’50s (two) then Ted Williams played in during his whole 19-year career!
Look, we had a lo-nnn-nn-g down time from about 1964 until 1976 when we didn’t get to the World Series once! Then we began to put it back together again, and guys like Louisiana Lightnin’ (Ron Guidry) and Thurman Munson and Reggie Jackson helped get us back on top. But it took some patient regrouping and wily horsetrading to get us back to that point. (By the way, didn’t you Sox fans love watching Boggsie and Rocket win their rings here instead of there? Ride ’em, cowboys!)