After last night's flash back to the 2003-04 playoffs that featured a game that ended around 1am, it's time to take stock of the Sox/Yanks rivalry.
I know the world we live in requires the media to force feed us stories regardless of their importance or relevance, but is the Sox/Yanks rivalry really that exciting right now? Things definitely peaked in 2003 and 2004, but since then I've felt like the there's been something missing, regardless of ESPN's video montages to the contrary.
I think when these two teams get together it's still a big series because it's a division game and there is still a rivalry, but it lacks the punch from '04. That might be because the Sox ended the curse, a reason I'm more than willing to accept. I'll say this, as a die-hard Red Sox fan my hatred for the Yankees is a lot less then it use to be, again this might be a by-product of beating them in 2004.
There's now a third team (and maybe a fourth in the Blue Jays we'll see how long they hang on) in the mix in the AL East in the Rays making the division a 3 team race. This takes away from the idea that the top teams are going to trade knock out punches all season and in the ALCS until one guy does get knocked out. The Yankees not making the playoffs last season really takes away from the Yankee Mystique doesn't it?
Speaking of the Yankee Mystique, I miss George Steinbrenner. When you're a kid and your mom tells you not to ride your bike in the driveway of the crazy old man at the end of the street because he fought in 'Nam and he suffers from flashbacks you listen. However, when George's health declined they put him in a home and now your little sister draws in his driveway with colored chalk. The point of that ridiculous metaphor is playing in New York doesn't scare me anymore and I think a lot of that has to do with Mr Steinbrenner not sitting in his luxury box shaking his fist at us!
Remember how pissed Red Sox Nation was when Mark Texeira signed with the Yankees at the 11th hour? I didn't get the vibe we were ready to tar and feather his family when he stepped to the plate for the first time at Fenway last weekend. Sure we booed, but where is the hate?
Maybe the surprising early success of Mike Lowell helped soften the blow. Certainly Theo Epstein still wakes up in a cold sweat a night, Texeira was going to be the the center piece of the lineup for the next 8 years, allowing Theo to let Ortiz, Lowell, and Drew all walk after their contracts are up.
Arod's early season stint on the DL helps keep things relatively calm, I was getting all fired up for his first game at Fenway after the steroid story broke. Now, I'm just sick of Arod, he could walk to the plate with 'Like A Prayer' playing over the loud speaker and we'd have to suffer through a weeks worth of stories about his ego and how he made a Yankee club house attendant clean his cleats with a tooth brush made from real Panda bear hair, what a jerk.
I think what we really need is a bench clearing brawl to get the juices flowing again. Tonight would have been the perfect setting for it, Joba is on the mound for the somewhat Evil Empire and he could have drilled Youk in the back and the first blood could have been spilled at the new Yankee Stadium. However Youk is out again tonight with a sore back, and Posada is out for a month with a hamstring. I love to hate Posada; I had nightmares for months of his pop up single against Pedro that tied the score in the 2003 ALCS.
We'll see what happens tonight with Josh Beckett and Joba Chamberlain on the mound. Beckett really needs a good start and Joe Giradi is one more bullpen meltdown away from going Lou Pinella on us and start eating the outfield grass.