Oct 24, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; New York Yankees former pitcher Mariano Rivera hugs Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz (34) prior to game two of the MLB baseball World Series between the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals at Fenway Park. . Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY SportsThe cosmic forces that guide baseball may create a roadway to the World Series for 2014 through New York, or better yet, Boston. Yes, the AL East is a beast and the two headed monster appears to be shaping up in the Big Apple and the Athens of America. Boston versus New York – bring it on!
The Yankees are in the process of rebuilding and recovery as demonstrated by a plethora of free agent signings, and two most noticeable extractions. New York is also fortunate enough to have a big minus – at least for 2014 – of one Alex Rodriguez. A nice payroll savings that will temporarily allow some flexibility so the fiscal wizards can remain as close as possible to management dictates regarding luxury tax items.
The intense rivalry, which took a temporary sojourn in 2012 and 2013, should return with the usual story lines, and, most notably, Jacoby Ellsbury’s transference of allegiance. New York has had significant roster turnover and Boston less so, but this is not about rosters, or match-ups, or management or mutual broadsides about the number of championships and a dismal – for New York – 2004 playoff. Well remembered in this territory. It is all about the rivalry. The stagnation will, hopefully, be gone in 2014 and a return to the intensity of both cities and teams be revived. The best feud in baseball.
My background as a Yankee “hater” goes way back. I will have to somewhat modify that as even in my youth, when pure emotion would win out, I still admired Mickey Mantle. But there were many others in pinstripes that certainly, if grudgingly, had my respect for their playing abilities and contributions to the game. Still, the focus was and remains on the Yankees.
Until the above mentioned 2004 my highlight of the rivalry was the Red Sox managing to beat New York, at Fenway no less, in a five game set in 1959. Five in a row against the Yankees and that certainly helped seal the deal for New York missing the series. One of only two times in the 50s.
New York and Boston have had their dust-ups for centuries. The rivalry, toss Philadelphia into the mix, is not just about sports. It is economic, social, political, artistic, educational and just about anything else where both parties can attempt to grab bragging rights.
There are two mindsets while Sox fans keep one eye on our team and one eye on their team. Mindset one is to wish as much ill fortune as possible. May management forever be CBS. Hope they lose a 100 games. Free agents fail. Any possible negative we can conjure up. Let them finish in a quagmire of utter disarray. Worry about Tampa Bay, Baltimore or Toronto.
Now the second mind set is there is something delectable about beating New York on the way to a World Series. That irresistible desire to have the current Red Sox addition atone for the deficiencies and failures of the past. That is exactly where I stand. There is something special about that. Be it a playoff in 1978, a you know what in 2003 and, of course, the ultimate kicking sand in the bullies face – 2004. Both teams devotee’s cherish those moments either for the exhilaration of victory or the lingering pallor of defeat that can last for decades.
So I would like nothing better than to wait for each and every New York game. Let each one mean a potential lead change for division honors. Let the flags in The Stadium flip-flop between Boston and New York for 2014. In baseball it just does not get any better than Yankees versus Red Sox.