Igniting the rivalry
Let’s say the Yankees do sign Machado and it works out as well as they could have hoped for. Manny becomes a star in New York who is well worth his salary while leading the team to perennial playoff contention. Under those circumstances, it still won’t be all bad for the Red Sox.
A postseason battle between these AL East rivals re-ignited a rivalry that had been dormant for several years as the teams took turns carrying the contender status. Red Sox fans want to see their team win every year but it’s more fun when they go through the Yankees to do it.
What makes this rivalry even better? Having a villain to root against. We hate the Yankees but they don’t have anyone who makes our blood boil. Judge seems like a pretty good dude and may have even once been a Red Sox fan, at least according to that old photo we’ve all seen floating around social media. Stanton doesn’t fit the bad guy mold. It’s similar to how the rivalry was in the early 2000’s. We hated the Yankees yet we respected Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera. It wasn’t until Alex Rodriguez showed up that we had a target to despise.
Machado can be that villain. He was to some extent during his years in Baltimore but the O’s were rarely a threat to the Red Sox and our rivalry with them isn’t quite the same. Machado joining the Yankees would magnify our hatred for him tenfold.
He already has all the traits to fil this role. He’s been called out for a dirty slide into second base several times, injuring Dustin Pedroia on one occasion. He’s been the center of beanball wars. His lackadaisical attitude, refusal to run out ground balls, and the bizarre excuses about not being a “Johnny Hustle” type add fuel to the fire of our distaste.
There’s never a dull moment when it comes to these teams. Machado would probably make the Yankees better, at least in the short term, but it also makes the best rivalry in baseball better.