ARod’s comments prove the Red Sox-Yankees Rivalry is over
The Red Sox–Yankees Rivalry isn’t what it used to be.
Sure, the two sides dislike each other because it’s what they’re supposed to do, but it’s not the way it was twenty years ago. It’s not even how it was in 2018 when Aaron Judge cockily blasted “New York, New York” at Fenway Park after what would end up being the Yankees’ sole ALDS victory.
If you were a Red Sox fan growing up in the mid-90s to early aughts like me, you hated the Yankees with a burning passion. My Greater Boston area middle school had to put ‘No baseball apparel’ in the dress code because Sox and Yankees fans were physically fighting in the hallways in September 2004. After 2003, Aaron Boone’s name unofficially had a curse word in the middle that got a lot of kids sent to the principal’s office.
Now, the Rivalry (always capitalized, because that’s how enormous it used to be) is tired; the blazing fire of the Rivalry is more of a smoldering pile of wood. We still dislike the opposing team, but there’s rarely any heat; some of the players are even friends off the field. When Joe West’s egregiously bad call in the 8th inning of Sunday’s game caused the Sox to implode, Yankees fans were in agreement with Sox fans that the veteran umpire is terrible at his job. Boone is the Yankees manager, and even he hardly fazes me anymore. Ten-year-old me never would have believed that sentence.
David Ortiz and Alex Rodriguez’s friendship shows how much the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry has diminished over the years
David Ortiz’s visit to the ESPN booth on Sunday Night Baseball with Matt Vasgersian and Alex Rodriguez really highlighted how much the Rivalry has withered. ARod took his usual sniveling to a new level, raving about Ortiz’s offensive prowess, comparing him to Mr. October, Reggie Jackson, which is accurate, but sounds ridiculous coming from ARod. He even threw his former teammate under the bus in the process:
Imagine telling your 2004 self that in less than two decades, ARod would be choosing Papi over his own team captain.
Perhaps even more outrageous was his declaration of love for former Sox captain Jason Varitek, who famously fed ARod his catcher’s mitt during an epic Rivalry moment in 2004.
Ortiz and Rodriguez are good friends in their post-playing days. Everyone who watches postseason baseball on Fox, or has social media knows this. This winter, they’ll even be on the Hall of Fame ballot as first-timers together. But no one wants to see them pal around during a heated Rivalry matchup on national television, and in a playoff hunt, no less.
It’s ironic that two of the biggest icons of the Rivalry have become the greatest evidence of how far it’s fallen. But fans on both sides already have to contend with the fact that the current Rivalry is dead. Don’t take the past from us, too.