Every sport has a rivalry...that's what makes it fun. Growing up in a basketball family, and living in New York City, I would always want to watch Michael Jordan's Bulls come to Madison Square Garden and play against John Starks and the New York Knicks. I would also love seeing Patrick Ewing and Hakeem Olajuwon go at it. After I started playing pee-wee and Pop Warner football, I had to begin following those rivalries too. There was no getting me away from the TV when Emmitt Smith and the Dallas Cowboys played Steve Young and the San Fransico 49ers. Michigan and Ohio State made me want to play Big 10 football. And I still think John Elway is the best quarterback ever, just had some tough luck in his career. I mean you remember "The Play" between Stanford and Cal right?
Anyway, besides football and basketball, the only other sport I ever played growing up was baseball. Now with baseball, there are rivalries are all over the place. Sometimes there are two teams in the same state like the Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds (Ohio) or the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants (California). Other times it's division powerhouses that vie for championships year after year like the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs (National League Central Division) or the Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners (American League West). But the biggest rivalry of all time, in any American sport would have to be that between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees.
I know sometimes I ramble on and on in my blogs but I'll try to give you a BRIEF history of this 100+ year rivalry and why it'll never die...and I'll do it in timeline fashion so it'll force me to keep it quick
Early Days- Boston has this elite feeling to it, and as a New Yorker it kills me to admit it, but the city is much cleaner and in terms of culturally and educationally (Harvard) it far surpasses that of New York.
1916- Harry Frazee (from Peoria, Illinois like John Little) bought the Red Sox for like half a million dollars. Already have a guy you may have heard of named Babe Ruth (best baseball player of all time) on the team.
1918- Even though the Red Sox win the World Series, Frazee has built up some debt and sells Babe Ruth to the Yankees to pay for Fenway Park costs and other debts he obtained. Babe Ruth aka The Sultan of SWAT aka The King of Crash aka The Colossus of Clout aka BABE RUTH...THE GREAT BAMBINO
1920's- aka Roaring Twenties aka when they get Yankee Stadium aka when they get Lou Gehrig aka when they win six pennants and 3 world series' aka when Boston Red Sox fall off the face of the Earth aka The Curse of the Bambino.
1930's- aka The Great Depression in America aka the great depression for the Red Sox...okay I'm done with the aka's...sorry. Basically this is the time when people in Boston started to realize that they should have kept Babe Ruth no matter what. As if it wasn't bad enough the stock market just crashed, they had to go on and watch the Yankees will World Series after Pennant after World Series for the next 60 years.
1999- Boston is not on the Yankee's level in terms of winning or payroll, but get one of the best pitchers in the game (Pedro Martinez) and in their first playoff series Boston seems ready to break the curse. Both teams were rolling through the playoffs but when they played each other the Yankees won the series 4-1 with their only loss coming when Pedro Martinez pitched.
2003- Second time they meet in the playoffs, series goes to a 7th and final game for all the marbles. The series was classic to that point, great hitting, great pitching, and great fights but would obviously end in dramatic fashion. I was a freshman in college (at New York University) sitting in a dorm room full of Boston Fans (how that happened I don't know) and I remember this like it was yesterday. Boston was up by 3 runs toward the end of the game and they had their best pitcher pitching. I was a little nervous but the Red Sox fans were going crazy, talking all kinds of trash and sort of rubbing it in. Needless to say, like clockwork...it was bang bang bang...3 straight hits and all of a sudden we are only down two runs and have two guys on base. That was when Jorge Posada, the Yankees' catcher, stepped to the plate and got a hit that scored both guys. The games goes into extra innings aka overtime (sorry for the aka it's the last one this time for real) and in the bottom of the 11th inning Aaron Boone...yes his last name was Boone hit the game winning homerun and finally shut up all of those Red Sox fans I was sitting with.
2004- This is when things took a turn for the worse, depending on which team you favored. This time around it was the Yankees who would self-implode. They started the series off strong, winning the first 3 games, but after a huge David Ortiz performance, a bloody-sock and the grace of God, the Red Sox came back and won the last 4 games back to back to back to back aka the greatest playoff series ever (sorry sorry).
Since Then- The Redsox have won 2 World Series to the Yankees 0 and so far in the 2009 season, the Red Sox have had the Yankees number. In 8 meetings so far this season the Red Sox haven't lost and outscored the Yankees 55-31. Luckily for the Yankees, I got a call from a good friend of mine who had two extra tickets and we got to go see the 9th game of the season between the Red Sox and Yankees at the new Yankee Stadium. We were a little late getting up there and by the time we got to our seats it was bases loaded for Boston, but when I sat down Joba Chamberlin struck two guys out and got a pop-out. Although the Red Sox scored first, by the time the 5th inning was going to begin, it was 9-3 in favor of the Yankees. We went on to score 4 more before we allowed 2 in the last inning and won the game 13-6. It was great seeing the Yankees break that losing streak and go on to actually sweep the 4 game series in New York and secure a first place spot while doing it.
It'll be interesting come my birthday when the MLB playoffs are well underway...Let's Go YANKEES