State of the Rivalry

Bob Ryan, in an uneven, contradictory, ultimately confusing and poorly written column today, bemoans the state of the Sox-Yankee rivalry. In turn, he calls the rivalry "manufactured fan nonsense." To an extent, I can agree that such things as WEEI and the Internet have popularized the rivalry to such an extent that it is, as Ryan says, chic to say you hate the Yankees.

On the other hand, he also seems to be pining for the days when the teams themselves hated each other, and the fans fed off that hatred. That, he seems to say, was a real rivalry. Now, with the teams respecting each other, there’s no reason to hate the Yankees (or vice versa) — except for the fact that they’re the Yankees.

For the players, the rivalry is about the competition. For far too many Red Sox fans, it’s about some imagined grievance with both the Yankees and the city of New York. It’s chic to say you hate the Yankees, even if there really is nothing to hate. Really, what has Derek Jeter ever done besides not be Nomah? And now that Nomah is gone, perhaps not be Papi? I truly don’t know.

This doesn’t make any sense to me. Is a rivalry only good when the teams hate each other so much that seasons and careers are ruined thanks to the bench-clearing brawls? I thought rivalries were ALL about the fans — the passion and excitement involved with playing against a team on the same level as yours — a team that has been involved in your team’s greatest heartbreaks and your most triumphant victories.

And if the rivalry is only good when the teams fight each other, what about  2003 and 2004? Now that they are on better terms in 2007, are the fans supposed to pretend like this rivalry hasn’t existed arguably since 1901, when Boston and Baltimore were bitter rivals?

Anyway, as we edge closer to the resumption of the rivalry this evening, I’m curious: What do you think is the state of Sox-Yanks in 2007 — particularly as compared to the 1940s and 1970s?

56 comments… add one
  • as somebody on SOSH pointed out, Bob Ryan reminisces today about the “pure” Celt/Lakers rivalry that was hate free; meanwhile Ryan wrote an article in ’91 about the Lakers saying I hate you/you hate me… Ryan and his butter teeth is either a hypocrite, a fool or getting curmudgeonly in his old age…

    Ric April 20, 2007, 11:24 am
  • “You know what the Yankees and Red Sox see in each other in the Year of Our Lord, 2007? They see a quality division opponent, no more, no less. In the past four years these teams have met 90 times, not including spring training affairs (which are Theatre of the Absurd productions). The Yankees have won 46 and the Red Sox have won 44. Great stuff.”
    “For the players, the rivalry is about the competition.”
    “See, that’s what I loved about the great Boston rivalries of the past. It was about the competition.”
    “My own born-and-bred New England daughter hates the Yankees. I don’t. I think they’re a darn fine division rival.”
    bangs head on desk repeatedly

    desturbd1 April 20, 2007, 11:26 am
  • See the competition is great, which makes the rivalry. But this rivalry’s all about competition, so it’s not as good…

    Paul SF April 20, 2007, 11:28 am
  • OK I think I get it now: Ryan wants it to be a competition, but only to the fans! The teams are supposed to genuinely hate each other, even if one is miles above the other in terms of actual ability. The fans aren’t supposed to hate on each other, we’re supposed to be the ones competing. I always thought that’s what the athletes were for, but I guess I was wrong; I propose we gather our respective fanbases behind the school tomorrow afternoon and settle this like men. That’ll show what’s what.
    SF: Boy, that escalated quickly… I mean, that really got out of hand fast.
    Paul: It jumped up a notch.
    SF: It did, didn’t it?
    D1: Yeah, I stabbed a man in the heart.
    SF: I saw that. D1 killed a guy. Did you throw a trident?
    D1: Yeah, there were horses, and a man on fire, and I killed a guy with a trident.
    SF: D1, I’ve been meaning to talk to you about that. You should find yourself a safehouse or a relative close by. Lay low for a while, because you’re probably wanted for murder.

    desturbd1 April 20, 2007, 11:47 am
  • Sorry I’m with Ryan.
    When I was a kid i was at the game where someone grabbed Rice’s hat and he ran into the stands after the guy.
    But a Sox fan slugs Sheffield and the best he can do is motion for security.
    No, the players now are too invested in their paycheck to let emotions get involved. And when it does, they just leave the mask on.

    jim - YF April 20, 2007, 11:52 am
  • That said, the games are wonderful these days. Still I think it peaked in 2003-04.
    05 was fun and all but the first round exit for both showed it had passed.
    And last year it was over in August.
    Sure, there might be a race this year, but it can’t match 2004.

    jim - YF April 20, 2007, 11:56 am
  • Jim, let’s hope 2004 was a once in a lifetime thing….

    Triskaidekaphobia April 20, 2007, 11:59 am
  • I’m with you, Jim.
    The rivalry has become a made-for-TV event.
    I don’t think you’d see a scene like Fisk kicking Nettles’ ass today. Fisk and Bill Lee had pure hatred for the Yankees.
    Today I think the comments that come out of the players mouths are more directed at the fans than the other teams.
    And we as fans are left to poke fun at Rodriquez for trying to knock the ball out of Arroyo’s glove when we all know it wasn’t a bad thing to try. He might have gotten away with it. How many times will we hear “Yankees suck” this weekend?
    You cannot discount the role ESPN and Fox have in taking the fun out of it. Even MLB deserves blame. You don’t think they looked to exploit this rivalry when they went to the unbalanced schedule?
    (Wow is this a disjointed ramble.)

    I'm Bill McNeal April 20, 2007, 12:05 pm
  • “But a Sox fan slugs Sheffield and the best he can do is motion for security.”
    yeah, that fan sure got him good. a SOLID connection.

    Ric April 20, 2007, 12:07 pm
  • The rivalry loses a notch when Joel Pinero comes out pumped for some reason..
    Can’t you at least give time for the fake hatred to mature?

    Lar April 20, 2007, 12:22 pm
  • Forgive me, I thought that the Sox-Yankees rivalry had something to do with the game of baseball.

    Kazz April 20, 2007, 12:23 pm
  • I’ve grown so weary of Ryan’s “back in my day when men were men” line of BS. What a curmudgeon.
    The game has changed. Become much more business-like. Seven figure salaries will do that. Free agency too, as many of these guys have been teammates before. That said, I think there’s still a fair amount of animosity present, no matter what Jeter and Tek say publicly about respect and sportsmanship, and sooner or later it’ll flare up again.

    Tyrel SF April 20, 2007, 12:24 pm
  • The Changed of Ownership of Redsox with New Mr.John Henry and Mr. Lucchino changed The losing ways the loser mentality of Redsox.Since winning World Series in 2004, Redsox players believed They can play and beat the Yankees anytime.

    Jt_YF April 20, 2007, 12:38 pm
  • “The losing ways the loser mentality of Redsox”
    I started watching baseball in 86-87 as a youngster… i dont really remember taking games seriously until i was older a few years after that… i never had this loser mentality that is always thrown around and i think that not many people that are under 30 or so do either becasue there hasnt been that much heartache thats theyve been exposed to.

    Ric April 20, 2007, 12:47 pm
  • I agree that things have changed. Even in 2003 and 04, there wasn’t as much animosity, and it was more a fan-based rivalry. This is just the nature of baseball in a free-agent world. You notice guys like Manny and Pedro and Tek got a lot more into the anti-Yankee thing than others have. They were there the longest. It is more a made-for-TV event, and that’s where I thought Ryan was going. Instead, he decided to say … well, I’m not sure WHAT he was trying to say, but the Yanks and Sox are still rivals, and there are still plenty of great fans on both sides who have hated the other teams for a LONG time, and not just because ESPN and NESN have made it cool to do so. So, in that sense, it’s still a great rivalry.

    Paul SF April 20, 2007, 12:56 pm
  • “Since winning World Series in 2004, Redsox players…”
    I think it started earlier, 2003-ish (and how’d that work out? oh ya….). Maybe even earlier. I always think of that game where Manny tied the game off Mo back in 2001 or 2002 as a major turning point in the overall mentality. Like Achilles slaying Hector.

    Tyrel SF April 20, 2007, 1:03 pm
  • The Sawx got hot for a few games in 2004 (unfortunately for us) but since then its been back to looking forward to small successes like, maybe a few wins during the season series’. Despite that glimmer of hope in 2004, SF’s still have the loser mentality, and to take a game or two from the mighty Yanks during the season is treated as a big deal and blown out to be something much bigger than it really. Because thats all they have.
    At the end of the day what matters is where we all end up on October 1, and we all know where that is.

    WeMissPaulieYF April 20, 2007, 1:22 pm
  • Here are two comments about baseball players playing baseball:
    With two minor leaguers going for the Yanks, we all have to think the starting pitching favors the Yankees. I can’t disagree with that.
    In Saturday’s game, the question is, will we will see the Beckett who’s 3 and 0 with a 1.5 era or the Beckett with a 9.45 era against the Yanks last year? Yankee fans hope the latter, obviously.
    In Sunday’s game, will we see the Japanese star who has a better era here than there, or will we see him go more towards his norm? In his first matchup with the Yanks, Matszaka might well have the advantage.

    john April 20, 2007, 1:24 pm
  • I MEANT “FAVORS THE RED SOX”!

    john April 20, 2007, 1:25 pm
  • A Freudian slip, I guess.

    john April 20, 2007, 1:26 pm
  • “At the end of the day what matters is where we all end up on October 1, and we all know where that is.”
    Work?
    To me, all that matters is November 1st. How’s that been working out for you lately?

    Tyrel SF April 20, 2007, 1:37 pm
  • Better than you.

    WeMissPaulieYF April 20, 2007, 1:56 pm
  • “To me, all that matters is November 1st. How’s that been working out for you lately?”
    See this is the type of punk chest-pounding that is so annoying. And it really only serves to prove:
    “SF’s still have the loser mentality, and to take a game or two from the mighty Yanks during the season is treated as a big deal and blown out to be something much bigger than it really. Because thats all they have.”
    Tyrel acts as if somehow, as a Sox fan, he can taunt Yankee fans about an absence of championships. To him and many other misguided souls 2004 makes up for all of the other years that his franchise tanked, including 2006. The reality is that the Joe Torre era has produced more championships that Tyrel will ever know.

    lp April 20, 2007, 1:57 pm
  • Umm…lp? Tyrel’s dig was in response to the oft-repeated, “Yankees are always there in October, so NYAH” from that Paulie guy. And Paulie/your response really only serves to “prove” that YF’s are arrogant d*cks who view the postseason as a divine right. Among the drunken masses, both stereotypes hold true to a point, but neither fanbase really deserves those labels.
    2004 doesn’t make up for years of mediocrity, but it’s a nice memory and recent enough that it still feels good to think about. I’m just glad to live in Henry’s era, as opposed to that disgusting f*cking racist Tom Yawkey and his old boys’ club cabal of a front office.

    desturbd1 April 20, 2007, 2:07 pm
  • Get with it, lp.
    There is equal chest-thumping on both sides here.
    Anyone who refers to the other team’s fans as losers is thumping his chest louldy, too.
    It’s pretty easy to be bold when you don’t have to face the guy you’re insulting, isn’t it?
    So get off your broken soap box.

    I'm Bill McNeal April 20, 2007, 2:10 pm
  • Good points, too, d1.
    And reminds me of Buckley’s column on Mr. Yawkey in yesterday’s Herald. Agree or not, his point that Mr. Yawkey has no place inthe Hall of Fame, and certainbly not when Col. Rupert is not, is worth considering.

    I'm Bill McNeal April 20, 2007, 2:12 pm
  • “and to take a game or two from the mighty Yanks during the season is treated as a big deal and blown out to be something much bigger than it really.”
    this lemming comment is exactly what Ryan is talking about. hows that for irony?

    Ric April 20, 2007, 2:15 pm
  • will we will see the Beckett who’s 3 and 0 with a 1.5 era or the Beckett with a 9.45 era against the Yanks last year?
    Since even that Beckett pitched two dominant games against the Yanks, I think you’d also have to give the Sox the edge in that game as well.

    Paul SF April 20, 2007, 2:18 pm
  • Yeah, like I knew Yawkey was a racist, and I had a good idea of why the Sox had developed their reputation, but I’ve been doing a paper on the subject and the last few days have been…upsetting. Not just for the racism, either, but the near-criminal ineptitude of the Boston FO as a whole, and the press’s refusal to attack them for it.

    desturbd1 April 20, 2007, 2:19 pm
  • Thanks Bill and D1.
    “See this is the type of punk chest-pounding that is so annoying”
    Whatever, dude. Some guy called SFs a bunch of losers, minimized both regular season wins and the 2004 playoffs, and spoke of the “Mighty Yankees” penchant for being somewhere on October 1st. Am I supposed to roll over and beg forgiveness because some Yankee teams that played before you or I were born won a couple WS rings? Or might there be some justification in bringing up some recent history, especially when referring to the supposed “loser attitude” of the modern day fanbase?

    Tyrel SF April 20, 2007, 2:30 pm
  • A “couple” of WS rings…..:)

    WeMissPaulieYF April 20, 2007, 2:47 pm
  • The Yawkey/Cronin regime is among the most embarrassing in the history of professional baseball — completely indefensible, and incompetent to boot. Yawkey gets a lot of credit for signing Williams and Doerr and bringing Red Sox baseball out of the dark ages, but any fool could have seen the potential in those players. The faiulre to develop from within, the failure to sign Mays and Robinson for purely race reasons, the driving away of Pesky and Dom DiMaggio by Lou Bodreau… Just shameful.

    Paul SF April 20, 2007, 2:56 pm
  • “Am I supposed to roll over and beg forgiveness because some Yankee teams that played before you or I were born won a couple WS rings?”
    How old are you? The rings I’m referring to happened in the 90s.
    “…minimized both regular season wins and the 2004 playoffs”
    Bragging about your only championship in your lifetime is pretty f-ing minimal to me. And to put it into perspective, I haven’t seen too many Angels’ fans talking smack years after they won their only WS championship.
    “It’s pretty easy to be bold when you don’t have to face the guy you’re insulting, isn’t it?”
    So I guess you’re like some Cell Block C tough guy huh? It’s just as easy to write comebacks like that too, Mr. Hard Case.

    lp April 20, 2007, 3:05 pm
  • “And to put it into perspective, I haven’t seen too many Angels’ fans talking smack years after they won their only WS championship.”
    To keep it in perspective, I didn’t see too many Angels fans talking smack after going one and out in the playoffs.
    Y’all want to talk about the Sox loser mentality. I talk about us winning, and you not winning. You say that proves my loser mentality. Genius.

    Tyrel SF April 20, 2007, 3:13 pm
  • Wait, we made the playoffs right? Or did we finish 3rd in the division? =P

    Lar April 20, 2007, 3:25 pm
  • I think if you look back through the Sox and Yanks “regimes” there’s a ton of racism, shady dealings, mean owners, and sketchy player personalities. Frankly, it’s hard to find any team without a pretty abhorrent past.
    That being said…Yankees are awesome and the Red Sox stink worse than Nick Swisher’s Beard juice!

    walein April 20, 2007, 3:31 pm
  • I think that too big of a deal is made about Starting pitching matchups for Yanks v. Sox games for the most part. Its not 100% true but almost all of these games come down to a battle of the pens and something surprising almost always happens. Lopsided matchups often result in the “better” pitcher getting shelled or the “lesser” pitcher throwing his best start of the year. I guess thats why these games are always so good. That said Id still rather have the Sox three starters than the Yanks starters going over the next three…

    sam YF April 20, 2007, 3:31 pm
  • “I talk about us winning, and you not winning.”
    Now if I were to detail every season where the reverse of that were true you’d start crying like a pu$$y. Much like:
    Umm…lp? Tyrel’s dig was in response to the oft-repeated, “Yankees are always there in October, so NYAH” from that Paulie guy. And Paulie/your response really only serves to “prove” that YF’s are arrogant d*cks who view the postseason as a divine right.
    You both seem to be operating on a presumption of equality between the two franchises. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yankee fans are confident about the post-season because we’ve been there more than any other franchise. It’s that simple. One side has a right to expect the post-season, the other doesn’t. Guess which is which.
    Tyrel – what AL team, other than the Yankees, has made the playoffs every year for the past twelve years?
    What franchise other than the A’s has won 3 straight WS titles?
    To not recognize the obvious is so Red Sox Nation of you.

    lp April 20, 2007, 3:34 pm
  • I knew about the Mays/Robinson deal, but never the details behind what happened. For example, I knew some nameless figure had reportedly screamed, “Get those ni****s off the field” during Robinson’s tryout at Fenway and that most believe it was Yawkey, but I had always wondered why the virulent racist let him try out to begin with.
    Turns out an integrationist city councilman had a problem with Boston (and baseball as a whole) segregating the game, and threatened to revoke the Red Sox’ license to play baseball on Sundays. The tryout was a compromise, and came about only after months of stall tactics on the part of Cronin and Yawkey. So basically, an external force did EVERYTHING they could to convince Boston to sign him, and they did absolutely nothing. Essentially the same thing happened with Mays. And just imagine what he could have done in Fenway park…660 HR’s as a Giant? I don’t think 800+ would have been unreasonable with the Monster.
    I do wonder what the city’s reaction would have been like, though. It’s been hard to get a real feel for Boston’s racial outlook from the 40’s through the 70’s; the impression I get is that the city’s always been fairly conflicted on the matter, and they apparently failed to embrace the players on the Celtics. (I heard the other day that Bill Russell once purchased a home in a white neighborhood despite the neighbors petitioning against it. In response, his house was ransacked and his bed defecated on).
    And yes, the Yanks were actually regarded as an outwardly racist club–for a long time, they publicly stated their refusal to integrate; Boston just insisted that there weren’t any worthy black players and most of the bigotry went on behind closed doors–but Boston didn’t integrate until 1959, and the only reason they did was because of an NAACP lawsuit. Which is just absurd.

    desturbd1 April 20, 2007, 3:36 pm
  • “One side has a right to expect the post-season, the other doesn’t.”
    And that just about proves my point. There’s confidence and douchebaggery, and you’re firmly in the latter camp.

    desturbd1 April 20, 2007, 3:38 pm
  • d1 – ya, it’s sad history. I think for sure that at the time, the Yanks could had any black players they wanted, but were racist.

    Lar April 20, 2007, 3:45 pm
  • “There’s confidence and douchebaggery…”
    Didn’t I say someone’d be crying like a pu$$y when I pointed out the obvious?

    lp April 20, 2007, 3:46 pm
  • The article is specious. It’s not “manufactured”—it’s genuine, based on decades of history and the fact that the teams have basically been 1-2 in the division for 10 years.
    As for behavior, there’s been a generally positive evolution of player comportment over the decades. I’m glad the players don’t go into the stands these days. The Pedro-Zimmer incident was disgraceful, and the Alex-Tek dustup embarassing. Grown men shouldn’t act like 12 year olds. Though it’s worth noting these are fairly recent events. Players switch teams due to the economics of the business, but it’s not fair to claim they don’t care, or aren’t invested in their teams and their teams’ rivalries. I’m glad Piniero is into this series. Many of the Yankees have made no secret that they have joined the team because they want a ring. That’s great. We’re privileged to watch those guys, and if there are a few who don’t buy into it, then too bad for them. Whatever.
    Fans have always cared. More fans care now then have ever cared before. Attendance is greater, and there’s tv and radio and–yes–blogs, all there for us. Let’s enjoy tonight. Hopefully the game will live up to a winter’s worth of expectations.
    PS: Does Bob Ryan think Dom and Joe D hated eachother? Yes? No? Was 1949 a legit rivalry year? For them? For fans? For David Halberstam? Someone let me know.

    YF April 20, 2007, 3:47 pm
  • >>>We as fans are left to poke fun at Rodriquez for trying to knock the ball out of Arroyo’s glove when we all know it wasn’t a bad thing to try.<<< Wasn't a bad thing to try? That was just about the most juvenile thing I've ever seen in a baseball game, including Little League. ARod thinking he could get away with that in front of zillions of viewers? Classless.

    Hudson April 20, 2007, 3:57 pm
  • lp and everyone else. enough with this crap. just watch and enjoy the games.

    m.g. yanks fan April 20, 2007, 3:58 pm
  • “One side has a right to expect blah blah blah.”
    lp dude, relax. Y’all had a pretty good run, team of the 20th century, etc. I can admit that. Be proud of it, but get a grip. It’s history. Whatever Paul O’Neil’s Yankees and their “winning attitude” did has absolutely no bearing on this year. They play the games for a reason, and I have every right to look at our respective rosters and feel pretty damned good about our chances. Stomping your feet and regurgitating your history simply because a SF feels optimistic seems a little pathetic.

    Tyrel SF April 20, 2007, 4:15 pm
  • m.g. yanks fan, sorry, I was distracted writing that last post and didn’t see your call to end the flame war before I threw it out there. I’m with you.
    Go Sox!!!

    Tyrel SF April 20, 2007, 4:20 pm
  • Since even that Beckett pitched two dominant games against the Yanks, I think you’d also have to give the Sox the edge in that game as well.
    Since the first two games Beckett pitched against the Yanks (including the WS), Beckett is 1 and 2 against the Yanks. It may even be that since the first 3, he’s 0 and 2. (Imagine what his era must be in those games.)
    So are we going to see the Beckett the Yankees have mashed recently, or the Beckett who’s been the masher this year? I don’t know, although I obviously have my preference.

    john April 20, 2007, 4:36 pm
  • Stomping your feet and regurgitating your history simply because a SF feels optimistic
    I don’t think that covers calling Yankee fans “arrogant d*cks”.

    john April 20, 2007, 4:38 pm
  • …if you actually read what I said, I wrote that that was a stereotype that shouldn’t actually apply to the bulk of the fanbase, similar to how the loser mentality dig going against us.

    desturbd1 April 20, 2007, 4:44 pm
  • I don’t think I called anyone an arrogant dick.

    Tyrel SF April 20, 2007, 4:47 pm
  • licking my chops. hope everyone sticks around for the game thread as i’m sure there will be things to discuss…..ad noiseam.

    sf rod April 20, 2007, 4:54 pm
  • I wish I could stay, but I’ll be too busy getting drunk watching the game at a bar somewhere!

    Lar April 20, 2007, 5:06 pm
  • …wish I was 21. Or had a fake. Or a case of beer. Dammit.

    desturbd1 April 20, 2007, 5:09 pm
  • “I wish I could stay, but I’ll be too busy getting drunk watching the game at a bar somewhere!”
    Ditto. The Riviera, on West 4th and Christopher.

    Tyrel SF April 20, 2007, 5:17 pm
  • Since the first two games Beckett pitched against the Yanks (including the WS), Beckett is 1 and 2 against the Yanks.
    So of the five games he’s pitched against the Yanks, you take out the first 40 percent? Talk about cherry-picking! The fact is of his five starts, three have been fantastic and two have been terrible. And that was when he was not pitching as well as he is this year.

    Paul SF April 20, 2007, 5:26 pm

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