As the off-season came to a close, the American League eyes seemed to focus on three teams: Houston Astros, Boston Red Sox, and the New York Yankees. Spring training began and the stage was starting to set for a renewed rivalry between the Yankees and Red Sox. Over the past years, the rivalry has been on the back burner, as both teams were still competitive, but not the powerhouses that they were in the early 2000’s, when the blood was boiling more than ever.
Fast forward to the start of the 2018 season, Wednesday April 11th, 2018. The blood is boiling once again, and being so early in the season, it seems as though the clubs are going to have their fair-share of blows to one another in the following months.
It all started when Tyler Austin slid late and hard into second baseman Brock Holt, attempting to break up the double-play. After the cleat-up slide, which was legal but instigative, the two exchanged words and the benches cleared, coming to the aid of their players. Nothing happened at this point in time, besides the exchanging of words between the two players.
Later on in the game, as Austin took his at-bat, the pitcher at the time Joe Kelly beaned the first baseman with a 96 mph pitch, which did not sit too well with him. Austin immediately looked towards the mound, slammed his bat on the ground and charged Kelly, tossing away his helmet in the process. Kelly started to back pedal into the comfort of his teammates as well as throwing his glove at Austin, which resulted in the dugouts, and bullpens, storming the field.
What better way to turn the heat up than a game nationally televised on the MLB Network.
“It’s Red Sox-Yankees. That’s what everybody wants. That’s what they got,” David Price told The New York Times.
Price was right indeed. The fans did want to see this, and as baseball continues to struggle for views, especially as the NHL and NBA move into the playoff portion of their year, this is exactly what the league needs to get the fans back. While these two scrums may have added an additional ninety-minutes to the game, the amount of time spent watching this game afterwards will far surpass that of an entire 3-hour game.
While the Colorado Rockies and San Diego Padres also fought on Wednesday, including a star-player Nolan Arenado, it was not the brawl of the Yankees and Red Sox, the difference? The name on the front of the Jersey.
On top of the dugouts clearing, this series has brought some serious drama to the game, in typical New York, Boston fashion. So far we have witnessed two grand slams, one from Mookie Betts and one from J.D. Martinez, overpowering heat from Chris Sale and Aroldis Chapman, and shutdown defense from Didi Gregorius at short. To top that all off, Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge, and Giancarlo Stanton all seem to be heating up; of course this comes at no other time than when they face Boston.
While both rosters have completely renewed since the 2003-2004 seasons, and the leaders such as Jeter, Papi, A-Rod, Pedro, have all since moved on, these two teams seem as worthy descendants to renew the clubs’ long storied history.
As the clubs are set to face off several more times throughout the season, Wednesday night should have set a pretty good tone for how the season will go. We may not be seeing Jason Varitek fash-wash Alex Rodriguez, but the rivalry is back on the front burner, and things are starting to heat up.
Hopefully for baseball, more stories can come from this historic rivalry.
Picture Credit: ibtimes.com; northjersey.com; lockedonyankees.com; nj.com