By Mark Paulette,
Red Sox versus Yankees. That used to mean something. It used to be political. It used to ignite passion. It used to capture attention. Now, it’s just a set of words that carry no greater meaning than any other.
TV networks would have you believing the ‘timeless’ rivalry hasn’t lost a beat, billing this weekend’s match-up in the Bronx as a renewal of “The Greatest Rivalry in Sports.” I apologize in advance, but if you believe that still to be the case, you have long been made a fool.
The apex of ’03 and ’04 will never again be reached. When the Red Sox reversed the Curse of the Bambino with those four games in October, they effectively doomed the future of the game’s greatest rivalry. No longer was there a need to look at the team in pinstripes and immediately be filled with a petulant rage.
We were teased when Joe Kelly incited a brawl last year at Fenway Park, but we should’ve known it was but a farce when Judge and Giancarlo Stanton decided to use their gargantuan bodies to play peacemaker rather than stoke the fire. There are no characters on these teams. There is little pride in the rivalry’s history and there is certainly no animosity.
There was a time when hating the Yankees was as important as rooting for the Sox. There was a time when players for the respective sides instinctively disliked one another. Now, Mookie Betts and Aaron Judge can be caught chumming it up on the outfield grass while Andrew Benintendi gets in playful starring competitions with Yanks in their dugout.
Both sides will tell you these next three games are no different than any other; that they should be treated equally, and they’re right. After years of denying what was once a boiling cauldron of hate, Red Sox vs. Yankees is now merely a stagnant bore. It’s a damn shame, but fitting for the state of Major League Baseball in 2019.
Mark Paulette is the executive producer of The Drive, weekdays 4pm to 6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at DriveShowMaine.com. Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowMaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine