The Red Sox-Yankees rivalry certainly isn’t what it once was.
Two third place and two fifth place finishes in the AL East for the Red Sox in the last five years mixed around a World Series win in 2013, while the Yankees have two second’s and a third with two first place finishes in 2011 and 2012 in that span.
When the Red Sox are good, the Yankees are bad, and vise versa. The main players in the rivalry from the mid-2000s are all gone – no more Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter, Bernie Willams, Jorge Posada and no more Jason Varitek, Pedro Martinez, Kevin Millar and Trot Nixon.
But, this weekend at Fenway Park may have been an indication that the rivalry isn’t quite dead yet, and there’s one player keeping it alive – Alex Rodriguez.
Rodriguez has always been hated in Boston, and even more so following his suspension for PED use. That hate came alive in August of 2013 when Ryan Dempster drilled Rodriguez with a pitch after three straight inside fastballs. Dempster and most of the Red Sox team that year were purists of the game, and sent a message to Rodriguez.
This past weekend, Rodriguez stepped to the plate as a pinch-hitter in s 2-2 gameFridaynight and the boo’s he received were as loud as any in he past.
“You usually don’t hear the difference, but that boo was pretty intense,” Rodriguez said afterwards. “It was pretty passionate.“
Rodriguez got the last laugh, though, as he lined a solo home run into the Monster seats to give the Yankees a 3-2 lead, and ultimately a 3-2 win. It was also the 660thhome run for his career, which ties him for fourth place on the all-time list with Willie Mays.
"Like I said, I havethe utmost respect for Red Sox ownership, the fans, the players, it was nice to do it and get a big win,” said Rodriguez.
In not much of a surprise, the fan who caught the ball, a Red Sox fan, reportedly won’t give the ball back without getting any money from Rodriguez. He was offered memorabilia, but he said he wanted only money.
Rodriguez did make a slight joke of the situation.
"Well, I've never been good at negotiating, so I'm going to quit on that,” he said.
For there to be a rivalry not only do the teams need to be competitive – both off to decent starts this season – there also needs to be some hate involved, and with Rodriguez that is there.
Baseball is better with a legitimate Red Sox-Yankees rivalry, so let’s hope this weekend was just the beginning of a resurgence.