Let’s Bring the Rivalry Back

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January always brings New Year’s Resolutions. I am sure that numerous baseball players and officials alike have created their own already, but I still want to request one to a group of select players and officials. I want the members of the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox to resolve to renew the storied rivalry.

Over the past few seasons, Yankees Red Sox rivalry has lost the luster that it once had. Rewind the clock to just 10 years ago and this rivalry was the best it has ever been, and possibly the greatest rivalry in sports history. So what happened?

Some people place the blame on the Red Sox finally winning the World Series in 2004 and thus breaking the Curse of the Bambino, which, as the legend goes, was put on them when Babe Ruth was traded to the Yankees, as the reason for the decline in the rivalry. Others feel that the Red Sox have been competitive team the past few seasons. There is no doubt in my mind that both of these things have contributed to the less intense rivalry in the past few seasons, but I think it goes even deeper too.

Major League Baseball is a business, and I think its business side keeps showing more and more as time goes on. In the MLB today, free agency has become giant. Players no longer stay with teams for extended periods of time because they either move onto a team that will pay them more or are traded to a team because their current team cannot afford them anymore.

Since players are now spending less time on teams, it is giving them less of a chance to become a devoted member of a team they are on. Players on the Yankees and Red Sox have a lot less passion for their teams now. They are no longer committed to being a true Yankee or Red Sox fan, which also means that they are no longer committed to having a passion for the team’s rival.

If you look at the offseason since 2006, you will see various Yankees and Red Sox go from one team to the other, something that was unheard of in the early 2000’s. Players like Johnny Damon and Kevin Youkilis, who were once key components of the rivalry, have had no problem trading in a Red Sox jersey for a Yankees one.

The MLB is simply just a business for players now and they do not care what team they play for, they just want to make money. This new lust for the biggest contracts in the MLB has made rivalries hard to form. Players no longer get fired up to play a rival team because that team may actually give them millions more to play for them next season.

And while the MLB becoming a bigger business has led to the decline of the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry as I see it, I also think it is the reason why the rivalry needs to come back. With rivalries just not forming anymore, the sport needs back what was once its greatest rivalry.

The Yankees-Red Sox rivalry could bring a spark back to the game. It could once again put the MLB out there even more when the rivalry is compared to great rivalries in other sports. And since the MLB is mostly about the money now, it could make the teams millions once again in the sales of T-shirts centered around the rivalries and higher ticket prices for the rivalry games.

It may be tough for fans of the two teams to get back the passionate hatred they had for each other when the two teams have had completely different records the past few seasons. Sure, these are not the days when they would always finish first and second in the American League East, but that should not take away from the great rivalry. For 86 years, this rivalry was built around a trade that took place in 1918.

It is the history that made the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry what it was, and the fans need to remember that history. So many great moments have occurred between these two teams throughout the years and fans need to remember them. I am sure most Yankee fans will still get angry today when they hear about the 2004 American League Championship Series because of the Yankees’ losing the series after holding a three game lead. And I am sure most Red Sox fans will still get angry when they watch the same series from 2003 because of the walk off home run in game seven by Aaron Boone that sent the Yankees to the World Series.

Yankees-Red Sox baseball has hit a bit of a slump, and it’s time for this rivalry to get out of that slump. All sports fans love a great rivalry and all that comes with it. Fans would benefit because they would get some passionate baseball back. And who knows, maybe even a player or two will benefit because if they perform extra well against their rival they may make a little more money. No matter what, getting the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry back would be great fun for all.