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- Serving up tradition
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Editor Speaks Out: baseball’s best rivalry not renewed
As we make our way through the latter part of October, my third here at Quinnipiac, something feels distinctly different. Come to think of it, it’s pretty easy to notice as you walk around campus. I’m referring to the fact that for the first time since 2002, the Red Sox and Yankees are not battling it out for the American League pennant.
For two weeks in October each of the past two seasons, this campus has been abuzz with anticipation and arguments surrounding the Red Sox-Yankees American League Championship Series match-ups. With Quinnipiac being roughly equidistant from Boston and New York, both sides are certainly well represented here. That made for some of the best moments of my career as a sports fan.
I’m a big Red Sox fan, so obviously last year’s championship was the culmination of my lifelong following of the team. Granted, my suffering was not nearly as lengthy as that of my father and grandfather, but it was still there. When the Sox roared back from a 3-0 series deficit to the hated Yankees on their way to eight straight wins and their first championship in 86 years, it was simply unbelievable.
In 2003, as most of you will recall, the roles were reversed. It was the Yankees who broke the hearts of Red Sox fans across the country in Game 7 by coming back from a 3-run deficit in the 8th inning and eventually eliminating Boston on Aaron Boone’s 11th-inning home run.
The rivalry has certainly been intense in recent years, from the results of the two ALCS, to Martinez throwing Don Zimmer to the ground, to Jason Varitek’s facewash of Alex Rodriguez, to the chants of “Who’s Your Daddy?” in Yankee Stadium, to A-Rod’s slapping the ball out of Bronson Arroyo’s glove. Everything that happens between these two teams is magnified 200%.
In all honesty, this is really the first time in history that the word “rivalry” can be used to describe the relationship between the two teams. Up until last year, the Red Sox were more like the Yankees’ perennial punching bag. The tally of championships since the Sox sold Babe Ruth had been 26-0 in favor of the bad guys.
Now, not only have the Red Sox erased their championship drought, but the games between the teams in recent years have more or less been split down the middle. Both league championship series went to the limit of seven games. Overall, the teams have been head-to-head in 70 games over the past three seasons, and the Red Sox hold the advantage by a single game. That’s what I call a rivalry.
However, it was just not meant to be this year. The Red Sox simply did not have as strong a team as last year. It became obvious that the Sox, with their high-powered offense and iffy pitching rotation, were a team more suited for the regular season grind than a short playoff series. This proved to be true, as they were rather easily swept by the Chicago White Sox.
Meanwhile, the Yankees lost a hard-fought five-game series to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, or whatever you want to call them. The New York Yankees of New York now have a championship drought at five seasons and counting, much to the chagrin of the hard to please George Steinbrenner.
So we were left with an ALCS between Chicago and Los Angeles of Anaheim. It was strange tuning into FOX for the series, painfully listening to Joe Buck and Tim McCarver, and not seeing Red Sox or Yankees jerseys out on the field. The fact that at least one of the two has played in seven of the last nine league championship series before this year makes their absences even more strange.
Watching the age-old rivals battle it out for a World Series berth two years ago was good enough. For it to happen two years in a row was absolutely amazing. Some predicted round three this fall, but unfortunately it didn’t work out. I could say wait ’til next year, but as a Red Sox fan who has said that too many times, I prefer in this case to say wait ’til last year.