The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees have arguably the best rivalry in sports. The teams are facing off in the postseason for the first time since 2004 in the American League Division Series. The rivalry has even made its way into the Daily Item newsroom. Red Sox fan Steve Krause and Yankees fan Gayla Cawley have outlined how their respective teams can win when the series kicks off on Friday.
Steve grew up in Lynn, where people aren’t only Boston sports fans. They worship the teams.
Ask anyone what their plans are during a New England Patriots game and you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who won’t be perched in front of a TV, unless they’re actually at the stadium.
It seems like anyone in the Bay State who lives within a 50-mile radius of Boston considers themselves residents and finding a non-Red Sox fan around here is rarer than the Baltimore Orioles winning a game this season.
And as far as most obnoxious sports fans go, Boston fans are more than giving New Yorkers a run for their money.
Take a game last week at Fenway Park between the Red Sox and Yankees — Giancarlo Stanton hit a home run and a Red Sox fan not only threw the ball back from the Green Monster seats, but the ball hit Stanton as he was running around the bases.
I’m that rare New York Yankees fan living in the Greater Boston area, but it doesn’t really count. I’m a Lynn transplant who moved here from Connecticut three years ago, where the state is divided between Red Sox and Yankees fans, depending on what side you live on. Luckily, my hometown is an hour outside New York City.
On Friday, the two teams will face off in the postseason for the first time since 2004, when the Yankees made unflattering history by becoming the first team to blow a 3-0 series lead in the playoffs. Unfortunately, the Red Sox got the distinction of being that winning team.
Just a year before, things were looking good. The Red Sox remained victims of the Curse of the Bambino after Aaron Boone sent the Yankees to the World Series by hitting a walk-off home run in Game 7 off Tim Wakefield, which also earned him a new expletive-laced middle name from Boston fans.
Fast forward to 2018 and Aaron “Bleeping” Boone is the Yankees manager, and both teams have a good chance of winning the American League Division Series. I might be biased, but I’m picking the Yankees on this one.
Here’s my argument. The Yankees are hot right now. It’s no secret they had a terrible second half, which let the Red Sox run away with the division, but it shouldn’t come as a surprise that their struggles started when Aaron Judge, their best player, went down with an injury.
Judge recently came back to the team, and unsurprisingly, the Yankees started winning again. The season ended with the Yankees winning their last two series against the Red Sox and they’re coming off of a convincing Wild Card win over the Oakland Athletics, where they never trailed and Judge kicked things off with a home run.
The team is young and fun like they haven’t been in years — gone are the days where a Yankees locker room seemed like a corporate boardroom. The Yankees have two contenders for Rookie of the Year — Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres — a year after Judge won the award.
Their best starting pitcher all season, Luis Severino, is only 24 years old and despite his struggles this year, catcher Gary Sanchez still has a ton of up side. That’s not to mention, Stanton, their stats leader this year and big offseason acquisition, is just 28 years old and was the National League MVP last year.
Not only are they young with a ton of chemistry, but this team can hit home runs like no other. In fact, they hit more home runs this year than any team in baseball history.
To win, Judge and Stanton have to keep hitting home runs, Severino has to be the pitcher of the first half, not the one the team saw after the All-Star break, and the starters have to give enough length to let the team show off its major strength, which is its bullpen.