Saturday, April 30, 2016

Does the Rivalry Need a Spark?

Earlier in the day when I wrote up my game preview I mentioned that the rivalry between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox hasn’t been much of a rivalry in recent years. Aside from one trip to the World Series the Boston Red Sox have been cell dwellers in the American League East while the reign at the top by the Yankees has come to a screeching halt since Hal Steinbrenner has taken over the team. We thought we would see more of the rivalry after the Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz bro-code breakup but they have since kissed and made up leaving the fans wanting more. Wanting more of a rivalry. Does this rivalry need a spark?

To answer the question simply, yes. While the rivalry will always be a thing with the fans and with the broadcasters on both ESPN and MLB Network they do that so you will tune in or because someone writes their lines for them. The rivalry between the players is just not there anymore. I can’t think of off the top of my head one player I truly hate on the current Red Sox roster and I can’t think of any bad blood or anything between any current Red Sox player and Yankees player. In fact I have a ton of respect for the likes of Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia and especially for their manager John Farrell. Both teams have so many new faces and so many young guys though that there hasn’t been enough time to truly brew a true rivalry.

With free agency the rivalry sees new faces in different places all the time and the new guys to see the rivalry this time around most notably are Starlin Castro for the Yankees and tomorrow night’s starter David Price for the Red Sox. Luckily for the Red Sox and luckily for the rivalry Price is the kind of personality and the kind of pitcher that could easily spark the rivalry. Price is not the hot head pitcher that will throw at Yankees batters like Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira but he’s a competitor and a little loose with his lips in some of his interviews. That’s the kind of electric personality that sparks the rivalry not only with the fans but with the players as well.

So how do you spark a rivalry or rekindle a flame that has been lit for close to 100 years? Well besides Michael Pineda throwing at David Ortiz’s head tonight in the contest the best way to do it is for both teams to rebuild and win consistently. The Yankees are in the middle of their rebuild on the fly while the Red Sox are nearing the finish line on theirs in my opinion. The Red Sox have assembles quite the impressive cast of players on the positional side of things but the starting pitching and bullpen is still lacking while the Yankees are stockpiling young talent and a basketball team worth of pitchers on the other side of the equation.

So in a nutshell, yes this rivalry needs a spark and it needs a spark in a big way. No longer do the games last over four hours and no longer do the casual fans care about these games broadcasted on Saturday or Sunday nights. It’s just another game for most until Dellin Betances blows a 100 MPH fastball by David Ortiz in the ALCS or until New York can avenge their 2004 collapse in the playoffs where the World Series got cancelled all because the Yankees got up 3-0 in the series. The Yankees and Red Sox rivalry hasn’t been a true rivalry since then and it won’t be until they are both power houses once again like they were in the late 90’s and 2000’s. 

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)