And so it begins again.
The first head-to-head matchup of the 2021 season between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees will take place Friday night at Yankee Stadium. The Red Sox are 2.5 games ahead in the standings, but let’s not act like that matters right now. Hell, neither team is even in first place at the moment thanks to the ringless nerds that are running things in Tampa Bay. All that matters right now is that both the Red Sox and the Yankees are in contention two full months into the season, meaning we have 19 high-stakes, hate-filled contests ahead of us, all of which will take place under the microscope of a playoff atmosphere. It’s a shame that baseball has pretty much removed brawls from the sport, since Nathan Eovaldi putting one behind Aaron Judge’s noggin would be the perfect way to heat this rivalry back up to the bloodfeud that it was back in the 1970s and early 2000s. Baseball needs the Red Sox and the Yankees to not only be good, but to want to physically harm each other on the baseball field.
It’s not often that these two teams don’t play each other until this late in the year. I think it’s great. There have been seasons in the past where they played each other nine or twelve times in the first half of the year, which took a lot of the sizzle away from the rivalry. The real juice is in these teams playing each other late in the year with playoff implications on the line. Luckily, Chaim Bloom and Alex Cora have put together a ballsy BoSox team that will be in the conversation until the end of the year.
As I’ve said before, the 2021 Red Sox are not the most talented, schematically sound, or genetically blessed team in the American League. But they are the best fighters. Their play continually rises above the sum of its parts. I’ll take the hardscrabble gumption of Alex Verdugo, Xander Bogaerts, J.D. Martinez, Nick Pivetta, and Matt Barnes over the silver spoon-sucking entitlement of Aaron Judge, Gerrit Cole, Gary Sanchez, Domingo German, and Aroldis Chapman any day of the damn week. Remember, the Red Sox were supposed to be spoilers at best this season while the Yankees were picked by everybody to beat the world. As of June 3rd, the warrior’s soul of the Red Sox has proven to be 2.5 games better than the assumed birthright of the Yankees.
Let’s all hope for a fun, competitive series this weekend that begins to reestablish this feud as the greatest rivalry in the history of sports. The Red Sox are coming off a disappointing week in Houston while the Yankees managed to swipe a couple wins from the pocket protectors of the Rays. Corey Kluber and Luke Voit are too scared to compete against Boston this weekend, so let’s hope that the Sox can exploit their cowardly retreat to the Injured List and take at least two out of three.