The Yankees/Red Sox rivalry has officially been renewed
So, the inevitable happened. The Red Sox agreed to a five-year deal with slugger JD Martinez. There is no surprise here, it was only a matter of time before the two were united.
With the Martinez signing, the Red Sox have solidified themselves as a force in the American League East right alongside the Yankees. Not only is excitement building for both teams but also for one of the best rivalries in sports, a rivalry that has stood the test of time.
Looking at the recent history of the rivalry, the 1970s immediately come to mind. The rivalry hit new heights during a 1973 game at Fenway Park. With the score tied at two in the top of the 9th, Thurman Munson, who was trying to score on a missed bunt attempt, plowed through Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk which resulted in a brawl. After all was said and done, Munson was able to get punch on Fisk.
A few years later, a similar incident occurred. It was May 20th, 1976 at Yankee Stadium. Lou Piniella was on second as a single was hit to right. Pinella motored around third and came charging home, barreling over Fisk, who was lucky enough to be in the middle of both brawls.
Piniella and Fisk got tangled up and eventually the Red Sox catcher began throwing punches at Piniella. Both benches quickly cleared and an all out brawl ensued. After a while, peace was restored and the game resumed. It was now very clear how much these guys truly hated each other.
Both teams had success in the mid to late 70s which made the rivalry even more exciting, especially in 1978. The Yankees overcame a 14.5 game deficit in July and forced a one game playoff. They went on to beat the Red Sox and eliminate them, resulting in an improbable Yankees playoff berth. Defeating the Boston was only the start as they won the World Series that year.
The rivalry wouldn’t hit heights quite like those for 25 years. In 2003, both clubs were experiencing successful seasons. The two rivals would meet in the ALCS. Game three of that series was a memorable one and it wasn’t because of a play that happened in the game.
Tensions were already high between the two teams. Earlier that year, Pedro Martinez hit Derek Jeter and Alfonso Soriano back-to-back, both in the hand and forcing them both to leave the game. Some believed it was intentional. Regardless if it was or wasn’t, it added fuel to the already burning fire.
Fast forward back to Game three. Karim Garcia stepped in against Pedro in the top of the 4th as the Yankees had a 3-2 lead. The pitch from Martinez went behind Garcia and hit him in the back, a pitch that clearly hit its target.
Later in the game, Roger Clemens delivered a pitch high and inside to Manny Ramirez, which by the way wasn’t even that close, and Ramirez began walking towards the mound. The benches cleared, fights broke out, Don Zimmer got thrown down to the ground by Pedro after trying to charge him, it was just an absolute mess all around.
Although there weren’t any brawls quite like that since 2003, the heightened rivalry did last a few more years before the intensity faded away. It’s always fun to watch the Yankees play the Red Sox but it just hasn’t been the same as it used to be.
Well, it’s looking like that could change this season. Both teams are stacked with young and veteran talent and are poised for a deep run. The only thing that stands in the way of a World Series title for these two clubs is one another. The perfect makings for a renewed rivalry. Bring on 2018!
Article by: Shawn MaguireFollow @ShawnMaguireee