The New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox have had years of intense showdowns, but this time-tested rivalry is making way for a new one.
As playoff hopes and the 2016 season draw to a close, it’s become apparent that the rivalry between these two squads is dying. Once so emotional and nail-biting, the recent Yankees-Sox games don’t have the same flair.
Maybe it’s because the Yankees aren’t the powerhouse they’ve been in previous years. Whatever it is, the environment for the Yankees and Red Sox games just doesn’t feel the same as it had in the past.
It used to be a foregone conclusion that the Yankees and Red Sox would find themselves facing each other come the Championship Series. 2003 involved a Game 7 comeback, resulting in an Aaron Boone walk-off shot. 2004 was the beginning — or end — of history for the Red Sox, who rallied from a 3-0 series deficit to defeat the Yankees and advance to the World Series.
All of these games had one major thing in common: emotion. Every game, no matter what time of year, felt like a playoff game. Now? They feel like just another game, just a little longer than usual.
The dynamic has shifted in the AL East. Instead of anticipating those games between the Yankees and Red Sox, the excitement is coming from match-ups with reigning AL East champion, the Toronto Blue Jays.
The reason that the games are so exciting? The Blue Jays play with heightened emotions all season long and with a passion for the game of baseball.
Remember Jose Bautista‘s bat flip during last year’s American League Division Series? His impassioned charge at Rougned Odor, which resulted in the punch heard ’round the world? The Blue Jays never back down from a challenge, much like the Yankees and Red Sox of the early 2000s.
Not only are passions on the field, they are in the stands as well. With more and more people hopping on the Blue Jays bandwagon, thanks to their successes, the fan rivalry is even more intense than it ever was between New York and Boston.
With attitudes and emotions flaring on the field, the Yankees and Blue Jays are making baseball rivalries exciting again. They are taking the game and providing it with a spark, one that has since been missing in their numerous series against Boston.
There is always an opportunity for a comeback. Every play is important to the outcome of the game. Every little detail counts because there is no room for mistakes. That is the kind of baseball Yankees fans are used to watching and they are finding it when their team plays the Blue Jays.
Rivalries come and go, depending on the team dynamics. Right now, this New York team is full of youthful stars needs to have a fire lit under them to realize what they’re getting into. The Blue Jays are not going away and this is exactly the rivalry the Yankees need to spark them moving forward.
We are reaching the end of one era and the dawn of a brand new one. While the rivalry with the Red Sox may be fading away, the current rivalry with the Blue Jays is something just as, if not more, exciting.