With MLB trying to change the game of baseball to appeal to younger viewers, New York Yankees-Boston Red Sox games are both helping and hurting the case to keep the game the same.
Any time the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees are set to match up, you know it’s going to be a spectacle. Through the years, we’ve seen it all in this rivalry: extra-inning nailbiters, bush league fights and even some comradery and respect between the sworn enemies.
Basically, any time you know that Sox and Yankees are playing, you are in for a treat.
With MLB commissioner Rob Manfred attempting to change the pace of play and various other aspects to the game, these battles are a reminder of what makes the sport so great and why changing it would only ruin the fabric of baseball as we know it.
Let’s face it: Yankees-Sox games are an absolute nightmare for Manfred, who is constantly harping on the need to speed up the game for younger viewers to become invested. I can see why…in four games against the Red Sox this season, no game has been shorter than three hours.
Rob Manfred’s point is emphasized by these games. It is far too long to sit and watch from first pitch to final out for anyone.
But is it? According to the YES Network, Tuesday night’s Yankees-Sox game was the highest-rated Yankees game in four years.
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) May 9, 2018
It’s too long. But people are watching. Why? These fans know. With the Yankees and Red Sox, the best of baseball comes out.
Anything you can imagine, even the most obscure rules of the sport, come to light every time these two teams face off.
The rivalry is a constant reminder that the sport of baseball is great. If the games were any shorter, they certainly wouldn’t be as captivating.
No lead is safe. In their contest on April 11 earlier this season, the Yankees had an 8-1 lead that quickly turned to an 8-6 lead, which included a grand slam from J.D. Martinez. Just a day later, the Yankees were down 6-0 heading into the top of the ninth inning and plated three runs before their comeback was shut down by Craig Kimbrel.
Tuesday night in the Bronx, the game went back and forth between the enemies, resulting in a tight 3-2 victory for the Bombers after three and a half hours of play.
Would any of these contests be made better by being shortened? Half of the intensity of the rivalry comes from the long pauses between pitches in big spots, the anticipation as to what could come next.
Could a brawl break out? Could a monster home run be hit? There is always a possibility of this in the series and that’s what makes it so great.
Manfred does have a point; these games are certainly long. However, every Yankees-Red Sox game fills Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park to the brim. Clearly, there are a whole lot of fans who are sacrificing three and a half hours of their time to watch the game. Why? Because anything can happen with these teams.
Changing the game of baseball would take away the entire appeal of the Yankees-Red Sox series. When they play, you are prepared for a marathon. And clearly, it appeals to fans. Fans throw their money at this series for a reason and they don’t seem to care about the time it takes to complete the game.
Watching these Yankees-Red Sox games may be hell for Manfred but they just prove that baseball is something that can’t be changed. Without the lore of the Yankees-Sox series, what would we have to look forward to?
Terrible for Manfred but great for baseball. That is how the greatest rivalry in sports should be described. And it ain’t changing anytime soon.