In October 2003, I sat in the bleachers at Yankee Stadium and watched a home run ball launch into the night sky, completing the greatest game I have ever seen. Aaron Boone hit a home run in the 11th inning against the Red Sox in Game 7 of the ALCS.
The next year, the Yankees lost in seven in a monumental comeback by the Red Sox, who went on to win the World Series.
And the New York/Boston rivalry has never been the same.
The Yankees facing the Red Sox will always have extra zest compared to most other games, but this burning rivalry has felt lit by a matchstick recently.
I still HATE losing to the Red Sox, but losing to them doesn’t have the same oomph anymore. I wish it did. I wish both teams were good at the same times again so instead of Boston winning every other year and the Yankees plucking a World Series victory in 2009, these two teams would go at it with hard bitterness.
Even in losses, there was something magical happening. I felt so connected to baseball and the Yankees.
I just don’t get the same feeling anymore. With the Yankees loss last night, I was more disappointed that Luis Severino didn’t get a better outcome for his fine performance. I was also too busy scoreboard watching seeing where the Yankees loss put them in the standings.
Perhaps for so long the Yankees and Red Sox had been the top two teams in the AL East, and since 2004 there has been parity in the division that most of the teams feel like a threat. Since 2004, the Toronto Blue Jays are the only team in the AL East that had not won the division.
I would like to go back to feeling like this rivalry means something again. Maybe part of the allure has gone because part of the fun was in watching the Red Sox lose every year. Three World Series championships can change a lot – and make the Red Sox feel like any old team.