The Red Sox/Yankees rivalry is the most polarizing matchup in all of sports. You either love it more than life itself; or you want it to die Die DIE!
It may sound greedy, short-sighted and homeristic. But why wouldn’t ESPN/FOX/Whomever want to air every single Yanks/Sox tilt? Where is the harm in nationally broadcasting a sporting event you know you’re going to profit off?
Last night on ESPN, instead of watching a dominant Josh Beckett and a resurgent (He’s resurgent, I tell you!!) David Ortiz beat down on the Evil Empire; we were subjected to John Kruk and the wacky Baseball Tonight crew instead. Can’t they throw those programs on later in the evening? If you’re really jonesing for your local nine’s highlights, flip over to the MLB Network. They’re doing it better over there anyway.
I like football. Basketball’s cool. Even hockey can be fun. But when the Red And Blue and the Blue And White square off, there’s nothing like it. You can have your Giants/Dodgers and your Cubs/Cards, but when New York comes to town the city shuts down and vice versa.
I’ve only been alive for a small fraction of the 100-plus-year history, but I’ve witnessed some incredible moments dating back to my NESN days. From the highs (2004) to the lows (2003), and everything in between (1999).
I distinctly remember watching Game Three of the 1999 ALCS in my friend Joey’s basement in Holden, Maine (A blogger in a basement!) on their big-screen TV as Roger Clemens got shelled and couldn’t even last three innings. The chants of “Where is Roger?” still ring in my happy ears. We didn’t find out ‘til much later where he really was. Apparently he was in the clubhouse shooting up and flirting with an underage girl while rubbing hot ointments on his testicles.
I remember being in our apartment in Manassas, Virginia in 2004 when 'Tek got in A-Rod’s head and then slapped it for good measure. My dad was returning from the Civil War battlefield and was crossing the parking lot when I yelled out the window, like I was in a Prince Spaghetti commercial, for him to hurry up because millionaires were fighting each other. He rushed upstairs in time to see the dozen-or-so replays and we laughed the afternoon away, not yet realizing how truly important that brawl was.
I remember watching Game One of the 2004 World Series in the Foxhills Apartments at James Madison University. One of my friend’s neighbors left a lit jack-o-lantern in the window and the roof of the apartment complex caught on fire. They evacuated us and we missed a few innings as they put out the blaze. When we returned, light-hitting infielder Mark Bellhorn hit his third home run in as many games and I, being slightly intoxicated, ran outside yelling “Marky Mark is on fire!” One of the firemen, still packing up, rushed inside only to find that Mr. Bellhorn was only figuratively and not literally on fire.
Other memorable moments: Pedro’s 17 K one-hitter in 1999 (Damn you, Chili Davis!); Carl Everett breaking up Mike Mussina’s perfect game in 2001; Don Zimmer rolling away in Game Three of the 2003 ALCS; Karim Garcia and Jeff Nelson – classy gentlemen – battling a Fenway groundskeeper; A-Rod slapping balls away; Aaron Boone; Dave Roberts; eight games in a row.
Even the people who HATE the Sox/Yanks: Would you want to miss another Don Zimmer rolling into a ditch moment? Would you want to miss an A-Rod slap or a Varitek face-shove? Would you want to miss Yankees beating up innocent civilians? I digress.
The Red Sox and Yankees fanbases are broad and far-reaching. From the East Coast to the West to men and women fighting abroad (cue John Cougar Mellencamp), we need our fix. We only get it 19 times a year (twenty-six if we’re lucky); and most of those times, those of us who aren’t in the BosWash region have to settle for live box scores and online radio. We’re not all rich zillionaires with monocles and top hats who can afford satellites and season packages.
All ESPN would have to do is move around a couple of programs that really aren’t killing in the ratings department anyway. By annoying hundreds, you’d be appeasing thousands.