On a cold Wednesday night in April, the Red Sox faced off against the Yankees in what seemed to have the hallmarks of an epic clash. Both teams have a long history of mutual hate and a few years of idle feelings. However, things boiled over in Fenway Park, and thus the pursuit of a rekindled rivalry was not hard to find. Rob Manfred wants to push the evolution of baseball further? Not if these two teams have anything to say about it.
The Yankees and Red Sox rivalry has been quite “cold war-ish” for the last few years. The last incident that I can remember off the top of my head that included these two teams in a heated way was when Ryan Dempster plunked Alex Rodriguez in 2013, after MLB announced their 2014 season long suspension for Rodriguez. Dempster had a reason, I suppose, to hit Alex. But the latter is the one who got the last laugh when he belted a home run later in that game and lead his team to a 9-6 win. After that, the two teams seemed to go their separate ways, but always keeping each other in the back of their minds.
Wednesday night in Fenway proved to be something in the works for a while now. And frankly, nobody is surprised. The Yankees seemed to be seeking revenge after losing the night before to a massive score of 14-1. What really started the fire, however, was a less than textbook slide by Tyler Austin, a 6’2″ first baseman from Georgia.
The Rivalry Renewed
There is speculation between many people as to the intentions of Austin, but it really does not matter his intention. The fact is that he slid into second base with his cleats up, not aiming for the base, and endangered Brock Holt, who was on the receiving end of the first part of a potential double play. Holt shared his displeasure and Austin, (for whatever reason) took exception. An Umpire got between them and all of a sudden everybody lost their minds. Bullpens clear, dugouts clear, people on Twitter are going nuts over something that two ball players were taking care of themselves.
Things Heat Up
On to the top of the seventh inning and Tyler Austin is up to bat. Guess what? Austin gets hit by a fastball square in the back by Joe Kelly for obvious reasons. This was a necessary move by someone on the Sox. Kelly decided that he would be the one to carry on the unwritten rules of the game. To make it short: if you do something wrong to a player on the opposing team, you will be hit by a pitch at your next at bat. That’s just how things go in baseball. The fact that Austin decided that Kelly was out of bounds by doing so is just asinine.
As an example dating back to about 39 years ago when Wayne Gross hit a home run off of reliever Ed Farmer. Gross took his time rounding the bases. Consequently, Farmer was furious and never had the chance for redemption. Four years later he got him back, when they were on the same team. During a batting practice session, Farmer beaned Gross with a fastball in the back with the first pitch.
“What was that for!” Gross screamed.
“That was for four years ago!” Farmer screamed back.
“OK,” Gross said. “We’re even!”
Gross took his lump and life continued. Austin was in the wrong twice on Wednesday night for sliding incorrectly (regardless of intention or not), and charging the mound after what everybody knew what was coming. Except for himself, apparently.
Alas, we have finally reached the point to where baseball can be baseball and boys can be boys again. The Red Sox and Yankees have bad blood towards each other, and the world seems to be normal again. But be forewarned fans of both teams: this is going to be a very long season. The hope for some baseball to break out in between these fights should be high. The sports world has been waiting for this rivalry to renew, and they are about to get their money’s worth.