By Ted Gay – @TedG63
The Yankees are an obnoxious neighbor who fills your yard with trash, plays loud music, lets his crabgrass invade your lawn, revs his engine early in the morning, and lauds his success over you. The longer you live next to him the more you hate him.
Especially since it was our family that built the Yankee house. When the Sox sold them Babe Ruth, we provided the final piece the Bombers needed to replace us as the premier house in baseball. It was a position they would hold for more than eighty years.
The older members of our family not only had to endure the Yankees obnoxious behavior, linger in their shadows while they celebrated accomplishment after accomplishment and had to swallow the fact that while we considered the Yankees our greatest rival to them, we were their loser neighbors who were never a threat to their dominance.
In the mid-40’s we tried to prove ourselves to be the obnoxious neighbor’s equals. We crushed them by 17 games in 1946 only to lose the World Series. “Came up short again didn’t you Red Sox?” the Yankees yelled across the lawn. When we bragged about our pennant, the Yankees scoffed. “We’ll get you next year,” which they did.
We battled the Yankees again in 1948 finishing ahead of them and tied with the Indians only to lose a playoff game to Cleveland denying us the World Series “Good try,” the Yankee yelled while raising their many championship banners. “Maybe you will get another one of these someday,” he chuckled, then in a barely audible tone said, “I doubt it.”
In ‘49 the Sox family went all in to finally take down our officious neighbors only to fall to the Yankees in a playoff game. Our dejected family had to sit and watch them celebrate in our faces again.
In ‘67 the Yankees years of excess had finally taken its toll, and their house was in disrepair. Thanks to a new generation the Red Sox returned to the World Series but fell short. “Good job kids,” the Yankees yelled from an upstairs window. “You gave it a good try.” Their condescension was sickening.
We took their insincere congratulations in ‘75 as well, and their almost gleeful condolences. “You boys did well,” they said. Then they pulled out a billfold stuffed with cash. “We are waiting for free agency,” they said smugly.
In 1978 the neighbors were at total war. In the spring and early summer, the Sox rubbed their runaway success in the Yankees’ face. Then slowly all that success turned to panic as the Yankees once again began to overtake the Red Sox. It came down to one October day when a wind-blown pop up turned into a home run, a zombie name Bob Bailey struck out with the bat on his shoulder, Lou Piniella blindly caught a ball in right field, and Yaz ended our assault with a lazy pop-up. It was the lowest point at the Red Sox house. It seemed the family would never recover.
Eight years later the Sox finally defeated the Yanks by eight games, and returned to the World Series, only to lose in the most heartbreaking fashion to the Yankees’ cousins the Mets, who celebrated their unlikely victory in the Yankees’ yard further adding to the Sox misery.
In 1999 we met the Yankees in another playoff series which they easily won.. They barely recognized that we had been a threat to them as they marched to another World Series title.
The Red Sox family came within inches of finally defeating their neighbors in 2003 but the Yankees triumphed again then dismissed us by saying they would always have the upper hand on us.
Down 3-0 in 2004 it seemed like the Yankee arrogance was well placed, but then the fates and the baseball Gods finally took pity on us or got tired of the Yankees lauding their success. By sweeping four games, the last two in the Yankees house, then winning the World Series the neighborhood changed. The Red Sox house shone brighter and sturdier than the Yankee’s abode. The party continued all winter while the Yankees hid behind their fence unable to accept our success.
From that moment, while both families have experienced success, the Red Sox’s home has been stronger, there have been more celebrations there, and the dreams of one day being equal to our hated neighbors has been replaced with the reality that we are more successful.
It is sweet for everyone in the Red Sox house, but for those who had to lived through the failures of the 40’s, or the horror of ‘78, and been subjugated to years of watching the Yankees celebrate often on our own property, all those indignities have made the victories that much sweeter. Now the New Yorkers look at our house in envy.
The pundits say a new age of Yankee dominance is upon us. But they will have to go through a resilient Red Sox house that is determined to never be under the Yankee jackboot again.
It is much more than baseball. It is a family war.
ICYMI: EPISODE 35 OF THE AVIDBOSTON PODCAST!!!
EIGHT STRAIGHT WINS, CHAVIS BUSTED FOR STEROIDS, GIANCARLO STANTON, YANKEES SERIES, AND MUCH MUCH MORE!!!
Also available on iTunes!