Nearly 6 years ago New York City was shaken by an earthquake August 23, 2011. The city has experienced a few trembles since then; 2012 the New York football Giants topped the Patriots in Superbowl XLVI; 2014 the New York Rangers made their first Stanley Cup appearance in two decades; and the crosstown 2015 New York Mets made their first World Series appearance since 2000.
The city has had its share of excitement but the Bronx has not quite shaken like it did that day in August when the Earthquake that originated in Virginia shook the concrete jungles of New York.
This isn’t to say that the Bronx has been dead these past few years, plenty has happened but not enough to claim the team has been successful so far this decade in comparison to the decades before. This has probably been the bleakest decade since the 1980s in terms of the team’s overall success. Gone are the Core Four, ending a chapter in Pinstripes history. The team has not won a championship since 2009. They do have four post season berths, 2 wild card appearances and two division titles. But there just has not been the same tremors in the Bronx that there once were. With the youth movement and roster building General Manager Brian Cashman has conducted over the past few seasons, and specifically the monster trade deadline he orchestrated last season when the Bronx Bombers made a rare appearance as sellers it feels as though the dormant borough might finally be reawakening.
In the meantime, the rival Boston Red Sox have been World Series Champions since the decade flipped winning the Commissioner’s Trophy in 2013. But gone too is David Ortiz the former heart and soul of the Sox. The team has seen its own roster take shape through the building by President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski and former General Manager Ben Cherington who left a majority of the core players to the current Red Sox roster such as Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts.
The past few years have been milder times for the rivalry. The only consistency that remained in the “best rivalry in sports” has been the automatic Nationally Broadcast Games and the guarantee of Commissioner Manfred having a tantrum due to the absurd lengths of a Yankees Red Sox game. There have been no must see moments in previous seasons, nor a real feel for hatred between two organizations and their fan bases. Not even the players seem to have an understanding of the rivalry. Ortiz and Alex Rodriguez are the last two players gone from the days where the two teams seemed to barely even want to look at each other, let alone play on the same field.
The moment when the rivalry really felt like it had gone dormant was when the Chris Sale trade occurred this past off season and the Yankees did not retaliate or make an absurd offer to try and stop or out do the Red Sox. At that point it had felt as though the flames were nothing more than faint flickers of embers dying ever so slowly. But entering this weekend there is a feeling the Bronx can start to shake again.
The two teams will enter 4.5 games apart in the standings. Boston holds first place. The Yankees sit in second. The rivalry’s flames seemed to be reignited slightly immediately following the All Star Break, when the two teams battled at Fenway Park. They split the four game series. Each team sat in the same position it sits now but the Yankees were 3.5 games behind.
Now each team enters with some new faces, the Yankees added veterans, Todd Fraizer, former Yankee David Robertson, and hard throwing reliver Tommy Kahnle. They added a solid middle to back of the rotation man Jaime Garcia, and even made the big splash of Sonny Gray, although his expectations of being an ace seem to be in question based on his stats against the American League East.
The Red Sox have added former Mets Closer and setup man Addison Reed to help try and shorten games. They promoted one of their top prospects Rafael Devers to man the hot corner at third base and he has provided nothing but pop for the team since his call-up batting .319.
These are exciting times for both teams although the Red Sox are 9-1 in their last ten games and the Yankees are 4-6. The recent trends aren’t enough to rattle the excitement that is shaping up over this last month and a half leading up to the postseason. Both of these teams look to make noise in October, although the Houston Astros look to hold the most dominant position in the American League right now. But there are ten games remaining against two of the biggest rivals in sports. Could this be the start of tremors again in the Bronx?
The Yankees will have to enter this series with expectations of taking of two of three to seriously consider themselves still serious contenders for the division and knock the hot Red Sox off their high horse. The most perfect way to set the Bronx and this rivalry ablaze would be a vicious meeting in October, and if the season ended today the only way these two teams would meet up is if they make it to the American League Championship Series and play each other for the opportunity to reach the World Series. As a baseball fan the idea of this has to be music to your ears. As a Yankees or Red Sox fan this is probably the one thing you should want most and least! You would love to cause your bitter rival as much pain as possible preventing them from reaching the World Series but you would hate to see yourself on the losing end of it.
Ladies and gentlemen prepare yourself because this weekend in the Bronx the fire may begin to burn brighter and more intensely. Prepare yourself for the biggest Yankees Red Sox series in a long time. The tremors may return again!