What To Make Of The Boston-Baltimore Conflict

Chris Sale wrote the latest chapter of the Boston-Baltimore conflict last night after throwing behind Manny Machado. This confrontation is the latest in a string of incidents between the two teams that began last month. The rivalry started in Baltimore on April 21st when Boston-Baltimore ConflictMachado slid into second and spiked Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedrioa. While it didn’t look intentional, it touched off a series of confrontations that have included beanings, throws to the head, and as of Monday, racist epithets, along with peanuts, thrown at Orioles centerfielder Adam Jones.

This Isn’t Your Old Fashioned Rivalry

The Red Sox are no strangers to rivalries. The Red Sox and Yankees have been at war with each other since 1912 when the Sox beat the Yankees, then the Highlanders, 7-6 in the first game at Fenway Park. Since then, the two teams have often battled for a playoff spot. Individual rivalries between catchers Carlton Fisk and Thurmond Munson kept the rivalry interesting. It’s since died down after the Red Sox won the 2004 World Series in 2004. But this newfound rivalry with the Orioles is rooted in misunderstanding and unfounded anger. What started as an intentional spiking unfolded into a national scene of unwanted and distracting attention. It’s not baseball at its best. It’s baseball at its worst.

The Boston-Baltimore Conflict Isn’t An Honest One

The Red Sox v. Yankees rivalry is an honest one because they often involved pitching duels, dramatic home runs, and tough base running altercations. With the exception of the 2004 game, the Red Sox and Yankees duke it out with pitching and hitting. This new rivalry with the Orioles is stupid because it’s based on machoism instead of honest baseball. Players on both sides don’t want to look weak or back down, so they take to beaning and throwing at each other to look tough. That’s not what baseball is all about.

Tuesday’s Game Exemplified What A Good Rivalry Should Look Like

Tuesday’s game was an exceptional one. Sale struck out eleven. Hanley Ramirez hit two home runs, one of which hasn’t landed yet. And in a most bizarre of plays, the Orioles competed their first triple play since 2000. While Sale sent a message to Machaco by throwing behind him, Machado returned the favor by blasting a home run off of him in the seventh. That’s what baseball is all about. With the exception of Sale’s immature throw behind Machado, fans on both sides saw old fashioned baseball. The game even finished under three hours, which is rare nowadays. The highlight of the game, however, is what should turn the Boston-Baltimore conflict towards a respectable one.

Adam Jones, subjected to horrible racist taunts the night before, came to the plate in the first. Fans in Fenway Park gave Jones a standing ovation as their way of showing support. It was also an effort from Red Sox Nation to show the rest of baseball that they’re better than what Jones endured the night before. While some dimwitted fans think that Jones exaggerated, the overwhelming ovation signified a strong show of respect. More importantly, it’s this writer’s hope that it’ll end the immature antics both teams are exhibiting and the rivalry will turn into a more honest form of baseball. Instead of throwing at each other, maybe the Red Sox and Orioles will start fighting each other with home runs and strikeouts.

The Red Sox and Orioles need to stop the macho crap and need to start focusing on real baseball. It’s not about beaning or “sending a message.” It’s about seeing who’s the better team.

1960s Turmoil Intensified Yankees Resentment

Ever since April of 1912 when the Boston Red Sox played their first game against the New York Yankees (known as the Highlanders back then) there’s been an intense rivalry against the fans of both teams. For years, the chants of “Yankees Suck” have echoed throughout Fenway Park whenever the Yankees come to Boston. Red Sox fans, and many fans in general, hate the Yankees. How many know why? 1960s turmoil intensified Yankees resentment, which in turn intensified the rivalry.

People in the 1960s rebelled against authority. President Nixon wasn’t a popular guy,1960s Turmoil Intensified Yankees Resentment especially after doing little to de-escalate the Vietnam War that President Johnson had lost control over. People resented President Nixon because he was stubborn and powerful and couldn’t relate to most people, much like the Yankees. They were seen as the authority, the very figures that represented everything that war protesters and Civil Rights activists were fighting against. This came as a result of years of dominance in Major League Baseball where the Yankees were seen as a powerhouse— a team stacked with so much power that few other teams had little chance.

1960s Turmoil Intensified Yankees Resentment

Later in the decade, protesters saw the Yankees as a team that wielded too much power and yielded next to nothing to the underdog. That’s why everyone in New York City flocked to the New York Mets in the late 1960s. The Mets symbolized John Q. Taxpayer, a beacon of hope to former Brooklyn Dodger fans still reeling from their departure to California. The Mets represented the idea that things could get better for the little man, especially after years of finishing in the cellar in the National League. Since the Yankees had accumulated so much power and authority by then, they were rejected along with the rest of the establishment.

Even after George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees in the 1970s they continued to be seen as the establishment. The famous baseball writer Roger Angell once said that winning isn’t fun if it continues forever. The Yankees exemplified that by winning generic World Series trophies with little or no effort. Players like Wade Boggs signed with the Yankees because they knew they’d get that World Series ring, but for what? Hard work and effort? Doubtful.

The Red Sox Yankees Rivalry Intensifies

The Red Sox, on the other hand, despite going 86 years without winning a title of their own, won titles in 2004, 2007, and 2013 in spectacular fashion. They won with teamwork, utilizing the brilliant strategy authored by Billy Beane in Moneyball. It was a team effort that won those World Series, not the doing of one man like Joe DiMaggio or Reggie Jackson. No, as 1960s turmoil intensified Yankees resentment, other teams finally got the chance that had always been denied to them.

There’s a reason why the Yankees are called the Evil Empire. The Red Sox, on the other hand, represent all of New England, the very place where many of the Founding Fathers lived. Like the New York Mets, the Boston Red Sox prove that anything is possible. Like the Miracle Mets of ’69, the Red Sox Impossible Dream Team of 1967 gave hope to Boston during a time of political and social strife, while 1960s turmoil intensified Yankees resentment. The Red Sox represent all that is great about New England and America because it was hard-earned and didn’t come without patience and determination. That’s why they’ll always be better than the Yankees.