New York Yankees: Baseball’s greatest rivalry is back and just getting started

New York Yankees.(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
New York Yankees.(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

The New York Yankees beat the Boston Red Sox 10-7 on Wednesday night in a game that included a benches-clearing brawl and three ejections. Baseball’s best rivalry is back and we’re in for an exciting season!

When the New York Yankees face the Boston Red Sox, the MLB takes notice. Baseball’s biggest rivalry is always entertaining and almost always a close game, no matter how well each team is doing.

Over the last few years, however, the rivalry was somewhat tame. Gone were the days of Carlton Fisk and Lou Piniella wrestling after a slide into home plate or Alex Rodriguez and Jason Varitek exchanging punches and profanities or Pedro Martinez throwing Don Zimmer to the ground. Sure, the two teams didn’t like each other, but recently, there were more intense battles between fans on Twitter than between each team’s 25-man roster. Until Wednesday night…

In the top of the third inning, Tyler Wade laid a push bunt down the third base line. Hit a bit too hard, Rafael Devers went for the force out at second base. Brock Holt was there to receive the throw as well as a few of Tyler Austin’s spikes in his right leg. Austin delivered a hard, yet clean, slide into second base with his spikes up and caught Holt’s lower leg. Holt took exception to the slide and made sure Austin knew of his displeasure.

After words were exchanged, both benches cleared. No punches were thrown. Each side just wanted to make sure the other was aware of their presence. Tensions seemed to subside after that. Austin got another at-bat in the top of the fifth and Heath Hembree struck him out. No issues.

Then, Austin stepped back into the box in the top of the seventh with Joe Kelly on the mound. Kelly threw a pitch on the outer half of the plate to start the at-bat then came inside with a fastball that just missed Austin. Kelly then threw another pitch outside before coming back in and drilling Austin in the back.

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Austin didn’t like that. He slammed his bat on the ground with an audible crack and made his way toward the mound. In a matter of seconds, Austin had thrown off his helmet and was charging Kelly. Both benches cleared and we had a full-on brawl. Austin, Kelly, and Yankees third base coach Phil Nevin were all ejected and the hate was palpable.

For those that think brawls are bad for the game, I respectfully and completely disagree with you. In a game that can, at times, go hours with the most exciting thing being a long fly out, this kind of action gets me jacked up. I’ve been a New York Yankees fan my entire life. I hate the Boston Red Sox. Always have, always will. Austin could have done a cartwheel into second base and cleated Holt in the chest and I would have defended him. For Kelly to drill him after a clean hard slide is ridiculous. But it injects fire into this rivalry, and for that, I’m all for it.

Having a homegrown team should also help fuel this rivalry. As soon as a prospect enters the Yankees system, they should be told that they hate the Red Sox and everything the organization stands for. Hopefully, that’s what Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Luis Severino, and Dellin Betances were taught. Clearly, Austin was listening at orientation. And you just know that if a Boston pitcher went anywhere close to up and in on Clint Frazier, he’d be headed for the mound.

Aaron Boone knows this rivalry. He’s part of one of the biggest moments in its history. Red Sox manager Alex Cora experienced this rivalry as well when he played for Boston from 2005-2008. They’re now both calling the shots and this could be just the beginning for baseball’s greatest rivalry this season.

In the New York Yankees’ minds, Austin was hit for no good reason. There was nothing wrong with his slide into second base and it did not deserve retaliation. The Red Sox may think they’ve evened the score but the Bronx Bombers feel they have payback to hand out. This could come in the series finale on Thursday or in any of the other 16 contests that remain on the schedule.

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One thing’s for sure; this is not over. We could be on our way back to the early 2000s where the intention of every inside pitch was questioned.

Baseball’s greatest rivalry is back and just getting started. I’m excited for what’s to come and, as always, I hate the Boston Red Sox!

Go Yankees!