Jon Lester pitched like Jon Lester yesterday in the Bronx. (AP Photo)
I honestly don't look forward to games between these two teams anymore, as a gross amount of hyperbole is thrown around ferociously by both the fans and media alike. The thunderstorm that was created when these two played each other in 2003 and 2004 has long since passed, and the streets have since been dry, and the games are simply no longer as intense. We've turned into these sad rivalry junkies since those games, clutching at the importance of each series to try and reach the glorious high that was obtained in those historic seasons. But instead of quenching the thirst of our competitive blood-lust, the "Greatest Rivalry in Professional Sports" has become a woeful parody of itself.
This is over-saturation at its best. I do believe in 2003-2004 the country as a whole was genuinely interested in the games between the Sox and the Yankees. But with the grand over-production by the Networks, and with seemingly all of their 19 regular season on National TV, the taste of the rivalry turned bad. I equate it to eating Cool Ranch Doritos. Unless you're hand-in-hand with the Taliban, it's a universal fact that they're absolutely delicious. However, there's a tipping point with them, and if you eat too many in one sitting, the taste changes from spectacular to chemical, and becomes repulsive in nature. That's what happened to the rest of the country, we fed them too many Cool Ranch Doritos. You couple this with the over hyping of the games on ESPN, as they cashed in on the hype of the rivalry, and a different kind of storm was set in motion.
This is when the bandwagon fans really started jumping on-board, and that's when Sox fans turned from lovable to loathsome. Yankee fans have been hated for years, but this hate was new to the "true" Sox fan, and it's something we'll have to deal with from here on out hopefully. I say hopefully because a large part of all this is due to the Sox success on the field. Which brings me back to my original point - this Series was far from a failure. The split actually ended up allotting the Sox to gain ground in the Wild Card, and kept them in sniffing distance of the Yanks. Think about it, if the Yankees could have swept or won three out of four they would have, for all intents and purposes, clinched the division. They would have gained four games on the Sox AND the Rays. Instead both teams jabbed at each other, and things are as uncertain in the AL East Tuesday morning, as they were on Friday night. The Red Sox as of this moment, have the 6th best winning percentage in all of baseball. Despite everything going against them in this strange year, they're still winning, and have never really had a stretch where they strung a bunch of wins together, and because of that, other teams should be a little scared.
Last time I checked the regular season ends on October 3rd (against the Yanks), and right now it's only August 10th. Four and half and Six games are nothing to scoff at, but as the Rays have shown - any team can get cold, and any team can get hot. There's no reason to believe the Sox can't string enough together to make a run at the playoffs, as their record proves, they're not a bad team. As far the Yankee's go, that final series, or possibly the one on September 24th may actually be worthy of hype - but until they play each other again in the playoffs, they're just baseball games - and wish other people could enjoy them as such.