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it's only just begun

ri∑val n. One who attempts to equal or surpass another, or who pursues the same object as another; a competitor. One that equals or almost equals another in a particular respect.
There is nothing that quite brings out our venom and sense of loyalty than a good rivalry. Charlie Brown v. Lucy. Optimus Prime v. Megatron. Carnivores v. PETA. Sports rivalries are on a whole other level, though. They go above and beyond the usual bumper sticker slogans and name calling. Sports rivalries can split families apart, doom marriages to failure and make parents disown their children. The Yankees and Red Sox have taken their notorious rivalry to new levels, thanks to their respective owners. John Henry, Red Sox owner: "We have a spending limit and the Yankees apparently don't. Baseball doesn't have an answer for the Yankees. Revenue sharing can only accomplish so much. At some point it becomes confiscation. It has not and it will not solve what is a very obvious problem." Yankees owner Steinbrenner:"We understand John Henry must be embarrassed, frustrated, and disappointed by his failure in this transaction," Steinbrenner said in a prepared statement. "Unlike the Yankees, he chose not to go the extra distance for his fans in Boston." Ouch. And this is all before spring training has even started. It's going to be one of those years when extra security will be present during Sox/Yankee games. It will become more than a baseball battle - it will be a battle between cities, Boston v. New York, the Big Apple v. Bean Town. Apples beat beans every time. Speaking as one who loves a nasty rivalry, the Sox/Yankees war is just a blip on the radar compared to other sports wars I've been involved in. My hatred for the Mets and most of their fans goes deeper and wider than any disdain I have for Boston baseball or its fans. If the Sox were to win the series, I would feel pain for a day or two and move on. But the Mets...they can never, ever win the World Series. Ever. I would sell my soul to Satan to make sure that never happened. Yes, we take it to an extreme. It's a bitter, nasty rivalry. You cannot enter my home wearing anything with the Mets logo on it. My daughter feels jinxed every time she sees the Mets symbol and goes through a complicated ritual of "de-cootiezing" herself when she does. My son barely acknowledges the team from Queens exists. And every single dinner table argument I have with my father has revolved around the Mets and Yankees. We taunt, we tease, we torture. And should anyone ever mention the '86 Mets around me, they will feel the force of the flying fist of rage. Oh, you think that's bad? You should have been around town in the early to mid 80's when the Islander /Ranger rivalry was so intense that roving gangs of Ranger fans used to challenge Island fan club members to gang fights in dark alleys. I swear, that really happened. I think the Hanson brothers were there, too. Seriously, it was a dangerous rivalry. So many fights would break out at games between the two teams that people stopped bringing their young children to those games. It was no better on the ice, where hundreds of penalty minutes were handed out each game, along with game misconducts and suspensions. We haven't had a good, intense rivalry in a while. The Rangers and Islanders both suck, so the deep desire to kill each other has waned. The Mets pretty much suck as well and it's only because of my father's love for that lame team that I've been able to keep that competition alive and kicking. But this year, oh this year is going to be fantastic. I'm already honing my rhyming skills so I can come up with some first rate Red Sox taunts. I've got my Big Book of Baseball Insults all highlighted and my voodoo dolls ready for those pins. Rivalries always stay with you - some of them just fade away to memories. I'll always hate Syracuse basketball, the Dallas Cowboys and Suge Knight. And some of them just get stronger as the years go on and the vemom ferments. This will be the greatest year of the Sox/Yankees rivalry. It will see the dawn of a new day in this east coast crisis, one that will make the days of Bucky Dent seem like an episode of Full House. Game on.

Comments

I'm not really a fan of either team (I'm a masochistic, always hopeful Cubs fan), but I love baseball and love the ever-evolving saga that is the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry. It's a great one, and this year it's already reached a new level- and it's only the pre-season! It's gonna make for some great baseball!

I'm with your Dad. As a Met fan since I've been alive (early 70's) I can say that I used to live and die with that team. But I cant help but laugh when the poor guy from Shea called to sell me "package plan" tickets when the Mets were already 10 games out.

As far as the Islanders I will follow my "Gordon Fishermen" to hell and back. Bring back the 80's

Bah. Two billionaires wasting their kids' inheritances on a bunch of underperforming, spoiled jock punks. Talent is only as good as the coaches and management that refine and harness it.

Keep an eye on the Disastros/Cubs.

The only thing I remember about the Islanders in the 80s was that dirty rotten CHEATER Billy Smith! He would always "accidentally" back into his goal when threated in the crease, knocking the goal of the pegs, invaliding the eventual goal most of the time

Dude was the one of the greatest goalies to play the game. Unlike other sissy goalies, he wasn't afraid to really get into the play.

Ok, so he was notorious for cheating like that.

Guy was still GREAT.

I'm completely with you Michele. This promises to be a glorious baseball season in the AL East. I look forward to admission of defeat in October ;)

That is YOUR admission of defeat. I really wish I had taken typing class in high school.

Too late for Bill Smith for President?

Michele,

Of course, Billy Smith was great; in fact, he was a GREAT person to hate if you weren't an Islander fan (I think he was actually a long lost Hanson brother).

October 1986 must have really, really been a depressing time for you. I do not even want to know your reaction to Bill Buckner's error.

Mark, I had mixed feelings as I hate both teams. Ultimately, I felt really sorry for Buckner and built up new hatred for Met fan.

Now that you (and everyone else) has so hyped it, watch Toronto win the AL East while Boston and NY get shut out of the wild card as well.

No sure thing, folks. Trust me on that one. I'm a Red Sox fan. Three times in '86 the team was one strike from a World Series victory ...

Hey! Whats wrong with Syracuse basketball?

Otherwise, yea the Mets suck. I still feel embarassed that my grandfather got me that hat 10 years ago...

I don't care how much of a Red Sox fan you are. You have to admit that the smack George layed down on John Henry was very LOUD and brutal. Jim Rome said the only thing missing from that verbal beating was an "Eff U!"

I am loving every second of it. In my view, the rivalry has always been there, but it hasn't been this intense since the late 70's.

Then I guess you won't appreciate this:

[A] mental image: Channel 5, WNEW-TV in New York, for many years had a well-known film/theater critic named Stewart Klein. The now-deceased Klein was dry, fussy, sophisticated and had a droll and bitingly sarcastic wit; the quintessential New York theater critic. Apparently Klein lost some sort of a bet when the Mets won the Series, and he came on the next night and performed a boisterous, if not enthusiastic, rendition of "The Mookie Wilson Song," to the tune of the Hallelujah chorus from Handelís Messiah:

Keeeeeith Hernandez! Siiiiiiiiid Fernandez! Mookie Wilson! Mookie Wilson! Hallelujah! Daaaavey Johnson! Hoooooward Johnson! Mookie Wilson! Mookie Wilson! Hallelujah!

Mmmmmmmm . . . . hey, what was that somebody said about no controversial blog posts today?

Crank, that's hysterical. I'm going to be singing that all day.

Ya, that one got me fired up for Baseball Michele. Good job. As a long time Yankee fan I consider this yet another chapter in the already voluminous epic.

But, Boston has a very active owner who does try very hard to give his fans a great product on the field. It was a great jab by George, but few owners are as fan-friendly as Henry. Boston fans have it good there, just like Yankee fans. It could be worse, for Sawx fans--their owner could be Tom Hicks 

And while were on the topic of the Islanders, didn't they once have another fun goalie named Chico Resch that ultimately got sent to the old Colorado Rockies NHL team (now NJ Devils)? Chico was great, I remember going to Rockies games when I was a kid. They sucked, but Chico was the man, and by the way the Colorado Rockies did give us all one lasting legacy for all of sports to cherish in that this is where the Gary Glitters song Rock and Roll Part 2 was first used in a sports venue as a celebratory tune. 

Anyway, my favorite rivalries in no particular order:

Yankees-Sawx (Yank fan)
Broncos-Raiders (It might not mean much to those who aren't fans of either team but this is a long time war and as a Bronco fan I have many fond memories--even owner wars similar to that of Yankees-Sawx)
Avalanche - Redwings (Avs fan--One of the up and coming great rivalries in the NHL. Some said it was over when Roy retired but this years games have been great so far.)
Lakers-Celtics (Old school days)
Islanders-Rangers (I always root for the Islanders)
Army-Navy (Navy fan)
Habs-Leafs (Habs fan--long history of brutal hate filled grudge matches here. Habs have all those Cups to rub it in good with to Leaf fans)
Dodgers-Giants (Brooklyn fan heh heh)
USA-Russia (Probably gave us the greatest moment in all of sports, obviously)
Ali-Frazier (I loved watching these fights as a kid)
Yankees-Mets (was there anything better than that Subway Series?)
Cubbies-Sox (I would have to go for the Cubs)
Anybody-Notre Dame (I loathe the Irish)

What am I missing

Michele, better have something for that whiny turd Affleck...he's acting like he's been viciously gang-raped by the Yankees because they got A-Rod and not his BoSox. Boo-freaking-hoo...

Oh, Vikings-Packers...that is becoming a huge rivalry as well. The Bears just can't bring it anymore.

I'm actually surprised to hear you NY fans call it a "rivalry."

The regular season record is 1047 Yankee wins against 854 for the Red Sox. And do we even need to bring up the playoff record?

I see NY as the great Goliath that must be vanquished, but I wouldn't be surprised if Yankees fans just laughed at the notion of rivalry until it evens out a bit. I'm sure some of you must.

It's sort of like the USA thinking of Cuba as a great rival... Oh, wait...

Well, some of us have little choice but to support the Mets. I grew up in NY state, and I enjoy rooting for a team that can (very occasionally) win without buying a championship.

ducks

Michele,

I need to dig up for you a Mike Royko (grand Cubs fan) column about when someone sent him a Keith Hernandez bio from the 1986 season.

"I know it's a sturdy book, because when I opened the package I screamed and threw it against my office wall, and then stomped on it for a while."

And it goes on from there. Mentioning 1986 and the Mets to Cubs fans is a good way to get stomped.

Ed, I think it's more of a rivalry between the fans than the teams.

Also, everyone is hereby on notice "The Yankees buy their team" is the Godwin's Law of sports.

Find a new argument because you know damn well that if your team was buying up all the player's you'd be happier than Sid Fernandez with a box of donuts.

Michele,

Still don't see the rivalry when deep down you're pretty confident of the results right? I mean when has it NOT gone to the Yankees when it really counts?

It sounds like I'm denigrating my team, but it's not that. It's just that I think the Yankee envy rivalry hype thing just distracts from the pace and evening out of the 162 game season. A loss or win to Tampa Bay counts every bit the same. (Well, or so I tell myself.)

If anything, what I admire about the Yankees players and their fans is that Boston can sweep them in a series and they just go on about their business supremely confident that they'll be there in October. I know Red Sox players pay lip service to this idea and certainly do a better job than the fans of putting things in perspective, still, they're only human and they pick up the vibe.

Got to love the Islanders Rangers rivalry of the 80's. I try to explain it to friends who I go to games with in Atlanta, but they do not get it. My first "ugly scar" came from one of those games. 16 years old, too much 7&7 (drinking age was 5'2" or 18 in New York in those days). Got thrown down 3-4 rows in the Blues from angry Ranger fans.

I wanted retribution, but I never blamed them for what they did.

God, games in Atlanta are boring by comparison. But, the Thrashers are fun to watch in todays hockey.

The Rangers and Islanders both suck, so the deep desire to kill each other has waned.

Couldn't tell that by watching last night's game....

What am I missing

I always thought Chiefs-Raiders was a bigger deal than Broncos-Raiders. Anyway, the nastiest rivalry in the NFL is Redskins-Cowboys.

If you want some serious bad blood, as in people getting killed, check out the soccer arch-rivalries around the world: Rangers and Celtic in Glasgow, Boca and River in Buenos Aires, etc.

These "Yankees" and "Coloured Socks" are some sorts of athletic teams, yes?

They play a game involving a leather-covered spheroid and some sort of running about?

Crank, this is not in the same category as "controversial" posts. This is life, the universe and everything.

If Michele and I are still talking to each other by October, it will be a miracle.

Bring it on, Skankee Fan.

Wow, you hate the Sox and Syracuse. How do you feel about my company softball team? We are officially sports enemies!

you know, I've read that the whole Yankees-Red Sox thing was mostly a product of the Red Sox fans hating everything Yankees. That was pretty much true until the last few years. The Yanks were just indifferent, including the fans, because Boston couldn't seriously bring it to them (sure the D-backs could but we couldn't). Now we can and the rivalry is heating up.

the Mets-Yanks thing has always been one step away from riotous, though, regardless of the fact that they're not in the same division and don't even play regularly and usually, when the do, it means absolutely nothing (interleague play).