The Yankees are always on their minds.
The Red Sox closed out the Yankees in the American League Division Series all the way back on Oct. 9, but the Yankees have remained a presence throughout Boston’s run to a fourth World Series title in 15 years.
Red Sox fans chanted about the Yankees at various points during their ALCS victory over the Astros and World Series victory over the Dodgers, and players played “New York, New York” during the champagne celebration in the cramped visitor’s clubhouse at Dodger Stadium after clinching the title with a Game 5 victory in Los Angeles on Sunday.
Then at the start of Wednesday’s parade in Boston celebrating the 2018 title, first-year Red Sox manager Alex Cora referenced the mood of many local fans and media after the Yankees captured Game 2 at Fenway Park. (It was after that game, of course, that Aaron Judge walked through the Fenway concourse on the way to the Yankees team bus playing “New York, New York,” something Red Sox players at the time said didn’t bother them though it clearly did.)
“Think about it,” Cora said. “The New York Yankees, yeah, the sky was falling [after] we lost Game 2 and there was panicking here and it was like, ‘Whoa, it’s over.’ We scored 16 at Yankee Stadium [in Game 3]. Suck on it.”
To be clear, Cora’s comment was part of an overall review of his team’s postseason run, but there is no question the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry, which was never really dead but certainly wasn’t at its peak intensity in recent years, intensified this season.
The Red Sox ran away with the AL East crown, going a franchise-best 108-54 while the Yankees went 100-62. The season series was closer than some may remember, with Boston winning 10-9. After dropping Game 2 of the ALDS, the Red Sox hammered the Yankees, 16-1, in Game 3, then wrapped the series at the Stadium with a 4-3 victory.
It should be stressed Cora was not targeting the Yankees and, though it didn’t get replayed as much Wednesday afternoon, after discussing the ALDS in the same speech, the manager talked about the ALCS victory over the Astros, where he previously served as A.J. Hinch’s bench coach, and then the World Series.
“And then, for how much I care about those guys in Houston, well, we went to Houston and we swept them down there,” Cora continued, again to roars from the crowd. “And to finish it off we go to this historic ballpark that holds 55,000 people. I played there for six years and I know how special Dodger Stadium is, and when Steve Pearce hit that home run in Game 5 it felt like we had 40,000 fans cheering for us at Dodger Stadium. It was an amazing run, it was an amazing year and you guys make that special. Thank you very much.”