Let the rivalry resume.
Another chapter, for the first time since 2004, and another entry into what has been the sport’s grandest showdown.
It basically started off the field when the Red Sox sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1919 to give rise to "The Curse of the Bambino."
The modern history comes in snapshots: Bucky Dent’s home run in the 1978 tiebreaker, Pedro Martinez brawling with senior citizen bench coach Don Zimmer in the 2003 ALCS, Aaron Boone hitting a walk-off homer to win that series and, highly forgettable for Yankees fans, the Red Sox faithful, Boston’s really form an 0-3 deficit to win the 2004 ALCS.
The next chapter will take place in the best-of-five Division Series starting Friday in Fenway Park.
“I think they can't wait,’’ Boone said. “I think they're ready and relish the opportunity to go up against the game's best this year. And obviously, we're very familiar with them. We know how good they are. I mean, we know we have to play our best if we're going to have a chance to beat them. Obviously, they're very tough at Fenway. But I know our guys can't wait to get there and try and get it done.’’
The Yankee Stadium crowd started chanting “We want Boston!’’ in the ninth inning of Wednesday night’s 7-2 victory over the A’s in the AL Wild Card. And that theme was echoed by the players themselves in the champagne-drenched clubhouse.
“Everybody wants Boston, we want Boston,’’ Didi Gregorius said. “That's what we play for. What gives me confidence? This team. Just everything that we can do. From top to bottom. We have the confidence, we never lose it.’’
Except for Boone, the current Yankees were just youngsters when the rivals last met. Aaron Hicks watched it on television, “Of course, they [the games] were awesome,’’ he said. “I think it’s gonna be awesome. I think it’s going to be two teams going back and forth, battling it out. That's what makes the postseason fun."
Luis Severino said of the 2004 matchup, “I think at that time I didn't even have TV. I’m not even sure. But I think I’ve been shown the highlights. It will be fun. Really fun.’’
The AL East winning Red Sox won 108 games and finished eight games ahead of the second-place Yankees. Boston took the season series, 10-9, and won 7 of 10 at Fenway. “Games behind don’t matter because now we’re in the postseason,’’ Hicks said.
It doesn’t take much for Luke Voit to hyped up. Yankees-Red Sox put him over the top. “Super excited,’’ he said. "We felt really good last week when we played them. I know they’re going to bring out their top guns. We just got to stay within ourselves and I don’t think there’s anything that can stop us.’’
The usually reserved Giancarlo Stanton weighed in on the series, saying ”I’ll be ready."
He warmed up by homering against the A’s in his first postseason game. “I put the dagger in,’’ he said.
Aaron Judge, who hit a two-run home run in the Wild Card victory, was a bit more cautious in sizing up the Red Sox, saying, “They got a great team over there. They can do a lot of damage. And their pitching staff is great. We just got to prepare the same way we did all year.’’