Remember the days that a series between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees caused audiences worldwide to stop what they were doing to pay attention? How about when these matchups used to determine which team each one would face in the playoffs, adding further importance to the intensity of a bitter rivalry? At one time, these statements rang true every time the two teams met; now, however, they are a mere formality. That is because the Red Sox currently sit at below .500 and 10 1/2 games behind the Yankees in the typically close-knit AL East. They are 4 1/2 back in the Wild Card race, six teams currently ahead of them. Looking at the playoff picture out of the basement of the American League is certainly an unfamiliar spot for the Sox, but unfortunately it’s the fate we’ve come to accept for this year’s doomed team. Watching them this year has been about as fun and interesting as watching paint dry. They have no heart or energy, appearing to take the field daily simply to earn their paychecks. And that’s what it’s become all about for this team and organization as a whole: money. More of it used to excite Sox fans in light of a big free-agent signing most likely being soon to follow (Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, anyone?). With the third-highest payroll in baseball, they have become nearly identical in philosophy to their enemy, spending simply to spend without delving into the baseball specifics of deals. The Yankees may be free spenders, but at least they know how to maintain clubhouse chemistry and keep players and coaches on the same page. We can’t even do that right anymore, especially not with a manager more concerned about his image than his players’ well-being.
This season has turned disastrous for the Sox in a hurry, and there’s nothing that can really stop it from ending as such either. Even with Saturday and Sunday’s games being nationally-televised, I’m sure Sox fans will be more likely to tune out or indulge in a more entertaining nightly program. I will be present at both games, though my excitement for the trip is based solely on the fact that I’ve never been to the new Yankee Stadium before. As for the Sox, I’ve mentally checked out with this team. They have no chance to make the playoffs, with a 43-20 record most likely needed to even capture the final Wild Card spot, guaranteeing them just a chance to advance. It’s unrealistic they will make it, and even if they do they won’t go anywhere anyways. This is the reality we have to get used to , Sox fans. Boston is back to sucking while New York continues to dominate. That’s what took the fire out of the rivalry in the 90′s and early 2000s, and it seems that history is once again repeating itself. So do yourself a favor and choose something worthwhile to watch this weekend. Because this Sox/Yanks series sure ain’t it.