Living in Boston as a die hard New York Yankees fan has been surprisingly easier than I thought it would have been, but with this season in full force and both teams sporting top notch competition, it appears we are heating up the rivalry plate again.
1. The brawls are back.
Tyler Austin and Joe Kelly brought life back into this rivalry during the April matchup, and damn did us fans miss seeing punches thrown. Even the minor league teams are getting into it; the Pawtucket Sox later banned anyone named "Tyler" and "Austin" from the stadium one night, while granting anyone "Joe" or "Kelly" free admission. In response, the Railriders held a fundraiser night for Tyler Austin's testicular cancer awareness campaign.
2. Fan ejections are consistent.
The night of the Austin/Kelly brawl, about eight ejections occurred in my section alone of both Sox and Yankees fans. The bleacher creatures have been howling up a storm in the Bronx, making the Sox feel the least bit at home. Tension is mighty high.
3. Both stadiums erupt with noise and voice chirping at full force.
It's been awhile since the "boo's" actually felt meaningful. And how could they not after a questionable slide by Yankees' Tyler Austin and a retaliation plunk by Boston's Joe Kelly transformed into the second benches-clearing brawl of the evening back in April?
How about when Stanton decided to be ice cold and strikeout an insane amount of times in April, yet hit two back to back solo home runs in game one of the May matchup to put the Yankees on the board?
It's hard not to get excited about these teams, especially as each are performing their very best at the moment. When it comes to the team you hate, you can't help but chirp away either; everyone knows we defend our teams regardless, but this atmosphere makes it easy.
4. I am actually questioned for having a Yankees debit card or wearing my New York Yankees hat around town now.
I've had a Yankee themed debit card since senior year of high school, and in my sweet suburb of New Jersey, I get three cheers and a "no way that's sick!" anytime I use it. When I moved up to Boston, I thought I'd get some heat for it, but I actually was praised a few times for it (some Sox fans you got, huh Beantown?)
At the time of the Yankees playoff run last fall, I wore my Yankees hat with pride, only receiving some scoffs here or there, but overall, most knew I had a right to sport. These days, oh have things changed. The eye rolls and "ha you can't have a drink if you're paying with this piece of crap!" comments have resumed, and despite it all, boy oh boy do I love the energy.
5. Each team is holding some of the top records in baseball.
Rivalries are legitimately zero fun if one team (or both) is sporting a terrible record. I mean, if you're on the winning side, of course it is a blast to watch your team annihilate the other; however, a rivalry is at its peak when each team is playing their best.
The Yankees' April had them creeping towards the bottom of the standings, whereas the Sox seldom lost a game. Fast forward to end of April and early May and the Yankees can't stop putting up W's. The Yankees won 15 of their last 16 games last week, for the first time since 1980. On the Sox, you have red-hot hitters like Hanley Ramirez and Mookie Betts who have been sailing homerun shots over the Monster all season long; Betts hit three homers alone in the Sox's May 2 matchup against the Royals.
These teams are comprised of young studs ready to make their mark on this season, each hungry for a championship. With both teams averaging at .700 at the time of the May matchup, who knows how long this kind of competition will last. I just hope this rivalry heat lasts awhile.