With the All-Star break now in the rear view mirror, it’s full steam ahead towards the MLB playoffs. Meanwhile, the biggest story in baseball continues to be the New York Yankees. With a record of 65-31, they are 13 games ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays who are themselves having a solid season at 52-42. However, with teams like the Yankees, Houston Astros (63-32) and Los Angeles Dodgers (63-30) operating at such a high level, it doesn’t look like “solid” will get you too far this season.
Indeed, the Yankees are on fire with no fire hose in sight. At the team’s current pace, there’s an outside chance they could challenge the MLB record for wins in a season. That record is held jointly by the 1906 Chicago Cubs and the 2001 Seattle Mariners at 116 games.
While another Yankees AL pennant seems highly likely, there is something else upon which baseball fans can always count. The rivalry between the Yankees and their northern nemesis the Boston Red Sox will endure. Even in years when there appears to be a big gap between the teams.
Baseball’s Greatest Rivalry & The Curse
To understand the heated nature of the rivalry between the Yankees and Red Sox, one only needs to understand some of the early history behind the rivalry.
The teams met for the very first time in 1903 at Hilltop Park in New York. At the time, the Yankees were known as the Highlanders while the Red Sox played as the Americans.
With both teams in close proximity to one another, it was natural for these two teams to be sparring for titles. However, the fire that truly sparked one of the most heated rivalries in professional sports started in earnest in 1920. That was the year that the Yankees fleeced the Red Sox out of one of the best baseball players in history, that being none other than George Herman “Babe” Ruth. It was a trade that changed the course of baseball history forever.
Since then, the Yankees have gone on to win 40 AL pennants and 27 World Series, including 4 World Series within 12 years of the Ruth trade. Meanwhile, it took the Red Sox 87 years to win another World Series, which they finally did in 2004. That 87-year dry period was directly blamed on the infamous “Curse of the Bambino.”
In a classic twist of fate, it was the Yankees and the Red Sox who met in the 2004 American League Championship series. With the Yankees up 3-0 and The Curse looking certain to continue, the Red Sox would rattle off 4 straight wins to win the series 4-3. To this day, it’s the only time in MLB history that any team rallied from 3-0 down to win a 7-game series. The Red Sox would go on to defeat the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series in four games to break the curse forever.
Throughout the years, these two teams have met 2,311 times prior to the 2022 season. The Yankees lead the all-time series 1,250-1,047-14. In the playoffs, it’s been more even. The two fabled franchises have met 24 times with each team winning 12. Arguably, no playoff win was bigger than in 1978 when the two teams played in the AL Wild Card Game. The Yankees won that game, capping off an amazing run that led them to catch and pass the Red Sox who had led by 14 games at the halfway point of the season.
It’s been this kind of amazing history that has led to the rivalry always being in the spotlight. Every season, these two teams are certain to appear many times on National TV in front of millions of baseball fans from all over the US. With New York sports betting fully live and online now, NY fans have another source of bragging rights. Massachusetts lawmakers have dragged their heels and still seem at best months away from getting the same access for sports fans in their state.
Yankees vs Red Sox 2022
Currently, the Red Sox are a long way behind the Yankees with a record of 48-47. It is still possible the Red Sox could squeeze into a Wild Card spot. However, that seems unlikely with at least ten teams across the divisions still in the running. Regardless, there are still quite a few games between the two rivals on the schedule. Even if they were out of the playoff picture, the Red Sox would relish taking the Yankees down a notch. Maybe even undermining their shot at the most wins in a season record.
Each and every time they meet, the spotlight will shine, the teams will come to play, and baseball fans will be treated to yet another game in one of the greatest rivalries in sport.