It’s no secret that when it comes to major league baseball fandom in the state of Connecticut there is a pretty distinct line in the sand somewhere around Milford/New Haven between Red Sox fans and Yankees fans. North of that line it’s all Red Sox all the time. South of it you’re wearing pinstripe in Yankee territory (excluding the few random Mets fans, but they’re really just cute polite baseball fans more than anything).
The Red Sox/Yankees rivalry has been watered down a since the heated days of the late 90s early 2000s for whatever reason. Red Sox FINALLY winning a Word Series in 2004 had a lot to do with it. Then a few more after that. It softened the jaded Sox fans anger a bit.
Now it’s been a solid 5 years since a Red Sox championship (2013) and an even longer drought for the Yankees (2009). So things are starting to get a little salty again between the two teams. Which was on full display Wednesday night at a freezing cold Fenway Park.
It all started in the 3rd inning when Tyler Austin slid spikes high into Red Sox second baseman Brock Holt.
Benches cleared for no reason. This one was stupid. Just let Austin and Holt jaw it out for 2 minutes and move on until the revenge inevitably comes (SPOILER: it did!). No need to bring out both benches. These MLB games are long enough as it is.
Then came the top of the 7th inning when Tyler Austin came to the plate against Joe Kelly. Naturally, as is the standard in baseball, everyone with eyeballs that was watching the game knew what was about to happen. Kelly actually missed on his first attempt with an inside pitch, but then threw a 98 mph heater into Austin’s back which had to have hurt like hell and led to UFC Fenway Park.
The fight itself was awesome. Once Joe Kelly saw Austin slam the bat and take a step he was ready to go. Even yelling “LET’S GO!” or something of that nature instead of looking awkward and running away like a lot of pitchers would have. Kelly got in some good shots too. Split open Austin’s lip with one of them. The other big takeaway from this brawl is that the 2018 Yankees have some BIG BOYS in that dugout. They’re all giants! Luckily for the Sox their two biggest giants Stanton and Judge decided not to pancake everyone into the Fenway soil. Judge was even playing peacemaker at one point.
I love it. THIS is the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry I remember from the Varitek/A Rod days! Just an old school throw down the gloves baseball fight. To be honest, both teams/fans need this to happen. Yankees have been slumping big time. Red Sox haven’t really built an identity as a team yet. This is the type of thing that changes the course of a team’s attitude for the season.
I know it’s only two weeks into the season in early April and there are still like 700 games left, but this just energized everyone who is a fan of either the Red Sox or Yankees here in Connecticut for what should be a hell of a season. Strap in. It’s gonna get wild.