Red Sox-Yankees Is Still a Rivalry. It No Longer Matters.

Boston and New York are literally playing for last place this week

The Green Monster at Fenway Park.
Fenway Park in Boston has gone silent with the Yankees in town.
Maddie Meyer/Getty

Approximately an hour before the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees were set to begin their second doubleheader of the week at Fenway Park, the hometown team announced they had parted ways with Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom.

“While parting ways is not taken lightly, today signals a new direction for our club,” team owner John Henry said in a statement. “Our organization has significant expectations on the field and while Chaim’s efforts in revitalizing our baseball infrastructure have helped set the stage for the future, we will today begin a search for new leadership.”

If Thursday’s bombshell had dropped 20 years ago in the midst of the decades-long arms race between New York and Boston while the Red Sox were still chasing their first World Series in more than eight decades, the news of Bloom’s firing would have been the lead of every sports show, website and newspaper section. As it stands now, with the Red Sox and Yankees literally playing for last place in AL East during the doubleheader, the report of Bloom’s firing is little more than a fart in the wind that no one is paying attention to.

MLB All-Star Adam Duvall Is Thriving — Even as a Type-1 Diabetic
Duvall, 34, has been battling diabetes since he was in the minors

That stinks for fans who remember a time when the Red Sox and Yankees playing a pair of doubleheaders in the span of a week in the middle of September would have been must-call-out-of-work-and-see TV. In ’03, the Yankees finished six games ahead of the Red Sox in the standings and ended up winning the ALCS over Boston in seven games when current Yankee manager Aaron Boone sent the Bombers to the World Series with a walk-off homer in the bottom of the 11th inning. The following year when the teams met in the ALCS once again, Boston fell behind 0-3 in the series before making history by winning four straight to advance to the World Series before winning it, snapping an 86-year run of futility and heartbreak.

For fans of both teams and baseball fans in general, those games mattered. They had intrigue, drama and storylines that carried over year-over-year. The Red Sox-Yankees rivalry of the early 2000s had characters, charisma and consequences, which made it captivating. The Red Sox-Yankees rivalry of 2023 has almost none of those things and is anything but. It’s still a rivalry, but it’s a battle between two has-beens to see which one of them will finish behind the Baltimore Orioles, Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays. A fight for first is now a struggle for last and it doesn’t really matter who wins. Maybe it didn’t then, but it certainly doesn’t now.

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.