FanPost

Open Writer Position: Favorite Yankees Red Sox Moment

I am extremely interested in one of the open writer's positions, so I chose to go with the opinion prompt. My email is benberke@umich.edu, and I would love the chance to work with the talented writing staff here since I rant about the Yankees in group chats every day anyway.

It’s hard to think about my favorite moment from the Yankees Red Sox rivalry for many reasons. The first, is that it’s difficult since this is quite literally the greatest rivalry in sports (and that’s coming from a Michigan fan who has been punched in the face by a Buck-Eye fan before, so I think I know about rivalries) and it is peppered with many incredible moments. The second reason is, I feel conflicted in my choice. On the one hand, part of me wanted to be a cookie cutter Yankee fan and say the Aaron Boone home run, because there really is nothing better than an unknown bench player at the time hitting a walk off home run against the sox to send to Yankees to world series. However, I was only seven years old at the time, and I would honestly be lying if I said I distinctly remembered that happening, because I was definitely asleep. In all honesty, the only moments I truly remember from that era of Yankees baseball are the ones my dad woke me up for in the middle of the night to show replays of, like Jeter jumping into the stands. So now I feel conflicted because I feel like my favorite Yankees Red Sox moment will be met with accusations of recency bias, so allow me to explain myself.

I believe that my favorite Yankees Red Sox rivalry is the Joe Kelly vs Tyler Austin fight. Now wait a minute, just hear me out. Leading up to this game, the Red Sox were going on a hot streak, as they had the best record in baseball, while the Yanks started this year off playing at .500. Now any real baseball fan knows that the first 18 games don’t mean that much, so it goes without saying that all of my Red Sox fan friends were really acting like this was a huge deal to me and my Yankees fan friends. Now I understand why they were so quick to jump on us, considering last year when the Sox were eliminated in four games and the Yankees had that amazing series over the Indians we mocked them for the entire offseason. Or at least as much as I could. A year of the Giants collapsing and the Knicks tearing my heart out as they usually do while the Patriots and Celtics make deep playoff runs has been hard to endure from the Boston fans, and it seemed like Yankees baseball was the only solace that could possibly save me from their wrath.

We had all gotten together to watch the Yankees game, and as most college seniors do when they get together, we had a few beers. The game started getting especially chippy when Tyler Austin, the Yankees back-up first basemen who looks like the kind of guy who used to shove nerds into lockers in high school, had a "dirty slide" into second base that resulted in the benches clearing but no punches thrown. Now when a team breaks the "unwritten rules of baseball" I know what to expect to happen next, after all I had been to the Yankees-Tigers boxing match where they took breaks to play baseball the April prior which started with the Tigers beaning Gary Sanchez for breaking the "Don’t hit a home run off of us in every game of our home series" rule. Now if anyone on our team was going to get into a fight, I would assume that it would be Tyler Austin: a huge guy who’s lip is so full it looks like he’s keeping a tennis ball in there, and a guy who has worked hard to get to where he is, which is still one good news update about Greg Bird and he’s back to AAA.

When Tyler Austin came up to bat, of course it was against Joe Kelly. For those who don’t know much about Joe Kelly, a Red Sox relief pitcher who can occasionally throw triple digits, allow me to describe what he looks like. He looks like if the villain in an 80’s high school comedy was the built like a pencil, but then took a handful of engine grease and slicked back his hair. In other words, he just looked like a classic Red Sox player. With a group of drunk Michigan students on the edge of our seats for a back-up first baseman’s at-bat, that moment felt almost as tense as Didi’s first at-bat in the wild card game last year. And just like how that ended in excitement, when Kelly plunked Austin and he smashed his bat on the ground in anger before charging the mound, my entire watch party erupted in cheers. Now while of course Tyler Austin was the undisputed champion of that fight, the icing on top of the cake was Judge and Stanton herding the Red Sox played from the field back into their dugout like a bunch of sheep. The Yankees went on to win that game, and it was truly a sight to behold to see my Red Sox friends drop in defeat.

After that game, the Yankees built up their momentum to go on this legendary tear they’ve been on for the last month, while the Red Sox got no hit by a team who’s claim to fame is that they were in a Brad Pitt movie once. Of course, I have to give an honorable mention to the absolute shelling of Craig "Amish Arm-Bar" Kimbrel just a week ago, but I didn’t get that same moment of absolute joy that I got while being surrounded by Yankees and Red Sox fans alike, since I had already graduated and returned home from college. Now before I go cry into the picture Robinson Cano signed for me in an ice cream parlor when I was a kid (Yeah he left, but he’ll always have a place in my heart. That, and I love that my Cano jersey was able to smoothly transition into a Gary Sanchez jersey. My Cano hall of fame argument just got a hell of a lot harder to support now that he’s been caught with steroids), I just would like to say that I can’t wait for the series against the Nationals to start today, every Yankees off day is always a struggle and it’s great to have the boys back tonight. I’m interested to see what Harper does with his Yankees audition today (even though with a gross beard like the one he has he would be better suited to join Greasy Joe, and Amish Craig on the Sox) and I’m even more excited for Tanaka to hit a home run (or a sacrifice bunt would make me just as a happy to be honest) just to stick it to Ohtani. Go Yankees, boo Red Sox, and thanks for reading.

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