Yankees-Red Sox Becoming Less and Less of a Rivalry

Christian Vazquez and Dellin Betances

At some point this season the Yankees are going to win three games in a row. Right? Right?!?! RIGHT?!?!?!? Well, if they are, now would be a good time to do it for the first time with a huge three-game series against the Red Sox in the Bronx this weekend.

It’s been a while since I have done a Yankees-Red Sox email exchange with Mike Hurley of CBS Boston, but after going to Boston last week and actually watching a game with him, now felt like a good time for another one.

Keefe: Hello, Michael. It’s been a while. We haven’t done this lately because the Yankees were good, well not good, but decent, and the Red Sox sucked. Now it’s the other way around. Between that and your obsession with the air pressure in footballs, our sure-thing Yankees-Red Sox email exchanges have become as frequent as Chase Headley hits.

We didn’t do one last week for the season-opening series, which went about as well as my decision to order Domino’s after Saturday’s game. I attended the first two games of the series and watched Jackie Bradley Jr. (!) and David Ortiz add Friday night’s game to my long list of crushing losses at Fenway Park and then watched the Yankees get shut out against Rick Porcello the following night.

I know you have watched three last-place finishes in the last four years, so in the event that this Yankees season doesn’t right itself like every Yankees season has since 1993, what else should I do this summer? You are sort of at advantage since you have a one-year-old child, which is a little more important than watching baseball. So is that the answer? If the Yankees don’t start winning, do I need to have a kid? (Brittni is going to enjoy reading this for the first time.)

Hurley: You know, I’m maybe a little bit not normal, because most of the time, I loved watching those last-place teams. I mean, the Bob Valentine season was a trainwreck. You simply could not look away from that tire fire. And the fact that they kept Bob V. employed for the WHOLE SEASON is something for which I’ll be forever thankful, because he really drove that thing all the way into the ground, and he made idiotic comments the whole time. God, I miss Bob.

The past two years haven’t been as fun, just watching overpaid egomaniacs stink at a sport night in and night out. But I still watched. Not every single game — you tend to drop the weekend games on the priority list — but really, what else are you supposed to do on a Tuesday night in July? Go out to eat or enjoy someone’s company like a normal person? That’s just weird.

I don’t think you should have a kid, because I don’t think you’re in a good place right now. I watched you at Fenway, rage in your eyes, as you wanted to fight everyone in your section and then run onto the field and pummel Chase Headley. You were in a bad way, and I’m not sure even the miracle of life could pull you out of that hole. You’re in the thick of it now, and you’ll be there until the end of September.

Keefe: Maybe I wouldn’t be so down on the Yankees if they weren’t seven games under .500 or if they didn’t sign or play Chase Headley. For all the crap I gave Stephen Drew when he was a Yankee (and rightfully so), Drew was hitting .177/.274/.419 with three doubles, four home runs and 10 RBIs at this point last season. Headley is hitting .153/.253/.153 with no extra-base hits and two RBIs. He has scored two runs this season. TWO! There are seven pitchers with more than two RBIs and two pitchers with more than two runs scored. Headley is making $13 million this season (or $80,246.91 per game) and next season and the season after that.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox have their own third baseman who sucks in Pablo Sandoval, who they owe $17 million to this year and next, and then $18 million in 2018 and 2019, and then the $5 million buyout that’s going to happen in 2020. But at least the Red Sox started by putting Sandoval on the bench and then put him on the disabled list and then he underwent this mysterious season-ending surgery, so they won’t have to deal with their $95 million problem until next year.

I think it’s time Chase Headley has a season-ending “surgery”. Either that or I desperately need him to start taking performance-enhancing drugs.

Hurley: I vaguely remember Headley hitting 31 homers and driving in 115 runs four years ago. It seems like something that just did not ever happen though. Zero extra-base hits in a MONTH is unfathomable for a corner infielder. It’s unfathomable for a catcher or a second baseman, even.

Do you ever wonder how different things would be if the team was at least run with the same principles that Steinbrenner held? I mean, yeah, he was liable to lose mind from time to time, but he also wouldn’t put up a third baseman who is incapable of hitting a double, and he wouldn’t roll out a Gardner-Ellsbury-Corpse Of Carlos Beltran outfield, and he wouldn’t have had Didi Gregorious serve as the successor to Derek Jeter. (And he wouldn’t have allowed Joe Kelly to take a selfie with Derek Jeter, and he wouldn’t have allowed the Red Sox to force Derek Jeter to hang out with Rico Petricelli, and he wouldn’t have allowed the Red Sox to give Derek Jeter a pair of boots.)

Anyway, Pablo Sandoval represents the biggest waste of money in history. He was fat, and you can get away with it in your 20s. But I can attest to the fact that it’s tough being fat as you approach 30. Muscles that have been strained for quite some time don’t exactly hold up the way you want them to, and all of a sudden you’re out for six months because you got injured doing something that most people do with no issue. I may pretend to be an expert on many other topics, but on this one, I’m legit.

The Red Sox and Yankees probably should just swap third basemen. Neither team would improve, but at least the stench and foul feelings toward the initial signings will fade some.

Keefe: I remember when Chase Headley was a free agent after the 2014 season that the Red Sox were a potential suitor for him. Why couldn’t this have happened? The same way Bruins fans wanted Dan Girardi a couple years ago, there were actual Red Sox fans that wanted Headley to be their third baseman.

I have always felt like the Yankees should just play A-Rod at third and then Beltran can DH and there’s no need for Headley. If A-Rod gets hurt playing third base, whatever. He’s 40 and doesn’t exactly have a long career ahead of him. What are they protecting him from? Before last season, they told him he didn’t have a spot on the team and the Yankees pretended like he didn’t exist at the Stadium on YES or on social media. Then he became the team’s best hitter and now it’s all A-Rod all the time across all of the Yankees’ media channels. A-Rod might be the only thing bringing people to the Stadium in July if this team is 20 games back.

With A-Rod’s contract ending next season and David Ortiz retiring at the end of this season, we are less than two seasons away from having no links to the 2003-2004 chapter of the rivalry. It’s time someone steps up and says, “Enough is enough” and reignites this war. I need fastballs getting away from pitchers on both teams starting this weekend. It’s time to make Yankees-Red Sox great again.

Hurley: It’s sad, really. The other night, Buchholz let one fly up in to Jose Abreu after Abreu hit a bomb in his first at-bat. Then Travis Shaw got hit by Carlos Rodon, and it was kind of like, “…. is this happening? Is it on?” But it wasn’t. That was it. It’s never “on” anymore. That part of baseball has been removed. I really think Ron Artest ruined everything for every sport. Can’t have any more disputes, everything must be swell, and we’re going to give the umpires the power to issue warnings whenever they feel like it. It’s why it was no big deal when David Price joined the Red Sox. His “history” with David Ortiz involved a lot of pointing and yelling. So bad.

The 2003-04 point is sad, too. What’s crazy is that 2004 was Ortiz’s eighth year in the majors, and it was A-Rod’s 11th season (ninth full season), yet they’re the only two active players left from anybody that played in Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS. As it relates to A-Rod and Ortiz specifically, we both know their long, healthy careers are thanks to a healthy diet and proper exercise, but I still find that pretty remarkable that everybody else faded out relatively quickly. I feel like Bronson Arroyo is the only other person to play in the past few years.

It’s cute that you think some fire might ignite this weekend. Mean Rick Porcello, Ferocious David Price, and the intimidating Steven Wright are going for the Red Sox. I’m already shaking in my boots!

Keefe: I don’t think anything will actually happen, but it would be nice if it would. It would be nice if David Price got frustrated with making $1 million per start and getting lit up every time he takes the mound and decided to take his frustration out on one of the Yankees.

When it comes to Price, he will be making $30 million this year and the next two. And then he can opt out of his contract and give up $31 million in 2019 and $32 million in 2020, 2021 and 2022. Red Sox fans justified the signing by saying, “Yeah, but it’s really only a three-year deal.” If Price sucks in those three years, or really just Year 3, he’s not going to opt out. And if he continues to be an “ace” and does opt out, he will either get more money from the Red Sox or leave them without an ace for more money from another team. It’s the CC Sabathia opt out/contract extension all over again. I guess what I’m saying, is I’m looking forward to 37-year-old David Price making $32 million and throwing in the mid-80s.

Hurley: I was thinking about that recently. Maybe he’ll just stink and play out the deal. What a nice life that would be.

But realistically, he’ll probably be all right, and salaries will continue to rise, so he’ll probably opt out and go somewhere else to some stupid team that would dedicate insane resources to a pitcher well past his prime. Do you know any teams like that?

His April numbers historically stink, and he’s got a pretty deep track record in the AL East. So he’ll be fine. I’m still not sure what they’ll get out of him in October, if they can get there, but I think ultimately they’ll be in a much better spot with David Price than without him — for the next three years. If he doesn’t opt out, we can have another discussion.

Keefe: The Yankees aren’t good, but no one in the AL East is, and that’s why at seven games under .500, the Yankees are only six games out despite being the worst they have been since 1991. The Red Sox are 16-11 and currently in first, but they’re also 10-10 in games against every team other than the Yankees and Braves. The Orioles and Blue Jays have similar pitching problems and the Rays can’t hit. We’re a long ways away from the days of the Yankees battling for the first division title and ONLY wild card and now we’re in an era where every team has a fighting chance until the final weeks of the season.

After this weekend, the Yankees and Red Sox don’t meet again until the first series after the All-Star break. So until then, the only email you will get from me will be one asking for recommendations for TV shows to binge-watch on Netflix if my baseball season isn’t saved soon. Maybe if this trend continues next season even after Mark Teixeira, Carlos Beltran and CC Sabathia come off the books, maybe then it will be time to have a kid.

Hurley: Oh my God, please don’t do that. People around here did that the past two years. “Well the Red Sox aren’t very good, but they’re only 7 games out of first place, and if the Orioles lose a few… ” No. Don’t do it. Bad teams are bad teams are bad teams. There’s no need to delude yourself and get your hopes up.

Also, don’t have a kid. Please. Thank you.