For more than 100 years, the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees have carried an intense rivalry and while it has been, and most likely will be, the greatest rivalry in baseball all-time, the talk of the town today has been focused on the two big teams out west. To be more specific that would be the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres.
Many readers may think what do these four teams have in common? What about the rivalry of the Dodgers and Giants?’ When we look back at the early 2000s, the intensity between the Red Sox and Yankees appeared to be at an all-time high. It started with the two teams meeting in the 1999 playoffs, the first time in the well-seasoned rivalry.
The Yankees had just come off winning their 24th World Series (over the San Diego Padres, no less) and easily defeated the Red Sox in five games in the ALCS and eventually went on to win their 25th and back-to-back championship.
Boston would not make the playoffs again until 2003 where they, again, met up with the Yankees in the ALCS, but this time pushed the Yanks to an extra innings game seven. It would be no more than a heroic effort as Aaron Boone would hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the eleventh to send the Yankees back to the World Series (the fifth time in six seasons).
The two would meet up in the ALCS for the second straight season in 2004 and after the Yankees took a commanding three games to none lead, the hope for Red Sox fans became more bleak. That was until Dave Roberts (yes, the same Dave Roberts who manages the Dodgers today) stole second base and then was singled home by Bill Mueller to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth.
The rest of those playoffs for the Red Sox is historic:
-David Ortiz hits a walk-off home run in game four and gets a walk-off single in game five
-the “Bloody Sock Game” for Curt Schilling in game six
-the Sox complete the comeback in game seven
– and then of course, the sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series to break the ‘Curse of the Bambino’ and win their first title since 1918.
To summarize, from 2000-2010, the Yankees won the A.L. East Division eight times, made the playoffs 10 times, won the pennant four times out of six and made the World Series four times, adding two more championships (the most recent coming in 2009).
The Red Sox would only win the division once, but make the playoffs six times, won the pennant two times out of four and made the World Series twice, winning both times in 2004 and 2007.
On top of playoff matchups and successes of each team respectively, the two east beasts would share countless moments of benches clearing brawls, smack talking to each other and from opposing fan, as well as down years where neither team was the best in baseball.
We turn to the new decade of 2020.
The shortened 2020 season gave baseball fans 13 games (including a N.L. Division playoff series) of what this newly reformed rivalry will bring, and it’s only become that much more intense with fans being allowed in the stands this season.
It’s no mystery the Padres have always been the little brother to the Dodgers for seasons on end, and that’s solely based team achievements alone. The Dodgers as a franchise have been to the World Series 21 times (winning seven) since 1916 – this includes the years when the team was formerly known as the Brooklyn Robins and Brooklyn Dodgers before moving west to Los Angeles. The Padres on the other hand have been in the World Series twice, losing both times, and have been to the playoffs only six times in their 52-year history.
When we compare this modern-day rivalry to that of the Red Sox and Yankees, it’s difficult to compare on one basis of the fact that the Padres haven’t been around as long as the Dodgers have. But the argument is still valid based on the similarities the East Coast rivals share with those from the West Coast.
In this scenario, the Dodgers are the Yankees while the Padres are the Red Sox, other than the fact that the Red Sox actually have championship wins (nine to be exact). The Dodgers have been a powerhouse much like the Yankees, and their current streak of eight straight N.L West Division wins proves that.
In only two instances out of the eight straight, the Dodgers have won the division by less than six games (2016 and 2018). San Diego, meanwhile, has not won the division since winning back-to-back division titles in 2005 and 2006 and during the Dodgers streak have only finished higher than third place once in that span (finished second in 2020).
The Dodgers and Padres have never had much of a rivalry, given how dominant the Dodgers have been over San Diego since 2013. With a record of 97-49 (including the playoffs), the Dodgers have the most lopsided margin for any divisional matchup in that time frame.
Here we have two teams at the top of their games and have grabbed the attention of the baseball world. In this young new 2021 season, we have seen the back and forth of games, the late heroics, defensive masteries and powerful swings.
When we compare, the Yankees and Dodgers share similar rosters almost two decades apart:
-Derek Jeter = Corey Seager
-Tino Martinez = Max Muncy
-Bernie Williams = Mookie Betts
Event their pitching staffs carry similar trends: The Yankees had names like Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Mike Mussina and Mariano Rivera. The Dodgers have Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Trevor Bauer, and Kenley Jansen.
Now look at the Red Sox and Padres similarities of roster in the subject of dynamic duos. Red Sox had David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez. Look a lot like the San Diego duo of Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado.
Now the pitching staff: Red Sox were led by Curt Schilling, Pedro Martinez and Derek Lowe.
Padres have Yu Darvish, Blake Snell, and Joe Musgrove.
This rivalry, while still fresh, presents a time for baseball fans as a whole to enjoy for many seasons to come given how young and talented each team is. The duel dominance can carry for as long as the teams stay healthy and we can only hope the intensity the Red Sox and Yankees shared back then will transition into this modern-day classic.
Featured Image: Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts (50) during an at-bat against the San Diego Padres on April 25, 2021. Photo credit: Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline