Bloody Sox, damn Yanks, and more

Much like the changing of the autumn leaves, the northeasternmost region of the country once again will be tuned in to the Major League Baseball postseason.
For what seems like an eternity, the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees have owned the fall. Since 1998, either the Red Sox or Yankees have raised a World Series banner nearly half the time, combining for nine of the last 23 championships.
When I started at The Westfield News in 1999, the Yankees were in the midst of a three-year dynasty, having won titles in 1998-2000. They also won in 1996, and again in 2009. (For this story’s sake, I’m going to ignore the other 22 World Series championships enjoyed in the 1930s, 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s.)
It has been a journey that I have watched from a distance.
In fall 2004, I took my family to Disney World in Florida. While I was high-fiving Mickey and Minnie and watching Cinderella ride by, the Red Sox were creating a fairy tale of their own, posting an historic comeback, rallying from an 0-3 deficit to defeat the Yankees in an epic American League Championship Series.
Every day we would hurry back to our motel rooms and tune in to watch this epic moment in sports history. It is at this point that my loyalties were soon called into question.
To paint a better picture, I should tell you that I grew up a Yankees fan, spending weekends and summers with my cousins and their father, my uncle, all fans of the pinstripe. Working at the newspaper though, constantly editing Red Sox stories and pinning headlines on their daily exploits, that red ink seeped into my skin.
I became a fan of Nomar Garciaparra, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Johnny Damon, Manny Ramirez, and of course, “Big Papi,” David Ortiz. (For the record, my Dad was a lifelong Red Sox fan.) Still, there was a part of me always pulling for Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.
While I battled this internal tug-of-war, a struggle for baseball supremacy ensued between the cities of Boston and New York.
After lifting the “Curse of the Bambino” in 2004, the Red Sox went on to win three more World Series titles (2007, ’13, ’18). The Yankees won just one (2009) during that span.
New York never really faded away though. They spent millions on prized free agents, invested in their farm system, and now with Bronx Bombers, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, appearing healthy heading into the postseason, the Yankees are one of three teams (Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers) favored to win it all.
Last year, I was fortunate enough to compete in the FanDuel World Fantasy Baseball Championship. I was smacked in the face by the “fantasy gods” for eschewing J.D. Martinez in favor of the flavor-of-the-month, Washington Nationals’ up-and-comer, Juan Soto. That day in late August, Martinez homered. Had I once again put my faith in our hometown hero, I would have finished as the contest runner-up and won a boatload of money.
All-in-all though, much like that trip taken 14 years earlier, I created a lifetime of memories.
I’m not going to apologize for having lived life as a Yankee, a bloody Red Sock, and finally, simply a fan of the game. To some that may be a travesty of fandom, or utter lunacy. For me, that is what I like to call my “fantasy” life.
The region is always abuzz when the Red Sox or Yankees are playing October baseball. It is truly amazing when they are in the playoffs at the same time.
While we have to wait at least another year for that scenario to potentially play out, we should all just sit back, relax, and enjoy the fact that while the west coast often boasts that it is the best coast, us easterners are lucky we have a hit on our hands here almost every year.

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