Thursday, April 8, 2010

Yankee, Red Sox players friendly rivals

One thing has become incredibly clear about the fierce rivalry between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox: the players don't hate each other. Make no mistake about it; they definitely want to beat each other every time they play. But they actually get along quite well, much to the dismay of their fans.

Case in point. During last night's game, Andy Pettitte accidently hit Kevin Youkilis in the head with an inside pitch. It was a scary moment, but there's no doubt it was unintentional and Pettitte was genuinely concerned about Youkilis. After getting hit, the Red Sox first baseman told Derek Jeter that he was going to get hit next. Jeter laughed it off, stepped up to the plate the next inning and then got hit by starter John Lackey. On the way to first, Jeter playfully shoved a laughing Youkilis out of the way.

Back in the old days, that kind of episode would have triggered a near riot, something the umpires were surely aware of when they warned both benches last night. But now, it's a cause for players on both sides to openly mock each other.

Long gone are the days of Pedro Martinez and Roger Clemens throwing at opposing batters and starting a fight in a key playoff game. I think the rivalry has simmered for the players in large part because they don't have nasty guys like Martinez and Clemens who were known for throwing at hitters on their rosters anymore. The other reason is that these players spend so much time together that they actually start to like each other, as Jeter did with Dustin Pedroia and Youkilis while representing Team America in the World Baseball Classic last year.

Jeter talked about this in an interview with the Sporting News, saying that the one thing fans don’t understand about the Rivalry is that the players can be determined to beat each other without resorting to hatred.

The Rivalry is still as intense as ever. But as the old saying goes, "can't we all just get along?" The Yankees and Red Sox surely do.

Thanks to Keith Allison via Wikipedia for the photo.

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