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  • Tamar Chalker

Those Red Sox...

by Tamar Chalker

December 13, 2022

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Thoughts on the Off-Season and that team from Boston

Now that Aaron Judge has thankfully re-signed before the holidays/year end, I feel like my biggest concern of the off-season is over. Suddenly, I’m faced with just how long the winter looks and feels (especially when you “live” in the frigid wasteland that is Vermont and that season lasts from now until…mid-April?). Obviously, the Yankees can and should make some other big splashes before Opening Day, but I’ve never been good or that interested in guessing at what deals may or may not be made.

They Yankees can and will be tied to just about every interesting free agent on the market. This is what happens every year. I’m pretty sure agents aren’t doing their due diligence if they can’t manufacture some interest from teams like the Yankees that are known to be more generous with their payroll. This makes it hard to tell what kind of rumors are accurate and what potential surprise moves may actually come to fruition.

I felt a great sense of relief when the Yankees officially signed Judge and I was preparing for the long wait until pitchers and catchers. I had already ignored countless Red Sox fans (like I said, I “live” in Vermont and am surrounded by Boston fans) claiming they were going to sign Judge. Honestly, the way these fans were acting, you would have thought the Sox were the defending AL Champs, not the under .500, last place in the AL East team they were. My brother, who used to live in Boston, posted something about Judge and was immediately subject to a Red Sox fan saying it wouldn’t keep the Yankees from flaming out in the ALCS.

I suppose karma came quickly for that Sox fan because soon enough the news come that Xander Bogaerts was packing his bags for sunny San Diego. For a minute I reveled in smug satisfaction that the Yankees had signed their big, homegrown Superstar, while the Red Sox were losing one of theirs. After a little while, however, I actually started to feel a little disappointed.

Part of my disappointment grew into a general anger directed at the Red Sox front office. I mean, if you are a Yankees fan stuck deep in Red Sox country it’s hard not to revel in Boston’s misfortunes as you are constantly defending yourself for cheering for the Yankees. It is a part of the rivalry that burns throughout the year, no matter the season. The Yankees and Red Sox have always fed off each other and the rivalry and while the Red Sox are the team with the most recent World Series title, their team is virtually unrecognizable. They struggled in 2022 and it’s hard to see them improving much next season.

The AL East is a tough division and you can’t really afford to be lackadaisical. The Yankees have a generational talent in Aaron Judge and screwed up royally when they didn’t get him locked down before the start of the 2022 season (and they will be paying a lot for that mistake over the next nine years). Luckily, they focused on him and re-signed him. Meanwhile, the Red Sox traded away Mookie Betts - a comparable player to Judge in many ways - and now they’ve watched Bogaerts head out to a strong San Diego club. It actually makes me feel bad for my friends who are Red Sox fans.

To watch players like these develop into great players and then head off to greener pastures (which I suppose in this case is California) is tough enough, but the team they are left for is hardly inspiring. Like I said, I’ve probably enjoyed my Red Sox fan friends’ misery too much over the years, but at the end of the day - I don’t want the Red Sox to “suck.” Baseball is at its most exciting when the Red Sox and Yankees are both good. It leads to moments like Aaron Boone’s 2003 ALCS homer or Bucky F-ing Dent - and even 2004, as much as I try to forget it.

At one point this year, I saw someone on Twitter say they felt like the Yankees’ rival was Houston and not the Red Sox. Now, I thought that was absolutely asinine. Yes, the Astros have been super successful, given the Yankees some trouble, and there is the whole cheating thing, so I understand where it’s coming from, but everyone hates the Astros these days. If they lost all of their good players and hung out in the basement for the next five years, everyone would forget about them and no one would care. While they’ve been more competitive in recent years, Houston's history does not come close to the rivalry between the Red Sox and the Yankees.

If Betts has stayed in Boston you’d have a rivalry akin to the Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio days or Jeter and A-Rod against Manny and Big Papi. The Red Sox front office has put me in the strange position of almost hoping that Boston makes some kind of move that makes them relevant again - and I really hate being put in a position to wish good things on the Red Sox. It just goes against my entire upbringing and all I know to be right in the world.

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