The Yankees owe the Red Sox a lot. Not just for the Babe, that is an obvious gift. They owe the Red Sox on a much deeper level that we easily take for granted.
The Red Sox are the exceptional nemesis. Not only that, they are the exceptional nemesis at the most inopportune times. Take this year.
You can write reams about the Yankees farm system and player development paying off unbelievably. You can write about the astonishing group that together is killing the home run total for a team…other teams have one or two bombers, the Yankees’ bat boy seems to be contributing to the total. You can write about a struggling bullpen and starting rotation based on any one game, but not a season.
You can write about the best or near best record in baseball. You can write about the pace for a gazillion wins.
And the Red Sox are right there with them — keeping up. They breathe down the necks of the Yanks or the Yanks, if they slouch for a game, will chase the Red Sox. No one else in the league has a nemesis breathing down their neck, staring them in the face, rejoicing every time they stumble because a half game is the season — facing that one game playoff. Every time either team plays in the other’s house, it is a parachute drop into hell. Not every park knows and already hates your name.
If the Yanks achieve greatness in the World Series, they will all need to sit down and write personal thank yous to — the Red Sox. Or, they can sit and watch the Sox in the Series, and wait for THEIR thank yous.
They owe the Sox — a lot.