Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Yankees v Red Sox: A Freudian Explanation

Great little post by the movie reviewer of the Harvard Crimson, Yair Rosenberg, about the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry on the Lohud Yankees Blog. Why do the Yankees and Red Sox fans hate each other? Because they are in fact very similar, Yair says. 

Like many epic enmities, the Yankees/Sox rivalry is fueled by the narcissism of small differences. What makes the competition so acute is the similarity between the two clubs in talent, style and approach, which then throws their slight disparities into sharp relief. To take an illustrative example from my backyard, the storied university rivalry between Harvard and Yale sure isn’t predicated on the vast differences between the two twin Ivy League elites; rather, it stems from their commonalities. Because the two schools are so alike in terms of academics, student body, and culture, their most minute distinctions are put under the microscope in a search for uniqueness and superiority, intensifying the rivalry to the extreme. Every detail becomes a battleground. Each side wants to be the best when it comes to the traits both so dearly prize. So to with Yankees/Sox.

Consider plate discipline. The Yankees grind out every single at-bat, jacking up pitch counts, and working one of the best OBP’s in the league. So do the Sox. Joe West was onto something when he griped that Yankees/Sox games tend to go on far longer than any others in baseball. That’s what happens when you pit the two teams with the best OBP in the American League for six of the past eight years against each other. Indeed, the front offices of both squads have cultivated many of the same virtues both at the plate and on the mound. The result? Nine-inning grinds that exhaust umpires but exhilarate fans.

Consider payroll, where New York and Boston are far and away the highest spenders in baseball, especially in the AL. Consider size of fanbase, where both the Yankee nation and the Red Sox nation leave all other teams in the dust. Wherever you look, what makes the NY/Boston rivalry so potent is the spectacle of two well-matched titans duking it out for supremacy...

I like this argument and it helps me reconcile my love of Liverpool FC (now owned by the Red Sox) my New York Yankees and Plum Island, Massachusetts one of my favourite places in the world.
The photograph? Proof that I am man enough to embrace an American hero even if he did bat for the other team. (And, er, get his head frozen.)