I was thinking of this today: thank God for the New York Yankees.
Hear me out.
All those predictions, that Sox fans will get bored with their team, that the Sox will lose their cachet now that they're no longer losers--well, absolute losers, that is--in the postseason? Meanningless. Because of the Yankees.
Consider this: In the century-plus history of baseball, there have only been 14 back-to-back championship teams. Of those fourteen, six have belonged to New York.
They are also the most recent back-to-back champions of the World Series, and besides that have won four of the last ten World Series. In both back-to-back wins and most recent wins, the Yankees are boasting a respectable .400.
And anyone who wants to say that the Yankees are the underdogs (as I believe Brian Cashman so audaciously did last season) is even more so.
No, the Yankees don't get any of our underdog charm because we finally--FINALLY--took the pennant once. The Sox, meanwhile, don't get a break, a free pass, or the luxury of apathy. The Sox are still, once and for all, the underdogs. And if they have any hope of even halving the Yankees' world championship lead by this century's end, they have quite a lot of work to do.
But put that aside for a moment, and just be grateful that the Yankees, that Goliath, that symbol, that target, exist. Without them, to live up to, to catch up to, to seek victory over, we might really have lost something when the Red Sox finally defeated their postseason ghosts. Without having beaten them to get to our championship, there would be no reason for our hearts to beat quicker when we consider the prospect of both Opening Days.
Think of what this Sunday will bring: hundreds of years of history, finally overcome in a week's time last fall, returning to ask an epic, titillating question: have things really changed? Do things ever change? Do we, as fans, as cities, as individuals, ever have the hope of redeeming ourselves for good?
Or can we only hope for solitary shining moments?
It's the necessary next chapter. It's what pulls us forward into the future. Without the Yankees, it would not be. I'm grateful for that. I really am.
Now let's go down to the Stadium Sunday and show them where they can still put all those rings.