Despite the great, twice-bench-clearing game that culminated in a pair of suspensions for Tyler Austin and Joe Kelly earlier this season, baseball fans know one thing to be true: the rivalry just isn’t what it used to be.
Make no mistake, the Yankees suck. Watching them slip farther away from us in the standings is the ultimate dopamine high. But today, on the 14th anniversary of the ARod-Varitek brawl, I rewatched the fight about twenty times and have come to the conclusion that there will never be another moment quite like this one…
I could watch this video over and over, and it would never get old. After the humiliation of the Aaron Boone walk-off in the 2003 postseason, the Red Sox weren’t going to hide in shame. Eighty-six years of misery, something finally snapped. This moment, Dave Roberts’ stolen base, David Ortiz’s back-to-back walk-offs, they all combined for the most epic season of revenge baseball has ever and will ever see.
That four-hour game ended the way so many Boston-Bronx match-ups do: in a dramatic fashion. The Sox scored three runs off Mariano Rivera in the bottom of the 9th, with a walk-off homer by Bill Mueller. The combination of the fight and the win was a turning point in the Red Sox’s season. They stopped taking the Yankees’ crap, and started giving it instead. And when the postseason brought these two teams together again, the Red Sox emerged triumphant in the greatest comeback in baseball history. If Varitek had turned the other cheek when ARod started up with him, who knows how the season would’ve turned out?
So I guess what I’m saying is, thanks for being a tool, ARod. You signed with another team and still helped us reverse the curse. Hope you enjoyed your knuckle sandwich.
Photo: MLB Cut4