Game 4 vs. New York Yankees: Stephen Drew

Stephen Drew represents quite a bit. Between his lackluster postseason performance in 2013(until that beautiful home run during Game 6 of the World Series), to his equally lackluster 2014, and the subsequent deadline trade to the New York Yankees where he continued his lackluster 2014 campaign... he has come to epitomize the rivalry between the Red Sox and Yankees as it stands today.

Tonight's game will be the 2,119th regular season matchup between the two storied franchises. However, it is a few years removed from the regular excitement that existed for much of the Joe Torre years as Yankee manager and into the first few years of Joe Girardi's tenure. The rivalry exists today, but until there's a hard fought battle on the field, it's almost as if it's dormant. The closest comparison might be during the 1980's when neither team won a championship. That isn't completely correct, though, as the impact of the 2004 World Series title and subsequent 2007 and 2013 titles has leveled the bragging rights playing field.

Stephen Drew illustrates this dormancy pretty well. On July 31, 2014, the Red Sox traded Stephen Drew to the Yankees for cash and a bag of balls(Kelly Johnson). It was the first trade between the clubs since 1997, when the Red Sox shipped veteran Mike Stanley to the Yankees during a rebuilding season. One of the prospects the Yankees sent back was part a trade just a few months later that brought Pedro Martinez to Boston from the Montreal Expos. And the rest is history.

Gone from the last height of the rivalry are Pedro Martinez, Derek Jeter, and the theatrics of Don Zimmer being tossed to the ground. The Yankees are not poised for greatness this year, and lots of baseball pundits have written off the Red Sox as well. 2014 represented the first season that neither the Red Sox or Yankees reached the playoffs for the first since since the first Wild Card was introduced. On paper it looks like it could be 2 straight seasons without either team in the postseason. However, from this biased viewpoint, that is highly unlikely.

Wade Miley will take his first step into the Red Sox - Yankees rivalry tonight, thought this will be his second career start against New York. Let's hope Miley wakes up the ghosts of rivalry past and blows away the Yankees to kick off the season's first rivalry series!

 

Happy Birthday, March 9!

March 9 is a great day for Major League Baseball, when you consider the players that were born on this day!

MLB Hall of Famer Billy Southworth was born on March 9, 1893. He was the first person in MLB history to win a World Series as a player and later as a manager. As manager, his .642 winning percentage remains 2nd most in St. Louis Cardinals franchise history. There is a great documentary that covers his life, and SABR offers a thorough profile

Fellow MLB Hall of Famer Arky Vaughan was also born on March 9, almost twenty years later. Vaughan is considered one of the greatest shortstops, and SABR once again comes through with an excellent biography article about the often forgotten star of his era. 

Benito Santiago, born on March 9, 1965, logged 20 seasons in MLB, a large chunk of which was with the San Diego Padres, where he started his career. The five time All-Star was also the 1987 NL Rookie of The Year. He had a resurgence in the early 2000s, and was the NLCS MVP in 2002 with the San Francisco Giants. 

Rounding out the March 9 birthdays is Aaron Boone, perhaps best known for his soul crushing home run to end Game 7 and the 2003 ALCS, defeating the Boston Red Sox and sending the New York Yankees to the World Series. The eventually lost to the Florida Marlins and would not win another World Series Championship until 2009. As for Aaron Boone, he missed all of 2004 to injury, which prompted the Yankees to acquire Alex Rodriguez. Boone went on to play a few more seasons before retiring and joining ESPN as a commentator.