This is the way it was — or at least the way it seemed — during the cozy 86 years that connected 1918 and 2004. For years, from New England, we would hear tortured tales of “The Rivalry,” about how the Red Sox could never quite get over the hump against their ancient rivals, the Yankees.
Jinxes. Poxes. Hexes. Curses.
You remember the chorus.
And the funny thing, always, was this: Rivalry? Really? In those 86 years connecting 1918 and 2004, the Yankees won 26 World Series championships. They won 39 pennants. The Red Sox, in that time, won 26 fewer championships and 35 fewer American League titles. As rivals go, it’s hard to think of any more one-sided than that.
Hammer versus nail, maybe.
Lucy versus Charlie Brown, certainly.
Notre Dame versus Navy, sure.
Before the 1999 ALCS, Yogi Berra famously took Bernie Williams aside, smiled, and offered a word of advice from the bright side of the feud: “Relax. We’ve been beating these guys for 80 years.” They beat them that year, too. And again in 2003.
Generations of Yankees fans only knew relentless prosperity against the Red Sox. If an essential part of the DNA of Yankees fans is always believing the fellows in…