With the Yankees and Red Sox set to square off this weekend for the first time in 2023, all eyes will turn to the most prominent rivalry in baseball. But it appears that at least some of the participants in the upcoming series hold the view that the feud between the two sides has lost some of its edge in recent years.
The beef between the two franchises dates back over a century, with countless iconic moments of mutual loathing over the years. They’ve even faced off in the playoffs twice over the past five seasons, with Boston winning both times in 2018 and ’21.
Ahead of this latest meeting, Yankees pitcher Nestor Cortes Jr. was asked about whether the rivalry was lacking some of its usual sizzle, and was honest about his assessment of his team’s American League East foes.
“It doesn’t feel like what we have with Tampa now, or with Toronto now,” Cortes said, per Fox Sports’ Jake Mintz. “You could argue that [the Red Sox] haven’t been who they really are the last couple years.”
Boston finished in last place in the AL East in 2022 and currently occupy the basement again this year, so Cortes’ comments are at least somewhat understandable. Fellow pitcher Gerrit Cole agreed with that sentiment, not placing any added importance on games against the Red Sox compared to any other division rival.
“I can’t speak to the hatred 15, 20 years ago, but I would say there’s not much of that now,” Cole said. “We want to beat them just as badly as we want to beat Baltimore. And even though it is more unique in the sense of the history, I’m not sure how much we carry that baggage with us.”
While fans of the Yankees and Red Sox might not hold the same view, it appears that the players involved in the rivalry these days are mostly committed to taking a more amicable approach.