A guest post by Josh Baldwin, a technology blogger and sports enthusiast
A lifelong, diehard Yankees fan, I recently took my first trip to Fenway Park to watch my Yankees play the Red Sox. This was not simply watching a highlight game on Direct TV or tuning into the Yankees’ YES network – it was the real thing, at last. I do not live in a state with a professional baseball team, but grew up in a family of New Yorkers and have always found ways to get to Yankee Stadium a couple of times a year; so, naturally I am more used to a gigantic, glitzy stadium than a smaller, simpler one. That said, my first impression of Fenway was that it had a certain charm… to me, not quite a charm that equaled that held by old Yankee Stadium, but still something in that league.
Long before game time, I was walking around, exploring the ballpark in an aisle about twelve rows up behind the Yankee dugout. Two Red Sox fans in front of me were walking along talking about how Dustin Pedroia was becoming the Red Sox version of Jeter… the kind of passionate leader and consistent performer with an x-factor that fans will always be in love with. Meanwhile, Derek Jeter himself walked over to the side of the dugout, tossing balls to elated kids and smiling widely. The Boston fans in front of me stopped in their tracks, one excitedly asking the other “Was that Jeter?” I smiled behind him… “Yeah, it was,” I replied. “Be in awe.” He had no response… it was as if we’d silently agreed that the fact that Jeter’s presence had delighted even him meant that Pedroia, while promising, has a long way to go to achieve the same level of reverence among the fans.
This was merely the beginning of what I considered an underwhelming first visit to Fenway Park. From everything I’ve ever heard and experienced in the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry, Boston fans ought to have been screaming themselves hoarse at me for pointing out Jeter’s greatness… no children of Red Sox fans should have been giddy to be tossed balls by Jeter. I wore my Yankees clothing and loudly supported my team all weekend, and I was barely even heckled. When the Yankees won, I received no anger or taunts about the Sox owning the season series. When the Yankees lost, no one rubbed it in my face…. All of this while the two biggest rivals in professional sports battle for first place.
Clearly, I am biased toward New York, and I will be the first to admit it… but I don’t write this to put down Fenway Park or Boston fans specifically… more to illustrate that, as much as it pains me to say it, the rivalry is losing its luster. New Yankee Stadium is far tamer than its predecessor – that much I already knew. But it appears that Fenway has lost its spark as well. I can only hope that the coming postseason brings drama and reignites the flame that so recently burned between us.