Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
The Red Sox and Yankees renew their rivalry and continue to play and fight in the American League East.
The rivalry however seems to be in a strange state of flux. There is no longer the “Yankees dominating the Red Sox” story line. 2004 put an end to that and the Red Sox have been a more frequent participant in the World Series in recent years.
The “all the superstars sign with these teams” plotline is going away. More and more MVP and Cy Young candidates are sticking with their teams instead of flocking to the Northeast.
And the cast of characters is changing too quickly to get a hold of any storyline. Sure Jonny Gomes and Mike Napoli are great Red Sox already, but are they hated by Yankee fans yet? Ellsbury switched sides, but is there any bitterness in the wake of a title for it?
Of course most of the characters from the mid 2000’s are gone. No more Damon on either side. You won’t see Varitek, Manny, Wakefield, Papelbon and Trot with Boston. Bernie, Posada, Pettitte and Mariano are no longer in the Bronx. (I need to double check if Mariano Rivera did in fact retire.)
With A-Rod suspended, the biggest lightning rod is no longer there (and you no longer have the two superstars with PED baggage alone with David Ortiz.)
This being Jeter’s last season, the identity of the Yankees may soon be in flux as will the feel of the rivalry.
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images North America
Those are the reasons why I miss Robinson Cano and his role with the Yankees.
Cano was the homegrown star of the Yankees. And don’t talk to me about him being non chalant or any nonsense like that. He was heads and shoulders the best player on the Yankees for the last few years.
He was good for 160 games a year, a great average, power and a Gold Glove.
He was a so called “real Yankee.” A product of their farm system, he matured as the double play partner of Jeter. And unlike so many on the current roster, Cano won a World Series as a member of the Yankees.
As Jeter, Rivera and Pettitte all either retired or one foot out the door, and the unpleasant spectre of Rodriguez returning for 2015, Cano had the chance to make this HIS team.
Maybe without Jeter to compare him to, Yankee fans would have finally appreciated what a remarkable player they had.
Plus there would be a great comparison that would help spark the rivalry even more as it progresses away from the 2000’s and through the 2010’s. “Who is better? Pedroia or Cano?”
Both are MVP candidates. Both are integral to their team’s title hopes. Both World Champions on their team. Both home grown products. And both with enough experience to be veterans but both young enough to have 4 or 5 more All Star seasons in them.
They would both grow into the faces of their respective franchises and be the focal point of the comparisons.
And without that, there is something subtly missing that could have been remarkable as the Red Sox/Yankee rivalry evolves into a new dynamic. Both sides can and have won titles. No more Curses. Nobody is anyone’s daddy’s. It’s a new Century.
Not that the Yankees should have matched the Mariners insane 10 year deal for Cano. In some ways this is similar to when the Yankees and Red Sox had elite shortstops. Who was bettah? Jeter or Nomar? (Well, A-Rod but that is another blog post.)
In the end the Red Sox were smart not to sign Nomar long term and he was not there for the glory.
The rivalry survived that. But moving forward the two teams need an identity.
Cano vs. Pedroia would have been a nice one.