As I mentioned in a previous article, any chances the Yankees had to intensify the race for AL East supremacy dwindled to infinitesimal levels. They are 8.5 games behind and appear positioned for another Wild Card game showdown.
Yet, the baseball gods could be rewarding us in another way. If the playoffs were to start today, Boston would face the winner of the Wild Card game (that match-up would be Yankees-Athletics right now). Although the Athletics have certainly been a formidable adversary for the Yankees in three games this season, in a do-or-die game, I believe the Yankees would emerge victorious.
The Yankees and Red Sox have encountered each other in the postseason three times, each time in the ALCS, the penultimate trip to the Fall Classic.
Although it’s difficult to comprehend given the history between the two, their preliminary playoff meeting occurred in 1999, a series in which the Yankees dispatched Boston in five games. The Yankees won their second consecutive World Series title, third in four seasons, and won it once more in the subsequent 2000 season.
Again in 2003, the two baseball behemoths renewed their mutual antipathy, going the distance before Pedro Martinez and Don Zimmer channeled their inner Spartans. In Game 7, after being a mere five outs from their first pennant since 1986, incumbent Yankees manager Aaron Boone hit a bomb deep into the Bronx night.
The following October, all of my worst nightmares became a reality when Boston recovered from a 3-0 series deficit, and went on to break the Curse. It also featured a hilariously tawdry Star Wars-based promotional effort.
Now, if you want to qualify the 1978 AL East playoff game as an extra playoff meeting between the two, then feel free to do so.
It has been 14 years since baseball’s two most storied franchises have met with a trip to the Fall Classic on the line. The Evil Empire and the Jedi Knights appear poised for a fourth October war.
Fortune favors the bold, and Commissioner’s Trophies favor the bolder. May the Fall be with you.