Thursday, August 6, 2015

You know what's missing from the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry these days? Witty trash talk!

We all know that the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry is not what it used to be. And an article in the Boston Globe reminds me of the more fierce days of The Rivalry.

The Globe's Dan Shaughnessy got Yankee president Randy Levine to weigh in on the retirement of Larry Lucchino, his counterpart on the Red Sox. He talked about when both teams went after Jose Contreras in 2002 -- then-GM Theo Epstein rented out all the rooms in a Nicaraugan hotel to keep the Yanks out, but the Bombers still won Contreras. Lucchino then called the Yankees the "Evil Empire" for the first time, saying: “The Evil Empire extends its tentacles even into Latin America.’’ That's a Hall of Fame-worthy trash-talk remark!

(An aside: as I have said before, I still think the Yanks should play the Evil Empire music for themselves, and not the opposition, before games. Why not revel in it?)

Lucchino's coining of the Evil Empire moniker for the Yankees is part of his legacy, and it is pretty memorable. When was the last time anybody involved in The Rivalry got off a line like that?

The article also talks about something Levine allegedly said after the 2003 ALCS:

When the Yankees won that series in the Bronx on [Aaron] Boone’s walkoff homer, Levine allegedly was overheard shouting, “Take that, you 1918 pieces of [expletive]!’’

“I don’t think I ever said that,’’ Levine said Wednesday.
C'mon, Randy! Own it! That's the best thing you ever said! I smiled just reading about that again.

Levine also talked about what George Steinbrenner felt about Lucchino, and where The Rivalry stands today:

“George used to call Larry ‘the chameleon.’ When Larry was with the Orioles, he took the issues one way, and then when he went to San Diego, it was another way. Then he came back to Boston and had a transformation. 

“At the end of the day, the Red Sox and the Yankees have a lot more in common than they are apart. Sometimes they have Yankee-phobia. They’re too conscious of trying to separate themselves from us. I think they’re more like us.’’
Ain't that the truth!

David Ortiz's whining aside, you don't really see the trash talk any more between the teams' players. Nor do you see it with the teams' front offices. I really miss that!

* * *

So Luis Severino looks like the real deal for the Yankees -- seven strikeouts and only one earned run over five innings. He seemed poised and confident and ready for the big leagues. 

Too bad the Yankees couldn't get him run support last night. What a heartbreaking game.

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