The Boston Red Sox began their final series against their division rival Tuesday night, but no one’s expecting either team to lay the smackdown.
Indeed, the Red Sox’s rivalry with the New York Yankees has mellowed out over the past few years, as both teams have gone through their fair share of struggles. It’s a far cry from the late 1990s and early 2000s, when bad blood ran deep and fights were almost commonplace.
Some Red Sox fans might see playing nice with the Yankees as unfathomable, but if you’re one of those people, a centerpiece of the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry disagrees with you. Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz, who’s been in a few scraps with New York in his day, says he’s glad the two clubs aren’t brawling as much these days.
“This is not the WWE. This is baseball at the highest level,” Ortiz told Bleacher Report during an August interview. “It’s all good for the game. People don’t pay to come and watch us fight. People used to do that because of what it used to be. And that’s why people believe the intensity isn’t there. It’s there. We just don’t fight like we used to.”
Ortiz can testify the rivalry still is going strong. After all, the 40-year-old slugger had perhaps his most heated moment of the season at Yankee Stadium back in May, when he was ejected after an angry confrontation with umpire Ron Kulpa.
Big Papi also receives a healthy chorus of boos whenever he visits New York, and a few Yankees fans supposedly are planning to moon him Thursday in his final game in the Big Apple.
Getting mooned is quite different from getting swung at, and it appears Ortiz is just fine with that.
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