You could make a strong argument that July 24, 2004 is the most pivotal moment in Boston Red Sox history.
That is, if you’re the kind of person that believes in “turning points” in a season.
On that day at Fenway Park, 14 years ago Tuesday, the Red Sox and the New York Yankees met for one of the most memorable installments of sports’ greatest rivalry. In the third inning, with the Red Sox trailing 3-0 to the team that ruined their World Series hopes the previous season, Boston starter Bronson Arroyo hit Alex Rodriguez, who began talking trash on his way to first base.
Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek then got in Rodriguez’s face, and a wild, benches-clearing brawl ensued.
Take a trip down memory lane in the video below:
That never gets old.
The Red Sox at one point trailed the Yankees 9-4, but third baseman Bill Mueller capped off a stirring rally with a two-run, game-winning home run off Mariano Rivera in the ninth inning.
We all know what happened from there: The Red Sox went on to win their first World Series in 86 years, and have won two championships since. It’s not crazy to suggest that none of Boston’s success the past 14 years would’ve happened without Varitek’s first punch and Mueller’s heroics.
Here’s how the franchises have stacked up since the brawl:
Sure, the Bombers have the edge in head-to-head wins and American League East titles, but the Red Sox have them beat where it counts.
Let’s just hope these two storied rivals are on a collision course for the 2018 playoffs.
Thumbnail photo via YouTube/MLB