Wednesday, March 30, 2005

So here's the deal. I hate the Yankees, and I'm not particularly fond of the Red Sox either. I am however a big baseball fan (more so than football believe it or not), and an always frustrated Phillies fan. Watching the sport of baseball the past few years has been somewhat of a spectacle. I am a purist so I naturally dislike the idea of interleague play, and the idea of steroids is another topic for another day. I do however appreciate the story lines that help boost interest in baseball.

The steroids issue may eventually put a red flag on the likes of Mark McGwire getting into the hall of fame (Barry Bonds is probably still going to pack for Cooperstown someday though. While this is a story that has put baseball in the spotlight, it is not for the good reason. One of the best storylines that baseball has going for it though is the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry.

True, this rivalry is beyond being jammed down our throats. Seemingly the entire Red Sox lineup bashing Alex Rodriguez, a player they tired getting just a year before. The Yankees comparing the Sox to the Little "Red" Engine That Could as they count and compare world championship totals. The acquisitions that seem to be responses to the other organization. The big paychecks for players just to outdo the other. And of course, the history. No two baseball teams have a rivalry quite like the Yanks and Sox. The next best thing might be the Giants and Dodgers.

So we know the Yankees and Red Sox rivalry is one of the best storylines in baseball, especially the past few years as the Red Sox got good again, and finally won that elusive World Series, their first since 1918 which broke the curse of Babe Ruth. You know, the Red Sox player who was traded to the Yankees, who coincidentally started winning championships...about 26 of them, by far more than any other team).

So can you imagine what went through my mind when a story broke about teachers and students in Boston petitioning for the Red Sox and Yankees to shake hands before their first meeting this season? I went ballistic! Sure, the whole idea is to promote good sportsmanship and it is a lesson for the kids that could be valuable. And then George Steinbrenner comes out and endorses the idea! And some head honchos at Major League Baseball liked the idea and were going t explore the possibility of it happening. I thought, "this can't be!"

I firmly believe that this idea of a handshake is a terrible idea. This is obviously just another politically correct statement that is being thrown at us. The Red Sox and Yankees are sure to have at it at least once this year, and I'm talking about fisticuffs. Is a handshake really going to change anything? If they want to be good sports they should not be addressing the media calling out certain players or members of the organization, or belittling the other's accomplishments. It's really just that simple. We all know the Red Sox would love to see the Yankees be miserable, and vice versa. The handshake does not change any of that.

We are days away from the season opener featuring these two "let's cram everything about them down people's throats" franchises. I hope that the handshake idea gets sent to the round circular file cabinet. After all, organized handshakes are reserved for one place and one place only; the hockey ice after a play off round concludes. That is, if there is hockey!


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