New York Yankees host Boston Red Sox on May 31 aiming to prove that they are genuine World Series contenders this season.
The Yankees made a solid start to the Major League Baseball campaign, posting a .607 winning percentage after the first 28 games.
Boston were .414 during the same period and two defeats in April against their biggest rivals did nothing to lift spirits around the club’s locker room.
The latest Major League odds by BetEasy have both teams listed among the favorites to win the World Series, although there is likely to be plenty of fluctuation over the course of the 162-game regular season.
The Yankees-Red Sox rivalry is one of the most famous in sports, with the bitterness between the two sides perfectly highlighted at the end of American League Division Series back in October.
Boston, who spent nearly a century in the shadow of New York, clinched the best-of-five series with a 4-3 victory over their bitter rivals.
Their exuberant post-game celebrations didn’t go down well with the Yankees, particularly when they blasted out Frank Sinatra’s version of ‘New York, New York’ from the dressing room.
The Red Sox were expertly trolling Yankees’ right-fielder Aaron Judge, who played the song on his stereo while walking out of Fenway Park after his side’s victory in Game 2.
The fact that the Red Sox went on to win the World Series – their second success in the last six years – rubbed further salt into the wounds.
As with any major sporting rivalry, the animosity between the Yankees and Red Sox is deeply rooted in history.
The Red Sox were the dominant force during the early days of MLB, but all that changed in 1919 when Babe Ruth was traded from Boston to New York.
Between 1920 and 2003 the Yankees won the World Series 26 times – with many people speculating that their success was due to the ‘Curse of the Bambino’.
Brawls between fans and players were a regular feature during that period as the rivalry threatened to spiral out of control.
The Red Sox finally snapped the streak in 2004, sparking some of the wildest ever celebrations seen on the streets of Boston.
Their victory was made all the sweeter by the fact they recovered from a 3–0 deficit to win a seven-game series against the Yankees in the previous round.
Three further World Series victories for the Red Sox since then has seen them gain the upper hand in the rivalry, with the Yankees’ 2009 win their only success during the same spell.
However, 8-0 and 5-3 victories for the Yankees over the Red Sox during April could be the first signs the balance of power is shifting once again.
Injuries have hit the Yankees hard during the early part of the season, but their results haven’t been affected too badly.
The Red Sox struggled to find their best form around this time last year and they will hope history repeats itself and they hit their stride over the coming weeks.
A victory for New York on May 31 would undoubtedly worry Boston fans that the ‘curse’ has returned, but the Red Sox are certainly capable of going to Yankee Stadium and securing a positive result.