Picking Sides: The Red Sox-Yankees Rivalry
Regarded as the greatest rivalry in sports by many, the historic competition between the Red Sox and the Yankees boiled over yet again on April 11, culminating in yet another brawl.
Started by pitcher Joe Kelly of the Red Sox and first baseman Tyler Austin of the Yankees, both benches cleared as tensions boiled over between the historic opponents. Although this ongoing feud captures the attention of not only the United States, but the whole world, it is mostly focused in the combined regions of New England and New York. This leaves New Haven, and more specifically Hopkins, right at the center of the rivalry.
The wide geographic range of Hopkins students divides the campus in Red Sox-Yankees enmity. Drawing on over 60 different cities and towns from all around the state of Connecticut to fill its student body, Hopkins is a great representation of the effect geography has on this historic debate. Students from towns in Fairfield County such as Westport, Norwalk, and Greenwich tend to support the Yankees because of their comparable proximity to New York. Elena Savas ’19 from Wilton “definitely support[s] the Yankees.”
Their peers on the other side of New Haven however, in towns like Old Saybrook, Branford, and Guilford, usually lean more towards the Red Sox. For instance, Ellie Miller ’21 of Guilford “likes the Red Sox.
While where one lives might seem like the most common reason to support one team or another, a multitude of factors exist that influence Hopkins students when they decide between the Red Sox or the Yankees. For instance, whether or not one plays baseball or softball can affect the reasoning behind the decision and the final verdict. Josh Seidner ’20, a year-round baseball player, explained his thoughts regarding the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry: “I love [the Red Sox’s] tenacious style of play. They never quit even when down five or more runs; that makes every game exciting to watch.” Jack Dove ’19, the Hopkins Varsity baseball third basemen and an avid sports fan, agreed with Seidner, remarking on his experience with the Red Sox: “I support the Red Sox because of their incredible culture. A night game at Fenway is an unbelievable experience.” Those who play baseball and softball tend to examine the culture and style of a team when choosing whom to support, especially in a rivalry as ferocious as the Red Sox-Yankees.
Another common reason for supporting either the Red Sox or the Yankees is the admiration of a player on one of those teams. Evan Alfandre ’21 talked about his role models on the New York Yankees: “Role models from the no-so-distant past like Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera as well as the current role models like Aaron Judge have made me a die-hard Yankees fan.” Usually, controllable factors in a player’s game such as determination and effort make them admirable to fans. Remarking on his favorite player, Dove said, “My favorite player has always been Red Sox 2B [second baseman] Dustin Pedroia; he works hard and hustles on the field.” Respect for a certain player often leads to the support of that specific team.
Another reason to choose either the Red Sox or the Yankees is to build friendships. In the words of Olivia Capasso ’19: “if you like it [the Yankees or Red Sox], I like it.” While this reasoning is not as prevalent as other factors, it can still play a role when students decide on a team to support.
Of course, success will always be a reason for supporting a team. Both teams are successful enough, but Brennan Gollaher ’19 said this of the Yankees’ prosperity: “Having twenty-seven World Series titles doesn’t hurt.” The past triumphs of the Yankees garners the team many fans, and these successes can even trump location and other factors.
Possibly the most common response on The Hill as to why one supports the Red Sox or the Yankees was determined before birth or at a very early age. Many fans, such as Fiona O’Brien ’21, support the team that their parents support or the team from their parents hometown. O’Brien “like[s] the Yankees because both of [her] parents are from New York.” Alfandre also has strong ties to New York, saying, “My mom grew up in NYC watching the Yankees, and I have been watching them for as long as I can remember.” Furthermore, h a v i n g direct connections to one of the teams can impact this decision. Chris Wanat’s ’21 father worked in the Red Sox dugout for a few years, creating a culture of support for the Red Sox in the Wanat family for years to come. Gollaher also commented on his beginnings of baseball: “The first T-Ball team I was on when I was 5 was the ‘Guilford Yankees,’ and I loved the color navy blue at the time so when it came time to pick a team, I chose the Yankees.” As with Gollaher, oftentimes the early years of one’s life will determine their support for a team, especially when a rivalry is involved.
Whether it is family ties, admiration for a team or player, success, friendships, geographic location, Hopkins students have a variety of reasons for supporting the team that they do. By picking sides, Hopkins students participate in a (sometimes) friendly rivalry that is centered here on the Hill but spans the globe. But then again, in the words of Johnny Mills ’21, there are always “Mets fans.”