Patrick Grudberg ‘24
While most sports fans were glued to their screens last weekend watching the first slate of NFL games, the MLB season is nearing a close. Most baseball fans at Holy Cross are likely closely following the playoff race in the AL East between the Yankees, Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays.While many students are pulling for the local Boston team, there is a sizable amount of Yankees fans on campus (sorry Blue Jays fans).
As of Monday, Sept. 13, the Red Sox and Blue Jays were tied for second in the division, nine games behind the runaway favorites Tampa Bay Rays. The Yankees sit one game behind their two competitors and have been in a freefall of late. Aaron Boone’s squad has gone 3-10 since their scintillating mid August hot streak when they rattled off thirteen straight.
Meanwhile, their rivals up in Boston have bounced back after suffering a horrible month of August. While New York and Boston have been in flux, the Blue Jays have come out of nowhere and stolen the show, starting off 12-1 in the month of September. With no other AL teams in true contention for the wild card spots, it is safe to say that two of these three teams will face off in the wild card game in early October.
As much as Toronto’s rise has caught the attention of baseball fans, I will once again assume that most Holy Cross students care more about the Red Sox and Yankees’ chances of making that Wild Card game. If the two rivals were to claim the Wild Card spots, it would be the first time they have met in the playoffs since the 2018 ALDS season. Before that, they last faced off in the 2004 and 2003 ALCS.
The latter brought us the infamous Aaron Boone walk-off home run to win the series for the Yanks, while 2004 is remembered for the Red Sox’s historic comeback from 3-0 in the series to take it in seven games. But these were all five to seven game series’. A matchup in this year’s Wild Card game would obviously be a single game playoff. Can you imagine the drama and spectacle of such an event?
Gerrit Cole and Chris Sale facing off on the mound, playing in front of a packed Fenway Park or Yankee Stadium. The fans freezing on the cold October night. College students crowded around the TV in the basement common room surrounded by fellow fans and enemies alike. It would be something that we would remember many years after.
Any baseball historian will remember the 1978 AL East tie-breaker game between the Yanks and Sox. The Yankees came out victorious in that game 5-4, and I am sure Red Sox fans would be dying to get revenge forty-three years later. There is not a better script the baseball gods could write.
Yet, as I fantasize about this storybook ending to the regular season, the Toronto Blue Jays might simply run away with the Wild Card and take home field advantage. Instead of packing historic Fenway, fans would travel up to unassuming Rogers Centre in Toronto. Yes, the Blue Jays have a captivating offense, touting a +167 run differential compared to the miniscule +52 and +27 scores of the Red Sox and Yankees respectively. But for our campus, we all know what we want to see. If the Patriots and Giants are going to struggle like they did in Week 1, we want our Red Sox and Yankees to battle it out in the next chapter of this historic rivalry.