For anyone who keeps their wrinkled Yankee stadium ticket stubs on a shelf back home, cheers when Big Papi launches one over the Green Monster or cringes whenever they see Roger Clemens in an Astros uniform, you’ll immediately understand what I’m talking about.

This article serves to inform those who are oblivious to the idea that mere pinstripes could create an instant friendship between strangers. It is for the people who are full of passion, but simply cannot find any of it in the sports world.

Unlike many Yankees fans, I was not born one. I simply loved sports, and as I got older, I soaked up all the great stories and memorable games in Yankees-Red Sox history. The walk-off home runs, the records that stood for so long and the trips to the Hall of Fame are what got me hooked. So grab a pencil and pad and keep track of my reasons because team history ranks at number one.

Without the Curse of the Bambino or the Bucky Dent homer in 1978, the 2004 World Series champions wouldn’t even receive a nomination at the ESPY Awards.

And it’s not just Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez that make Yankee fans proud to wear the hat, it’s the players who came before DiMaggio, Jackson and Boggs. So to truly understand the rivalry, you have to understand the past.

However, it isn’t just the past that fuels this rivalry. When you take the proverbial oath to become a die-hard Sox or Yanks fan, you are investing a substantial part of your pride in that team.

It may seem asinine to some of you, but if you look at yourself, there are things that you take great pride in that others might call silly, too.

The stakes are raised and the pressure is on if you live in New York or New England. Now your team represents not only a part of your personal pride, but also the self-esteem you have for your hometown.

If you don’t believe me, try this. Find a Yankees fan from the city, and ask them about the American League Championship Series Game 7 that took place in 2003.

A wry smile will cross their face, and you can tell that whatever was previously in their head has been replaced by “Aaron Boone home run.” It was just that big of a deal.

If there aren’t any Yankees fans around, mention the ALCS in 2004 to any Sox fan from Beantown. The only way you will get them to stop talking about Curt Schilling and reversing the curse is by politely asking, “So how many championships do the Sox have now?” Cheap shot, I know.

I know that some of you still can’t shake the notion that while it might be fun, baseball is still just a game being played by grown men. So, in the great scheme of things, why is it such a big deal?

I recently asked people – both Boston and New York fans – the reason why they check box scores everyday.

Freshman Jeremy Ross follows the Yankees out of habit. “My father was a Yankees fan, and so was my grandfather. It runs in my family.” My friend back home sums up his reasons into four words, “Love of the game.”

Whatever our motive for being a part of this storied rivalry, it makes us happy. So it’s pretty easy to see how some of us might take offense to it being referred to as just a foolish game.

So to everyone who is already anxiously following the scores each night until the end of October, constantly flipping between the Yankees game and the Sox game, I am just as pumped as you.

And to all who don’t know fly balls from fly fishing, just give it a chance. You might find yourself saving wrinkled ticket stubs in the years to come.

Moeller can be reached at amoeller@campustimes.org.



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