OK, New Yorkers and Yankees fans, let's all stand up and give a big Bronx cheer to the new Evil Empire, the Boston Red Sox. The team that didn't need the highest payroll in the majors to win the World Series ... just the second-highest payroll. A team that didn't need to buy its championship with high-priced free agents like ... um, Daisuke Matsuzaka and J.D. Drew and Josh Beckett and Eric Gagne and Curt Schilling and .... OK, the team without obnoxious, egocentric stars like ... well, like Manny Ramirez.
You see what I'm getting at, fellow New Yorkers?
Around 2000, when the Yankees were winning the last of their championships in the now-defunct Joe Torre Era, I began to notice more and more Red Sox caps and shirts popping up on denizens of the Big Apple. At the time, when the Sox were perennially playing second fiddle to the Bombers, and all it took to put them in their place was a whispered "1918," I forgave the affectation. The Yanks had been beating on the Sox so mercilessly, for so long, it seemed right, even magnanimous, to allow New Yorkers to root for the underdogs, hated though they were by dyed-in-the-wool Yankee lovers.
Then came 2004.
Not only did the Red Sox win the World Series for the first time in 86 years, they delivered the ultimate humiliation to the Yankees, taking four straight games in the ALCS after losing the first three, and blowing us out in Game 7 IN YANKEE STADIUM. (Sure, it felt good to later swipe Johnny Damon, who socked a grand slam in that game, away from the Sox a year later, but did it lead the Yankees to the promised land? No it didn't.)
After the carnage, I thought Yankee fans would start acting the way Red Sox fans do in Boston, and make the five boroughs one big No Sox zone, complete with taunting and, for all I knew, even worse should a Boston cap-wearer stray into the city limits. But no such luck. After '04, it seemed like even more New Yorkers wanted to climb on the Bosox bandwagon. On the subway to Yankees-Red Sox games, I saw more Red Sox shirts than ever. Walk into a crowded bar and at least one Sox cap was sure to be in the mix. One watering hole in my neighborhood even catered to Red Sox fans by showing their games on the oversized TVs instead of the Yanks'.
Well, bandwagon jumpers, now you've gotten your wish. The Yankee dynasty lies in ruins, with Joe Torre and A-Rod gone (the latter to the Red Sox? Stay tuned) and the rest of the holdovers from the good old days another year older, while Boston parties in the streets for the second time in four years. And they did it the Yankee way -- by spending a lot of money. They spent it wisely, to be sure, but they weren't shy about doing whatever it took to win.
So before you fairweather Fenway freaks start partying in the shadow of the House That Ruth Built, this Yankee fan is here to tell the rest of you New Yorkers -- rooting for the Red Sox is no longer cute. It's a civic crime. Take off your caps and Big Papi T-shirts and put them away. It's time to rally around the fading 2000 championship flag and start hating the Red Sox the way Bostonians have hated the Yankees for so many years. We've done it before (remember 1978, the glory days of "Boston Sucks" T-shirts?) and it's time to do it again. Show some NYC pride, for heaven's sake! The Red Sox don't need you any more! Now let's root, root root for the home team -- and throw stuff at anyone wearing red.
Follow Tony Sachs on Twitter: www.twitter.com/RetroManNYC