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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Ellsbury Rekindles Rivalry

Wild on Sports
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Ellsbury Rekindles Rivalry
By Wild on Sports Analyst Jason Gillson

It has grown boring really. In 2012 the Bobby Valentine led Red Sox were the league's laughing stock going 69-93 a year after running beloved manager Terry Francona out of town. In 2013 it was the Yankees turn as injuries, old age and zero depth led to the worst Yankees team since 1995. With the two teams alternating horrendous performances there was little bite to sports greatest rivalry. The fans could sense it -- Fenway lost his its sell out streak, Yankee stadium was no more; the players could sense it -- Kevin Youkilis, who had as nasty a relationship with the Yankees players over the years as anyone switched uniforms with no real fire works; and major league baseball lost its most marque postseason match-up for consecutive years. The flame of true hatred was fading fast.

Well, Jacoby Ellsbury may have just dumped some gasoline on that flame as the former Red Sox all-star center fielder agreed to a 7 year, $153 million deal on Tuesday.

So much for New York budgets cuts. Just weeks ago Brian Cashman told assembled media that the Yankees were going to be spending responsibly and focus on a budget that would keep them below the luxury tax. At the time that was believed to mean that the Yankees would only bring back one of their high prices free agents of a pool that included Robinson Cano Curtis Granderson and Phil Hughes. Beyond that signings of the likes of Brian McCann, Kelly Johnson and Brendan Ryan were believed to be the excitement of the off-season. Poof, there goes that myth.

The Northeast has been in a bit of a stir in the 24 hours since the deal was agreed upon. Callers to popular Boston talk radio shows brought out the trader rants and comparisons to those who had spurned them in the past, namely another former Sox center fielder Johnny Damon. The burning of the jerseys int he streets are littering youtube, the soggy pink hats of the Red Sox bunnies are struggling to catch all of the tears -- OK, maybe we're going a bit overboard here, but you get the idea.

It is interesting really. The thought seemed more or less unanimous at one point that Ellsbury would inevitably leave. He hired super-agent Scott Boras who has a reputation to getting the largest contracts in the major leagues. He wouldn't even consider talking extension with the Sox for fear of losing the right to test the open market in search of the mega payday. The Red Sox had a number they were willing to go to, something in the neighborhood of 4 years, $15mil per. That offer, fictional or not, was ever even really in pay. That was all fine and good by Red Sox fans this fall. Many assumed he would return home to Seattle, just a stones throw from his native Oregon home. What was never thought was that the player, who when healthy stole the hearts of Sox fans and bases left and right, would bolt for the arch enemy. No, not Johnny Jacoby. Excuse me if you have heard that before.

So the flame has been re-lit, the pink hats are crying while Yankee fans rejoice and Red Sox fans are summoning up the "in Theo Cherington we trust" shirts. All is chaotic in this epic rivalry. Its about damn time really.

There is one good bit of news for Red Sox fans in light of all of this drama - in the battle that really matters, the Sox are defending Wold Champions; just the starting point in the next series of dominoes to fall. Just watch what happens next...

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