Sure, fans will show up in the Bronx for this weekend's four-game series between the Yankees and Red Sox ready to cheer, but they will not be treated to a game that comes close to the hate filled contests former Yankees hero Bucky Dent recalls.
Dent said on Thursday that the tone of the "The Rivalry" isn't as intense today as it was during his playing days. The players, Dent says, change teams too frequently, making it difficult for them to develop a sense of contempt for the guys in the other dugout.
"I don't think this (Yankees-Red Sox rivalry) is as intense as it was back then," Dent said. "Those teams (in Dent's era) really didn't like each other."
Speaking during a promotional appearance at the Yankees Clubhouse Store on Fifth Avenue, Dent reiterated his point that players today are too cordial to build classic rivalries.
"There weren't many guys who had changed teams when I played," he said. "Where now, guys change teams so much that you don't really grow to dislike the other team as much."
"It's always going to be Red Sox-Yankees," he said. "The intensity is going to depend on the players."
Dent, of course, hit a three-run homer to lift the Yanks to a win in their one-game playoff against the Red Sox in 1978. So, as the author of one of the most famous moments in Red Sox-Yankees history (or infamous, depending your zip code), he is more than qualified to offer his opinion.
He may be overlooking the Jason Varitek-Alex Rodriguez wrestling match in the 2004 regular season and the Don Zimmer-Pedro Martinez incident in the 2003 playoffs, but Dent says those incidents don't compare to the hatred between players like Thurman Munson and Carlton Fisk and Lou Piniella and Bill (Spaceman) Lee.
"They didn't like each other," he said, "so it became really intense."
Dent was at the Yankees Clubhouse Store to sign autographs and promote a program in which Little Leaguers design baseballs that are autographed by sports and entertainment stars. The balls will be up for auction on August 20 and proceeds will benefit the Little League Urban Initiative. Log on to SubwayKids.com to view images of the designed baseballs.
Dent was at the Yankees Clubhouse Store to sign autographs and promote a program in which Little Leaguers design baseballs that are autographed by sports and entertainment stars. The balls will be up for auction on Aug. 20 and proceeds will benefit the Little League Urban Initiative. Log on to SubwayKids.com to view images of the designed baseballs.
Ian Begley is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.