It is time to admit that the Red Sox have surpassed the Yankees as a franchise
For the better part of a century, the Yankees were better than the Red Sox. That was both an arithmetic fact and a cultural one -- the Yankees had the most World Series championships in MLB; the Red Sox had an 86-year curse.
And then, in 2004, the world shifted on its axis.
Now, in the shadow of an ALDS that saw Boston prevail over New York in the rivals' first October meeting in 14 years, we must reassess the situation. And, in doing so, there is only one real conclusion we can draw:
The Boston Red Sox franchise has surpassed the New York Yankees.
Does it bring me, a Red Sox fan, joy in saying this? Perhaps a little. But that isn't why I feel compelled to say this today. No, no. I am a professional, and such petty thoughts would be unbecoming.
Instead, I seek only to eulogize this era of Yankees AL East Hegemony and recognize its historic importance. It was a good run, but even the best runners stop running eventually. That's what makes the run impressive in the first place.
You see, in 2018, the Red Sox finished the regular season with a better record than the Yankees, won the season series against the Yankees and defeated the Yankees in the ALDS. 2018 also marked the first time the Red Sox won the AL East division title three seasons in a row.
Once is an instance. Twice can be a coincidence. Three times establishes a pattern.
Judging by the Yankees' own traditional criteria -- rings -- it is just as clear that we are in an entirely new era of baseball history. Since that dramatic 2004 ALCS, the Red Sox have won three World Series championships, and the Yankees have won only one. But that doesn't tell the full story: Since Dave Roberts stole a base in the ninth inning of an Oct. 17, 2004, baseball game, the Yankees have won exactly one postseason game against the Red Sox.
Again, I take no joy in reporting these facts to you, but I do feel a sense of duty to impart the truth. And the truth is: The Red Sox are just better now.
See, here's a GIF of Mookie Betts giving the Yankees a present to commemorate the end of a memorable era.
Even by the other traditional indicators of Yankees supremacy, 2018 clearly exists as an inflection point. The biggest offseason free agent signing, J.D. Martinez, was made by Boston instead of New York. The best player on the field in the series, according to WAR, was Betts -- a far cry from the days of the Yankees' Core Four.
But take a step further back, and the picture comes into full view. The ghosts of the Yankees past -- Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle -- played only in Fenway Park, not the new Yankee Stadium. The Red Sox stadium is an iconic part of baseball lore, while the Yankees have never beaten the Red Sox in October in their new stadium. A franchise that once was synonymous with legacy has been usurped.
So, you see, there is a new AL East hegemon these days. There is a new team that has come to define the words "success," "winning" and "history." The era of the Yankees is over, and the era of the Red Sox is here.
I bring you these solemn tidings. It is time to face facts.
Note: This is the opinion of the writer, and does not reflect the position of Cut4 or MLB.com