The Red Sox Rivalry Situation As Told By It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia

by Ben Porter | Posted on Wednesday, April 26th, 2017
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So yesterday I was watching It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia on Netflix during some of my free time when I had quite the realization. In preparation for the upcoming rivalry matchup between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees, I decided to watch one of the best episodes in all of Sunny: “The Gang Reignites the Rivalry”. I wanted to get the competitive juices flowing and was even going to send out a few “Yankees suck” texts to my buddies who root for the bad guys. Aggressive, I know. But while I was watching the episode, I realized something… the Red Sox rival isn’t who I thought it was.

Ask any sports fan “what’s the biggest rivalry in sports?” and you’ll get the same answers. Duke vs. UNC. Alabama vs. Auburn. Red Sox vs. Yankees. Now, I don’t live under a rock. I know that the Red Sox vs. Yankees rivalry has been dead for years now. But think of me as an optimist. I have faith that a pitch or two will sail too close to a batter’s head and BOOM. Rivalry reignited. With two young and talented teams in the Red Sox and the Yankees, there’s potential for a future rivalry. But for now, the Red Sox need to realize who their current rival is.

“The Gang Reignites the Rivalry” is eerily similar to the situation the Red Sox are in right now. If you haven’t seen this episode, or worse, haven’t seen the show, do yourself a favor and watch it. In this episode, the gang’s 10-year ban from a flip cup tournament, called Flipadelphia, is lifted. They still hold a grudge against a rival bar, so they decide to “throw a little gas on the rivalry fire”.

The only problem is, their so-called “rival” isn’t interested, having been 10 years removed from any serious competition against them. Now, take the Red Sox. They’re licking their chops in anticipation of taking on the Yankees. It’s the first time in a long time the two teams are good, and while it’s only April, the Sox are ready for the Bronx Bombers to come to Fenway. All they have to do first is take a nice easy trip to Camden Yards to face the Baltimore Orioles in a three-game series, right? Not exactly. In the series opener, Manny Machado slides over second base and cleats veteran Dustin Pedroia in the leg. Pedroia would have to leave the game.

Though Pedroia said the slide wasn’t dirty and that it’s a part of the game, the team didn’t take so kindly to the action. In Sunny, the gang finds a distraction of their own when Dennis goes to recruit flip-cup players at his old frat house, where he apparently was a legend. Just like Pedey, Dennis only wants to take care of business before the real competition. But things don’t quite go as planned when the frat stars tease Dennis until he leaves.

Just to set the record straight, I don’t want to compare Dustin Pedroia to a psychopathic serial killer, but the situations are similar. I smell a mini-rivalry brewing in both cases. Fast forward two days in the real world, and a Matt Barnes fastball sails high and tight at Machado’s head, which was ill received. Barnes got tossed from the game, and tensions ran high.

Another scene that symbolizes so much for the Red Sox moving forward comes when Dennis and Frank are vandalizing the house of their former “rival”. While flooding his bathroom and messing up his tax returns, the only thing they’re talking about is their new found enemies. Though they’re taking action against their old rival, their new rival is who is on their minds.

With the Yankees in town, the Red Sox will undoubtedly be playing with a chip on their shoulder. Afterall, they have to send a message. But while they beat up on the Yankees, what matchup will lurk in their thoughts? The upcoming series with the O’s. In the words of Dennis Reynolds “I think we need to rethink who our rivals are”.

I’ll tell you one thing, the Orioles series is going to be exciting. Fenway will be packed, fans will be rowdy, and tensions will be high. I’m interested to see just how intense this budding rivalry can get.

For those of you who have not seen this episode of Always Sunny, I bet you’re wondering what happens in the coveted Flipadelphia tournament. Well, the gang ends up challenging the frat to a flip-cup game, which ends… interestingly. Finally, they focused so much energy on the frat that they forgot about Flipadelphia and didn’t even go… Awfully similar to the Red Sox series opener against the Yankees getting rained out.

Finally, despite everything I just said, the Yankees will always be a rival to the Red Sox. It would not be possible for me to think about the Yankees without remembering past events. It was the greatest rivalry in all of sports, and it will never be outdone. “Yankees suck” chants will one day break out at Fenway with the same fervor of the early 2000’s. There is not a true Red Sox fan on this earth who does not hate the Yankees, and I can only imagine the hate is just as strong from the other side. Sure, the rivalry has laid dormant for the past decade, but history has not been erased. The Red Sox’ current rivalry is with the Orioles, but the Red Sox vs. Yankees rivalry will live forever.

So there you have it. The Red Sox’ rivalry situation as told by It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. Didn’t think you’d find cutting-edge sports input in a comedy show? Think again.

Follow Ben on Twitter @Ben13Porter

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Ben Porter
About the Author

Ben is a sophomore at Columbia University where he plays baseball. He loves everything about the game and is a little biased toward the Boston Red Sox, Ben has future ambitions of a career in sports media, follow him on Twitter @Ben13Porter

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