Yankees, Red Sox ALDS matchup has city buzzing for ’04 revenge

It’s time for some bloody revenge!

Fourteen years after the Yankees suffered a postseason defeat for the ages, thanks in part to Curt Schilling and his blood-soaked sock, they will once again meet the Red Sox in October, beginning with Friday’s Game 1 of their American League Division Series.

The series marks only the fourth time the two storied franchises have faced off in the postseason. (Some will consider it the fifth, including the 1978 AL East tiebreaker game — aka "The Bucky Dent game" — which the Yankees won 5-4 thanks in huge part to Dent’s go-ahead three-run homer in the seventh inning.) It also pairs two teams who each won at least 100 games. The Sox led the majors with 107 victories, and the Yanks finished with an even 100. 

And the city is pumped.

"I’m excited, they’ve got the young cats going in," said Ethan Brown, 25, of the Bronx. "The city is going to be crazy. I look forward to seeing them play here . . . If we go 3-2, I’ll be happy."

Brown isn’t the only fan excited by the Yankees’ young guns, which include an especially talented pair of rookies. Gleyber Torres, 21, and Miguel Andujar, 23, quickly cemented themselves as vital run-producers and are front-runners to win American League Rookie of the Year honors.

Add them to the mix with established young stars like Aaron Judge, 26, and pitcher Luis Severino, 24, and these Baby Bombers could return the franchise to championship glory.

"All the new players. I want them to get a taste of the World Series. Especially Aaron Judge, he deserves to be there, he plays so good," said Jaime Saldivar, 43, of Corona. "[But] we have to face the big monster. It’s going to be tough."

The Green Monster, of course, being Fenway Park’s towering leftfield wall, notorious for denying sluggers home runs. The dreaded "monster" is just one of the facets that make the rivalry stand out in such a storied sport. 

Harry Schramm, 65, of Wayne, Pennsylvania, lived in New York City years ago and often comes back.

"I remember watching that ’78 series in a bar, and it’s a special rivalry with Boston. It’s great that it’s back," Schramm said. "It gives the city something to rally around. This is something people look forward to. The way they hammered a very good team last night . . . I’m excited."

The Bombers soundly defeated the Oakland Athletics, 7-2, Wednesday night in the singe-elimination wild card round in the Bronx. A two-run homer in the first inning by Judge gave the Yankees an early lead, and a combination of starting pitcher Severino and reliever Dellin Betances on the mound kept the A’s scoreless through seven innings. After the Yanks added four runs in the sixth, a small surge by the A’s in the eighth wasn’t enough. A 443-foot blast by Giancarlo Stanton, last year’s National League MVP, in the bottom half of the inning sealed the deal.

"After watching last night’s game, I’m excited," said Dylan Bestler, 21, of Long Island. "This has been the best team since the ’90s. We have a chance."

At the official Yankees clubhouse store near Times Square, fans were busy stocking up on jerseys, hats and all sorts of gear on Thursday.

"It’s been a long time coming, all the fans have been waiting for this one," said Chris Sanabria, 39, of East Harlem. "They’re supposed to be the top team. They’re supposed to go to the World Series. [If] we knock them out, it would be so sweet . . . We have a lot of potential."

Marc Benjamin, 48, of Bergen County, New Jersey, used to live on the Upper West Side and currently works in midtown. He wagers that if the pitching staff could hold off the Sox, the Yanks have enough offensive power to come out on top.

"It’d be great if the Yankees can give it to them and undo what they did to us in 2004," he said. "After last night’s game, I think Yankee fans are pumped . . . I think because these two teams haven’t met in a long time, there will be some national interest. This is the most famous national rivalry."

Another fan — Jerry Knowell, 60, of Jamaica, Queens — didn’t need a last-minute stop for merchandise. He was already decked out in his hat and jersey and basking near Madison Square Park in Wednesday’s win.

"I can’t wait for this one," he said. "[The Red Sox] are at the top of their league, that’s why we like beating them. We want to beat the ones at the top . . . The trains will be packed going to Yankee Stadium. You’ll see. I’m talking packed with everyone, even from Queens."

One notable New Yorker, however, steered clear of the record Thursday. Mayor Bill de Blasio, a known Red Sox fan, declined to comment on the series through a spokesman.


In each of the three previous postseason series between the Yankees and the Red Sox, the victorious team advanced all the way to the World Series. Here’s a look at those ballpark battles:

1999 American League Championship Series

Yankees win, 4-1

League changes in 1994 allowed for both teams to advance out of the regular season, which is exactly what happened in 1999. Pitcher Pedro Martinez led the Sox’s Game 3 victory — the Yankees only postseason loss that year. The Yankees went on to defeat the Atlanta Braves in the World Series.

2003 American League Championship Series

Yankees win, 4-3

Pitcher Tim Wakefield handled the Yankees in the Bronx in Game 1, giving the Sox an early series lead. The Yankees took the next two, then exchanged wins leading to a nail-biting Game 7. After trailing most of the game, a three-run eighth inning tied it up and closer Mariano Rivera held the Sox at bay until Aaron Boone — now the Yankees’ manager — could smash a walk-off homer in the 11th.

2004 American League Championship Series

Red Sox win, 4-3

The Yankees took the first three games, but Boston was destined for revenge. The Red Sox became the first team in baseball history to come back from a 3-0 postseason deficit. David Ortiz, aka "Big Papi," hit a walk-off homer in Game 4 and a walk-off single in extra innings in Game 5, Curt Schilling and his infamous bloody sock took Game 6, then a grand slam by Johnny Damon helped the Sox seize the clinching Game 7. Boston would go on to win the World Series for the first time in 86 years.