Rivalries exist in all sports and perhaps each city thinks that its rivalry is a special one. Boston is no exception and I am biased towards my own city and its teams. However, the rivalry between the Red Sox and Yankees is one of the oldest, fiercest and most well known rivalries of any two teams in professional sports dating back more than 100 years.
Growing up here, there was much more than just excitement about games against our New York counterparts. One can't overlook the fact that aftermarket game tickets for games against the Yankees command prices sometimes 50% higher than game tickets against other teams. One also can't overlook the fact that Boston and New York are relatively close. Contemption grows because out of towners often think that Boston is nothing more than a small city north of New York. Clearly New York overshadows anything within 200 miles of its borders, drowning out the incredible Philadelphia area as well as Boston. Yet Boston is nothing like New York and does not consider itself to be nearby or affiliated in any way with New York. Another issue of contempt is the fight over Connecticut. The gold coast of CT (ie - Fairfield County, ie - area code 203) is absolutely metro NY. The NY metro north trains run into Fairfield County and all roads lead to NYC. Yet outside of Fairfield County, you have Yankees, Mets and Red Sox fans. Greater Hartford associates itself with W. Mass and Greater Springfield (MA) much more than with Southern CT. So, it just might be part of the battle, that CT fans are so split. Lets remember that Hartford only has one pro sports team, and lets face it: hockey is only big if you're from Canada. Rhode Islanders, in spite of their somewhat New York-like accents, tend generally to be Red Sox fans unless they are transplants from across Long Island sound.
So, proximity has played a big role in this 30+ year old rivalry. Many attribute the strength of the rivalry to the fact that the Red Sox failed to win a World Series for 86 years, from 1918 to 2004, a legend known as the CURSE OF THE BAMBINO. The Red Sox had been one of the winningest teams in professional sports at the time until they traded Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees in the off season. My grandfather was an avid Red Sox fan and for his entire life, his beloved sox never once won.
But one of the things that you need to understand is that loving your respective team is not really what its all about. Its all about hating the other team. Now don't get me wrong, Bostonian's are wonderful people and New Yorkers are some of the warmest people (if a bit noisy and obnoxious sounding) but when it comes to baseball, it is hate that is the unavoidable key word. I HATE THE YANKEES t-shirts are out there all over Boston and wearing them to games is as politically correct as hot dogs and mustard, in our park. Booing Roger Clemens for being a traitor and booing Derek Jeter just cause he's good, is part of Red Sox basebal culture.
So, if you happen to visit Boston, especially during our summer tourist season, you should keep in mind that any Yankee's apparel will draw attention. It is always fun to wear your home team shirt or hat when you travel and I am lucky to be from a town where our B hat is the most commonly worn out of town sports hat on the earth.