For many Red Sox fans, the only thing nearly as intoxicating as Red Sox success is Yankee failure. And in years where the former was non-existent -- the last meaningful Red Sox game was probably played in the first week or so of August -- those fans will seek sustenance wherever they can find it.
It's a bit of schadenfreude, for sure -- if Red Sox fans are going to be miserable, the only consolation is that Yankee fans join them in their despair.
Of course, even as it ended prematurely Friday night, the 2020 Yankee season was far, far better than that of the Red Sox. The Yankees didn't win the American League East and they didn't reach the ALCS, but they did finish second and qualified for the expanded playoff format.
Still, the Yankees haven't won a pennant -- much less a World Series title -- since 2009, when they won both. And that 2009 championship stands as the franchise's lone ring in the 21st century despite payroll investments totaling billions.
The Yankees though they had added the missing link last winter when they signed Gerrit Cole to the biggest free agent deal ever given to a pitcher. And Cole pitched splendidly for the Yankees in October, with a 2.95 ERA over three starts, including 5.1 innings of one-run ball -- on three days' rest -- in the season-ending loss to the Tampa Bay Rays Friday.
But Cole wasn't nearly enough for the Yankees, who revealed themselves to be a slightly better version of the 2019 Red Sox: overpaid and underperforming. (The Yanks' 33 wins in the pandemic-shortened season would have translated to 89 wins in a full 162-game year, a small upgrade over the 2019' Red Sox total of 84).