The Boston Massacre can be defined in two ways. The first is the horrific tragedy that took place on March 5, 1770, when British soldiers shot and killed five people during a mob attack in the city, one of many sparks that led to the American Revolution.
If you're a baseball fan, specifically one of the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox, the Boston Massacre means something else entirely. In this case, it is when the Yankees twice entered Fenway Park with their backs against the wall and emerged looking stronger than ever, eventually winning the AL East crown.
That could happen again starting tonight when New York heads to Boston for a crucial four-game series. The Yankees' recent inability to manhandle teams like the Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays has them sitting 5.5 games behind the first-place Red Sox and not showing up this series could be a major knife in the back to their hopes of a deep playoff run.
Massacre Part 3 likely won't happen this time around, but something close absolutely must.
Boston Massacre: A history
The first Boston Massacre, at least from a baseball perspective, took place over four games in September 1978. The Yankees had won the World Series the previous season but now struggled. Manager Billy Martin lost the locker room and resigned in July, with Bob Lemon replacing him. New York, after being as many as 14 games behind Boston in July, suddenly entered Fenway Park trailing by just three games.
No one could have predicted what happened next. In a four-game sweep, the Yankees outscored the Red Sox 42-9 and headed into their next series, a three-game set with the Detroit Tigers, tied for first place. Boston eventually caught up so that both teams were tied for first place at season's end, thus forcing a one-game playoff at Fenway that became the infamous Bucky Dent Game. The Bronx Bombers won the game and their second consecutive World Series soon after.
Fast forward to August 2006, and New York headed to Fenway for another crucial series. This was a five-game set thanks to an earlier rainout, but the shoe was on the other foot this time. The Yankees were in first place, but only had a 1.5 game lead over the hard-charging Red Sox. The team had also suffered a bad 12-2 loss to the Baltimore Orioles the day before, so the pressure was on to have a good series.
And what a series it was. New York not only outscored Boston 49-26 but won all five games of the series, coming from behind in two. They left Beantown with a 6.5 game lead and won the AL East, though their season ended with a four-game loss to the Tigers in the ALDS. Despite that, sportscasters all around the nation dubbed the Boston series "Son of Massacre."