With a victory over the Oakland Athletics in Wednesday's American League Wild Card Game, the New York Yankees punched their ticket to the next round, where they'll meet the Boston Red Sox.
The Yankees and Red Sox have arguably the most storied (and likely the most covered) rivalry in professional sports. This meeting will represent the fourth time the two teams have met in the postseason, and the first time they'll meet outside of the AL Championship Series -- hey, blame it on the second wild card.
The series won't begin until Friday, so let's take this opportunity to briefly rehash what happened in each of the the first three postseason series between the Yankees and Red Sox.
Although both teams qualified for the postseason for the first time together in 1995, it wasn't until the 1999 tournament that they met in October.
The Yankees, who steamrolled everyone that postseason en route to a world title, knocked off the Red Sox in five games.
The series began in close fashion, with the Yankees stealing consecutive one-run victories in Games 1 and 2. You might recall Bernie Williams' 10th-inning walk-off homer in the opener:
The Red Sox won a Game 3 battle between Pedro Martinez and Roger Clemens that failed to live up to the hype, dominating the Yankees 13-1. That was quite enough for New York. The Yankees went on to win Games 4 and 5 by a combined 15-3 score. Ouch.
Here's the final out of the series, for Yankees fans to enjoy and Red Sox fans to skip over:
Unlike the 1999 edition, this series lived up to the hype. Better yet, it provided a few of the most memorable images in the rivalry's recent history, including Martinez "guiding" Don Zimmer to the ground as part of a benches-clearing brawl in Game 3.
Let's just skip right to Game 7, shall we?
The Red Sox won Game 6 to force a decisive Game 7 at Yankee Stadium. Roger Clemens and Pedro Martinez again faced off, with Martinez seemingly edging Clemens, who departed after permitting four runs on six hits in three innings.
Martinez entered the eighth inning with a 5-2 lead and sat down Nick Johnson after a prolonged at-bat. From there, things went left -- quickly. Derek Jeter doubled, Bernie Williams drove him in with a single, and Hideki Matsui doubled to put the tying run in scoring position. Jorge Posada promptly tied the game with a double of his own.
The two sides would trade zeroes for next few innings, with Mariano Rivera throwing three shutout frames, before Aaron Boone came to the dish against Tim Wakefield in the bottom of the 11th. You know what happened next, but here it is for posterity's sake:
It's at least a little fitting that Boone will be on hand -- this time as the Yankees skipper -- some 15 years after his dramatic home run.
For as memorable as the 2003 series was, the 2004 version found a way to top it.
Everyone who was alive back when remembers how the Yankees roared out to a 3-0 lead in the series. The Yanks won Game 3 by a 19-8 score and it seemed like they were headed for another World Series. And then, well, the tide changed.
The Red Sox were down by one in the bottom of the ninth in Game 4 when Kevin Millar drew a leadoff walk against Rivera. From there, Dave Roberts recorded one of the most memorable stolen bases in history. He later scored on a Bill Mueller single, sending the game into extras. The Red Sox would win in 12 on a walk-off home run from David Ortiz.
Game 5 isn't as etched into everyone's memory. But the Red Sox had to score two in the bottom of the eighth to push the game into extras. (One of those came on another Ortiz home run.) Ortiz notched another walk-off hit in the bottom of the 14th, when his single plated Johnny Damon.
Even after all that, the Yankees still had two more chances to clinch the series. They failed in both. The Red Sox took a 4-0 lead in the fourth inning of Game 6 that they, led by Curt Schilling, never surrendered. Then there was Game 7, which saw them jump out to a 6-0 lead through two. They didn't let up, thanks in large part to the aforementioned Damon.
The Red Sox became the first MLB team to ever overcome a 3-0 deficit in a best-of-seven series. They would go on to win the World Series, their first since 1918.
We'll see what this year's Yankees-Red Sox postseason series has in store, but if history is any indication, it could be absolutely bonkers. You can stream every game of the Yankees-Red Sox ALCS on fuboTV (Try for free).