Back then, the Dodgers were the Enemy. We beat them in the World Series, with an occasional break for beating the Phils or the Giants, in the interests of variety. The Red Sox were just another team that we beat during the regular season: Teddy Ballgame and the Eight Dwarfs.
But then Walter O’Malley became the third worst person in the 20th century (revisionists say it was really Robert Moses), and the Dodgers moved to the ass end of the country, which meant they were too far away for a real rivalry. For that and other reasons (attention span), I drifted away from baseball, replacing it with football, which I still follow, despite all the issues. Then came Steinbrenner, and old Yankee fans, like old Communists, compare notes on which abomination drove them away, but insofar as I still noticed baseball, I was pro-Yankee.
The new rivalry was the brave little Red Sox versus the big bad Establishment Yankees, and as John Cheever said, “It can be worth your life in literary circles to be a Yankee fan.” Eventually the inevitable came: Red Sox fans lost their raison d’etre when the team finally won a World Series, but many still persevere.
Now the Sox and the Dodgers are playing for the Big One. One of them’s gotta lose.