Since signing with the Red Sox in January, following six seasons with the Yankees, veteran pitcher David Cone, 38, has experienced both sides of the bitter war in the American League East.
AW: How does it feel to be with Boston, the Yankees’ dreaded foe, after all these years?
DC: Weird, but a good weird. It’s one of the reasons I wanted to play with the Red Sox, so I could still be in the thick of this great rivalry. When I put on the Red Sox uniform for the first time, I was instantly drained of all my Yankee feelings.
AW: Can you still be friends with the Yankee players?
DC: Before and after the game, yes. But the second we step on the field, all bets are off. All I’m thinking about is how to beat them.
AW: How much do the players feel the rivalry?
DC: Well, it starts with the fans. And, believe me, the rivalry is very real with the fans. New York and Boston, in my experience, are the two most passionate baseball towns you’ll ever find. What happens is, the players feed off the emotions of the fans and we get caught up in it, too.
AW: So, bottom line, do the Red Sox have a chance at toppling the Yankees dynasty?
DC: Yes, I think we do. We have, arguably, the best pitcher and hitter in the game in Pedro Martinez and Manny Ramirez. And what a payoff it would be to crack through and win a world championship here. It’d be the golden nugget at the end of the rainbow for me to be on a Red Sox team that finally won it all.