Jeter, Red Sox Getting Along Famously on Team USA | NBC New York

Jeter, Red Sox Getting Along Famously on Team USA

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    Patriotism makes strange bedfellows.

    Two World Series titles in the last five years has certainly changed the tenor of the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry. Not just in terms of which fans hold current bragging rights either. The players on both teams don't really seem to have the stomach for even feigned distate for their opposite numbers.

    The New York Post reports that Derek Jeter, Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis have become thick as theives around the Team USA clubhouse at the World Baseball Classic.

    Pedroia recently set the tone when he posted a deodorant ad in his locker. In the ad, Jeter is standing outside Fenway Park, and the message says, "Every day is a walk in the park. Even this park."

    Jeter couldn't help but laugh at Pedroia's posting.

    "You get to know guys playing against them, as players," Jeter said. "But one of the good things about something like this is you get an opportunity to put personalities with the players."

    Much of the traditional animosities between players on teams melted away once free agency and big salaries entered professional sports. Everyone was doing well so there wasn't much reason to be at one another's throats, and the issues of the players unions tended to trump any on-field rivalries.

    The Yankees and Red Sox, however, held out a bit longer. In the late 70's the two teams were good for a fight or two every season, and when Curt Schilling joined the Sox for 2004 he made it clear that he was gunning for the Bombers. There was the Pedro Martinez-Don Zimmer battle, A-Rod and Jason Varitek exchanging unpleasantries and other fun that kept cropping up. The last few years, though, have featured very little bad blood between the players.

    Instead, the real anger flows between the fans and between the ownership boxes. The former has been around forever, but the latter is an interesting byproduct of baseball's growth. The Yankees and Red Sox are no longer content in their own fiefdoms, and now they do battle for hearts and minds in South America, the Caribbean and across Asia. As much as each side wants to win titles, winning those revenue wars will do more for the franchises in the long run.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com.