Alex Rodriguez is “retiring” on Friday after the Yankees game. A-Rod had his big announcement on Sunday. The announcement itself and how the “retirement” was communicated was a bit of a surprise. The way the Yankees management discussed it sure sounded like more a release than a retirement. Whatever you want to call it, there’s one thing that’s pretty consistent. For a player whose numbers are in the top five in the history of Major League Baseball, you would think there would be a big send off and this would be a big story. The reality is that it’s being treated no differently than the Mark Teixeira retirement announcement. No one cares! Surely, when A-Rod was traded to the Yankees in 2004, he had other visions on how he would go out.
Let’s get to how the Red Sox fans look at this. When A-Rod joined the Yankees in 2004, the Red Sox had just come off a grueling ALCS loss to the Yankees in a seven game series. It was a series which many Red Sox fans felt the home team should have won. The Red Sox spent the offseason trying to make a trade for A-Rod. Red Sox Nation was very excited about this! A-Rod was going to be the guy to break the curse! Then… he went to the Yankees. Of course! The Red Sox had lost to the Yankees once again. Red Sox Nation had a new villain.
A-Rod enhanced the rivalry in 2004. He had the classic fight with Jason Varitek in a great comeback win for the Sox. The two teams met again in the 2004 ALCS. This time the Yankees had A-Rod. The Red Sox had Curt Schilling. A-Rod hit two doubles and a home run in a 19-8 win in Game 3 to put the Yankees up 3-0. It was the lowest of the low. There was no worse feeling as a Red Sox fan. That night, the curse was real. The Red Sox had the team to contend and they still couldn’t do it. It was embarrassing.
We all know what happened from there. The Red Sox got walk off hits from David Ortiz in Games 4 and 5 to send the series back to New York. In Game 6, A-Rod tried to slap the ball out of Bronson Arroyo’s glove. It was a play everyone will remember when it comes to A-Rod’s legacy. Typical A-Rod…trying to get an edge outside of the rules. It also set the stage for the greatest comeback in the history of sports. The Red Sox were AL Champions and went on the win the World Series for the first time in 86 years. A-Rod went from being the biggest villain to a player who was mocked and ridiculed for failing to win.
2004 was just the start. With their three World Series titles, it’s been the Red Sox who have had the bragging rights in the rivalry. The Red Sox had three championships. The Yankees had one. The Red Sox had David Ortiz. The Yankees had A-Rod. Being a Red Sox fan became a lot more fun since A-Rod became a Yankee. So, perhaps, we can thank him for that!
A lot has been made about whether Red Sox Nation will cheer or boo A-Rod at his final game at Fenway Park on Thursday Night. He’s going to get booed. There will likely be no ceremony from the Red Sox. Why? Because A-Rod is irrelevant. And you better believe that it really bothers him. He deserves all of it.
A week from now, no one will care about A-Rod. Well, except for the Yankees ownership who will have to keep writing him multi-million dollar checks.