This got me to thinking ... what if A-Rod was hitting all those homers at Fenway Park as the shortstop of the Boston Red Sox?
It almost happened. Actually, it did happen for a few days, but the almighty Major League Baseball Players Association intervened, forever changing the fortunes of a bunch of ballclubs when the A-Rod-to-Fenway deal was triggered in the winter of 2003-04.
Strange, but true. The near-deal was born in Boston's anguishing weeks after
Three days after Boone's blast off
That didn't fly, but discussions went back and forth over the course of the next two months and one week before Christmas, the Red Sox had two deals in place: Boston would send Garciaparra and reliever
Hicks subsequently sent a letter to Rangers season ticket holders, telling them A-Rod would be Texas' opening day shortstop in 2004. Then the Rangers held a press conference and named A-Rod captain.
But it wasn't over. Boone blew out his knee playing pickup basketball in mid-January and on Valentine's Day 2004, the Yankees acquired A-Rod and his full contract from the Rangers in exchange for
The Sox were humiliated in that moment.
This is one of those
That's pretty much the deal in Boston. Without A-Rod, the 2004 Red Sox went on to win their first World Series in 86 years. Even better, they did it at the expense of Rodriguez' Yankees, coming back from a 3-0 deficit in the American League Championship Series. Just about every sports tavern in New England features a photograph of Sox captain
The Red Sox went on, of course, to win a second World Series in 2007. Meanwhile, A-Rod stewed and struggled in New York. He put up good numbers every regular season, then flopped in October. He was also outed as a steroid cheater. Sox fans, already happy to razz Rodriguez, had new fodder. They brought "A-Roid" signs to Fenway. When A-Rod was dating the Material Girl, some Fenway fans came to the park wearing
Rodriguez finally got his World Series ring in 2009 and he's in a good place to win a couple more while he marches toward 600, 700 and maybe 800 homers. But in Boston, no one ever looks back at the winter of 2003-04 with regret. No doubt Rodriguez would have been a lot better than