Ten years ago today, A-Rod went to the Yankees.
It’s weird to think about how it all turned out now and how we, in Sox Nation, in hindsight are meant to breathe a sigh of relief when thinking about all that went down from the night that MLBPA declined the Red Sox offer to restructure A-Rod’s deal to come to Boston.
ESPN’s Award Winning ‘30 for 30’ recently debut a fantastic 20 min documentary about the what if’s and what went on behind the scenes of the Alex Rodriguez to the Red Sox trade that never happened from Jon Lester being a part of the discussions to A-Rod being impeccably dressed in a suit at 1:30am to meet with a jetlagged Theo Epstein for a secret hotel rendezvous in New York.
The documentary made me think and relieve those days in December. In December of 2003, I was still a crushed Red Sox fan, still seething from the game seven lost and couldn’t wait for Spring Training to see whom the Red Sox would’ve brought in and exact revenge on the Yankees. When news of A-Rod possibly coming to Boston leaked, I checked almost every sports blog known on the internet at the time. Obsessively reloading ESPN, CBS, Fox, SI, MLB.com for whatever information I could find, any possible news being leaked saying the deal was finally official. I remember hoping (I lived in SF) that when I went to bed, I would wake up and it would be all over the internet that A-Rod was official.
I was looking up scouting reports on Magglio Ordonez and wondering what their 2004 lineup would shape up to be. I was excited. I was going to buy an A-Rod jersey the minute it became official. But it never did. And when the deal finally fell through, I was devastated. It felt just like the game seven lost. and when the Yankees got him, it hurt even worse. I was like, ‘no, not again, no way’. But it happened. Ten years later, it’s a blessing in disguise, a sigh of relief.
Any Red Sox fan that tells you that they were against the trade from the beginning, is lying through their teeth to hide whatever dumb pride they feel they have. We all wanted him here.
Now, I think what would’ve happened if the trade had went down? Do I think the Sox would’ve won the World Series? I dunno. I would like to believe they would’ve. I would like to believe they would’ve been an unstoppable force that would’ve won a few more but it’s hard to debate the significance of Jon Lester and Manny had compared to the What If of A-Rod and Magglio Ordonez. Who knows? Would A-Rod become the player he eventually became or would he have been different?
Not playing as Jeter’s sidekick, would that have made a difference? Maybe. He was good friends with Magglio Ordonez and is still friends with David Ortiz. But A-Rod was unhappy in Seattle (with a winning team) and unhappy in Texas (but who really is?) and eventually became unhappy in New York. So, who’s to say that would’ve changed much and if history is any indicator, A-Rod, probably would’ve joined the list of high profile Red Sox players that went to the Yankees, if he had opted out of his contract (he most likely would’ve, especially if he had won a couple of World Series, to have a chance to play in NY) after his first few years there.
Who knows? Maybe he would’ve loved it so much, he would’ve never considered it. Everyone says he was all about the money, which is an easy argument to make but as that documentary showed me, A-Rod was willing to pay Texas the difference to make that trade happened. A-Rod was willing to take a pay cut to be apart of the Red Sox. So….it’s just now left to our imaginations and Baseball Historians.
Maybe he would’ve been a hero on par with Ted Williams and Carlton Fisk or maybe he would’ve become the punchline he now is today, disgraced and unwanted. We will never know. The Red Sox are world champions again and that is something I know isn’t a what if of history.
So thanks Player’s Union, for making these last ten years as a Red Sox so much fun.
Also, hats off to Derek Jeter, a fine competitor who made this rivalry interesting, I’ve always respected you as a player, and great players bring out the best in every team. Good Luck Derek Jeter in 2014.
Let’s Go Red Sox!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!