Billy Witz of the New York Times has an article today talking about how the Boston Red Sox bade rival Yankees Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter goodbye, and wonders what the franchise will do for Alex Rodriguez. Witz points out that a slew of Boston sports legends — Yaz, Bobby Orr, Luis Tiant, etc. — were there for the captain’s bye-bye and the Mo got a cello string quartet version of “Enter Sandman.”
The article doesn’t note, though, that Mo also got an interminable video, in very poor taste, that featured a long recap about him blowing the save in Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS, complete with Dave Roberts, Kevin Millar, and Bill Mueller breaking down the inning like it was the Zapruder film.
And that wasn’t all. Dave O’Brien, that evening’s emcee, described it as “less of a toast and more of a roast,” with them showing a video of the Boston crowd cheering for Mo in the 2005 season opener/ring cereemony when they “saluted” him for blowing the save that led to their World Championship. Then David Ortiz presented Mo with an oil painting of him waving to the crowd. Tacky, tacky, tacky.
As Deadspin described it at the time, they made the event “all about the Red Sox.” And the 2004 Red Sox, at that. I often joke about how if you did a drinking game of taking a shot every time a Mets’ broadcast mentions 1986, you’d be under the table by the second inning. If you did it with Boston and 2004, you’d be soused before the National Anthem was performed.
So although Boston got a lot of grief over their classless “tribute” to Mariano, I fully expect the Red Sox to do something equally as tacky to A-Rod. I’m sure they’ll bring up the would-be trade to Boston, and the fight with Jason Varitek, and the slap play with Bronson Arroyo. Maybe they can present Alex with the catcher’s mask and glove “Tek” hid behind when he fought A-Rod. (I never understood why Boston fans thought that was such an iconic moment. I would say that their catcher fought like a girl, but that’s an insult to girls everywhere who are tougher than he was.)
If Boston had some class, they would have a video showing some of the many, many moments when A-Rod killed them. Like hitting a homer off Curt Schilling when Curt was briefly the Sox’s closer. His walkoff homer in 2009 in that epic August 15-inning game. Him destroying Jonathan Papelbon. His home run revenge against Ryan Dempster when that self-righteous idiot plunked him (and how Joe Girardi had a complete meltdown!) And him tying Willie Mays’ 660 record at Fenway last year. In all, Alex had 187 hits, 39 homers and 114 RBI in 662 at-bats against Boston since becoming a Yankee in 2004 — pretty good numbers!
But this is the Red Sox we’re talking about. So in addition to Varitek/Arroyo snark, I also expect veiled references to PED usage. Remember, Boston fans are *very* self-righteous on that; Eddie Vedder got a huge ovation at last weekend’s Pearl Jam concert at Fenway by bringing up A-Rod’s steroid use. Meanwhile, they treat David (Sherlock) Ortiz like a god. (Incidentally, this month marks the seventh anniversary of Sherlock promising to search for how he tested positive on that 2003 PED test. And he *still* hasn’t explained it!)
Let’s hope, though, that Alex is penciled in to play all three Fenway games this week, and gets the chance to beat Boston in an epic farewell to The Rivalry.
Also, I hope Boston fans realize that Alex’s goodbye means that the Yankees-Red Sox drama just got a little more boring. I loved to hate Manny Ramirez, Curt Schilling, and Jason Varitek. But I also know that without them, The Rivalry isn’t half as exciting. Same goes for Ortiz. I will miss having him to hate, and I think Boston will feel the same way when it comes to A-Rod!
— Nick (@NickZararis) August 7, 2016