No one elicits more back-and-forth in the Boston/New York debate that A-Rod. During the winter of 2003-2004, A-Rod was thrust into the spotlight when he was nearly traded to Boston and then was actually acquired by the Yanks. Since then, A-Rod has, rather undeservedly, come to embody the last five seasons’ worth of futile (by their standards) seasons for the Yanks. With the Yanks up in Beantown for a three-game set, Gordon Edes decided to play the “What If?” game with A-Rod. What if, he asks, A-Rod had actually landed with the Red Sox?
His answer is particularly absurd. Apparently, had A-Rod and Magglio landed in Boston in 2004, replacing Manny and Nomar Garciaparra, life would have turned out differently. The Red Sox would have won everything, and A-Rod would be the toast of Boston. The Sox would still have Hanley Ramirez, and the Fenway Faithful would have cheered A-Rod this Opening Day following Sports Illustrated’s PED revelations.
Edes’ best line though is this about A-Rod’s potential 2008 press conference :
After the press conference in which A-Rod tearfully spoke of how sorry he was and vowed that for every home run he would hit, he would make a donation to the Taylor Hooton fund, Red Sox fans gave him a standing ovation on opening day.
Somehow, by landing in Boston, A-Rod would have been able to put away his personal tendency to insert his foot into his mouth, and he would have been something more than aloof, socially-awkward superstar. He’d be an entirely different person. “A-Rod basked in the attention,” Edes writes, “but surrounded by outsized personalities like Ortiz and Damon, Pedro Martinez and Schilling, there was plenty to go around.”
Edes’ piece is an exercise in absurdity. A-Rod will be A-Rod wherever he goes. He’ll be the highest paid player of the game and among the top performers. He’ll be an offensive force and a tabloid sensation. He’ll be the guy who should just stop talking sometimes and the whipping boy for everyone else. In Boston, in New York, in Texas, it’s always A-Rod, and no destination five years ago would have changed that.