An A-Rodian ‘What If?’

A painful game, lost by everyone
The sensitive side of Randy Levine

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.

A painful game, lost by everyone
The sensitive side of Randy Levine
  • Dan

    There are some great points here. The Boston press protects their stars and works for a positive angle on their lives and careers. The NY press is just the opposite. Boston fans look past the negatives of their stars until the management conspires with the press to revise history and start the process of getting rid of the player.
    A-Rod had his picture taken in Central Park and it is still talked about a couple of years later. Every little thing in NY gets blown out of proportion. A good percentage of New Yorkers love to hate.

    • Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

      Gammons and Shaunessy are the only two grown ups in that town. They provide pro-Sox coverage to balance out the unrelenting negativity of most of the fans and beat writers. Within Boston, the writers are VERY tough on that team, especially when things go bad.

    • Jamal G.

      You are quite the delusional individual, Dan. I think Pedro Martinez, Nomar Garciaparra, Derek Lowe, Manny Ramirez (yes, even him), and David Ortiz would have to disagree.

      • Dan

        Have to disagree.
        Boston loves their stars and they do no wrong until the decision is made to get rid of them. Then a campaign by the press, usually started by Gammons, begins to find fault and greases the tracks out of town. “Manny being Manny” was actually marketed. He consisently took time off in the late summer and did disrupting things. When his contract was running out however the anti-Manny campaign began. The same is true of Pedro, Nomar, Boggs, etc.
        If they had gotten arod he would still be on a honeymoon with the sox, their fans, and the fawning press. A totally different world up there. Any rumor about the press being tough is entirely based upon after the decision to get rid of a player is made.
        Watch out papi, you’re next.

    • Andy in Sunny Daytona

      You have to remember that a good portion of NYC are Mets fans. They like to hate on the Yankees as much as Yankee fans like to hate on the Mets.
      The Red Sox are the only game in town in Boston.

      • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        And to expand on your point, a relatively large portion of NYC are not originally from NYC and, as such, a relatively large portion of NYC are either not Yankees fans or are actually anti-Yankees (“relative” in this case referring to comparison with other cities). Boston has a much lower percentage of residents who don’t hail from New England.

  • Reggie C.

    Arod moving to 3rd in deference to an unproven Hanley?? That would’ve never happened then.

  • Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

    If Alex thinks the NY press is tough, he should try playing in Boston. They eat their young on a regular basis, and the beat writers have no issue getting personal in their critique of players performances on the field. Boston writers are mostly (with 2-3 exceptions) schoolyard bullies with pens, they would have pounced on A-Rod’s image conscious sensitivity.

    The reason Manny flourished there is he didn’t give a shit what anyone thinks or says about him. That is the POLAR OPPOSITE of who Alex is.

  • Moshe Mandel

    I really never get the point of this type of article. Why create an entirely alternate reality that has no foundation in any thing? What a waste of time.

    • Matt ACTY


    • Steve in MN

      Because it’s a fun little distraction. I especially liked the part at the bottom about which parts were true and which were complete fallacies.

  • Rebecca-Optimist Prime

    Ayayay, indeed.

    I just woke up and already my head hurts!

    • Matt ACTY

      I woke up an hour ago and made awesome pancakes. I rule.

      • Rebecca-Optimist Prime

        Mmmm pancakes.

        I have amazing olive bread. And Crispix.

        • Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

          Olive bread? What time should I come by?

          • Rebecca-Optimist Prime

            Heh, I’m still in my PJs.

  • Matt ACTY

    Another irony of this is the embracing A-Rod post steroids…people should be doing the same thing. Obviously, doing steroids is wrong and what not, but A-Rod’s been like 45 times more forthcoming than any other player so that needs to be recognized more.

    • Rebecca-Optimist Prime

      Could you imagine i it had been David Ortiz?

      • Arod, all the time

        or Jeter?

        Come on, you either throw every player into the Ped mix or only those caught. A-rod was caught, and he was not particularly remorseful about it either.

  • Jack

    Random question, who’s going to see AAA action first, Jeremy Bleich or Zack McAllister?

  • A.D.

    Chances are in reality A-Rod would have opted out, and the Red Sox would have lo-balled an offer, and he would have gone elsewhere.

  • Permínio Neto

    I know it’s off topic but I need some help, I’m new to fantasy baseball and trust you guys’ opinion, so… McLouth and Derrek Lee for Broxton and McCann, should I pull the trigger?

    • Matt ACTY

      McCann is on the 15 day DL, no?

      • Permínio Neto

        Yes, he is, but I’m thinking more long term as my team kind of weak at C.

        • Matt ACTY

          Yeah, I just lost Ryan Doumit so I have Mike “I should be getting so many more at bats it’s not even funny but Mike Scosica is an idiot and won’t play me despite my obvious patience and power” Napoli and Taylor “I have a really silly last name” Teagarden.

    • Rebecca-Optimist Prime

      McCann’s on the DL right now…

      It’s hard to pass on Broxton, but I think McLouth and Lee would be overpaying.

      However, if you’re thinking more long term, ie, longer than McCann’s 15 day DL stint, I’d pull the trigger.

      • Permínio Neto

        Thank you.

      • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        “However, if you’re thinking more long term, ie, longer than McCann’s 15 day DL stint, I’d pull the trigger.”

        Dude, don’t ever think so short-term that you allow a 15-day DL stint in April affect your decisions on potential transactions.

        • Spaceman.Spiff

          Depends on if it’s Roto or H2H league but generally yeah.

          • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            Sure, clearly every deal has to be evaluated in the context of the situation and a ton of different factors… But generally, 15-day DL stints in April… I don’t know, you’d have to be thinking very short-term to let that affect your thinking much.

  • Joe

    A-Rod, a/k/a the “cooler” is the most overrated player in baseball. If the Yankees had not thrown..and I do mean literally thrown wads of cash at him every other team in baseball was ready to call his and Boras’ bluff regarding his salary demands. The Yankees have overpaid once again for a has been marketed by Boras.

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