BOSTON — Alex Rodriguez stuck it right to the Red Sox and their fans Friday.
On the field.
It was a different story off the field, however, as Rodriguez expressed admiration for the organization and its passionate supporters after lifting the New York Yankees to a 3-2 win with a pinch-hit, go-ahead home run off Red Sox reliever Junichi Tazawa in the eighth inning.
Friday’s homer was the 660th of Rodriguez’s career, tying him with Willie Mays for fourth place on Major League Baseball’s all-time home run list and showing again why A-Rod’s legacy forever will be intertwined with the Red Sox.
“It’s special to do it in a winning situation, late in the game,” Rodriguez said of his milestone blast, which was a line drive into the Monster seats on a 3-0 fastball from Tazawa. “Against the Red Sox. Just a lot of irony to it. I started my career here in 1994 when I was 18.”
A lot has happened since Rodriguez made his major league debut against the Red Sox at Fenway Park on July 8, 1994, as part of a Seattle Mariners lineup that included the likes of Ken Griffey Jr. and Edgar Martinez. There was his near-trade to Boston, his 2004 brawl with Jason Varitek, his 2013 run-in with Ryan Dempster and his season-long suspension in 2014 stemming from MLB’s Biogenesis scandal.
But through it all, if we’re to believe Rodriguez, the controversial slugger hasn’t lost respect for arguably his biggest adversaries, even after the Fenway Faithful showered him with relentless boos as he stepped to the plate in place of Garrett Jones in the eighth inning Friday with the game tied at two apiece.
“You usually don’t hear the difference, but that boo was pretty intense,” Rodriguez admitted. “It was pretty passionate.
“Like I said, I have the utmost respect for Red Sox ownership, the fans, the players (and) it was nice to do it and get a big win.”
The Red Sox-A-Rod saga is one that’s been full of twists and turns over the last 21 years. It probably didn’t end Friday, but another chapter certainly was written.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images
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