BOSTON (CBS) — It was 15 years ago this winter when the baseball world thought Alex Rodriguez was going to be a member of the Boston Red Sox.
A-Rod really wanted to join the storied franchise, still among the league’s lovable losers back then. Their World Series “curse” was going on its 86th year, and Rodriguez thought he was the missing piece to finally beat the Yankees and head to the Fall Classic. He was willing to give back tens of millions of dollars to facilitate a trade from the Texas Rangers to Boston, going from a last-place team to a potential World Series contender.
But the MLB Players Association wasn’t too pleased with Rodriguez surrendering that massive amount of cash and nixed the deal. A-Rod had his heart set on wearing a Boston uniform, so receiving the news was a giant buzzkill for the slugger.
As he explained on Barstool Sports’ “Pardon My Take,” he decided to get a realllllllllly big buzz going to help drown away those sorrows.
“I was saddened by it. I went out one night, there’s this place called Life, and I just got toasted drunk that night. I threw up, I was so bummed,” said Rodriguez. “Anyways, I went back home and just dusted off and said, ‘let’s go, gotta go play ball.’ And of course the Yankee thing happened, and I think because of that, when I go to Fenway for the first time as a Yankee, I mean, come on. Nothing could be meaner or more cruel. I think that’s where the emotions started.”
The Yankees didn’t enter the fray until Aaron Boone was injured during a pickup basketball game during the offseason. They ended up acquiring Rodriguez in February for Alfonso Soriano, and the rest is history.
A-Rod said the biggest reason he wanted to go to the Red Sox was to be part of the Boston-New York rivalry. When the Red Sox came up just short in the 2003 ALCS in New York, he felt they were one piece away from beating the Yankees and winning the whole thing. Once he met with the Boston brass and saw their master plan, he desperately wanted to be that piece.
“I knew once I met with Theo [Epstein] and Jed [Hoyer], we met here at the Four Seasons, underground, we kind of snuck into the hotel. At the time, he was 28 and I was around the same age, Jed was the same age, and I saw the way these guys thought and the way they think about kind of architecting the house and putting it all together. I go ‘Holy (smokes), these guys are really, really smart.’ I knew they were going to win and win big, so I wanted to be a part of it.
“At the time, the Yankees weren’t part of the equation at the time. They had a great shortstop Derek Jeter and had won four championships in the last eight years. So I was like, ‘This is perfect. It creates sort of a Magic-Bird scenario. Great for baseball, great for us, both shortstops, pretty cool.’”
Rodriguez said getting traded to the Yankees was the greatest thing to happen to him professionally, but he has always wondered what things would have been like had be joined the Red Sox.