Updated: Alex Rodriguez had two singles in Friday's 10-3 victory over Boston. He was booed loudly and mocked by fans with chants of ‘‘You do steroids’’ and signs that said, ‘‘A-Roid’’ and ‘‘AFraud.’’
Here's how it went in case you missed it:
Well, the boos didn't quite cut it. A-Rod continues to impact the pennant race even if his team won't be participating in it come September.
So with that in mind - we offer this solution, originally posted Friday and revised accordingly:
"I've got a problem with it. You bet I do. How is he still playing? He obviously did something and he's playing. I'm not sure that's right." - John Lackey, to the Globe on Thursday
Here's the real question - What are you going to do about it, John?
Your chance for redemption among the Red Sox and their fan base awaits
tomorrow this afternoon when A-Rod steps into the batter's box sometime after 4:05 p.m. on Fox.
Back in the day, when pitchers had problems with a hitter, whether he showboated after a home run, got too close to the plate, or happened to come up after someone on their team got beaned - the answer was simple.
High and tight near the chin, or low and wide off the back.
Pedro Martinez, Bob Gibson, Don Drysdale, Sam McDowell, Randy Johnson, among others, used intimidation and the often well-placed bean ball to keep batters in line or enforce whatever baseball codes or mores have been violated. They then often went on to mow down the opposition, usually without mercy. Winning was always the best revenge, but planting one in the back, on the buttocks or firing the ball an 1/8th of inch below the chin never hurt, either.
"Wake up the damn Bambino and have me face him. Maybe I'll drill him in the ass." - Pedro Martinez, 2001
Is there any doubt what would happen to A-Rod if a vintage version of Martinez, or even Roger Clemens, was pitching for the Red Sox this weekend?
Felix Doubront pitched for Boston Friday, but this type of stuff needs to come from someone like Lackey, who had the guts to publicly say apparently what everyone else in baseball seems to be thinking.
[We saw how well Doubront fared. Told you so]
If Lackey drills A-Rod in the ass, he'll not only become the most-beloved member of the Red Sox pitching staff, he'll deliver a message that so many of his fellow ballplayers want to send, but lack the grit and balls to do so.
If Lackey ever had a chance to hit the delete button on Popeye's and Bud Light, it will come when No. 13 steps to the plate tomorrow afternoon. J.D. Drew's grand slam in Game 6 of the 2007 ALCS made his five-year, $70 million a virtual steal.
Lackey is going to make $82.5 million from the Red Sox, with his five-year deal ending after next season. Ninety-three miles an hour in the lower back or square in the buttocks against A-Rod, followed by two strikeouts and a pop-up, along with eight innings and the victory, would cover about half of that tab.
A win or two in the playoffs should cover the rest.
Plenty of pitchers have spoken out against A-Rod's return to the lineup coinciding with his 211-game suspension. He's been given this right of due process under the collective bargaining agreement.
He has that right, but that doesn't make it right.
C.J. Wilson nailed it last week when he spelled it out that A-Rod's return, and his Clinton/Clemens-esque defense against the truth was done for one reason: money. That's been the root cause of the PED scandal from the first day Jose Canseco shot himself up 20 or 25 odd years ago.
Juice up, beef up, numbers go up, TV ratings go up, attendance goes up, salary goes up.
A-Rod has replaced Barry Bonds and then Lance Armstrong as the poster child for PED usage in sports. He's been able to combine baseball's longest drug suspension in history with its worst and most expensive contract in history. Ten years, $275 million. For that money, John W. Henry could buy the Globe, Herald, Providence Journal, Hartford Courant and Manchester Union-Leader, and still have enough money left over to cover Dustin Pedroia's contract.
While the New York tabloids initially led the charge against "A-Fraud," those clever headlines have disappeared in recent days thanks to Alfonso Soriano's rampage [thanks in large part to having protection from Robinson Cano and A-Rod in the lineup]. Now, the apologists and contrarians are in full swing, and we're getting glowing pieces about "A-Rod the baseball player."
[And that was before Friday's game]
And, as was predicted here and elsewhere, the boos turned to cheers in New York once A-Rod started hitting the ball.
Friday, "60 Minutes" reported that A-Rod [allegedly of course] committed the worst sin of all in the world of sports or organized crime - he was a rat. The CBS show said he reportedly forwarded the names of other players caught in the Biogenesis scandal to Yahoo! sports, thus insuring their names would be leaked, presumably in a failed attempt to cover his own pumped-up rear end.
[Naturally, A-Rod denied this.]
Whitey Bulger may have murdered 11 people [guess those eight others died of natural causes], dealt drugs, run numbers, extorted thousands of dollars, ruined countless lives, blown up buildings and oversaw much of organized crime throughout Boston, but he fought the charge of being a "rat" until the bitter end.
So now we have A-Rod, the juicer, the scoundrel, the cheater, the Yankee, the guy who hit Bronson Arroyo with his purse, the guy who got b-slapped by Jason Varitek in perhaps the most exciting non-baseball moment in Red Sox history, the rat, the guy, who according to Lackey, has "been doing stuff for a lot of years I've been facing him."
Given the mumblings from so many aggrieved ballplayers, it's surprising A-Rod's only been beaned once his return. And that was a mistake that got away from Chris Sale and grazed his elbow.
Throwing at batters to send a message in baseball is as old as third base.
There were no eighth-place trophies or participation awards when previous generations were taught hardball. Nor were school-yard/baseball fights treated with the same somber severity as the invasion of Kuwait.
You got dusted, you got up and tried to hit the next pitch out of the park. You got hit for no apparent reason, you took first base and waited for your hardest thrower to dispense justice.
Lackey [7-10] gets his shot at A-Rod
tomorrow today on national television. He hasn't won a game since July 12, but has brought some stability to the rattled Red Sox rotation. He can not afford any extra baserunners these days, he's allowed 15 hits, four walks and six earned runs in his last 13 innings. But given what he said, and his emerging role as the veteran leader of the staff [something I'd never thought I'd be writing a year ago at this time] it's also important for him to be able to back up his talk with action, preferably on his fast ball as it whizzes under A-Rod's chin or "drills him in the ass."
Lackey told the Globe that the topic of A-Rod's past juicery comes up frequently in the Red Sox clubhouse, especially among the pitchers.
"People have strong feelings. He took me deep the first time I faced him as a rookie and he admitted to doing stuff back then. There are a lot of things I want back from him," Lackey said.
Your chance to get them back starts
tomorrow today, John.
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