I think Ryan Dempster and the Boston Red Sox wanted to send a message to Alex Rodriguez last night.
The Boston starter had his sights set square on Rodriguez, just days after allegations surfaced that A-Rod may have sold out other MLB-ers in the Biogenesis investigation.
Dempster apparently adheres to the old adage: if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. It took him four pitches to get the job done. But he eventually hit his mark, plunking Rodriguez in the elbow guard and ribs. Here’s a clip of the at-bat
Kudos to Yankees manager Joe Girardi for the way he defended his embattled third baseman and his team. It showed much needed team unity following the explosive claims from A-Rod’s attorney that the Yankees intentionally mismanaged his hip injury to try and ensure he never played for New York again.
Girardi was summarily ejected. But Dempster was not tossed for what was clearly and intentional beaning. That set the stage for subsequent Rodriguez-Dempster at-bats.
A-Rod would have his revenge in the sixth.
The homer sparked a 4-run rally that les the Yankees to a 9-6 win in Fenway.
Say what you will about Rodriguez. Saying he’s not the most like able guy in baseball is the understatement of the century. But it’s hard not to be impressed with his ability to block out all the distractions and the circus that has surrounded his return when he steps between those lines.
Dempster was trying to take a stand, for what precisely I’m not sure. But moments like last night’s do more to rehabilitate A-Rod’s image than anything else.
A-Rod took his beaning. He retaliated in the best way possible with that tape-measure shot. And the whole incident might have just galvanized a locker room that to this point had to be at least somewhat divided.
The Yankees aren’t dead yet. They are 7.5 out in the division and 6.0 games back in the wild card standings. It will be interesting to see how they respond off of last night’s dramatic win.
Could you imagine if the team rallied behind all this controversy and made a serious World Series run led by, of all people, Alex Rodriguez? You couldn’t script a story like that.