Red Sox won’t pay tribute to Alex Rodriguez


The Boston Red Sox are not planning to honor New York Yankees designated hitter Alex Rodriguez when he makes his final Fenway appearance.

It wasn’t long ago that the expectation was for Alex Rodriguez to play out the rest of his current contract wearing pinstripes before riding off into the sunset after the 2017 season. Instead, what we had mistaken for a glorious sunset has turned out to be a dumpster fire where those expectations have been unceremoniously tossed into to burn.

Not only will Rodriguez not finish out the remainder of his contract, he won’t even make it through the rest of this season. The New York Yankees announced on Sunday that the 41-year old will be released following his final game at Yankee Stadium on Friday, with the plan for him to then transition into a mentor role with the organization.

This means that A-Rod will play his final game at Fenway Park when the Yankees come to town for a three game series beginning Tuesday. That is assuming of course that Rodriguez makes it into the lineup for at least one of those games. He has sat out six of the team’s last seven games and rarely finds his name in the lineup against a right-handed starter these days. Perhaps he’ll be given the chance to play on Wednesday against lefty Drew Pomeranz, but that is far from a given.

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The Yankees seem content to let him rot on the bench as they count down the days until they are able to replace him on the roster with a player that offers more value. Rodriguez is hitting .204 with a .608 OPS while producing a -1.0 WAR this season. They intend to play him on Friday in front of their home crowd to honor all he has accomplished in a Yankees uniform, but there’s little reason to put him ahead of the younger players they are trying to develop in a lost season.

The Boston Red Sox have no such intention of honoring their longtime rival. WEEI’s Rob Bradford reports that according to a team source, the Red Sox are not planning any pregame ceremonies to recognize Rodriguez, as they have done in the past for other retiring Yankees. While we rooted against the uniform they wore, Red Sox fans always respected guys like Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, so we were happy to acknowledge that respect as we waived good-bye at the tail ends of their careers.

A-Rod will not get that treatment.

The only fans more eager than the ones in Boston to see Rodriguez leave the game of baseball are Yankees fans that are relieved to finally wash their hands of the enigmatic superstar. Even when Rodriguez was putting up MVP numbers and leading the Yankees to a World Series title, the city of New York was hesitant to embrace him. His prima donna attitude marred his reputation long before his admission of using performance enhancing drugs obliterated it.

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The reaction to Rodriguez’s impending retirement comes in stark contrast to the final season of David Ortiz, who is met with adoration in every city he visits and showered with gifts from opposing teams that face him for the last time. Ortiz seems to have friends in every organization ready to great him during these celebrations. Rodriguez doesn’t seem to have friends on his own team. He’s arguably the most despised superstar of this era by players and fans alike.

Both players started their careers in the Seattle Mariners organization and went on to put up prolific numbers on their way to becoming two of the biggest stars in baseball, but the end of their careers couldn’t be any more drastically different. Ortiz’s farewell season has been one of the most productive of his career, leaving fans begging him to come back for one more. A-Rod’s dismal production can’t get him off the bench, convincing the Yankees they are better off paying him not to play another season.

This week will be the last opportunity for Red Sox fans to see A-Rod at Fenway Park, but don’t expect him to receive the warm welcome that Ortiz has had in other ballparks. If the Red Sox acknowledge Rodriguez at all it should be with videos of him slapping the ball out of Bronson Arroyo‘s glove or Jason Varitek shoving his mitt in the Yankee slugger’s face. Those are the moments Red Sox fans will remember A-Rod for the most.

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The Yankees have been coined as the Evil Empire, but A-Rod is the one player in pinstripes that has truly been viewed as a villain. Instead of being sent off triumphantly with thunderous applause, Rodriguez will slip away meekly to deafening silence.