In the top of the second inning Sunday at Fenway Park, A-Rod saw the first pitch of his plate appearance sail behind him, the next two come far inside and the fourth plunk him on the arm and back as Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster did an amazing job leaving little doubt of his intentions:
Dempster claimed after the game he wasn't trying to hit Rodriguez, which is either false or makes him one lousy shot. Those first and fourth pitches seemed not-so-subtle.
Boston manager John Farrell tried to make the same assertion during an in-game interview with ESPN.
"He was trying to establish his fastball," Farrell said. "Obviously, the pitch got away from him."
After the HBP, umpire Brian O'Nora sprang out from behind the plate to issue vehement warnings to the Red Sox and — strangely — the Yankees, who had done nothing wrong up to this point.
This caused Yankees manager Joe Girardi to come charging out of his dugout and unleash a profanity-laced tirade. The warning, of course, meant the Yankees could not retaliate without seeing their starting pitcher, CC Sabathia, get ejected.
The argument, ironically, earned Girardi an ejection anyway. So if you're scoring at home ... Ryan Dempster threw a series of "I'm definitely trying to hit you, cheater" pitches, succeeded, and the opposing manager was the only one disciplined. Sure.
A-Rod was tended to by a trainer at first base, and his pouty face is glorious:
With the ability to get their free retaliation robbed, the Yankees still got their revenge. A-Rod — who actually scored in the second inning after the bean ball — returned to the plate in the sixth inning and blasted a home run to dead center. For good measure, at 446 feet it was the longest home run this year by a Yankee.
The pitcher at the time? Still Dempster. Beautiful. A-Rod enjoyed the hell out of it:
And oh by the way, while all this was happening, Ken Rosenthal dropped this report on the world, which says that Rodriguez apparently had an opportunity to receive a greatly reduced suspension and chose to fight instead. He still may face no suspension at all if his appeal — not expected to be acted on until the offseason — is accepted.
In another bizarre moment in the bottom of the seventh, a fastball from Yankees pitcher Boone Logan somehow whizzed right past the glove of catcher Chris Stewart and off the throat protector of O'Nora. He was shaken but escaped unhurt, even managing to shout out, "That's ball four!" as he gathered himself.
A-Rod finished 3-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored and was named Player of the Game by the ESPN telecast.
As you might imagine, the postgame barbs were classic. Here are some of our favorites:
A-Rod, on whether Dempster should get suspended: "I'm the wrong guy to ask about suspensions." Is anyone else starting to really like A-Rod again?
Dempster: "I’m more disappointed in the fact I couldn’t hold a 6-3 lead. That’s the bigger story." No, it's not.
And Joe Girardi, can I get a My Cousin Vinny reference for the road?
"You don't take the law into your own hands. You're gonna skip the judicial system? That's My Cousin Vinny." -Joe Girardi