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31

A-Rod announcement takes away from Boston victory

Chris Ruddick, MLB Editor

Chris Ruddick Logo Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - First of all, congratulations to the Boston Red Sox and their fans on the organization's second World Series title in four years. They were the best team during the regular season, and were clearly the best team in these playoffs.

People can blame the eight-day layoff all they want, but the Colorado Rockies were nowhere near the class of the Boston Red Sox, and it showed.

And, unless you are a card-carrying member of Red Sox Nation, I have some bad news for you. The Red Sox are not going anywhere any time soon. In fact, they may even be better next year than they were this year.

But, unfortunately, for fans of not only the Red Sox but baseball in general, Boston's win was upstaged by the announcement midway through last night's clinching win that Alex Rodriguez has decided to opt out of his contract with the New York Yankees and become a free agent.

How insecure is Rodriguez? Is he that starved for attention that he had to make this announcement when it became clear that the World Series was over? It's really a despicable move. Why should anyone expect anything less from him at this point, though?

Alex Rodriguez
A-Rod decided to opt out of his contract with the Yankees and become a free agent.
Instead of Tim McCarver and Joe Buck praising a Red Sox team that has now won eight straight World Series games, they were forced to talk about A-Rod, who obviously thinks he is bigger than the game at this point.

Even the sport's most honored and recognized team had enough respect to hold off on announcing their new manager until after the Fall Classic is over.

I don't want to hear people blaming Rodriguez's agent Scott Boras for this either. Sure he is a creep, and I am positive he was the orchestrator of it all, but A-Rod is 32 years old. He is old enough to make his own decisions, but he continues to be Knucklehead Smiff to Boras' Paul Winchell.

Now where does he go? The Yankees have said from the beginning they will not pursue him if he leaves. There are only a handful of teams that can sign him.

Boston is going to have an opening at third base, as World Series MVP Mike Lowell can become a free agent. Could the Red Sox re-sign Lowell and bring Rodriguez in to play short? That is possible, considering Julio Lugo proved to be a bust at short this year. But do they really want to tinker with a good thing by bringing him in?

Most people seem to agree Rodriguez will land out on the West Coast somewhere. I thought all along he would go to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. But someone mentioned the Los Angeles Dodgers to me last week. I could see that. The bright lights of L.A. are certainly attractive to Team A- Rod, but will the Dodgers deal with Boras after he spurned them last winter with J.D. Drew?

No matter where he lands, Rodriguez is about to play for his third team in six seasons, and chances are he will move again at some point in his career. How is that even possible? He is the best player I have ever seen and probably ever will.

Sadly for A-Rod, his Hall of Fame plaque is going to mention his record- setting contracts along with his unbelievable numbers. The one thing that could be missing, though, is any mention of World Series championships.

As a baseball fan this all makes me sick. Do yourself a favor and listen to Peter Gammons' comments after last night's game, as he was forced to talk about the Rodriguez situation. You can hear the disdain for Rodriguez and Boras in his voice.

Nobody argues that Rodriguez is anything other than great, but he really rubbed people the wrong way with this charade. Not to mention the fact that he comes off as such a phony. All along he reiterated the fact that New York is where he wanted to be. Yet he didn't even give the Yankees the courtesy of hearing any offer they may have made, and opted out literally the second he had the chance.

I hope the Yankees stick to their guns and get out of the bidding entirely.

Sad thing is someone is going to ante up for Rodriguez. And it will probably be a team you least expect, like the Texas Rangers were back in 2001. But, as Gammons said last night, it is "Buyer Beware" with him. There is a reason he has never played in a World Series. And believe this - unlike the way teams had been lining up for his services in a trade in years past, they will now be far less likely to take him off the hands of whatever club next wins his services three years down the road.

Enough about him, though, I am pretty sure we are going to talk about him well into the New Year. Today is the day to celebrate the Red Sox.

I grew up rooting for the New York Yankees and still do, but even I was happy to see the Red Sox win last night. Like the Yankees teams of the mid-90's, this Boston group is a tough team to root against. Unless of course it is Curt Schilling, who is every bit as phony as A-Rod. But that is neither here nor there.

Terry Francona reminds me a little bit of Joe Torre. He obviously brings more to the table than just the x's and o's. He knows how to deal with these megastars. Let's face it, these days the Red Sox locker room is not all that different than that of the Yankees.

And as I said earlier, this Red Sox team is not going anywhere. Dustin Pedroia is going to be the AL Rookie of the Year and a couple of his native Japanese teammates are going to be right behind him in the voting. Jacoby Ellsbury could be the Rookie of the Year next season, and if he isn't the odds-on favorite to win the award, right-hander Clay Buchholz probably will be.

Jon Lester is a stud and will probably take the rotation spot left by Schilling, who will no doubt bolt.

You mix those youngsters in with the likes of Josh Beckett, Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, Kevin Youkilis and even J.D. Drew, and you may have a bona fide dynasty on your hands.

Speaking of Lester, how can you not get into that story? Here he was, last year at this time, with not only his baseball future in doubt but his life as well, after being diagnosed with cancer. A year later, he is the winning pitcher in Boston's sweeping World Series win.

That is what we should be reading about today. But instead, the focus of the baseball world is on the biggest phony in all of sports - Alex Rodriguez.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Chris Ruddick at cruddick@sportsnetwork.com.
Chris Ruddick

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