Thursday, July 24, 2014

The A-Rod VS. Varitek Brawl: One Decade Later

It's an iconic image burned into the brain of every Red Sox fan over the age of 10—Good versus Evil incarnate. Ten years ago today, Jason Varitek squared off with Alex Rodriguez in a classic brawl that can legitimately be called the watershed moment of the 2004 Championship season. When the game ended on Bill Mueller's walk-off home run, The Idiots had been galvanized. They were a team—a Championship-Calibre team. Bronson Arroyo drilled The Fraudulent One with the Sox trailing 3-0 in the third inning. Rodriguez started to first base—while shouting an expletive-deleted tirade at Arroyo. Varitek came to his battery-mate's defense—big time. A few shoves, a catcher's mitt in 
the face, and the brawl was on. Later, Mueller's two-run HR off Mariano Rivera in the bottom of the ninth gave The Carmine Hose an improbable 11-10 victory. I distinctly recall driving to a meeting in northern California and listening to the game on my car radio. When Mueller went deep, my fellow travelers on the freeway must have wondered why this nut in a Red Sox hat was shouting and pumping his fist. It was indeed a watershed—a watershed to history.