The drama surrounding Alex Rodriguez reached a new level on Sunday night in the New York Yankees game against the Boston Red Sox in Boston. The third baseman was hit by a pitch in his first at-bat, which led to manager Joe Girardi being ejected and both benches clearing.
In the top of the second inning, Red Sox starter Ryan Dempster nailed A-Rod with a fastball on his left elbow. It appeared that Dempster intentionally hit Rodriguez with the 3-0 pitch. He just missed Rodriguez on the first pitch of the at-bat, and threw inside on his second and third attempts.
After the contest, Dempster denied hitting Rodriguez on purpose, but it seemed clear what the pitcher was doing. The Yankees slugger has become the most hated man in baseball, following the Biogenesis scandal. Not only has A-Rod been accused of using performance-enhancing drugs from the clinic, but he also allegedly leaked information that incriminated other MLB players.
The Fenway Park crowd had been booing Rodriguez the entire weekend and was glad to see him get plunked. The fans erupted when Dempster finally hit Rodriguez, and they serenaded him with chants of “You’re a cheater!”
Demspter was allowed to stay in the game, but both benches were warned. Girardi was stunned that the starter wasn’t ejected.
“You have to have your head in the sand with the comments that came from the other side not to know that something might be up,” Girardi said. “I thought it was handled very poorly.”
Rodriguez was visibly upset with the incident, and he got a measure of revenge later on in the game. With New York trailing 6-3 in the top of the sixth inning, A-Rod belted a solo home run off Dempster to centerfield. Rodriguez, who rarely shows emotion after a home run, pumped his fist when the ball went over the wall and pointed to the sky when he reached home plate. The at-bat sparked a Yankee comeback, eventually leading to a 9-6 victory for the club.
Rodriguez is currently appealing a 214-game suspension. He allegedly began using HGH in 2009 after he failed a test for steroids in 2003.