Being hit by a pitch is part of the game. That's why they keep a stat for it. When you are hit - you are supposed to go down to first and take your base. But I guess A-Rod is different. I guess A-Rod is special.
Instead of taking his base A-Rod starts swearing out at Red Sox pitcher Bronson Arroyo (who was named after Charles Bronson we should be reminded - so I wouldn't doubt if Bronson could handle himself in a pinch). Jason Varitek, as is his job, stays between A-Rod and the pitcher's mound.
A-Rod then changed his focus to Varitek. The TV cameras clearly show him saying, "Fuck you" over and over right in Varitek's face. It then showed A-Rod saying "Let's go" to Varitek. Should he be surprised that Varitek gave him a catcher's mitt in the mug for his troubles?
July 24, 2004 is the game generally seen as the turning point in the to-that-point moribund Red Sox season. By making the overbearing Yankee pretty boy ear leather, Veritek fired the team and sparked the most amazing come back in sports history. Even with the spark, the Sox found themselves trailing the Yankees, down three games to none in the ALCS. They struggled the whole game, and were trailing 4-3 in the 9th inning.
The rest is history. They beat the Yankees, coming from behind. Then they swept the remaining four games to take the pennant. At this point, it would have taken an Act of God Himself* to change fate, and they Swept the Cardinals to win their first World Series in 86 years.
Two days later I was talking to a business colleague in New York. He wished me the best enjoying the only Championship the Sox would win in the next 86 years. I replied that his mouth was moving, and sound was coming out, but all I could hear was a huge choking sound.
Thanks for the memories, Captain Veritek.
* Of course the Lord roots for the Red Sox. You have to have deep, deep faith to be a Sox fan.