Saturday, May 2, 2015

Fenway, Not Yankee Stadium, Was The Perfect Place For ARod's 660th Home Run

By Barry Millman

If number 660 couldn't happen in Yankee Stadium, I thought, Boston would be the next best place.

I thought wrong. 

It was a pinch-hit, pay-me-my-six-million-Hal,  bite-me-Bud-Selig, Say-Hey-Willie-tying, in-your-face-Fenway, rivalry-reviving, game-winning bazooka shot fired by Alex Rodriguez straight at the heart of the Green Monster and all the hypocrisies of the baseball establishment.

It came in a game that saw two Red Sox fans make fools of themselves over game balls; the  first by trying to catch one in the field of play and preventing a crucial Boston run from scoring; and the second by wildly celebrating his successful battle to gain possession of Alex's valuable home run ball and then comically reversing himself to feign displeasure it had been hit.

It was a game that saw the hero put the Yankees back on the winning track by doing something only four players in history had ever done before just two days after a frustrating defeat in which he had gone 0-for-6 at the plate -- something he had never done before.

Failure. Resurrection. Victory. Redemption. 

With only his teammates, coaches and manager to embrace and congratulate him upon his return from circling the bases, Alex's unofficial Yankees celebration lasted about two minutes in the visitor's dugout of Fenway Park amid a halfheartedly booing crowd of stunned and dispirited Boston fans.

It would've been a great baseball moment even without the historic number attached to it. 

Then, a few minutes later, from 200 miles away in the Bronx, the official Yankees celebration of Alex's milestone came and went with the transmission of the following message.

No congratulations. No best wishes for many more -- or any more, for that matter. No joy at all.

With that, Hal Steinbrenner, who this Yankee fan has long supported in the face of overwhelming criticism, suddenly looked as foolish over a game ball as those two Red Sox fans.

And as the Yankee bullpen locked up the win and I basked in the final fleeting glimpses of the subdued, defeated faces occupying the seats in Fenway, it suddenly struck me this wasn't the next best place for such a great baseball memory.

It was the perfect place.

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