Friday, May 01, 2015

ARod 660

BOSTON — Alex Rodriguez swung, took a quick peek, and rounded the bases Friday night with a feeling like he has never felt before.

Rodriguez has hit plenty of home runs before in his career, but with the Fenway Park fans taunting him booing him until their lungs hurt, he hit his 660th home run, tying him with Willie Mays for fourth place on the all-time home run list.

"Willie Mays has always been a hero to me," Rodriguez told MLB Network after the game. "A year ago today, I never would've imagined even playing baseball. But a day like today, I think of my mother, my daughters, the people at the Boys and Girls Club where I learned to play baseball."

The crowd of 35,444 went silent when his pinch-hit homer -- the first of his career -- off reliever Junichi Tazawa on a 3-0 pitch, went into the seats high atop the Green Monster. The Yankees won 3-2 and his homer broke the 2-2 tie in the eighth inning.

He rounded the bases, touched home plate, and when he came to the bench, was greeted by all of his teammates, led by Yankee manager Joe Girardi.

"It was very emotional for me," said Rodriguez. "The last few years have been rough. To see their reaction...it was pretty emotional."

The historic home run was never mentioned on the public address system, or on the scoreboard, and the announcement in the press box didn't occur until several minutes later.

The home run now will trigger a vicious legal fight with the Yankees and the players union over the $6 million bonus that Rodriguez is scheduled to receive in his original $275 million contact. Yet, the Yankees say they will not pay the bonus, insisting it can't be marketed since Rodriguez was suspended all last year for performance-enhancing drugs.

It's a fight for another day.

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