Alex Rodriguez explains why he wanted to join Red Sox (not Yankees) in 2003


You've heard about the famous Deal That Never Was.

In the winter of 2003, Alex Rodriguez agreed to be traded from the Texas Rangers to the Boston Red Sox in a blockbuster that was vetoed at the last second by the MLB Players' Association, which ruled against A-Rod taking a voluntary pay cut.

But why did Rodriguez -- who signed with the rival Yankees later that offseason -- want to play in Boston instead of New York, which had just beaten the Sox in the 2003 American League Championship Series?

A-Rod broke it down Tuesday during an appearance on Barstool Sports' "Pardon My Take" podcast.

"I thought the rivalry of Yankees-Red Sox was ripe," Rodriguez said. " '03 was the year that (Boston) almost beat the Yankees. They couldn't. They lost that crazy Game 7 when Aaron Boone walks off in extra innings off (Tim) Wakefield."

"I thought they were just one step short. And I knew once I met with (then-Red Sox general manager) Theo (Epstein) and (assistant to the general manager) Jed (Hoyer) -- we met here at the Four Seasons, kind of underground, we kind of snuck in the hotel -- ... and I saw the way these guys thought and the way these guys architect a house and put it all together, and I go, 'Holy shit, these guys are really, really smart.' "

"I knew that they were going to win and win big. So I kind of wanted to be a part of it."

Turns out A-Rod's hunch was accurate: Boston won two of the next World Series championships in 2004 and 2007 (at the expense of his Yankees in '04, no less).

Rodriguez also admitted he wasn't even considering the Bronx Bombers early in the 2003 offseason -- because they had his position filled.

"At the time the Yankees weren't even part of the equation," he said. "They had a great shortstop in (Derek) Jeter; they had won four championships over the last eight years or so.

"So I was like, this is perfect. This creates kind of a Magic (Johnson) - (Larry) Bird scenario: Great for baseball, great for us, both shortstops, pretty good."

Instead, in one of the rivalry's great "sliding door" moments, Rodriguez went on to become the perfect Yankee villain instead of a Red Sox hero. And A-Rod initially didn't take the failed trade very well.

"It was like this f---ing big buzzkill," he said. "I think the game felt it, I know I felt it. I was saddened by it. I went out one night, there’s this place called Life, and I just got toasted drunk that night. I threw up, I was so bummed.

"Anyways, I went back home and just dusted off and said let’s go, gotta go play ball. And of course the Yankee thing happened."

We'd say it worked out OK for both sides.

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