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Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Moment No. 2: A-Rod hit, Girardi goes nuts

By Andrew Marchand

Joe Girardi
Girardi begged to differ with umpire Brian O'Nora.
Wally Matthews and I are naming our top three most memorable Yankees moments of 2013. No. 3 was the day Alex Rodriguez was suspended and return. No. 2 is today and, on Christmas, Wally will reveal the No. 1 moment of the year.

When the initial story hit the Internet, it traveled down the Fenway press box like a viral game of telephone. Joe Tacopina, Alex Rodriguez's new lawyer, laid into the Yankees and baseball in the New York Times. He would later speak with us, as well, and kept on going.

But when the first story came out, during a Yankees-Red Sox no less, it was another, "You can't make this stuff up" moment in the A-Rod saga. Here was A-Rod playing for the Yankees, while his lawyer went off on the franchise and the sport that made him rich.

That was the backdrop the next day, going into Sunday Night Baseball, Aug. 18, our No. 2 most memorable moment of 2013.

Rodriguez, through his new lawyer, had declared a public war against Bud Selig and the Yankees. Now, he was at the center of the baseball world, in the Yankees lineup and on national TV in primetime.

Ryan Dempster was scheming to get a part of the action -- and a part of A-Rod. There had been talk leading into the series about John Lackey hitting A-Rod, but it was Dempster who stepped to the fray to provide some vigilante justice.

After failing to hit A-Rod on three attempts, Dempster finally connected with Rodriguez's elbow on a 3-0, 92-MPH fastball.

Joe Girardi went berzerk. It was such an odd scene when you consider that a little more than 24 hours earlier, word had come down that Rodriguez, with Tacopina as the pit bull, had gone off on Girardi's bosses. But there was Girardi defending his player, getting thrown out, while Dempster remained in the game.

"You can't start throwing at people," Girardi said after. "Lives -- people have had concussions. Lives are changed by getting hit by pitches. Whether I agree with everything that's going on, you do not throw at people and you don't take the law into your own hands. You don't do that. We're going to skip the judicial system? It's 'My Cousin Vinny.'"

Since Dempster was left in the game, A-Rod had a chance to remind everyone why there is such a fuss about him in the first place. Taking steroids out of the equation, he is one of the great baseball players in history. So in the sixth, Rodriguez nailed a solo homer off Dempster.

As he reached home plate, Rodriguez stopped, clapped his hands together and theatrically pointed to the sky -- in a way similar to how Boston slugger David Ortiz celebrates homers -- as the crowd booed.

That that cut the Red Sox lead to 6-4, but the Yankees would complete the comeback and win. It was a night that contained all the elements of an A-Rod drama from controversy, to athletic greatness to the unexpected twist of his manager going nuts. You really couldn't have written a more intriguing script for that weekend.