How long will the Yankees be haunted by how the 2004 season ended? At least until spring training, probably longer. Jack Curry caught up with Alex Rodriguez recently and the Yankees' third baseman is feeling predicatably low:
Three weeks after the Yankees faded in four straight losses and two weeks after Rodriguez barely watched the Red Sox shelve 85 seasons of misery, Rodriguez settled on the villain in this tale. He looked in the mirror and never stopped staring.
"The fact that I got what I got, I deserved every bit of it because I was brought here to help win a championship and we didn't get that done," Rodriguez said. "Therefore, we failed. I don't think you can point your finger at any one guy because we win and lose as a team. But if you had to point a finger, I think you would point it right at me."
..."Obviously, what will make it better is coming back next year and winning a title," Rodriguez said. "But I'll never forgive myself or my team. As good as we were, there's no way we should have lost four games in a row to anyone. That disappointed me. That shouldn't have happened."
As far as Curt Schilling's post-championship comments about Rodriguez:
"Anytime he says something about me it's a compliment, especially when they're in their championship parade and they're still thinking about us," Rodriguez said. "The one thing I hope is that he continues to speak poorly about me and the Yankees because that will give us great motivation to beat the Red Sox in the future."
As Rodriguez carefully selected his words, he was seething. He is miffed that Schilling, who made several recruiting calls to Rodriguez about joining the Red Sox after Schilling was traded there last November, has blasted him so incessantly.
But, when Rodriguez was asked if the words hurt, he said: "Absolutely not. Red Sox are not supposed to like Yankees."
What are the odds that Rodriguez will be in the middle of another brawl between the Yanks and Sox next year?