Jason Varitek and Alex Rodriguez were never destined to be close friends.
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That much was confirmed almost 15 years ago, when on July 24, 2004, Varitek and A-Rod sparked one of the wildest moments of the Boston Red Sox-New York Yankees rivalry.
You remember how it went down: Sox pitcher Bronson Arroyo drilled Rodriguez with a fastball, Rodriguez took exception and Varitek confronted Rodriguez, shoving his glove in the Yankees slugger's face to set off a wild fracas.
The Athletic's Jen McCaffrey published an entertaining oral history of that famous brawl Friday that includes some terrific quotes, including what Varitek allegedly said to A-Rod that got him so heated.
"Him and ‘Tek are going face to face," Sox pitcher Curt Schilling recalled. "He says, 'Throw that s--- over the plate.' And ‘Tek says, 'Hey dude, we don't hit .260 hitters.' And then that's when you see Alex look at him and go, 'F--- you. F--- you.' "
But little did either player know that they actually would be teammates two years later on Team USA in the 2006 World Baseball Classic.
Here's Arroyo on asking Varitek if things got awkward between the two -- and the Sox catcher sharing a hilarious story.
When he got back I said, "Jason, how was it being on the same fricking team with Alex?" And he said, "Man, there was one game we were about to play and both of us ended up in the training room and no one else around, both taping up our wrists right next to each other.
And neither one of us spoke a word. We never spoke a word about it. We never acknowledged it. We never acted like we didn't like each other, but we weren't going to act friendly, either." So he said it was the most awkward dead silence ever, taping up those wrists.
What we'd give to be a fly on that wall.
Both Varitek and A-Rod have come a long way since then -- the former is a special assistant in the Red Sox baseball operations department, while the latter has enjoyed a career renaissance as an MLB broadcaster -- but we'd guess they still don't send each other holiday cards.
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