A-Rod vs. Varitek turns 10

NEW YORK -- Think about where you were 10 years ago today. There is a pretty good chance you were in front of a TV or you heard later about the fight between the Yankees and the Red Sox that featured none other than Alex Rodriguez and Jason Varitek.

Joe McDonald did a long piece for ESPN Boston on the anniversary. It was at the height of the Red Sox-Yankees' recent saga, as Rodriguez is the biggest figure in the rivalry since Babe Ruth. McDonald writes:

The image of Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek shoving his mitt into the face of Alex Rodriguez has become an iconic symbol of the storied rivalry between Boston and the New York Yankees.

The picture hangs in sports bars, restaurants and man caves all over New England. It is sold in memorabilia stores -- even though both players refuse to add their autographs to the print -- and it represents to Red Sox Nation all that went right that season.

It's been 10 years since those two players ignited a bench-clearing brawl on July 24, 2004, at Fenway Park. The Red Sox, who had fallen to the Yankees in a heart-wrenching seven-game ALCS the year before, were trailing 3-0 with two outs in the top of the third inning when pitcher Bronson Arroyo drilled Rodriguez on his heavily padded left elbow with an inside fastball.

For all the hoopla generated by the 2004 incident involving Alex Rodriguez and Jason Varitek, the principals remain reluctant to discuss it.

As Rodriguez slowly started toward first base, he stared down Arroyo and had words for him.

Rodriguez then turned his attention to Varitek, who was telling the Yankees' cleanup hitter to shut up and go to first.

"I told him, in choice words, to get to first base," Varitek said at the time. "And then it changed from him yelling at Bronson to [us] yelling at each other, and then things got out of hand."

The Yankees face the Red Sox in Boston next Friday. It is still a rivalry, but it is not the same as it was a decade ago. It doesn't have the same intensity as it did then.

And by the way, whatever happened to A-Rod?