If you asked any Red Sox fan 13 years ago “How would you feel about Alex Rodriguez in Boston?” almost everyone would’ve been willing to overpay for the game’s marquee player.
And that almost came true entering the 2004, only to die at the final instant.
Then when he lost his chance to call Fenway his home, ARod almost instantly found himself in pinstripes.
Thus began one of the greatest chapters in Red Sox history -- and possibly the worst in Rodriguez’s.
Rodriguez got his one ring in 2009, but he saw his divisional rivals take home three -- most notably the one they stole from him in his first Yankee season with the greatest comeback in postseason history.
It took seven seasons in the Bronx for Rodriguez to get that ring -- but time was only a fraction of the cost.
Rodriguez was labeled an overpaid choke artist, despite earning MVP honors twice (2005, 2007) in the Bronx. But that label probably has more to do with his .259 career postseason average as opposed to .295 in the regular season.
And for everything bad that was said about Rodriguez in New York -- or anywhere else -- it was said tenfold in Boston.
Because unlike Derek Jeter -- who took on the image of the respected arch-rival -- Red Sox fans viewed Alex Rodriguez as a villain.
Whether it was the quick change of heart during his relocation process, the fight with Jason Varitek or smacking the ball from Bronson Arroyo’s hand, Rodriguez set the tone in his first Yankee season that he wasn’t going to play nice.
And Boston fans never let that go -- booing him without remorse, referring to him as “A-Roid” and photoshopping a purse into the image with Arroyo online.
Players grew to dislike him similarly -- but for varying reasons. Aside from the Varitek fight, one memory that stands out came from the 2013 season when Ryan Dempster threw at Rodriguez four times in one at-bat during the height of his steroid controversy.
Now, Rodriguez is in his final week as a Bronx Bomber, and he gets one more go-around at Fenway Park before he hang up his cleats -- at least before some small market team signs him so he can hit No. 700 next season.
So Boston fans not only gets to chance to say goodbye to the hero of the 2004-present era in David Ortiz this year, but they get to say an earlier-than-expected goodbye to the player that dumped them for the richer, more popular team.
ARod better not be expecting a standing ovation every time he comes to the plate in Boston -- because he’s not getting any.
With his 12-year career in New York ending, if you asked Red Sox fans that same question, “How would you feel about Alex Rodriguez in Boston?” you'd be lucky if all they did was laugh in your face.
But what they should be is thankful that the franchise-altering deal never came to fruition.
Nick Friar can be followed on Twitter: @ngfriar