"Because," Boone says, "my mama taught me better than that."
2) The Yankees, suddenly needing a third baseman and with some extra money to spend ( Boone's), do what the Red Sox had tried and failed to pull off a month before: work out a trade with the Texas Rangers for the AL MVP, shortstop Alex Rodriguez. Only thing is, the Yankees want him to play third base. Third base? It's like hiring Carmen Electra to stay in the kitchen and cook, but A-Rod agrees to it.
3) Red Sox fans once beaten by Boone are now bloodied by him. Many attempt to drown themselves in their chowder.
4) Yankees third base prospect Drew Henson, realizing that if he ever reached the majors, he would play maybe once a month behind A-Rod, quits baseball for the NFL.
5) The media go berserk in New York because everybody knows A-Rod is a better shortstop than the guy who will be playing that position, Derek Jeter. That puts a 10,000-watt klieg light on Jeter all season.
6) As part of the Rodriguez trade the Yankees' All-Star second baseman, Alfonso Soriano, is dragged off to Texas, where he is asked to play centerfield—and refuses. That means the Rangers' fine young second baseman, Michael Young, has to switch to shortstop, which sets off more moves in Texas.
Weird, isn't it, how the key figure in the 2004 baseball season is a guy who probably won't play this year? Following surgery and five weeks of rehab, Boone says he may be ready to play in August or September—if anyone signs him.
But his Homer That Ate Boston or his Game of Basketball That Changed the Game of Baseball wasn't the most amazing thing about Boone in the last year. The most amazing thing about Boone was his heart.
On the first day of 2003 spring training, 62-year-old Dayton Daily News sportswriter Hal McCoy stumbled into the Cincinnati Reds' clubhouse, where Aaron Boone sat.
"What's wrong with you?" Boone asked.