NY Post wrote:July 12, 2005 -- DETROIT - The Yankees and Red Sox are teammates for one day in tonight's All-Star Game at Comerica Park. Come Thursday in Boston that will all change.
The Yankees will not stand for any more attacks on Alex Rodriguez from the Red Sox like last July when Jason Varitek shoved his glove in the superstar's face, the Shove seen 'round the world.
The days of the Red Sox challenging Rodriguez physically or verbally, like they did throughout spring training when they repeatedly chirped that Rodriguez was not a "true Yankee" are done.
The Yankees finally have A-Rod's back at Fenway and everywhere else.
"We're going to bring our gold, our jewel in there, which is A-Rod," Gary Sheffield told me yesterday during the American League All-Star interview session.
"We're going to see how the chips fall this time. That's our man and we know he's our man.
"We're going to look out for him when he's in a situation like that."
I asked Sheffield exactly what he meant by that statement.
"When he's in a hostile environment, we've got to make sure he's comfortable because it helps our team," Sheffield answered.
And if something like the Varitek incident happens again?
"That's why I say it's going to be different," Sheffield said, looking me straight in the eye.
"We're going to make sure that Alex is taken care of."
If all that sounds like fighting words, so be it. The Yankees have come together as a team this crazy first half of a season in many ways.
After last October's spectacular choke job to Boston, there is payback coming the Red Sox's way as far as the Yankees are concerned and it starts Thursday with the Yankees protecting their superstar - Rodriguez - any way they have to at Fenway.
If you are a Yankee fan, these are the words you've been waiting to hear since Rodriguez joined the club. Rodriguez is appreciative of the backup.
"We've been through a lot together, a lot of guys don't know half the stuff we've been through as a team," he said, offering a rare view inside the Yankees' closed world.
"To be in the situation we are right now, we are very fortunate," Rodriguez added. "Our worst times are behind us."
The Yankees trail the first-place Red Sox by only two games in the loss column. A-Rod was quick to credit teammates, especially Jason Giambi, in helping to lift the fortunes of the club.
The Yankees have been humbled by the bad times they've been through and also say they have grown as a team from those difficult days.
Noted Rodriguez, "Everybody on this team has been attacked from every angle. I think we've become a closer team. Now we are united. We talk amongst each other much better than last year. I think this is as tight this team has been - one through 25 - since I've been here."
Even the Red Sox have noticed a change. "Alex is one of the top three players in the game," Johnny Damon said.
"He's finding his niche in New York now."
A-Rod admitted it has taken time for him to get to know his teammates and for his teammates to get to know him.
"It's something that you can't accelerate what you try to do," he explained.
"The trials and tribulations this team has gone through has helped us come together."
Tonight A-Rod will be batting second, right behind Damon, in front of Red Sox sluggers David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez.
He is surrounded by Red Sox.
Asked what he thought about such a lineup, A-Rod paused for a few seconds before saying, "It's kind of ironic that a Red Sox is protecting me. It's kind of weird."
The truth is that for the first time in his Pinstriped career, Alex Rodriguez can go into the lion's den that is Fenway Park and know in his heart that he is being protected by his Yankee teammates.
As Sheffield promised, "It's going to be different."
Haven't seen this posted anywhere, so I just threw it up to add to tonight's game.