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ICYMI the week on Front Row PLUS: The Deal explores 10th anniversary of 2004 A-Rod trade

30 for 30 Shorts: The Deal
30 for 30 Shorts: The Deal

Part of ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 Shorts series, The Deal takes a comprehensive look at one of baseball’s wildest trades and offers an insider’s perspective into the arms race between the Red Sox and Yankees and the man who stood at the center of it all: Alex Rodriguez.

In addition to being available on Grantland.com, the film will air tomorrow (ESPN, 8 p.m. ET) on the anniversary of the trade.

Front Row caught up with one of the filmmakers, Colin Barnicle, to get some insight into the film he co-directed with his brother, Nick.

Why did you choose this topic?
Alex Rodriguez is a lightning rod topic. He’s a social pariah now. No one wants him. But, zoom back exactly a decade ago and he was a bilingual Babe Ruth with a six-pack. He was baseball. You can almost pinpoint the exact day when the descent from hero to villain began for Alex, when he inked his name with the Yankees. It was such a quirky, forgotten thing that he was almost a Red Sox. We really wanted to shed light on that.

Was it difficult to get all the executives to participate in the film?
Logistically? Always. Personally? No. Trust and clarity were key factors. We were very upfront that this was a “moment in time piece” about A-Rod. No questions on steroids or his general bull in the china shop antics. Once they understood that and we finally got the schedules lined up, they were very cool with the whole process.

Is there anything that you learned while making this film that surprised you?
I had no clue Robinson Cano and Jon Lester were almost traded to Texas for A-Rod. It was a story of diverging legacies and what could have been for players, teams and cities. Cano on the Rangers. Nomar Garciaparra on the White Sox. Alex in a Sox uniform. Any number of different scenarios came very, very close to happening.

What are your thoughts on the deal now 10 years later?
On paper, it was a tremendous deal for the Yankees and as we were told by the Red Sox, if hindsight wasn’t 20/20, they would deal for Alex again and probably would have won a World Series with him. Of course, as a Red Sox fan, boy am I glad they didn’t.

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