Other Roads Not Taken

Interesting post on Grantland about how Alex Rodriguez’s career could be remembered so differently if certain small things had turned out differently. He was a rookie during the ’94 strike season, and that year ended up counting toward his major league experience, so he hit the free agency market a year early. Later with the Rangers, he was almost traded to the Red Sox for Manny Ramirez and Jon Lester, but MLBPA nixed the deal because Rodriguez was taking a pay cut on his historically high contract with the Yankees. Just imagine how differently Rodriguez would be perceived if he had been a Red Sock the last ten years (2+ championships) instead of a Yankee (1 championship and tons of controversy).

5 Other “what-ifs” that I thought of in sports:
1. What if grass had grown in Houston’s spiffy new Astro Dome in 1965? Would so many teams have suffered the realities of Astroturf and other artificial turfs?
2. What if Kentucky had better shut down Dwayne Wade in the 2003 Elite Eight? Wade’s triple-double and the publicity it brought him propelled him to enter the draft after his junior year and he was taken 5th overall by the Heat. If Wade goes 15/5/5 instead of 29/11/11 and UK wins, does Wade enter the draft? Does The Decision happen in 2010 so Lebron and Wade can be buddy-buddy?
3. What if Hayward’s shot goes in? Does Butler get to a 2nd straight final the next year? Does Brad Stevens leave for Boston?
4. What if Bob Knight doesn’t choke Neil Reed in practice? Does he do something else stupid that gets him fired? Is he still coaching IU today (he’s 73)? Would we be spared the misery of listening him try to announce games?
5. What if the Colts and Rams’ owners never swapped teams? Do the Colts end up moving to Indy? If they never leave Baltimore, what does Art Modell do to the Browns? The Rams were in Los Angeles at the time of the swap; does Los Angeles have a football team today?

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