What better way to kick off the resumption of the biggest sports rivalry on Earth the East Coast than by suggesting Alex Rodriguez will be plying his trade next spring as a member of the Boston Red Sox? I don’t know…and neither does the Boston Herald’s Gerry Callahan.

The fans tonight will treat the best player in baseball like some kind of criminal, another Brett Myers or Barry Bonds, even though he never dragged his wife down Boylston Street by the hair or lied to a grand jury. His record is clean. His skull is the same shape it was when he came into the big leagues, and so is his wife™s. The next time he loafs down the first base line or begs out of the lineup will be the first.

Is there any doubt that he will test the market? He is a Scott Boras guy and that™s what Scott Boras guys do. In fact, Boras guys opt out of contracts even when everyone thinks opting out of the contract is dumber than discount bungee jumping.

A-Rod is going. Somewhere. While he is still the highest-player in the game, he only has $50 million left on the deal. He is 31 years old, very much in his prime, and hitting like he wants to get to 800 home runs by Labor Day. Clearly, it™s that time again, time to cash in.

Alfonso Soriano got $136 million from the Cubs. Carlos Lee got $100 million from Houston. A-Rod knows together they couldn™t carry his lip gloss. He also knows that Boras already has put together a leather-bound book of his accomplishments that glows like Marcellus Wallace™s brief case. There will be an insane market for A-Rod™s services because there is always an insane market for Boras guys who can play.

Ironically, the one big-market team that might not partake in the bidding is the Yankees. As we saw with J.D. Drew [stats] and the Dodgers, the team that gets opted-out-of often reacts like a spurned lover and moves on. Unless he delivers a World Series title this fall – and unless he can pitch, that™s doubtful – Yankees fans will say good riddance to Mr. April and the Yankees owner will turn his attention to some other high-priced bauble, such as Andruw Jones. And forever New York fans will dismiss A-Rod as a guy who just couldn™t hack it on the big stage.

There is no doubt that the Red Sox will make a run at A-Rod if he becomes a free agent. The only question is: Will their hearts be in it? Or will it be a shrewd way to tweak the White Turtleneck and knock the Patriots [team stats] off the back page? Boston™s baseball operations people may decide that A-Rod is all wrong for them, and still that won™t deter the owners, who have proven that they can be bold and creative and more than a little mischievous. He™s going to break Bonds™ home run record somewhere. Why not here? And besides that, when is the last time the Sox didn™t do exactly what Boras wanted them to do?